Orange County lighting director, gaffer and grip guy Craig “Burnie” Burns is offering a free, live webcast shot at SoCal’s Oakley Studios on Tuesday November 11 at 8:30am to 11:30am Pacific Standard Time (PST).
So, Gaffer Craig “Burnie” Burns. I am impressed. In Australian culture, anyone over the age of 45 is essentially dead in the water so far as employment goes. Unless they are a CEO looking forward to that golden parachute worth millions or more.
Fifty or over? Forget it – your life is gone along with your career. The experience that only comes with age? Who wants it? We’re the Lucky Country and all we need is coal, ‘coz “coal is good for humanity”. Right.
Burnie is now well over 60 and he got his start in the movie lighting business at an age when most Australians are looking forward to decades in the dole queue. He began working for a pittance each day and no job was too hard for him. Major kudos to the guy who allowed him on to that first movie set despite the grizzled face and the paint-stripping attitude. Burnie proved his worth.
How do I know this? Burnie wrote the book about lighting. Well, the book about the elephant in the room at any rate. The book about the business of being a gaffer and a lighting guy and running your own lighting business and about how that and any business is done in the age of the Internet when you are the story for you potential and current clients almost as much as the story you are all collectively working on.
The book? No one talks about LIGHTING the ELEPHANT IN THE ROOM. It is about the business of grip and lighting, and so much more. Get it in print or get it as an ebook. My copy is a Kindle. One click and you’ve got it.
I can identify with Burnie. I have relatives like him. My uncle was like him, a self-made guy who started out with a little supply business in a tin hut near the beach. More importantly, Burnie’s success in radically changing directions, and cities, is inspiring. So is his insight into the nature of the contemporary media business. “We are living in the era of the self-producer,” says Burnie in his book.
If you are indeed a self-producer, meaning a one-person band doing it all yourself, you can benefit from the knowledge Burnie has to share. If you are running your own business, you will benefit from from Burnie’s insights and experience. If you are working for someone else’s business, you will benefit too.
How do I know this? Because anything I know I learned the hard way, all by myself, without the aid of mentors – don’t exist here – or industry trainers – barely turn up here. So with any situation where you can learn, and for free at that, go grab it with both hands.
I would be there myself online at 8:30am on the 11th if it were not for Australia’s fake broadband that makes watching streamed live webcasts a misery to impossible and working off a server overseas a challenge to say the least.
I hope that this free webcast will be available to download later – I know I could really do with watching it.
The Gear, The People and the Content
1. Two 3-ton grip trucks – one electric and one grip.
2. Lighting crew of 2 plus Craig Burnie Burns,
3. A camera will be flown in via a cable system.
4. A hand-held steady system will be used – not a MōVI.
5. Filming an Indy Light racing car at the Oakley Studios in SoCal. That is the Oakley sunglasses and clothing store, Jim Jannard of RED’s old company.
6. Burnie will have a comms system working with his crew. Viewers will be able to hear changes and directions via audio link.
7. This is the ground-breaking first time that a live set has allowed a webcast with instructions and real time BTS (behind-the-scenes) made available.
Burnie’s Production Credits
According to his website, “Burnie has worked on 1000's of productions in the SoCal region in corporate, industrial, and television.”
“His client list includes, Toyota, Oakley, Epson, General Motors, Amgen, Hitachi, Toshiba, Microsoft, RED Camera, ARRI, Kinoflo, CBS, NBC Australian TV, ESPN, Sony Pictures.”
“TV Credits, Beauty and the Geek, Channel 7 Australia, History Channel, Discovery Channel, CNN, A&E, E Network, SyFy, HGTV, Cooking Channel, TLC.”
(cover photo credit: snap from Thomas Roberts)