4 Things We Can Learn from Bella Pangabean
Two hours in a meeting with Bella was too exhausted. My energy was absorbed listen to her exciting story. She recently finished shooting for a feature film. It was her first time as a Director of Photography in a Feature Film. She told interesting experiences that she faced. That’s why I want to share some positive values to more people through this post.
Before writing down the values, I’ll let you know who Bella is. She was my ex-boss in Sinematografi UI, Head of Production Division. After completing a bachelor degree in Communication Study, Universitas Indonesia, she continued her school to Bournemouth, UK, majoring Cinematography. When I almost ended up with my career in Photography and Videography industry, she was the one who motivated me. I asked her “In conclusion, can we get decent financial income in this industry?”. She confidently said, “more than you can expect”.
She will post the detailed story through her blog/web. However, I’ll share some points which I underlined from that meeting.
1. The power of personal branding
Budget is the regular problem that we can’t ignore. In this production, Bella only had camera budget around a quarter of the proper budget. The producer set the budget for A7S while Bella thought she needed at least RED Scarlet. She had to think differently to fulfill her needs. Therefore, she contacted some people who she knows.
When she attracted new people, she didn’t tell about the project in detail. Instead, she showed them who she is, from the education background, filmmaking experience and finally what she is doing now. The power of personal branding, the ability to present herself and her project made her getting about 75% discount for the camera rent fee.
2. There are a lot of helpful people
One day, Bella contacted a guy who has camera rigging. After Bella presented herself and her project to him, they communicated through WhatsApp. Seeing Bella’s last name (Pangabean), that guy texted “can I call you Ito?”. In Bataknese, Ito means little sister. In the end, this guy supported Bella and team by providing and assist his rigging during production day. FYI the rigging rent fee is 6 million for a day.
Beside that guys, there are many people whom Bella ask for help. Once Bella communicates through them sincerely and having a great and personal relationship with them. Some of them were willing to support Bella for her first feature film.
3. Do extra miles
The actual responsibility of DoP are planning and executing the shots. DoP has to know about the angle, the composition, camera movement, the lighting, etc. In the pre-production phase, Bella spent her time mostly on providing the gears. She contacted many people as written in previous paragraphs. Actually, providing the gears should be the responsibility of Producer. However, Bella did the extra miles. Doing what she didn’t need to do without neglecting her main responsibility.
4. Be technically smart
In the discussion, Bella said cinematography is about framing good visual. She mostly emphasized the important of soft skills. However, I see from the different point of view. She really emphasized about soft skills because she already mastered the technical skills. She knows how to shoot great visual. That’s why she can focus on providing camera gear in the first time of pre-production. She exactly knew the reason why this film production needed at least RED Scarlet instead Sony A7S. Yes, soft skills are so important, yet we still need to be technically smart.
Those are some points which I can share. There should be more points and great energy that I got from that meeting. Hopefully, Bella can share more detail in her blog post.