Q&A with Apprentice & Go To Team Cameraman Dave Baker

Q&A with Apprentice & Go To Team Cameraman Dave Baker

Director of Photography Apprenticeship

GTT gave Dave 6 questions and here are his unedited responses:

Whats the most challenging part of the apprenticeship?

For me, the most challenging part of the apprenticeship has been leaving a position where I was comfortable with my abilities and equipment, and moving to a much higher level, where I find myself continuously learning new techniques and equipment. It has been a little disconcerting to go overnight from the guy “with the answers” to the guy with the questions. The great thing about the apprenticeship is that it gives you a chance to advance your craft to the next level by working in the field with skilled mentors like Skip Clark.

What is the coolest assignment you have been on, what was your position?

GTT has had me involved in so many cool assignments that I would be hard pressed to determine a favorite. I was fortunate enough to work as an audio operator with Skip for a large portion of Fox’s coverage of the NASCAR season. Between running B camera on a couple of HD shoots, and participating in the numerous “behind the scenes” workings at the tracks, it would be any NASCAR fan’s dream come true.
I think that for me personally, the coolest assignment I worked on was a recent shoot for America’s Most Wanted with Tom Wells outside Savannah, GA. The locations were various and intriguing, the subject matter fascinating, and learning from/working with Tom was a great experience.

Advice for anyone interested in the apprenticeship?

The best advice I would give anyone interested in the apprenticeship is don’t apply unless you are willing to travel and want to learn from the best. This apprenticeship will require a whole lot of your time and all of your energy. The hours can be demanding, and there is much to learn, but it is absolutely worth it. Where else will you be given a chance to learn hands on from people at the top of their field who actually want you to reach their level?

How do you feel about Skip Clark’s ability to teach?

Skip is like the Yoda of DP’s. Every question I have ever asked has been answered and fully explained. Skip is not only able to tell you what works; he can tell you why it works. He is a born teacher, and has that rare ability to teach even when he is not trying or aware that he is doing it. I have learned more from him in five minutes of casual “shop talk” over lunch than I have learned in three years at my previous job. He is a complete professional. Whether lighting, shooting, or interacting with clients, Skip provides an example to emulate and to strive for (with the exception of his love for The Dave Mathews Band).

Tell one story from the apprenticeship…

Early in my apprenticeship I was given the chance to work as a PA on a Fox multi camera HD shoot with Skip and Tom. The shoot required that one man individually act out the duties of a seven man pit crew. The end result was to have all “seven” of this person running around on screen at the same time. I was amazed as I watched Skip and Tom work out what seemed like a million logistical details on set without even breaking a sweat. The shoot went off without a hitch and the finished product was phenomenal. I knew then that I had joined up with the best.

How do you feel about being a part of GTT?

Since becoming a part of GTT, I have been continually impressed at the caliber of professionals I work with. These people really are at the top of their game and honestly seem to want to help me get to the top of mine. It is wonderful to work for an employer who actually cares as much about me as it does its clients. I am thrilled to be a part of the team and wouldn’t be anywhere else.