So the bottom line is that there is no real set way of becoming a cinematographer. Ask yourself this question – “What is your life about?” What are your hopes and dreams and find a path that best fits your needs. Do you want to work in the industry, learn from the pros and then start shooting?
…be prepared for the big drop in pay
A lot of camera assistants will work for a minimum of five to seven years and then start shooting. Camera Assistants make the most money in the entire techie dept. Money can be an evil sometimes, in the sense that you lose sight of your goals because you’re being offered so much of it. All of a sudden years go by and all you’ve done is made money.
Be prepared for the big drop in pay because you are not gonna lands a 00 – 3500/day commercial gig in your first year much less your first three.