Tea and Biscuits with… Nicola Daley

I started freelancing as a cinematographer at the end of 2011. Initially I started by looking for a means to get work and was open to advice for how I should get started.

I was referred by a teacher of mine, director Dean Francis, from the International Film School Sydney to get in touch with Cinematographer Nicola Daley.

“Nicola Daley is an award winning Cinematographer with a strong passion for creative and bold storytelling. Nicola received the outstanding cinematography award at the 2011 and 2010 World of Women Film Festival and the 2008 Fuji Film Flickerfest Award for Best Cinematography. Nicola graduated from the Australian Film, TV and Radio School (AFTRS) with a Masters of Arts in Cinematography.” – sourced from International Casting Service and Associates.
Nicola recently filmed the acclaimed film ‘Black and White and Sex‘.

So in March I sat down in a tiny corner cafe in Surry Hills to tea and biscuits with Nicola Daley. Nicola and I enjoyed a long chat where she gave me some pretty good advice which I thought I would share with you.

Firstly, surround myself with opportunities. Connect with groups and organisations where I can meet people in the industry. You never know, one day one of those meetings may result in a job. Here are a few examples.
Australian Cinematographers Society
Australian Directors guild

As a female cinematographer she encouraged me to look into groups which support women.
WIFT – Women in Film & Television
World of Women Film Festival

Nicola also recommended some good agencies.
Some people don’t like to have an agent and quite often after a while in the industry they get enough word of mouth work. For others it is a good way to start out.
Many of you will have heard of these, but for those that don’t they are extremely good options if you are looking to have a booking agent.
Top Technicians
Calling All Crew

As a freelancer she also explained that it was important that I figure out how much i’m ‘worth’. Create my own terms and conditions for how I work, as well as a day/hourly rate. So when someone contacts me I have a set way of dealing with a client so that I know I have all the information I need and their are no grey zones.
It is also important to know how much to charge. It has to be reasonable for my level of experience but also not too low that I am selling myself short.

A good point Nicola made was to make a decision on whether I wanted to be a Cinematographer that only looked for cinematography work, or, one that also offers myself to working as a video split, data wrangler, camera assist to get myself more experience on professional sets.

I found this good advice because at the time I was only doing cinematography work. I was doing a fair bit, but they were mostly low budget, free work jobs. The idea behind working on larger productions is work hard, get noticed and work your way up.
I have since found this an incredibly useful thing and have now worked on a number of larger sets in smaller roles. The skills I have learned from working alongside professional DOPs has been amazing.

I recently worked on a project with Nicola. She found me a position as data wrangler, 2nd AC and video split for ‘Humongous Fungus‘.
Since meeting with Nicola I have taken most of her advice and am now a very busy DOP 🙂

Nicola Daley Showreel


Nicola Daley’s website – http://www.nicoladaley.com/
Nicola Daley IMDB – http://www.imdb.com/name/nm1842630/

If you liked this post and would like to see more like it, please follow/like my Facebook Fan page. I keep it up to date with all the projects I am working on and promote opportunities for others when I hear of them. Here is the link to the page: Ehran Edwards Facebook Page.


3 thoughts on “Tea and Biscuits with… Nicola Daley

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