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20 Under 30: Jed Shoemaker

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Meet Jed Shoemaker, a 24 year old from Florida. He's a film grip trying to make his way up the Hollywood food chain. He documents his experiences on his blog, Jedediah's Film Rant, featuring tales that are all too familiar to seasoned production types. Jed's intense energy, stamina, and dedication to his profession impressed LAist and reminded us of what so many newcomers go through in the Industry when they are just starting out.

How long have you lived in Los Angeles, and which neighborhood do
you live in?

Nine months, Studio City

Why do you live in Los Angeles?
I have wanted to work in film and video games since childhood. There is no one place better suited to learning about both and to beginning a career.

Why do you work as a film grip?

When I was in college, I volunteered on countless student films as either a grip or an actor, as film school students took all of the above-the-line positions. Most people entering this industry for the first time take the PA route, making coffee for below subsistence wages until they get a hand up the ladder. Coming out here without any connections, I had to make the most of my existing skills. As a grip, I get a chance to learn about production in a very hands on manner. A PA standing around video village watching is just asking to be put to work on some other menial task. Grips, on the other hand, work very hard lighting the shot and then often enough get to pause and observe as the above the line shoot. I look at my work as an opportunity to learn, develop problem-solving skills, and work out, all on the clock. Did I mention the pay is enough to avoid the ramen noodle dependency that goes along with one’s post college days?

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Due to the work’s freelance nature, I am also provided protracted periods of time off in which I can write. The goal is to have enough saved in the bank (financially and idea-wise) to begin developing video games later down the line.