I worked my whole adult life in the film industry. Any and all film training and experience came from the people and production houses I worked with. I feel I worked with some of the best people in the business from across the United States.
I started working in the 'biz' at Wilding Studios, formerly Essanay Studios, during the summers while I went to college, NIU in DeKalb, IL. One of my first jobs was on a movie called 'Gaily, Gaily' which had a turn of the century setting. I worked in Craft Services and one of my jobs was to follow the horses around with a bucket and shovel! It could only get better!
I spent the next several years working on features and in the local production house working the technical end of the business-construction, electric, grip, rigging. I was leaning toward lighting. The turning point for me was working on a feature called 'Four Friends'. I worked six days a week; a minimum of 12 hrs a day for six months. That wasn't for me or my wife. I put together a lighting and grip van. I was fortunate to be hired by some of the top production houses in Chicago and pick up a lot of 2nd unit work on the features in town. I moved from a van to a stretch van, to a cube van, to a 5-ton lighting/grip truck. These are the good times I write about. Last big step in Chicago was putting the house up to start a sound stage that was open for ten years until 'Emminent Domain' by the city on the building's owner closed it down. My life was changing. I was disgusted with Chicago.
I ended up in Las Vegas, NV. I learned the video end of the business which quickly went digital ... what and eye opener! It was a whole new world that I never saw in Chicago. Las Vegas seemed to be the testing ground for LA and NYC with new technology. It was great for eight years. Then, Las Vegas collapsed as well as the whole US economy in 2007-2008. Time to look around.
I looked at NYC but it was down, too. Family issues were calling and it seemed right to move back to Chicago and help out. And, I walked right into the Chicago film industry mess.