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  #1  
Old 09.03.2011, 21:00
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Being a Steadicam Operator in Switzerland

Hello,

I'm training to be a Steadicam operator, currently based in the US for now. However my real dream is to work in Switzerland, and I'm not sure how to go about it.

For those of you who are not sure what the business is, it is a SERVICE only, with no goods being imported, exported, or sold in any way.

Currently I believe there are 6 or 7 professional operators in the country to give an idea based on demand.

It would be a self owned, self operated business that would hire no more than one or two employees other than myself. Also I may have the option of becoming "employed" or "partnered" with an operator who is a Swiss and already works in Switzerland if that would be an easier approach.

Also here is some information that might also be helpful: I speak fluent German, but not Swiss German (though I'm willing to learn), I have held a B-permit through my parents, both who hold them currently, I have lived in Switzerland aprox 4 months every year for the past 15 years, and my parents own property in Switzerland. I also have many people, two in the actual industry I'm wishing to enter, and all who are Swiss citizens that could assist me if there's some sort of petition needed.

Additionally I have no criminal record, in the US or Switzerland, nor do I know of any other disqualifying factors that I might have.

I have several years to complete the process, but I'm looking for a sound way where I could live in Switzerland (in my parents property) and work with this freelance job without having to renew permits regularly.

Any help on this matter would be very much appreciated. I can provide more information as needed.

Thanks!

Last edited by Guest; 22.06.2020 at 06:08. Reason: Personal details removed
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  #2  
Old 09.03.2011, 21:10
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Re: Being a Steadicam Operator in Switzerland

Swiss embassy in the US should be your first call
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Old 09.03.2011, 21:12
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Re: Being a Steadicam Operator in Switzerland

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I have several years to complete the process, but I'm looking for a sound way where I could live in Switzerland (in my parents property) and work with this freelance job without having to renew permits regularly
Any romantic attachments to a Swiss ?
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Old 09.03.2011, 21:20
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Re: Being a Steadicam Operator in Switzerland

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Any romantic attachments to a Swiss ?

Not at the moment, though I haven't been looking. Would something like this assist on the process?

Just a note: obviously I wouldn't just hook up with a Swiss girl to for the job connection, but I figure that if I plan on living there I might as well meet somebody.

Also right now I don't feel that I'm in a poisition to fully describe my situation to the Swiss Embassy. If I was to send an email in which they didn't feel I was qualified to work in Switzerland at the time of sending, could this be held against me later in the process? If I have to, I'll wait before officially contacting anybody.

Thanks for all the advice!
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Old 09.03.2011, 21:27
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Re: Being a Steadicam Operator in Switzerland

I am a DOP, basically film business in CH is very low key with tiny budgets. There are very few good Steadicam Operators here, I know of 1 who I would call very good, I have used several others and was always terribly disappointed with the results. There are other places with more opportunities.

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Hello,

I'm training to be a Steadicam operator, currently based in the US for now. However my real dream is to work in Switzerland, and I'm not sure how to go about it.

For those of you who are not sure what the business is, it is a SERVICE only, with no goods being imported, exported, or sold in any way.

Currently I believe there are 6 or 7 professional operators in the country to give an idea based on demand.

It would be a self owned, self operated business that would hire no more than one or two employees other than myself. Also I may have the option of becoming "employed" or "partnered" with an operator who is a Swiss and already works in Switzerland if that would be an easier approach.

Also here is some information that might also be helpful: I speak fluent German, but not Swiss German (though I'm willing to learn), I have held a B-permit through my parents, both who hold them currently, I have lived in Switzerland aprox 4 months every year for the past 15 years, and my parents own property in Switzerland. I also have many people, two in the actual industry I'm wishing to enter, and all who are Swiss citizens that could assist me if there's some sort of petition needed.

Additionally I have no criminal record, in the US or Switzerland, nor do I know of any other disqualifying factors that I might have.

I have several years to complete the process, but I'm looking for a sound way where I could live in Switzerland (in my parents property) and work with this freelance job without having to renew permits regularly.

Any help on this matter would be very much appreciated. I can provide more information as needed.

Thanks,

Alex Kolb
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Old 09.03.2011, 21:37
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Re: Being a Steadicam Operator in Switzerland

Are you looking for a job, or do you have an offer already?

I found that creative-related production work is a tight market in Switzerland. They typically bring up someone from apprenticeship, and those who have gone through the ropes are not appreciative of those who come in and not go through the same apprenticeship. But nothing is impossible. Maybe your experience and/or talent might be valued differently.

Not to put you off on your ambition, but if you intend to come here without a job offer, you might want to be prepared for a tangent in your career plans. But again, it is not impossible.

Take a look at this company:
http://www.cinedit.com/site/training...roduction.html

Perhaps call them and ask them about the job market conditions for steadicam operators in Switzerland.
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Old 09.03.2011, 21:43
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Re: Being a Steadicam Operator in Switzerland

Thanks for the feedback. I'm glad to hear some from somebody in the field.

Would you say that there's only enough demand to keep a very few good operators, or is there demand enough for one more?

I'm working now in an area where I have enough business to work every day of the year if I wanted, but I've found that I'm not very happy working in the US, especially since the areas where there's a lot of business tend to be polluted and over-crowded (*coughCALIFORNIAcough*).

I'll keep looking for a niche in the US, but if at all possible I'd like to give working in Switzerland a shot. I also know of a well-respected operator in Switzerland who also does a lot of work abroad. I'd be open to doing half-and-half inbetween the US and Switzerland, but having Switzerland as a "home base" of sorts is a top priority in my life right now.

I'd really appreciate more information from you about the film/video industry in Switzerland. You can reach me at akakolbman(at)gmail(dot)com if you think there's anything else that might be good for me to know about the market.

Thanks again!
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Old 09.03.2011, 21:50
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Re: Being a Steadicam Operator in Switzerland

Just so you know, the economy here is quite different from L.A. I happen to have experience with production in the Biz, and know that the city thrives on production projects. It's not as ad hoc here.

I think you would need a permanent job here, or a large enough bank account to cover the down times. I know a lot of freelancers here who are currently struggling, and typically look elsewhere. If you have clients in the 'states, perhaps you can live here and still service them.
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Old 09.03.2011, 21:52
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Re: Being a Steadicam Operator in Switzerland

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Are you looking for a job, or do you have an offer already?

I found that creative-related production work is a tight market in Switzerland. They typically bring up someone from apprenticeship, and those who have gone through the ropes are not appreciative of those who come in and not go through the same apprenticeship. But nothing is impossible. Maybe your experience and/or talent might be valued differently.

Not to put you off on your ambition, but if you intend to come here without a job offer, you might want to be prepared for a tangent in your career plans. But again, it is not impossible.

Take a look at this company:
http://www.cinedit.com/site/training...roduction.html

Perhaps call them and ask them about the job market conditions for steadicam operators in Switzerland.

Thanks for the response. I'm not sure if a job like this is done through an apprenticeship, but I'll look into that. I've taken your advice and contacted this company too.

I don't have a job offer, and the problem with this sort of work is that it is more of a self-employed, freelance position. The chances of finding a long term job offer are very very slim, as I don't believe many companies hire permenant operators.

Thanks for your help!
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Old 09.03.2011, 21:57
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Re: Being a Steadicam Operator in Switzerland

Sorry PHOS, missed your second reply.

Do you know what kind of permits I would need if I was to live in Switzerland long term or at my leisure and work a few freelance jobs but also have clients elsewhere? Would having clients outside of the country satisfy them in that I would be able to have a continuous income without lrelying entirely on Switzerland?

Again I'm happy to do large ammounts of work outside of the country, as I understand several other respectable Swiss operators do, but I'd like to be in a position where I could do at least SOME freelance work in Switzerland (otherwise it'd be more like working somewhere else and holidaying here).
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  #11  
Old 09.03.2011, 22:00
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Re: Being a Steadicam Operator in Switzerland

B permits give you work rights here in CH.

http://www.bfm.admin.ch/content/bfm/...ufenthalt.html
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Old 09.03.2011, 22:02
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Re: Being a Steadicam Operator in Switzerland

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Sorry PHOS, missed your second reply.

Do you know what kind of permits I would need if I was to live in Switzerland long term or at my leisure and work a few freelance jobs but also have clients elsewhere? Would having clients outside of the country satisfy them in that I would be able to have a continuous income without lrelying entirely on Switzerland?

Again I'm happy to do large ammounts of work outside of the country, as I understand several other respectable Swiss operators do, but I'd like to be in a position where I could do at least SOME freelance work in Switzerland (otherwise it'd be more like working somewhere else and holidaying here).

Oooo... permits is a long story and there are hundreds of threads about it on this forum. I've never tried to apply for one, but one key point is that you will have to prove that you can sustain yourself here financially. Would you happen to have a couple of million $ in your account? Work permits are normally processed through sponsorship by the HR department of an employer.
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Old 09.03.2011, 22:04
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Re: Being a Steadicam Operator in Switzerland

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B permits give you work rights here in CH.
That's what I was originally looking at, but working at a job like this I don't think I'll have the 90,000 Fr anual income needed to get a B Permit. I'm also sure I read some inacurate information, but I've also heard you must be 55+ and retired.
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Old 09.03.2011, 22:07
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Re: Being a Steadicam Operator in Switzerland

The marriage ( not just a relationship ) route results in a quick B and to citizenship by way of naturalisation ( permits are no longer required ).
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Old 09.03.2011, 22:08
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Re: Being a Steadicam Operator in Switzerland

Hmm...well obviously I don't think I can get a B permit and work freely as I had hoped.

In a freelance environment, do you think a company would be willing to get a temporary permit for their employee if they were interested in hiring this person, or would the complexity of it grow so large that they'd just go with a Swiss operator and save the trouble?
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Old 09.03.2011, 22:09
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Re: Being a Steadicam Operator in Switzerland

I just reread your post and found

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I have several years to complete the process, but I'm looking for a sound way where I could live in Switzerland (in my parents property) and work with this freelance job without having to renew permits regularly.
Sounds like you have good reason to be here. Give it a try.
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Old 09.03.2011, 22:22
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Re: Being a Steadicam Operator in Switzerland

There is plenty of unpaid work, filled by kids with rich parents, they will also supply a badly equipped RED / 5D & steadicams!

I generally work 70 - 100 days a year, if it was all commercials that would be a good living! I generally get international jobs with reasonable budgets, I don't speak French / German well, so I can't get the low paid local TV work (200 day).

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Thanks for the feedback. I'm glad to hear some from somebody in the field.

Would you say that there's only enough demand to keep a very few good operators, or is there demand enough for one more?

I'm working now in an area where I have enough business to work every day of the year if I wanted, but I've found that I'm not very happy working in the US, especially since the areas where there's a lot of business tend to be polluted and over-crowded (*coughCALIFORNIAcough*).

I'll keep looking for a niche in the US, but if at all possible I'd like to give working in Switzerland a shot. I also know of a well-respected operator in Switzerland who also does a lot of work abroad. I'd be open to doing half-and-half inbetween the US and Switzerland, but having Switzerland as a "home base" of sorts is a top priority in my life right now.

I'd really appreciate more information from you about the film/video industry in Switzerland. You can reach me at akakolbman(at)gmail(dot)com if you think there's anything else that might be good for me to know about the market.

Thanks again!
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Old 09.03.2011, 22:26
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Re: Being a Steadicam Operator in Switzerland

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That's what I was originally looking at, but working at a job like this I don't think I'll have the 90,000 Fr anual income needed to get a B Permit. I'm also sure I read some inacurate information, but I've also heard you must be 55+ and retired.
'B' permits can be part of a Tax deal in many cantons, those ones are strictly non working, not what your looking for.
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Old 09.03.2011, 22:45
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Thanks for your information.

Could somebody direct me to what kind of "b-permit" I should actually be looking at then?

Again I'm still interested to know if there's enough demand within Switzerland to have the companies get me a work permit for every job (that is if I can't get a b permit).

When I first start out (IF I can start out), I plan on still living in the US for half the year, and living in Switzerland for the other half. Then maybe if I marry a Swiss girl someday I'll work in Switzerland full time.

For the moment though my goal is to be able to live and work in Switzerland for a decent percentage of the year, and to come, go, and work at my leisure.

So if anybody can give me information on how to go about that kind of working specifically, it'd be appreciated.

Also will not speaking Swiss German be a problem for getting a b permit?

Thanks!

Last edited by jrspet; 09.03.2011 at 23:45. Reason: Merging of successive posts
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Old 09.03.2011, 23:47
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Re: Being a Steadicam Operator in Switzerland

Browse through the Permits section, as well as read up these Stickies:

Non-EU Permits - a few bullet points.

EU Permits - A few bullet points

US passport = non-EU
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