When I hit my mid teens, it became a game of making friends with the guys who did have the cameras and hoping I could borrow them, or at least get involve in what they were doing. Which of course led me to starring in some questionable no budget Slasher Movies.
Things weren't so bad when I started college and realised with a bit of 'creative' convincing the guys in stores would lend me the S-VHS TV cameras they had in stock, which led to my first proper film that since exists only as a rapidly deteriorating video tape.
It became apparent to me though that if I wanted to get good at this I needed to practice, practice 'a lot'. I needed my own camera to make that possible.
At 20 years old, I made a deal with my Grandparents, They would give me half the money toward a Camera, should I earn the other half on my own, I had a Job and the college would also drop me a living allowance every 3 months (which was not a lot by any stretch) but I summised that If I didn't eat lunch, or go for a beer or have a night out or buy anything for 3 months I would have just enough for half the camera which back then cost about £350 for the cheapest digital camera available.
But I fucking did it and became the proudest owner ever of a Samsung VPD10....
This camera was my fucking training wheels, I made so much awful shit on this, that its unreal. But eventually in 2004 I made my first attempt at a proper sort film with a little Japanese inspired story called Destination and put it on the internet (Which was still kind of like an overlooked medium for film watching back then) and because of that it garnered quite a nice little audience and became somewhat a success. I should state now that it was awful, but perspective is everything :)
Me and Samsung did everything together from then on, I even realised that it was out performing the cameras we had at the University which I now attended and so I used it non stop for everything from 2004 - 2007 we made some god awful short horror comedies and put the better ones online, in the end I think during that time this little camera shot about 25 short films, as well as some other terrible stuff. If you jump over to my youtube channel HERE and scroll way back you can see some of it :)
It was still going strong when I upgraded to my 3rd Camera in 2010... Unlike my piece of shit Panasonic that died after hardly ever being used and never shot anything but behind the scenes stuff.
"Wheres the cautionary tale" I hear you ask, well, sadly I did let someone borrow my first camera and she was never returned :(