Kind of. Moved from current affairs and docs to features and commercials about 10 years ago. It’s not a big leap in technical production terms from there to high end episodic. But it’s very much a relationship game. I see and often have to book a lot of departments that are very insular in who they work with. But in my experience it’s a ‘once you’re in’, situation as long as you can maintain the interpersonal side of things. Is there a role/department you work in / particularly want to work in?
Production design / art department interests me - done a few basic studio shoots whilst Poldark sets are being built in the studio next door and it fascinates me. And the commercial side of things seems to offer a bit more variety. Did you jump into features and commercials on the production side or the editorial?
After I stopped doing newsy stuff I did some less reputable political stuff in other countries for a while and saved enough to basically not worrying about working for a year or two. I knew I wanted to work in music videos and then commercials and then features, so I applied as a 2nd AD to various PM-y people at companies like Partizan / Rogue etc. I had a few 2nd gigs and then some as a 1st, then back to being a 2nd on some big commercials for Land Rover/Absolut etc, did some creative stuff writing with a director I knew for IKEA on the side, then did a couple of low/mid budget features as a 2nd and 1st and realised I didn't want to do that anymore so I started producing. I now produce and sometimes direct mid budget commercials, lots of fast turnaround social stuff and mid-high end (but not very very very high end) corporate stuff.
If you know any set or production designers, be their friends. If you don't and you happen to know the sets next door / speak to anyone who comes out for a cigarette or something, then speak to them. From the art departments I've booked, they're all very 'DIY' and thinking about different ways to solve problems on screen. They're invariably hoarders with stashes of 'stuff' that they might find useful to get a certain look. They'll work very closely with gaffers and DOPs - some have very close working relationships with the latter and often recommend each other. If you know any DOPs they could make introductions. Depends what stage you're at in your career I guess and whether you're looking to get in on the bottom rung or somewhere higher.
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