• 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.

  • Getting in as a second right now - is it transferable experience or connections? Asking for an ex stage manager wife with 5 years SA work and the skill set

  • I'd never done exactly that role before and while I tried to read up a lot, my first day on set for at least a year was utterly heart in mouth. My first feature I genuinely nearly had a breakdown. Just so many people to deal with and zero support from anyone - it was an American crew as well shooting over here so it was tough to learn different practices/doc formats etc.

    I was the 2nd on a land rover #hibernot thing for HLA back in 2013. It was on location in deepest darkest Wales, pissing down in the middle of December and the director and 1st were having some troubles scheduling so everyone was in a shirty mood, not helped by being cold and wet and up since 4. We had two SAs sat dangling their legs over a little bridge over a stream waiting for direction. I wasn't on comms but could hear raised voices from director/1st 'debating'/arguing through the mist. I was with the SAs keeping them company. Director apparently wanted to roll for 60 seconds to see what they could get without telling them they were rolling. They shouted 'come back to us' but didn't tell me why. The couple asked what was going on and I (regretfully) joked 'dunno, I'll be back in a sec - i'll go find out - act natural!'. They laughed and it was fine but obviously they were mic'd up and the director and 1st were listening 100m away at video village. I heard the 1st bellow "CYOA, NO, FOR FUCKS SAKE" echo across the foggy hillside. That was a low point. Still learned more that week than any other. Brilliant, kind, inventive PM (Daniel) at HLA.

    If you'd 'managed' anything you'll be fine.

    Skills required:

    • can feign confidence and authority
    • can make a spreadsheet
    • use a radio
    • tell the time
    • remember names
    • wake up in the morning
  • Any OBS / Zoom wizards here available next Thurs afternoon for a stream? It's a fairly complicated set-up so please only get in touch if you're on top of things.

  • Hi folks - i'm looking to track down a copy of this documentary if at all possible:
    https://www2.bfi.org.uk/films-tv-people/­4ce2b7f14bbe4

    Anyone knowhow best to see if that's possible - some kind of archive request form, given it was done for the beeb?

    edit: found the 'programme explorer' BBC page, but no results for this one.

  • This may be an odd request...
    has anyone here worked regularly as an extra? I'm trying to work out if I have enough money to give up work but know I'd like to do something to earn that extra bit of cash for bike and non-bike related stuff...
    A guy I used to know was an extra on Four Weddings back in the day (he opened the church door in wedding 1) and I've always fancied giving it a go. Just looking for experiences good and bad, barriers and benefits.

  • My dad did in NZ, he was in Shortland Street, Sparticus, loads of TV ads etc... Good fun if you've got loads of time to burn. He was being paid but not much.

    I don't think you'll be buying many bike parts if you're in the UK though - I've dealt with talent pay a lot though not extras as they didn't fall under my remit but even paid actors with a decent amount of lines really aren't being paid very much in the drama's I've worked with.

  • One of my uncles did it regularly for many years and that was his sole income. He's I guess 50-60 now and was doing it from his late 20s for probably a good 10-15 years.

    By all accounts it was/is very hard work with a lot of grafting and schmoozing to get on sets, but it was a lifestyle he enjoyed at the time. He was in all sorts of films and had several roles where he was bumped up on the day to a more prominent position - Sliding Doors / Saving Private Ryan etc.

    I did a bit of it early in my career as well including, memorably, being bumped up on the day to 'person who grabs Ian McKellans arse'. I like to think he had a word with the director prior, 'do you think one of them should get a bit over familiar?' 'sure' 'that one, please'.

    He's always said the agency was crucial - think he was signed to Mad Dog but there are several out there. It's something you have to work at regularly to be the one they think of. Agencies often recommend the same faces again and again so my understanding is you either have more work than you know what to do with or no work at all. I used to do some work as a 2nd AD and, again, it was all the same faces on every shoot.

    My only thought is that so much background stuff is composite these days - crowds are all built in a computer, sets are built in a computer (or at least displayed through one and composited: https://madewithvero.co.uk) And with Covid I can't imagine there are huge numbers of productions with big gangs of extras like there used to be.

    There'll be some for sure (chatting the other day about a big historical thing shooting in Bristol) but it would be tougher than it was 10 years ago. I would weigh up carefully how much you'd need to earn. Rates also vary hugely depending on production. If you go full tilt and put the time in / look right on camera then you'll be on bigger productions with bigger budgets, higher rates, more days, more perks etc. But if you're applying via StarNow for a music video they'll think they're being generous for giving 50 quid, no travel expenses, for a 12 hour day standing in the rain without an EasyUp.

  • Friend who used to be on here (wife of forum bodkin) is currently one, working constantly. Pm me your email and I’ll forward it to her so she can give you her experiences.
    Obviously pandemic slowed down the work, but she was getting pretty regular work on big features, before then. Helped that she’d studied drama and kind of knew what was expected..

  • Anyone work at Cherryduck?

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Film/TV/Media Crew - Technical, employment opportunities and ranting

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