These are my notes. I gave this talk to a group of 15 teenagers who fancy their chances in TV or Film.
I’ll come back to this in time and make it more coherent prose.
1) Do it
2) Be Obsessive
3) Think like a producer/director/presenter
4) Get Trained
5) Gain Experience
6) Be Popular
7) Be Professional
8) Go there/be there
9) Be Inspired/Enthusiastic
10) Early Success
I then showed a short film ‘Listening In’ that I produced, directed and wrote that was bought by Channel 4 (shot on 16mm film).
I then spent 30 minutes offering the following detail:
1) Do it
If you want to be a Producer
Producer – Business End, raises the money – or has control over large sums of money. Or has major influence on the money being made available.
Primarily spend it, make a profit. Depending on the scale of the project will have a team of assistant producers, production assistants. Line producers and accountants …
Budget, Schedule, Script
Make a film, get a script (own, short story) … work out how much it’ll cost, organise it, shoot, edit, and show it.
Make a short ‘How to …. ‘ video
Put on a play, one act … manage a stand up comedian and take them to the Brighton Festival and Edinburgh Fringe
Manager a band.
Mother Teresa, on her death bed, asked if she would have liked to have done something else with her life, said she wanted to direct …
Put on a short play, make a short film or news story or documentary.
Do a photo story.
Read fiction, visualise stories, work out how you’d edit it for TV or film.
Analyse the kind of work that interests you.
How was it shown. Where did they put the camera.
Journalist. Investigate. Write to local press. Get letters published, get articles published. Get an education. Specialise. Give a talk.
Jenny and James Wilby.
Be brilliant at your favourite sport. It helps! Olympic swimmers, international footballers, cricket and tennis players end up presenting. Get on the inside track. Write from your perspective.
However, guy desperate t present, trained as a journalist, did a bit of breakfast TV … but despite his obsessive determination he had neither the voice, nor the face …
2) Be obsessive
Watch TV selectively (time sequences, scenes and shots)
Build a video collection
Read the media pages of the national press
Get Broadcast and Screen International
Bookmark web pages
Study every book on the subject.
Become confident without being cocky.
3) Think like:
Camera crews, sound vehicles, parking, insurance, day or half day, over nights. getting in back. £
Where will you put the camera. Live, then at least three camera angles and shot sizes. Single camera, fiction, what variety of shots to give it pace and interest.
Who will you interview What is your paper’s stance? What do you know already? Can you get a picture.
Similar questions, background, time (3 words per second hair, make-up … tone. Link from … hand over.
4) Get trained
National Film and Television School
Short course editing
Leading universities: drama, film & TV
Aim for UCLA …
Little things: typing, computer skills, basic editing on a digital suite … (log) energy (carrying kit, endurance in bad weather) making coffee/supplying sandwiches.
5) Gain experience:
Do it …
Film extra … wanted to be behind the camera, not in front of it
Help on a film school film
Shadow a journalist, producer or director
The knack of getting in:
Do your research, ring ‘Broadcast’ for UK TV, read ‘Screen International’ for film.
Ring them, go round
Ask for advice/help
Visit BBC, Pinewood and Shepperton.
Visit studios and edit suites
6) Be popular
Teams assemble, disassemble, then reassemble. Hire a lighting cameraman, they find an operator and assistant.
Get yourself known ‘who you know’ … ear to the ground.
Have a database of contacts.
7) Be professional
On time. Do your utmost. Build a reputation for excellence.
Register as freelance
Save to pay Tax
Be realistic …. not a hobby, but a business
On contract or freelance.
how make money …
Never claim you can do something that you cannot …
‘Career progression is incremental’
Runner to junior editor to senior editor to own business
Production Assistant to production manager to producer to senior producer
Director of short film, to more shorts, TV drama (or radio, or theatre) to series
Director of documentaries, to mini series
Director of low budget movie, to medium budget movie to ‘real’ movie.
Presenter on hospital radio, on local radio, on local TV …
Wildlife photographer is the director …
8) Go there/be there
… even Germany or France
Film makers are like a travelling circus …
Producers go to Cannes
9) Be inspired/enthusiastic
Originality, but also find inspiration in the things around you. Have a point of view.
Go to National Theatre and BAFTA
Hear the greats
Kodak Short Film, Cannes Short Film … even an Oscar for short film
Grants: Lewis, Southern, various …
10) Early success
Need it on your C.V.
Early success will give you confidence, something you will need lots of if you are going to survive, let alone succeed.
Youth is on your side
Like Pop Idol, everyone loves to see young people succeed, you will get the breaks …
‘Put all your eggs in one basket, then look after the basket’ Carnagie.