I was slightly late. On my first ever paid gig I was slightly late. The first Assistant Director (who also happens to be my mentor) called me to ask where I was. I arrived a couple of minutes before 8:30am when I was meant to be on set by 8:15am. I was upset at the fact I had just broken rule 1 of ‘never be late’ and slightly nervous as I hadn’t met any of the crew before apart from Jonathan Sidwell (my industry mentor) and slightly out of breath as I had basically just ran from Baker Street tube station to Marylebone. But the crew could not have been nicer. Nobody said anything about my lateness and Jonathan immediately introduced me to everyone there and got me straight to work. Making coffee.
This is what I had expected the day to be. Running around fetching this, that and the other, maybe looking after a few divas, picking out all the green M&M’s. But apart from the first few jobs of make coffee, help this guy, help that guy, go find somewhere to get lunch from (where I had to ring my dad to Google maps of the area), I was stood around watching and learning most of the day. Which was amazing. I feel like I helped quite a bit and got to do an important job of audio playback and clapperboard. I also got to sit behind the director and watch his every move. I also feel like I impressed the crew quite a bit, I asked when I didn’t understand something. Then when I got asked to go on the set as a stand in, I asked if I should take my shoes off and when the artist was in full motion dancing I was the one to notice she had just ripped a £100 shirt. For which I got called ‘the Hawkeye runner’. The shoot was for an All Saints commercial/ a promo for the artist Conway.
Or at least that’s what the call sheet/ what I gathered from what people were saying on set. The artist was actually a quite nice, Conway, an American singer and she was promoting the song ‘Attack’ (which I heard so many times that day!) and in the actual shoot she gave it her all and danced her heart out. She must have been knackered.
There were representatives of All Saints on set ranging from the guy who kept telling us to make her wear shoes (who I am guessing was the marketing manager) to general mangers from stores in London. I managed to make friends with one of them and she offered me her discount in store. Win!
It turns out being a runner is not too stressful as in the end I was just handing things out, tiding up, making friends with the crew, watching what they did, learning and generally having a good time. There was another runner on set who I got to talk to quite a bit, turns out he has never studied film or TV in his life which was very interesting to hear. I asked him advice on what it was like to be a runner and what was the best thing to do on set and so on. His main point was every shoot is different and there is no one thing you can say or do on one shoot that would be the same on the next. So to anyone reading this who doesn’t like the thought of any two days being the same; you’re in the right business.
I was so lucky to get this work experience and I am so grateful to get this opportunity. This shows applying to anything, can hopefully get you somewhere. I applied to the LSFM mentor scheme and have so far got 2 paid gigs out of it. The main tip I would say that I picked up from this experience is don’t be late and if you don’t know anything, ask. It shows that you’re not scared to ask questions and your confident enough to speak out. No one got angry with me once I asked again what my job was within the audio playback. I had already got told but for some reason when I got handed the iPad I completely forgot what I had to do. So I asked and I did my job perfectly, which was noted by my mentor the 1st AD.
Even though I got paid for the day, it still felt like people were teaching me things, which I was so grateful for. Jonathan took me around the studio when he had a minute and explained basically everything to me. The Producer let me sit and watch the action unfold in front of me (while sending the other runner out for sweets), and the All Saints staff could not have been nicer when they were talking to me about life, work and Uni. This day was definitely an experience and a huge learning curve for me.
The main tip I can offer for when you are within a runner job there is a dip in the afternoon where everyone gets a bit tired, so if you can go and make tea and lots of it you will become everyone’s best friend, and that’s a nice thing to be. I had such a good day and can only say I want to have more of these experiences. I am looking forward to more within the future and hopefully I will get some more opportunities like this …