“…apply for absolutely every realistic entry level opportunity that there is out there, because you never know who you will meet and where it will lead to, even if it is as little as making the director a cup of coffee and sweeping the floor.”
Since leaving Uni I have spent time gaining short term experience at different companies around the UK. I worked with companies local to the uni such as Blueprint Films and Darren Scales’ Backyard Productions, both of which were brilliant opportunities and helped me to learn a great deal about the industry.
I am still working from time to time on a feature film project that has had teaser footage shown at Cannes with Blue Print who are a great crew. These are both projects I worked on whilst in my final year of study and though it is hard to balance projects with study that you aren’t getting much from at the time, in terms of money. I strongly advise anyone in the position to do so to go ahead with it because the contacts you gain and the experience you have while doing the work are absolutely priceless.
When I was at Uni I also took part in other projects that I applied for on a whim after opportunities arose through blackboard or through emails sent out by Sarah Barrow. These include the Visit Lincolnshire campaign which was screened at the Lincolnshire show ground, and a paid freelance opportunity with a construction company, screened at the Gardeners World Live 2012 event at the companies stall.
Since leaving Uni work has been hard to come across which led me having to sign on before gaining a part time job to help me secure finances for equipment and software. However whilst doing this I have used my spare time efficiently gaining an opportunity from a producer who I had never met on Twitter, through the Unit List feed to be a focus puller/ camera assistant with a production company made up of ITN employees entering a film into the 2012 London 48 hour film festival which eventually went on to win the best script award. This was a great, fast paced environment to be in with a strong crew, including the screen writer of Sherlock Holmes and a DOP who had worked on Banged Up Abroad and had a top ten at the box office (The Imposter).
My advice is to apply for absolutely every realistic entry level opportunity that there is out there, because you never know who you will meet and where it will lead to, even if it is as little as making the director a cup of coffee and sweeping the floor. Experience is a valuable thing to have on your CV and that is what most employers will be looking most closely at when considering you for a job. Also don’t get disheartened if you apply for a job and you don’t make the interviews; this is such a competitive industry and if you get invited to one in ten of the jobs you’ve applied for you’re doing very well in my eyes. Best wishes, Michael Hankinson.