We return to The Hospital Club later this week for the latest in our long-running series of TV Networking events, featuring top programme-makers from across the industry. Along with Label 1’s Simon Dickson, we’ll be joined this time around by legendary comedy producer, Lisa Clark, who along with Vic Reeves and Bob Mortimer, co-founded award-winning company Pett Productions.
Lisa has been producing entertainment and comedy shows for over 25 years – from the iconic The Big Breakfast in 1992 and the multi-award-winning live Saturday night show Don’t Forget Your Toothbrush, to the ground-breaking panel show Shooting Stars in the early 00s and, most recently the critically acclaimed sitcom Vic & Bob’s House Of Fools.
We are fast approaching our next TV Networking event, taking place on Thursday 8th February at Covent Garden’s Hospital Club. For the February Edition we’re delighted to be hosting Label 1 Co-Founder and Creative Director, Simon Dickson.
Widely regarded as one of the industry’s most prominent and captivating creative thinkers, Dickinson has a reputation for approaching mainstream factual subjects from a unique perspective.
BAFTA-nominated for Discovery/Channel 4’s The Plane Crash, his credits include titles such as Bear Grylls’ Wild Weekends, along with multi-camera ‘rig’ shows One Born Every Minute and The Hotel, both of which he commissioned when he was head documentaries at Channel 4.
As spring term approaches, you are probably getting ready to kick-start your career. Here’s some advice that might help you make your way out there in the “real world”.
As people more experienced than you have already told you, getting your first job can be very hard, and starting to progress further in the industry can be even harder. Film and television are networking-based industries and as, presumably, you don’t have many connections yet, prepare for a slow and often tedious start.
Most industry professionals will advise you to find some work experience as quickly as possible, in order to start creating your network and putting some credits on your CV. Many say that it should not matter if your first experience is an entry level role at minimum wage. However, having your mind set on what you aspire to and what specific path you want to follow should help you select only the opportunities that are right for you.
Be on time
Always plan to be on set 15 minutes before you are actually supposed to be there, so that, worst case scenario, you will end up being delayed by something unexpected but still be on time to start working. Remember that by being late, you slow down the whole production process, and especially for small productions, seizing every hour of shooting is crucial.
Bring your own tools
A lot of inexperienced ACs spend their whole first job asking other assistants to borrow gear and tools. While obviously it will take you a few years of practice (and savings) to put together a complete toolset, starting with bringing the basics with you will make you look reliable and committed. These basics may include screwdrivers, pliers, scissors, wrenches, hex keys, markers, measuring tape, a flashlight, along with all the gear to keep cameras and lenses clean.
Always take care of the equipment on set
Whether it’s about lowering the camera on the tripod while it’s not being used, or covering the gear from the rain as the sky gets cloudy, doing everything in your power to make sure all of the equipment gets to the end of the day in perfect condition is your main responsibility. By doing so, not only will you help the production save money by avoiding expensive repairs, but you also show your professionalism and trustworthiness.
Always carefully select the festivals
Applying to festivals is time-consuming and expensive. They all have different requirements in terms of paperwork, cover letters, synopses… but most of all, every festival programmer has different tastes and ideas about which films to screen.
It is therefore in your own interests to do some research and make sure you’re picking the right ones for your film. When you contact the festival to send them your work, always try to include the particular reason why you want it screen at that particular event. At the end of the day, programmers are trying to give your film good exposure through their own audience, so obviously the two have to match.
Complete all the details
Application forms are often long and detailed, but it is massively important to fill them in properly. Even if they ask about some technical details you’re not entirely sure of, it’s worth it to check online what they are asking for. You don’t want to be remembered as the filmmaker that wasted their staff’s time as they had to email you back asking for missing details.
With distribution in film theatres often infeasible for independent features and DVD sales plummeting, all in combination with a general oversupply of content, the thought of a deal with Netflix seems like the Holy Grail of distribution.
Aside from the money (although in fact, the streaming service does not usually pay more than four figure sums in licensing fees) the really alluring prospect is getting your film delivered to more than 100 million potential viewers worldwide. Obviously, though, it is not easy to obtain such a deal. Netflix usually request films they’re interested in, but if your film has not been screened at major festivals or if it didn’t go viral, you will be better off going through a distributor or aggregator.
The first step is getting your film into the Netflix Database, which is basically a list of potential additions to the Netflix library. In order to do that, you have to either get a distributor on board with your project who can leverage connections within the company, or go through an aggregator.
A good option for independent filmmakers with few connections or who don’t want to share their revenue with third parties, is indie distribution company Distribber. It is owned by IndieGoGo and deals with distribution on Netflix and other major streaming platforms in exchange for a single fee (up to $1600), and you get to keep all of the revenues.
The production office, taking care of all the administrative side of films and TV production, is run by the Production Co-Ordinator, who acts as a reference point for the rest the crew before and during production.
What is the Job?
Immediately after the beginning of pre-production, the Production Co-Ordinator sets up the production office, taking care of providing equipment and supplies, as well as hiring staff. Then they proceed to organise travel, accommodation, paperwork (work permits and visa), crew and cast lists, and script editing and revision.
During shooting, they deal with day to day updates such as crew and cast list changes, call sheets, script edits and so on. They check the transport requirements for the day and make sure everything is delivered on set on time.
Being a Production Assistant is often the first step you take in the film industry. It can take you far, but it can also be hard. Here’s what you should avoid at all costs:
1. Showing up late
PAs are supposed to be the first ones on set, ready to get help (or breakfast) for whoever is in need. Moreover, this is your chance to show that you are a hard worker and slowing down the whole working day because you slept through your alarm is a really bad first impression. However, accidents can happen and if you have a good reason for being late and cannot possibly avoid it, then call and let them know.
2. Disappearing on set
Whether you need a smoke break or a quick run to the loo, the ADs and the rest of the crew is counting on your presence and help on set, so if you need to leave for a couple of minutes it is absolutely necessary to communicate it. Just make sure it’s not a time where you are needed and say you are going on a quick break on the walkie. Carry the walkie with you at all times and always let others know you got their message.
The Music Editor curates all of the music featured in a production, including the soundtrack, any music performed within the scenes, and the score – produced by the film Composer.
What is the Job?
The Music Editor’s job usually begins during the picture editing process. Working closely with the Picture Editor, they develop a temporary score, made up of sourced music, which gives both the Editor and the Composer a broad template and a basic idea of what the final result will be.
They then attend a Spotting Session with the Director, Picture Editor, Music Supervisor, Producer and Composer. The purpose of this Session is to identify all the music cue points and produce a written template to start composing the score, and possibly a Cue Breakdown.
Music Editors have to keep the Composer updated on any changes in the picture editing, as they may influence the composition itself. They are responsible for designing a click track for the film, to be used during the recordings to help musicians keep the right tempo and be perfectly in sync with the picture. They attend all of the recording sessions to make any last-minute changes and to supervise the final result.
As they make significant moves into the content industry, tech giant Apple has already started hiring top executives from major firms in the business.
Apple had made their plans clear over the summer, when they launched their first two shows: Planet of the Apps and Carpool Karaoke. The company was looking to expand into the fast-growing market of video content, and they planned to do so by introducing video broadcasting on Apple Music, eventually aiming at becoming a competitor to Netflix, Amazon Video and Hulu.
Determined to make a splash on the original content stage, they closed a deal last month to produce the legendary director Steven Spielberg’s Amazing Stories. Originally aired in 1985, the series won five Emmys before being cancelled, but now a big comeback is imminent as the Cupertino company has invested as much as $1 billion for a new 10-episode season.