What was your first big break into the industry?
I regularly checked the websites of some of my favourite production companies a few months prior to graduating from university. When I saw Tiger Aspect advertising for a Drama Runner on PB, I knew I had to give it my best shot. One written application and two interviews later, and feeling I’d flunked it, I got a call whilst at my graduation ceremony to tell me I had got the job.
You’ve worked on a lot of great BBC dramas including Sherlock and Merlin – what do you enjoy most about working on location?
Often the production office works from a central location, and supports the production and crew from there. So I find it’s important to get out to location when I can, to speak to the crew to get all the information I need to do my job. It also brings a refreshing change from the four walls of the office, and it’s great to see everything you’re working for coming together.
After being a runner, you moved into becoming a Production Secretary. What were your responsibilities in that role?
The production secretary is the co-ordinators right-hand man. Some of my main duties involved arranging all cast travel and accommodation, script administration using Final Draft, finding a readthrough venue, as well as clearing the use of brands or props seen in shot.
You are currently working as an Assistant Co-ordinator for Waterloo Road, what do you enjoy most about this position?
I’m enjoying turning my hand to different responsibilities, such as completing the progress reports and drawing up crew contracts. The set-up here in Greenock where we shoot is great, as post-production and the script department are all in the same building, on the same floor, which makes it easy to communicate across all departments.
What has been your favourite project to date, and why?
Merlin Series 5 was one of my favourite projects to be involved with so far, and that’s probably because it was also one of the most personally demanding. I was responsible for moving a 150 person crew from the UK to France and back on two separate occasions, ensuring even the catering and facilities trucks all made it across the channel, and making sure everyone had a bed to sleep on at the other side. When everyone is working at such a level to tight deadlines, it brings a lot of people together, and I have some great memories and friends to show for it.
What are your favourite shows on TV at the moment?
I’m really enjoying Ripper Street – I think it’s really well shot, and I find the subject matter really interesting. I also try to catch Fresh Meat and Atlantis whenever I can. I’m a bit of a factual and entertainment fan too, I’ve just started watching the new series of 24 Hours in A+E.
How important do you think it is to build good contacts and relationships within the industry?
I realised after only a couple of jobs that the industry is a lot smaller than I ever thought. Although that can have its pitfalls, it can also get your name out there if you’ve done a good job for someone in the past. Keeping the freelance work rolling has been greatly helped by the relationships I’ve formed so far.
Ideally, where would you like to see yourself in 10 years?
I’m quite career-minded, so I’d like to be a production managing or maybe even line producing by then. But I’ve changed so much in the last 10 years; it’ll be interesting to see where the next 10 take me.