This week, we chat to ON Broadcast’s Head of Production, Jon Collins, about logistical planning and paperwork to kitting out a trendy London bar with hidden cameras.
What made you want to pursue a career within this industry?
Well, I’d love to say my passion for storytelling got me into it; but in reality I kind of fell into it, whilst trying to pursue a career in live-sound. Looking back now, it was one of the best accidents that could have happened.
How did you get into your role as Head of Production at ON Broadcast?
I spent 6 years working for a small corporate/events agency, which really gave me time to grow and learn my trade. I’m so thankful for that but there was only so far I could go with it. A friend of mine, told me about one of her mates who runs ON, Joe Dyble, and how they were looking to build up a Production department. As soon as I came to the office, I knew that this was what I wanted to be doing.
What is a typical day for you?
There’s an awful lot of logistical planning, crew sourcing, kit sourcing and necessary paperwork… Shoot days are the most enjoyable part of the job and I can be doing anything from heading out solo with a camera to shoot off voxpops to running large crews on major events both at home and abroad.
What do you enjoy most about the job?
The variety of different projects and people I get to work with. I’ve had the privilege of working with some really interesting people and for me, there’s nothing more thrilling than interviewing someone who can really passionately talk about a subject. Also, what we do at ON is a little different. The videos I work on don’t just get seen internally by clients, or in a conference hall somewhere; they also get seen on TV and across online and social media. Being able to quantify how successful something has been based on it’s pick-up, is really good for me.
ON Broadcast has produced some very well-known PR campaigns; which has been your favourite campaign that you’ve worked on?
Well a defining moment for me was when a campaign video we did for Cats Protection, started going viral. It amassed something like half a million views within a couple of days, got picked up by all the online news media, and was even featured on BBC Breakfast TV. That said, kitting out a trendy London bar with hidden cameras, filling it to the brim with people, and feeding Francis Boulle of Made in Chelsea some of the world’s worst chat-up lines, was pretty hilarious!
What are you working on at the moment?
At the moment, for the first time since joining ON 11 months ago, I’ve actually got a little bit of breathing space to catch-up with internal show reels which is obviously a very important tool for us. The peace doesn’t last though! Next week, I’m working across a corporate video news release and a shoot over in Ireland for Cats Protection.
Do you think attitudes have changed towards graduates and newcomers into the industry in recent years?
Yes definitely. The industry is awash with poor quality university courses being taught by inexperienced tutors. This is creating an influx of under experienced graduates. Competition is a good thing but I don’t think you can really measure an individual’s standard of work based on their ability to fund a 3 year university course. I’d encourage more people to just get stuck in at an early age, to go out and get as much experience on location as they can.
What key attributes do you look for in a freelancer?
Professionalism and keenness. The hardest part of my job is sourcing good freelancers and you’d be surprised at the basic lack of both of these skills. I think the ability to turn up to a job and stay till it’s done with a smile on your face is a really hard thing to do! That said, when I find people that do this, I hang on to them.
Is there anything you haven’t yet done in your career, which you would love to do?
I’d love to work with more people that have really inspired me, not just the clichés like David Attenborough and Brian Cox, but journalists like John Simpson, Louis Theroux, Seyi Rhodes and Aidan Hartley.
Jon Collins is Head of Production at ON Broadcast.