Q&A with Drone Camera Operator, Will Davies

Word of Mouth with Drone Camera Operator, Will Davies

In this edition of Word of Mouth, we talk to Drone Camera Operator, Will Davies, on how the drone revolution is changing the way TV is made, and what the future holds for the technology.

How did you end up becoming a drone pilot?
Technology led me into it – having always been someone who dives into new technology at the earliest opportunity, when the aircraft started hitting the professional mainstream market, I put a toe in the water. A vast amount of flying experience later, and an even vaster amount of money spent on new aircraft to keep up with the demands of TV and film production, and here I am today – four pro-aircraft and about sixty batteries that need constant charging.

What are the main advantages of using a drone over more traditional aerial filming?
This is a great question, because for a while production crews were using drones in place of helicopters because of the cost savings. The beauty of using drones now is that everyone can afford to add that extra dimension to their production – independent companies have us available on tap, and by the day if necessary.

But by far the best thing about using an experienced drone pilot is that you can (for example), have the drone film a chase on foot through a multi-story car-park, through trees, or other awkward spaces – something a helicopter would never have been able to do – and also there’s no running out of tracks, no cranes, jibs, or dollys required. Just a huge amount of flexibility and quick-turnaround shoots.

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Q&A With Development Producer, Charlotte Davis

Q&A With Development Producer, Charlotte Davis

In this edition of Word of Mouth we talk to Development Producer, Charlotte Davis, about her career in TV, eating doughnuts with Chicago cops, and easing Jimmy Nesbitt into a wetsuit!

What made you want to pursue a career in production, and what was your first job in TV?
I graduated from Glasgow University with an MA in Film, TV and Theatre studies, but I never wanted to get into telly really. I wanted to be a football journalist, but after a few months doing just that at the Daily Record, I realised just how tough that was. I got very confused. I was RUBBISH!

So, instead, I lucked out. I got a place on the Carlton production training scheme, and spent a year making a magazine programme called Shift for the (now defunct) Night Network. Heady, awesome, brilliant times. Alex Menzies (now a commissioning editor at C4), Anne Mensah (Head of Drama, Sky) and Asif Kapadia (ruddy well Oscar winner), were all knocking around the Carlton CPU at the same time. None of them return my calls now though (ha ha ha!).

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Q&A with Series Producer, Silvia Sacco

Word of Mouth with Series Producer Silvia Sacco

In this edition of Word of Mouth we talk to Producer and Series Producer, Silvia Sacco, about her work on shows including Italy Unpacked, and the BAFTA-nominated Art Of… strand.

What is a typical working day for you as a series producer?
That depends which phase of the production we’re in. At the very beginning, reading a lot and meeting possible directors, and meeting with the commissioners to understand what they expect. In the middle, scripting with the directors, talking to possible contributors, working with the researchers, fixers etc. Then on location (I am on location most of the time) while filming, following by viewings in the edit and also fully editing at least one of the films in the series at the end.

You graduated with a master’s degree in Philosophy & Ethics. What made you want to pursue a career in filmmaking?
Good TV is the best tool to democratise culture! There is no point in studying a lot if you are going to spend the rest of your life keeping it to yourself or communicating it with only a few people from a similar background.

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Word of Mouth with CSC Media’s Scott Pickup

Word of Mouth with CSC Media's Scott Pickup

This week, we chat to CSC Media’s Creative On-Air Manager, Scott Pickup.

What made you want to pursue a career within this industry?
I’ve pretty much known what I wanted to do with my life since around 14 years old, which is handy! I have always loved watching films – going to the cinema and renting videos was always a regular thing growing up. My brother and I used to watch a film on the Friday night and then get up at 6am the next day to watch it again. It sounds crazy now but that passion for all things moving image is what drives me still today.

What would you say was your first big break into the industry?
I tried for an age to get funding for short films and so many different jobs in the media industry. The only stuff I could get was expenses only work on a few feature films, great experiences but in no way a career! One day, I’d just had enough of rejection and decided to make something myself. A script idea for a short came to me pretty much fully formed and I just paid for the production myself. When the next job came up I had something real to show and it helped me get the chance to be a Junior Creative at ITV. That broke me into this world and I’ve been slowly battling my way up through the industry ever since.

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Word of Mouth with The Big RD’s Ryan Dean

Word of Mouth with The Big RD's Ryan Dean

This week, we chat to The Big RD’s head, Ryan Dean, about switching careers to join the world of telly, running his own production company and balancing the creative side with the endless admin.

What made you want to pursue a career within this industry?
I always wanted to be a writer. I started my professional career as a journalist but got tired by the demand to constantly churn out news when sometimes there was none. I moved across into film production as it offered a great opportunity to continue being creative but without the daily grind of writing vapid news stories.

The Big RD was founded quite early on into your career, how did this come about?
I worked as part of the client facing team at my first production company. I was successful at winning contracts but felt sometimes that the production model that company was using was out of date. I felt there was an opportunity to setup a new type of company that could respond to the problems of the day in a more creative and cost effective manner. Within a year we had opened our studio in Shoreditch and a couple of years later we moved across to Covent Garden.

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Word of Mouth with Arise’s Neil Stainsby

Word of Mouth with Arise's Neil Stainsby

This week, we chat to Arise’s Global Executive Studio Director, Neil Stainsby, about dealing with deadlines in New York, setting up studios in Johannesburg and making time to see Norwich City play at home.

How did you get into your first role at the BBC?
After 4 years at art college, I gained a BTEC Diploma in Audio Visual Studies and an HND in Visual Communications. My first job was at a small production company in Norwich, where I worked as a Camera Operator/VT Editor. After a couple of years experience, I got my first break at the BBC as a Regional Station Assistant in Plymouth. A great job which gave me an excellent grounding in live TV news production. Two years later, I trained to become a Studio Director at the BBC in Manchester.

You’ve worked within television and media for over 25 years – what has been your greatest achievement in your career so far?
I’ve been lucky to work on a number of channel launches but the most satisfying for me personally were the launches of Wizja Sport and Arise News.

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Word of Mouth with ON Broadcast’s Jon Collins

Word of Mouth with ON Broadcast's Jon Collins

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.

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60 Seconds With The BBC’s Robert Price

60 Seconds With The BBC's Robert Price

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.

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60 Seconds With Keo Films’ Ciara Spankie

60 Seconds With Keo Films' Ciara Spankie

How long have you been a production coordinator at Keo Films?
I have worked at Keo for exactly 2 years.

Have you always wanted to pursue a career within the television industry?
I studied Marketing at university, however I always had an interest in media. My first job was a production secretary for a broadcaster in Glasgow and I’ve never looked back since. I love the film and TV industry!

What preparation did you do for your interview at Keo?
It’s always important to do your research – that meant reading up on what Keo’s flagship programmes were, and recent commissions. I spend a lot of my spare time watching documentaries, so I believe it helped I had a passion for this genre of film making Keo are known for.

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Q&A With Runner Of The Year, Jack Whitney

Q&A With Runner Of The Year, Jack Whitney

We talk to BroadcastTECH Runner of the Year winner, Jack Whitney, about his career so far and his aims for the future.

What made you want to pursue a career within post production?
I’ve always wanted to work in sound in some shape or form, and so I decided to move down to London 2 years ago to find a job that involved working in audio. I was really curious to see how the TV & film industry worked, so I applied and got a job as a runner at a post production facility and there I learnt about the many avenues of Post Production. But since being at 5A Studios, I have learnt about the ways in which audio is used in post production, and this has really made me want to pursue a career in audio post.

What do you think made you stand out to be nominated and win Broadcast Tech’s Runner of the Year Award?
I don’t know, maybe it’s because I’ve done quite a lot during the short time I’ve been working in the industry. I’ve been quite hungry for it, and have managed to juggle quite a few other roles whilst maintaining a good standard of running.

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