In our latest Word of Mouth, we catch up with Series Producer and Edit Producer, Julian Dismore, on his career to date, including falling off a volcano, being biten by snakes, and going undercover.
How did you get your big break, and what was your first job in TV?
After graduating from Uni, I went into the careers office and naively asked where the ‘TV jobs file’ was. Once the career officer had stopped laughing, she told me that Yorkshire TV had called that very morning looking for a Researcher for the ITV Science Department.
I applied for the job and was invited for interview, but noted the address down wrong! Consequently, I turned up late and thinking I’d blown it I joked my way through the entire interview. The interviewer found me funny and pretty much on the spot he offered me the job in front of the other 84 candidates for the post!
In this edition of Word of Mouth we talk to Director and Producer/Director, David Whitney, about his career to date – working around the world on TV, film and branded content projects.
How did you get your big break, and what was your first job?
My first job in the industry was working as an Assistant Grip on a low budget feature film in the late 90s. I was still a teenager and it was all very new to me, in fact I thought it was crazy – lots of grown ups shouting at each other, people crying on set, tantrums, numerous affairs… but it was great fun and didn’t put me off.
I knew I didn’t want to work on the technical side of things, so I took a job working as a Production Assistant at a well-known film company. One thing led to another and in my early twenties I got the opportunity to direct some corporate jobs, then TV commercials.
In 2005 I directed a short film, which led to my nomination for BBC New Filmmaker of the year, and from that I began directing TV drama, as well as more ads and branded content. After festival success for my short film, George’s Day (starring actor Michael Byrne), I raised the finance for my debut feature, which was released around the world and picked up by Netflix. This has led to countless other opportunities shooting all over the world. It’s been a fascinating ride!
Word of mouth is a term that is fundamental to the hiring culture of the production industry, which only succeeds in elevating the importance of one’s reputation. You may come highly recommended, but without having the reputation to match, your recommendations are practically worthless.
“Congratulations to the winners and runners-up of the first Freelancer of the Year Awards, but will they get more contracts now as a result of their well-deserved awards?… If the winners’ peers and employers have voted for them, they must have something good. Frankly, as far as getting that next production job goes, it’s not just how good you are at your work that really matters, but how good other people think you are… There is a small group of freelance programme-makers whom all the companies compete for all of the time. They are the must-have hires that commissioning editors insist on, and indies work hard at building up a close relationship with them. These freelancers need never be unemployed if they don’t want to be, they are the height of fashion.”
Congratulations to the winners and runners-up of the first Freelancer of the Year Awards, but will they get more contracts now as a result of their well-deserved awards? I think so, and here is why. Only five days after the awards ceremony Sandy, Wayne and Ash will have had more potential employers than before looking at their CVs. If the winners’ peers and employers have voted for them, they must have something good. Frankly, as far as getting that next production job goes, it’s not just how good you are at your work that really matters, but how good other people think you are.