Digifish News

How to get into the film production industry

Digifish News
How to get into the film production industry

The film production industry is becoming more and more popular, with an increasing number of jobs in editing and filmmaking. The demand for film is everywhere. It’s continuously on the rise, and it couldn’t be a better time to join the industry.

We caught up with Steve Lord, Freelance Lighting and Cameraman, Andy Little, Freelance Camera Operator, and Frances with a background both in Film and Marketing, to chat all things film production and how to get into the industry. 

1. Why did you want to work in the film industry?

Steve: From the age of just 8 years old, I had a genuine passion for filming and photography. After a short spell in the electronics industry, I decided it was the right time to fulfil my ambition.

Andy: The initial motivation to become a filmmaker was due to my love of music videos. When I was about 13 and my parents first got Sky I used to spend hours watching rock music videos MTV2. I bought a cheap camera and started emulating the stuff I'd seen on TV with my mates. Theres probably some pretty embarrassing videos from that time. I've come on a fair bit since then.

Frances: My interest in making short videos started when I was a child. I remember at the age of 12 making a marketing advert for sunglasses and also Heelys (the wheely shoes!) with the local neighbours’ children. My passion for marketing videos continued when I did my marketing degree at University and experimented with vlogging and filmmaking as part of my course. 

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2. What was your first job related to the film industry and how old were you?

Steve: I was 18 years old when I started filming weddings professionally. Simultaneously, I was freelancing for a video company filming university graduation ceremonies around the UK - incredibly tedious work but it gave me the opportunity to meet other camera operators and we had lots of fun socialising in the evenings.

Andy: I eventually picked up enough courage to approach a local band and ask if I could make a music video for them. They jumped at the idea and so I made my first music video for an actual band. I got an amazing buzz from this and my name was passed around a bit in my hometown of Wakefield. Before I knew it I was making videos for all the local bands. I knew from this stage that I'd discovered what I wanted to do for the rest of my life.

Eventually one of these indie bands got a big record deal and invited me to make a video for their debut single. I was invited down to the label headquarters in London and had a rooftop meeting with the artist and the label heads. It was a surreal experience at the time and was unbelievably exciting for an 18 year old who loved music. 

I went on to work with an amazing team on this music video including Producers and Cinematographers who had worked with people such as Kylie Minogue and on TV shows like Father Ted.

Frances: I was lucky enough to land a marketing job with Digifish as my first job at the age of 21! It couldn’t have been more perfect for me, as I absolutely loved going on location shoots with the team. Although my role was mainly social media and marketing at the time, I soon started creating my own behind the scenes video edits for Digifish to use on their social media. 

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3. What work experience was the most useful to you for achieving your current job role?

Steve: I didn't really do any work experience, so my wedding video business was my training ground. Many aspiring cinematographers entering the industry think wedding videos are below them, but I'd disagree. I learnt so many skills by filming weddings - filming on-the-fly; interacting with people; telling a story; and above all, getting it right first time as there are no re-takes! It really tests your self-discipline. I also found editing my own footage made me spot my own mistakes!

Andy: I went on to study a degree in Film production at York St John University and met some amazing filmmakers who I still work with today. It was here that I decided to specialise in camerawork. After leaving university I started assisting with various filmmakers and photographers, learning my craft and the skills of the trade. Eventually I bought myself a better camera and started freelancing using the contacts I had built up whilst assisting.

Frances: Assisting on shoots is the best work experience you can possibly have. With the Digifish crew, this has been so much fun and I’ve learnt so much from watching their outstanding filmmakers create beautiful cinematic footage. 

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4. What’s the best piece of advice you can give someone looking to work within the industry?

Steve: Specifically to getting into the camera department: you don't need any qualifications. Start as a runner (you'll probably have to make tea and coffee), then assisting camera operators on a freelance basis. If you demonstrate you have the right skills, together with boundless enthusiasm, the crew will recognise this and you will be remembered and hired again.

Andy: I'd say the best piece of advice I could give is that it isn't about who you know; it's about getting to know people. I didn't know a single person linked to the film industry when I started. Make an effort to go out and meet likeminded people.

Frances: You have to start somewhere, so just have a go at creating movies with a digital SLR. Whether it’s a friend’s wedding or a promo video for a local shop, take on as many projects as you can - it’s all about having a go!

If you want to take it to the next level, then invest in a gimbal - they’re incredible at making footage look cinematic and instantly more professional than shooting handheld! Get as much experience as you can with other filmmakers - understanding the whole process from filming to editing gives you a great start to a career in the film industry.

It was great to catch up with Steve, Andy and Frances. We are always looking to expand our network of freelancers and we are currently looking to net ourselves runners and assistants so send us an email to info@digifish.tv if you would like to work with us. We’d love to meet you!