Excellent feedback, a ‘classic fit’ – so why didn’t I get the job?

The day after my induction to become a Creative Skillset trainee, I had my first film interview. I’d had the call on Friday to invite me for an interview on the Monday.

Top tip! When you’re sent a PDF document with directions to find the production office, believe them when they say it’s tricky to find.
Thankfully they’d also provided me with a picture of a wooden door which made the search easier. I saw people climbing in and out of a small section of the large door, it was very Harry Potter-esque. I asked a tall man about to bend down to climb in if the film company was based here, to which he replied ‘yes, you’ve found it’ and we both continued to climb into the mysterious opening.

Inside it was a Tardis, a huge stone building with different film names written on arrows pointing off in different directions. After signing in with a man who sat alone in the very large foyer with a book and pen, I followed the arrows to the production office.

I was in awe of what I saw when I walked in. From the dark stone corridors I walked into a bright, large windows, high ceiling production office which was bustling with organised chaos. When I looked in front of me I saw one of my favourite actors, soon to be director, discussing music for the film. I felt so lucky to be there and was captivated by the creative discussion.

Then came the interview, I was taken to another room and we had a discussion. I expressed my love of the company, we spoke about the production in depth, we discussed living locations. The conversation came naturally and I mentioned all the points I wanted to mention. For an outsider looking in you’d think it was going very well and I left feeling positive.

Then the lesson came. After an agonising wait of not hearing anything, I got in contact. On this occasion, despite the positivity and good feedback from the company, I wasn’t successful. In fact they decided not to take on any production trainees. With film, there are so many components in place, so many variables, discussions and politics that you can’t take anything for granted. I was gutted and confused but that feeling will be something I’ll have to get used to.

Instead what I can take away from this is that I met and spoke with industry professionals from my department. The interview experience alone was not only thrilling but great practise. I had great feedback and hopefully that will count for something as I progress with my career. If my CV falls in front of the production secretary or manager again, maybe things will work out differently.
Photo by me.


Their Finest

My latest cinema trip was to see ‘Their Finest‘. Gemma Arterton is such a pleasure to watch, what better life lesson is there than when your life is crashing around you, just to sink yourself into what you’re passionate about. Bill Nighy plays the ‘I’m in love with myself’ character so well now, he’s accepted the role is for him and it’s effortless, so many laugh out loud moments which bring light relief to the harrowing setting of World War II London.

Leaving a 9-5 to work in film.

In April 2017 I left a 9-5 to pursue a career in film. I didn’t however wake up one morning and decide I hated my job and wanted to pack it all in and try something new. I’ve always wanted to work in film, I can’t see myself being as career-fulfilled doing anything else.
I won’t do a generic about me post but to summarise, I’m a graduate from Liverpool John Moores University with a Media Production BA (Hons) degree and a modest amount of professional industry experience.

Unfortunately in a lot of creative industries it’s near impossible for people who don’t have financial support to pursue such careers. Last year I had just about run out of money, I’d spent most of it on false promises of work, going to meet industry professionals in London for coffee, supporting myself when I worked for free and when I wasn’t working at all (not out of choice!) The pot was running dry and there was the huge elephant in the room – I didn’t have a car or a license.

For those that work in film you’ll understand the importance of having a license, especially when you’re starting out and will most likely work as a runner. Paying £25 for a 1 hour lesson was such a painful thought, but if I was to stand a chance I needed to get my license. In the Creative Skillset Film Trainee application it asks, in a very prominent section, – ‘Do you have a license? Yes – No’. So I started applying for local full time positions. I bagged myself a 9-5 and saw my sad looking bank account start to look less depressing. I started taking driving lessons. I took my test! I failed. I took it again! I also failed. I took it THREE more times! and I passed. Do not underestimate how nerve wracking driving tests can be for some people, I will never be someone who gets annoyed at learner drivers now.

So January 2017 I finally had my license and my tiny but reliable car. It’s a 2013 Suzuki Alto which is like a really naff version of a Suzuki Swift. It costs £30 to fill it up and I pay no road tax so it’s perfect for me. I could now tick that prominent ‘Yes’ box in the Skillset application and I applied to be a production office trainee with the Creative Skillset Film Trainee scheme. After the most intense interview of my life, I had the phone call to tell me they wanted to take me on. My mood went from 0 – 100 so fast I felt like I was going to pass out, I called everyone, for some reason I played ‘Let’s Go To The Movies’ from the 1982 Annie film and that became the song for that week. I literally felt like Annie and that phone call was Mr Warbucks getting me out of my hard knock life.

By this time I’d saved up enough to justify leaving the 9-5 and I had the support of the fantastic people who work at Skillset to help me find work. So I handed in my notice, said goodbye to financial security and plunged myself into the freelance life.