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.