One of the areas in which we have a close on-going relationship is within special effects. We have had several apprentices on a year-long placement with Real SFX over the years beginning with Dewi Foulkes more than ten years ago, and our most recent apprentice to work with the company, was Charlie Dodd (see picture above, Dewi to the left and Charlie to the right).

The majority of our special effects apprentices continue to work within the field, many of them being offered permanent roles with Real SFX after their apprenticeship. Our Real  SFX apprentices include David (Dai) Kneath, Santino Petrosillo, Stephen  Waldron, Daniel  Snelling, Jess David, Alex Bateman, Will Hougham,  and, of course, Dewi and Charlie.

We spoke to Charlie recently, at the end of his apprenticeship, to ask him what was next. Here is what he had to say:


“I finished my apprenticeship on the 21st of Jan and loved my apprenticeship year with REAL SFX, I’ve been given a position in the business continuing as a junior technician SFX artist and am very pleased.

Going forward, my role is to maintain, fix and create equipment and help design and make rigs. I’m involved in almost all aspects of loading kit and making sure every production has what it needs for SFXs and a smooth shoot day (we usually have multiple products at one time). I’m now rigging more projects as a technician working on Dr Who, Lazarus and Sexy Beasts, getting more great experience.

It’s my goal to eventually find a way to bridge the gap between SFX and the art department as I studied 3D art and design which is a massive passion of mine. The more I’ve gotten onto set the more potential I see in this as there can be lots of problems when it comes to implementing an effect when the art department have already completed a project and we have to find a way to make it work or vice versa I have made a product that has to be sent on to the art department to dress which can also result in problems, I do enjoy this challenge and on the spot problem solving but I also believe this could be a more collaborative fluid process which would result in some truly amazing end results. I look forward to learning more and adding to my skill set in the years to come.”


We also checked in with one of our previous apprentices, Santino Petrosillo, to see where he was at this point and to hear about his journey after the apprenticeship. Although he no longer works in SFX for TV and film, the skills that he picked up while with Real SFX and throughout his apprenticeship placement have, he says, been invaluable.


“I completed my apprenticeship at Real SFX Ltd in July 2016. I’m currently in my final year of university studying a BSC in Mechanical Engineering and start work as an Asset Integrity Management engineer for Tata Steel in September. My apprenticeship in Real SFX helped me understand the importance of the maintenance and organisation of company assets as this would affect company operations on a daily basis. Sgil Cymru has taught me the fundamentals of working as a freelancer that has helped me for many years as a freelance welder/fabricator in the creative arts sector (predominantly theatre). My career vision for the 3 next years is to help contribute in the development of zero emissions technologies within the UK steel making industry.”


We wish all of our previous apprentices great success and look forward to checking in again in future to hear about their latest achievements!


If you are interested in an apprenticeship in the TV and film industry, please get in touch. Our CRIW apprenticeship applications are currently open!