Movie Magic Scheduling & Budgeting
Sgil Cymru’s first trainee for Stepping Up 2017 was Hanna Lewis-Jones.
Prior to gaining her place on Stepping Up Hanna had been working as a Hair and Make-up Trainee on a variety of productions. Her CV includes theatre show ‘Les Miserables’ at the Wales Millennium Centre, the feature-length drama film ‘Their Finest’, featuring Sam Claflin and Gemma Arterton, and the 2016 remake of the 1980’s horror film, ‘Watcher in the Woods’.
As part of her Stepping Up programme, Hanna worked on the first series of the BBC Wales and S4C Drama ‘Keeping Faith/Un Bore Mercher’. Working under esteemed Hair and Make-up Designer Claire Pritchard-Jones, Hanna developed many new skills including script and character breakdowns within the first few days, as well as gaining confidence in her new role.
Stepping Up has been a great help for ‘Keeping Faith/Un Bore Mercher’ to be able to continue Hanna’s training from Trainee to Junior Make-up Assistant. She’s extremely talented and this is such a difficult area to get a start in. We couldn’t have done it without Sgil Cymru’s help.
Every day is different – which is what keeps it interesting. Whilst some days require me to be on set, looking after assigned main cast and sometimes supporting artists; other days may involve the planning and preparation for the upcoming days/weeks – setting wigs, filling prosthetic moulds, organising and replenishing stock etc.
The ability to ‘step up’ has been crucial in bridging the gap between trainee and junior positions. I’m really grateful to now have the experience of working on a 6 month BBC/S4C drama from start to finish, developing my skills and allowing me to become more qualified in this new role – I’m excited about the opportunities that may now come my way.
Nicola Webley, from Barry, worked in Theatre for fifteen years as part of the Costume Department.
Nicola decided it was time to move home to Wales and was looking at how she could get into working in costume in TV. Thanks to the ‘Stepping Up’scheme, Nicola was given the opportunity to shadow the Costume Department at Casualty, here’s what she had to say:
What does your day to day work entail?
My day to day work includes a crazy early start! It’s my responsibility to make sure any laundry is ready for the day ahead and that everything has been pressed, steamed and ready to go. We’ll then sit down together and discuss the slides for the day, this way we can pinpoint any costume changes. Once the actors start to arrive, they will dress themselves and before they go to set, we’ll make sure every actor looks the way we want/ need them to for the filming. I’ve been given the freedom to go on set and refer to the continuity database which has been really interesting. At the end of the day, we ensure all costumes are put back in place and are ready for the next day of filming. On some days, I may have to go to the costume stores if we need anything.
What industry experience did you have already?
I have worked in theatre for fifteen years. For the past eleven years, I worked as the Head of Costume at the Donmar Warehouse. In terms of experience on sets, I didn’t have any.
How different is it working on a TV set in comparison to working in theatre?
So different! At the theatre, there were only two of us working within the whole department and we were responsible for costume, hair and make-up. Of course, on set, I am still putting costumes on actors, making sure they fit etc. however, theatre is impulse driven – you are working very quickly and the adrenaline kicks in. There’s time to stop on set – if an actor is on stage and there’s an issue with the costume, they have to carry on – there isn’t any time to stop. You can get away with a lot more in theatre too. I’ve learnt that with filming, costumes need to be very specific to fit in with the set and other actors – for example, the colours an actor wears on set is really important.
How do you hope the ‘Stepping Up’ programme will help further your career?
It’s thrown me into more costume design. I hadn’t heard of the Stepping Up scheme until I interviewed for a Junior Position last year but was told that I have too much experience in costume, just none in television. I got in contact with the BBC again to say I would be leaving London to move back to Wales and that I was really keen to get into working on set, this is the first time I heard about Stepping Up so I went for it. I’ve been told it’s really good to find someone Welsh who wants to work in Wales so that’s been good to hear.
Would you recommend the Stepping Up programme?
100%! I would definitely recommend it. Everyone in the wardrobe department have been saying the scheme is incredible. It’s such a selfless scheme and it’s wonderful to see how much Sgil Cymru care. It’s also nice to have this scheme available in Wales and here to help the industry in Wales. Thank you! The scheme is amazing.
If you’d like to find out more information regarding our Stepping Up training initiative, click here.
Sgil Cymru welcomed experienced editor Al Edwards as the second trainee to Stepping Up 2017.
Al has got over twenty years of experience as an editor. He started with, a then small independent TV company, called Boomerang before moving onto a facility house called ‘Mwnci’ in Cardiff. He stayed with them through their transitional period of re-branding as ‘Gorilla’.
Al specialises as an offline editor, which means he receives all the rushes from a programme or film and cuts them in sequential order at the Director’s request.
In the Summer of 2017, Al decided to go it alone and be freelance.
As Technology becomes better and quicker and as budgets become slimmer it’s becoming obvious to me that there is an edge to be had by being able to multitask and being able to offer a variety of skills other than editing. Clients are now expecting a different level of editor. One, that as well as cutting a programme, that is being able to grade, online and do Special FX on various platforms and software. That is the reason that I applied for the ‘Stepping Up’ programme so I am able to better myself and re-educate through courses that will help me to upgrade my services.
Freelance editor, Tara Wyllie became the third recruit on Sgil Cymru’s Stepping Up 2017 programme.
For her bespoke Stepping Up programme Tara attended a number of courses allowing her to step up from a Final Cut Pro Editor to an Avid Editor. Having worked as a Freelance Editor for a few years Tara realised that she would need to be trained in Avid as this is the industry standard for editing software.
I was looking for something that will help me take the next step up from trainee and more junior positions, to higher level roles as a fully certified Avid Editor. I wanted like to develop my skills, and become more qualified which I hoped would help me in gaining more opportunities as an Editor in the drama industry in Wales.
Before gaining a place on Stepping Up Tara had been working with a number of clients as an Offline Editor, as well as expanding on her post-production skills in her own time.
Tara started in the industry as a Marketing Trainee for the BBC in 2009. Throughout her time with the BBC Tara was able to gain experience within the different production departments. Her experiences included working as a Runner on ‘Doctor Who Proms’, shadowing the Script Supervisor on ‘Pobol y Cwm’ and sitting in on online edits. Following her experience in the post-production suite, Tara realised that she wanted to become an Editor. In 2011 Tara set herself up as a Freelance Producer/ Editor.
As well as working as a Freelance Producer/ Editor Tara has worked as an assistant to the production team on a variety of television programmes including ‘The Only Way is Essex’ and ‘Celebs Go Dating’.
Working on these productions gave me a great insight into what goes on before I get the rushes as an Editor. Which I think is really important to know how to help the whole post-production process run a lot smoother.
Movie Magic Scheduling & Budgeting
Sgil Cymru have helped tens of people with their Movie Magic Scheduling and Budgeting Skills, from people who where hardly aware of the programmes, to those who needed a little polishing since they had not used the programmes for a while.
Sgil Cymru welcomed trainee Shelley Rees amongst its 2019 Stepping Up cohort.
Shelley is a successful actor and director who has worked across film, television, stage and radio. Keeping Faith, 35 Diwrnod, Casualty and Gwaith Cartref are among her many credits.
“Having acquired a variety of skills during my acting and directing career, I was keen to see whether I could use the same skills in other areas within the industry. Taking part in the Production Coordinator course and learning how to use Movie Magic was an important part of this process and will enable me to take my career in a different direction in the future.
The opportunity to be part of Stepping Up has opened my eyes to a range of possibilities and career paths that I hadn’t previously considered”.
2019 Stepping Up recruit, Gareth Maybe, has worked as an Assistant Editor, Drama, for over six years. His goal in joining the programme was to gain hands-on experience that would enable him to take the next step in a career which he is passionate about.
During his placement, Gareth worked on popular BBC Network drama Casualty, among other productions.
“As an Assistant Editor on drama, day to day work varies depending on the project but will usually start early, with MXFs and sound rushes from the previous days’ shoot. I process these, labelling and organizing them as specified by the Editor, before passing them on, so they can work on them. All the previous days’ rushes will then be sent out for dailies viewings. Once the rushes have been processed I will assemble, build temp sound design, or comp in temp vfx, whatever may be required”.
Gareth has worked on a variety of BBC network shows including Sherlock, Peaky Blinders and Kiri and is currently working on Gangs of London for Sky Atlantic/HBO. Gareth’s goal in terms of Stepping Up was to gain direct more experience, so that he could progress from an Assistant Editor to an Editor role.
“Spending hands-on time with editors on a long-running drama, has not only provided a helpful insight but has also enabled me to develop my editing skills and gain valuable feedback, all of which will be beneficial as I move forward to achieve my goal”.
Here at Sgil Cymru, we got the chance to visit one of our Stepping Up participants, Jess Fothergill.
Jess worked as a Costume Supervisor on the CBBC programme, Jamie Johnson.
Jess began her costume career by completing a degree in Costume Construction. During her time at University, Jess was given the opportunity to meet people working within the industry and spent her Summer working on several productions as work experience.
At the end of her degree, Jess was lucky enough to walk into a training position at Casualty. This is where Jess worked on and off for three-four years, before being offered a job on Jamie Johnson.
Having worked as a Costume Standby for several years, Jess felt it was time to ‘step up’.
This is Jess’ first time working as a Costume Supervisor and thanks to Stepping Up, she has been able to take the time to shadow other Costume Supervisors to ensure she is learning the job correctly.
On a day to day basis, it was Jess’ responsibility to ensure all costumes were prepared and out for the artists ready for the filming day ahead. Jess made sure that everyone had everything they needed until the standbys were ready to take over. Once the filming day had come to an end, Jess spent her time preparing the costumes for the following day.
Filming for Jamie Johnson has now come to an end and Jess has already been offered – and accepted – a contract as Costume Supervisor on Casualty.
Jess has said that the whole experience of ‘stepping up’ has been overwhelming but enjoyable.
“It’s been so fantastic. Stepping Up helps you do something completely different. It’s made the world of difference for me”
Sgil Cymru recruited 4 electricians as part of Stepping Up 2017.
Following the industry-led need that was highlighted by Wales Screen/ Welsh Government, Sgil Cymru recruited 4 experienced domestic and commercial electricians to step up in their career by gaining experience as an Electrician in the TV industry.
As part of their Stepping Up programme, the trainees gained work experience on BBC Cymru Wales and Bad Wolf Studios’ drama productions. In the lead up to their work experience, trainees took part in a variety of workshops to help them prepare for life on set. These workshops included familiarisation with industry kit and health and safety on set. Trainees also attended a one-day workshop where they created a media CV.
Meet the trainees:
Craig Parker – Gwynedd
Craig has over 20 years’ experience in the electrical engineering and installation sector. His experience includes working in commercial and large scale industrial environments. Since 2015 Craig has been self-employed, working with various contractors on a number of developments throughout the UK.
John Jones – Swansea
John has been working as a domestic, commercial and industrial electrician for a number of years. His work included installation of emergency lighting systems, shop fittings and store refits, as well as the inspection and testing of various electrical systems.
Richard Baldwin – Pontyclun
Richard has over 10 years experience in the electrical industry. Having completed an apprenticeship with AG Leers he climbed up the ladder and has recently finished working as an Electrical Supervisor with Solex Electrical. He now runs his own company that specialises in domestic and commercial work as well as CCTV installation and security alarms.
Simon Jeffreys – Swansea
Simon is a qualified electrician with over 10 years experience in the industry. During his time as an Electrician, Simon has owned his own electrical business as well as being a joint partner in a Solar PV installation company. Alongside his own business, he is currently working as an Electrical Sub Contractor for MIC Ltd.
Sgil Cymru welcomed Howard Colin, experienced Camera Assistant, to the Stepping Up 2017 programme.
Howard kick-started his career in 2012 when he started working at a camera rental house where he was able to get his hands on all different types of camera equipment. Following this, he went freelance and started working on a number of different Welsh dramas.
It’s a never-ending journey, trying to learn the in’s and out’s of all the different bits of equipment and how to get the best out of them for the job at hand.
Within the camera department, Howard works as a Camera Assistant. His day to day job can vary, depending on the production.
My day to day job can vary depending on the production, but the core responsibilities include ensuring the camera is loaded (with a memory card) and ready to shoot. In order to do this, there are several factors that need to be addressed, such as: making sure that all the kit is managed correctly and we have the things that we need for the shot or scene. It does sometimes take a lot of foresight as there are things that can slow down production that might come out of nowhere. For example, moving from a cold exterior location to a warm interior location can cause lenses to fog up with condensation, it is important to think ahead and get them into the location to warm up before shooting commences.
That is just one example, but there are multiple situations that can arise, it is my responsibility to work with the Focus Puller (1st Assistant Camera) to ensure the smooth operation of the camera.
By taking part in Stepping Up Howard was able to step up to working on high-end TV drama in Wales.
Sgil Cymru recruited Ben Davenport as its final trainee on Stepping Up 2017.
Ben completed a Level 3 Apprenticeship in Creative and Digital Media with Sgil Cymru a couple of years ago. Whilst completing his apprenticeship Ben worked for BBC Cymru Wales as a Production Office Apprentice at Roath Lock Studios. This gave Ben many great opportunities to work on different projects which helped prepare him for life after his apprenticeship.
Since completing his apprenticeship Ben has gone on to work in the production department on a number of programmes including ‘Doctor Who’, ‘Casualty’ and ‘Pobol y Cwm’. Ben also worked as a Location Assistant on the feature film, ‘The Dark Outside’.
Following the end of the shoot on the feature film, Ben was looking for his next challenge and decided to apply for the Stepping Up programme.
As part of his programme, Ben stepped up to work in the production department on ‘Pobol y Cwm’.
The Stepping Up programme gave me the opportunity to move forward in my career by allowing me the chance to be in a higher role where I could learn new skills and gain experience organically from doing the job in a professional capacity.
Llyr Morus, Pobol y Cwm Producer, said:
Ben came to us as an Apprentice in the production department a couple of years ago. It was clear that he was eager to learn and grow professionally whilst making the most of his time here at Roath Lock. We now welcome him back, on the Stepping Up programme, after he has proven his capabilities in a variety of jobs within the production department with indie companies as well as the BBC. Being able to help promising young people like Ben is a privilege, and being able to work with Sgil Cymru is a pleasure. Hopefully, we can build on this experience to help more young people move on in their career.
Sue Jeffries, Sgil Cymru Managing Director, said:
It’s a pleasure and a privilege for Sgil Cymru to help a young person like Ben with his career. Ever since Ben completed his apprenticeship he has grown professionally and we’ve been able to bring him back to Cardiff to climb the ladder in the production department at Roath Lock. We wish Ben all the best with his career, we’re certain it will be a long and prosperous one. Once again Stepping Up proves that Sgil Cymru’s support doesn’t end with your first course.