How is everyone doing? It’s still considerably quieter than usual in the land of large-scale production and possibly will be for some time. The impact of the WGA strike, possible DGA and SAG strikes and personnel changes at some of the studios continue to ripple through our industry, causing some uncertainty. We will know whether negotiations have been successful, and whether the other strikes will take place, towards the end of June. But either way, it will certainly be a quieter summer than we have seen for some time. It can be extremely challenging managing a freelance career in uncertain times - mentally as well as financially. Reach out to people - a friendly chat can be hugely beneficial. The Film and TV charity are also a great help for further advice and guidance. If you’re not working, it is the perfect time to upskill – an obvious one for us – but when productions get greenlit and start to crew up, they will have the pick of the crop. So make sure you are as up to date and knowledgeable as you can be. And network at every opportunity!
WHAT WE'VE BEEN UP TO We had a fascinating discussion with Set Decorator Alice Felton (Mickey 17, Cruella, The Favourite) at our most recent TP. Industry Session. The focus was on how Set Decorators work with technical teams, particularly VFX, SFX and Camera. We covered everything from lighting plans to identifying the correct period net curtain for Roger Deakins to create his light and shadow magic. Huge thanks to Alice for being so generous with her knowledge and experiences – as one participant noted afterwards, “that was so meaty!” It really was!
UPCOMING COURSES INTRODUCTION TO SET DECORATING - Thursday 8th June 10:-00-12:30 Zoom Are you looking to work in the Set Decorating team on features and HETV dramas? Or would you like to know more about it before you decide where you are best suited? This Introduction to Set Decorating session will help answer your questions. Cost £75+vat. All details and how to apply here
SET DECORATING THE CROWN - Saturday 10th June 10- 11:30 Zoom As filming on The Crown has come to an end, we are delighted to be joined by Supervising Set Decorator Alison Harvey who set decorated all 5 seasons of the acclaimed series. Cost £50+vat. Full details and how to apply here
OVERVIEW OF THE ART DEPARTMENT - Thursday 15th June 10:00-12:30 Perfect for newcomers, this 2 hour session examines all the different job roles and art department teams, how they work together and what you need to succeed in them. We also discuss CVs, portfolios and who to call for work and when. It is full of advice for anyone starting out or wanting more information. Cost £75+vat All details and how to apply here
FLORISTRY WORKSHOP with AMANDA WILLGRAVE - Sat 24th June 07:00-12:30 We will be running a half day workshop with leading Film Florist Amanda Willgrave (Chevalier, The Little Mermaid, Wonka, Cruella) at the London Flower Market. Details here Cost £350 inc VAT eligible for bursaries from ScreenSkills. If your application is successful, it will cover up to 80% of the course costs and travel and accommodation from outside London.
TECHNICAL DRAWING with ROD MCLEAN - Sat 1st July Brighton 10:00-12:30 Learning how to prepare or read a technical drawing is a key element for working in all the art department teams – you may not have to create them, but knowing what to look for and finding the relevant information is an important part of the job. Rod McLean is one of the UK’s most established and experienced Art Directors. He has over 35 years experience of working on a wide range of features, with credits including Wicked, Jurassic World: Dominion, Empire of Light and Wonder Woman 1984. Cost £125 +vat Full Details here
DESIGNING BARBIE - Saturday 29th July 10:00 – 11:30 zoom Where do you start with designing and set decorating a feature film of Barbie? We will be joined by Production Designer Sarah Greenwood and Set Decorator Katie Spencer who will talk about what drew them to the project in the first place, their design process on this job, the challenges and solutions during prep and the shoot, working with other craft departments and choosing those shades of pink! Cost £50+vat. Full details and how to apply here
MENTORING NETWORK - APPLICATIONS NOW OPEN! The current round are meeting their mentors and taking their next steps in the industry. Really looking forward to seeing what they get up to next – and a very special shout out to Chelsea, our graphics mentee, and a big welcome to her new baby Kaylin! Cost £225+vat. All details and how to apply here
ONE TO ONE CAREER SESSIONS - BOOK A SLOT “These sessions are like a secret guidebook – all the stuff that you need to know but no-one ever tells you.” This one hour session looks at where you want to be in the film and television drama industries and what you need to do to get there. We look at your CV to make sure it is industry focussed and then identify who you need to get it to and when. Cost £125+vat. All details and how to apply here
TRAINING COSTS - BURSARIES All of these courses are eligible for bursaries from ScreenSkills. If your application is successful, it will cover up to 80% of the course costs and travel and accommodation from outside London. It is a great way of meeting costs when you are not working and we are happy to write the reference letters for applicants. We always endeavour to keep out course costs as low as we can. When we can make the courses free, we do so - we want to be as inclusive and easily accessible as we can be. Granted, it’s not always possible - so please do make the most of the industry bursary scheme.
TOP TIP During covid, VFX Supervisor Andrew Whitehouse passed on some great advice which is just as resonant now as it was then. Whether it's working on your portfolio, building your contact database, making films, taking photos....it all helps. "Get a daily routine of working going and just make stuff. Don't be too analytical, just keep doing it. Some of it will be good, some less so, but now is the time to do. Reflecting upon it can come later when you're feeling more grounded." THINGS WE HAVE BEEN ENJOYING Congratulations to Justine Triet, the 3rd woman to win the Palme d’Or at the Cannes Film Festival with Anatomy of a Fall. Nothing like having Jane Fonda throw your certificate at you as you forget to take it! Florian Gadsby is a ceramicist and watching his reels on insta is the ultimate relaxation tool. His focus is on the process of making a simple bowl or the ritual of using a beautiful mug. He has a book coming out soon too,By My Hands. Solero – the sun is out and is this still the perfect seasonal ice cream? It will take a lot to usurp it….and don’t come at us with your Feasts and Nobbly Bobblys….no competition.