Into Film Clubs
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This July, multi-talented actor, director, writer and Into Film Cymru Ambassador Celyn Jones invited members of our Youth Advisory Council and Young Reporter programme to visit the set of his new film Six Minutes to Midnight. The lucky invitees joined Celyn and the rest of the crew one sunny day in Penarth, south Wales, for this exclusive, once-in-a-lifetime experience. Below, Into Film reporter Ben recounts his day on a major film set.
In recent years the film and media industry in Wales has been booming and it is fantastic to see such a large project just outside my door, and what's even better is that I'm involved in it! While I was on set I observed different departments, and discovered more about the roles of the crew (whilst trying not to be in the way!).
The most interesting concept that I took away from being on the film set is the number of jobs there are. One of the jobs I didn't know existed was a grip. For those who have no clue what their job entails, like I did, essentially they're technicians supporting lighting by setting up lighting rigs and the camera department by assisting with dollies and cranes. It's a job you often see in film credits but are not sure what they do and how important they are.
Each department on the film set is hugely reliant on one another. If one person isn't doing their job properly there can be another hour added to an already long day. When talking to the third director he told me for the past couple of days he been working from 5:30am to 11:00pm. Working these long hours and waiting between tasks I see it is impossible not to make strong connections, hence why people form working relationships that last from one job to the next.
For most of my day on set I was with the Director of Photography (DP), Christopher Seager, and lighting director. Each DP has a different style or look they aspire for and it is lighting's job to produce their vision by using numerous techniques such as bounce boards, tungsten light bulbs, fluorescent lights… and the endless list of combinations goes on. They're a close-knit pair and have known each other for years so the lighting director knows the DP's style and how to replicate it.
My highlight was watching the DP and director Andy Goddard create their vision and bounce ideas off each other. Simply removing a clown from the scene and spotting crew in the background to construct the best shot possible just shows the quality of interaction between them. The shot being filmed couldn't have lasted more than ten seconds but it took at least an hour to set up, rehearse, film and retake.
I was also fortunate to meet some of the stars on the film, including Eddie Izzard and Kevin Eldon. Having watched Eddie Izzard's 'Star Wars canteen' and 'cake or death' routines I never thought I would get to meet him so I was rather starstruck! It's important to remember that they're on the film set to do a job just like everyone else and they're under pressure to work just as hard, if not harder, to ensure that the effort that everyone else puts in comes together in the shoot.
One theme that seemed constant between everyone on the film set is how they broke into the industry in a small role, most often as a runner. It is naive to think that you can walk onto a film set starting as a director or camera operator, you have to get your foot in the door first! The DP mentioned how useful it is for trainees to know the jargon and gain whatever experience they can so they can hit the ground running in the fast-paced set environment. I would recommend anyone interested in working in film to acquire as much experience working on a film set as they can.
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