Okay so we all know the industry is a very difficult place to try and ‘get your foot in the door’ as they say, it takes a lot of patience, dedication, belief and sadly plenty of rejection. The common phrase churned out when you are first trying to get that break is ``Sorry you don’t have enough experience” and we all think the same “how can I get experience if I don’t get a chance?”
I’ve always had a love for creating short videos of me and my friends when we were younger attempting to skateboard or if we were lucky enough to have snow in the UK we’d create little montages of us sledding and wiping out on the classic Windows Movie Maker with footage from and old Sony Ericsson flip phone. For me these were creating memories that I could look back on. Never in a million years did I think I'd be making a career out of it.
Without boring you of my school years which lead into jumping from one college to another after not having a clue what to do or take I landed on a two year course… yes that’s right, a BTEC. It was actually my college lecturer who saw potential in me that I would become an editor and she also had to talk my mum into thinking university was a good idea because I had much more to learn. I know university isn’t for everyone and people do go out on their own and can start to build a name for themselves coming out of the gate but for me it was about having another 3 years to grow and learn the fundamentals. The thing about this industry is it is all about connections and relationships which in my opinion is a key part of university. It also helps because then when you leave you are still friends with a lot of people who in X amount of years time you may be working with again.
Fast forward to graduation and I was working in TSB bank as unfortunately after the partying days of uni are over rent and bills still need to be paid. Throughout this time it really limited me to what I could achieve in terms of finding work and gaining experience. Even when speaking to some people in the industry they would question my dedication to trying to get in the door and I was thinking ‘I need to pay rent’. Anyway I would send constant emails to post production houses all over the country and even started applying across seas, for any job possible. I would get rejection after rejection and if not that then there’d be no response ( I do understand it is near impossible to respond to every job applicant saying they don’t have the job because as I have found you receive A LOT of applicants, but I was none the wiser when applying) this was demoralising and very frustrating. In times such as these you need to keep going and just have belief that if you get a chance you have to grab it as cliche as that sounds.
One day my old college lecturer tagged me in a post on Facebook that a local television station was looking for an experienced editor. I quickly applied and sent over my work from university, all the while thinking this is never going to be enough for a television station. To my disbelief I managed to snag an interview and one lunch time I drove up in my small Ford KA wearing my TSB bank uniform and did my best to try and showcase what I could bring to the table and how hard I would work in order to get out of the bank and begin my career. I was asked to edit a short package video and they were aware that I was working 5 days a week at the bank so they gave me three days to edit the video…
I went home and jumped straight onto my laptop quickly researching what their package videos looked like and got to work. I stayed up until 3am to finish that video, I was not waiting 3 days and giving anyone else a chance to take away my one opportunity that I had been given. The video was sent to the station manager in less than 24 hours of the task being set. Months went by and I had heard nothing. I remember going on a walk 2 days after I had surgery on my shoulder from a rugby injury and I was thinking “right I’m saving up and leaving the U.K, I’m going to travel for a bit” the next day I received a call offering me the job, before they could finish the sentence I accepted. I took the bus up to the office two days later and walked in with my dominant arm in a sling and someone looked at my arm and asked “who are you?” “I’m the new editor”. One of the happiest days of my life. I slowly undid the velcro on my sling and got to work. I wasn’t going to let this shoulder recovery get in the way of my one chance.
I won’t be naive to the fact that it takes a bit of luck and timing but it also took a lot of hard work and perseverance to not give up. There are many different ways into the industry, this was just the start of mine but one thing is for sure, I jammed my foot into that door...