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Production Office Case Study

Aimee Williams, Office Production Assistant | September 2016


Aimee has been working in the film industry for 5 years, making her way into the production office on some big budget features.

Can you tell our members a bit about yourself and what inspired you to enter the film industry?

Where do I begin? Well, as you already know, my name is Aimée. I have many a passion in my everyday, normal-ish life. I love to make my own films and develop any script or story ideas I might have, but being a filmmaker, you could say that this piece of information is obvious. My less obvious passions are games, eating (I LOVE food), adventuring, exploring and enjoying a delightful beverage with my best friend, whilst watching an episode of an epic TV series or film. 

Did you take any unpaid positions to gain experience, if so could you tell us how it was beneficial?

I took many an unpaid position during my years applying for jobs. It may seem a little negative to begin with but at the end of the day, it is a lot of the unpaid work that helps you build your contacts and reputation in the film industry. Just because it is unpaid, doesn’t mean that it can’t go down as experience on your CV. I have built so many contacts and friendships over the years whilst doing unpaid work and I still keep in touch with these people to this day.

How long did it take you to get your first permanent paying job, and how long did it take you to consistently find paying work?

It took me a grand total of 5 years to finally land a paying film job. You will no doubt find jobs that will cover expenses or pay for a few days work. I was very lucky to be asked to work on such an incredible film in my first job. Again, this came down to making contacts on all of the films I worked on previously. If you work exceedingly hard, people will remember and recommend you. Current films that I am working on have come from the feature film I have just completed. There will no doubt be people who will merge onto other films immediately after the one they have just finished, especially if they are employed by a company who are making multiple films.

What are the responsibilities of your current role?

My current role includes various responsibilities including making cups of tea/coffee, creating flight plan timetables, completing tasks that are set on a daily basis quickly and promptly, collecting and delivering film rushes, scanning documents from camera sheets to script notes and answering the phone to various film departments and companies.

What was your first impression of a production office, what would you say to a first time production runner to prepare them ?

I was blown away by the amount of hard work, dedication and focus that people in the production office put into their work. Everyone was constantly working on something and it was incredible to witness first hand. It really makes you appreciate filmmakers more and more as each day goes by, I have certainly developed an even stronger respect and admiration than I had before. It is always busy and you are constantly kept on your toes, and if you aren’t busy then you need to make yourself busy. Never wait for someone to tell you do something, always try and think of things to do for yourself. If you produce a tea/coffee before someone asks, then you are doing a good job. People will remember you as hard working and efficient if you are seen to be doing things off of your own back. Always think ahead!

What office etiquette have you learnt that you think all new entrants should know.

Always keep a nice big smile on your face. I found that it really helped boost everyone’s mood on set and in the office. People will see you as enjoying your job and it will spread like wildfire. Having had experience on set and off, I was always complimented and praised for being the happiest person they had met and they even admitted that it made them feel good and happy themselves. The film industry is tough, the hours are long and it is hard work, so it is amazing to know that something as simple as a smile and a positive attitude can really make a difference.

What’s been the highlight of your career so far?

In my 5 years of filmmaking, I have taken away a lot of incredible memories and some remarkable friendships. I would have to say that there will never be one particular highlight for me as there are far too many, but if I had to pick one it would be the fact that I get to meet so many wonderfully talented people working in all different areas of filmmaking. It has made me realise how small I am in this big world and that to me is a good thing, it enhances the feeling of working with a big family who will support you all the way through. That for me has been the biggest highlight so far.

Having worked in the industry for a few years what advice would you give to those just starting out?

Take every step as it comes, absorb it, learn from it and keep testing it. Filmmaking is an art form as well as a lifestyle, there is always so much room to develop your skills and further progress your passion. There will be times where it gets unbelievably tough so just remember to enjoy it and have fun!

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