Exciting things in the Film & TV world have been happening on our doorstep recently… we sat down with Naimh Flockhart and Delilah Neil, who are two students currently working on the ITV production of Karen Pirie, to find out a bit about how they got involved with it and what they’ve learned as part of their training.
What project are you working on now?
We’re working on a project with World Productions called Karen Pirie which is an adaptation of the Val McDermott novel. I don’t know how much I am at liberty to say about the plot! I was working with a theatre company before this called Grid Iron, where we made a documentary about theatre and making theatre in the pandemic, so that’s good. I was a videographer on that.
What made you choose a career in Film and Television?
I’m a very big film and TV fan so I’ve always known I wanted to do it. When I left high school, I didn’t feel super confident about it, so I did a Speech Therapy course, and about halfway through I was like ‘why am I doing this?’. I want to be doing Film and TV, so I started a little videography job and from there I started enjoying it and I thought yes this is for me.
What have you discovered so far and what areas are you interested in and why?
The main thing I’ve discovered so far is that it’s very important to have good waterproof clothing! It’s been very wet! Also, communication, I think that it’s a key skill. I kind of knew it was important but a lot more important than I anticipated.
What do you mean by good communication?
I think learning how to say things quickly and clearly so that things can be done as fast as possible. Also knowing that no question is a stupid question if you’re unsure it’s better to ask the question. If you don’t know what you’re doing it’ll take longer to get something done. Department wise, I’m in Camera right now that’s my favourite. I love camera and that’s what I’m really interested in. Ideally, I would stay in this department but otherwise I really liked talking to the Sound department on this job. I think if I didn’t do Camera, I would do sound because it’s super interesting.
How does it feel working alongside household names in the Film and Television industry?
I think you just mainly feel excited. I try and not get too starstruck – there was an actor in this production that I had seen in some theatre plays when I was younger with my dad. It was very exciting when he was on set and I had to calm down, but the rest of the time you just try and remember that they’re doing their job and you’re doing yours. You’re all equal so try and stay calm.
What do you think the future holds for young people in the industry?
I think especially in Scotland there’s a lot of opportunities for young people right now in the film industry. There’s a lot of productions coming up because the big pause has meant a lot of stuff is about to go on at once. It’s quite an exciting time really. There’s a lot of younger and independent groups getting together as well, it’s quite a creative time.
What are you currently working on?
I’m currently working on the production of Karen Pirie as a group trainee. I started here as a runner. As a group trainee, you deal with what the camera sits on and everything around the camera – tripods and tracking, essentially making the camera move.
What was your route into the Film and Television industry?
It was quite a weird route – when I was in High School, I didn’t want to stay in full time education, so I went to West College of Scotland and studied a foundation apprenticeship in Creative and Digital Media. This 2-year course allowed me to see what it was like on a film set when I was 16, which then led onto a placement with Media Development Scotland. I took a gap year which then allowed me to see different paths instead of going to university. After my gap year I finally managed to find work in the industry, which is how I got my first job, and then after that every job has led on from it.
What have you learned working on these sets?
I have discovered how many different departments come together to create films and television series which I had no idea about. Different departments like location play a big part alongside whips and runners. I’ve learnt more about each department as I’ve now worked in all three, so it gives me a better understanding about how each department works in correlation with other departments.
How does it feel working alongside household names?
It’s weird because you watch them on TV when you’re younger. On my last production I knew how big a film it was, so working on it was a real eye opener. When I was younger, I never thought I would work on something so big or with ITV. Then when I see it all put together its quite cool.