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Hello and welcome to Trend UK, your shortcut to popular culture from the British Council. In the next few minutes we’re going to be seeing what it’s like to live and work as a young professional in the UK. Creative industries play a key role in the UK’s economic growth. It’s a sector which covers activities such as architecture, publishing, film, fashion, music, radio and TV, and software. And it accounts for almost ten percent of the UK economy. Creative industries often attract young people who feel naturally drawn to them, in the hope that they can make their mark, their fortune or both, whilst expressing themselves in their chosen field. That’s the dream but what are the realities? Our reporter Mark brought together a group of young creative professionals from the film industry to find out.
Assemble a group of young people who work in the UK’s burgeoning creative sector and you won’t be short of opinions. By and large, they’re all under 30, all extremely enthusiastic and they’ve all got something to shout about.
I’m a film and video editor.
I work in television as a lighting camera woman.
I’m a freelance cameraman and editor.
So what’s it like working in a creative industry here in the UK?
It can be fantastic. You know everything has highs and lows I think. But the highs can be particularly high. I’ve worked on a variety of projects, I’ve worked for about two years as an editor so far so…last year I worked on Nanny McPhee which was Emma Thompson’s latest offering and I was an assistant on Seed of Chucky which is part of the famous Childs Play Franchise. Which is a good experience that was a relatively large Hollywood Film.
I do an awful lot of sport, which is shooting live cycling and things like that. I also shoot the odd commercial and I’ve done some documentary work for television.
Breaking into the industry is very difficult. And certainly for the first two years that I was trying to break in I had to spend a lot of time working as a carpenter. Or doing whatever I could, painting and decorating, to get by, whilst you are pursuing contacts really. But then when you get more and more established, you get more and more contacts and at the same time you get better and better. The work you do is much better. You know, it gets much easier.
And do you have to work long hours?
Fourteen, fifteen, sixteen hour days, it’s not unusual. There are limits set within the law, but of course everyone does usually do whatever’s required to get the material in the can.
What about the social side of things? Do you go out much? Do you have time to go out much?
In terms of meeting people it’s a very mixed bag. I often work on my own, so I’m effectively I’m directing myself doing camera work and then I’ll go edit, and then I’ll direct myself editing and you know I’m completely on my own for days at a time working on a project. On other projects which are much more collaborative, you meet an awful lot of people, and obviously you’ve got a lot in common and with some of them I’ve developed really very good relationships that you know, now I think you could call friendships. So yeah, socially it can be great.
You have a great social life with the people that you work with but organising social life outside of that, if you’re working seventy-two-hour weeks, can be pretty rough. The flip-side of the coin is that if you’re not working at all, you’ve got all the time in the world. But remember that people who work in other industries don’t really understand your stop-start lifestyle. So it can take extra effort to meet up with people.
And where do you hope to be in about, say, ten years?
Really fast broadband is going to change the way we work. In terms of transferring big amounts of data around and stuff, it’s going to get easier and easier. So I do think that in 10 years time I’m certain, you know, you’ll want some ‘face time’ as they say for meetings and all that sort of stuff. And physically, for filming some things you’ll have to be there. But very often, it won’t matter where on earth you are in the world so I am actually planning on buying a place in Portugal or Spain and continue my post-production stuff overseas.
Would you recommend it as a career, or do you have any advice for people who are thinking of taking it up?
I would definitely encourage people to come to Britain to work in the creative industries; they are some of the best in the world in terms of content, ideas, execution. The creatives and the technicians in this country are fantastic. My one tip would be: make sure that you’ve got that endurance, that capacity, that capacity to endure because you’re going to be faced with long hours, some difficult people and occasions where you’re paid very little if anything at all.