Thu 3 Jul 2014 / Blogs
Hit The Ground - What Did The Trainees Think?
Hit The Ground Running is a one day training course that we have had huge success with running at a number of events in recent years. It's targetted at individuals who want to break into film and television drama and really sets the scene of what working as a Runner in television and film production is all about. It consists of a series of practical exercises designed to equip individuals with the knowledge, tools and experience needed to take those first few steps into industry. This year at goNORTH we had a great group of trainees who got stuck in to Running! Read about their experiences...
A few days ago I attended Hit the Ground Running at the goNORTH festival in Inverness. I can honestly say that attending this event was the most useful thing that I have done so far in terms of finding out how to begin my career in Film and Television. Before the event, I already knew that I wanted to start my career as a Runner, but because of HTGR I now feel that I actually know what that job is, and what it involves. As part of the event we had to complete a ‘Runner challenge’. We had to work in pairs and over an hour complete several small tasks. This was not only fun but it gave me a great insight into some of the more surprising jobs that you may get as a Runner and shows you the short timescales that Runners have to work in!
It was really helpful to be able to speak to people who have worked in the Film and Television industries to give insight into not only what a Runner does, but where you can go from there. Linda Fraser, Alison Goring and Kian McClure provided a lot of interesting first-hand information that you just couldn’t get from someone who has never worked in the industry. I also enjoyed meeting other people attending the course; I don’t know many other people trying to get into Film and Television so it was lovely to meet people in the same position.
Another really important thing I took away from HTGR was that a Runner NEEDS to have a driving license. I tried driving before and really disliked it but that’s definitely going to have to be my next step before I begin sending my CV out. Before the course I never realised quite how heavily a lot of the job relies on driving, so I’m really glad that I found that out now. I also wasn’t sure just quite how to get my name out there for jobs. I thought that I had to look for vacancies and apply in that way, but that’s not the case at all – you don’t have to wait for people to ask but you should get in touch with and get your CV off to as many people as you can!
Overall, Hit the Ground Running was a really useful, interesting and informative course and I now feel that I am much clearer about what I need to do to get myself a job in Film and Television. Linda, Alison and Kian could not have been nicer and were a great, great help. I would recommend that anyone who is looking to start a career in Film and Television look at attending this one day course because it will provide them with so much valuable information that they may struggle to get anywhere else.
When I heard that I had been given a place on Hit The Ground Running, I was absolutely delighted. Whilst I had some prior experience working on film sets, I felt that I knew very little about what a runner actually did and as I was interested in getting back into film work, I was excited to learn more about working in the film industry. I arrived in plenty of time at the Mercure in Inverness, and any initial nerves were quickly dispelled when Linda came to meet us in reception and instantly put us at ease with a warm welcome. There was only a small group of us, and once we had settled in and made introductions, we quickly got stuck in.
One of the lasting impressions from being on set before was just how many people are involved in a production. Our first interactive task involved trying to work out the hierarchy of job roles – over sixty – and who is responsible for what, with the aid of a blank pyramid template and sheet of labels. 'Best Boy', 'Clapper Loader' and 'Grip' caused confused expressions for some participants, and there was much debate about just how important the writer was. Eventually, with much re-peeling and shifting of the positions of stickers, we had all beaten our templates into an approximation of the correct structure. It was a great way to begin getting to grips with the who's who of a film crew.
After lunch - a veritable feast - we were given a surprise challenge – for the next hour we had a chance to actually 'hit the ground running' and complete ten tasks mimicking what a runner might be asked to do. Whilst I won't reveal the specific tasks we were set, suffice to say it was a lesson in time management, keeping a calm head, having the confidence to speak to complete strangers with a degree of charm, and that local knowledge and thinking outside of the box was a definite advantage. We made it back with three minutes to spare, rather sweatier than when we set off!
The afternoon was rounded off with a Q&A session with three industry professionals: Alison Goring, Kian McClure and Linda Fraser. With over 40 years' experience between them, they were able to provide a real insight into the opportunities and realities of the industry. It was inspiring and entertaining to hear their stories, and their open and approachable attitude meant everyone could ask away and find out about lots of different job roles.
As the day ended and we prepared to go our separate ways, I was torn between anticipation and a slight sadness. For a day, we had been given a glimpse of the highs and lows of working in the film industry, and now it was time to return to our lives. The course definitely gave me a sense of the possibilities of finding work within the industry, but also an awareness that it would be quite a plunge. It seems that it is best to take a running jump into the pool, rather than dipping a toe in, and with current life commitments, I'm not sure if that's something that I'm prepared to do right now. However, it reminded me of the excitement and adventure (and yes, long hard days!) and I fully expect that at some point in time it's a path I'll be looking to pursue. And with the knowledge that I've gained through Hit the Ground Running, I'll definitely be better equipped for that journey when I do.
Many thanks to Linda, Alison and Kian for their patience with our bizarre questions, and goNORTH, ScreenHI, the Scottish Union Learning Fund and European Social Fund for making the course possible.