Monday, 28 May 2018

what do I do?

I don't post on this blog as much as I should but its quite difficult to figure out what to say! I could argue that its because I spend my life capturing other people stories and so when it comes to mine it feels a bit dull but in reality i'm just not that great at making the time to create blog posts!!

But I thought I would share a little bit of insight about what I do and try and share a few bits of knowledge i've picked up along the way! I'll also include some fun images along the way like this one (me on set for the Official launch of Christmas teaser campaign by Irn Bru) :

So what do I do?

At the very top I am the Senior Producer at MBP (check us out here and I am a fashion photographer (check my link here but what does that mean - well basically I just love creating content and working with people! (still is from last years drinkaware campaign)

I'll speak about the film stuff first! In MBP we have a small epic team, Scott Thomson my business partner (ex footballer and all round amazing dude) Kevin Gordon our salesman and we have our board of directors, legal guys and accounts team. We decided to create the business that way so that we could keep our costs low, and be very responsive to the demands of our clients - we can get the right people for the right job anywhere in the world and it allows us the freedom to spend time on the jobs we love not just the ones that make lots of profit margin. This also means that we have to get great people to work with us and we have - this is one of the things I love about the film industry is working with great people doing great things and in environments that are not always the easiest to operate in.  (pic below is of the time we were filming for Vroon offshore and the shoot where we put a pig in a plane and then Ferguson Pioneer film )

We have 4 areas we specialize in:

1: creative industries this is everything to do with tv, advertising, marketing, promotional work it's the stuff that goes on tv, or in the cinema, or online and social channels.

2: Construction timelapse cameras - these are remote camera systems that are put onsites to document construction or allow remote access like this one here:

3: Energy, we work with energy companies across the global in different locations to create everything from health and safety videos, engineering films and promotional works.

4: Defense we work with different agencies and companies to create content - from internal films to showcase a particular stage of a project to promotional content.

We split everything down into the 4 main sections as each area has very different needs and issues to contend with and so it makes it easier to understand the type of production that will occur - for example on creative industry work you could have 15 plus crew and 80 plus extras whereas on the defense work it could just be me!

This all means that I need to be able to adapt quickly to different situations and work within the constraints of the sector!

This leads me on to my top 5 tips as a producer:

1: Never forget your job is to sell! ( I sometime forget this!) But as a producer my job is to sell - i have to sell everything - I have to sell what we do as a production company to clients, to agencies to my team, I have to sell the crew to the client, sometimes the idea to the client (depending on if the idea is already their) I also have to sell the idea to the director, and the crew so they understand the point and then I have to sell all of this again as making a film has an end and so you always have to sell. I joke to my friends and say that 95% of my job is sales and the other 5% is: pre-production, production, post production, accounts, legal, company running, filming, editing, voiceover, graphics, animation, design, awards entering, social media and drinking coffee!

2: Always have a plan - now not everyone needs to know the plan they just need to know that you have a plan - if you don't have a plan find one and stick to it until someone has a better idea.

3: film making is a team activity, and to make a good film you need a good team - it’s like anything in life really find great people and work with them - you want people on set who pull you up, who go that extra mile who stay composed even when things don’t quite go to plan. They are hard to find but when you do it will change your life! (That’s a little shout out to my team - you know who you are your all epic! )

4: this maybe a little contentious! But You have to love this job and you can’t really call it a job it has to be your life, everything you do has to be geared towards creating otherwise you will never succeed - the hours are horrific the pay is often appalling, your are effective to weather, clients, crew, kit, stray pigs, wild snakes, lack of power, security threats, no fly zones, jobs being postponed, cancelled shelved being revisited 5 years later- kit dying, exploding and just having a blue screen of death - this is a producers bread and butter and it’s 7 days a week 24 hours a day especially when working internationally and unless you understand that it can get very exhausting!

And finally number 5:
Have fun! As a film maker, producer, director, cameraman, one man band, editor, company director I am in the very privileged position of getting up every day and doing what I love I get to make films and if your not having fun then you are not doing something right so change it because you cannot live this lifestyle unless you love it and you can’t love it unless it’s fun (in my experience!)


Ok so now onto my fashion and more widely photography.

From the moment I could walk I’ve loved shooting, I’ve loved cameras and I’ve loved capturing images, I got really into shooting stills in art school and then developed it further I’ve had work in publications across the world and many front covers.

The thing that I love about fashion is that you can see the beauty - in other areas you have to search and hunt for it but in fashion it’s very obviously in front of you and so your attention goes onto how best to capture this - from technical elements like the type of camera, lens, location and light to the more emotive elements this is where the fun is and what kind of message you want to portray in the work.

And this feeds into the production work I like looking at how I’ve shot something in the fashion world and figuring out how I can apply that to the film world- sometimes it works really well and other times well...

So my top tips for fashion photography:

1: have a plan!
2: be competent with your equipment, practice with your cameras, lighting backgrounds, read your manuals understand what your camera can and can’t do and work to its strengths
3: always be courteous, kind and a nice person - the world has enough arses in it already you don’t need to be another one. ( I do try 🙈)
4: fashion photography is a team creation and find people you like working with and who are great!
5: strive to create truly great work- keep pushing yourself and learn from your mistakes

I hope that this has given you a little insight to what I do! If you liked this post please let me know and I’ll do more!!

Oh and a quick plug - im having an exhibition very soon called digital beauty - if you keep an eye out on social media things are going to start happening very soon! and here's a quick screen grab from one of the installations:

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