I often get emails from media students asking how I started etc, so I thought this latest questionnaire might be interesting to share:-

What steps did you take to enter the industry?
I started producing wedding videos when I was 16 years old. Some were for family/acquaintances; I then started advertising and doing them professionally. I also made contacts via an amateur film maker’s club, where I met a number of TV professionals. I then left my full time electronics job after 5 years and became a freelance cameraman.

What is it like day to day during your job?
Some days can be very boring with lots of waiting around; others can be frantic and 16 hours long. I often find myself filming people doing desk jobs or perhaps working in a really horrible factory, and I feel blessed that I have this job! Mostly, I’m surrounded with lovely people and we all enjoy ourselves.

Were there any challenges you had to overcome to get to where you are now?
I didn’t have much self-confidence in my teenage years, so I guess that was the biggest challenge – selling myself.

What skills do you recommend you need for the industry?
You need to be able to get on with people from all backgrounds; self discipline; self-motivation; punctuality; and lastly, amazing technical/artistic ability (role depending).

Do you have any tips on how to acquire these skills?
All except the last one you are born with (or without), I think. For camera operating, you can learn from assisting other camera operators and being on shoots. There’s loads of material online to learn from. I also find those “making of” DVD extras you get with a movie quite intriguing – you can learn a lot about cinematography from seeing how they’ve achieved certain setups. 

Did you need any qualifications to get to where you are now?
None. Just a possession of the skills listed above is all you need to get into the industry. I have no relevant qualifications – but I’m in my 22nd year of making a living from this industry so something must be right. It’s the best job in the world!