Yorkshire film and TV crew offer advice in Screen Yorkshire industry showcase

Film and television crew members from across Yorkshire have talked about their experiences of working in the region and offered advice to those starting their careers.

In a showcase on Screen Yorkshire’s website, casting directors, researchers, runners, producers and more talk about the industry.

Nicci Topping is a casting director who has more than 20 years of experience in the business and worked on the Yorkshire Tea advert featuring Sheffield’s Sean Bean.

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She said: “Getting into the industry was a challenge, but once I was in I am of the belief that going the extra mile goes a long way to building relationships and repeat business with clients which is the only true way to build a sustainable business.

Nicci Topping. Photo: Martyna Przybysz.

“In short make sure you over deliver.”

Speaking about the growth in production across Yorkshire over recent years, she said: "I think things in the north are improving, but we are yet to see producers committing to work with regional heads of department, particularly in casting for film and TV drama, more often than not this seems to come out of London."

Charlie Wainwright is a researcher who has worked on shows such as Helicopter ER, a reality show about Yorkshire Air Ambulance.

Offering advice to people looking to start a career in the industry, she said: "Network as much as you can and watch lots of TV.

Jacqueline Smith.

"Getting your foot in the door can be a daunting and difficult task and often a lot of the skills you need are learnt on the job – which is why work experience is so important too.

"I’d always advise people to get your name out there, attend networking events and make sure you’re watching lots of TV so you can have something to talk about.

I’d also recommend building up a portfolio of work to show potential employers – prove your passion is consistent."

Make-up designer Lisa Parkinson, who has worked on the upcoming series of All Creatures Great and Small, said: "I would say never give up.

Georgina Kiedrowski.

"Do as much work experience as possible with people in the industry as that will enable them to see your character. Show that you are keen, its not about skills at this stage."

Dan Inman, a key grip who has worked on the forthcoming film Everyone's Talking About Jamie, spoke of how productions are changing in the region.

He said: "Production standards are higher. Projects are becoming increasingly more challenging: be it either access, safety, timescale or creativity.

"Also some productions have grown in scale, for instance, a multi camera drama isn’t just two cameras, it could be three or four.

Locations unit manager Anita Kohli, who has worked on Game of Thrones, said: "Locations is a pretty demanding department, but is also varied and exciting.

"I think when you are starting out it can be quite daunting because you are expected to be able to control a whole TV crew and make sure they are doing what they are meant to do. My advice would be stay strong and keep a positive head on.

Read more: The Yorkshire film and TV workers whose industry ground to a halt in lockdown"Also, don’t be afraid to ask questions, if you don’t know just ask no-one will think less of you! I think that’s fair to say for all departments really."

Speaking about work challenges, Jacqueline Smith, a production designer who also has experience on the All Creatures Great and Small remake, said: "I am especially proud that I managed to produce good work whilst being a mum.

"This balance has always been the greatest challenge. My kids are all amazing people so I must have done something right.

"The film and TV industry is all consuming so it is tricky to save energy for those you love but so important.

"I did end up having to leave the industry for several years to focus on my kids, during which I taught Art in a Yorkshire secondary school.

"This was a wonderful experience and taught me so much. A particular highlight though, was receiving a message from a producer I had worked with in the past asking me if I would like to design the new series of All Creatures Great and Small.

"I was thrilled to accept. It was nerve racking initially as I worried I would have forgotten how to do the job, but it seems the bike riding analogy is right. It was a joy!"

Georgina Kiedrowski, a shooting producer/ director who has also worked on Helicopter ER with York-based Air TV, said: "There’s a really special atmosphere working in Yorkshire, whilst the talent pool is huge, it feels like everybody knows each other and helps each other out.

"I’ve worked with Air TV, True North and Daisybeck and had some wonderful experiences.

"The Covid crisis has been horrendous for the industry, but despite this, I’ve been part of a team who have really wrapped their arms around each other and looked after each other in a way I haven’t experienced before and that’s something I’ll never forget.

"Yorkshire is a very special place with very special people."

For more information about the showcase, visit www.screenyorkshire.co.uk