Getting Into Films and Television (9th Edition)
Films and television are two of the most powerful elements in the communications industry for they have the ability to entertain, inform and instruct in a very special way.
They may be addressed to an audience of one sitting at home in front of a television set or computer screen or an audience of many thousands in a darkened theatre seeing giant pictures engulfing them with the most powerful visual and sound images; and both extremes of audience numbers and every combination in between may be seeing anything from the most intense and lavish drama with a cast and crew of hundreds like The Lord of the Rings to a single talking head like an evening with the late Peter Ustinov, from the most dramatic news event like the first moon landing being seen as it actually happens to a complicated and carefully constructed teaching film on the most specialised subject like heart surgery for medical students.
But there is one element common to all that makes these two media of film and television so unique – it is the moving picture image.
It is therefore essential for anyone wanting to become involved in the production of films or television in any capacity to realise that, in spite of the common factor of the moving picture, the various types of production are all separate and often somewhat self-contained cottage-style industries.
So the first thing for any prospective newcomer to decide is what particular aspect and what type of production interests you most. To help you in this, you might try what might be called ‘the magic wand trick’.
Imagine that all your ambitions could be realised and by means of a magic wand you are propelled forward in time, say ten years. What would you like to be doing most of all?
Directing epics like James Bond movies, photographing wild life documentaries, writing scripts for training films for BP or designing sets for classic costume dramas?
By this means, the planning of your career path can be better defined and you may possibly avoid some wasted time, energy and money seeking employment in production areas far removed from your ultimate ambition.
That is not to say that cross-fertilisation is not possible within both film and television and many a director has moved from documentary to drama, many an editor from post-production to directing. But, sadly, there is still quite a gulf between, for example, the world of live TV production and the more meticulous and slower type of work on film making in a studio. There are, of course, many elements common to all types of production and with improvements in High Definition, video and DVD (digital video disc) technology and changes in fashion and style, the possibilities for moving from one sort of production to another are increasing all the time
But very often it is the area where you start which may influence very strongly the course your career may subsequently take. So whether you think you know exactly where your ambitions lie or whether, like many, you just know you want to be involved in some way in the business of film and television, the aim of this book is to give you a taste of the various jobs in different types of production and then suggest routes that you might take to get a foothold in your chosen area.