A day in the life of a runner

As someone who came onto this MA having barely any experience in the film and television industry, when a friend offered the opportunity to be a runner for a music video with Gas and Electric it was impossible to turn down, but extremely nerve wracking at the same time. I couldn’t wait to experience a professional production.

LydiaBlogThe day before the shoot we were emailed a call sheet (a real, proper call sheet) where we could see the various locations we would be filming, the plan for the day and contacts for everyone involved. The overall day took 12 hours and was scheduled in so much detail. Myself and another FTV student, Talla, were awake and on location by 6.30am. We had the warmest welcome and were introduced to the team with as many bacon rolls and drinks of coffee as we liked. At 7am on the dot, the advanced schedule began, and we started by being in charge of the distribution and set up of the radio mics. These walkie talkies were essential during the shoot as they enabled the contact between many of the production team. Talla and I were numbers 4 and 5, also included were the 1st assistant director, the production assistant and the producer, who was sat at the unit base looking after the equipment throughout the day.

While everyone was setting up, me and Talla were introduced to the new talented artist – a young local performer from Birmingham. She chatted away to us while having her make up done by an artist, also a local student, so we all had a lot to talk about. Then Talla proceeded to the first location and I remained at the base. Talla was initially responsible for the playback of the music via a speaker she was holding so the artist could be filmed lip-syncing to it – I also took responsibility for this later on in the day. I was then asked to meet the team with a neon yellow jacket at the next location to help stop the disruption of filming as people and cars were often coming into the shot – I do have to say I enjoyed having this power! I then began to watch the effortless filming of the crew and saw how a music video could be filmed.

I was summoned after a while to have the responsible task of returning the SD card full of footage to the unit base, to transfer it onto a computer and bring it back empty to be used again – this is when the term ‘runner’ really came into account, as I could be seen running through the busy streets of Digbeth back and forth a few times. Talla carried on with the playback duty and some members of the public wanted to join the filming. The talent and director both agreed, and I was therefore sent to grab some release forms to obtain their consent for being filmed.

Lunch time came and by then we had already been on site for 7 hours, so the chilli and rice provided for us at the unit base pub was (as you can imagine) a great success. After filming in multiple locations, I watched the team be challenged by someone from the council asking for a permit. This was handled so calmly, and the production assistant sorted it out so it did not affect the team shooting all the action. After 12 long hours of filming, Talla and I put away all the radio equipment and loaded it into the van to be taken back to London. From our position as runners, we experienced up close what goes into the production of a small-team location music video. All of the scheduled organised chaos at the time did not stop the positive and kind nature of the production team, who continued to ask how we were and whether we were okay as first timers on the job. In conclusion, I would 100% be a runner again, even if that does mean running around Birmingham in -1 degrees!

Lydia James

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Using social media to promote your work

Fred Ikezue-Clifford completed the MA in September 2017. While finishing his dissertation, he was also working as a freelance filmmaker in London, focusing on music videos and using Instagram to grow his client base.

FredBlog1Instagram is a social media platform that filmmakers and photographers can use to promote their work and get it seen by people from all over the world. As an aspiring filmmaker I began watching various YouTube videos on how to effectively promote your work and gain followers and discovered that Instagram was one way forward. I’ve always had a love for music so decided to learn how to create music videos in the most cinematic way possible and then promote them on social media.

I strongly believe that music video production is one way filmmakers can effectively make money because of the amount of artists who want videos. It may seem daunting at first but there are people who will need your services and creative eye! However, there is a lot of competition out there from other directors who may be more experienced then you or have better equipment but its all about perseverance! I was able to get my first client via Twitter. An artist who studied in Birmingham was looking for a local videographer and I happened to see him tweet this at the right time. So I contacted him and sent through my work, which convinced him to work with me. Once I finished his video and promoted it on social media, more work started coming my way and this cycle continued to repeat itself.Fredblog2

On my own Instagram profile, I make sure I upload the best quality pictures possible and try to be as creative as I can with how I upload my videos. For example, as well as uploading videos I also upload still frames from my projects as way of showing off my editing and colour grading skills.

Furthermore, I use hashtags such as #musicvideo, #cinematography and #directorslife when I post my work and make sure I’m consistent with the content I upload on a weekly basis. After doing some research I discovered that the best times to upload content on Instagram is between 8pm and 9:30pm on Wednesday/Thursday and virtually anytime in the afternoon on Sunday. These are the days and times you can drive the most traffic to your page. Usually once a potential client sees my post they message me directly and discuss their needs for a potential video. Back in June I had about 120 followers on Instagram and now in October I’m almost at 500 followers and that’s purely becausFredblog3e I’ve been consistent with the work I post. It may not be a massive amount, but slow progress is better than no progress.

I’m still learning how to grow my following and improve my content on a daily basis but I hope these tips will be beneficial and make you consider trying out music video directing, and promoting your work on social media platforms.

 

Fred Ikezue – Clifford