James Willcocks


08 Oct

Bournemouth University - Boom Operator Work Placement

What was your role on set?

Primarily on set my role was Boom Operator, however I also spent a lot of time assisting in other departments such as Gaffer and some set dressing.

What was your experience like working on this feature?

Immensely unique, the crew all worked so well together on and off set, there was an incredibly friendly yet professional atmosphere and the moments of friendship really helped during the long shoots. I learned immeasurable amounts in not only my department but others too, I had a very well rounded learning experience.

How has this experience differed from any other experience you have had before?

I made some friends on this shoot I will take forward forever in my career, not only are they invaluable contacts but to have friends you can rely on in the workplace and more personally is so important for me. It was my first feature, i felt massively out of my depth, without the guidance and comfort of my crewmates it would have been a very different story.

Do you think you would continue this role on future films?

As much as I loved my role on Boom, I don’t think I would. Not because of the role itself just because my interests lie more in the production team. Producer, Production Manager, Production Assistant etc. All things aside, my new understanding of the sound department (thank you Kevin Harper) gives me a higher respect for the role and my new found knowledge, I hope, will help me be a better Producer.

What have you learned from your work on this feature?

I think it’s hard to exactly put into words what I actually have learnt, I  think it’s more I have learnt so many things about the general running of the industry, running of a film set and further the running of low budget more importantly. I learned a great deal about the importance of lightning and methods of achieving desired effects. I have also learned mainly that a good relationship with your crew mates is crucial. You’re going to spend some long hours with them, and in my case we all stayed and dined in the same house. They will be the people you go to after a 12 hour shoot, having the support there will keep you going some days.

Do you have any tips that you could share for others who are looking to work on features from your experience?

Honestly my one piece of advice is take any role you get offered. The most important thing is getting on to that set and getting your name out there, socialise, listen and work really, really hard. I was sceptical to take the role of Boom initially, the sound mixer supervising me took me under his wing and was so supportive. I met so many people and gained all these contacts but most importantly have made an impression. I have been assured I’d get their recommendation and have been brought back for more work. We are in a tough, tough industry and unfortunately it is down to who you know. Get your name out there in anyway you can, social media, websites or even business cards. You’re more memorable that way.

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