Is My Job Fulfilling?
Updated: Oct 15, 2019
We set up Artwell Films about a year ago and as a producer in a start-up production company you wear a lot of hats. So what is a producer in this context? Really it boils down to facilitating work. That can be anything from scheduling, filming, editing or making dinner so you give somebody else in your team time to work. In a start up like this all that matters is the work getting done. One of my favourite hats to wear is as a videographer for the company. For example the other day we shot a film for a The Garden Classroom, a company focused on encouraging outdoor learning for children. https://www.thegardenclassroom.org.uk
It was manic, wonderfully manic. The day started hiding in some bushes (in a perfectly innocent sense) waiting for the children to arrive at the park only to be told they were arriving through a different entrance. Sprinting through a park with a camera is actually my idea of fun. It was immediate and exciting. Oddly, these high pressure moments actually make you better at your job because you have to find calm and precision in a matter of seconds.
The kids get started, you're checking the light, the sound, the angle of the shot, you are so focused on capturing the occasion you can lose sight of the importance of what is happening. In front of your eyes and camera these urban kids go from screaming at bugs and mud to literally hugging trees and this all happens over the course of an hour. There was nothing more wonderful than overhearing the children tell the story of their tree "Rupert" who is 35 and moody. Yes at the very tip of the iceberg my job is fulfilling.
However, this is the exciting stuff right? Out on the ground, capturing something, in the moment? What about the part of my job that involves sitting in a dark room trawling through footage to find something useable? Something perfectly in focus, framed correctly, interesting to look at and most importantly is a sincere moment. Because the reality is, as you heard before, quite often we are doing this stuff on the run and as a result spend a a lot of time trimming the "fat" to footage that can be used. It's a long process but it is in the midst of this seeming drudgery that you come across a genuine moment and it catches your breath. For instance, you see a man, at a community bowls group, in his 60's, cheering for himself like a premiere league footballer because he scored a point. The team that day have captured raw humanity and you feel a well of joy and pride that you cannot describe. You feel you are apart of something important. So, yes even in a dark room, trawling, alone... my job in fulfilling.
And finally, I hand this footage over to the magician that is our editor. Not all are made for the job of piecing these wonderful moments together. You need patience, an inner rhythm and instinct about what punctuates a moment and did I say patience?! It takes longer than anyone knows. It's hard on your eyes, hard on your back, hard on your will power. You have to fight the urge to look at your phone or open facebook. You have to stay focused and that is hard in age when everything is designed to distract you. Yes, our editor is a magician and when they present the final trick you wonder how on earth did they do that? Where did it come from? It is at this moment you step back. You understand that it is because each of us at Artwell are fulfilled at work that this can happen. Everyone believes in every stage of the process; from meeting our clients, to picking our shots, to picking the questions, to picking the music. The simple answer is, I am doing something I believe in, so finally and happily YES my job is fulfilling.