Thanks for agreeing to take some time out of your busy filming schedule and answer some questions for us.
Q: When did you first get involved with Fusion and what were your first impressions?
I started working with Fusion in 2008 at Stephen St Studios. I was initially booked on the crew for another project that Fusion were working on and Jo asked if I would be interested in coming on board for a roll-over project. Jo and Liz were very welcoming and easy-going whilst maintaining a very professional atmosphere in the studio. As our relationship built over the initial project an opportunity arose to join Fusion.
It can be very intimidating entering a new environment with an already established crew. Whilst I had a few years industry experience, I was still very green and new to the freelance world. The welcoming nature of Fusion eased any fears I may have had operating in my role and made me feel part of the team.
Q: What are the benefits of working with a regular team?
There are many benefits of working with a regular team. Much like most industries. It builds trust and an almost telepathic understanding within the crew. This is really important as we’re often working in high-pressure live TV environments, where critical decisions have to be made at a moment’s notice. It’s also fun working with your friends! I have developed strong friendships with crew members through regular bookings together.
Q: Is there anything unique about Fusions Crew or are all crewing companies the same?
What instantly makes Fusion crews unique is their diversity. Although good progress has been made within the industry to diversify, technical operations is still a male-dominated arena. A Fusion crew on any given job will have members with varying genders and ethnicities. This is so important to attract new and diverse talent to the industry when they can identify with other members of the team they are working with on that level, alongside skill-set and industry.
Q: What do you like most about working with the Fusion team?
We have a lot of fun and everyone is nice! Broadcast television can often be unforgiving and unsociable hours, so working with such a nice bunch of people makes all the difference. There is a very inclusive, collaborative spirit with Fusion. We have each other’s backs on jobs and strive to create beautiful work as a team as opposed to focusing on personal accolades and validation (don’t worry, the latter will come too). The range of work Fusion provides is a diverse and interesting mix of genres which I feel is very important as a freelancer.
I also very much appreciate Fusion taking into consideration my Spurs season ticket when booking me in for work, despite Jo and Liz being lifelong West Ham and Arsenal fans respectively!!
Q: Any tips to newcomers about approaching a crewing company (what advice would you give to someone starting out)
One of the best pieces of advice I was given when I started out was that a proactive and positive attitude is the key to longevity in the industry. If you’re approaching crewing companies to get on their books, there’s a good chance you already know how to point a camera. Whilst technical proficiency and creative flair are important, an individual who is reliable, proactive and respectful of their peers is far more attractive to a company like Fusion.
When approaching companies, find a good balance between showcasing your work and examples of a solid team-working ethic. Do your research on who is on their books already and the productions they regularly crew up. If you’re on a job where other members of the crew are part of the same company, it’s the perfect opportunity to ask questions and show a willingness to be part of the team.
It’s inevitable that some crewing companies will say ‘no’ to you joining their books. There are a host of reasons for this, such as their books being full or not knowing enough about you or your work to make an informed decision on whether you would be the right fit for them. Don’t be disheartened, there will always be an opportunity further down the line. Television is a never-say-never industry, there is always a door waiting to be opened at the right time.
When you get on the books of a company, check in with them regularly. Ask about any projects on the horizon, let them know if you’ve worked on anything independently that aligns with any current projects they are crewing. The people behind the scenes who are scheduling you on to jobs have the thankless task of finding last-minute cover for their clients or other members of the company who can’t fulfil a booking. Be reliable and flexible, I guarantee you that will keep you at the forefront of their minds for regular bookings.
Q: What interesting fact can you tell us about Jo and Liz who run Fusion?
Not content with running a successful and time-consuming crewing company, Jo and Liz are also accredited Life Coaches; helping individuals and organisations to transform their approach and balance their lives.
Liz is also a published author and Jo can recite the WHAM rap word-for-word (accompanying dance moves included).
Q: What would be your final thoughts for new Camera ops starting out with crewing companies?
A cliché that holds very true in this line of work is “It’s not about what you know but who you know”. The industry is very small and you often see familiar faces wherever you go. With that in mind, the best advice I can give to someone starting out is simply – to be kind. Word gets around and if there’s positivity next to your name, you’ll always be one of the first names on the call sheet and enjoy a long, happy career in television.