Friday Night Dinner Series 4 starts tonight on Channel 4, so we thought we’d sit down and have a quick Q&A with one our alumni Jhuvilyn Lucero who interned for Big Talk Productions and excitingly worked on the series.
Jhuvilyn studied Multimedia design technology at Brunel University and graduated in 2013. After years of searching for a role that would kick start her career in the television industry, this year she became a Creative Access intern as a Art Department Trainee for Big Talk Productions.
What has inspired you to work in the TV sector?
Behind the scenes is something that has always interested me. I’ve always been curious about what goes on behind the scenes of a television production, such as, what roles are involved, the different departments, and how they integrate together to make the production.
One of my inspirations came from my studies at university. For one of my modules I created a video which I thoroughly enjoyed from pre-production of brainstorming ideas, scripting, researching location, casting, to shooting/filming itself. I loved the buzz, the practicality of team working, using cameras and lighting, directing the actors until you are happy with the shot and then editing and the post production. This shed light on how much I loved production so I decided to give the TV industry a go.
What did you enjoy most about your internship at Big Talk Productions?
It was really interesting to see how much work goes into producing a TV show. You don’t realise how much work goes into it from being on the other side of the screen, but every little prop or outfit that you see has been implemented for a reason. It’s not until you’ve been behind the scenes that you start to analyse things you see on TV more.
Was this your first experience in the TV sector?
I have had some temporary work experience working on set of This Morning where I spent a day in each department such as wardrobe, camera work and editing. My internship with Big Talk was a more professional and in depth role and i felt this was because I received on-the-job training.
What did your internship entail?
My internship was for 2 months as an Art Department Trainee for Friday Night Dinner series 4 and a Productions Trainee for a month for the ‘BACK’ pilot episode. My role in the art department was to make props that characters would use in the episode. It could be something as small as a poster or something more time consuming such as a woodwork spindle which consisted of me cutting wood for days! I was taught the importance of producing several options and a variety of props for the director to choose from and to constantly be alert of sudden changes, which could potentially mean a prop would have to be replaced instantly.
I would help the standby art directors on set, where there would be a lot of takes which meant I’d have to make sure props are put back to the start of the take for continuity. I’d also assist with the breakdown of the script and be well prepared a few days before ensuring we have back ups just in case. We would discuss possible problems or solutions if they didn’t work well enough.
Big Talk were very accommodating in allowing me to experience other departments. Simply just by asking, I was also given the chance to shadow each department to have an insight of what they do, this included camera, makeup, wardrobe and productions.
Do you have any proud moments or achievements being on set?
Being in the art department I had to make a lot of props. For example, the Dad in Friday Night Dinner was scripted to create a poster and the storyline was that he supposed to be a bad at drawing. I then had to be the one to create a badly drawn poster to reflect this!
I was invited to the screening of the show last week to watch three episodes and when I saw the dad hold up the poster I had created, I actually felt really excited thinking “yeah I did that!” Most props can take a long time to create and although it was tedious work, and they are only shown for a few seconds, it’s still a proud moment seeing something you created on screen.
Did you get to meet any of the cast?
Yes! I met Paul Ritter, Tom Rosenthal, Tamsin Greig who plays the mother in the family and Simon Bird (you’ll also remember him as Will from The Inbetweeners series) who played the eldest son. They were are really professional and friendly actors and funny on set.
Tamsin was also recently a guest on another show which was being filmed at ITV studios whilst I’ve been working as a runner. I saw her name on the dressing room door and I decided to knock to ask if she needed anything and amazingly Tamsin remembered me! It’s a great experience meeting a number of people who work behind the scenes as well the actual stars and it goes to show that putting yourself out there and being friendly can make a difference to you being forgotten or remembered.
What have you been up to since your internship ended?
I am currently working as a runner on Loose Women which is exciting. Although you can view being a runner as being at the bottom of the food chain in the TV production industry, at least you’re at stage one and have got the kick start in your career that you need. My experience on both shows have triggered me to think of where I’d like to be in the future, as i’ve experienced both the creative side and studio side of TV production. It’s too early to call right now, but if i chose the creative route i’d pursue being an art director, and if i chose the studio route I’d pursue being a floor manager – either way I’d still want a career in TV production!
Have you got any advice for potential interns pursuing a career in the same industry?
One thing I’ve learned in the TV industry is the importance of networking. You’re going to have so many bad days but if you focus on your goals and be persistent you will get to where you want to be.
I would highly recommend being a Creative Access intern especially if you’re from a BAME background looking to pursue a career in the same industry as it really helps you get your foot in the door. The word about Creative Access is definitely getting out and people are excited about it.
I remember the art director of Big Talk saying to me, “Even if you’re doing a small tedious task like making a prop, you should be persistent. Because even if you think no one is watching you, there will be one person that is watching you and you will get credit for it.” I’m definitely going to remember this in the future and advise others too!
How did you find the Creative Access process?
Fantastic! I loved the masterclasses, with the one held at Twitter HQ being my favourite! I’d like to thank Creative Access for the rewarding opportunity and I hope you continue and keep inspiring people who are giving up and feel like they can’t pursue their dreams in the industry. I feel like I wouldn’t have got my current role at Loose Women if it wasn’t for my internship at Big Talk so for that I thank you for opening doors for me to achieve my dream.
Friday Night Dinner Series 4 airs tonight and every Friday thereafter on Channel 4 at 10pm.