In our latest edition of creative industry trailblazers, we’re speaking to Creative Access alumni and member of our Steering Group Nitin Rishi! Nitin started off as a technical runner for TV and radio production company, Somethin Else in 2015 and now works as a freelance producer and director. He work has been broadcast across all major UK broadcasters and he’s produced programmes at major global events like the FIFA World Cup Final, as well as directed commercials for brands such as Porsche, D&G and Christies.
Here he gives his advice on the skills you need to break into the role of producer/director, and how you can move up the career ladder in TV and film too, as well as what inspires him creatively…
Can you briefly tell us how you got into the role you’re currently in?
My first foot in the door was working as a technical runner for TV and radio production company, Somethin’ Else. This was through the Creative Access paid internship scheme, and it provided an invaluable foundation to build my skills and network.
I tried to learn as much as I could about cameras and post-production and eventually progressed to in-house camera operator and editor.
After two years full time, I went freelance as a shooting assistant producer to get more experience in the editorial aspect of production. I jumped between various editorial and crew roles to eventually work my way up to a producer / director in TV, whilst also maintaining an active presence in lighting, shooting and editing for both independent and commercial productions.
What skill would you say is essential to possess in your role?
A solid understanding of filming and post-production processes and techniques is essential. This includes a certain degree of technical knowledge so you can clearly communicate with your crew to ensure a seamless production process and a polished-looking finished product.
What’s the best/most helpful career advice you ever received?
Treat everyone you work with or alongside with respect and kindness and don’t burn bridges. You never know where your next project might come from. For example, the runner on your set today might be the executive on a show hiring you later down the road, so be a nice person and stay in people’s good books.
What project are you most proud of working on?
When I first started freelancing, I was one of the camera operators on Sky Art’s ‘Brian Johnson’s Life on the Road’ I got to work with rock legends such as Led Zeppelin’s Robert Plant, Pink Floyd’s Nick Mason and, of course, AC/DC’s Brian Johnson himself. I’m a huge fan of rock music so this was a special project for me to be involved with.
Why should people consider a career as a producer/director?
If you want to have a dynamic, varied career where you get to travel the world, work creatively to tell stories through pictures and sound, and temporarily immerse yourself in different worlds and subcultures, then you’ll be really well suited to this line of work.
What can people do to move up the ladder in TV/film industry?
There are a few things I’d recommend:
- Make sure you always nurture and focus on your passion for filmmaking; always be learning and upskilling. Whether it’s refining your soft skills, like leadership and organisation or your hard skills, like learning how to use new cameras and mastering editing software.
- Ensure everything you do is executed punctually, properly and enthusiastically, no matter how menial the task. People will take notice and begin entrusting you with greater responsibilities.
- When you’re starting out always be prepared to go the extra mile. Work on as many different projects as you can but be conscious about taking on more than you can handle.
- Build and maintain a strong network in the industry; be sociable, helpful and be that person that connects people.
Which creative industry trailblazer inspires you and why?
Filmmaker and director Asif Kapadia: Every generation has a filmmaker that is able to bring documentaries to the mainstream and Asif Kapadia has been able to do this with his exceptional films like Senna, Amy & Diego Maradona.
His films are accessible and meticulously put together, but also have a raw authenticity to them.
We are also both British South Asians from North London so for me to see him break through the glass ceiling to become one of the most celebrated directors of his generation is very inspiring.
Read more of our creative industry trailblazer series here.