Our BA (Hons) Filmmaking, Filmmaking and Screenwriting Diploma students, spent their afternoon with Matthew Penry-Davey, 1st Assistant Director of ‘In Bruges’, ‘Everest’, ‘Annihilation’ and the newly-released TV thriller ‘Devs’.
Matthew spoke about his incredible career as 1st AD (the job where you 'make things happen') and Associate Producer, and rising through the ranks from floor runner all the way to 1st AD. He highlighted the importance of building relationships from the start; writing letters to 'everyone' whilst on his media course, then after securing his first runner job on The Comic Strips Presents...he never looked back!
He also touched upon the fast-changing pace of the industry at the moment towards TV.
"On a TV show you just can't wing it, you have to prep everything properly. This can take anything from 6 to 12 months"
There were also detailed discussions on starting out in the film industry, and how it’s always important to be honest with your level of experience.
“There’s nothing gained from being secretive about how many jobs you have done. It brings more enthusiasm to be open and honest about your experience and from there the opportunities with blossom.”
Matthew concluded the Q&A by highlighting the responsibilities the 1st AD has on set, and how much the director relies on them. He told students how the success of a film can depend on the crew, and therefore everyone needs to share a mutual understanding and have clear aims on set, especially your director.
"It is really important with a director and especially a director you haven't worked with before to develop a trust with them"
This is part of our series of online Masterclasses, with a lineup of prominent filmmakers including Tracey Seaward (‘The Two Popes’), Corin Hardy (‘Gangs of London’), John Strickland (‘Line of Duty’) and Dick Pope (‘Mr. Turner’). This series is exclusive to our BA (Hons) Filmmaking, Filmmaking and Screenwriting Diploma students.