Laura Livingstone is a producer with over 15 years experience working in live action and post production for television, feature films, commercials, documentaries, apps and game cinematics, specialising in animation and visual effects.
She studied TV and Film Communications at DAT which helped her to get an internship at a production company. From here she got a job as production coordinator and was able to travel around Europe. This job allowed her to see the funding side of films and taught her that you rarely see the entirety of projects. It also taught her that when you move jobs you need to be prepared to work your ways up from the bottom again.
She then went back to school to study post-production and found that a lot of this industry is about learning things on the job and understanding other parts of the pipeline to improve your workflow. It also showed her how vital time management is: if you have set a deadline, clients will hold you to it, no exceptions.
Because of this, communication is key:
- Remember there is other people relying on you and data being shared.
- Schedules are important: Stick to them.
- Communicate all problems: There is no shame in asking for help, it will get problems solved faster and help you meet deadlines.
- Look in to Shotgun: it isn’t realistic for us right now, it’s $30 a month: but be aware of project management tools.
Be industry aware:
- Know creative solutions for problems.
- Know how studios work and typical pipeline workflows.
- Reach out to people on LinkedIn – it is worth getting the premium trial to make contacts.
- Don’t be scared to tell people you are trying to break in to the industry: sometimes you will get rejected, other times they are busy, so don’t be afraid to follow up.
- Read industry magazines.
- Surround yourself with the right kind of people (ie people who help you grow as a person) – Thoody Threedy
- Don’t be afraid of the hustle.
- Don’t assume that everyone has the same knowledge as you: not everyone will have the same level of interest in the same things as you. You may need to put things in layman’s terms for them. Other people will do this for you too.
- List software: show your uniqueness with this.
- List your availability.
- Say your location: this can be important even if you’re working freelance.
Do not give up:
- Beat your way through problems.
- Look at the problem from different perspectives: things are not one dimensional and there are more than one way to approach things.
- Make sure your ideas are feasible: Make sure you are never at a complete standstill, you may need to downsize to meet deadlines.
Find a balance between university and your personal life:
- Give yourself deadlines.
- Look at how you’ve structured yourself and your life.
- Deadlines are crazy when it comes to uni: put them first, you can make up to people after deadlines.
Laura also emphasised the importance of networking because this field is incredibly unconventional. She organises the Irish Animation and VFX Summit LTD and she’s invited us to be VIPs at the next one, which is an insanely exciting opportunity!