It seems like only yesterday that Callum Hodgkinson joined Slinky Productions as our Production Assistant Intern.  Fresh from his second year studying Film Technology and Visual Effects at Birmingham City University (just down the road) Callum was a welcome addition to the Slinky Team.  Over the past eleven months Callum has proved himself a valuable asset – whether working out on shoots as a camera assistant, using his great graphic talents in edits or being our go-to technological office guru.  He even makes a great cuppa! So it is with a heavy heart we wish Callum well and send him back to Uni to complete his third year!

To try and sum up 11 months of hard work is no mean feat but Callum has done his best below.  We’ve started with the serious questions and left the juicy gossip till the end – so make sure you keep reading!

What have you learned from your time at Slinky Productions?

The main thing I’ll take away from working at Slinky, is a great understanding of how an effective small business is run, and how important it is that everyone works well together to help serve the collective team.  I’ve also learnt, how to work with a variety of different clients, especially knowing how to manage client expectation and make sure that the objectives of each video are kept in vision throughout the production process.  Working with Eoin especially on shoots, I’ve learn how to calm down nervous contributors, put them at their ease and then get the best footage from their interview.   Of extra interest to me on our studio shoots is seeing the important role of an Assistant Director and how that feeds into the smooth running of the shoot.

What have you learned about the wider corporate video industry?

My introduction to the corporate video industry has been extremely eye opening.  Observing the limitations that video production companies like Slinky have to work under has been incredibly interesting.  Every day can bring something different.  Many projects have limited budgets and short turn around times.  And yet, there are opportunities to be creative, to produce a fantastic piece of work which fulfils it’s objectives and looks great.  There have been really busy periods, where the team is working across many completely different projects, and it is at times like this that the team bands together and produces some of it’s greatest work.

Eoin and Callum Pack It In

What will you do when you go back to your last year of University?

I’m looking to direct my own short film, which I’m currently working on the Pre-Production for.  Alongside this I’ll be taking what I’ve learnt from Slinky and working as a Director of Photography on the short film of a friend.  I’ll also be looking to keep my hand in and my experience up with Runner and AD opportunities outside of Uni in the wider filming community – I’m hoping Slinky may have me back now and then! I’d also like to work on my personal portfolio and website – now I’ve seen how the professionals do it.

Tom and Callum Chow Down

How has it affected your career aspirations?

Working at Slinky has enabled me to see the variety of job roles within video production across the board.  I still have retained my desire to become a director working on creative dramas and films.  But also I’d love to work in advertisements, directing again.  However, my time at Slinky has taught me the value of starting at the bottom and working my way up through being a runner and Assistant Director (AD).

You’ve been on an incredible variety of shoots with Slinky – what’s been your favourites? 

One of my favourite shoots was one of the first I went on.  Working with Kettler to produce a series of outdoor furniture videos was an incredible intense three-day experience! A real baptism of fire into what Slinky can do.  I also had the privilege of doing the recee’s for this shoot as well so saw the whole project through from inception to delivery.  Another favourite has been our ongoing series with BAM Construct UK – seeing a inner city tower block grow over the year has been amazing.  Especially going up over 100 metres to get GoPro footage!

And what have been your favourite memories? 

There have honestly been so many.  Working on a music video for prep schools, meant that the whole office learnt the featured song off by heart.  I will always remember driving home after a ten hour day, slightly delirious but belting out the words to a song written for under-11s to sing! Again, working on the BAM Construct videos and going deep into the foundations and up on top of a working building site was an incredible experience.  Travelling to three countries in Europe was great fun as well – especially as some of the SteadiCam work I filmed ended up in the final Germany video!

Within the office, one of my top days was when after 48 hours and everyone in the office giving up I managed to fix the printer.  Also, sitting opposite the walking film encyclopedia that is Matt Lowe, Production Coordinator has led to so many hilarious conversations!

Any last funny stories from your time at Slinky? 

On my first trip abroad I managed to cellophane wrap my passport inside the luggage about to go into the hold before we’d even checked in, which caused a lot of amusement amongst the crew! Also, on my first studio shoot I bent down and ripped a massive hole in my shorts – sharing a little more than I wanted to in my second week at Slinky.

Working at Slinky has been an incredible experience, I’ve learn so much from all the members of the team – but above all it’s been great fun!