We catch up with MA Film student Reece Cargan, who is specialising as a producer.
Now into trimester three with the Masters Film Projects in full swing, Reece is managing two films through development, pre-production, production, post and delivery. Juggling the many skills required to deliver films that meet creative expectations, and bring the projects in on schedule and on budget, it’s a busy time.
What is your background and what drew you to the course?
I studied for my BA in Film & Media in the North of England, graduating in 1999. My undergraduate studies were theoretical with no practical elements at all, something I regretted at the time and in the years following. I always wanted to work in the industry but couldn't see a way in without practical experience.
After university I worked as a trainer for a large outsourcing company and then worked happily in learning and development for a number of years - always wondering how I could kick-start my creative career. To this end I enrolled in a few courses and training programmes but they didn't really lead to anything. Eventually I diversified my skills and started working in web, content and copywriting, working for creative agencies, charities and then the Scottish Government.
Each of the jobs I've had have given me many transferrable skills that I have successfully used in my role as producer on the MA Film course.
In 2015 I took a sabbatical from my job and worked for a month as Web Editor for the Edinburgh International Film Festival. I had sole responsibility for the website and for interviewing attendees, filmmakers and writing and commissioning articles and news stories. It was then I realised I DID finally have skills that were useful in the film industry, I started thinking of how I could continue to use my transferrable skills.
I turned 40 in 2017 and am unsure if reaching this age was the impetus to apply for the course - whatever the reason, even if it was a mid-life crisis, I'm really glad I did.
How has the course been for you?
It has been a massive learning curve. I had all but forgotten how to reference critical essays, didn't know much about film sets and had never auditioned actors before. I have done all of these things many times over the past year and have loved every minute.
I have learnt so much from my tutors, fellow students and guest lecturers. I'm inspired by the work we are creating and know I've made the right decision.
What are you hoping to get from the course, and what does the future hold?
I want to work in production and continue to use and develop the skills gained on this course - I'm slowly becoming proficient in:
• script development
• casting and rehearsals;
• working collaboratively with the creative team
• sourcing the right location - considering the practical aspects of the infrastructure that supports the crew on set.
I’m building my skills on script breakdown using the industry standard of measurement into 1/8ths of pages, together with analysis of critical assumptions to provide creative, efficient scheduling.
I’m developing my knowledge of Movie Magic Scheduling and Budgeting software, as well as Final Draft software with the emphasis on script formatting, and want to continue using those skills in production office environments.
When I started the course I just wanted experience, and a way to carve out a career in the industry. I now have a lot of experience creating short films collaboratively, with the emphasis on a professional approach, taking on different production roles. I feel prepared to start a new chapter and know the time is right.
Reece has set up his own production company Bombito, where he plans to continue to produce short films and eventually his first feature.