British film producer Timothy Burrill OE delivered a well-pitched and superbly crafted presentation last week about his career in the film Industry as part of our VocSoc career seminar series.
We heard his reflections on a career track that has spanned over 60 years in the film sector. Starting in the shipping industry in the Birkenhead docks he was led to the City for a couple of years before he determined to pursue a career in documentary filmmaking. The rest, as they say, is history, and he went on to explain his role as a producer across an extensive and distinguished filmography including some outstanding work with Polanski in France, Poland and Germany.
He continued by asking us to reflect on the long list of credits at the end of contemporary films and what this said about the sheer diversity of roles within the sector. He then painted a vibrant picture of the UK film industry and the exciting opportunities it provides, not just for future producers but for the many professions within the sector as a whole. He talked about the effect of Netflix and other large providers on the industry and the effect that the current expansion of film and television production (and particularly extended series of programmes) is having on the sector. He also reflected on the impact of CGI, both good and bad, on contemporary filmmaking.
He encouraged those wanting to find out more to join film clubs and to look seriously at considering the British Film Institute residential programme as well as the courses run by the National Film and Television School. He also advised those researching the industry to utilise the power of the Internet Movie Database (IMDb). As well as extolling the virtues of a career in film, he also noted the long hours and the hard work, the effect that such commitments can have on relationships and the distinct possibility of being unemployed for periods of time. On balance, though, he described how he had never been bored and had the pleasure of working with an extraordinary mix of people over the years.
The talk attracted more than 40 students from a range of schools and the questions elicited were ample testament to the excellence of the talk and its relevance to an attentive audience.