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Starting again in the industry

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Hey guys,


I haven’t been on here for a while. I’m looking for some advice. Sorry if this is long winded…It’s been in my head for a while.


I’m a Scottish DP based in Hong Kong and I’m thinking about relocating back to the UK & trying to get into production work.


A bit about me :


I have an undergrad in Film from 20 years ago and about 10+ years experience in the camera side of production…everything from AC to Gaffer to DP but mainly on small productions - loadsa of Short films, Indie Music Vids & tons of corporates. (I’ve shot corporates & Indie stuff in about 12 different countries.)


I haven’t shot very regularly for a few years after a back injury took me out & I ended up getting a very well paid job in another field. When I recovered I didn’t want to continue shooting corporate jobs but I have been teaching Cinematography at a Film School part time and that’s fired me up again.


I’ve always wanted to work in the scripted TV/Film drama genre but there just aren’t many opportunities here in Honkers for non-locals and I feel like there are no options to progress – I really should have left 10 years ago.


I’m single, getting on a bit - 40+, female with no strings attached…no debts etc...


So my question :


How would someone with my years of filming experience but no real 'industry' experience fair in the UK film production scene?


I've lived outside the UK for about 17 years so I’m considering taking an MA in Cinematography partly to acclimatize myself back into the country & partly to network for industry contacts plus I do enjoy teaching film and Masters would allow me to teach college classes if things didn’t work out.... BUT I’m not sure if I should go this route?

It’s quite a lot of money to put out…OR …would I be better keeping my money to support myself while I just try to network on my own to get contacts & production jobs.


In terms of work I have no delusions of turning up & getting DP work and I would have no prob starting at the bottom of a cam dept or even a rental house, I just want to work in the camera dept with good crews but is it realistic for someone in my position and age to try to re-start a career that's been on & off for 2 decades & what route do I take?


Thanks for any thoughts or advice...harsh, truthful or difficult...I'd like to hear peoples honest opinions so i can make an informed decision...

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I think that you answered yourself a couple of times in your own post.


But perhaps you need the shelter of college and a MA film program for the next couple years to get focused. You sound like you enjoy teaching, and doing this diversifies your career path, since if you can't do, you can teach until you can. It sounds like a win-win as we say over here, because you could be networking while doing something you enjoy, that prepares you for two different yet connected career paths.


Ah, to be that young again...

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I'll say the same to you that I've said to other people: the UK has two types of work. Ultra-high-end American movies, which you will of course not be getting anywhere near, and stuff that's so poorly-paid that it's absolutely impossible to make a living. I am not joking or exaggerating.


In the terms understood by Americans, there are perhaps a few hundred jobs nationwide in film and TV work.


It is of course fiercely competitive and not often very fair.


Unless you have extensive personal contacts I wouldn't consider it.


That is as nice as I can be, sorry.



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