Many Welsh or Wales based arts graduates are finding this current period especially difficult. Their usual opportunities to meet agents, prepare for final year exhibitions or productions may take place later in the year or sadly not at all. To raise awareness of the diverse talent graduating this year GTC is offering any Welsh or Wales based graduate the opportunity to be showcased on our website. If you are interested, please do get in touch.
Hi Callum great to meet you, can you give our readers some background information on yourself please?
Hi, thank you very much, I really appreciate this opportunity. So I was brought up in a small village in the South Wales valleys called Cwm near to the town of Ebbw Vale. I studied Media at Coleg Gwent’s Learning Zone, and then I went on to study Media Production at the University of South Wales.
After graduating I needed some sort of income so I got a job at Superbowl UK Cradiff as a general assistant, progressing then to a Trainee Manager, until recently when I got a job at Bad Wolf in Cardiff, the company responsible for major productions such as His Dark Materials and A Discovery of Witches.
While I was at school, the film-making process really fascinated me and I knew I wanted to pursue a career. However there was something else that fascinated me, I seen this video online where someone built their own Iron Man suit (it obviously didn’t fly or have the major weapon systems), and after seeing this it was something I really wanted to do, after looking into it over the space of around 2 years, I finally got around to doing it myself. At college I borrowed some of the equipment needed over weekends and ploughed through getting it done ready for comic-con in May. I finished the night before and it went down a storm! I couldn’t have been more pleased with it, all day people were asking me for pictures, selfies etc, I couldn’t believe how well it went down. Since then I have been hooked on the fabrication process, the attention to detail and the appreciation received, its all the spark that lights the fire. Since then I have completed a full size Dalek, a Captain America costume and shield, also had another go at Iron Man in order to improve on my skills and do a better job than the first time around. This has all been on the sidelines, all with my own money for my own pleasure, looking to hopefully pursue a career in this and some sort of production work in the future.
On the flip side to this I also really enjoy being behind the scenes and while at University I got opportunities to work on TV productions, the first was “Cythrel Canu”, a show for S4C where I worked as a Trainee Art Department Runner. Also on “To Provide All People”, a show for BBC1 starring an A list cast filming at Neville Hall Hospital, the Sugar Loaf mountain and in Whitchurch. The film-making process is something I really enjoy, the organisation required and skill to produce something of a high quality fascinates me. Me and my brother have had a Production in the pipeline now for a good 2 years, having being on the sidelines while we both finish University, hopefully though when he graduates this year we can storm through it and finally get it finished.
So, what got you interested in the arts?
Originally what got me hooked on the film making process was in 2001 when the Lord of the Rings came out. The way Peter Jackson immersed me in a mythical world really influenced me.
I would watch these films over and over again, and also take a look into the behind the scenes on the film making process, and how they done everything really appealed to me (maybe not in 2001 as I was only 4, but probably as I was getting older). Having then being influenced to be more creative and practical was down to Robert Downey Jr in 2008 when he assumed the role of Tony Stark in Iron Man, after watching this I really wanted to be Tony Stark and make the suit of armour, which I ended up doing in 2015.
Can you tell us about your creative process?
When I want to start anything, I make sure it is something I love and will want to put my all into, otherwise I may lose heart and not want to finish it simply because I wouldn’t love what I’m doing. When I know I am going to start something then I do as much research on it as I can as its easier to think something through in detail at the beginning, than to change it once its already done and too late. I keep my eye open all the time to ideas and influences that may help along the way that I may not have thought of and could be a great help. I ask my dad a fair bit too, anytime I’m stuck as to how something is going to work I ask him for his opinion as it really helps getting a fresh pair of eyes look at it.
As a young Welsh artist graduating during a very difficult period what investment and support do you think is required to enable your career to develop and prosper?
In order to get support it is very important for someone to know exactly where they want to end up, as its hard to get help to get somewhere if you don’t know where you want to end up. While still in education the best support can be your lecturers/tutors, who are real industry professionals and have had experience in the industry, and even if you have finished education, I’m sure they will be more than happy to offer support and guidance as to which direction to head into. As a tool, YouTube is one of the best free learning resources out there, if you want to do anything, there’ll probably be some sort of guide/ tutorial on ho to get started.
A range of arts organisation and individuals are now working online or finding new ways to reach out to audiences. Have you seen any particularly good examples of this way of working?
The best example out there has to be YouTube, as this is a platform where anyone can post whatever they want to on there. Big organisations use it to promote themselves which normally makes for trending on that day and the days to come. Also some individuals use this as a way of income, to make their own “show” in which they post regular videos to entertain people. Two brilliant examples would be “TheSlowMoGuys” and “Colin Furze”, individuals who have made their career from YouTube and has been really successful in doing so.
If you were able to fund an area of the arts in Wales what would this be and why?
If I could fund an area, it would have to be to the individuals out there, who don’t have much of a background, have no money to get an education or the experience to get anywhere, and to give them a chance at doing what they would love to do, maybe thus giving them the kick start they need to pursue a career.
What excites you about the arts in Wales?
What excites me is that I don’t believe Wales has hit its peak yet in terms of the full potential that the country is capable of. We have already seen massive shows such as Doctor Who and His Dark Materials grace our screens, but I believe this is just the beginning. Not knowing where the future is going to be for this country is really exhilarating, it can only go up from here. Recently Robert Downey Jr portrayed the role of Dr Dolittle, performing this role in a Welsh accent, showcasing this to the rest of the world. The talent we have in Wales is also something to be excited about, Luke Evans, Ruth Jones, Michael Sheen, Matthew Rhys, Anthony Hopkins, to name a few are all Welsh people who have made it big so far in the world, this list is going to grow by a great deal, a list of names that Wales is going to be proud of.
What was the last really great thing that you experienced that you would like to share with our readers?
The last great thing I experienced was getting a job at Bad Wolf. When I used to work at Superbowl UK, I would pass the studio on the way to work, I would always look over and think “I would love to work in there some day” and now I do. While working at Bad Wolf I have also had amazing opportunities within the company, such as working on the His Dark Materials Welsh Premiere, being able to visit the sets of the mythical land and meeting the stars of the show. It’s something I will truly cherish forever.