In spring 2015, we published a blog about Epic Studios’ Ben Bailey, who had just landed a role at Norwich’s BBC Radio 1 Academy event, advising local teens on ‘How to get a job in TV’. Ben had been a technical assistant with us for around 6 months and we recommended him for the event believing he was just the right person to inspire young people hoping to break into the industry. We were right, his appearance at the Academy was a great success.
We took the opportunity to put Ben and his role with us under the spotlight at the time, in a quick interview: Epic Studios Technical Assistant Q&A. Almost 3 years on, Ben is still a valued member of our technical team and he has now progressed to the position of Lighting Operator. We thought it would be fun to catch up and see how his role and ambitions may have changed since we last spoke. Read on for more.
Epic Studios Television Production Crew – Tech Assistant to Lighting Operator
Hi Ben! Last time I interviewed you, you were a technical assistant at Epic Studios and proud of managing sound and lighting during a show without any help. You talked about the importance of self-confidence and hard work, and seemed really pleased with your progression at Epic Studios. How has your role with us changed since our chat? And would your advice to those interested in working in television remain the same?
My role has changed quite a bit within the company and as you have mentioned, I am now a lighting op at the studios. I have continued to work hard since we last spoke, learning all about lighting for TV and all kinds of events. Yes, my advice would remain the same to people. Self-confidence is very important! When I first started the lighting role, I took over from someone with an abundance of experience in this area. Of course, I had very little lighting experience back then. With a gig coming up just a week from my start date, I had to remain calm and ensure that I had everything in place in time. Without self-belief and hard work, I think I would have struggled to do this.
You told me that your stand-out moment at Epic Studios at the time, had been working on a ‘Lower than Atlantis’ gig, due to the large crowds and diverse associated challenges. What would you describe as your current stand out moment?
My current stand out moment now would have to be being the lighting operator for a WWE show that came here last May. This was an amazing experience – working on such a massive show with a lot of WWE staff. I programmed the sequences and walk on lighting for the wrestlers and rigged all the ring lights. It was extremely pleasing to see the finished result, with 2000 people visiting Epic Studios over two days.
Do you still find yourself regularly faced with new challenges? And what has been your steepest learning curve to date?
Yes! I still find myself faced with regular challenges as more tech gets brought in. When we purchase new lights, I sit down with the fixture and learn how it works. Sometimes people will ask me to program something specific on the desk and this can also be challenging if I have never done it before. My biggest learning curve would just be getting my head around lighting so quickly in the early days of the role, as mentioned in my answer above. The amount I had to learn in such a small period of time was not an easy task considering my knowledge-base back then. I really had to take the initiative in order to operate as a lighting engineer at a gig so early on. Without perseverance, I don’t think I could have secured the role – but it was a great feeling to be rewarded for my efforts and given the opportunity, having given it 100%!
When I asked what you hoped to be doing in 10 years time, you shared your ambitions to be touring with bands later in your career. What are your future plans now?
At the time of that interview I was very interested in rock music and loved seeing touring bands, which inspired that answer! This has changed somewhat now, along with my musical taste …and what I enjoy doing most. I would now hope to be working on TV productions and/or in a TV studio for the rest of my career.
In our original interview, I also asked Ben about media career opportunities and for tips on how and where to get started. He mentioned Access Creative College. Access Creative College still run very successful courses in media, that provide a great basis for those looking to work in the industry. We often work with students from the Access Norwich media courses and have helped many of them, in conjunction with the college, to gain production experience and knowledge. Access Creative College are currently taking applications for courses with a focus in media, acting, events and more – find more details on the Access Creative College website.
For those who already have some experience in TV production, there are some fantastic opportunities coming up at the studios in some of our upcoming productions. To register your interest in joining our production crew database, please EMAIL your CV / portfolio and a cover letter to: firstname.lastname@example.org (example roles shown below).
Costume Design / Maker
Digital Imaging Technician
Hair & Makeup Designer