On Location

Moody says working on film sets is a lot of fun although working through the night is common, particularly on low budget films where money for locations is scarce. “If your location is a business, for example, you have to film when they’re not open. You get the hours [to film] whenever you can. For The Drunken Bath we were filming all night for a couple of nights but it was good fun. Max (Maxine Williams, the film’s director) would go out and get us all ice cream and we’d be eating ice cream at 4am.”Networking

Like most aspects of the film industry, networking is everything. “It’s the biggest part, apart from talent,” Moody says. “I’ve worked on corporate productions, ads and short films. I got the work mainly through contacts or invitations. It’s all been by word of mouth.” Nevertheless, continuity of work is a common problem in the industry. “You get bombarded by opportunities all at once then it slacks off. It comes in waves. But at a high level you can jump from one job to the next, especially in advertising or documentaries.”

So how do you get ahead in the field? Networking is the key. Moody says her next step is to use her contacts to find an ‘attachment’, an industry professional who you “follow around like a sheep for a period of time on a shoot”. Caroline, who plans to travel to England this year, says her dream is to get an attachment with a British cinematographer. “Some of their work is beautiful,” she says.

How to get a foot in the door

A university degree in film and television is a great way to get started in a career behind the scenes but it is by no means the only way. Cinematographer Suzanne Barker entered the industry later in life after setting up a video production company with her husband in Townsville. “I worked on boats as a hostess and deckhand while my husband and I built the company up,” she says. “When we first got going we lived on our boat. We had wires and cables and cameras everywhere? That’s how we got our company name, Mainsail Productions, because we started out on the boat.”

Barker is self-taught and believes that getting ahead in the industry is a matter of self-confidence. “I just got out there and did it without any formal training, but since I’ve been in Brisbane I’ve done a few short courses at QPIX on lighting. I’ll go to anything like that to further my knowledge.”