From Financial Services to Filmmaking

Like many of my ex-colleagues working in the financial services industry, I was working hard climbing the career ladder just to discover that it was the wrong ladder.  I've got a lot of skills and experience in my 20 year career, but I wanted to get out of the corporate world.  Eventually I discovered that my real passion is filmmaking.  But how do you start a new creative career without taking a huge financial hit by losing a corporate job?  Here are my tips on how I achieved it:

1.  Find a job you love and you will never have to work a day in your life

This saying is great, but it does not materialise immediately.  It takes years of learning and experience to make a living in the filmmaking industry, and not everybody succeeds financially.  But what is important that you need to take time to understand what you like.  It took me a few years of experimentation - carpentry, upholstery, photography, painting, animation, sewing. However, after I got my first decent camera, discovered the video button and did some editing, I knew that I had found it.

2.  Take any opportunity to learn both formally and informally

Once you know what you want to achieve, try to find suitable courses and networking opportunities. I have done an excellent course with the London Film Academy (about which I've written a separate post), I have done several editing, sound-recording,  lighting and camerawork courses with Morley College and I found a government-sponsored programme that gave me free of charge business mentoring service for my creative business and free facilities for client meetings.  I regularly network with filmmakers at various events, particularly short film screenings and educational workshops (for example, Shorts-on-tap, Short&Sweet, The Film Festival Doctor workshops, online cinematography forum Cinesummit).  I take every opportunity to practice, whether it is a family celebration, a paid corporate video job, a student commercial or a short film done with complete strangers through Facebook filming groups.  I am also a member of the Let's Make A Scene group on Meetup where we regularly meet to produce short films in a social learning environment and where you can try different roles from gaffer and sound recordist to producer and director.

3.  Get a financial cushion

Many filmmakers have to do additional jobs to make a living, and I am not an exception.  I chose to do property development and am now completing my second fairly large project - the conversion of a hotel to flats in Eltham, London SE9.  And guess what?  After we finished the build, not only had I reupholstered the furniture, sewn the curtains and used my pictures to decorate the place, I also made a film.

Please contact me if you are interested in the purchase of the apartments.  The properties are located just off Eltham High Street (Royal Borough of Greenwich).  Eltham is minutes away from many central London stations with direct trains to London Bridge, Canon Street, Victoria, Charing Cross and also has excellent bus connections. Easy access to both city and Canary Wharf.  Excellent schools. 

I am also happy to help if you need a film for your business.