Death on the Railroad

16 February 2013
Death on the Railroad

Learners Work Experience Report - Clare O'Hanlon, TVF6 February 2013

A 6am start on a Saturday morning is not great for early morning working and I wasn't exactly enthralled at the prospect of a weekend of 6am starts governed by Call Sheets and Early wake ups!

Death on the Railroad is a production by Tile Films, one of Irelands most reputable and respected Factual Documentary companies.  This company most recently received 4 IFTA nominations for "Saving the Titanic".  Death on the Railroad is an epic 9 year detective story and murder mystery.  It is a classic story involving foul play, cover ups, Irish immigrants who left to better themselves building railways in Philadelphia, but would never return.

Effectively as a "Runner" the scope of your job is endless.  You are the extra hands on set who makes life easier for everyone and assists in a smooth production.  The intrinsics and pre planning is imperative, particularly for an outdoor shoot, and you operate on a time sheet that leaves little or no deviation.  The meeting of the waters was our base as all filming was located around the confines of Avoca, Co Wicklow. As the driver for the rest of the production trainees, pickup spots had been previously delegated at Cherrywood Luas Station and Greystones.  Two other trainees were involved on set, and considering the early pick up times, there was an inordinate amount of enthusiasm amongst the three of us.  I would be lying to say I wasn't a little bit overwhelmed.  Both boasted two of the most reputable and respected TV and Film degrees in the country, TV and Film from IADT, and File combined with French from Trinity.

What was particularly gratifying, was knowing that irrespective of these credentials, we were all in the same boat.  There is only so much you can learn from somebody telling you something.  Who you know can often weight more than what you know.  Building a network of like minded people, on set experience, and adapting to environments where you ultimately want to base your career in, is without doubt some of the most crucial elements.

Opportunities like this let you experience firsthand how such tedious hard work comes to fruition.  It gave us (Production Trainees) a stab at:  Production make up, 1st AD (Assistant Director) roles, PA role, and the most unexpected, a re-enactment role in the production itself on Sunday, due to circumstances relating to one of the actors.  While unpaid, it was a massively beneficial endeavour to associate myself with.  It reasserted the nature of the work, its competitiveness, how tedious and tiresome it can be, the early mornings and late nights, the pre/post production importance from determining sunrise and sunset hours to securing adequate light utilisation, but ultimately cemented how much I would like to call this a career in the long run.

NOTE:  While participants on the TVF6 course do not complete a Level 6 Work Component, learners are put forward for suitable work experience opportunities which may arise, during the year and after.