TV Futures, Tales on Location


Georgia Thirtle TV-Bay Magazine
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If I think back to last May, I was just finishing my second year at the University of Portsmouth, studying Television and Broadcasting, and winding down for the summer. Then out of the blue I got a message from my course leader, saying I might be getting a call from someone who was a location manager working for Raider productions, you know, the production company behind the upcoming Tomb Raider film, I mean, what!? The call was an invitation for me to come help out in a London location to set up for a shoot that would take place that weekend. No big deal, right? Huge deal!! If anyone knows me, one of the first things anyone will say is I am a massive Tomb Raider fan, so being given the chance to work behind the scenes for a shoot for the next film was pretty surreal for me, but how could I refuse such a huge opportunity? So that week, I was London bound.

What you’ve got to understand about this is, before that weekend, I’d never really worked on anything ‘major’, I’ve done work experience here and there but never worked for a company on such a large scale before, where non-disclosure agreements were to be signed and where your name appears on the same call sheet as a celebrity (I’m keeping that call sheet forever). To be honest, I was bricking it on my way over, I had no idea what would be asked of me or what I would be doing, but I was ready for anything.

So, I arrived at the location I was told to, and met up with a couple of other people who would be helping out with the same things I would be. We were then led inside and told what we’d be doing, which was mostly set up for wardrobe as well as hair and makeup. The official title for this job was Location Marshall, or Runner, which is perhaps the more familiar term.

After a short brief we were set to work. The shoot was going to accommodate a lot of people as far as I could guess, since our first job was to unload all the equipment from the truck, and my goodness, there was a lot of it. Benches, tables, clothes racks, weights were among the things we had to carry from the loading bay, to the lift then the the main hall, where the setup took place. Let me tell you, in this job you don’t need to join a gym.

After everything was unloaded and in the hall, the next job was to set up the clothes racks and the makeup area, then sort tables and benches, which is actually my thing, because all my years of part-time work in restaurants and hotels, which included setting up for functions and events, had been leading up to this day. After setting up seats and tables for 300+ there was still a lot left to do. We started work in the mid-afternoon and weren’t due to finish until later in the evening, but being in such a glam location, honestly, time just flew by and it barely felt like work at all by the time the sun was setting and we were finishing up.

It was at this point that other members of crew I didn’t know started to filter in with costumes and one of the assistant directors came and met with us and shook our hands. And it all sort of hit me that I was part of this huge operation for this feature film. When you think about the job of a Runner or Location Marshall, they’re a very small cog in the production’s machine, but they’re still there and still doing a very important job helping realise the bigger picture. And I wasn’t doing something anyone would normally regard as majorly crucial, I was setting up tables, makeup mirrors and clothes racks; but when someone who’s an executive comes up to you and thanks you for the hard work and shakes your hand in earnest you can’t help but feel proud of the fact you did this small job and heck, you did it well.

So, fast forward to September 19th 2017, the Tomb Raider trailer drops and I’m watching it with a different perspective compared to other trailers, because I was a part of this film, I helped it happen. It’s a very surreal feeling knowing I was a part of a film that will be seen by millions, but let me tell you, it’s also a pretty great feeling too. And do you know, I wouldn’t mind feeling that again and again.

Tags: iss130 | portsmouth university | tomb raider | cci tv | ccitv | Georgia Thirtle
Contributing Author Georgia Thirtle

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