Director / Producer, Adam
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For the last couple of months our Job Dreams series has covered lesser-known healthcare opportunities. This time round, we’ve gone for something completely different.
Meet Adam – a director who works in the music industry. From directing Jesy Nelson’s recent documentary to on-tour filming with Christina Aguilera, safe to say he’s been pretty busy, and we’re psyched that’s he’s managed to squeeze in this interview for us. Over to you, Adam.
What do you do?
I’m a producer / director. I generally focus on working with musicians and other music-related projects. Right now I’m on tour filming Christina Aguilera!
Are there different types of Directors?
Yes, absolutely. Some directors focus only on the live music element, others on factual and documentaries. I like to think I have a broad skill set but I wouldn’t feel confident directing something like Blue Planet!
Can you tell us what your day-to-day is like?
My job is so varied. I’m predominantly a director, but I also produce. So one day I could be organising a talented camera crew, briefing them on my shot list and then filming and directing a live concert. The next, I could be writing a list of killer questions to interview an artist. But more often than not, I’m constantly writing treatments and pitches to secure the next job!
What do you love most about your job?
The best part of my job is being able to travel. I’ve been fortunate to travel the world with my career and I still find it exhilarating and inspirational. I also love music, so being able to watch and film lots of different shows and concerts with my job is really exciting.
What do you find most challenging?
Being a freelancer has its ups and downs! I enjoy being a freelancer as the jobs I take on are varied and diverse. Sometimes I’m really busy with lots of job offers, then other times there’s no work around. So it’s a little stressful making sure I’ve got enough income to pay my bills.
What did you see yourself doing when you were a kid?
When I was younger I actually always wanted to be a vet! ...Until I found out I was allergic to lots of animals so had to focus on a different career path. I had always been obsessed with music as a kid. At school, a career in the entertainment industry seemed so far-fetched, it was only afterwards that I thought I’d give it a try and applied for various different work experience roles.
What challenges did you face in reaching where you are today?
I started in the industry pretty young. I was enthusiastic and eager to succeed. However I feel I was constantly having to prove myself because I was always the youngest. I saw people at the same level progress quicker as they were a bit older. Also I was relatively confident when I began my career, but this industry is full of very confident people and often they would progress quicker as they’d say the right things. Even if I thought they weren’t very good at their job!
If you weren’t a director, what do you think you’d be?
I think it would be something to do with travel. Perhaps a travel writer, reviewing hotels and restaurants in exotic locations.
Where do you see yourself going next?
This year I directed a documentary for the BBC on cyber bullying with Jesy Nelson from Little Mix called Odd One Out. I found it really fulfilling making a piece of work that I knew would help other people. Making a documentary is so complex, with so many layers to ensure the story makes sense. I found the process really challenging but I was so proud of the final film. So I’d like to make another hard-hitting documentary. Something that could help or inspire other people.
What do you know now that you wish you’d known when you first left school?
There was a massive emphasis on going to university at my sixth form. Whilst I would encourage further education for everyone, it’s not always necessary. When I decided I was going to focus on my career after school instead of going to university I was judged by my peers, particularly as I’d got good grades at GCSE and A Levels. In my line of work I have learned everything I need to know from being on the job. I was fortunate enough to get an Internship at MTV after sixth form, and I learned lots of my skills there.
Also leaving school feels like a massive crossroads. There are seemingly endless choices for a career path. It’s OK to try out a few different things, and if you feel like it’s not for you, try something else.
What advice would you give to someone interested in joining your industry?
Get some work experience! This industry is all about who you know. Often jobs aren’t advertised, they’re given to friends of friends or based on recommendations. Doing work experience or an internship is really helpful in meeting people and proving yourself.
At the beginning of my career I was often turned down, but I promise if you work hard, persist and keep on applying something will come your way.
What’s the best piece of professional advice you’ve been given?
Be kind and work hard. You meet people from all different walks of life in this industry. I try to be kind and polite to everyone I meet which, believe me, isn’t always the case for directors!
What quote do you live by?
I don’t have a favourite quote as such. But I do follow the Dalai Lama on Twitter. And I find his words very inspirational.