From a seaside town to filmmaking in Central London - #MemberSpotlight

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If there's one thing you will learn from all of these Member Spotlights of ours, it is that ambition can get you anywhere. No matter where you are coming from, or where you want to go. This was the case of Corry Raymond.

Born and raised in a seaside town, Corry moved to London when he was just 21 and started working in production after gaining some experience in the industry. He is still doing quite well now, forging ahead through these difficult times, one extra note on iCloud at a time. There's a bit of Corry in all of us; thus, it shouldn't be difficult for you to understand why he loves his craft so much.

For this Member Spotlight, we are learning more about Corry's creative process, his dreams, his personal story and a whole lot more, in one of the most inspiring interviews you'll read this week.


How did you get into the industry?

I was raised in a seaside town called Weston-super-Mare and during the summer of 2013, was very fortunate to have a Sky One television production come to town, where I was invited to work as an apprentice at age 18. That experience served as the foundation for working in this industry. 

After gaining enough experience through client work and creating short films, I moved to London at 21 to join a production company (Wild Street Productions).

Where are you based now and who do you work for?

I live and work in Central London as a freelance content producer / filmmaker. The type of work varies constantly, so it keeps me on my toes and allows me to learn new things each time around.


If you weren’t in your current industry, what would you be doing?

Probably law. I would enjoy the negotiating, although it’s probably not like in the movies!


Can you explain your creative process?

I start in notes on iCloud, which is useful as it is synced between all my devices should any spontaneous thoughts come to me while on public transport (which regularly happens).

For the record, I have 13,502 notes on my iCloud!

From those notes, I begin writing lists of everything that needs to be achieved, in chronological order, to get to the end product. So, every day I look at my to do list and work through it, ticking things off and adding new things, until the end product is complete. Any notes from clients simply gets added to the to do list.

On a larger project, I organise them into This Month, Next Month, This Year.

Trello is excellent for that, but notes is often perfectly fine.


How would you describe your style?

Vibrant, visually dynamic, with a good sense of humour. 

Do you have any heroes in the industry?

I look to the work of Jonathan Glazer regularly for inspiration. In the 2000s he made some incredible short, sharp awareness ads for brands. Being an awareness ad, probably shown solely to cinema audiences, he had relative creative freedom. 

In today’s content, the flow of delivery has completely flipped. Back then, the payoff came at the end, now the payoff has to come at the start and continue delivering! However, there’s still plenty to learn and apply from studying his work. 


How has technology affected the way you work?

Technology effects my work massively. A few years ago, I owned a Blackmagic URSA mini, a 4.6k resolution camera that was cutting edge for its time. It was, however, very large and cumbersome to transport around London. 

That was until Blackmagic Design released a smaller, 6k resolution camera, dubbed the “pocket cinema camera” which at a higher resolution, is small enough to carry around in my backpack. 

This revolutionised my workflow and especially the type of content, as it allows me the freedom to shoot virtually anywhere in the world without compromising the quality. 


What’s your secret to staying inspired and motivated?

Knowing what type of content I want to produce in the future. I have a goal and many mini goals to get to that stage. Every new piece of work brings me closer to where I want to be in the future, knowing that keeps me motivated.

What’s the work achievement you’re most proud of?

Some colleagues and I recently started creating a web series set during World War 1. It began after one of my colleagues photographed a local forest, which had burned down and now greatly resembled no man’s land. He said it would be good to shoot a World War 1 piece, so we wrote a script, sourced the costumes and props, and off we went to shoot!

There was only three of us shooting the first scene, with myself operating the camera and the sound and the two cast members, but based off the success of the first part, we have now adapted it into a series. 

How do you recharge away from the office?

My girlfriend Zara is my rock and my biggest supporter - we regularly get away and visit her hometown in the English countryside to get some clean fresh air.

My family are also huge supporters, so seeing my parents and my brothers is always a great recharge away from the City. 

Pre-COVID, life was slightly more exciting, we loved enjoying London night life! Recharging in a restaurant or bar was slightly more fun!


What is one tip that you would give to other aspiring creatives looking for work?

My biggest tip would be to seize opportunities and create the right environment to be successful. 

About a few months ago I was sat with some friends in Soho when last year’s Oscar winner (I won’t say who) walks down the street past us. So, I ran after her with my friend, congratulated her on her Oscar win and offered to buy her a coffee. To our surprise, she said yes! 

We sat for half an hour discussing film and managed to get her production company contact details. The important thing is, you have to seize opportunities and create the right circumstances to be successful. 

Sitting, waiting for the phone to ring is one way, but being persistent and creating opportunities is better. My friends and I met the Oscar winner because we had decided earlier that day to meet and discuss how we were going to kick start our careers again after COVID. We were creating the right environment.

The right environment means being proactive, surrounding yourself with people who encourage you, not demotivate you. Cutting out the “naysayers”, ie the people who tell you something isn’t possible. Anything is possible, the times we live in prove that! 

What’s your one big hope for the future of the industry?

My one big hope is that, once this pandemic passes, people return to the cinemas and theatres and start experiencing entertainment together again. 

It’s obvious some of the content we have been watching was not intended to be watched in isolation, on a mobile phone - you can tell that by the widescreen! It was meant to be watched on a big screen, with 50 or more people together, all gasping and jumping at the same time. 


If you could change one thing about the industry, what would that be?

I know freelancers want more security, and frankly, more respect since COVID. Six months ago, work was dropping like flies and there wasn’t much we could do. 

The UK Government started promoting adverts, suggesting that we should consider retraining by running a poor choice of message and an image of a ballerina in deep thought. There was a major backlash to this in the UK. It showed a thinking that we have always had to endure, whether from the Government, or from education, or from parents… that creative freelancers are dreamers. 

We’ve heard this since we were at school, that there’s no point in studying media, or music, or drama because there are no jobs in it. A careers adviser at school told me there were not any courses you could take to study film, when there was a course five miles down the road!

Netflix have announced they’re spending £1bn in content next year in the UK. The establishment need to recognise that this thinking is an outdated myth. There’s many, many jobs in this industry and plenty of opportunities. They shouldn’t be running ads telling people to retrain, they should be spending that money on creating a safety net for people trying to get into this Industry. 

That’s what I want to see, a radical change in thinking of what a job is and creative people’s place in the economy.

Do you have any websites, books or resources you would recommend?

Facebook have launched the Facebook Ad library, so that now there is a transparency between the average Facebook user and the advertisers. As a content creator, it’s a great resource to find out what style content is working right now and what grabs people’s attention. 

If you can reverse engineer the content that’s working, you’ll have a great format for producing content for your clients. This industry changes fast however, so you need to be constantly engaging with it to see what’s out there and to keep picking up tips along the way!


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