5 Key Lessons I've learnt studying film and TV

Craig Cauchi has been busy throughout his FTV course at JMC and has the portfolio to prove it. He is living proof that the more you put in the more you get out. 

Since his time with JMC he has worked on some amazing projects both for JMC and externally in the industry and learnt many valuable lessons from each different project. We had a chat with Craig and asked him to describe some key lessons he has learnt so far from his biggest projects and how they are defining himself and his future career in the FTV industry and here is what he had to say…

1. Be thorough from start to finish

Whilst shooting my first documentary, I learnt the importance of how going through the entire phase from development to screening can help plan your story. I shot over ten hours of footage and conducted three interviews that went for 4 and half hours, which I ended up transcribing it all. By putting the effort in at each stage meant that I gave myself the best possible chance to find the story I needed. It really showed me that persistence and hard work pays off.

2. Remain calm under pressure 

Directing my short film was a very stressful time but strange because I loved every minute of it. Everything was on track until a week before we were slated to shoot and one of our lead actors had a family emergency and had to fly down to Melbourne. The entire week before we shot was spent changing the script and increasing roles of the cast members. Then when it came time to shoot, we lost an entire day because of rain. We were able to make up the days on a later weekend and really pulled through towards the end. This really gave me the confidence to know that I can pull something like this off and, more importantly, that it’s ok to admit you don’t know everything, which is why you have your crew there with you to help. I learnt the skill of remaining calm under the pressure as I knew that I couldn’t let it show without it impacting the crew.  But the most important lesson that I took from this as a director was to be assertive in all areas to ensure that I’m getting what I need and I’m as prepared as possible.

3. Adapt all of your skills to suit different projects

Directing the Queensland Young Achiever Awards was where I was able to put to practice everything that I had been taught in regards to live broadcast. I had to liaise closely with the client to ensure she was getting what she was after and be a leader for the rest of the crew. I was really excited about creating a collaborative environment and talking with my crew to ensure I was using them to the best of their abilities. I was able to use the skills I had picked up from my documentary by studying the event and the proceedings to ensure I was on top of things.

4. Strong work ethic and communication is key

I was lucky enough to secure a spot working at the Commonwealth Games on the Gold Coast. I was the Floor Manager for the squash, and being the only Floor Manager meant that I was there for every day. The squash event ran from 12pm, meaning I arrived at 9am and finished around 9pm. I was in charge of the activities on the Floor. This meant organising crowd engagement activities, helping out with tasks for the Sports Presentation Team, and being in charge of the Volunteers. When the event started my role was to stay on the floor and be the eyes for the Sports Presentation Manager, who was in constant contact with the Outside Broadcast. My main role was to marshal athletes, instruct coaching staff where they would be sitting, and getting the players onto the Field of Play when instructed by the Sports Presentation Manager. It was my job to help ensure the event was being run to schedule. There were some very close calls with players almost not making their call time, but I got there in the end. The big thing I took away from the experience was that the skills I’m learning, and the mindset I have towards a strong work ethic, all translated over towards a real world environment. And it was another great opportunity to brush up on my communication skills, which probably one of the most important skills to develop. 

5. Surrounding myself with likeminded people

One of the best things I’ve loved about JMC, and a huge reason why I chose to continue studying, was that I wanted to meet people in this industry. And what has happened has gone above and beyond what I expected. I’ve met people who I share a similar passion with and I’m surrounded by some amazingly talented students. And the industry we are heading into can be cut throat and pits you against each other, but I want to try and remain as supportive and helpful as possible to everyone and make sure they’re getting everything they want from this experience.
To learn more about studing Film and Television, click here.