JMC Academy Film and Television alumni Rob Murphy has had an amazing experience since graduating in 2012, now working as a Set Dresser on the television series, Arrow.
We caught up with Rob to talk about his time on the set of Arrow, his inspiration, motivation and experiences in the music industry so far.
Tell me about your time on set on Arrow?
So I moved to Vancouver in April 2012 and began working as a Set Dresser on both Independent films and TV commercials and it was October 2013 when I started on Arrow during the middle of season 2. I finished off Season 2 before heading to NZ in August 2014 and began work as a project installer at The Weta Workshop.
The projects that I worked on included the WW1 Gallipoli exhibition - The scale of our War, which is currently showing at Te Papa (The Wellington Museum) and was curated by the Museum of New Zealand in conjunction with Weta Workshop (Richard Taylor). The Great War Exhibition, which is currently showing at The Dominion Museum in Wellington and was curated by Peter Jackson.
I also worked on the upcoming christmas Comedy/Fantasy/Horror film Krampus. I Production Designed a short film called Hypothermia which is due out later this year. And I also had the chance to work with Wellington based International Artist Max Patte, in which, with my crew, I installed his critically acclaimed Wellington Exhibition. I returned to Vancouver in July and resumed work on Season 4 of Arrow. I'm also currently in pre-production with my producing partner with two films, one that shoots in Cuba in December and another that shoots here in Vancouver in July 2016
What does a Set Dresser do?
As a Set Dresser we are responsible for all of the dressing with in the set, both in the studios on our standing sets and out on location. We barely cross over with the shooting crew as we work ahead of them preparing/dressing the sets for the upcoming days or behind them, wrapping out of locations or re-setting the set back to it's original form after the crew has shot in there.
What was the highlight of working on set of Arrow?
The highlight of working on Arrow is getting to dress big sets from scratch. Our Set Decorator gives us a lot of freedom to take ownership of the sets and really make them our own. It's a very collaborative environment and we are encouraged to be creative and take the sets to the next level.
What did you find that you weren’t aware of before watching the behind the scenes workings?
One thing I wasn't aware of was how often one set will double as another. Often times the interior of one our standing sets will play as a completely different set. In season 2, the Queens consolidated set doubled as a Sushi restaurant.
How did you get this position on Arrow?
The Vancouver film industry is a tough one to crack. Technicians need to become part of the IATSE 891 union before working on the union shows. It takes a bit of navigating to become a union member but there are plenty of Aussie technicians working on set.
After I had finished working on a TV show called Cedar Cove I contacted the Lead Dresser on Arrow, who's number I got off a friend from another show. It turns out that they were busy and kept me on. I'd say that I was in the right place at the right time.
What advice would you give to current students currently studying FTV and wanting to get an opportunity like this?
If I had any advice to give to Students studying FTV it would be to talk to as many people who work in the industry as possible.
Film people tend to be very approachable. Get into film and on the set any way you can, even if you aspire to be a director or a producer, try starting as a Production Assistant or swinging a broom (like I did).
Don't be late
, tardiness is not acceptable no matter how good you are. Be humble and take what you can get. Once you are out on set and around other technicians, listen, don't talk, people don't want excuses, they want people who can do the job, bring a great attitude to work. Ask questions at the right time and find out how the person in the position you want got to where they are today. If you get the contact of someone who is actually working in the industry, offer to buy them coffee if they can spare the time to meet with you.
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