Nicolas Motte has made the move he wanted to make from runner to production secretary with the support of the ScreenSkills High-end TV Skills Fund.
He had worked as a runner for around six years on shows including Sky’s Patrick Melrose, BBC’s Casualty and ITV’s Mr Selfridge. But he says: “I was finding it difficult to step up as I hadn’t done the job before, so people weren’t wanting to take a chance. No one really gives you a chance to step up; part of it is not wanting to take a risk and also if you take a chance on someone and it doesn’t work out, it reflects horribly on you. It’s just the way it is, especially when it’s so busy with people not having the time to train people up.”
He was working on doing clearances on Lionsgate Television’s The Rook when the opportunity finally arose on Hanna, and his line producer, Rachael Cole suggested he take on the role with the support of ScreenSkills’ Make a Move to help him learn as much as possible. “I thought it would give me more strings to my bow.”
His new role involves a “lot of administrative duty” and sourcing things, and whilst he has a lot of experience from his days as a runner, he says: “There is an awful lot more I’d like to learn and I’ve now been given the chance to pester people about it to get involved in accommodation, travel, contracts, etc.”
Learning new tools has been an objective, especially Final Draft, which he acknowledges is not used much on high-end jobs, but he wanted to learn for roles on dramas that do not have script editors. So his coordinator gave him a tutorial on it.
Hanna has been shooting in Spain and France, as well as the UK and part of Nicolas’ job has been co-ordinating the travel and accommodation: “Finding solutions to things and being a good problem-solver is key to the job”.
Born in Coventry, but half-French and educated at the Lycée International de Saint-Germain-en-Laye and Glasgow University, his bi-lingual skills have come in handy: “I’ve been working with the art department who needed translators to speak French and different languages.”
He finishes on Hanna mid-November 2019, once he has coordinated all the wraps from the UK end, “which is great as that’s not something I’ve ever done. So I’ll have seen this from setting up the office, right through to shutting it down – so quite exciting.”
Being on Make a Move has been invaluable for Nicolas: “You get access to networking groups and people who’ve been on the course before…they have their own Facebook group; it’s a very supportive environment, otherwise you have to do all of that yourself. I think sometimes people are told not to be too pushy, but this gives you the opportunity to step up as you’re surrounded by other people who will help you.”
Apart from a short stint as a copywriter at McCann Erickson, 32-year-old Nicolas’ whole career has been in television. He gives this advice to those wanting to enter the industry: “One of the toughest things is the long hours - it’s not a job you can do half-heartedly.”
He hopes in future to become an assistant coordinator and then maybe a production manager. ”But it could go in a different direction depending on what opportunities arise. It’s an unpredictable career and I think a lot of people end up in roles they didn’t think they would. I don’t think there’s any one path.”