30 Jul 2019
Chartered accountant Tim Powell was able to enter the television and film industry thanks to a place on the HETV Make a Move scheme for individuals stepping up in the industry
Although film and television had been a lifelong passion, Tim had difficulty seeing how he could make the transition to his preferred industry from a career in practice. “After working for more than a decade in accountancy firms, I finally decided it was time to combine the skills I’d developed with my long-held interests,” he says. “From that moment, I actively looked for ways to move into the screen industry. I should have done so earlier in my life, but it’s never too late!”
He found that accountancy in the world of high-end television and film differs substantially from accountancy in other industries. “You can be the best accountant in the world, but without a working knowledge of the industry and what each member of the crew does, you can’t really do your job properly.”
The Make a Move scheme - supported by the HETV Skills Fund – enabled him to get a foot in the door. Guided by his Make A Move mentor Dan Liddiard, a production accountant with more than 20 years of experience, he had the opportunity to work on the high-end television drama Brexit: The Uncivil War, for House Productions. “Given my years of experience as a chartered accountant in practice, Dan felt confident giving me a fair amount of responsibility from the outset and provided me with invaluable exposure to cashiering, accounts payable and cast payroll,” Tim says.
While the choice to transfer his skills to television and film meant he had to start from the bottom, he was more than happy to do that. “You don’t really appreciate the nature of the production process until you experience it first-hand,” Tim says. He found that the production team almost feels like a family, something he has so far enjoyed most about his new career path. “Once you are on the job you know your role. It’s all about making whatever contribution you can to enable the creative team to make the best production possible.”
Make a Move has enabled Tim to combine his skills and dreams. Since finishing his first placement he has reunited with his mentor Dan to work as assistant production accountant on the eight-part BBC drama Trigonometry and he has just taken on a role as assistant payroll accountant on a sci-fi blockbuster Infinite.
Make a Move encourages and promotes professional development. The aim is to enable those on the scheme to apply for work at the more senior grade they are targeting, by the end of their participation. All job roles on a production are currently eligible, but the scheme is not intended for entry-level positions.
Potential 'move ups' can include almost anything - location assistant to unit manager, make-up artist to make-up supervisor, production secretary to production coordinator. The roles supported by the scheme so far show the diverse range of possibilities: costume designers, art directors, assistant production accountants, script editors, location managers and production managers. Individuals can only participate in Make a Move after being put forward by their employer. The candidate can be a completely new person to the selected team and department or an individual that has already worked with the team.
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