Mark McKenzie on transferring from the military to film locations manager

Through the ScreenSkills Veterans in Focus training course and then the film Trainee Finder programme, Royal Air Force Veteran, Mark McKenzie was able to use his existing skills to start a new career in locations in the film industry.

Mark said: “I was in the Royal Air Force for twelve years and when I left, I was looking for a new career. I discovered through an event with ScreenSkills that there is a big crossover between the military and the film locations role. It was a natural progression for me as I’m used to planning, logistics and conflict resolution. I was accepted on a ScreenSkills programme to help Military Veterans transfer their skills and was then offered a place on their film Trainee Finder programme which gives you the opportunity to do paid industry placements.”

Mark’s first placement was as location assistant on the feature film, Mothering Sunday, starring Olivia Colman and Colin Firth, something he called “a fantastic experience”. From there, he was asked to work on BBC comedy series, Ghosts Series 3, as location manager and has just completed ITV’s Murder in Provence, a new murder mystery drama.

He continued: “Barriers to entry have been lowered thanks to opportunities that organisations like ScreenSkills provide. It was a door opener for me – working on a feature like Mothering Sunday just wouldn’t have happened without ScreenSkills. It was a facilitator to get me into the industry. I’m still in touch with everyone at ScreenSkills and get almost daily updates on what’s available but I’m booked out until next April!”