Erin Hopkins: Freelancer of the Month
What inspired your decision to specialise in short-form video content?
After leaving film school, I secured a few post-production jobs in film and TV. However, I soon realised my addiction to variety, and opted for a freelance career where I could seek out my own projects. I love working in different environments and meeting new people. Short-form video allows me to work across a wide range of industries, which I find incredibly interesting. I spend a lot of time interviewing passionate people, and that’s something I really love.
With your impressive skill set as a director, editor, and camera operator, which role do you find most fulfilling, and why?
Sometimes, while I’m out filming, I wish I was indoors editing, and when I’m editing, I often think I’d rather be out with a camera. This is probably one of the reasons why I need to keep rotating through different roles.
‘I soon realised my addiction to variety, and opted for a freelance career where I could seek out my own projects’
When it comes to working on projects, do you thrive in a team environment, or do you prefer working alone, and what are some of the benefits of each approach?
Although I tend to think that I prefer working independently, I have a great time working in a team whenever I get the opportunity. When I’m editing, I love working by myself and at my own pace, but being part of a team when shooting enables me to focus better. As a one-man-band on my shoots, I’m used to doing everything myself – lighting, sound, camera, directing. So, working on larger productions within a team allows me to focus on a single task, which is great.
Of all the content you have directed, which project was the most exciting for you, and why was it such a memorable experience?
A few years ago, I produced a short documentary for a theatre company that was funded by the National Lottery. It was an exciting project for me because I got to travel around the canals and rivers of the UK, filming historic canal boats, interviewing people, and working with fascinating archive material. It involved all of my favourite things: travelling, boats, history, and very old pubs.
Your collaborations with musicians, theatres, and artists have produced some incredible work. Can you describe what it’s like to work in such a creatively charged environment, and which project was your favourite to work on?
Collaborating with artists is always super exciting and inspiring for me. Recently, I worked on a project for Extraordinary Bodies, which creates performances that combine the talents of disabled and non-disabled artists through circus, dance, theatre, and music. It’s such a privilege to be producing content for organisations that are doing such radical work.
While most of my work has focused on video production, my involvement with various theatre companies over the years led to me being hired to do some still photography for several shows at the Edinburgh Fringe festival last year. It was so rewarding to see my work published in so many different newspapers and magazines, including a prominent feature on the front cover of The Scotsman’s festival magazine. As a photographer, it was particularly fulfilling to be told by performers that my photos had captured the essence of what their show was about.
Who are some of the directors or camera operators that inspire you, and what qualities in their work do you strive to emulate in your own?
I’m really inspired by Ben Wheatley at the moment. He’s making the kind of atmospheric and strange films that I absolutely aspire to, but mostly I admire him as a director who just gets stuff done. I’ve been to a few talks and Q&As of his and always come away with a renewed drive to create things.
As a Freelancer, what does a typical workday look like for you, and how do you balance the creative and business aspects of your work?
I don’t really have a typical workday, which is really how I like it. I mostly work from my studio space which I share with a lot of other creatives and have access to a photo studio there as well, so if I have an evening free, I love to book in some time to play around with lighting and kit. I’ve been experimenting with shooting still life setups recently, which isn’t something I do professionally at all, but it’s great to have a static (and silent) subject to try out creative lighting techniques on.
Looking to the future, what is your biggest career aspiration, and what steps are you taking to achieve it?
I want to make a feature film in the not too distant future, but this year I’m working on collaborating more with other artists and performers, as well as just being more creative in general and not getting hung up on perfection. It actually feels great to just be getting out and filming stuff, taking photos, writing, and learning, without defining exactly what my end goal is yet.