Paul Cockcroft: Freelancer of the Month
Easter has come and gone, and many of us are still recovering from eating a year’s worth of chocolate in four days. The end of April means it is our favourite time of the month when we get to shout about one of our incredible freelancers and take a moment to learn about their journey.
Our Freelancer of the Month is the friendly, hard-working and multi-talented – Paul Cockcroft (Editor, Photographer and Director). Paul has only been with The Crewing Company for a short while, joining us in February this year, but has already made a great impression on the team and clients alike.
Stop Motion & Skateboarding:
It is uncommon for many of us to know what we would like to do later in life from a young age, let alone achieve that dream. Paul, however, turned his passion into a career. At nine years old, Paul would design stop motion animations with his toys or anything he could get his hands on. When he began skating this took his editing journey even further forward, spending hours filming and photographing him and his friends, to then painstakingly editing the footage together into form short films.
Paul’s passion continued to grow during his childhood, and upon leaving school Paul went to study Film and Moving Production at the Northern Film School.
“My university experience was great. I was that weird rogue kid, and Film school allowed me to get stuck into all things filmmaking. Directing, scriptwriting, cinematography, editing and sound. I was able to choose which aspects I wanted to know more about and specialise in, allowing me to find a path that was right for me after I graduated.”
One of Paul’s projects whilst at university was shooting short films using a 16mm – to this day Paul’s first project for the Royal Armouries in Leeds, is still being used in the film school showreel.
Stepping Out Into The Working World:
When Paul left university, he stumbled across a common problem in the UK media industry – the North/South divide. (Although the North/South media divide has been improving over recent years, thanks to investment into the region from the media industry).
“When I left university, it felt as if there was such a north/south divide within the film industry. The 5DMK II had just been released so I bought one and started slowly building up my kit. I was shooting music videos and short films with my friends who were artists. I worked with John Waugh (The 1975), Ruby Wood (Submotion Orchestra), Thabo, Patrick Hirst (5x UK Beatbox champion), Jack Flash (EOW freestyle champion), Flame Griller, Lunar C and many more. We really created a scene up north and it was gaining a bit of attraction. I started getting offers to come down to London to working artists like S.A.S.”
Paul managed to create his own place within the industry, slowly building his portfolio and creating a name for himself.
Advice For Leaving University:
Leaving university can feel daunting – the positive though for those graduating now is they are entering a very different industry from what Paul faced in 2010. We chatted with Paul about his advice for those looking to break into the media industry:
“There are a plethora of training schemes available now, both in the North and South. I’d recommend joining a trainee scheme and other similar programmes – experience is invaluable. You never know what contacts you may make while building your experience. Anyone on set could be calling you further down the line because they remember your work (and work ethic). Start sowing seeds post-graduation and set yourself up strong for a long career.”
Recently Paul has dipped his toe into an in-house role working as the Director of Branded Content for Unilad. Taking on this position, Paul was able to springboard his career to the next level – managing a team who were pioneering the way viral content and social advertisements were created and consumed.
“When I moved from my own freelance work to a full-time role at Unilad, the terrain changed yes, but I brought all of what I do and how I do it to the table. It was very different to being freelance. Although, we were still working long hours on weekdays, evenings and sometimes all weekend to hit tight deadlines. So not everything is different from being freelance…”
During his time at Unilad, Paul worked on numerous projects, one day he’d be directing an advert for Mountain Dew attaching balloons to the back of RC Cars and the next he’d be flying to San Francisco to create a travel series for Heineken.
After a year of full-time work, Paul found himself yearning to work on projects close to his heart, prompting his move back into freelancing.
Pitfalls to Freelancing:
There are many advantages to working freelance; being in control of your time, managing your output and chasing your dreams, but also many pitfalls to avoid. We discussed with Paul what some new to the industry should try to avoid; “don’t lose track of your time and undercharge your clients, and ensure flexibility in projects to let your creativity shine”.
Celebrities, Awards, and So Much More:
Paul following his dreams has meant that he has had the opportunity to work with some iconic brands, brands and people over the course of his career. One project that stood out to us was Paul’s work with Mick Jones from the Clash and various other stars when hitting the road in the Sex Pistol’s old Tour bus.
“We stopped off at various pubs, surprising Saturday afternoon pub-goers with impromptu performances. A lot of heads were turned! It felt surreal that I was creating and hanging out with my childhood legends, sharing fish n’ chips with rock and punk royalty.”
Paul has collected several awards over his time in the industry, including the Judges Award for New York Film Festival and multiple international awards for a short film on the LGBTQ community. Most notably though, Paul picked up the Sabre Certificate of Excellence for work on the HP Omen Challenge.
Advice For Aspiring Freelancers:
In the media industry, it is crucial that those looking for their big break, or perhaps looking to swap to freelance, seek out as much advice as possible from those who know the industry. Paul shared his thoughts with us on how to successfully establish your career:
“Go out there and make the content you want to make. Pick up a camera, make content with your friends, shoot and try out as many new techniques as possible. It all starts with constant play and creation. We all know to make mistakes and learn from them, but through play, you’ll also define your style, discover how you personally connect with your audience, what you have to say and how you want to say it.”
“My main piece of advice: never stop learning, never stop asking questions, and never stop updating that showreel. “
Working with so many talented freelancers one of our favourite parts of the job is speaking with them. Whether that be hearing about a project, catching up or listening to their dreams for the future.
For Paul, his ambition lies with a passion project of his:
My ‘dream job’ (at the moment) is to get funding secured for my latest documentary. I’ve spent the last three years following the journey of a male nanny in London. Having ‘mannied’ for Saudi Royals and local families in London, he is an active advocate for childcare equality and representation”.
Working with The Crewing Company:
Paul has several years of experience and many tools to his belt, recently joining the Crewing Company we wanted to find out how his experience has been thus far:
“The Crewing Company attracted me due to their high standard of work and the clients they work with. Through meeting the team I instantly knew that I would be looked after, nurtured and given the correct exposure to the future that I want to create within my career.
So far, working with The Crewing Company has been a blessing. I was welcomed by the team with open arms and flung straight into a plethora of opportunities. I look forward to seeing where this leads.”
At TCC, we can’t get enough of speaking to our freelancers. Firstly, to help inform us what we can be doing to continue supporting our incredible talent. Secondly, it is a joy hearing about the impressive work of our talented bunch.
Lastly, thank you for chatting with us Paul and sharing stories from your incredible experiences. We can’t wait to see where your talents will take you next!
Check Out Paul’s Showreel Here