Leonard Kuhn: Freelancer of the Month
Could you please share with us your journey into the production industry and your experience as both a Production Assistant and Gaffer? Additionally, we would love to know which role you find more enjoyable.
It’s hard to pinpoint the exact time my journey started at. When I was still in high school I attended film workshops which kickstarted my passion towards moving image. However, the biggest decision I’ve made has definitely been moving to London. It provided me with so many opportunities. Starting with my university degree, especially the 3rd year, during which I became the producer for a short film. I loved the feeling of developing such a project from scratch. Close to my graduation, I have managed to get on a couple of short films as a PA which helped me meet some amazing people I’m still in touch and work with to this day. This opportunity led to another and so on.
I managed to keep myself busy working on many short projects developing my knowledge of lighting and production further. During that time I have been persuaded by my tutor to apply for the Rising Talent programme at The Crewing Company and it has unmistakably been one of the better career decisions I have made. Not only has it helped me with gaining more work experience but developed my feeling of belonging to the community. Regarding my preferred role, I love working on set but it’s the development of projects and making the ideas a reality that drives me the most. I primarily want to pursue production but I don’t wish to abandon my other interests.
We have received exceptionally positive feedback from our clients about you! We are truly impressed by your passion and dedication to this industry. Could you share with us what inspires and drives you to excel in your work?
I’m so glad to hear that! I’ve always been an energetic and optimistic person. It translated very well to this industry. I love meeting new people and the variety of work I have been doing has always kept it exciting for me. Long hours can be tiring but it rarely feels like work for me. I try to enjoy every project I’m on and learn as much as I can in the process.
‘[…] to apply for the Rising Talent programme at The Crewing Company and it has unmistakably been one of the better career decisions I have made. Not only has it helped me with gaining more work experience but developed my feeling of belonging to the community’
Up until now, how many projects have you been a part of? We are curious to know how you felt when you completed your very first project?
I believe that at this point I’m getting close to working on 20 different projects. It’s wild to think about. My first project after graduation has definitely left me wanting more. I was incredibly happy after finishing it and I wanted to jump onto another project as soon as possible. I was glad for all of the people I met. Additionally, it helped me realise working freelance is a possibility and one that I could excel in.
What does the role of a ‘Production Assistant’ mean to you, and how do you approach it in your day-to-day work?
The responsibilities change with every project I’m on. As a production assistant, you’re there to support the rest of the production department. What comes with it changes with the scale of the project, industry and other elements. It always involves a lot of communication within the department as well as outside of it.
What do you find to be the most challenging aspect of your work? Conversely, what aspect do you enjoy the most?
Working freelance can be both amazing and challenging. Lack of work can definitely be hard for me but I get so many opportunities to learn new skills and insights which definitely outweigh the negative.
Considering your experiences and aspirations, where do you envision yourself in the future within the media industry? What professional goals do you hope to achieve?
I see myself becoming a producer in the future. I’d like to be part of innovative projects working at the forefront of new technologies such as Virtual Production. I want to learn from other producers and creatives and hopefully pass that knowledge to others as my experience grows.
As the production industry is known for its fast-paced nature, what’s the secret to manage tight deadlines and handle pressure effectively?
At some point, the tight deadlines become second nature to you. You can get used to this type of work but also remember to take the time for yourself whenever you’re able to. Your work should be well planned out according to the deadlines but flexible enough for unavoidable changes and obstacles.
Both Production Assistants and Gaffers often work long hours during productions. How do you maintain your focus and attention to detail throughout extended shooting days?
Working long hours becomes easier with practice. The first few projects will always be the hardest. It will always be tiring but if you remember to get some rest whenever you can you’ll get through it. I always treat myself to a full day of sleep after I finish a project. Nothing feels as good as that.
We would love to hear one of your funniest anecdotes from your experiences working on productions…
Working on a 48hr challenge comes to mind, where we were starting to film while the writers were still finishing up the script.
For someone aspiring to step into the production field, what advice would you give them to start their journey and succeed in this industry?
Don’t be afraid of starting to work as a runner. Everyone has to begin somewhere. It will require many hours of job hunting but you’ll get your breakthrough which hopefully could lead to more work. In this competitive world, interpersonal skills matter as much as experience. Cultivate a friendly and empathetic attitude towards others. This positive approach will not only attract future prospects but also increase your enjoyment of the fast-paced media landscape, making the work truly fulfilling.
To find out more about Leonard Kuhn and other freelance production talent, please contact a member of the team.