I’ve known Rowan Johnson for about 2 years now, as I originally met him through the National Student TV Association. He’s a great guy who is completely dedicated to his craft and knows his equipment and skills well, he’s also worked as a freelance videographer for a number of years and set up his own company, recently buying out a larger one and expanding into full-time work as a commercial videographer. He’s been instrumental to my development, as we’re always talking over Facebook and asking each other for advice on shoots, and he’s been talking to me a lot about his work setting up the company and sharing our FMPs, as he does a similar course at his Uni. Whilst I feel that kicking out on my own as a company owner/freelancer isn’t something I’d do completely, getting advice from him and finding out more about that to continue in my free time is still something useful and beneficial that I can utilise, whilst doing work on the side as a hobby/favours. His website is at the bottom for more information.
How did you first start your career? Was it easy, or was there a hard path to where you currently are?
“I started freelancing in my final year of university by picking up a few clients through the creative agency based there. From there it snowballed into me starting my own production company and culminated with me taking over Southpoint Films, another production company in my area that was closing down”
What skills are needed by your job on a daily basis?
“I’m still a one-man-band at the moment so I’m responsible for everything in my company; production, admin, customer relations, finance, marketing, etc. So my skills need to stretch across all of those areas. Although they don’t always stretch as far as I’d like them to…”
What was the first job that you think helped you get where you are now?
“In a general capacity, the most helpful job I’ve ever had was working in an Apple Store part time throughout university. It taught me a lot about business, customer relationships and embracing change on a regular basis. Plus it helped me with saving money towards buying camera equipment, which now serves as the backbone of my business. On the production side of things my most helpful gig has been working on the car-centric Youtube channel Life On Unleaded”
How did you benefit from that?
“Supercars looks fantastic on camera, so they’re a great showreel booster! It also gave me an opportunity to flex my filmmaker muscles a bit and show off what I can do. Our first few videos got a lot of very complimentary comparisons to Top Gear which boosted my confidence a lot when I was just starting out”
What skills did you need to get that job, what did you learn from it?
“Strong editing skills got me the job. I worked as an editor on a TV show which sadly never went to air, and afterwards the Director put me in touch with Louis (owner and presenter of Life on Unleaded). We had a rocky start due to various technical issues but we persisted and now we’ve got almost 8,000 subscribers on Youtube”
Do you currently have a portfolio of work? (such as a digital website) What is included in it?
“I currently have two as I’m greedy. I maintain my own personal website rowanjohnson.co.uk and also my company website southpointfilms.com. My personal site is strictly for projects that I’ve worked on and features pretty much everything I’ve ever worked on that’s currently available online. My company website southpointfilms.com features a portfolio section with few selected videos created by both myself and the wider Southpoint Films family”
If you didn’t see, Rowan also gave some great feedback on my own portfolio/website and comparisons to his work were positive. I feel that talking with him about his work and experience has been great, as we’re both of similar ages so finding out how someone else is progressing in their work as an individual and becoming a media professional is interesting, both as a comparison and to see how I can learn from that. I feel that from this angle, there’s not a lot I can take from and develop into my own professional practise, as it’s a career path I don’t want to pursue, however the advice about the websites/skills necessary and persistence are all definitely things I can take heed for the future.