The Creative Industries in South Wales are increasingly acknowledged as an emerging global powerhouse, based on industry-leading training, world-class talent, a fast-growing infrastructure and a uniquely diverse geography.
Alex Moore has discovered this himself – with the 24-year old Location Assistant choosing the Royal Welsh College of Music & Drama for his training; and staying in the Cardiff Capital Region to build a burgeoning career across an impressive array of productions ….
We caught up with Alex to discuss his career to date and he told us;
“I guess you could say that I started off on stage, as I did a lot of theatre in school in Manchester, but I’ve always been fascinated by how both stage and film productions are put together. That’s why I came down to Cardiff to study at the Royal Welsh College of Music & Drama because their Stage Management & Technical Theatre course is so broad-based, immersing you in both TV and Theatre. My time at the college proved to be three years of fantastically diverse experiences that involved me in everything from lighting to sound, as well as stage management – and even now I still feel very much part of the community there.
“Fantastically diverse experiences and placements at the Royal Welsh College of Music & Drama”
“Everyone at the college encouraged me to do a lot of placements as part of the course; and one of those involved working with the Locations team on the set of a major production – Netflix’s ‘Apostle’ – which proved to be an amazing six weeks’ work experience. After that, interspersed between studies and shows, I was able to work with renowned Directors such as Robbie Del Maestro – incredible people to be working with and learning from – which meant that before the end of my studies I’d also worked on a film for Lionsgate, as well as ‘Pobol y Cwm’ and ‘Dark Heart’ for ITV.
“Placements working with renowned Directors on major Netflix and Warner Bros productions”
“Being at the College allowed me to start building up my contacts. I’ve always pushed myself to knock on the door of productions and ask questions of everyone involved – and that’s vital if you’re going to break into work. One of my ‘big breaks’ was my final college placement, working on a film called ‘Six Minutes To Midnight’, where ex-Welsh College alumni Lloyd Elis took me under his wing in the production office. That meant I could view the industry through a different perspective, which I enjoyed immensely. And it also put me in the right place at the right time because as the pre-production finished, I joined the location team I had worked with on ‘Apostle’ as they moved onto ‘His Dark Materials’.
“Building up contacts, knocking on doors, always asking questions”
“I owe a great deal to Screen Alliance Wales, who got me my first paid roles as a Location Trainee and then Location Assistant. People like Allison Dowzell, and Rhys Griffiths and Gareth Skelding and more recently Lowri Thomas were incredibly helpful in every way. They’re established figures in their own right who have taken all the time needed to point me in the right direction; and like Lloyd Elis they’re still there for me, even now. In fact, EVERYONE I’ve worked with has pushed me to learn and develop, so it’s difficult to pick out individuals for particular thanks, as I’ve learnt so much from working with many different people, on all sorts of projects, big and small.
“Witnessing the ambition and ingenuity of creating Dr Who”
“It may sound like a grand plan to be here in South Wales but it’s just good fortune. I’ve been a big Dr Who fan since the age of 10 when it came back on our screens. My dad was brought up watching the original series in the 70’s and said ‘you’ll enjoy this’ when it came back in its new guise. I was hooked from the first episode I watched. It was unlike anything else I’d ever seen. Little did I know that a few years later I’d be in the city where it’s made – and I’ve witnessed at first hand the ambition and ingenuity that’s here in the region to create such an amazing production – it’s a genuine art to produce something so special around the streets of Cardiff.
“A golden moment in the South Wales’ Creative Industries”
“There’s a feeling that this is a golden moment in the Creative Industries here in South Wales – and there’s something very special happening right now. Growing up near to Manchester, I thought I’d probably head home to MediaCity after leaving college, but the people and the industry here have been so welcoming: this is my third year and I’ve not had to look beyond South Wales for work. There’s such a great mix of production – from drama to documentary – and as a freelancer it’s good to know you can go from job to job, even within all that happened in 2020.
“If you have the passion, people skills and sense of wonder, go for it”
“What have I learned so far? I think there are a few key qualities you need if you’re to succeed in this industry. You certainly need to be a real communicator and able to connect with all types of people. And you definitely need a thick skin, as there are times of pressure when things are said in the heat of the moment. And through all of that, you need to keep that sense of wonder and excitement at the magic you’re helping create. It doesn’t always feel like that when you’re stood for 12 hours in the Welsh rain trying to bring it all together. But if you’ve got those qualities and you’re passionate about what you do, don’t be afraid to pester people and ask questions – people in this industry will take the time to explain things to you and help you work out your path if they can see that you’re serious about it.
“There’s such wonderful variety and wide-ranging skillsets in this sector – from the prep to the filming, to the editing – there’s something here for everyone if you really go for it.”