For our next instalment in the side hustle series I interviewed Kelly McCormack, Events & Communications officer at University of Leicestershire and an independent film producer!
Tell us about your side hustle
I am a full time events manager in Leicester but my side hustle is as an independent film producer! It was such a pleasure to find a side project such as producing as it is basically the same skills as running events; managing budget, organising people, locating venues, booking actors and making sure everyone is fit to work! What inspired you to start your side hustle? I was actually acting in a film when I and the director got talking about what other roles a film set needed and the one that usually gets forgotten about is producing because no one wants to do the organising or the paperwork; they just want to be creative. As I said before the transferable skills needed I already had so it felt like a natural progression. Same with events, I enjoy being the person someone can rely on so they can just think about achieving their vision. Around 2016 I was asked to join GM Finney Productions in Leicester as a Producer and as their only female member, I haven’t looked back Has your side hustles opened the doors to any opportunities you wouldn’t have had without it? So many – some of the films I have worked on have been accepted into festivals all over the world, have been nominated for awards (which include the glitzy evening events!) and have opened up new collaborator relationships. I am very grateful of the network of creatives I can now work with or even just grab a coffee with. My experience in the film world also let to me being awarded the 2019 East Midlands Woman of the Year in Arts, Media and Music which is an absolute career highlight. What advice would you give yourself when you first started setting up a side hustle? To try if possible not to take it too seriously at first and try not to put all your eggs in one basket. I started mine as a hobby outside of work, then the opportunities and celebrations kept coming. Rather than putting pressure on myself I let the side hustle develop naturally and now I am able to pick and choose my commitments whilst still having a full time job which I absolutely adore. If anyone wants to chat events, producing or side hustles – drop me a line
How do you balance working full time in events and film producing? It's tough, there is a lot of weekend working which is easy if it is a fun part of film making and long if it is a tough part. However I love being busy so it seems to come naturally to me to fit everything in. I feel like I know my limits and for that reason I overcompensate on the planning so might give myself three months of preproduction whereas others might do it in one. I noticed quite early on that film producing and event management are very similar and use easily transferable skills. Has the current Coronavirus situation effected your side hustle? Yep, we have postponed all schedule shoot dates - which was a lot - however we didn't think twice about it. It was a needs must situation. We have a duty of care to our cast, crew and members of the public. The beauty is that there are plenty of things to do behind the scenes to pass the time - editing, schedule checking, rewrites, location scouting, pre production on other films and catching up with industry folk I haven't spoken to in a while. When everything is over we will get back on track carefully and cautiously. I think everyone will be itching to but it will be a different environment and we need to adapt to that. Do you have any advice on how others can make an income from a side hustle? Being open to new opportunities and enjoying them. My approach some may see as a bit careless as I wanted experience in everything to do with film making - in front and behind the camera - I would do anything - which meant i ended up doing some very weird roles that didn't really add to my portfolio. however they have paid off as my network has become so big in the long run that I am in a position where I can pick and choose and am approached rather than to go looking. So I guess getting stuck in to anything that comes your way in some capacity - it might pay off. Also to remember what success likes to you - an income is awesome (especially at this time) but if it isn't coming straight away then (as mentioned) doing work which might get you an award in your field or nominated can get you the recognition that then might lead to income.