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September 2014
Issue: September 1, 2007

A U.K. TALENT SEARCH

By: Marc Loftus
David Peto co-founded London’s Unit (www.unit.tv) a little over a year ago, basing the editing, grading, VFX and mixing facility on an all-Apple workflow. The studio has 19 suites that rely on Final Cut Studio, Shake, After Effects, CineForm and Combustion, and has seen steady growth working on commercial and broadcast projects.

Finding talent that could get their head around the all-Apple/Final Cut mentality, says Peto, was initially a challenge, as many local pros have been working on Avids for years. “Unit came out of the fact that, as a producer, I could not find any place in London to finish a Final Cut project in HD,” he recalls. Today, the studio posts HD projects, using FCP, for clients such as Virgin, Sony, Nintendo and Discovery Channel.

To find talent, Unit works closely with Skillset (www.Skillset.org), a government body that’s focused on training talent within the creative industry. Skillset, says Peto, “helps guide people who haven’t been in the industry before and lets them get as much information about the different aspects of the industry that they can.”

The organization also runs a National Skills Day competition each year, where applicants submit essays detailing why they’d like to work in post. Ten are selected and get to spend a day at the facility, getting insight to VFX, editing, etc.

“They also get to have a Q&A and breakfast meetings with people like me,” says Peto. “Why that’s a prize, I don’t know,” he jokes, “but they get to ask the heads at the facilities and the technical departments questions, and it’s a great way to get their foot in the door.”

Peto hired one of the winners last year and has his eye on another this year. He’ll sign them to a paid, two-month contract, give them a Mac laptop and training, and let them work on gear during downtime. “We want them to spend as much time in front of a Mac as possible.”

Attention to detail and certification are the most important things an applicant can show an employer, he says. “Practice with FCP is important, but very few take training courses or get certified. If you come to me and show me, ‘Yes, these are the training courses I’ve done.’ I’ll snap you up like that.”