MetFilm School Masterclass with BAFTA-winning director Jon East
By Danny Kelly
28 February 2019
On Tuesday 26 February, we were pleased to welcome BAFTA-winning Director Jon East to MetFilm School for an insightful masterclass, discussing his 35-year career in the film and television industry. His diverse and extensive collection of credits provided a springboard for conversation, from beloved British shows Eastenders and Downton Abbey to recent International hit-productions Killing Eve and Lost in Space.
Speaking with our Deputy School Director, Steve Pinhay, Jon was able to recall experiences from his various roles, which have included film editing, story-boarding, writing & story-lining, producing, executive producing and commissioning for the BBC.
Breaking into the industry…
“I made lots of short films, trying to make as much drama reconstruction material as I could, because I wasn’t in drama, I was in the factual department. Eventually, I could composite enough real enough drama material that I could then ping it to soap producers. So eventually sort of just wear them down so after about two years one of them goes “oh god just give him a job, shut him up.” I’m not kidding, you’ve got to just blitz them and not take no for an answer. And then you’re in.”
“All jobs are useful. I mean I used to sync up rushes. The sync room is literally sound rushes come in, pictures rushes come in and you just spend all day syncing them up. That was pretty good because I watched an awful lot of rushes. So you see what’s the coverage on that shot, and have you got this. So everything you can kind of absorb something from.”
The recent British ‘invasion’ into the film/broadcasting industry…
“Invasion isn’t a word I would use to describe current British successes in America. There’s always been a porous membrane between the European and American industries and movement of talent both ways across the pond, with Brits making great contributions there and Americans doing the same here. I think to characterize it as an ‘invasion’ makes it sound like it’s about territoriality, which it isn’t for those collaborative artists at the creative end of the business, where I exist.”