Many ‘out of town’ types turn their nose up when hearing I’m based in Shropshire, well this is why they’re wrong.
Lots of people in my industry have for a long time had the very stubborn view that the only place to be is in a big city (namely London) to ply your trade. While I can see where they are coming from in some respects I feel the need to show people the advantages of staying put in our lovely county and what it can offer from my point of view. London is fine for a weekend sightseeing, or to catch a show, but the long term advantages of setting up a video company there? I can’t think of too many. As you can probably tell, I was never one to fall for the bright lights of the city, I feel it may have something to do with watching too many episodes of Alan Partridge and his rather cynical view of our capital. “Go to London! I guarantee you’ll either be mugged or not appreciated.”
Now, let’s move on before this turns into a rant.
As a cameraman in Shropshire, location is often seen to be of high importance. In a larger country, there may be more of a case for this, but on our small island, I can pretty much reach most areas without too much trouble. Much of my freelance work takes me to Liverpool, Manchester, Birmingham, Leamington Spa and Derby, from my doorstep, all these places are achievable within 90 minutes. Even a promotional video shoot that takes me to the other side of the country does not prove too difficult, it’ll mean a long day working and driving, but if I wasn’t up to it, I wouldn’t be doing this job in the first place.
The main reason we are told to take our trade to major cities is because ‘that’s where the work is’, which is something that just cannot be argued with. When I was looking for my first media job, I would say that 90-95% of work was found in London. This may seem like a reason to pack your bags and hop on a train to Euston, but what people often don’t think about, is that 90-95% of the possible employees are probably already there. You are then competing against a massive number of people, whereas if you wait for the jobs that come around by you, your chances of securing one becomes much higher. For me, if I was to shut up shop and move to a large city, getting myself out there would be far more difficult, there would probably be more local companies wanting my services, but so many more companies doing the exact same thing as me. Searching for ‘London video production’ throws up an endless list of companies, while ‘Shropshire video production’…. Oh, there I am.
75% of my work is in video editing or motion graphics, which takes place in my home office, surrounded by beautiful views of the countryside. The internet is as slow as they come, but apparently fibre optic is just around the corner. The peace and tranquility you get from the Shropshire surroundings, make all of the long drives completely worth it. I don’t think doing my job in a small bedsit somewhere would be as good.
Being a camera operator in Shropshire, the creative possibilities are endless. You have the same scope in filming many of the hustle and bustle shots that you would see in cities, but when you venture out of the towns, that’s when you see what our great county is really about. The South Shropshire Hills are an area of outstanding national beauty, and looks fantastic on film. For great views of the county, a trip to the Wrekin or Grinshill can give that to you very easily. For a company based in Shrewsbury, a shot from the top of the Wrekin looking down at your town is far more captivating than a business in the capital reusing the same stock footage of Tower Bridge or Big Ben to establish their location.
As you can tell, I may be biased towards my home county, but the same is true for anybody in a similar rural location. The big cities don’t offer you everything that you need and what they do offer you, everybody else will probably get there first. So if you’re reading this as a recent graduate looking to move away to join the masses, give Shropshire another go, it’s well worth it!