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Meet Jojo, Camera Trainee on Boarders

Meet Jojo, Camera Trainee on Boarders

Meet Jojo Bossman (they/them), a 23 year old Camera Trainee from Bedminster, South Bristol.

Jojo was part of the crew for Boarders, the six-part comedy drama produced by All3 Media and Studio Lambert that filmed entirely in Bristol and the South West last year with assistance from Bristol Film Office. Boarders is available to watch now on BBC Three and BBC iPlayer.

Hi Jojo! Can you describe a typical day at work?
Being a camera trainee (and generally in this industry as a whole), no two days are the same! However, the basic structure of things more or less stays the same. I usually start the day getting breakfast for myself, and for anyone in the camera department if they request it, usually the DP and Operators as they go straight to set most days. 

Then once I get onto the truck – or in the case of Boarders, onto the site (since we were in the same location for most of the job) – I make sure to get my radio on and start distributing batteries to the right places.

This means on the camera, in the wireless handset units, on monitors, in my loader’s bag (also known as the 2nd AC) and on the magliners (carts used for transporting camera equipment/lenses or rigging the camera). Then we wheel the magliners over to our first location for the day.

I give out ‘sides’ (the script cut down to only the scenes we’re shooting that day) to everyone who needs them in the camera dept, and then I do ‘runners and riders’ which is a cut-out of the cast list for the day from the call sheet, placed on the side of the camera so the DP/Operator knows who is who, which is especially useful if we have big casts of ever-changing talent.

After this I make sure monitors are set up for the director and checks (hair, makeup and costume) and that any wireless solution for viewing video (like teradek vuer) is up and running.

Monitors and vuer are a task that trainees sometimes have to handle if there’s no video department on a job, in which case you’d usually have them running q-take.

After everything is set up, as long as it’s not already raining (in which case this would be done before leaving the truck) I make sure we have all the right wet weather gear for the day ahead – or even warm weather gear, like umbrellas and sunshades. Then I ask if anyone wants a coffee or tea or water bottle refilled. Simple!

Throughout the day, it’s the trainee’s job to check batteries on everything, make sure they’re being replaced often so nothing dies, especially not the camera. Get snacks and drinks for everyone, as often you’re the only person who can step away from the action. Get lunch orders and run off to grab them before you break for lunch. Near the end of the day, make sure the truck is ready to receive the magliners again.

Another important aspect of being a trainee is doing the camera reports. Throughout the day, your loader will be taking notes of all the camera settings for every slate, every take. As a trainee, you need to then translate those notes into a full report that’s given to the DIT, production team, post house etc.

In a lot of cases, there’s a lot of quick thinking needed. Things are always changing and you need to be able to anticipate the needs of your crew. Has your loader already moved to the next camera position and is laying marks? You can help them out by bringing over their floor bag, and the focus puller’s monitor. Does your weather forecast predict rain? You can start covering up monitors that aren’t so close to you. Are things a bit quiet? You can clean the truck or tidy up things on the magliner, maybe do up a new board pen for your loader. There are also weekly tasks, like doing a battery count to make sure nothing’s missing, that are good to keep up with.

And that’s it! That’s the average day of being a camera trainee! It’s sometimes a little crazy but always good fun, and always with good people! It’s a lot to get your head around at first but over time, it becomes a breeze!

How did you find the role on Boarders?
I wasn’t aware that being a camera trainee was a role until about 2020 I think! But I learnt more about it through meeting more people in the camera department at networking events and film festivals. As for Boarders, I heard about the job through camera department colleagues who were in the know about jobs in Bristol whilst I was doing dailies on another job, but I had no clue – so that gave me the push to stay as tuned into things as possible.

How long have you been working in film/TV – and can you describe any significant career moments to date?
For almost 3 years now! I started in 2021 on short-form productions like music videos and short films, then got my first job on a TV show doing dailies. I was still at university though and couldn’t commit to a long job, so doing dailies was perfect. I graduated in 2022 and worked on my first feature for 6 weeks – and the rest is history.

I would say working on Boarders felt quite significant itself! It was definitely the most diverse show or feature I’ve ever worked on, which was wonderful. Last year I did my first few jobs as main camera trainee, whereas before I had only ever been an additional trainee or on dailies. I also drew up my first ever century boards, which is always fun.

What are you working on now, or what do you hope to go on to next?
Nothing currently, apart from personal projects! Winter is a little quiet in this industry but I’m hoping in the spring to be back on more jobs. If any shows or features are looking for a proactive and honestly quite funny (I think so anyway) camera trainee, I’m available and would love to join your crew!

Anything extra you’d like to add?
To any budding trainees, keep going! It can feel a little tough at times, and sometimes overwhelming, but you’ll find your stride eventually. Getting to know people regardless of work is always good, and you’ll even make some good friends out of it too! Always stretch before work and invest in some good shoes/insoles/waterproofs! Always be willing to learn, even if you think you know something. Everyday’s a schoolday!

Read more about Boarders’ shoot in Bristol here.