The London 2012 Interns: 2 years on...

Sunday, 27 July, 2014

Matt Compton, Stu Dingley, Jack Weir & Matt Peers
Matt Compton & Stu Dingley during the Olympics (with programmer Andy Voller)
Matt Compton at work on the UK tour of Tonight's The Night
Stu Dingley behind the desk on a recent tour
Jack Weir during the Paralympics
Jack Weir lighting a recent production
Matt Peers at the Paralympics
Matt Peers working at Artistic Licence


In 2012 WBD, alongside the ceremonies production team, selected four interns from interview to work with the lighting design team on the London Olympic and Paralympic Games. Matthew Compton and Stuart Dingley for Olympics & Matthew Peers and Jack Weir for Paralympics. Each have continued their journey into the industry and now two years on we thought it would be interesting to hear their thoughts reflecting on their time at the Games.

The interns supported the work of the entire design team throughout the rehearsal process working  at the off-site rehearsal space as well as the stadium.  The role provided a realistic insight into the creation of a series of unique stadium scale shows as well as hand on experience in many aspects of the production.

Fifteen years ago Adam Bassett worked as an intern for the Millennium Dome project alongside his now business partner, Patrick Woodroffe. He recalls the experience with great appreciation of the time, effort and trust many others afforded him, and endevours to make simular opportunities availble for students beginning in the industry today.

Adam and Patrick are proud to to see how Matt, Stuart, Jack and Matthew have each started their journey into the diverse world of entertainment and we wish them every sucess in the future.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


What were you doing pre your internship?
Just graduated from uni (Mountview).

What was your most memorable Olympic experience?
Running around the track with an Olympic torch made out of Newspaper and orange Gaffa t
ape, so that the lights could be timed and spot operators could practice.

What was your least favorable Olympic experience?
Walking up hundreds of steps to get to the control room with a box full of ‘delicious’ sandwiches.

Looking back, what do you think you gained from your internship that has assisted the progression of your career so far?
I feel I gained more of an understanding towards lighting for an event rather than for theatre and the different techniques used.

Did your internship alter your ambition, motivation or direction for better or worse?
It definitely altered it for the better. It opened my eyes to a completely different side of lighting that I hadn’t even considered. It has made me want to pursue a career in event / music lighting.

Would you recommend an internship with Woodroffe Bassett Design for others looking to enter the industry?
Yes - definitely, I learnt a lot and felt very welcome within the team.

What advice would you offer other students contemplating how to gain real-life experience within the industry?
Don’t be afraid to give up your time for free. It’s a great way to go and meet new people (Industry professionals) and gain good contacts. If you make a good impression and a good cup of tea, they will remember you and it will pay off in the future.

What have you been doing since the games finished?
Doha Film Festival  - Lighting Technician
Shaun the Sheep, Saudi Tour -  Lighting Designer
Barney the Dinosaur, Eqypt - Lighting Designer
Glastonbury Festival
No Sweat, European Tour - Production LX/ Relighter
Tonights the Night, UK Tour - LX No. 3

What would you like to see yourself doing in five years time?
I would like to be a lighting designer for large music events.


 

 

 

 

 

 

 


What were you doing pre your internship?
I was self-employed and studying Creative Lighting Control at Rose Bruford College.

What was your most memorable Olympic experience?
The late night programming sessions were quite memorable. We were one of the few people in the stadium along with a police dog, a groundskeeper and the Olympic flame!

What was your least favorable Olympic experience?
Running laps of the 400m track to work out the time taken for the torch to travel around. I’m sure we got it first time!

Looking back, what do you think you gained from your internship that has assisted the progression of your career so far?
I think the ability to look at any scale of production and be able to break it down into logical parts. It was great to watch a group of top LDs and Programmers work together to deliver a show of such magnitude and expectation to the world.

Did your internship alter your ambition, motivation or direction for better or worse?
I think the internship made me focus on the realities of what I needed to learn and achieve to work at that level.

Would you recommend an internship with WBD for others looking to enter the industry?
Yes!

What advice would you offer other students contemplating how to gain real-life experience within the industry?
Work a few jobs in a warehouse and get out on site as much as possible. It has helped me to get to know how the industry works and can also be a lot of fun. It is good to have an understanding of every role in the crew and it helps you narrow down the area you want to work in most.
Corporate work is also very good for developing skills and will help fund student life!


What have you been doing since the games finished?
The week after the Closing Ceremony, I went out on tour as an operator/video tech touring America and Europe. This year I became their Lighting Director programming new tracks and lasers into the show.
Since then, I have been designing for another band in the UK on a festival tour around Europe.

What would you like to see yourself doing in five years time?
Hopefully continuing to work with enthusiastic people and touring the world!

Tell us something we didn’t already know about you that maybe we should have before you joined us?
I had never made Earl Grey before!


 

 

 

 

 

 

 



What were you doing pre your internship? 
I had just left school, with a place at The Guildhall School confirmed for September.

What was your most memorable Olympic experience?
The countdown till the show went live around the world. An amazing feeling.

What was your least favorable Olympic experience?
The long hours, particularly on overnight programming sessions.

Did your internship alter your ambition, motivation or direction for better or worse?
I think being able to experience something of that scale first hand, has really motivated me in my own career path because suddenly it become very real.

Looking back, what do you think you gained from your internship that has assisted the progression of your career so far?
The confidence to approach other professionals, and talk to those who were also part of the huge team that it took to put the ceremonies on. To have an appreciation for the amount of work that is involved in the design process on an event of this scale.

Would you recommend an internship with Woodroffe Bassett Design for others looking to enter the industry?
Absolutely. I quite literally had a once in a lifetime opportunity and could not have asked for a better springboard into the industry.

What advice would you offer other students contemplating how to gain real-life experience within the industry?
Get really good at writing good emails. Once people begin to reply to well written e-mails, the opportunities (usually) follow. As long as what you are asking for is realistic.

What have you been doing since the games finished?
I’m now preparing for my final year at Guildhall, as well as enjoying my own success as a lighting designer by lighting several shows in venues across London when I can!

What would you like to see yourself doing in five years time?
Affording to keep a London roof over my head and food in my fridge whilst continuing to do what I
love would be ideal!

Tell us something we didn’t already know about you that maybe we should have before you joined us?
Before coming to London in 2012, I’d never worked in a professional theatre before.


 

 

 

 

 

 

 



What were you doing pre your internship?
I was finishing my 1st year at the Central School of Speech and Drama on the Production Lighting course. I was also doing various freelance jobs including follow spot deputy at We Will Rock You.

What was your most memorable Olympic experience?
Seeing the setup for the control side of the lighting system was really interesting. I remember trying to take in the huge stadium with so many lights.

What was your least favorable Olympic experience?
Perhaps not realising at the time the full significance of the unique event and missing out on observing a production meeting because of paid work.

Looking back, what do you think you gained from your internship that has assisted the progression of your career so far?
Apreciation of the needs of the a creative team from a production point of view and the importance of logistics and people skills involved.

Did your internship alter your ambition, motivation or direction for better or worse?
The internship was great motivation to keep up to date with the latest technology and always think ahead to what is next. I realised a lot of preparation helps to achieve better results later on especially when the pressure builds and deadlines have to be met. This also gave me an insight into large scale events which I aspire to work on in the future

Would you recommend an internship with Woodroffe Bassett Design for others looking to enter the industry?
Yes it was a fantastic opportunity to make new contacts and work alongside professionals during a unique event, one that I’ll probably never experience in the UK again.

What advice would you offer other students contemplating how to gain real-life experience within the industry?
As a student you can email professionals about a role you are researching and get some good advice. Once you graduate you’re a stranger, unless you keep in touch, so make the most of your time as a student and maximise the contacts you have.

What have you been doing since the games finished?
Completed my studies at University and awaiting results. I recently completed a placement with PRG Lighting and I am curently working as a Sales Coordinator at Artistic Licence.

What would you like to see yourself doing in five years time?
Develop my role at Artistic Licence and expand my freelance work. Ultimately I would like to work as a lighting control consultant and network technician on large scale events. 

Tell us something we didn’t already know about you that maybe we should have before you joined us?
After the games I was diagnosed with dyspraxia and slight dyslexia.