As a film student, you dream of working with the best! So hearing that our Alumni Andy Ritchie has recently worked with Steven Spielberg is great news!
As a film student, you dream of working with the best, Spielberg definitely being one of them, so hearing that our AFTT (formerly known as IFSS) Alumni Andy Ritchie has recently worked with the infamous Steven Spielberg is definitely a proud moment.
‘After leaving AFTT I moved back to home to Canada, where I decided to continue my studies and transferred to Vancouver Film School. I began working in the industry in different positions on a plethora of projects. I started from the bottom working as a production assistant on a TV series called Operation Vacation, while continuing to develop my own projects and additionally working as a 1st AC on indie music videos.
I also worked as a Cinematography Teacher’s Assistant at Vancouver Film School and also became a mentor to new film students. I caught my first break on a major motion picture when I was offered the position of Witness Camera Operator on Night at the Museum: Secret of Tomb, which was a dream come true as I was able to watch professional, well-known actors working with a director on a daily basis. A highlight of that project was meeting Robin Williams and talking to him about Stanley Kubrick and A Clockwork Orange (I was wearing a shirt with Alex on it). It was only two months after we wrapped that he sadly took his life.
After Night at the Museum, I got the opportunity of a lifetime (and what I consider my biggest achievement to date) to work on a film being directed by Steven Spielberg, next year’s The BFG. I can’t speak in much detail about it, but it was nothing short of amazing. The things I saw and the conversations I had, including with the man himself, are unforgettable.
Right now I’m preparing to work on the upcoming War of the Planet of the Apes which I’m very excited about, particularly because I get to work with Weta again. Afterwards, I hope I’ll finally be able to begin my first feature next spring after Apes has finished, bar any other films that may come up on the horizon.
AFTT taught me the fundamentals of filmmaking, lessons that I will never forget, as well as set etiquette which has been absolutely essential to my experience working in the film industry so far. But most of all, it taught me how to creatively work with other creative people. That’s what sets our industry apart from others - we’re a bunch of different people from different walks of life who are extremely creative and working towards one goal.
There’s no job quite like working on a film set. Everyone wants to be there and is working incredibly hard to create a work of art. Ultimately that’s what I loved about AFTT: the people. Whether they were students or teachers, I loved the relationships I forged and the ability to come to anyone with a question or idea and receive profound answers back.
The advice that I would give anyone hoping to break into the industry is to not give up. I’ve seen too many classmates or students, give up when it gets hard. They lose heart and go back home or go to plan B. This business can be relentless and you won’t get anywhere unless you fight for it. You have to keep working, writing, volunteering, making your own things or making something for others.
Things won’t get handed to you and you can’t expect someone to see your indie film and then offer you to direct the new Godzilla. There’ll be times when you’ll feel defeated or hopeless and you’ll wonder if it’s worth it. I’d be lying if I said it’s easy but I can tell you this: it is worth it. It’s the best job in the world, because there’s nothing quite like that feeling of sitting in a room filled with people and watching something you worked so hard on, and then seeing your name on that screen. And who knows, in a couple years you could be on set operating a camera next to Steven Spielberg, and how cool is that?’
A huge good luck to Andy on his future projects! We can’t wait to see what other amazing things he gets up to.
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