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Meet Ali Carver, Junior Kit Room Technician

It's been three years since we initiated our Ark Academy and we're very proud of the role we play in training the next generation of film technicians. But what is the academy and what makes it so unique and special? Well today we sat down with our Kit Room Junior Technician Ali Carver to take a deep dive and learn how the CineArk Ark Academy acts as a foundation for a career in the British film industry.

April of 2023

I grew up in Hull. Mum and dad used to take us to films a lot each weekend. Just before I applied to Uni, I realised that film was actually a potential job so I took a year out and applied to Sheffield Hallam film studies and then eventually did a masters. I was initially going to study law but changed track.

During my masters I started freelancing and what we learnt from that was incorporated into the course. After Uni I was starting to make inroads in TV doing camera assisting. But knew I might be pigeonholed so was looking at a kitroom role to expand technical knowledge and then try to reposition within film.

It was the tech and the type of clients that CineArk worked with. We had a lot of new tech that I could learn and didn’t want to be narrowly defined within camera as its over-saturated.

It gives you a good timeline. It gives you motivation to keep advancing and it’s really motivating to know that when you get to the third year you’ll be supported to go on set, which is really unusual for a kit house.

It’s structured through a pipeline. So broken down within time periods but you can move through quicker as you wish. Starts with basic knowledge of kit, then advances to check out and mixing with operators and working with more advanced kit. I would love to be on set in 3 years time.

I’ve learnt a ton of kit. I knew nothing about DIT. Knew a little about video. Learnt about network kits, comms kits, troubleshooting. Getting hands on with the kit. I have learnt how bespoke it can be depending on the operator. Having spent time on set beforehand I had some understanding of kit deployment but now i’m learning on a broader scale. Carnets are new and good to have been exposed to.

I feel my knowledge is more than basic but I start to panic when it’s something that feels outside of my comfort zone. I want to get comfortable and confident to fulfil more tasks without going to someone else for support. Really enjoying getting to know the differences between operators and how to meet their needs.

I’m looking forward to being freelance and working for myself. I Want to work on high-end projects. I’m passionate about films and doing passion projects. To begin with I’m happy to be on the tech side but longer term I’d like to be involved creatively.

This is more beneficial as its hands on. You also get to work with operators which helps you to gain a lot of work experience from them so you get a much better sense of the pressures of set and the intensity of shooting. I think coming into somewhere like CineArk with base knowledge can be helpful as it gives context. That was very beneficial to me. I don’t think it has to be the root for everyone. It’s mostly about working hard when you get the opportunity and you can learn as you go.

I always thought I knew it was intense but seeing it from the troubleshooting side is really eye-opening. The strikes made me realise how vulnerable freelancing can be. Seeing people out of work for that long. At work you see how some of the operators are really tired and it’s clear jobs can be gruelling.

From the past – ‘Sorry to Bother You’ looked fun to make. It’s very quirky. Future wise I’d love to have a credit on an Avatar film.

I really loved the Twilight series. I watched them when I was younger and still watch them now.

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