Q&A with Apprentice John South
GTT gave John 5 questions and here are his unedited responses:
What is the coolest assignment you have been on, what was your position?
I got to do a lot of really cool things in my apprenticeship. I got to go to Denmark for a week. I went to Mexico for a week. But the absolute coolest assignment has to be going to Super Bowl 42.
I mean, it’s the Super Bowl. This was something I never thought I would get to do in my life. My position was as the ENG audio operator with Skip. We shot interviews with the players, shot local scene setters in the evenings and even made a cameo in a behind the scenes segment with Michael Strahan. I really can’t do it justice, it was the coolest thing I have ever been a part of. Super Bowl 42 was the second most watched television event in history (behind the final episode of M.A.S.H.), and I, be it a small one, had a part in the production. It is something I, one day, will be telling my grand kids.
Advice for anyone interested in the apprenticeship?
The best advice I can give anyone interested in the apprenticeship is, first and foremost, figure out what it is you want from your career and your life. Think about where you want to be in 10 years. If your goal is to work 40 hours every week, sleep in your own bed every night, and join the Wednesday night bowling league; then I would suggest that the apprenticeship is not for you.
If your goal is to become a professional shooter, and you’re willing to work to get there; then the apprenticeship may be just the right step. If you want to be a tripod and doughnuts camera guy, this probably isn’t for you. If you want to be the guy sprinting down the street with a camera on your shoulder just to get one more shot of the suspect in the biggest news story in the country; this apprenticeship is a great way to break into the business.
How do you feel about Skip Clark’s ability to teach?
Skip is a great teacher. Some people know a lot of things but don’t know how to communicate it. Some people don’t know many things but they make themselves sound like an expert.
Skip knows his stuff. There isn’t an aspect of television production that he doesn’t have a grasp on and he can explain it in a way that is very easy to understand. I learned more in one year with Skip than I did in four years of college and three years as a local shooter combined.
What’s the most challenging part of the apprenticeship?
The most challenging part of the apprenticeship was getting used to the hours and the grind of working in this kind of environment. The first 5 months of my apprenticeship was spent traveling around the country, following the NASCAR circuit for FOX. Early mornings followed by late nights, over and over again. Then travel to the next city and do it all over again.
The grind of keeping yourself motivated and focused each day for weeks at a time is very tough. But, I look back at that time very proudly. Anytime I think about work now, and how tough some upcoming project may be, I remember that if I could handle 5 months of running with FOX, I can handle anything.
How do you feel about being a part of GTT?
Go To Team is a great group of people to work with. They have always treated me with dignity and respect well before I had worked there long enough to deserve it.
They aren’t some large company that sees every situation in black and white and has so much bureaucracy that it take weeks for anything to get done. Go To Team fully embraces the team mentality, and in becoming a member, you are given every opportunity to succeed.
Go To Team is the best of both employment worlds: not only do you get the security of a regular paycheck, the health insurance, and the benefits of a corporate job, but you also get to work on cool projects for many different clients. Without all the stress and worrying of when your next job will be; like freelance.