I went to Northport Studio in the centre of Elgin, and spoke to Dianne Stevenson, Adam Cook, Tom Duncan and Ryan Daglish about their work.
The studio itself was incredible. My first thought as I walked in was that I could see how people became inspired and creative within this space. The brightly coloured walls and modern decorations created a calm, inviting atmosphere. Along with this, each person had personalised and arranged their own work space the way they wanted it, with things such as postcards, photographs, posters and plants.
Dianne, who has been working at Northport Studio for a year and a half, explained that she chose this career because she has a background in music and ultimately wanted to do something creative. She studied music business and worked for a music company. After moving here, she now does production on shoots. Adam has been working at Northport Studio for almost 5 years. He did his Masters in scriptwriting and was a freelance writer for a while. He began collaborating with Tom, who set up the space, and now does v
ideo editing. For a long time, Tom loved TV and movies. He told me that he didn’t realise that you could get jobs in TV and film; but eventually decided to go into that industry himself. He has been working for Northport for 9 years. Ryan told me that he didn’t think about his career until his last year at school. He went to college for two years and contacted Tom, which resulted in him working at Northport too. He has been working there for the past three years.
I thought it was really interesting to discover that at Northport, there is not really such a thing as a ‘typical day’. Dianne explained that things can be totally different every single day, depending on what they have on. Her main responsibilities include researching clients, scheduling shoots, contacting people, booking locations and risk assessments. Adam told me that projects are split into three categories – pre-production, production and post-production and that they work on these three areas.
The thing that Dianne likes most about her job is that it’s varied and that she doesn’t do the same thing every day. She likes the idea of working with certain clients and making ideas with brands, along with putting a lot of themselves into what they do. For Adam, the best part of his job is simply taking an idea all the way through, from the pre-production stage to the post-production stage. Tom enjoys creating things from scratch. He said that it was amazing to have something to look back on. Ryan likes being creative, and particularly the weird (but very cool) places they find themselves in.
When I asked about their highest achievements and most memorable experiences within the company, Dianne told me about getting making snow road films. This was the first project that Dianne took from pitching point to execution. They were commissioned to make 12 films, but they enjoyed it so much that they made 15.
When I asked Adam, he said that it was an advert for Jack Wills that he had appeared in, which I was shown – it was amazing. The plot was that sheep had travelled from the North-East of Scotland to Carnaby Street in London.
Tom said that a company like Northport was extremely uncommon in this part of the world, and that they competed with companies in big cities like Glasgow, Edinburgh and London. Not only have they managed to survive, but they managed to grow. His highest achievement is the continued growth and stability of the business.
Ryan told me that his most memorable experience was a shoot that he did in Hong Kong, which he really enjoyed.
I asked them what they think the company values the most, and how they defined success. They defined success as getting it right with the client, when the client is happy with the job, but also equally as important, them being really happy with their own work too. They also defined success as being ambitious and reaching steps and milestones.
I asked them where they saw themselves and the company in the long term. Ryan told me that they planned to do exactly what they’re doing now, but bigger and better, and also hoped to be in credits in movies.