JAMES PEOPLE
WENDY LAYBOURN
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My interest in production began, like most people involved in the industry, with a fascination for that 'land of magic' which is film. Growing up the North-East of England there was very little prospect of a career in the business but, coming from a time and place where everyone played a musical instrument of some kind and to varying degrees of proficiency, I put my energies into becoming a fairly respectable guitar player and spent much of my youth playing in Northern clubs.

By pure chance I met a couple of people who had just started a small London production company, so helping them evenings and weekends was my introduction to the film industry.

In the 1970's I joined a company which was dealing with the distribution of an American brand of post production equipment to 22 European outlets. I was an integral part of the team which introduced off-line editing into Europe. I helped to build this company into an international organisation with offices in Los Angeles and Moscow. Because of the work I did at the time, in
1972 I was invited to become a member of BAFTA for innovations in the off-line editing process.

In the 1980s I started a company with two partners, a brokerage which dealt with the sale of new and used film, television, sound and lighting equipment on an international basis. We produced a monthly publication of equipment for sale, which was distributed to an extensive readership. During this time I became a member of the BKSTS (British Kinematograph, Sound & Television Society) & the SMPTE (Society of Motion Picture and Television Engineers)

In the early 1990s I became very much more involved with the BKSTS and represented the Society, in conjunction with the Northern Arts Board, on the Cinema 100 National Committee (the UK's celebration of 100 years of Cinema). In 1994 I was elected as the first woman Council Member of the BKSTS and subsequently elected as Honorary Secretary - then employed by the Society as Executive Director from 2003 until 2007, when the Society 'downsized'. I was awarded a Fellowship of the BKSTS - the first woman to be awarded this honour.

During this time I was appointed to the Board of the Children's Film Unit, a charitable organisation involving children between the ages of 11-18 in the art of film-making - becoming Chairman a few years later.

In 2003 I was accepted as a Friend of the British Society of Cinematographers, a member of the Visual Effects Society and a member of the Institution of Engineering and Technology.

In 2009 to 2011 I published Network Nine News, a quarterly magazine aimed at young film makers, dealing with the skills and crafts involved in film production. From 2012 to date I have been working on a series of e-booklets through Amazon, aimed at students and young film makers about the realities of working in film. The series title is 'Do You Have What it Takes to Survive in Film Production?' with each booklet focusing on a particular department - eg, Production Office, Art Department etc.

I take every opportunity to speak to young people who are aiming to make a career in production - if I had been able to speak to someone when I started out who had with overall knowledge of film and who could have told me about the variety of creative jobs available, I may have taken a different route - however, it's a hard but wonderful business to be in.