Meet our runners
WE WERE ALL JUST RUNNERS ONCE
This talented crew made our shortlist and gained filming work through Just Runners – here they explain how invaluable the initiative is
*as told to Shots.net
Please tell us who you are and a bit about your background.
Penelopé Joannidou: I’m 25 years old and was born in Budapest. I’ve been living in the UK for six years now, and I graduated from Falmouth University with a BA (Hons) in Fashion Photography in 2016. My interest in fashion arose whilst modelling in my teenage years in Budapest and Milan. In my final year at university, I began creating fashion films and realised that I'm even more passionate about moving image.
Brian Sannoh: I’m 28 years old and I am from London and Sierra Leone. I’m into all things film; recording, pre-production, editing, the whole sport. I enjoy the puzzle of looking at films, adverts, documentaries and reverse engineering how they were created.
Jordan Dunn: I’m 24 years old and was born in London, but I am of Caribbean descent, and very proud to be. From a young age, I have always been interested in games and media.
Lamin Mulopo Verlaine: I’m 24 years young. I’m from Hackney, although I was born in Belgium and my background is Congolese.
How were you selected for the Just Runners bootcamp?
PJ: I first started searching for runner positions in London by sending lots of emails. After a couple of months of doing that without any success, I decided to personally hand my printed CV over at production companies. I met Paul McLoone at P for Production, showed him my portfolio and not only did he accept my CV, but also told me that he was starting a company for runners and would like to invite me for interview. I was incredibly happy and excited.
BS: I saw the Just Runners boot camp, in a Prince’s Trust job pack. After working a night shift, I went home, changed, prepared myself for the job fair, and was successfully interviewed by Paul McLoone. The following week, there was a training and interview day, in which I was taught how a film set runs, the importance of punctuality, the organisation of a film set, the different departments and their requirements of runners.
JD: When I was in sixth form, I completed a BFI course. I maintained the connections that I’d made on this which meant that, after I had finished university, I was sent an email regarding the Just Runners scheme. As a young person wanting to break into the industry I thought this would be a great stepping stone, and it turned out to be a really rewarding experience.
LMV: I got selected for Just Runners by coming to the training day, which I heard about through the Prince’s Trust. They selected who was going to stay after the small tests they had us do. A couple of weeks after that day I found out that I had been chosen.
What were your expectations of what the boot camp offered?
BS: I always knew that a role like this would give me a deeper insight into how the film industry works and how people in different roles collaborate both on and off set. I knew that I’d also gain networking opportunities with the best creative minds and talent. From the training and support that Just Runners have provided, I have become an efficient runner, able to to pre-empt and promptly deal with challenges across the different areas of the film industry.
JD: I was expecting to gain some great experience in the industry and hoped it would help me to get a foot in the door.
“…the life experiences of minorities are often key to a creative brief. Having diversity in the industry helps make the creative side more authentic.” [Brian Sannoh]
What have been the hardest lessons you've learned so far?
PJ: The biggest lesson I've learnt is that you have to be patient in life. With patience and consistency, you can achieve your dreams step by step.
BS: As Just Runners provide good training and I listened keenly, I only learned hard lessons by observation. The first of these is punctuality. From the interview and training day, a number of fellow applicants were sent home for being late. At the time this seemed harsh, but having completed the programme, I now fully understand why. Plenty of the most demanding tasks as a runner, are at the beginning of the day, unloading equipment on set, preparing rooms and breakfasts in editing houses, setting up on live events. As runners we can be seen as the glue holding together different departments, and this relies on punctuality.
JD: To make sure you’re wearing comfortable trainers!
LMV: For me the hardest lesson was making sure to remember everyone’s name on set – something I still find challenging to this day. However, I believe I am getting better at it.
And the best or most useful ones?
PJ: A practical lesson I've learned is to always have many layers of clothing with you, because temperatures on shoots are so unpredictable.
JD: That persistence is key, and to always be friendly. The other most useful thing I’ve learnt is that common sense isn’t as common as you think.
LMV: This has to be to have a Sharpie on you every time you go on a shoot. Those pens have come in handy every time!
“For me the hardest lesson was making sure to remember everyone’s name on set – something I still find challenging to this day. However, I believe I am getting better at it.”
[Lamin Mulopo Verlaine]
And, lastly, how important do you think the Just Runners initiative is?
BS: This initiative is very important as there are many talented and gifted creatives from ethnic and cultural minorities who can find it hard to break into this industry. Also, the life experiences of minorities are often key to a creative brief. Having diversity in the industry helps make the creative side more authentic.
LMV: I believe it’s crucial as it is letting a whole new generation of people interested in film, TV or advertising to get a foot in the door and start a career. I have met people of ethnic origin that say that they like Just Runners because it allows more people that look like them get employed.