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As part of our new ‘5 minutes with…’ series, The Talent Manager spent some time chatting to Nic Guttridge; executive producer, series producer, director and tutor for DV Talent’s ‘Shooting for the Edit’ course.

So Nic, when did you first realise that you wanted to be a director?

When I stepped in front of a camera to present a live game show for York Student Television at the age of 18. My plan up to this point had been to become the new Jonathan Ross. Tragically, it turned out that I was monumentally rubbish in front of camera. Happily, it also turned out that I wasn't too shabby behind it.  

Not too shabby at all. And since then, what has been the biggest highlight of your career?

Persuading Dudley Zoo to let me film two grown men making plaster casts of their testicles in the back of the chimpanzee enclosure. Oh, or being BAFTA longlisted for 'Through a Child's Eyes'. One of those things.

I know which one I’d pick! And now for the other side of things, what is one of the lowlights? What is the biggest challenge you have faced on a shoot?

Eight contributors, three dogs, two screaming babies. One camera. Two audio channels. A vital conversation that could not be retaken.

Tell us what your ‘Shooting for the edit’ course is about in a few words.

This course is entirely focused on arming people with the knowledge they need to direct with confidence and come home with the goods. Sadly the opportunities for young directors to access the edit are now few and far between. And yet they face enormous pressure to deliver strong cut-able rushes. Where are they meant to learn what to do?!

As an exec and SP, what do you find is the most common mistake inexperienced shooters make?

Can I give you three? 1) Not having a clear idea of what they're trying to achieve. 2) Not understanding the importance of wide shots and cutaways. 3) Slavishly following a conversation in camera.

What advice would you give to someone relatively  starting out who wants to be a documentary director?

Become really very excellent at believing in yourself. It's hard, and plenty don't make it. But you can. Yes, I mean you.  

And finally…

If you were stranded on a desert island and could only take one box set, what would it be?

Season 1 of '24'. I have never been more gripped by anything on TV. Even if my island didn't have a laptop to view it on, I'd still gain value from staring at the box and appreciating that, although I may be hungry, desperate and lonely, I'm probably still  having a better day than Jack Bauer.

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