Take five with film graduate Craig Dorrall

05 Sep 2016
Craig Dorrall

What an amazing few years SAE graduate Craig Dorrall has had: he’s travelled the world, worked with major brands including Chevrolet and Manchester United and run his own national film production franchise. SAE caught up with the high-flying alumnus to talk global success. 

So walk us through your journey since leaving SAE

I initially worked as a freelancer in Scotland, collaborating regularly with fellow grads. I then made a huge decision to relocate to Australia where I took a job at the Canberra Theatre Centre. After 18 months, I moved to New Zealand and joined the team at Platinum HD, a global video production and photography network. I actually ended up buying the national franchise, which covered the whole of New Zealand, and ran that for two years, before moving back to the UK to work for a production company based in Edinburgh called Tanami.

What’s it like working for Tanami?

It’s great - I really enjoy it. I have been able to progress well in my career, developing my shooting skills and also learning about client management. At Tanami, I’ve been fortunate enough to work with a lot of big brands like Chevrolet, Manchester United and Vision Direct. I have captured the work of Ferrari mechanics in Malaysia, as well as directed adverts that have been shown in cinema as well as television. It’s all incredibly exciting! 

Sounds like a dream. What’s been your career highlight?

When I first came on board with Tanami, we embarked upon a huge round-the-world shoot for a company called City & Guilds. This client was looking for a global brand re-launch. The strapline was “Welcome to Our World”.

Tanami’s Managing Director, Jemma Goba, and I started off in South Africa then went on to Botswana. We also filmed in Sri Lanka, Malaysia and Dubai, before finishing in London.  The project involved photography as well as videography and we managed to incorporate some stunning time-lapse work too.  The scenery was amazing – such a mix of cultures too. 

Amazing. Tell us, what’s next? Any big projects coming up?

Of course! We’ve got some really exciting, high-profile campaigns which we’re working on but unfortunately I can’t say much more about those! Everything we do integrates with social media and is generally quite fast paced – stay tuned! We have also recently started producing some 360° videos and these are incredibly popular right now.

Is most of your work corporate-based?

Predominantly so. I think it’s important to mention that I’ve done a lot of work in real estate, particularly when I was in New Zealand.  There can be a bit of a stigma attached to that, because some people think it’s not hugely creative but I would disagree. I think it’s a good way to cut your teeth, particularly in such a fast-paced, competitive industry.

You seem to have gone from strength to strength. Did you enjoy your time at SAE?

I did. We had some really interesting, fun lecturers who we got on really well with. I think one of the best things about SAE is the range of courses available. Having film, audio and other courses such as animation on a single campus means you’re not just confined to one environment. You learn to collaborate with artists from all different disciplines, like you do in the real world.

Any tips for those wanting to pursue a career in film?

First of all, you need practical experience - it’s the most important thing. If you’re a student, sign up for as much work experience as possible and get some decent internships. I also think finding a mentor that you can look up to is a very useful way to progress your career. Finally, make sure you’re collaborating with artists from different fields and learn how to work within a range of disciplines.