Laura Enright got her first break into the TV industry when she auditioned for The Voice of Ireland. If you yourself are Irish, there is a high chance her name will ring a bell, as she finished the competition a quarter-finalist, and the nations favorite.
Now five years on and halfway round the world, she is still making strides in the industry. Her work took her all the way to Vancouver, Canada, where she landed a job on the set of Warner Brother’s Batwoman.
The TV industry is notoriously tricky to get into. Incredibly competitive and non traditional in nature, it is generally believed it’s all about knowing the right person, or being in the right place at the right time. Not very encouraging for those looking to break in.
So time differences apart, we sat down with Laura to try and get some well needed answers.
Where did your TV career start and where has it taken you?
‘I have always been a performer’. Laura explains how she started singing from a very young age. Pretty evident to us from her audition on The Voice aged 18;
This was her first taste of TV, which she described as ‘the best experience’. She loved the hype and madness of live TV, and found it super interesting to see the ins and outs of TV production.
After her Undergrad, she then completed a Masters in Broadcast Journalism, which she thanks her careers counselor for suggesting. ‘You’re never encouraged into creative careers in Ireland’, so this meeting was a blessing.
She then worked as a freelance journalist for Newstalk in Dublin before returning to Canada, having spent the previous summer there. She arrived in Vancouver, and it’s booming film industry, and pretty much instantly landed a job as a Production Assistant on the set of Batwoman. During lockdown, she was then promoted to the role of Offset Key Production Assistant, and is now settling into the new job.
Why do you think you found yourself attracted to TV/performing as a career?
For Laura, this came down to three main points; loving performing, the sheer excitement of TV, and working in such a big group of creative people. The TV and film industry encompasses all these elements. It is fast, busy, and creative, and you get a final product at the end to be proud of.
Infront vs behind the cameras – what are the differences, and which do you prefer?
‘That’s a hard question’.
After some musing, she came to her decision; ‘I prefer to be in front of the camera, I am such a performer deep down! I haven’t done any in a long time. There is just such a thrill with performing and entertaining. It also its own form of creation, putting together a cover or an arrangement. You can also just focus on what you’re doing and not the 50 other people on set!’
That said, she also mentioned that working behind the camera is also a dream come true, and that she loves each for different reasons.
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Expectations vs reality? What has surprised you in your time working in the industry?
‘What surprised me most was the sheer amount of people required for making one episode of a show! Last year (pre-Corona) we would have 300/400 people on set at one time – insane! But if you break it down into each department, everyone was necessary and had a role. They were all just different cogs in one huge wheel’.
She was also surprised at the speed that things get done at, in Canada. In classic Canadian style, shoots are very easy going and chilled to the extreme. But when things need doing super last minute, they can be cracked out so fast. Like a week before broadcast. Though she suspects this may be different to the industry in Ireland and the UK.
Is working in TV as glamorous and crazy as people say it is? Any good anecdotes?
‘There is nothing glamorous about working in TV, unless you’re the star. There is NO glamour behind the scenes. If you want to get into TV for that reason, pick something else!’
‘I have worked at -20 degrees at 5 in the morning, and regularly do 15 hour shifts. But it is lots of fun, and you get to see lots of cool stuff like controlled explosions. For the biggest night of filming on Batwoman, we had to shut down the four main streets in downtown Vancouver at 9pm on a Sat night. There were 50 Production Assistants (where there’d usually be 10), standing at every intersection dealing with the public. They were filming a Motorbike stunt. It was so dangerous, scary and exciting, but we nailed it. It’s such a highlight for me, one of those ‘woah this is my job’ moments.’
Lessons you have learnt?
‘Probably a million, but if you work hard and are gracious towards everyone no matter how stressed, it wont go unnoticed. Getting to the producer level can feel like a million miles away. You feel like an ant and they’re a lion! But hard work is respected, and won’t go unnoticed.’
Any advice for people looking to get into the industry?
‘Persevere! Don’t take no for an answer, use your contacts, be ballsy, message people on Linkedin – most people who work in the industry were themselves helped!’