It’s the most talked about movie of the year, and is tipped to smash box office records when it opens today, but for Edge Hill Film and TV Production student Toni Jordan, Star Wars: The Force Awakens was the ultimate first job in the film industry.
Toni (20), from Carlisle, worked on the set of the iconic Sci-Fi franchise in July 2014 as a Location Assistant, but the top secret nature of the project meant she hasn’t been able to talk about it until now.
“I didn’t even know that I was working on Star Wars until the day before I started on set. The Location Manager had hired me to work on a film and told me the dates, but because nobody was supposed to know it was even being filmed in my local area, it wasn’t until he phoned me the day before that I found out which film it was.”
“I was working as a Location Assistant on set, stopping the public from coming onto the set and making sure it was quiet during takes. The security around the whole shoot was really tight so if any members of the public asked we had to tell them they were shooting a film for the National Trust, although I think they might have guessed it wasn’t the case from the costumes people were wearing.
“On set was like nothing I’ve experienced before, the crew had built a huge platform at the edge of one of the lakes to film one shot, people were moving equipment around on quad bikes, and there was a team there whose job it was to collect leaves, mud and twigs from the forest to put them into the scene.
“As far as I was aware no one from the main cast members were there while I was on set as they were mostly filming one of the main characters’ body double. It was a great experience to work on such a high-profile shoot, and since working on Star Wars it’s the first thing potential new employers want to talk about when they read my CV. Especially now that I don’t have to refer to it by a code name!”
Working on Star Wars wasn’t the first time Toni has worked on a high profile set while juggling her studies, and with stints on Peaky Blinders, MTV’s Geordie Shore and Stephen Poliakoff’s Close to the Enemy already under her belt, she’s already looking to the next opportunity.
“I think it’s important to make as many connections as you can while you’re still studying. I haven’t decided which area of film and TV production I’d like to specialise in after I graduate yet, I really enjoyed working in the location team on Star Wars but there are so many options available I think it’s best to learn as much as you can and build up as wide a skill set as possible.”