Dane Hallett went from working in a call center to working as an artist on big budget movies such as Mad Max
“My little toe was in the door, and I just kicked that door down with all the passion I could muster!”
~ Dane Hallett
Dane Hallett was working in a call center when, purely by chance, he got a phone call that would change his life.
Find out how his passion and determination to become an artist helped him get a foot in the door, and led to him working on some of the biggest films in recent years.
The answers are all in this week’s podcast interview…
Dane Hallett: From Call Center to Big Budget Movies
Dane Hallett had always loved drawing and making things, but dropped out of film school when he found himself being more interested in hanging out in the props department rather than studying.
Like many artists, he found himself taking a job so he could earn a regular income while making art in his spare time. Dane’s job was in a call center, something he describes as a “loathsome” experience, saying:
“When I started that job, I gave myself two weeks. Nine months later, I’d finally had enough. I told them I was leaving, and that I’d got another job lined up that I really wanted to do.”
And, although Dane didn’t actually have another job lined up at this stage, something was about to happen which would change the course of his life for the better…
The Big Break for Dane Hallett
He says: “Late one day, I took a phone call at work on our commercial line. I didn’t usually handle these kinds of calls, but the bosses trusted me to deal with it.
“Although I wasn’t supposed to do it, I always enjoyed dragging out conversations with customers. So, when this guy phoned up and said he was working on a movie (Wolverine), I started asking him lots of questions about it.”
Sensing an opportunity, Dane explained to the customer how he’d always been into art and making models and props. And, although the customer was unable to offer Dane anything there and then, he gave him the phone number of the person in charge of special effects.
Dane wasted no time in calling this number, and although the head of special effects said no initially, he suggested Dane send his CV in.
Two weeks later, Dane got a phone call from the studio with the offer of some work. It may have only been pushing a broom and cleaning up on set, but it was Dane’s chance to get his foot in the door of the film industry! He didn’t need to be asked twice…
He says: “My little pinkie toe was in the door, and I just kicked that door down with all the passion I could muster!”
How Dane Got Ahead
As soon as Dane Hallett got his foot in the door, he started talking to people and asking as may questions as he could.
He says: “Enthusiasm goes such a long way, and people are only too happy to share their knowledge with you if they can see you’re passionate about it. It works both ways, because they feel valued in what they’re doing, and you get to learn a bunch of new skills!”
With all this enthusiasm, it didn’t take long before Dane was able to put down the broom and start using his creative skills. He went from prop-making to illustration, and now spends his time hopping between these and making ‘breakaway’ props (such as the chunks of ‘wood’ you see characters in movies get hit on the head with!)
Dane also got to work on the recent Mad Max movie, where he quickly had to learn how to make standard motorbikes look like the kind of vehicles characters in a post-apocalyptic vision of the future would ride.
He says: “Nothing beats learning on the job and throwing yourself into a project. When you learn under pressure, it becomes part of your technique.
“You’ve got to have that enthusiasm for what you’re doing. I’ve worked on projects where I’ve felt completely out of my depth, but I’m still here doing it so I must have done a good job!”
Listen to this week’s show and learn:
- Why enthusiasm and passion go such a long way.
- How to put yourself out there and keep asking questions.
- Why getting a foot in the door (even if it’s just pushing a broom!) can open up a whole world of possibilities for your creative career.
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