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10 Questions with Dean Crawford

Key Production Assistant on Avengers: Age of Ultron

Shot by Christopher Vega

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Dean Crawford is a 33 year old Film and Drama graduate from East London.  He has worked in several areas of the UK film industry, as well as TV, commercials, music videos and was a crew member on the upcoming film “Avengers: Age of Ultron.”
 1. What made you decide to pursue a career in the movie industry?

Labyrinth was the first movie I saw in the cinema and I fell in love with film right there and then. I always made things growing up and I knew I wanted to either act or direct. However, there’s only room for so many “Ben Affleck’s” in this world, so I’ll settle for being a humble crew member for the time being!

 

 2. What are some of the challenges you faced in getting started (finding work, etc.)?

If you don’t have the contacts, the biggest challenge is getting that first paid job. I did a lot of work for free, but it never really led to anything. So my second attempt in 2008 involved sending out as many CV’s as possible, which only landed me one interview, but that was all it took. Perseverance is key.

 

 3. What brought you to South Korea?

The World Cup. I knew I wanted to travel after graduating and Korea was stuck in my mind. I decided to come out for one year, which were famous last words, as I have been back and forth a few times since. It’s hard to leave this place forever.

 

 4. How did you become involved in the film production of Avengers: Age of Ultron?

Luckily for me, I had worked with some of the Assistant Directors on Harry Potter. I sent them my CV and they  passed it onto the 1st AD and I was brought on board as a Stunt PA.

 

 5. What would you say your typical day was like working on the film?

Long! On the bigger days, the AD team would arrive at unit base around 4 am to check the trailers and the location for that day’s shoot. After that, my job was to get the stunt guys through costume and makeup then onto set.  Once that was done, I was with the assistant directors doing anything from taking lunch orders to working with the camera team informing the 1st AD that we’re ready to roll, locking off sets, directing extras for camera wipes and generally shouting very loud. Anything and everything, really.

 

 6. Did you face any unique or interesting challenges working on the Avengers sequel?

It’s always a challenge when you shoot abroad, but seeing as I live here and am fully immersed in Korean culture, it made life relatively easy for me. However, my biggest challenge was making sure our drivers weren’t sneaking off for food when they had to be ready to shuttle the stunts to set!

 

 7. Do you have any memorable moments from the filming of Avengers or from other films that you’ve worked on?

Being ten feet away from cars exploding and trucks flying through the air is something I’ll never forget. I also felt incredibly proud to be the only foreign crew member that actually lived in Korea. Apart from The Avengers, being a huge Oasis fan, meeting them on Falling Down was a personal highlight.

 

 8. Could you give us a rundown of other movies/projects that you’ve worked on and roles that you filled?

Sure. My first job was as a runner on a low-budget indie film called Doghouse, starring Stephen Graham from Boardwalk Empire. That led to a few other low budget films working in the office or on set as a PA before I landed my first big film, which was Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Parts 1 & 2. I was in the production office, then on set in the video department and I worked with the same video team on X-Men: First Class. I’ve also been a Producers Assistant, 3rd Assistant Director on feature film ‘Turnout,’ Production Coordinator on an advertisement in Qatar and I did a small stint in the location department on Captain America. I’ve worked in the AD team on music videos and been on the set of a BBC soap opera. I love it all, but I suppose Production or the AD team are my two specialist areas.

 

 9. How was working on a large big budget production (like Avengers: Age of Ultron) different from other projects that you’ve worked on?

This was the first time I had been part of a 2nd unit, therefore it was my first time being involved with stunts of that magnitude. Big budget and low budget films are surprisingly similar in terms of pressure, but the food is definitely better on a large production!

 

 10. Where will you go from here? Will you be staying in Korea to pursue more work or will you move on?

If anyone wants to give me a visa to work on films in Korea full time, then I’ll be staying! But at the moment, it seems like I’ll be returning to the UK in the summer to get back in the film scene there. I can’t wait.

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