Alumni Frankie Hocking works on Amazon Prime’s The Devil’s Hour’
Frankie Hocking, a Production Secretary and Researcher in the UK film and television industry, graduated from BA (Hons) Film at Art University Plymouth in 2016. Since then Frankie has been busy working with Ant and Dec on their Saturday Night Takeaway, tackling online hate towards disabled people with comedian Rosie Jones and helping to capture Peter Capaldi’s terrifying new character Gideon in ‘The Devil’s Hour’.
We caught up with Frankie to find out what life has been like since graduation, the difficulties of travelling as a wheelchair user and how he got his first break with ITV.
“When I finished my degree at Arts University Plymouth, I quickly realised I needed a job! I absolutely loved the course, it was three of the best years of my life, but I was aware that when I left, I had no financial backing. I did freelance work but that was really hard and I ended up working in a bank. I knew it would be good money and stable, but I was miserable. Doing something you don’t wanna do makes you realise what you want to do. I knew I wanted to work back in the arts again so I applied to work at Theatre Royal Plymouth. I ended up in the Engagement and Learning department, but got made redundant during the pandemic. I didn’t want to go back to a job I was miserable in, so I worked hard to make new connections. The professional network for TV and film really opened up, as the networking events that usually would happen in London or in person were happening online because of COVID-19. I wanted to work in TV or film any way I could. I found a role in the accounts department at a high end drama, and that was off the back of the job I had at the bank! Never devalue any skills you have, having that experience was what got my foot in the door at ITV.”
Frankie Hocking. Image by Tommy Hatwell.
“I ended up getting a call about a casting researcher role and I got to work at the Television Centre in London with a load of celebrities. It was a daunting experience, but amazing. In my role at Saturday Night Takeaway as a researcher, I would do background checks and find cool news stories about people who did nice things and essentially give them a free holiday in a segment called ‘Happiest Minute’. It was such a lovely job. I found one guy who trained pensioners at his gym. He was a personal trainer but if you were an OAP or disabled, he’d train you for free.”
“When I was studying, I knew I wanted to be a producer because I was always good at organising. Since working with Saturday Night Takeaway, I’m now a production secretary with ITV, working on some really cool projects. The jobs involve working with Twofour in Plymouth, so that was the icing on the cake to be able to stay in the city. One of them is working with the comedian Rosie Jones, exploring disability hate online, of which she receives a lot. It’s a coincidence that that subject happens to be close to my heart. We’ve met and we still message from time to time. She’s so funny and such a big inspiration, not just as a disabled person, but as someone who just works really hard. People give her stick, saying she’s given work just because she’s disabled, but that’s such rubbish. We’ll be hanging out and she’ll be working on her book on her phone and I know she’ll be off doing stand up in the evening. Never a dull moment with Rosie.”
Frankie worked on the Happiest Minute segment on Ant & Dec's Saturday Night Takeaway
“I really like travelling but it’s a logistical nightmare with a wheelchair so I started to build a network online with other disabled travellers. Some people don’t want to talk about it, but I wanted to discuss what went wrong, what went right, and it turned into a bit of a blog for me. Obviously over the pandemic it went a bit stagnant, but it was really nice to meet people through it. The more I did it, the more people found me online and I ended up learning from them! I think one of the best things you can do for yourself is travel, you learn about yourself, other cultures and the world. I got featured in my local newspaper for talking about my experience as a wheelchair user. The lift in the cinema is still broken. It’s not an ‘inconvenience’, it’s discriminatory. Lots of people responded to the article, which relates back to working with Rosie, I got a tiny taste of the online hate. Lots of people called me entitled. Funnily enough, I am entitled to go to the cinema! So, yeah I guess I am!”
Frankie on his travels in Lisbon
“I absolutely loved my time at Arts University Plymouth, I met some amazing people. The creative space and the access to equipment is just amazing. Being surrounded by so many creatives and artists, it was so inspiring. It’s hard to get motivated when you’re not in that, I was constantly motivated during my studies. I don’t know many people who would come in on their days off, but we’d have a week off for reading week and we’d go in every day to make a film. You are really encouraged to develop your own artistic style which is really lovely, especially compared to some people’s experience of film courses, which are quite restrictive. It’s hard to find this experience anywhere else.”
“One thing that I will say is work really hard. Nothing will be handed to you. You have to take every blow and be humble. You’ve gotta work from the bottom up, no matter how good you think you are. If you think a job is beneath you, show them that by taking it and smashing it. If you wanna be a filmmaker, then take any job and make films with the money. I’ve done telesales, worked in a bank, an office, and I’ve taken something from every job I’ve had. Don’t devalue any skill because you can use it. Don’t let perfection get in the way of ‘good enough’. If you’re a perfectionist, you can steal your joy by not letting yourself finish anything. You have to be willing to fail. If it’s rubbish, it’s rubbish. Don’t let it be rubbish next time. Don’t think you have the whole package. The biggest thing you learn in film is that it’s a massive team sport, so leave your ego at the door.”
Frankie worked on 'The Devil's Hour' out now on Amazon Prime, featuring Peter Capaldi and Jessica Raine
The latest project Frankie worked on, ‘The Devil’s Hour’, a brand new psychological thriller series featuring Peter Capaldi, is out now on Amazon Prime.
Arts University Plymouth was voted by students as the top arts university in the UK for overall student satisfaction in the National Student Survey (NSS) 2022, voted by students as best Small or Specialist Institution at the annual Whatuni Student Choice Awards 2022 and shortlisted for Company of the Year in the National Sustainability Awards 2022.
BA (Hons) Film & Screen Arts students at the arts university have opportunities to collaborate with students with other specialisms on campus, including graphic designers, photographers and creative technologists. To find out more, visit the next Arts University Plymouth Open Day on Saturday 26 November, from 10am to 2pm.