Profile Ella Kroning
HI Ella, how did you end up working in this industry?
My passion for film grew from my childhood. Like most kids, I absolutely loved watching movies. What drew me in was the magical and weird visuals paired with the otherworldly stories and characters. I started to create my own videos by taking photos and editing them together on Windows Movie Maker (whilst experimenting with a large variety of effects and wipes) and then screened them to my friends and family. This is a sad but true story. Pic: Ella was 1st AC on B-CAM with Jack Davis camera operating on a short film.
Did that light a fire in you to study film more?I never thought I would be able to work in the film industry but what led me to believe that this was a possibility was my Media teacher at High School, Mr Modra. I received encouragement to pursue media as a career, as well as having many opportunities to practice shooting. I would film school theatre productions, sports events and corporate workshops and in media class I created school TV News skits. Slowly I started to gain work as a freelance camera operator and editor on weekends. When I finished high school, I began studying Screen Production at University focusing on cinematography and editing. It was invaluable being around like-minded passionate young people and delving into the history of cinema.
After graduating from Uni what did you do?
I began filming music videos with Repeater Productions and started freelancing at Picture Hire Australia. James Ward-Miller, who was an employee there found a full-time job posting at VA Digital Hire in Sydney and suggested I apply. As luck would have it, I got the job and I found this was an incredible opportunity to familiarise myself with gear. I would recommend this pathway to other young people who are looking to gain experience while working. After an expensive year of rent, I moved back to Adelaide to start working as a 2nd AC on features and my own creative projects.
Pic: Ella with Movi shooting a music video for Morgan Wright at Repeater Productions.
Did you find it hard getting established in film production?
From my perspective, this is defiantly not an easy industry to enter for anybody starting out. I think it is an industry that is built heavily on community, trust and reputation from the nature of how short term but intense productions are. Productions and individuals prefer rehiring people they have worked with before because they know their work ethic, knowledge, and personality, as well as having previous experience in the role. When starting out, there is a level of risk that people have to take when hiring a newbie.
I’ve had people trust in me and given me opportunities which has allowed me to build a CV to gain more work (shout out to Hugh Freytag, Andrew Horton and again James Ward-Miller). I think Adelaide is one of the best places to start out because of how small the community is, so it allows for young people to step up and fill roles that would otherwise be filled by an excess of experienced crew in other states. At the end of the day, I think things just take time and there are no shortcuts in this industry. Pic: Ella utilising the classic tracking tool, a wheelchair, on a promotional video.
Who do you look up to in the industry, did you have any mentors?
I love working in the film industry because of how common it is to meet driven, unique and talented people who are open to sharing their knowledge and experiences. Every shoot I am taught something useful from other crew members regardless of what department they are in. At the end of last year I finished working on Mortal Kombat MU as the Camera Truck Loader. This was an amazing opportunity for me, as I was able to work on a larger scale production and learn under some of the top crew in Australia. On this production, I treated 2nd AC Jeremy Wheatley as a mentor because of his experience in this role and the level of excellence he worked at. I think the best way to explain his way of working is, ‘if a job’s worth doing, it’s worth doing perfectly, colour coding it and using a label maker.’ I have been able to take what I have learnt from Jeremy and apply these practices to my future work in this role.
Although you currently work as a 2nd AC, is that where you think your future lies?
Right now, I would like to keep working as a 2nd AC on productions but I am pursuing moving into 1st camera assistant work. Earlier this year I was lucky to work as a 1st AC on two short films before the pandemic had placed restrictions on film shoots. Once the restrictions have been lifted I aim to continue gaining experience focus pulling on other shoots. I am also passionate about continuing to be camera operator on creative projects to develop my cinematography skills. Pic: 2nd AC Ella Kroning on A Second Chance Rivals posing with Warren Luxford, Josh Koster and Johnathan Baker.
Thanks Ella it's great to hear of your journey so far. I look forward to watching you develop your career to the utmost.