Holly Bantleman

Television Camera Operator

What I do

I am a television camera operator, and founder of charity Raise The Roof.

How I got my job

I managed to get work experience in a production company in Soho in London. After a fair amount of time making tea and photocopying, I got the opportunity to go ‘on location’ of a drama, where I began doing some work experience with the camera department. After that, I was able to apply for lots more work experience and eventually got my first job as a camera assistant at Capital Studios, which then led to a career at The London Studios. After a few years there, I decided to go travelling and to volunteer. I found myself in Kenya and my journey really began. I volunteered in schools, children’s homes and hospitals. I also did some fundraising for a community living on a dumpsite, to provide tin roofing in the raining season.

I went back to Kenya to raise the roof, and that’s when I founded the charity. We now have a vocational training school, a girl empowerment programme, an education through sport programme, community outreach and soon a computer training workshop.

What I love about my job

I love the variety, the people, the travelling, the opportunity to add purpose to my life and to help others.

What is difficult about my job

Camera work is very male-dominated and manual. It involves long hours and being away from home a lot. Charity work is all-consuming, but I love it.

What skills I need

For camera work, you need to be hard-working and have patience, a photographic eye and passion. For charity work, you need passion, compassion, love, determination, a thick skin and to be outgoing.

Where to start

If you want to do camera work, call TV production companies and studios to try to get work experience or work as a runner. Don’t give up; one of the doors will open! 

If you want to do charity work, volunteer your time to a charity, get to understand their work and support their vision.