Will Hougham

Special Effects Technician

Will's job title is Special Effects Technician at Real SFX

What I do

I provide special effects for the film and TV industry. This can be anything from creating fire and smoke to snow, rain, explosions and bullet and debris hits. 

Hear more about Will's role by watching the video below...

How I became a technician

A typical day in my
working life

The best bits about working in a team

When working on set we arrive as a team and unload any relevant kit off the van for the effects we are doing that shoot day – this could be smoke machines, large fans for wind effects, pre-made fire rigs for campfires or stovetops etc. We sometimes will have to set things up before the shoot day starts; gas bottles, for example, need to be set in position and safely connected up to the rigs that require them so that they are ready to be used as soon as they are needed.

As technicians we work together as a team throughout the shoot day and communicate using radios to provide the effects that the production require. The on-set SFX Supervisor liaises with individuals such as the Director and DOP (Director of Photography) and relays relevant information back to us technicians so we can take appropriate action. Being a trustworthy team player is important as a technician when in these on-set situations, especially when the more hazardous effects come out!

On the other hand, when I’m at the workshop I do more independent work. I might be tasked with a fire rig, so I will start making it myself. There are usually two or three other people in the workshop at any one time, so I can always ask for help if I need it. We have some brilliant minds that work at Real SFX and each person has their niche. I learn from everyone around me.

A little more about
my everyday role

What I love most about my job

I get to travel a lot around the country working on different productions which is great, but I mostly love the variety of my job and figuring out how we can make the effects the production team need - anything from a fire in a fireplace to atmospheric smoke or flying debris.

The most exciting thing I’ve achieved so far in my job

I worked on Peaky Blinders - I loved working on that and being on set and meeting some of the actors. I was really interested in the production, there were a lot of fire and smoke effects involved as you can imagine!

What I do to relax

I am into skateboarding and mechanics - I have a project car which I like working on in my spare time, I guess I love making and fixing things!

The advice I’d give to someone younger

Believe in yourself more. Everyone is drawn to the standard route of finishing school and then going to university. Personally, I was very stressed as I didn’t know what to do. I wish I had known when I was younger that there is more than one route to choose from.

See Will in the Technicians: We Make the Difference cinema advert...

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