5 years after graduating, I’m running my own business (joint company director and video producer) and travelling the world filming. We say Wanderlust FP is a production company based out of a backpack! Here’s one of our latest videos produced for Audley Travel on Vietnam.
I completed my degree in 2009 with first class honours, something I worked really hard for. It didn’t come easy; I sacrificed a lot of nights out to get the grade but it was well worth it. I had planned to start my own business straight out of Uni but I ended up working on various productions large and small for other people, which was ultimately better as I learnt a lot from it. I made some great contacts through my R&D project, which meant I got to experience being on set for a big feature film Never Let Me Go (2010) with Keira Knightly.
Later, Issie Sleight told me about a part time job lecturing in media production at the college. It was a very scary prospect but Issie gave me the confidence to give it a go. After a few months I found I was really enjoying it and when a full time position came up I jumped at the chance. Four years into teaching and I was itching to get back into making my own productions so I finally started my own business, Wanderlust FP, this time with the support of my husband who graduated from the Games Production course at the University of Lincoln. My husband, James Bowen, was working for a games company at the time. We started off making videos for different friends businesses and organically we got more and more business off the back of the original work. We were working all hours with two jobs each. A time came when we weren’t able to do our full time jobs and the business at the same time anymore so we decided to save some money and leave the full time grind to travel and give the business a shot.
We sold everything and started travelling at the beginning of 2014 with the aim of travelling, building more of a portfolio and hopefully surviving along the way. As luck (or hard work) would have it, someone I had worked with before at the BBC was now working for a travel company. After some talks we landed our first big contract making videos for a luxury UK travel company. Since then we’ve been travelling and making promotional videos around Asia and the Indian sub-continent. We’ve visited Nepal, India, Cambodia, Vietnam and we’re currently living in Thailand for a while as its somewhere we’ve always loved. I’m also doing a bit of teaching again as I was able to do my teaching qualification while working for the college, which enables me to get work anywhere in the world, very useful if you like travelling.
Filming abroad means I’ve seen some amazing things and experienced different cultures in a whole new way (pictured on the left is a Holy Man). When you’re filming you’re forced to approach people for help and usually translations which hasn’t been a bad thing so far, we always end up meeting some real characters and getting to go places most travellers don’t know about. We found local photographers usually have the best advice as to when the lighting is at its best or different viewpoints to get a nice shot from. Most people in Asia are more than happy to help, one woman we spoke to casually on a mountain top actually rushed on to a bus when we were leaving the town of Sapa in Northern Vietnam to give us gifts for ‘showing people about my country’. It’s times like that you feel really lucky to be doing your job.
So for the future, we’ve got contracts for Laos in December, Myanmar in February, Japan in April, China in July, then who knows, we’ll probably do Australasia and South America next. I don’t think this post contains much advice for graduates other than don’t worry about the future too much. When I was at Uni I was worried about where I would end up working and almost launching myself into the media world right out of Uni, otherwise it would be doom and gloom. What I’ve learnt since is that especially with media work, you never know what’s around the corner, you just need to enjoy it. Of course you need to work hard or you wont get anywhere, people noticed my hard work and that’s how I got a lot of my opportunities. Now I couldn’t be happier with the life I’ve built and I certainly get to take it easier than when I was working in the UK.
Huge thank you to Issie Sleight for being my mentor at the Uni and supporting me even now five years on! And to David Sleight for providing spurts of inspiration throughout my three years there – I wish I had his gift for words.