Our alumna Ellen Jackson pulled in the public vote to win Most Popular Cinematographer/ Videographer at the Wedding Industry Experts 2016 Awards. She’s one of our Industry Mentors and reflects on her career with this update:
With more than five years’ experience in the videography business things have really started to progress for me and my business. I have had some brilliant opportunities and been able to work with some really amazing people, locally and nationally. The corporate side of my business is thriving; with work under my belt for all different types of businesses and events. In 2013 I launched the wedding side of things, and since then it’s all gone mad! So mad that this year I won the award for the most Popular Cinematographer in the UK, and second popular in the world!
I’m sure you’ve heard it a million times, but it’s all about who you know. So get out there and network, it might not be the people you meet that have opportunities to offer you – but they will know people who do. So build as many relationships as you can.
My first internship in London came about because I knew someone who wanted a video in a Graphic Design company when I was in my second year. I kept in touch with this company for the next year – kept emailing in and making myself known until one day they replied and said they had a meeting the next day with a production company and wanted to introduce me. I had only just handed in my final piece of work in my third year when I started my internship with this very company. Working for them opened so many doors for me – they sent me out on shoots, had me editing and introduced me to many different contacts, which when I became freelance were invaluable. So, email and call companies that you want to work for, and keep in touch with them – I can’t stress this enough. You want them to remember you, and it shows you’re keen and passionate.
Getting my degree has been really important for me, if it hadn’t been for my time (in this School) at the University of Lincoln I would never have been able to have the career that I love. For me the practical side of the degree is essential. Having the opportunity of workshops in such a wide range of subjects has been invaluable in my career. The industry is constantly changing and it helps if you can be an all rounder, so not just have the ability to edit, but skills to do sound, and to use a camera. Being able to learn all this from such experts is the reason I am where I am. If it wasn’t for the lectures, life skills, CV teaching and constantly being told how important it was to make connections and to keep emailing people I wouldn’t have got my internship.
I loved being an industry mentor; apart from feeling extremely nostalgic, it was so nice to be able to pass on what I had found useful, and how to survive leaving university. It was great being able to help someone else that was in that scary position that I was once in. But also it was lovely seeing their work and being able to have a look around the Degree Show.
It’s a scary thing leaving university, no longer having the safety net and having to become a grown up and finding work in your field, particularly a field like media – where it is so competitive. Good luck to all new graduates!