James Waddell, class of 2000

James Waddell

I had always wanted to work in television and one day decided to do something about it.

I chose Lincoln for my degree mostly because of the new media and television facilities that they had.

Throughout my three years there I pretty much knew I wanted to be a director, the only problem was how did I make it happen?

I left Lincoln in the summer of 2000 having been offered two jobs. The first offer came during a meeting with the head of CITV in London. I had interviewed him for my dissertation and wanted to let him know that I had received a first and to also thank him for his involvement. In an email he had mentioned ‘if you are ever in London……..’ well I took that literally and went to see him! At the end our our chat he offered me a role as an assistant cameraman on a new series as I had shown a lot of passion and commitment during our meeting.

I actually turned this job down and took a job at Sky as I thought this role would give me more experience during the long term. Within 6 months I was trained to be a vision mixer, a route I knew to being a director. Now you may think I was very lucky to be offered two jobs but it was down to a lot of persistence and perseverance. You have to make the most of every opportunity that comes along. If you get a day’s work experience make all the contacts you can there and most importantly follow them up. There are so many people out there that want to work in television that you have to make yourself stand out.

After Sky I came to work at the BBC in 2001 and gradually moved my way up. I spent two years directing at CBBC, which was immense fun, before coming to Network News here at Television Centre. Amongst others I have directed Newsround, Sportsround, Breakfast, Working Lunch, Network News and currently The Politics Show (BBC 1 Sunday) and Newsnight.

It’s still a hard and demanding job that pushes me to the limit. There is always a lot to learn and this year I became a Lead director which amongst other things gives me a team to lead and mentor.

I still believe a lot of the skills I have came from my time at Lincoln; you have to push yourself and make the most of what you have at your fingertips because once you leave Uni you won’t have the luxury of playing in a TV studio for quite a few years – well not until you become a director!!!

Good Luck!