I was always taught at university to seek contacts and I really think that is the key.
I didn’t even know we were up for two awards at the time…which resulted in me being in the toilet when our second was announced! I’ve never run so fast in my life!
Studying media production allowed me to make a range of programmes and meet many contacts along the way. When I finished my degree I got back in touch to seek work and was glad that some of them took me on for work experience and part-time placements. During my studies I got to make numerous documentaries and films about things I love, including a look into the world of football commentary…it was just an excuse to go behind-the-scenes at Norwich City really! Since leaving uni I have used my contacts to visit the BBC at Wimbledon, organise a short-film festival and have been a runner on the latest James Morrison video as well as helping out on T-Mobile’s “Josh’s Band” campaign. Which has all been great fun and allowed me gain invaluable advice and tips about my next steps.
Immediately after leaving uni I didn’t want to rush straight into a job, and knew that I was going to have to undertake a few months of unpaid experience in order to get my foot in the door. So, while mixing job searching with episodes of Topgear on Dave, I’ve been able to carry on working at the Engine Shed and have taken on commissions at home for photography and video projects which have included show DVDs for retail and promotional material for companies. I am a crew member at the Engine Shed, which was awesome during uni, and the position taught me a lot of lessons and also gave me a chance to meet many of my heroes like the Kooks, Zane Lowe and Bodger and Badger!
My final third year film was a documentary which followed one of my good friends in his quest to organise and stage a “flashmob” in Lincoln’s city centre. I edited and put the three-minute “Lincoln flashmob” on Youtube a few days after it took place, and added details of the documentary at the end. Off the back of that post I have been contacted by talkbackTHAMES and the BBC for a copy of the full documentary, which really shows the power of Youtube!
talkbackTHAMES used it as research material and in return I gained extra work in a new Simon Bird comedy series, I was also a test contestant for a gameshow pilot, and have been offered an internship interview in their prestigious entertainment department.
The documentary has been immensely successful and the reaction to the film has been crazy. I sent many industry professionals a copy of the film and received some fantastic critiques and advice, and in October the documentary was awarded two Royal Television Society Awards for best student factual and best overall production. It was great to be recognised at this level and has given me a big boost in my search for employment. I didn’t even know we were up for two awards at the time…which resulted in me being in the toilet when our second was announced! I’ve never run so fast in my life! I first found out my documentary was nominated for an RTS award while I was on holiday, after that it’s all gone crazy fast and before I knew it I was standing in a tux receiving two awards in front of hundreds of media professionals…with my flies undone!
I then had to do numerous radio, TV and newspaper interviews, and have been inundated with offers and meetings. BBC Birmingham factual department have been in contact and have invited my production team and me in for a meeting. Princess Productions, the people behind Davina McCall’s latest dance-based show, have used our documentary for research material. A Midlands based production company have requested a copy of flashmobs after seeing the clip on Youtube, and advertising giant Saatchi and Saatchi have offered me a commission.
I was always taught at university to seek contacts and I really think that is the key. The awards have given my work a sense of credibility and the accolade is something I’m very proud of. So nothing is set in stone yet but the ball is definitely rolling. I’m enjoying gaining experience…but sooner rather than later I’m going to have to turn these contacts into contracts!
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