- Course: BA Film, Photography and Media (Industrial)
- Year of graduation: 2021
- Nationality: British
- Job title: Digital Marketing Executive
- Company: Shot Blast Media
Tell us a bit about yourself.
I studied Film, Photography and Media at the University of Leeds from 2017. I chose this course as I loved Media Studies at A-level and I attended a weekend film school, in which I enjoyed regular filmmaking projects, including acting, directing, screenwriting and camera operating.
I had always loved the arts, and alongside Media, I studied Drama, Music and English at Hills Road Sixth Form College in Cambridge. I had a very full extra curricular schedule, including playing the clarinet, oboe, piano, guitar and also singing, as well as performing in regular musical theatre shows.
After becoming a finalist in a national scriptwriting competition, and undertaking work experience at the BBC radio station, alongside other creative opportunities, I realised that the University of Leeds course was perfect for me.
What have you been doing since finishing your studies? What are you doing in terms of your career?
Whilst finishing my degree, I started working at Raw Selection, an executive search firm in Leeds, as Marketing Assistant. I was initially on maternity cover, but once I graduated, I received a promotion to Marketing Executive and a full-time job. I worked here for one and half years and then left to join a business which was in my desired industry; film.
What company are you working for, what is your role, and what does it involve?
I now work as Digital Marketing Executive at an award-winning video production company, Shot Blast Media, in Leeds, and have been here since the Summer of 2022. My job is completely fantastic; I get to work on exciting video projects for a range of companies across the world, as well as bringing marketing strategies to new clients regularly. My main role in the business is to market Shot Blast Media through social media, SEO, and other digital content marketing. We’ve been extremely busy during 2023, having doubled the amount of enquiries we receive each month, meaning the video projects and animations we work on are vast.
I highly recommend considering a marketing career. Each day is different and there is always something new to learn. It’s almost impossible to be bored in this role, especially if you work for a smaller business. The pay is also decent.
What experiences at Leeds do you think have particularly helped with your career?
I think that learning the practical elements of filmmaking and animation really helped me to get where I am today. I wouldn’t be working in such an amazing job if I didn’t have these skills. It’s important for marketers in small businesses to have an all-round understanding of lots of different aspects of marketing, and video production is only going to get more popular with time.
Why did you choose the University of Leeds?
I chose the course because of its practical elements. You cannot, I repeat, CANNOT learn filmmaking through books or writing essays. You have to just pick up a camera and put your knowledge into practice.
I chose the University of Leeds because I wanted to be in a bigger city than Cambridge and I knew that Leeds would have a lot to offer me in terms of career capabilities.
What aspects of the course did you enjoy the most?
I really enjoyed learning motion graphics. This is something I had never even thought I would be able to do, and honestly, I picked the subject because I wanted a challenge. Hard work pays off.
The screenwriting modules were always fantastic too. I absolutely love scriptwriting and you could write about anything, which made it even better.
I also really enjoyed learning about feminism and women in film. It was interesting to see how women are represented, even in the modern day, compared to men in movies and media. Working in a female-run business now, I can see why it is so important to continue the fight for gender equality in film and in the workplace.
Did you work closely with a particular tutor or member of the University’s academic staff? Tell us about that experience.
John Edmonds was fantastic, he really encouraged me to try things that I never thought I could do, such as motion graphics.
I was very independent at university, and I pretty much always have been, so I didn’t ask for a lot of help from the staff, but when I did, they would always be very helpful.
What activities outside of your studies were you involved in?
I was never in any societies, actually, as I never felt I needed to be. I did so much extra curricular during school and sixth form that it was nice to just chill more at uni. I entered a few screenwriting competitions in my final year and was a semifinalist in an international competition against professionals.
What would you say to students thinking about studying your course?
Film, Photography and Media is a great course if you are interested in working in the video production industry. I learnt a lot of useful skills that have enabled me to work at some amazing places and have experiences that I know people my age haven’t had.
There’s a variety of modules to choose from, and if you find you aren’t enjoying one that you’ve picked, it’s normally simple to swap and choose a different one!
What does Leeds as a city have to offer students?
Leeds is a fantastic place. The people are great and most of my friends from uni have stayed in Leeds to work after graduation. Obviously, the night life is fantastic and there’s lots to explore. As a city that now has Channel 4 and ITV, as well as lots of easy transport to Manchester, it’s a great place to start your career.
Where did you undertake your year in industry?
I worked at BWD, a financial services recruitment company in Leeds, as a Marketing Assistant.
What was the best aspect of the year in industry?
If I didn’t get this job, I wouldn’t be where I am today. I only got a following marketing internship in a recruitment business because of this experience, and then my fantastic job at Raw Selection, which I was in for a year and half, and loved every second of.
I highly recommend taking a year in industry. It really does help you get a better job when graduating, and shows you what kind of business suits you.
I realised from my placement year that I could never work in a formal business environment again. Wearing suits and heels to work everyday is old fashioned. Not being allowed to have conversations with your friends in the office is unrealistic. Not being able to look at your phone, even though you run all their social media accounts from it is crazy. Find somewhere that appeals to you. You do not need to be micromanaged everyday in a creative marketing role. If you are not enjoying your time there, don’t be afraid to look for something else. Every business needs a marketer.
Do you have any advice for students considering taking a year in industry?
DO NOT take one if it is unpaid. No matter how much experience you have, you need to be paid for your time and effort.