A Foot in the Door

Olivia Scott finished her MA in early September 2016. Since then she’s spent 4 weeks as a location runner in Ibiza (yes, really!) and is about to commence her second paid TV role as a casting runner in London. Here’s how FTV helped her to get that foot in the door…

oliviaIt seems like only yesterday that I got my acceptance onto the MA in Film and Television: Research and Production at the University of Birmingham. Doing my undergrad (History) at UoB, it felt only natural for me to stay an extra year, on this fantastic course, as I loved the uni, and the opportunities the course could provide me, so much. In all honesty, my main reason for undertaking the MA was the placement aspect of the course, as I, like many other rookies looking to get a career in television or film, didn’t know where to start. I thought that the course would provide me with the necessary skills and training which would stand me in good stead to get a job in the television industry. And I was right.

I enjoyed every aspect of the MA, from practical training with Oz, to documentary filmmaking with Richard. However, my favourite taught module was Research, Production and Commissioning with Kate Hollingsworth (who works in television). As a self-confessed TV obsessive, I loved learning about every aspect of the television industry, and Kate was an inspirational teacher. This module, as well as the placements I undertook, reinforced that I definitely wanted to pursue a career in television.

However, it was definitely the placement aspect of the course which I feel I thrived in. I was a casting runner at 7Wonder in Birmingham for two months, working on a cookery show for Channel 4. I really felt like a part of the team and I learned loads about the TV industry and casting itself. This experience led me to get the job that I am currently working in, as a casting runner for a company in London, called Nutopia. To get the chance to actually work for a television company was amazing, and I learned some invaluable skills, all thanks to the MA.

olivia-ibiza

The MA also helped me get my first job in television: being a location runner on Ibiza Weekender (ITV2). To have the chance to go abroad for a month was amazing, let alone getting the chance to go to Ibiza for a month! I had to give my dissertation in 3 weeks early, and my placement essay 2 weeks early (a day before I flew out to Ibiza) but it was worth it, as working on Ibiza Weekender was an amazing experience, and I learned so much about working on location and the necessary tasks that are involved in being a location runner. It was relentless hard work, but again I feel that the experience I had on the MA really helped me to do my best at the job. It also helped that I had watched the show so knew the format!

I can’t thank Richard, Jemma and Oz enough. Doing the MA was the best decision and all aspects of it have allowed me to get my foot in the door of the television industry, an industry I hope to work in for a number of years!

Olivia Scott

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2015 Round Up

The Christmas break is upon us once more, and it’s been another full and exciting year for the MA in Film and Television: Research and Production.

We kicked off 2015 with the Department of Film & Creative Writing’s first ever One Minute Movie Competition, which is being revived again for 2016 with a theme of ‘Memory and Forgetting’. Easter saw a trip to Bristol for a recording of ‘Deal or No Deal’ and between January and August our students undertook placements at twenty-four different production companies, five of which were new partners for the MA.

Over the summer three FTV students worked with MA convenor Richard Langley to produce a short film for Age Concern Birmingham, which is now featured on their YouTube channel.

In mid-September we bade farewell to our 2014-15 cohort, who formally graduated last week. Many have already enjoyed paid roles in industry at organisations including Fremantle Media and Al Jazeera, and it’s been great to hear of other alumni successes throughout the year.

We welcomed our new FTV students two weeks later, who have had a full term of seminars, screenings, training and guest speakers from industry. After Christmas they will start embarking on their placements and working towards their film assignments; a 3-5 minute guided editing project and a 25-minute documentary, which serves as their dissertation.

It will be full steam ahead again come January, but in the meantime thank you to everyone who has worked with us this year, and we wish all our students, alumni, placement partners and friends a very Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!

FTV Christmas

January Newsflash!

A belated Happy New Year!

January is flying by and things have been very busy here in FTV. Several students have already started their placements with media companies and independent filmmakers, whilst others are beginning to film their 5-minute films and research their audio-visual dissertations. 

1stOptionSafetyOur Health and Safety training day had to be postponed on Friday due to the snowy weather, but we are hoping to rearrange this within the next few weeks. This Skillset accredited production safety course is an annual event for FTV students and is an excellent addition to CVs.

On Monday 11 February, we will be holding an Open Day for prospective applicants, so if you’re interested in finding out more about the course, or know someone who might be, then please get in touch! Dr James Walters will be giving an overview of the MA, then there’ll also be a talk about placements, a chance to see some previous students’ film projects, and the opportunity to chat to our technician, Oz, about the equipment we have here. Email j.j.saunders@bham.ac.uk for more information. Hope to see you there!

Click here to see our Open Day Poster Jan 2013

UPDATE – JANUARY FILM EVENT

The Departure Lounge presents Liverpool based writer / director, Martin Wallace, and his debut feature film, SMALL CREATURES. Thursday January 31 at 8.30pm at MAC Cinema, Birmingham 

“Coggie and Macca are friends with Ste, an aggressive gang leader in the making and aspiring alpha male. Liverpool based Martin Wallace’s debut feature, a low budget drama of tearaway early teens, is “shot with a poetic eye that makes the familiar appear new” (Time Out)” 

Martin Wallace, en route to the Berlin Film Festival Talent Campus, will introduce the film and do a Q&A after the screening. More info here – http://www.macarts.co.uk/event/departure-lounge-small-creatures-qanda–tbc

Hello!

Hello and welcome to the new FTV Blog! Over the coming weeks and months we’ll aim to get as much content up here as possible, keeping you up to date about what our current FTV-ers are up to and maybe even giving some insights into what former students of the course have gone on to achieve.

Most of this year’s bunch have now finished their industry placements and have had fantastic experiences at local media companies such as Endboard Productions and North One Television. Ezinne, Shane, Yichuan, Lubna and Ruijie have worked closely with independent filmmaker Nerina Villa, also in the Birmingham area.

Others have ventured to London to work at 360 Production and Wall to Wall, the company behind popular BBC1 programme Who Do You Think You Are? Several students successfully split their placements between Maverick Television’s Birmingham and London offices, whilst Charlotte Duckworth managed to secure an additional placement at Second Home Studios, a company we hope FTV will work with again in the future.

All in all it’s been a busy few months and now everyone’s settling into editing their dissertations for the September deadline. With topics ranging from squatting to the tattoo industry, it’s safe to say there are some intriguing films in the pipeline!