Class of 2016

Magdalena Swiatek

Magda blogAfter the MA I had a project working on 3 episodes for a German TV crime series. I did quite a lot of graphics, phone graphics, props and dressing. It was an incredible experience and I’m still in touch with the people I met there. Together with the same production designer we did a completely new series, kind of dramedy about a lawyer. This one was a tough experience, because we filmed for 4-5 months without a break and the prop master left in the middle, so kind of I did his job until a new one started! In between I did a German TV film, with lots of flashbacks. It was a nice experience to work with a female director and female DOP. And it’s my big dream to do more historical projects.

Recently I started working on a new project; a TV film and this time I’m assisting the props master. The job roles are getting clearer, even though I really enjoy the set life, I think my favorite parts are doing graphics and set dressing. This project is really interesting, because we are filming parts which play in the USA in Germany, so we have to do quite a lot of research how all the things should look like. And I´m lucky, because after we stop filming this one, I´ll directly start a new project.

I really enjoy working in this industry, beside the jobs I’m doing, I love meeting all those new people. And slowly I’m starting to meet people from one project in new ones. For the times where there is no filming going on, I work in a really nice cinema, where we show all the movies in its original version, so I still can talk English from time to time and watch what’s new 😀

Shane Walkley

shane blog.pngMy first role within this industry came as a direct result of the MA. I was fortunate enough to be offered two amazing placement opportunities; one was with the Gadget Show, a factual entertainment show that has been running since 2004, and the other was an international horror film working alongside Norman J Warren, a famous producer of the genre. Through hard work and the right attitude, I was able to secure further employment with these productions after my placement period had finished. The experience was invaluable both personally and professionally and to be given so much responsibility was extremely rewarding. I was proud to receive my first on-screen credits for those roles and insisted on showing everybody that my name had appeared in the cinema and on television.

But the MA had taught me that breaking into this industry is difficult and requires a lot of sacrifice. I was working part-time in a casino while applying for so many jobs with little success. However, I was still finding temporary runner work on shows such as Britain’s Got Talent, The Apprentice, Dickinson’s Real Deal as well as Tesco and Google advertising campaigns. All this was vital in adding invaluable skills and experiences to my CV.

For the last 12 months, I have found full-time, permanent work with IMG Studios, a pioneer and industry leader in Sports television production. I have been fortunate enough to travel to many countries across Europe as part of my job including Italy, Spain, Serbia and Lithuania. I am currently employed as a Production Assistant but being trained as an assistant Producer. My roles include making features on players and coaches, writing scripts, attending media days, looking after commentators and assisting the Producers during a live world-feed.

Without the MA I doubt I would have gotten my start in this industry. But it is with hard work, perseverance and a little bit of luck that has gotten me to this position I am in today.

Francesca Piccinin

Fran blogI started working as a Production Runner for Full Fat TV whilst still doing the MA! I got offered the job in July, right after the end of my placement, and that was an opportunity I really could have not refused. I am glad I took the job, but preparing my dissertation for the last few months and balancing the work life ended up to be a challenge. I managed to graduate in time and was proud of my final dissertation – I received a lot of support from Jemma & Richard as well as from my then TV colleagues. Working as a Production Runner and shadowing the Management team was extremely useful in shaping my future career. I always wanted to become a Coordinator and being myself highly organised, I was really doing the job of my dreams!

Soon after I stepped into TV I realised how important is to have connections in the business. During my placements, I had the chance to meet different people that would have then become close friends and therefore I got most of the jobs through personal recommendations. Soon after I handed in my dissertation, my contract with Full Fat ended and again, through a recommendation, I landed a job in Post Production. I did not have experience in Post at all, but it ended up being beneficial for my career development. I was assisting the Post Production team with anything they may have needed, whilst still being a runner, but learning the ropes every day. My tea making abilities really reached a new level! But that’s the beauty of the industry: making teas help you networking and meeting people, greeting clients with a smile on your face really makes an impression! Trust me!

I stayed in Post for several months and I left late last year, after realising I really wanted to develop my career as a Coordinator. I wanted to take it easy for a few months, after having had two long term jobs back to back, so I decided to go back to freelancing and managed to travel to Italy, Spain and all over the UK assisting foreign crews in different productions. I then retreated once again in my lovely Birmingham and started applying for a few jobs, without really looking for one specifically. Weirdly, one day I was on a Recruitment website and a creative agency based in Digbeth was advertising for a Production Assistant role that really fit my bill. The said creative agency happened to be the one where a friend from the MA was working at. I went through a long and tedious recruitment process and after an extensive interview & assessment test, I got offered a trial day. The following week, I got offered the job! I was over the moon and here I am now, working for the same company, and recently being promoted Production Coordinator!

I think I could not have been luckier in my career but this is also thanks to this MA and the advice that Richard and Jemma have always provided me with. It has been an insane ride but I couldn’t be happier to have had recurrent jobs in the industry, in Birmingham!