“Whilst you have the time to experiment and fail you should.” University of Gloucestershire film alumni discuss how to survive the film industry during a global pandemic

By Ciara Nevin

This year almost every industry has struggled because of coronavirus and the film industry is no different.

In a virtual meeting hosted by Rachel Plant, a University of Gloucestershire film lecturer, four Alumni spoke to current film students about the industry and how to still succeed in these trying times.

Dion Douglas is a freelance videographer. He believes the best way to get yourself out there in a time where it seems impossible is to utilise the tools given to you, “LinkdedIn is such an important tool to get work, using your initiative to send off your work so companies can see what you can do.”

Working for a more traditional production company is past student Joe Argent. He creates trailers and promotional videos for features. He says his main bit of advice to the students is to “go to the pub” causing the rest of the alumni to chuckle and nod their heads. He said:

“Talking to people is key, if you have four freelancers working for you and at the end of the day three go home and one comes to the pub with you, which one are you going to remember next time you need to hire someone.”

Whilst this advice may not be very feasible at this time it’s something to bear in mind for the students.

Sophie Masterman turns up late to the call, but she agrees with Joe. She said:

“Make sure you are known in a company when you’re in it. Work hard play hard, make sure you get along with everyone.”

This is a running theme in the advice from the previous film students, making contacts is key.

The quietest of the four speakers, Jess Bartlett, is a producer, something many of the young people watching dream of being. She talks about the hiring process for her team, “We’re drawn to people who know about our previous work”. She discusses what her and her team look for when hiring new members.

“We want people’s personalities to shine through, at the end of the day you’re making a film, it bottles down to the fact you all need to be having a good time”.

The group’s main piece of advice they all seem to agree on is to take advantage of the time at university.

Dion says “Whilst you have the time to experiment and fail you should. Network now, make use of your spare time and the equipment available to you”. Sophie added “University is a great place to learn what you do and don’t like, build relationships with companies before you leave uni.”

They end the talk discussing what the students can do now to help their future “Don’t just work in groups with your friends in uni, different people bring out new ideas.”

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