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Dean Massey

BA (Hons) TV and Video Production

Graduated 2018

Dean Massey

How did you get your role as a Camera Operator Editor at Sky?
In the December before I graduated, I managed to secure a job in a trainee position at Sky News which was part of a bursary scheme. That was to start in July, so I graduated and went straight into the position where I had the opportunity to move around some of the different production departments. I received training in sound, editing, lighting, and camera work. I was in that role for almost a year, and then a position came up in what we call a ‘shoot edit’ which is a camera-operator-editor – I managed to get that and that’s what I’ve been doing now for the past two years. 

Did you always know you wanted to be a cameraman?
I decided I wanted to be a camera operator while I was at uni. Originally I wanted to work in video production and was doing lots of work through Solent Creatives making promo videos for businesses and filming live events, such as Glastonbury, through Solent Productions. From those experiences I decided that behind the camera in TV was really where I wanted to be. 

How do you feel your studies at Solent helped prepare you for your role?
Solent provided so many opportunities for work experience through Solent Creatives and at events like Glastonbury – it seemed like every week I was able to do something new, which really helped to push me further. Also having all of the equipment loans was incredible to build upon my skills; I made big use of it and had the most loans out of the hatch in my year! Without the opportunity to do that, I don’t think I’d be where I am now.

What advice would you give to those wanting to follow in your footsteps?
My advice would be to keep creating videos as much as you can, and experiment as much as you can. Take every opportunity that Solent offers through Solent Creatives and Solent Productions and fill your free time at University with being creative – making your own videos and getting feedback.

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David Barbeschi

BA (Hons) Film Production

Graduated 2017

David Barbeschi

Tell us about your role, and what a typical day looks like for you:
I'm a screenwriter and producer at Saadvish Films. Film projects are sent my way and I either touch-up on the script, help develop it, or produce the film with a team of producers.

A typical working day for a screenwriter consists of sitting down and writing all day whilst resisting the instinct to procrastinate. Sometimes it'll just be writing pages or punching up dialogue, other times I'll be on Skype with a client, helping them rework the structure of the story they're trying to tell. Staying in one place is quite taxing, ironically, so staying in shape and keeping a routine is mandatory.

What’s been your biggest achievement in your career so far?
A short film I wrote and produced went on to be selected in over 30 festivals, gaining awards for its script, among other things, and has had over a million views on YouTube. That, and the fact that I recently worked as a hired screenwriter and co-producer on my first feature film.

At Solent I went from being a wide-eyed film geek, to a bona fide film producer. 

 

How did your studies at Solent help prepare you for your career?
By studying at Solent I was able to find where my strengths lied, filmmaking-wise. When I came to Solent, I just knew I wanted to make movies, I didn't know what exactly I was good at. Most people in my class had already done Film A-Levels, whereas I had never even touched a camera. Slowly but surely the tutors helped me figure out what my weaknesses were and I was thus able to focus on improving myself in what have now become my areas of expertise: writing and producing.

What advice would you give to those wanting to follow in your footsteps? 
Do not slack. In the case of filmmaking, it is very much a team effort, so if you decide to phone it in, everyone's work efficiency (and grade, I guess) decreases as a result.

 

James Williams's work

James Williams

Course BSc (Hons) Media Technology

Graduated 2014

James Williams

When I was looking at universities, no other university was able to offer the same level of support in setting me up for a job in industry at the end of my studies.

The vast number of work experience opportunities, combined with highly relevant teaching units and access to industry standard facilities made finding my first job remarkably straightforward for me.

Working at Glastonbury in 2014 as the outside broadcast unit manager was a stand-out highlight. We had a complicated rig to put in place for the headline Saturday night act (Fat Boy Slim), which, when we pulled it off, was a triumph for all that were involved. We operated with such professionalism and had an absolute blast. Truly awesome. The previous year we also had our Rudimental footage played on BBC 3, which was another personal highlight of mine.

Being able to walk into an interview and have a grounding in the terminology and the fundamental principles that underpin the technology gives an instant leg up on the competition.

Combine that with the industry work experience - which I would encourage every student to take up when offered - your potential employer will recognise they have a well-rounded starting point in you as a candidate.

Once I graduated, I was lucky enough to secure a place at Arqiva, the UK infrastructure company that operates the terrestrial TV network Freeview, on their graduate programme, where I quickly worked my way up to become a Platform Developer working on OTT (over the top) products and services - live streaming and video on demand (VoD). Here, my career highlight was live streaming the FIFA club world cup and building a live to VoD system from scratch in two weeks flat! I have recently made the hop to a new position working at Amazon Video.

I’d recommend this course if you’re interested in the technology behind media production and distribution. From festival production, livesound and lights, TV studios, and transmission technologies - the course covers all aspects of the TV (and radio) eco-system.

If you’re trying to get into the industry, be open to new things. I originally started my course at Solent on the Sound Engineering course, but after doing a summer internship at Ericsson (offered by the uni) I decided to change to broadcast, and can honestly say it’s the best decision I’ve ever made.

Do work hard at your studies, but enjoy Southampton too, and ALWAYS get involved in the work experience that comes your way. You won’t know you love something until you try it, and likewise what you think you like you might actually end up hating in reality – so find out now what it is that gets you out of bed in the mornings!

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Christian Lowes

BSc (Hons) Sound Engineering

Graduated 2014

Christian Lowes

This course is for you if you have a love for everything sound - from being an avid music listener to a musician who wants to get behind the glass, or if you're very interested in the technology used within the field of audio engineering.

What's your favourite Solent memory?
My favourite course based memory is using the hemi-anechoic chamber to investigate analogue turntable distortion from large sound systems. This included me maxing a speaker stack to around 100db, and using a laser vibrometer to measure the vibration of the turntable. My favourite social-based memories are the stream of parties throughout the first and second years; you end up meeting so many great people.

Tell us a little about your career story so far.
Well, after university I joined the luxury home automation market. This includes aspects of residential audio visual systems, as well as advanced home automation. I started as a system designer at a small London-based firm, where I developed my design knowledge and skills by being thrown in at the deep end. Once I’d learnt as much as I could I moved onto Fusion Automation Ltd, one of the UK’s leading firms within the luxury home automation market, once again as a system designer, until my skills were moved to another role within the company as technology and design consultant.

What is luxury home automation and AV?
It’s the design and installation of technology systems within private or commercial buildings that require everything to be centralised, easily controllable, hidden and have that 'wow factor'.

Tell us about what you are doing now and what it involves.
I’m currently working on a range of private residential homes and commercial schemes. My typical working day is broken up into consultancy jobs and installation jobs. I will start by answering any emails relating to both consultancy and installation, attend some design team meeting either on-site or remotely. I may then head back to the office to complete design documentation. These are either in the form of drawings, schematics or RIBA stage technical specifications, for tender purposes.

What’s your career highlight so far?
Being involved in a £100 million private property that featured on a television programme about the rich and famous. I’d watched it years before and marvelled at the sheer size and grandeur. To end up working as the lead technology consultant on the exact property that I saw on that specific TV programme was incredible.

What tips would you give to someone wanting a career in your industry?
If you’re looking to enter the industry, I would look up CEDIA, which is the largest industry body within AV and home automation. They have a range of free white papers and guides of how to design, install and understand the best practices. Some of their content is free, some you do have to pay for, but if you’re keen to enter the industry, this early knowledge will provide valuable in future interviews.

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Rachel Forrester  

BA (Hons) Television and Studio Production  

Graduated 2014

Rachel Forrester

What’s your favourite Solent memory?
My favourite Solent memory is pretty much every time I was in studio. Solent has an amazing studio, which operates like the real thing, run entirely by the students. Our third year studio series project, High Stakes, was a lot of fun to work on every week and I loved working with the whole class in the studio. The sense of achievement after we had finished our seven episodes was amazing.

Tell us about what you’re up to now.
I’ve been running in television now for around a year and a half, and in that time worked on shows like Top Gear, Great American Railway Journeys, The Big Family Cooking Showdown and Strictly Come Dancing 2017.

On Strictly my week consisted of ordering everything for the Friday rehearsal and live Saturday recordings and prepping the dressing rooms and studio for show days. Show days themselves were long busy days, making sure all professional dancers and celebrities were fed and in the right place at the right times in the right outfits. Keeping the crew happy was key. It was also my job to look after the gallery, sound and lighting departments.

What's your career highlight?
There are so many highlights it is hard to choose! I think my career highlight has to be either driving a Porsche to Germany and all the travelling with Top Gear, or filming on the edge of the CN tower 1,168ft above Toronto and crossing America with Great American Railway Journeys.

The television industry is constantly changing and evolving. It's an exciting time to be in the industry, which is embracing social platforms and pushing the boundaries of what TV can be.

What tips would you give to someone wanting to follow in your footsteps?

  • My top tip is to keep going and take every opportunity. The world of TV is very competitive with a lot of very talented people. It took about six months of constant CVs and applications before getting my first contract.
  • Take every little day running job or experience opportunity at Solent - experience is what gets you work.
  • If you’re looking to get into television, try the Facebook group ‘People looking for TV work: Runners’. This is a great resource that has helped me get several jobs since leaving Solent.

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Abbie Sheridan

BA (Hons) TV and Video Production

Graduated 2013

Abbie Sheridan

What are the perks of working in the industry?
I’ve had some amazing experiences. Yes, I get to meet many, many famous actors and actresses. But I also travel to different countries such as Morocco, Nepal, Iceland - flying in helicopters, chartered flights - and get paid for it. Wrap parties are fun, where you receive gifts and one-of-a-kind film memorabilia. We get to see the finished film at cast and crew screenings. And I’ve witnessed Ben Affleck sing karaoke.

But I have to mention the not-so ‘perks of the job’, particularly the hours and schedule. We will often work long filming days (continuous, with no lunch break) starting at 6am and finishing no earlier than 7pm. Working weekends are a regular thing, as are weeks and weeks of night shoots.

Solent gave me a really good base knowledge to help me get started in this career, as my degree was studio based I had lots of opportunities to work on productions so I learnt lots of the terminology and information on equipment which has been so helpful throughout my career."

How did your degree prepare you for work?
My degree in television and video production helped me integrate into working life by teaching me how to be organised. I wouldn't be able to do my job if I couldn't organise crews, have the confidence to speak up to people, inform them of problems and then create solutions. At Solent, I was always able to speak to my tutors to get advice on how to make our TV shows better, and I feel this has given me confidence to speak to my superiors on how I can improve and become a better assistant director.The course was the perfect gateway to where I am now. Without it, I doubt I would have made it in the video world. I’d recommend it to those who enjoy the idea of expressing their creative ideas through video, either online or in the broadcast realm.

All the hard work of Solent’s television production degree is worth it, trust me. It’s not always ‘who you know’ in this industry - I have absolutely no ties in the film industry, either family or friends. I managed to get in on the back of a Facebook post and what I gained from Solent - so if I can do it, anyone can.

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