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Wednesday 3 February 2016

Alumni: Aram Atkinson

Did you see the new lifeguard recruitment film from the Royal National Lifeboat Institution (RNLI) this January? Chances are, you would have seen it on YouTube or noticed the hashtag #BestSummerJob pop up on your Facebook feed. What about the RNLI Fish Supper film that launched over the summer? Solent 2013 BA (Hons) Film graduate, Aram Atkinson, is the man behind many of these.

In his role as senior videographer he has been introducing his love for fictional film-making into RNLI promotional films, making great headway to his goal of producing fictional films for a living. Since graduating Aram’s biggest achievement so far is winning a pitch against a global agency. With his win, came the chance to travel to Bangladesh and make a film to raise awareness of global drowning.

The best advice Aram learnt at University was to listen first, assess all the options, but have the confidence in your skills and ideas to know when to heed the advice and trust your own decisions.

There are no ‘normal’ days in Aram’s career. ‘If I’m on the road I could be travelling to anywhere in the British Isles, and I film everything from regional interviews to international campaign films. My time in the office is spent mostly editing or working with the various teams in the RNLI to create the best video content to help promote the charity and raise funds and awareness.’

The aspect Aram loves best about his career is that he meets lots of new people through travelling. ‘Given the coastal areas the RNLI operates in, I’ve met people from all walks of life. I’m always surprised by the generosity and willingness of people to get involved with our filming in whatever way they can, and it spurs me on to make the best film I can knowing how much time and work others have offered.’

Aram believes that whilst the arts have suffered budget cuts, there is a misconception that this means there are fewer opportunities for funding and exposure, ‘the filmmaking community is a highly collaborative one, and if you are prepared to work hard, offer opportunities and help others where you can, the favour will almost certainly be returned. I think the challenge these days is to be open in choosing your own route to success. Be open to forging your own route, and as long as you know what you’re doing and why, it will work for you.’

Three items Aram would take to a desert island: ‘a good book to read (I’m a big fan of Raymond E. Feist), a piano, because the sound of my own thoughts would quickly get annoying, and a mystery box to pique my interest, like in Cast Away (I wouldn’t mind Wilson either).’

Looking back on his time at Solent, Aram’s favourite Solent memory was his weekly pub breakfast (Varsity) with his housemates. ‘There’s nothing better than someone else cooking you breakfast after a late night.  It didn’t matter if it was after a night out or after not having slept at all because of that essay, it was always the best part of the week. I love breakfast, and more than anything, I love not having to make it.’

The future looks exciting for Aram, ‘I’ll be speaking at BVE this year at the EXCEL in London which will involve networking with many industry professionals who I admire. I’m loving my time at the RNLI so I am in no rush to leave, but if and when I eventually move on to my next challenge, I would like to make featurette fictional work for television, ‘Utopia’ for example. That’s the dream at least!’