Drama (Theatre, Film, Television)

May 2013

Where did you Study?

University of Bristol

What did you Study?

Drama (Theatre, Film, Television)

What year did you Graduate?

2012

So we can feel more intimate, three words to describe your physical appearance.

Slim, Ickle, Brown Hair (that’s 4 words?)

What did you do when you left Uni? Be brutally honest! If you cried into a bowl of cereal every morning & treated your local pub like your favourite Uni nightclub, say so.

As soon as I had finished my degree and before the end of term, I was immediately on a plane to the US, where I worked my third year at a US Summer Camp (Camp Airy) as Drama Department Head. It was a real retreat after such hard work and was nice that I didn’t have to think about the real world until my return in September.

When I came back from the US I worked at Crow Theatre as an Assistant Producer on a site specific production called ‘Jack the Ripper’s London’. It was very minimal pay and I had to work really long hours doing lots of tasks I didn’t really want to do. I stayed until the end of the show run, then got an internship with Youth Music Theatre UK; I was an intern for five and a half months, before being offered a part time position, fixed term contract. For the last three months of being an intern at YMT I was also interning at Battersea Arts Centre, in producing/production. I was working on a range of projects, whilst taking the lead on their Freshly Scratched festival. I did have to do a lot of bits and bobs and they only covered £5 a day of expenses… For interviews I have had however, people have been very interested that I interned there – I am sure the name has helped me to get more interviews.

What are you doing now and how long do you see yourself doing it for? Are you in your dream job? If not yet, what is this?

I am working as a Production Assistant for Youth Music Theatre UK. I am also working on an independent theatre project with other graduates from my course to be put on at the end of the year.

I would like to find a more permanent job, which is using my creativity more. I am looking at various producing jobs and would like to get some professional directing experience. I am very interested in both paths.

Do you think Uni has helped you to be where you are now?

I think it has helped me to be a more confident person, which has definitely helped with interviews and to contact professionals for coffee meets. I am definitely far more knowledgeable about the arts because of going to Uni. I think it would have been even harder to have got an internship without having gone.

Any advice for graduates who aren’t yet in their dream jobs or still battling against this rubbish economy for just an interview?

In the arts, it is so easy to give up – but I urge anyone who is passionate about what they want to do, not to. It may be a long slog and there may be a lot of crap to do before you make something of yourself, but you have set out on this track for a reason. Even if you have to support yourself with evening or weekend work doing something you don’t want to do, it is worth it for your ultimate goal. If you are not from a big city such as London, don’t feel you can’t ask your friends who are more fortunate to have a base to crash at theirs for a bit. They should want to help if they can. Just make sure you are appreciative. If you are a hard worker, it does go noticed, and whilst it may not pay off in the short term, eventually it will. Keep positive and don’t lose the momentum – I think that is the biggest risk. I find it really helps to talk to others in the same situation so that you know you aren’t alone, because you really aren’t. Everyone who is just out of Uni is in the same boat, unless they are a special exception who has been very lucky. With hard work, luck will eventually come your way.

Finally, if you would be so kind, tell us briefly about your day ahead – just in case we might want to change our career path.

I got into work at 10am, where Bad Education were in the building filming their new series. I dealt with several calls from parents regarding queries about the projects their children are on with us this Summer. I put together a pastoral box for an upcoming casting weekend, consisting of skills and details of all the young people on the project. Lots of cutting and sticking, creating photo grids of everyone in the cast!

That’s it. Simon, you have been wonderful.

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English, Journalism and Creative Writing

May 2013

Where did you Study?

Strathclyde University

What did you Study?

English, Journalism and Creative Writing

What year did you Graduate?

2011

So we can feel more intimate, three words to describe your physical appearance.

This is the most difficult question of the whole interview! Um…hair, eyes, mouth?

What did you do when you left Uni? Be brutally honest! If you cried into a bowl of cereal every morning & treated your local pub like your favourite Uni nightclub, say so.

I didn’t get the chance to cry into my Coco Pops every morning – as soon as I finished my exams, I was transferred to a different department in work to ensure I got the full-time hours I needed to, you know, pay the bills and stuff.  For reasons still unknown to myself, I ended up choosing to work nightshift rather than backshift and it was such a culture shock to me that by the time graduation rolled around, I was using up all my energy trying to get used to that, rather than thinking about my time at University ending. As a result, I neglected thinking about what I was going to do next.

What are you doing now and how long do you see yourself doing it for? Are you in your dream job? If not yet, what is this?

At the moment, I am still working in the same place that I did throughout University, though luckily back in my old department and off the nightshift.  It’s not my dream job and I never imagined I’d still be here six years later, but I do enjoy it.  It’s a decent job with good pay and enough variety to keep me interested for the moment.

What is my dream job?  Well (un)luckily for you lovely After Uni people, you have caught me going through a bit of a quarter life crisis!  I don’t know what I want to do.  I want to do everything and not being able to focus on one thing is making it difficult to chase my dream job.  I want to be a film critic, a radio presenter, a runner, a producer, a writer and more recently a counsellor/social worker (which is a bit different from my other ambitions!).  At the moment I’m trying to decide exactly where I want to go and what I want to do, but as decision-making isn’t one of my strengths in my personal life, it is hindering me somewhat.  At the moment, I’m considering re-training as a counsellor/social worker and keeping my other ambitions as something to do in my spare time, then see where it all leads.

I can see myself in my current job for at least another year, which I’m okay with, but I wish I had seriously considered what I wanted to do with the rest of my life a bit earlier, rather than wasting over a year moaning about nightshift (in case you haven’t realised yet, I REALLY hated nightshift!), as it is now coming up to two years since I graduated and I haven’t progressed massively, career-wise.  On the plus side, I have managed to gain some experience by writing for websites, attending media courses and more recently, presenting my own weekly show on my local community radio station.  So it’s not all bad!

Do you think Uni has helped you to be where you are now?

Not in the sense of my employment, as I got my job before I started University. In a personal sense however, definitely.  I gained so much more confidence, became less afraid to question and confront things I didn’t agree with, made a lot of great friends and managed to gain experience in lots of different things to help me realise what I liked and what I didn’t like (for example, I was Head of Research for my student radio station, which was fantastic).

I would recommend going to University to anyone, however I would also strongly advise that you seriously consider your course before you go, rather than picking something ‘just because you’re good at it’.  You’re good at it, but do you like it?  Will it lead anywhere?  I wish I had thought that through a bit more.

Any advice for graduates who aren’t yet in their dream jobs or still battling against this rubbish economy for just an interview?

My advice to my fellow graduates is to take the time to sit down, work out exactly what it is you want to do and what is the best route to get there.

Want to be an Accountant?  Go and chase some graduate schemes. Want to work in Communications?  Try and gain some voluntary experience via a charity. Want to be a Writer?  Make the spare time to do it and search for publications that accept contributions. Want to work in Media?  Gain some experience via websites, community radio stations, independent film companies and so on. All of these things will help you build up experience and contacts and who knows where it will lead?

Don’t worry about the length of time it will take to get somewhere, or else you’ll be passing up opportunities which would have taken you a lot further than simply doing nothing.

As for graduates struggling to get an interview for ANY job (of which I know a few) – don’t apply for absolutely everything.  Job-hunting fatigue will set in and it will come across in your applications.  Cherry-pick a few jobs which sound right for you and put the time aside to really concentrate on your application, it will make it sound fresher and sound as if you do really want the job, rather than just sounding as though you’re sending an identical cover letter/CV to twenty different companies at once.

If you’re like me and you still don’t know exactly what you want to do – then I have no advice, but plenty of sympathy!

I might not be a shining example of it at the moment, but I truly believe that if you desperately want something and you put in the work and the dedication to get there, then anything is possible.

Finally, if you would be so kind, tell us briefly about your day ahead – just in case we might want to change our career path.

My day ahead involves getting up at stupid o’clock in the morning (that’s 5.45 to you and me), heading to work to do yet another ten hour shift as we’re short-staffed at the moment, standing on my feet all day and running about like a loony; before going home to prepare for my radio show at the weekend and finally collapsing on the couch to watch some mindless television. So don’t consider changing your career path to mine just yet!

That’s it. Sam, you have been wonderful. 

BA Philosophy, MA Film Studies with Screenwriting

May 2013

Where did you Study?

The University of Sheffield (undergraduate), Sheffield Hallam University (postgraduate)

What did you Study?

BA Philosophy, MA Film Studies with Screenwriting.

(although my initial agree was actually BSc Psychology. I changed courses after two years)

What year did you Graduate?

BA – 2011, MA – 2012

So we can feel more intimate, three words to describe your physical appearance.

Short, youthful, pale (?)

What did you do when you left Uni? Be brutally honest! If you cried into a bowl of cereal every morning & treated your local pub like your favourite Uni nightclub, say so.

Well I didn’t submit my dissertation until mid-late August, so I was working on that with the odd trip to see friends over summer. After that, I was mainly applying to jobs (but had to move back home to do so). I guess I had technically only been out of Uni a week or two when I got an interview and was offered the job that I’m still in. So it was a mixture of applying for jobs and indulging myself at home (lots of food and tv/film) for that very, very short period of time.

What are you doing now and how long do you see yourself doing it for? Are you in your dream job? If not yet, what is this?

I’m doing admin for an Arts/Media company. I’ve been lucky in the sense that it’s related to the sector I want to work in and also the opportunities and contacts that have come with it (side-projects, a work trip to Germany, etc.). However, I hopefully won’t be doing it much longer. I’m at the stage now where I’m just about starting to look and indeed apply elsewhere.

I’m not in my dream job because I’m only just over half-a-year out of Uni and… unless your dream job is low-level, then that’s almost impossible to achieve. Though, as I say, first step on the ladder, certainly not complaining. Hopefully it’s London next from here though.

Do you think Uni has helped you to be where you are now?

To an extent. I don’t know how much a degree affects things considering their commonness these days, but hopefully an MA does. Still, I would have struggled to get initial work experience without a degree in the right area I reckon.

I don’t know if I would go now with the increased fees and there are definitely alternatives out there, but I think many people out there are far too quick to dismiss their University experience. They don’t really realise how much it’s changed them and how much they have grown. It’s clichéd but true (at least in my case) to say that it was about way, way more than the learning experience. Even though I did learn and develop, you can’t really put a price figure on experiences, friendships and other opportunities that simply wouldn’t have occurred otherwise.

Any advice for graduates who aren’t yet in their dream jobs or still battling against this rubbish economy for just an interview?

Well forgetting dream jobs for a moment, the application process is tough, it can be disheartening. I don’t have anything groundbreaking or majorly insightful to say. It would be wrong for me to assert that something amazing will definitely come up, but if you’ve got good experience and such, then just keep applying – trying to improve each time – and you’ll get there eventually. I found it really daunting thinking that I needed to be the very best candidate out there to get the job, but it’s best not to think like that really. It’s all about getting interviews and grabbing opportunities from there. You might get none for ages and then two or three in a few weeks. There’s no one way of doing things or magic trick to it, as far as I can tell.

Finally, if you would be so kind, tell us briefly about your day ahead – just in case we might want to change our career path.

Oh I don’t know, it’s gone pretty quickly. It’s all admin stuff, you know? Data and invoices and applications and such. I’m about to go have lunch, then do a couple of hours more and then I’m off home. My job – unlike a fair few others – doesn’t have the strings attached of added hours and long evenings, fortunately. I will be doing some writing of my own later this evening though.

That’s it. Michael, you have been wonderful.