Giving a little back!
Recently I was asked to give a guest lecture at Northumbria University by course leader, Neil Percival. I'm a big believer in helping others within this industry so was only too happy to find some time to do so. From my time at The University of Cumbria, I remember some of these sessions really being helpful for me to decide on how I wanted to pursue a path in Television.
Whilst at University I also went out of my way to speak to Editors who were currently working in the industry to ask their advice. I'll always remain grateful to Chris Gill (The Guard, Sunshine) and Eddie Hamilton (Kick Ass, Kingsman, X-Men First Class), who both took the time to give me detailed emails that advised me on the best parts of editing to focus on, as well as the things they look for in their assistants. Without advice like that, who is to say whether I would have come as far as I have.
I really believe that it's the responsibility of those who work in this industry to try and help students, graduates and other new entrants. At some point someone will have helped you, so repay the favour and do it for someone else.
Going back to where I started, the lecture was a great experience. Students from both second and third year courses attended. I gave them a ten to fifteen minute overview of my experience and the path I've taken, before opening it up to questions for the rest of the hour. These sessions live or die by the quality of the questions involved and it was a real relief to find the students had looked me up and came prepared with good quality questions. It seems like Northumbria is running a really strong Media Production course and has a great set of students wanting to get involved in editing. I'll definitely be looking to keep in touch with Neil and the rest of course leaders to see if I can help out in the future.
One of my other regular methods of helping people eager to get into this industry, is through the North East's creative industries development agency, Northern Film & Media. NFM regularly hold informal networking sessions for students, graduates and others trying to get into the industry. After an opening session with guest speakers the audience break off and circulate around different tables for different departments. You can nearly always find me at the 'Editing' table ready to answer any of your questions in as honest and helpful way as possible. If you're not familiar with NFM's work, you should definitely check out their website and the NFM Academy.
For any students, graduates or anyone else out there looking for advice, feel free to get in touch. I don't have all the answers, but I can tell you what has worked for me and help however I can!