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The power of pushing yourself

Benjamin Nuga (BA French with Chinese, 2022), has already diversified his skill set by working as a production assistant, scriptwriter, and musician and he’s also been a contestant on Countdown. Having only graduated in 2022, his achievements are centered around his willingness to step outside his comfort zone.

Why languages?
Initially, I applied to do French and Economics, but decided on making a last-minute switch to French and Mandarin. My goal was to pursue a course of study that would enhance my skills in a versatile manner, allowing me to apply these skills to any future path I chose to follow.

Best Warwick memory?
During my year abroad in Paris, I discovered myself, which, as cliché as it sounds, was a transformative experience. I immersed myself in a culture that resonated with my personality, and I witnessed a significant boost in my self-confidence.

How did it impact you?
I explored my creative side in Paris. I started making music, sang alongside a busker and took part in my first open mic night. I came back to my final year with a fresh perspective. I also ended up writing a play, Small Fish, which was showcased at the Warwick Arts Centre.

What happened after graduation?
I took on a cleaning job at Warner Bros Studio with the knowledge that I would be shuttling between home and Warwick for a play, so I required a flexible job. However, I was soon assigned as a production assistant on a BBC show, Marriage, with Sean Bean and Nicola Walker, and my performance was impressive enough for them to suggest that I leave the cleaning job behind and join them in a versatile role spanning across productions.

What did you do?
I worked across four departments, including production and costume. I'm a huge fan of BBC Three’s Him and Her, and I met the writer and director Stefan Golaszewski. Working alongside someone whose work I really admired was amazing. It was a relationship that became less about me being a fan of his work into us being two colleagues sharing our processes and opinions. Seeing him and how he’s worked his way up, I realised as long as your writing is good and you have the drive, you can make it.

What inspires you?
Trying new things! During the challenges posed by Covid, I explored new avenues that proved to be quite a rewarding experience. I surprised my friends when I released a few songs (none of them knew I could sing!) This was well received on Instagram. Additionally, I created a magazine dedicated to up-and-coming creatives during the lockdown, despite having no prior knowledge of design. I managed to sell fifty copies of it!

What did your Warwick-founded confidence inspire you to do?
I took an internship at a finance company – I’d always been curious about the finance world. The reason I’d shied away before is because I didn’t think I would fit in to that environment. I was diagnosed with ADHD in my final year at Warwick, but I’d suspected it for ages. I’ve worked in a lot of environments; some are more accommodating of differences than others. I was lucky I found a company that championed the individual.

Most surreal experience?
I was on Countdown, against the best player of all time. He whooped me!

Proudest achievement?
While in Paris, I found inspiration in poetry, and I felt compelled to write about my upbringing in the UK. There was due to be an on-air announcement on Countdown about my intention to write a book - a few months before the episode was scheduled to air. Strangely the announcement didn't include that part in the broadcast, but it served as a significant motivation for me to complete the book. Surprisingly, the book was published the morning before the episode aired, and it quickly made its way into the top ten bestsellers in its category. Although I felt it wasn't perfect, the feedback I received was incredibly positive, providing a substantial boost to my confidence.

What does success look like?
Making money through activities I am genuinely passionate about. I also have a few personal milestones I’d like to achieve, such as performing on stage with my friends and seeing something I've written being showcased on the silver screen.

What does the future look like for you?
Anything related to writing – particularly music, as it is where everything started for me. However, the world of film seems to be the most logical path. A few months ago, Disney and the NFTS held a competition for aspiring film writers. My friend and fellow alum Luis and I applied. Although we weren’t successful, it sparked something inside of us that we are determined to follow through. I’ve recently started a digital magazine called groupchat which is keeping me busy. Watch this space…

Ben speaks to a group of people around a table

"I immersed myself in a culture that resonated with my personality, and I witnessed a significant boost in my self-confidence."