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Case studies

Rob Watson

Rob Watson

Independent Film Producer

Rob is a Screen International Star Of Tomorrow 2016. He was awarded a BFI Vision Award in 2017 to develop exciting new British filmmaking talent.

Rob's advice:

Film producers work on projects for many years before they get paid and so often do lower roles as well to pay the rent.

The producer will work closely with the director and the writer to ensure that the ideas will work.

Rob made a number of shorts which are really valuable as a training ground for producers. Directors will often want to make shorts to showcase their talents and for producers they are a good way to develop relationships with directors which might lead to feature films later on.

The BFI allocate lottery money to fund the development of film ideas but they have a limited amount of money and are focussed on ensuring diversity in the industry which can make it difficult for some producers.

  • Writing and directing – find your voice. Make films and showcase them at film festivals and online. Make music videos – anything that gets your work out there. Writers might want to think about writing for theatre initially as there is more work for writers in theatre than in film.
  • Below the line work - There are lots of roles with the crew working on hair and make up, technical aspects etc. If students want more regular work these roles are likely to be available.
  • Working for a talent agency – there are assistant roles available. The agencies know about all the key players in film and the projects that are being worked on.

Caitlen Allen

Caitlin Allen

Associate Director of Riot Communications
University of Warwick – BA in English and French

Caitlin joined culture and entertainment specialist Riot Communications in 2015 after earning her stripes at full-service PR agencies Citypress and Golley Slater, where her clients included Hilton Hotels, Coca-Cola Great Britain and the Welsh Government. At Riot, she works with all major UK publishing houses plus literary prizes, literary estates, TV production companies, cultural institutions and entertainment brands. Recent campaigns that she has led on include publicity for Sapiens author Yuval Noah Harari’s new book 21 Lessons for the 21st Century, the 20th anniversary of World Book Day and the upcoming new TV animation based on Tove Jansson’s Moomin stories starring Rosamund Pike, Taron Egerton and Kate Winslet. Her current clients include the Royal Institution, the London Review of Books and artificial intelligence company, DeepMind. Caitlin is a former winner of the CIPR Cymru’s Outstanding Young Communicator Award and was named on PRWeek’s ’30 under 30’ list in 2018. / @RiotComms

Caitlin's advice:
  • Get as much experience as possible.
  • Passion is important.
  • Your first job doesn’t have to be the dream job – it just needs to be a foot in the door.
  • Put yourself forward for awards – if you can’t promote yourself you won’t be able to promote a book.
  • Think about what’s important to you e.g. agency or in house, a large agency vs a small agency. Agencies can say “no” to work whereas in house you have to promote what’s being produced.

Dr David Barker

David Barker

Senior Lecture MA in Publishing Derby University

David started his career in a smaller publishing house before moving to Bloomsbury, and emphasises the importance of just getting your foot in the door. He explains that there are two main areas of publishing – Trade Publishing (what we see in book shops) and Academic Publishing (where a lot of money can be made).

David's advice:
  • Office experience is very useful
  • Be aware of freelance options eg copy editor, proof reading, type setting, indexing and design can all be done at home
  • Keep in mind that a lot of publishers are in London but there are some elsewhere across the UK. The Northern Fiction Alliance is based in Manchester and Leeds, and some big publishing houses are discussing opening in Birmingham.

    Jo de Vries

    Jo de Vries

    Conker House, Publishing Consultancy

    Jo's advice:
    • The role is to know the reader and know the author and to connect the two
    • Some publishers are recruiting young bloggers who understand the younger market
    • E-learning is very big in academic publishing so those with technical skills can flourish here
    • In terms of getting work experience, Jo suggests the Society for Young Publishers and @pubinterns