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How to get the most out of studying Film Production

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With an array of different options in a fast-growing industry and a whole host of career paths, a degree in Film Production has the potential to not only equip you to find a job in the sector upon graduation, but also hand you the transferable skills that are attractive to employers in a range of sectors.

Jo McCullock head of the Digital Film programme

Jo McCullock heads up the Film course and is part of a highly trained and experienced team at Sunderland. She has over a decade’s worth of experience in the industry working in the private, public and broadcast sectors, and has had work published in publications like I-D Magazine and Woman. For her, watching students develop from their early beginnings into award-winning filmmakers is one of the most rewarding aspects of her role.

“It’s great to see students developing,” she smiles. “Not just in terms of their technical ability, but if you think of a documentary, being able to interact with the public – people that they don’t know and then building a relationship so that they can make an effective piece of film – it’s a real measure of their film-making ability.”

The University enjoyed near unprecedented success at this year’s regional Royal Television Society (RTS) Awards, with two groups of students receiving recognition from the highly respected body for their work. The Family Food Fight, a light-hearted cookery show aimed towards improving eating habits, took home the Student Award for Comedy and Entertainment. Meanwhile, the touching and moving I Am Normal earned a Student Award nomination in the Documentary category.

As a student here, you will receive all the required resources and support needed to follow in their footsteps. You’ll have access to industry-standard field equipment, a purpose-built TV studio and a host of editing suites and recording booths to master and perfect your work. You will also be studying in an area where film and media production is more prevalent than ever, as Jo points out. “There’s quite a lot of TV opportunities going on around here and a lot of graduates have gone on to work on shows like Wolfblood and Beowulf which are filmed in this area," she adds.

“It’s great to see students developing.”

Our department places a strong emphasis on employability throughout the course and you will have the opportunity to gain real-life experience and build contacts on work placements in the industry. In addition, you will be able to build contacts and gain new insights from industry experts through regular masterclasses.

Equally important is the ability to develop the transferable skills that are attractive to a range of different employers. You will be challenged in ways you have never been before, put in positions and roles you have no or little experience of, and will learn to develop and build on these skills over your time here, graduating as a well-rounded and complete candidate ready for a career in whichever sector you choose.

“Students can focus on a variety of areas while they’re here. So, if you wanted to do camerawork, editing or scriptwriting, you can do that,” says Jo. “But, on the course, you’ll be challenged in a number of ways, and that will build your skills across the board, both technically and creatively. In terms of getting jobs afterwards, you’ll be developing skills so that you’ll be able to go into a variety of different areas once you graduate and you won’t just be limited to film and TV.”

Studying at Sunderland will push you to new levels, you will explore areas you never have before, take on large scale projects and develop entirely new skills. Studying here can ensure you graduate ready for a career in a variety of different sectors. However, your passion for the industry will be the driving force that keeps you going throughout your time here. Jo’s final piece of advice is simple – make sure you have a strong interest in what you are doing. “You’ve got to have a real interest in film and TV, give us some indication why you’re interested in the industry. You need to show a real understanding of what’s going on out there.”


Published: 12 September 2017