Case study

Operations director/head of production — Matt Loudon

The practical experience Matt gained during his film studies degree was integral when gaining employment, find out how he secured his role

How did you get your job?

I sought out projects during my degree that I could work on and therefore increase my experience. My time at Kingston University was hugely beneficial to me - the course and lecturers gave me the time, support and resources I needed to gain work experience, knowledge of production practices and a theoretical understanding of film and television.

Through word of mouth and opportunities I started with my current company, Recipe Advertising Ltd, as a producer and have worked my way up to be promoted to my current level.

How relevant is your degree to our job?

The production aspect of my course was very relevant to my starting position. In my final year I worked as an assistant director on a range of short films and then directed the short film My Darling Wife myself. This won the London region of the BAFTA Orange one-minute film competition, going to the finals as an official BAFTA-nominated film. Unfortunately I didn't win but I did attend the ceremony and party, which was a great experience.

I continued to make films and documentaries under my film production company Magic Dust Productions, with one twenty-five minute documentary officially distributed in the south west, which meant I was able to access funds from one of the few government film commissioning bodies in the UK.

My third year film was graded as a first and has done very well at independent festivals in the UK. In fact it is still being circulated around festivals.

What do you do day-to-day?

Dealing with various production, creative and logistical issues across a range of projects for TV, Online and OOH. Recipe works with a variety of brands such as Smartwater, St John’s Ambulance and Dr. Pepper.

Projects can range from growing a digital community for a brand to go alongside a campaign, or establishing a creative identity for the launch of a new product.

How do you use your degree in your current job?

Currently it doesn't have much bearing, however transferrable skills picked up at university, such as organisation and good communication, are also very important in the film, television and creative advertising industries.

What you studied can become irrelevant fairly quickly in our industry so keeping up to date with current fields of thought and new technologies is a must.

What do you enjoy about your job?

Working in a creative environment is very fulfilling.

What are the most challenging parts of your job?

Low budgets and tight timelines.

Any advice for other graduates who would like to get into this career?

Don't waste any opportunity and put in maximum effort. Make sure you put into practice what you are taught in the classroom. Experience is key so I'd recommend that you make the most of your time at university - make films, network and work on other people's films. Some opportunities only happen once.

Work experience is expected and is an absolute must for anyone trying to make it in the industry. Theoretical understanding alone is not enough to guarantee a job within the creative side of the industry, but learning how filmmakers view their work and go about making films gives you a strong base on which to add your own experience and style.

Where do you hope to be in five years?

I hope to still be building a large creative production agency.

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