Abdul Jalfar

Media Production BA (Hons)

Abdul decided to pursue his passion for media at university, which has led him to work behind the scenes on BAFTA award-winning Channel 4 show Late Night Lycett, where he gets to put his skills and experience into practice during the live series. 

“I’d always wanted to go to university, but I was initially unsure of what to study. I first applied for a degree in environmental science because my A-Levels were in subjects unrelated to my current media course. However, I decided to take the leap and pursue what I love the most, so I chose Media Production.

I’ve always been passionate about media. I used to volunteer at my local mosque, helping with their YouTube channel by editing and shooting videos. I also enjoyed uploading my own videos. At the same time, I loved watching TV series and movies, often imagining myself in the director’s shoes, analysing the composition and storytelling.

My experience studying at BCU was amazing. The staff were incredibly friendly and helpful, always pushing my limits and enabling me to achieve incredible things. During my time at BCU, I won several awards, including a Student RTS Midlands award in the Best Documentary category for a project that I completed in my second year.

What made our course particularly special was the significant amount of creative freedom we had, especially with the live production module where we could create whatever we wanted. The course was rich with practical elements, and we had access to fantastic facilities such as a TV studio and a radio studio in the Parkside building, which allowed us to express our creativity even more.

The lecturers were supportive every step of the way, providing guidance and encouragement throughout my academic journey and even after I graduated. Their support and the opportunities available at BCU have truly shaped my career path and prepared me for the industry.

During my second-year summer break, I had the opportunity to undertake an internship thanks to a role advertised by the university. Birmingham was hosting the Commonwealth Games 2022, and I managed to secure a 12-day position with ADI.TV, working at the Commonwealth Festivals as a graphics operator. This was my first experience in the TV realm.

In this role, I was responsible for editing VT and graphics content, and outputting to the big LED screens at the festivals. It was a very different experience from what I had at university, much more pressuring due to the professional setting, but it was incredibly exciting. I loved the thrill and adrenaline of the job, learning new skills, and growing from my mistakes.

Since graduating from BCU, my career journey has been quite eventful. I quickly landed a graduate role at a start-up as a Videographer and Graphic Designer. However, it wasn’t the job I envisioned for myself. The corporate environment felt restrictive, and I missed the excitement and thrill.

Realising that the corporate job wasn’t a good fit, I decided to leave and eventually stumbled across a role. Sometimes, it takes a few different jobs to figure out where you truly belong, and that’s perfectly fine. It can be daunting to find the perfect job, but patience and persistence pay off.

I’m now on a trainee scheme with Rumpus Media and Channel 4 for the Late Night Lycett show in Birmingham, hosted by local comedian Joe Lycett. This role was incredibly competitive, with over 1,000 applicants from the West Midlands region. I’m working in the tech department as a camera trainee, and I had the chance to work across the entire series, all six episodes, over a span of six weeks.

Before diving into the practical work, I went through a bootcamp and extensive training to build up my skills. This prepared me for the hands-on experience of working on a scripted comedy show. It was an incredible opportunity that also led to my first-ever TV credit.

Throughout the production, I assisted camera operators and managed cabling during the show, as well as helped with equipment rigging and derigging. Additionally, I provided support in maintaining and organising camera gear. The experience was not only fun but also a fantastic networking opportunity. I met a lot of great people, including some amazing guests.

Being part of this BAFTA-winning production has been a huge eye-opener and has solidified my passion for working on live TV.

With Rumpus Media, a typical production day is dynamic and filled with responsibilities. I start with a two-hour training session to build industry skills. After lunch, we have a block-through rehearsal without Joe, followed by another with Joe, and then a dress rehearsal with celebrities. During rehearsals, I take notes on camera movements under the director’s instructions. During the live show, which airs from 10pm-11pm on Channel 4, I assist camera operators, manage cables, direct the audience, and help derig equipment. My day typically runs from 10am to 11:30pm, and despite the long hours, it's incredibly rewarding.

However, navigating the TV industry can be challenging due to the nature of short contracts tied to the length of a show. Despite this, Rumpus Media has given me valuable opportunities and propelled me towards securing more shows in the future. This role has been a perfect blend of technical work and creative freedom, and I couldn’t be more excited about what lies ahead.

If you're considering studying media at BCU, my advice is to embrace every opportunity the course offers. The staff are incredibly supportive and the facilities, like the TV and radio studios, are top-notch. Take full advantage of the creative freedom in your projects, especially the live production modules. Get involved in practical experiences, internships, and any industry-related opportunities advertised by the university. Don’t be afraid to explore different roles to find what truly excites you. Remember, the journey may have its challenges, but persistence and passion will lead you to where you belong.

In the long-term, I aspire to become a successful director in the TV industry. I hope to create impactful and innovative content that resonates with audiences and pushes the boundaries of storytelling. My goal is to work on a variety of projects, from live productions to scripted series, and to continually grow and evolve in my craft. Ultimately, I want to inspire others with my work and contribute to the ever-evolving landscape of television.

To fellow BCU graduates starting their careers, my advice is to stay open-minded and persistent. Don’t be discouraged if your first job isn’t perfect; it often takes a few roles to find your true fit. Network as much as possible and seize every opportunity to learn and grow, even if it’s outside your comfort zone. The TV industry can be challenging with its short-term contracts, but each experience is valuable. Embrace the thrill of live production and continue honing your skills. Above all, trust in your journey and stay passionate about your career goals.

‘I AM BCU’ means being part of a supportive and dynamic community that nurtures creativity and growth. It signifies the dedication and passion I’ve developed for my craft, and taking pride in my achievements and contributions, knowing that BCU has played a pivotal role in shaping my career and helping me realise my potential.”