Holly Psaliou

Holly P English

Short film producer and aspiring author 

Graduated in 2018 

Why did you chose to study at Birmingham City University and why Creative Writing?

I want to be an author and creative writing helps. Birmingham City University had a better range of modules than other universities, especially with screen writing and novel writing. I really liked the atmosphere when I attended on the open day, the staff made huge efforts and left a really good impression.

What has your highlight been over the last three years?

The opportunities have been amazing. I have produced a small film, had a few publications, I get really involved at open days, mentoring and the school newspaper. I try to get involved in most projects the School of English offer.

Have you completed any work placements during your time at university?

I have completed a couple of internships;

I completed a screen writing analysis last summer for a company named Write Movies. A virtual internship where I was analysing scripts prior to them being sent on to Hollywood producers. It was very exciting, yet tough and I would spend five/six hours a day working over the eight week summer period. I learnt a lot which then contributed towards my writing skills; you learn what the industry is looking for and what they hate seeing. A small error on the first page is enough to make your script be rejected. I really enjoyed the placement and I believe there is the opportunity to go back there after I graduate.

How did you find your work placement?

A previous student set up a screen writing society. It was for six weeks and a variety of workshops and seminars took place, during the second or third week Write Movies came in and mentioned their internships. I went through the website and applied that way and let them know that I attended the talk at BCU.

My second work placement I got through Nicola in the faculty employability team, it was with the British American Group and they were looking for editor interns. Responsibilities included editing their travel guides which were put out and published every three months. Other guides included; festival guides, graduate guides and undergraduate guides. I also wrote up news articles on book reviews and a ‘what’s hot on campus’.

How do you think these work placements will help you with your future career?

I was able to practice writing in a professional way. The responsibility of having to write for a job and not just for pleasure helped to overcome my writing block. With the editing role I was able to learn about the people in charge and what they look for, it’s very exciting to see what they like.

What advice do you have for students thinking about studying the course?

Take advantage of everything. It is there for you to take the lead, there are no teachers hanging over you and no detention if you don’t complete work. You are in control of your future.

How would you describe the course?

There is a lot of reading, so don’t study the course if you don’t like reading.  Take your time with it and don’t rush everything, start with enough time before assignment deadlines and have fun as well! The school of English is like a little community, the course tutors are really friendly and know their stuff. It is really hard to put in words when you really enjoy your course.

What tips do you have for students on the course?

Read your emails, as the employability emails that come through are really helpful and it is a good service which helped me to secure my second work placement.