Course Leader: MA Film Distribution and Marketing
What have been your career highlights so far?
To date I am mainly proud that we have managed to turn the MA into one of the main film industry courses outside California and have students employed in the Phillipines, Canada, the US, Brazil and Germany, showing that UK education continues to have a strong brand abroad.
What is your favourite thing about working at Birmingham City University?
The team at the School of Games, Film and Animation is very strong and committed to helping students develop professional skills. It has a unique philosophy that is focused on practical experience as much as theoretical lectures.
Birmingham City University has excellent facilities for students and more events and opportunities than any single student could possibly take part in.
How did you come to your current role?
I worked in film production and distribution, as well as for companies producing applications for mobile in the area of entertainment.
What are your specialist areas of expertise?
Film development, production and film finance.
What are your research interests?
I am currently working on an update to my book on the independent film industry, co-written with Angus Finney, “The International Film Business: A Market Guide Beyond Hollywood”.
What can prospective students look forward to most when they join your course?
The wide range of experiences. You will not only have your lectures, but opportunities to help out on live film projects, pitch to industry professionals, take part in an internship at a film festival and more.
What are your top tips for students thinking about joining your course?
- Be committed – the course gives only as much as you put into it.
- Be focused – distractions are distractions only because they seem important at the time. Have a long-term view and remember the goals you came into the course with.
- Be generous – you will be running into members of your cohort throughout your professional life. Learn to work with and for the group and understand how to bring together everyone’s views and aims.
Why do you think it’s important to study an MA?
This answer changes depending on the type of student.
- For students with little experience in the film industry, an MA can be the stepping stone to the first experience of working professionally and to a professional standard.
- For students coming from more general marketing or film courses, an MA can help them build up the specialist skills to focus where they want to be with their career.
- For students with no background in film, the MA has served as a intense one-year deep-dive for those hoping to get a career kick-started in the industry.
What are the benefits of studying in Birmingham?
Birmingham is a metropolitan city with plenty of events and things to do. It is conveniently the centre of the UK and therefore within easy reach of London but also Northern cities. There is a real creative and entrepreneurial buzz around areas like Digbeth, which is driving a new energy in the city
What do you believe it takes to work in the film industry?
- Love of films, and not only big studio films. A wide-ranging knowledge of film culture and enthusiasm for discovering new directors and stories.
- A wide range of skills, as most companies are quite small and entrepreneurial, and need students who can potentially cover multiple roles.
- Professionalism and willingness to go the extra mile, as film is an extremely competitive industry.