Charlotte Ellis, class of 2009

Charlotte Ellis

I graduated from the University of Lincoln in 2009 with a first class degree in BA (HONS) Media Production. I realised that getting experience in the industry would also be very beneficial to my degree so during the summer break of my second year I managed to get the role of camera assistant on a short docu-drama in my local area.

This was amazing experience and helped immensely with my final year at the university as well as giving me more opportunities in other areas and experience of the media industry. Including a 35mm film shoot, under taking the role of camera’woman’ on a documentary about a local school, gaffer and editor, to name a few.

For our final single camera production we, a group of four, decided to push ourselves as much as we could with a short film about the relationship between an English woman and a German man as the Second World War was starting; called ‘Liebe’. The film was a great success and we wanted to enter it into a few competitions and festivals to see if anything came out of it.

A few months later I received an e-mail saying we were among the top twenty winners of the Winton train Film Contest and had won a cash prize. The Winton Train Film Contest was part of the Inspiration by Goodness project. It was an international film contest intended specifically for students at film and arts schools as well as other schools which teach filmmaking. Participation was open to all students who had not exceeded 26 years of age on the submission date. The film had to be based on the overall idea of the Winton Train project with topics such as humanity, propriety and good deeds – simply put, inspiration through the principle of goodness.

The jury, composed of renowned filmmaking experts – directors Ivan Passer and Jili Menzel, Czech television dramaturgist Jitka Hadkova and Tomasz Pobog Malinowski, Professor Emeritus in media at Edge Hill University – then determined the top twenty finalists. The selected films composed a mosaic – a comprehensive picture of the struggle for good in today’s world through the eyes of young people; becoming part of a world collection which will address audiences without regard to race, culture or religious affiliation.

The films were shown on the journey the train took in September 2009; with a wide selection of guests. We also got the film shown in a local cinema. It was amazing to see it on the big screen with people who we didn’t know choosing to come and see it! And then to my surprise I received another e-mail almost a year after hearing we were a runner up in the competition from Lenka Slovakova from Czech Television telling me that ‘Liebe’ would be broadcast on Czech TV on the 11th October 2010 (Date subject to change).

With my own career after leaving university I joined a small local production company in Derby where I was filming and editing short adverts and weddings as well as assisting on short films they were undertaking themselves. This was great experience at the time but unfortunately I had a bad experience with them being dishonest to me so I decided it would be best for me to leave.

Just before christmas of 2009 I was constantly looking through websites for jobs within the media industry. One came up in Long Eaton, not far from where I was living at the time, and I thought I’d apply – what had I got to lose! A couple of days later I got a phone call to organise an interview; where they asked if I wanted to come in for a few days before christmas to see if I liked the job. After these two days they offered me a full time job with a review after 3 months.

I took them up on the offer and started in the new year. The same week I moved house, extremely busy and stressful! The company is a print company who work with the large auction houses in London and the surrounding area, producing the brochures for each of the auctions. They have been doing this for over 30 years and decided they wanted to expand into producing short film adverts for the properties up for auction; which is where my role comes in. I am the only one in the section of film production at the company so therefore I film and edit these adverts ready for the internet. I’ve also created an advert for the company I’m working for as well as draft films for them to take to possible future clients.

At times the amount of work is slow which means I go and help in the office or the factory, which I hate, but mainly it’s a job were I am filming and editing footage with plans to expand into other areas other than property adverts as well as getting paid to do it. And after 8 months of being here they are very happy with what I’m doing and have given me a pay rise – so not bad going! One reason they said they took me on was because of the amount of experience I had gained as well as the university course I had undertaken.

As well as the full time job my partner and myself are starting up a small media business offering photography, corporate videos, music videos, live events, adverts, animation, just to name a few things. We are only in the start up of this venture and trying to sort the basic things out while working full time but at the moment it seems to be going ok, saying we haven’t really done any advertisement for any of the work we have already done.

This venture isn’t something I thought about doing while I was at university but we thought we may as well give it ago and see what happens. Some of the things we have done so far are several photo shoots – one model receiving a job offer because of the portfolio we put together for her, working closely with a local company doing photography and adverts – along with free tickets to an amazing festival that started this year, filming corporate events, music videos, etc.

I had no idea where my university course was going to take me and I never thought I would be where I am today but thanks to certain people I met while at university (both staff and students) as well as the people who I met on the various industry experiences I undertook, I am enjoying where I am and keeping my options open for any future ventures.