MA English and Film & Visual Culture, 2009
From Aberdeen to Creating Murder Mysteries
Your Time at Aberdeen
Why did you choose to study at Aberdeen?
I'm a bit of a 'home bird' so I was keen to stay in the area (I live in Inverurie). I knew I wanted to study English, but when I saw there was the chance to study film at Aberdeen, that's what cemented my decision.
Why did you choose your particular course?
I had always enjoyed English at school and I also got the chance to do Media Studies in my final year of school and really enjoyed it. So when I realised there was an option to do a joint degree in both, I was delighted.
What did you most enjoy about your time at Aberdeen? Did you have any particularly memorable student experiences?
I made some great friends while at university and I thoroughly enjoyed the five years that I was a student there. I attended quite a few of the Director's Cut events that were on at the time and I found them to be very enjoyable and really useful to the courses I was studying at the time. I also remember really enjoying quiz night at The Bobbin!
If you were involved in any clubs and societies as a student, what did you enjoy most about them and what benefit do you think they have for students?
My biggest regret from my time at Aberdeen was that I didn't engage in any extra-curricular societies or clubs at the university. I have since been involved in the Student Show (both as part of the production team and filming a number of the performances) and I really wish I'd been involved while I was a student. I think they are a chance to make some lifelong friendships and offer opportunities that may not otherwise be available.
If talking to a group of prospective students, what advice would you give them to help them make the most of their time at the University of Aberdeen?
Attend the Freshers' Fair and engage with groups and societies that interest you. It's the quickest way to meet people with whom you have interests in common and there are so many to choose from! I really wish I'd done that. Also, there's loads to see and do in Aberdeen, but also in Aberdeenshire - it's not a long journey to get out into the countryside and there are some amazing landscapes to enjoy (I may be biased, but it's true!)
Your Time After Aberdeen
What was the title of your first job after graduating from Aberdeen?
Care Worker at Gordon Dementia Services.
What did your first role involve?
I worked in a centre for people with dementia. It was a day care facility and we planned various activities and outings for the service users. I worked there part time and also took up a 1:1 caring job with a couple whose son had Muscular Dystrophy. I would get him ready for school and later work placements and I would also take him out at the weekends.
While I was working at these two placements, I set up my own company, Right Here Productions. It started off as a film and theatre company and I would fit it in around my 'real' jobs (i.e. the ones that actually paid decent money!)
What is your current job title?
Director of Right Here Productions
Who is your current employer?
What is your current role?
Running a film, theatre and entertainment business.
Please briefly describe the journey from your first job after graduating to where you are now.
It's been hard work, but incredibly fulfilling. I've experienced things I never thought I would, I've found myself in the most random, but brilliant situations and it's left me with many a story to tell! I loved being a carer and it was really hard for me to leave both jobs, but it just got to a point where I was stretched too thin as the business started to take off. Now I'm really lucky to work for myself because I now have a family of my own and I can be pretty flexible with my job and have it fit around me and my other priorities in life. It's challenging at times running your own business (especially this year!), but I count myself very lucky to be doing a job that hardly ever feels like work!
Was your degree at Aberdeen essential for getting to where you are now? If so, in what way?
I would say yes. The English courses have helped enormously with the script-writing I now do on a regular basis and of course the Film Studies (and Film Production) courses I completed contributed to my knowledge and capabilities when I first started up, and now, ten years later.
One Top Tip
You never stop learning. If you think you know it all at any point in your career, you're probably wrong. Always be open to others' opinions and viewpoints because they have had different life and work experiences that you could benefit from hearing about. There's nothing wrong with having confidence in your abilities, but it's also important to be humble and willing to learn more.