… the continuing saga of what qualifications give you the best chance of establishing a career in television – we will get onto to other subjects again soon, I promise!
Media studies degrees are getting a bad press. Many people surveyed (unscientifically by me!) so far within the industry seem to think you are wasting your time studying media specifically. General consensus is you would be better off doing an ‘academic’ degree and indulging your interest in media through extra-curricular activities.
But it’s time for media studies to fight back! And who better to lead the way than a successful and talented television producer. Danielle Ellis, a media studies graduate, has the case for a media degree. Tomorrow we present the case against – from another successful and talented television producer who achieved his professional status without any kind of degree.
So, over to Dani:
“I always knew I wanted to work in television and couldn’t imagine myself doing anything else but didn’t really think it would be possible to actually study a subject that would help me achieve my dream job. But then my school seemed to start ‘magically/coincidentally’ offering a GCSE in Media the year I was selecting my extra subjects. And I loved it! I was hooked! Along with my enjoyment for English lessons, Media quickly became my favourite subject and I seemed to be quite good at it. This encouraged me to pursue an A Level in the subject and, again, I found myself craving more…
When it came to applying for university I knew I wanted to further my studies and the ‘sensible’ option would have been to opt for an English degree. However, I was curious about Media Studies as a degree subject and knowing I only wanted to work in TV it seemed to make sense to opt for the subject I knew would hold my interest for three years as well as hopefully giving me a strong foundation for a career in television.
I wasn’t overly aware of the reputation Media courses had at the time – until friends and family started asking what I was studying at university and I was confronted by a range of ‘never mind’ faces and responses when I innocently replied! However, once the Sunday Times dispatched an undercover journalist to infiltrate my course and pose as a student so they could write a damning analysis of the “mickey mouse” subject I was more than familiar with the snobbery surrounding my chosen degree!
But the most important thing to me was that I found my subject fascinating and useful. Having said that, when I signed up for my course there was only one option available (which was mostly theoretical and only offered one practical ‘video production’ module at the time) whereas now there numerous…
I loved my time at university and it did teach me the basics that helped me get a foothold on the industry – and I wouldn’t change my experiences for anything, (apart from losing the debt I inherited as a result of my studies!) but whether I would have got to where I am today without my degree, who knows… But I do know many TV employers remain extremely sceptical about the validity of studying media at degree level and prefer to train ‘novices’ (with a ‘mainstream’ subject degree) rather than media graduates who think they already know enough to warrant starting at producer level. Nevertheless, I can honestly say the choice that’s right for you is the one that feels right – and seems right – at the time – fate has a habit of steering you in the right direction eventually if you work hard to achieve your dreams.”
Don’t forget our next post will explain how one creative individual got to be a television producer without any kind of degree. If you don’t want to miss his personal account then subscribe now to have all posts fed directly into your inbox.
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