Graduate Interviews Series: Recent Alumni talk about how they got their jobs

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Credit: Pixabay / Michael Beckwith

Jennifer Bowey
Deputy Editor-in-Chief

Following on from the series of interviews conducted with University of Glasgow graduates last year about how they found their current jobs, we speak to Joseph Andrew Mclean about how he managed to successfully build a career in the film industry following graduation from the University in 2013.

GG: What age are you?

38, I was a mature student when I started studying in 2009.

GG: What did you study and when did you graduate?

English Literature & Politics and I also studied Screenwriting during my year abroad at the University of California. I graduated in 2013.

GG: What is your job title and can you give a brief summary of what you do?

I’m currently working as a Director’s Assistant on a feature film being shot in Glasgow. I split my time between working freelance in the film industry and also producing and directing my own projects through my production company Partickular Films.

GG: How long have you worked there?

I have worked full-time in the film industry since graduating in 2013.

GG: Can you give us a ballpark of your salary?

The salary is competitive, but it is dependent on working regularly, which can be daunting for some people due to the freelance nature of the industry.

GG: Why would this job appeal to students yet to graduate?

I think the job would appeal to some students as it’s not a normal 9-5 job and it’s a fantastic industry to be involved in. I’ve been lucky enough to work all over the UK, meeting some great people and working at some amazing locations.

GG: How did you get the job and what was the process like?

When I graduated in 2013 I produced and directed a lot of corporate and commercial films, this helped me build up a portfolio of work which then led to me working on TV shows as a researcher. I then progressed to working in the film industry, where I work on projects for anything from a few weeks to over six months. I’ve been really lucky that my last two films have been longer term contracts.

GG: How did you go about finding jobs in your area of work/relevant to your degree?

I applied to lots of TV and film jobs in Scotland and beyond, and as I didn’t study Film & TV, I made sure employers were aware of my studies at the University of California and of my extra curricular activities such as my membership of Cut Filmaking Society. I definitely felt the benefit of showing employers that I was actively involved in filmmaking, be it making short films at university or making short documentaries in my own time.

GG: What are the main perks of the job?

For me, the main perks are not working a 9-5 job, earning a decent wage and getting to work in an industry that I love.

GG: Do you have any tips for students entering the job market soon?

I’d recommend getting involved in a film or TV society, where you’ll meet like-minded people who you’ll go on to work alongside in the industry. You’ll also get some practical filmmaking experience before you leave University and this will stand you in good stead when you graduate. My other tip is to be prepared to work hard and to work long, unsociable hours and be prepared to do some menial tasks in the entry level jobs, but the bonus is your hard work doesn’t go unnoticed and you’ll soon progress up the ladder.