• Robyn

Creative Media Skills Higher Education Open Day

Well, well, well… I couldn’t quite believe it when I received an email from my favourite broadcasting and media educational company, inviting me to an open day to discuss their brand-new, full time courses, launching in September.

The first round of open days was set for 12thand 26th of July. These would be exploring:


MA International Film Production

MA Screenwriting

MA Prosthetics and Sculpting (HELLO)

MA Period Hair and Wigs

2 Year accelerated BA programs

BA Film Production

BA Hair and Makeup

1 Year Diploma programs

Foundations of Art Direction, Props and Set Dressing for Film

Foundations of Assistant Direction, Locations and Production for Film

Foundations of Hair, Makeup and Prosthetics for Film

After some last-minute shift swapping/crying/begging, I managed to book on to the 26th July open day. In typical CMS fashion, there was tea, coffee and copious amounts of biscuits and pastries on arrival.

The itinerary for the day included industry speeches (Ailie Smith, Anne Runeckles, Ray Stanley, Tim Day, David Pope), demos (David Brown and Lou Sheppard), studio tours and Q&As.

Initially, after making the pretty sizable trek (exclusively via public transport, may I add) I regret to divulge I was a little underwhelmed when on viewing the open day breakdown since there was little info relating directly to the Prosthetics and Sculpting MA. This disappointment lasted for all of three minutes (the pasties helped ease the pain), until the industry speeches began with Ailie Smith, CEO of Creative Media Skills.

It was badass - as if she was speaking directly to me! She spoke of how there was numerous degrees out there promising to provide entry into the media industry, but how that very rarely works out. This immediately resonated with thoughts I had been feeling since graduating last year. These courses (including the degree I did) are not only focusing on the wrong elements of training, failing to provide work experience and sending ill equipped “make-up artists” out into the world feeling confused, cheated and £50,000 worse off.

Ailie expressed the increasing demand for crew, how it’s not being introduced via orthodox degrees like the one I did and what CMS were planning on doing about it…

With the introduction of the new diplomas, 2 year accelerated BA’s and MA’s, CMS hope to fill the ever-expanding employment opportunities becoming available in the UK film industry, which currently contributes £7.7bn to the economy, employing 80,000 with over 30,000 new opportunities over the next few years.

I’ve been feeling pretty hopeless about struggling to actually find work in the industry since graduating from Arts University Bournemouth last year, to be told that:

a) This isn’t my fault and has no reflection on my work ethic and/or talent

b) There are jobs to be had!

c) This is how you get one…

Was music to my ears!

The other industry speeches were just as inspiring (I really must write that screenplay one day), which led to more tea/coffee/pastries, then onto demonstrations and studio tours.

I flitted in and out of the two demonstrations which went on simultaneously later that morning. Make-up; by David Brown and Hair; by Lou Sheppard.

David, who I believe will be a tutor on the make-up diploma, very nicely demonstrated a silicone flat piece application and spoke candidly (and hilariously) about his experiences as a make-up artist.

Whilst Lou, MA Period Hair and Wig course leader, demoed a fabulous 1940s up-do and did an excellent job of persuading me to finally buy her book, Timeless (co-written with Louise Young).

There was also a little studio tour, which was super fun. Obviously, photos were prohibited apart from in the garden.

The beautiful bridge was built for Chitty Chitty Bang Bang (1968).

After attending the open day, I needed little persuasion that the Prosthetics and Sculpting MA is the course for me. I will definitely be applying as soon as the application process begins. Since this is the first year and everything seems a bit rushed and a bit, there are still some details that need ironing out (course leaders, awarding body etc) but hopefully this will be updated soon. Until then, wish me luck!

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