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Oscar winner visits MK College

Date Posted:04/02/2015

Oscar winner MK CollegeMedia students at MK College were this week treated to a talk from The King’s Speech Oscar-winning producer and BAFTA nominee, Gareth Ellis-Unwin about his experience of working in the film industry.

Gareth Ellis-Unwin, best known for producing the 2010 box-office smash hit, The King’s Speech which won the Academy Award for Best Picture, started his career in an FE College not too dissimilar to the classes taught at Milton Keynes College.

“What I always say is there is no golden or definite route into the film industry. My career, particularly in the early days, was made up of a mix of good fortune but also a lot of hard work and persistence,” revealed Gareth.

Speaking to students studying the identical course he’d studied two decades previously, BTEC in Media Studies, Gareth answered questions about how to pitch good ideas to producers and how to get your creative voice heard in a competitive environment.

Listening to Gareth’s path to cinematic success was 17 year old Media student, Luke Griggs, “I have always wanted to work as a presenter on TV or radio.  Listening to Gareth and his advice has been so interesting. As well as my course, I work as a Technical Operative for MKFM radio station, DJ at local under 18 club nights and present radio shows at lots of community events for the station.”

Luke’s enthusiasm was bolstered by the fact that Gareth’s own journey was not a million miles away from what he’s currently getting involved in. Gareth said, “People often think that to work in film you have to be well connected or have rich parents, but that’s not true. YouTube has made it so easy for young film makers to show off their work. Start by recording your own ideas and mates at the weekend, volunteer to shadow others and try to get a job as a runner.”

As well as answering questions about progressing in the industry and what agencies looking for, Gareth awarded a personalised signed poster of his latest film Kajaki to the student with the best film review.

Gareth’s talk is helping to make up Employability Week, an initiative Milton Keynes College runs in February each year. Students attend talks, workshops and seminars from external businesses and creatives aimed at sparking interest in career options and gaining more qualifications which are not typically taught within the curriculum.  

To see more photos of Workability Week, please see the MK College Facebook page