For the first edition of our brand-new alumni Q&A series ‘In The Spotlight’, we caught up with BOA Creative Media Production alumnus, Jake Barrett. Jake recently visited the new BOA Stage & Screen Production site, ahead of work getting underway for its opening in September 2021.
Read on to discover how BOA helped him prepare for his career in the creative industries, as director and founder of his own video production agency, Barrett Film Co.
What made you want to study Creative Media Production, and why did you choose to do this at BOA?
Growing up I had a huge passion for all things film and photography. So much so that when I was just 15, I set-up my own part-time photography business shooting weddings and other celebratory events. From a young age I always knew that I wanted to learn and discover more about the videography world, so when the opportunity to study Creative Media Production at BOA came up, I jumped at the chance and applied for the course immediately. There were no other courses in the West Midlands region that offered a high-quality and creative pathway at college level, so it felt like joining BOA was truly meant to be.
Can you tell us a little about your business and how it began?
After I graduated from BOA in 2013, I worked at numerous regional production companies, and during this time built a strong contact book jam-packed of individuals in the creative industry. I made the decision not to go to university and instead used the next few years enhancing my skills by working as a freelance camera operator and director. And from there, I worked at an international marketing agency as their head of film.
After this invaluable experience, I founded Barrett Film Co in 2020, which focuses on film-making and producing creative commercials, and delivers every aspect of production both directly to clients and through creative agency partners.
How did the Creative Media Production course at BOA prepare you for your career?
The most valuable part for me was the amazing practical experience on offer throughout the course. There was of course a lot of classroom work where we’d learn about the code and conventions of advertising, but the practical elements where we could get hands-on with industry-level camera equipment, listen to creative professionals as part of discussion panels, and gain first-hand experience, was for me the most valuable and without those skills, I wouldn’t have been able to progress in my career.
What key moment was there on your course that you feel you learnt the most from?
One of the most memorable moments that I have from my time at BOA has to be when we were commissioned by Birmingham City Football Club to produce a series of advertisements for the club’s annual youth player scheme presentation. Not only was this a total pleasure to work on and be a part of whilst being a student, but it taught me the vital communication skills needed for working closely with clients and external suppliers to deliver outstanding results - something which is now part of a typical working day for me.
What industry experience did you gain on your course and why was this important?
Throughout the Creative Media Production course, we were continually tasked with responding imaginatively to a wide variety of briefs set by our teachers. This experience enabled like-minded creative students to work collaboratively to craft and develop a variety of responses that showcased core practical skills and abilities in a number of creative media areas. This flexibility to devise our own narrative in response to the briefs and push our creativity to new levels, was invaluable and is something that I now do at Barrett Film Co on a daily basis with my creative team.
What might a typical working day look like for you at the moment?
Day to day this can vary, but most of the time it will be handling multiple creative film-making projects for our clients each day. This consists of regular catch up calls with clients to discuss crafted ideas, as well as the planning and execution of the production.
My day also usually involves overseeing every step of the process for each project including creative consultation (brainstorming the initial ideas and plan), scripting, scheduling, providing the kit and crew, casting, shooting and editing, managing the sound design and dealing with the technical side to ensure every film we produce is perfect for our client and their needs.
What are your future ambitions for your business?
We’re keen to continue rising in every aspect. From growing our team and our clients, to expanding our agency and what we offer to businesses across the UK.
More specifically, our short-term goal is to reach out and work with a number of organisations in cities throughout the country including Manchester and London, to produce high-end, creative and stand-out productions that guarantees results for a wide variety of campaigns and projects.
What do you love the most about working in the creative industries?
The fact that every day is totally different. I also love that film-making for some clients is a brand-new and daunting concept, but by working together and bringing them on the creative journey with us, this process enables them to discover first-hand a world of endless creative possibilities and how high-quality, engaging and creative film productions can produce incredible results for their business.
Working in the creative industry isn’t just a job to me, it’s a huge passion and a way of life.
What advice do you have for young people who are thinking about a career in the creative industries?
My advice for starting a career in the creative industries would be to discover and learn the craft in all areas of your course as much as you can - whether it’s Creative Media Production, Musical Theatre, Creative Production or Technical. A good technical knowledge is key, but get all the work experience you can, it’s a fantastic way to build your network with those in the creative industry and also gain priceless experience.
Hard work pays off in the end, just keep going at it and places like BOA and BOA Stage & Screen Production offer fantastic opportunities to refine your passion and craft, ready for the next step in your career in the creative industry. Looking back, I learnt and gained invaluable skills and experience from my time at BOA, and I would recommend applying to the academies to any young creatives.
What do you think about the plans for the new BOA Stage & Screen Production?
The West Midlands is full of creatives of all ages, so it’s fantastic news that the next generation of creative talent can equip themselves with the knowledge and practical experience they need to excel in the technical and production aspects of the stage and screen industries.
There are not many places in the region where young people can learn an industry-led approach and develop the skills and experience they need for working in film, TV, online and theatre production, so it’s incredible that another BOA academy in the city will enable young people to take the first step in achieving their dream roles in the creative industries.