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Phil Shaw

Phil Shaw
Course studied:
Film Production Technology BSc (Hons)
Year of graduation:
2014

Persistence prevails

Videographer Philip Shaw says two words to himself every day: “Persistence prevails”.

It’s a motto he lives by and it has taken him from graduating with first class honours in 2014 to forging a successful freelance career and landing an internship at one of the biggest PR agencies in the West Midlands, HROC.

After finishing his Film Technology Production degree at Staffordshire, Philip tried to find work in his chosen field but found it more difficult than he expected.

“After university I was in a constant struggle to find a place in the industry,” says the 25-year-old, from Stafford. “I’ve had loads of experience working on feature films, commercials and music videos and a huge portfolio I built as a student but it was still incredibly difficult to find work – work that was outside of London and that paid, at least – which is why I became a freelancer, which has led to my current placement at HROC.”

His freelance work (www.philipshawvideo.com) sees him working on corporate videos for large clients such as Citroën and smaller local businesses, as well as shooting music videos and wedding videos. He’s even travelled to Santorini, Greece, to shoot a wedding video for a client he met at the start of the year – “that was awesome!” he says.

And as part of his placement with HROC in Birmingham, he’s part of a developing videography team covering corporate events and creating content for social platforms.

Unique style

Philip chose to study at Staffordshire following a college foundation course, which enabled him to gain varied experience with real client work.

His university course then equipped him with the technical skills required to help him develop his own style.

“The university for me was focused around the technical skill level in filmmaking and documentary,” he says. “This is where I began to really develop my artistic approach and cinematography.

“I’m working hard to develop a unique style in cinematography through the wedding industry  – though it isn’t really known yet, the wedding industry is huge and very competitive in terms of cinematography and it provides all the challenges and content a cinematographer needs to develop.”

Inspiring mentor

He hasn’t been back to the university since graduating last year, but he has fond memories of his mentor John Bradburn, who was senior lecturer in Film Production.

“During my final year with my dissertation,” he says, “I’d sit with John in his office and talk about my ambitions and research, “An Investigation into Swedish Cinematography”, a subject that had had almost no research done previously. I think those moments discussing art, poetry, images and life were some of my favourite. I still keep in touch with John today, a very intelligent and wonderful man. He made the course for me.”

Philip says that students hoping for a similar career should gain as much experience as they can and try to set themselves apart from the rest.

“I’d suggest getting as much experience and practise at university as possible,” he says, “to do things that every other student isn’t doing in terms of making your work look less studenty, and to remember the two words I say to myself everyday, persistence prevails.”