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Sam Robertson and Nicole Cronin

Sam Robertson and Nicole Cronin
Course studied:
Film Production Technology
Year of graduation:

Quill creations

Sam Robertson and Nicole Cronin have been film making collaborators since they met on Staffordshire University’s Film and Television Production Technology degree. They have since launched a production company based on their successful partnership, going from a horror documentary during their student days to corporate films for a wide variety of clients as business partners.

The pair have complementary skill-sets that have seen their company, Quill Creations, go from strength-to-strength since its launch in December 2016. Sam manages the technical side of film production, usually found behind a camera or editing software, while Nicole is front-of-house, as client liaison and film director when on-site.

They have produced films for the Worcestershire County Council led Young Poet Laureate Competition, promos for outdoor furniture company Dreams Living and metal plating manufacturer Frost Electroplating, and a video biography for paradressage athlete Ashleigh Jones, to name just a handful of projects.

Film producing

Sam and Nicole have worked together for more than three years, long before the launch of Quill Creations. They both started their degrees at Staffordshire University’s partner institution Bournville College, in Birmingham, in 2013, where they met and discovered a mutual interest in film.

“I’m dyslexic so I always found it hard to get my opinions and ideas across through words, so the easiest way for me to express myself was with a camera,” Sam explained. “I did photography at GCSE and initially had the idea of following that pathway but then I came across videography and really enjoyed it. It allowed me to work with a diverse range of people, from all walks of life.”

Nicole said: “I went to college to do creative media production and initially wanted to study broadcast journalism. That gave me a good introduction into film, which really interested me, so I chose the Film and TV Production course through Bournville College. I really loved the screenwriting part of it and got opportunities to do that on the course.”

One of those opportunities was working with Sam, when they created a horror documentary on Cannock Chase, in Staffordshire, with two fellow students. “We got a lot of good feedback on our horror documentary, from ITV producers who saw it at the graduate show, among others,” Nicole recalled.

“I’d like to get back to screenwriting eventually,” she continued, “because we don’t do a lot of it at the moment. It would be good to work on documentaries and we’re also looking at expanding into the travel and tourism sector soon.”

Growing business

Shortly after graduating in 2016, Quill Creations was launched. Sam explained: “We founded the company almost straight away. The media industry is very cutthroat and finding a job at other companies is harder than setting up your own. We got a Prince’s Trust start-up loan to help us get started and we got our first job in December last year.”

They joined a business networking club in their home town of Birmingham, which involves weekly breakfast meetings with around 50 other small business owners in the area. It has proven hugely beneficial for winning new work, as the club’s members get a platform to promote their services to others.

Sam said: “We’ve had a lot of business through the BNI and hope to continue growing, making bigger films with higher production values. We’d like to start bringing in freelancers to help with projects in the near future.”

Nicole added: “The work is still pouring in. We’d always like to be busier, which would help us grow and take on more work, but it’s going really well.”