Lauren Burnham, 22 from Leek, graduated with a BA (Hons) Advertising, Film and Video Production degree last summer and recently won two Royal Television Society (RTS) awards with her graduate film, Night Hopper.
The RTS Student Television Awards recognise emerging talent from universities across the region. Lauren’s atmospheric drama, which explores the reality of ‘false-awakening' nightmares and sleep paralysis, won both the Short Form and Craft: Camera prizes, as well as being shortlisted in two other categories.
Lauren and her business partner Emily Kirkham have now set up their production company business Prickly Peach Films, which specialises in promotional content from adverts to music videos.
Lauren explained: “Prickly Peach is based in North Staffordshire, however, we cover pretty much anywhere we can drive to! Recently we've been working on projects based in Greater Manchester, Bakewell, Cheshire (Congleton) and Stoke - before lockdown, of course!”
They launched with support and funding from Staffordshire University’s Be Inspired programme, which is part funded by the European Regional Development Fund.
Lauren said: “Since we started the company, we have loved every minute of it and we received a £3,000 grant from the Be Inspired programme too, which gave us an amazing boost while establishing the business and upping the production value of our content.
“We're still going strong during the lockdown with editing and graphics work so even though we can't physically go and film, we're able to do post-production.”
The year-long Be Inspired graduate programme is open to graduates of Staffordshire University and graduates from other Universities who live in Staffordshire. Successful graduate start-ups include Stone-based technology company Assured Systems and video production company Reels in Motion in Stoke-on-Trent.
Lauren’s advice for graduate filmmakers is, “I think it's super important once you leave university as a filmmaker of any kind to never stop creating. It's easy to let the months after graduation roll by while you're trying to figure your life and financial plan out. But when you can, try your best to make the time to go back to your roots of film production. Keep trying to push your ability in any way you can.”
Applications for the next Be Inspired intake are currently open and must be submitted by Sunday 7 June 2020. For more information and details on how to apply can be found on the Be Inspired website.