Studied: HNC and HND Creative Media
Progression: BA (Hons) Film and Television Production at the University of Wolverhampton
“Relearning the basics” and “reigniting a creative flame” has proved possible for James Gurdin six years after he first became a higher education student. His return to Walsall College has seen him take major strides back into the media career he always dreamed of pursuing.
The HND graduate is now well into completing a full honours degree while getting his own film studio and production company fully up and running.
“My achievements and motivation all stemmed from the HND course,” said James. “I valued how the course doesn’t just hone into one element of media. It focuses on camera, lighting and editing techniques, scriptwriting, the business of filmmaking, film criticism and more.
“It makes you more of an all-round person for future employment.”
A desire to resume his media career ambitions and the birth of his second daughter spurred former chef, James to resume his HE studies.
While he faced challenges, particularly around confidence in his work, he benefited from the availability and encouragement of his tutors, with whom he talked through his ideas and any creative issues he came across. His efforts paid off with an overall Distinction grade for his qualification and his work being featured in a film festival.
Looking back on his HND, James is proud of his learner journey.
“Courses like these are meant to test your skills and enable you to grow and be shaped into somebody who has the answers and skill base to do what it is they want to do,” continued James.
“Having people there who can see your potential is important too. It was my tutors who encouraged me to submit my work for the film festival, when I was thinking it wasn’t good enough. I was over the moon when it got accepted.”
James set up his production company, Gurdin Productions, three months ago with the aim of inspiring local young people to develop creative skills of their own in a practical, proactive way. He plans to further develop his own expertise care of a Masters degree, followed by a teaching qualification.
“I want to teach the next generation of media students, giving them the best start to their careers,” said James.
“My own student journey has seen me enjoy amazing opportunities, including work experience for college events such as graduations and catwalk shows and also for external clients looking for promotional videos or the filming of personal events like weddings.”
James highly rates the college’s provision of creative media courses as a whole.
“You have access to state-of-the-art equipment and all the resources needed to set you up for success,” added James.
“Plus, you learn from tutors with skill sets that you won’t find anywhere else. They treat you like friends and family and actually care about you. They are patient and enjoy what they do, qualities which can be hard to find. It all shows in how well their students do.”