“Bournemouth has always had a great reputation in the industry, that was one of the reasons I applied. When you’re starting out I think it reflects well on you to be a Bournemouth graduate.”
What if you could turn your life-long passion into a successful career? Well, that’s exactly what Ben Mallaby has done.
“I’ve been making short films since I was in primary school, on VHS tapes then Hi-8 - it’s always been a passion," remembers Ben.
But it wasn’t until he started thinking about what to study at university that Ben realised he could turn his hobby into his career.
“I was looking for a course to study at university, it was then I realised I could do this for a living.”
Ben has directed a selection of award-winning short films, such as ISLANDQUEEN, TIMEHOLES and BATTLECOCK. He has also recently completed CLIMAXED, a comedy series that depicts the sweaty, regretful mess of couples after sex. Broadcast on BBC Three, the series was produced by Tiger Aspect, written by fellow BU graduate Tom Craine and directed by Ben.
Ben has developed his collaboration skills over time and advises current students to start this as soon as possible.
"Your degree will give you the technical knowledge you need, but you also need to put yourself in as many situations as you can to better learn how to work with others. I made some great contacts [at university] who I’m still working with today”.
He also recommends that students hoping to break into the industry submit their work to festivals.
“Get into the festival circuit as soon as possible, make as much as possible until you have something you’re proud of and start submitting the films. It’ll help with your confidence and motivate you to work harder”.
After completing a BA, Ben decided to start the MA TV Production course at BU.
“I used my MA as a year to focus on my career; I had a chance to continue my studies after completing my BA and at the time I didn’t feel prepared for the industry. I was able to use my time at Bournemouth to try and work up a client base and continue to work on my films”.
“The most useful part of a practical course like this is the focus on deadlines and constant feedback. It forces you to work at a rate which is difficult to keep up after graduating and it was a great experience in staying motivated and staying productive”.
As a freelancer Ben continues to be motivated and productive.
“My job entails pitching for work, or writing treatments brought in by one of the production companies that represent me. If I get the job I then help form the team, write up shot lists, collaborate with other departments and make sure everything is prepared for the shoot. I might also oversee the edit and grade.”
Ben started freelance work while he was still at university, although it wasn’t until he started entering his short films into festivals that he developed the contacts that really helped take his career forward.
“I registered as a freelance while I was still a student. I took on a lot of corporate jobs and documentaries in the early days. But nothing substantial happened until I started making short comedies in my spare time. The films would play at festivals and that’s how I met a number of people who would go on to employ or represent me for commercials.
"The BAFTA nomination came about from a short film I made in my spare time, off the back of that I was able to secure an agent and put myself forward for Film and TV opportunities.”
Like many BU graduates, Ben enjoyed his time at university and still appreciates the foundations his course helped him to develop.
"The course I took was hands on and kept us busy with numerous briefs. Assuming it's run the same way, I would recommend the MA to others. What I liked most about the degree was the number of projects we worked on, our own four films and supporting others on theirs.”