Alumni return to Liverpool Screen School with top TV production company
Three LJMU Screen School alumni recently visited current film studies students to share their experience of working in TV and film production
All three LJMU Screen School graduates now work at LA Productions, a Liverpool-based company founded by producer Colin McKeown MBE, a 50-year veteran of the television and film industry. The independent production company prides itself on nurturing new talent and showcasing the wealth of creativity, both on and off camera, across the North West.
In recent years the LJMU alumni have worked across editing, development and factual departments, producing many programmes with connections to Liverpool including Jimmy McGovern’s drama ‘Anthony’ and recent reality hit ‘Nail Bar Boys’.
The event took place as part of the working in film module in which students learn about the breadth of careers in the creative industries. One of the alumni at the event was Alex Beards who graduated from LJMU Film Studies in 2015 and went straight into employment with LA Productions. In his role as an editor, he has credits on many shows produced for the BBC.
“It was an absolute pleasure to return to LJMU for the working in film session. It was surreal but warming to walk through the Redmonds Building again and see the next generation of talent in Liverpool.”
Studies integral to success
Reflecting on his time at the university, Alex added: “My time at LA Productions couldn’t have happened without LJMU, without my lecturers who encouraged me and my peers who supported me. My studies were integral to my success and that first step up the ladder, for me to then rise and grow into the position I am in today.”
Fellow alumni Saoirse Crean, who graduated from the MA in Documentary in 2019, was inspired by a similar working in film talk from LA Productions during her studies and ending up securing a work placement that spring boarded her career with the firm.
“The Head of Factual at LA Productions came and gave a talk to my class about his experience of working in the world of documentaries. It was a tough love talk, stressing how hard it is to make it in this world and how difficult it can be to catch your first break. I took this as an opportunity to reach out to get some work experience. I started a work placement at LA Productions soon after where I got to work on developing documentaries.
Inspire and motivate
“Two years later, I am now a BBC and Channel 4 commissioned Development Producer at LA Productions. It was a great experience visiting the students at LJMU but surreal as it only feels like yesterday that I graduated. I hope that I was able to inspire and motivate the students in the same way that I was during my studies.”
Howard Walters, a second-year film student, found the opportunity to network with the film and TV professionals a real confidence booster for his own filmmaking abilities. “I've gained a better understanding of the various responsibilities that many people play in the production process and learned about a new industry career path that I believe would be a good fit for my research interests. I'm looking towards the future and my future inside the industry.”
Co-organiser Corin Willis, Senior Lecturer in Film Studies, said: “It was a fantastic experience for the students to meet people working for one of Liverpool’s most well-known production companies.
“It was a real bonus for them to speak to LJMU alumni now working at LA Productions and the students now realise that future careers in film and television in Liverpool are very achievable.”