In year 10 at a young age I was advised by a mentor to drop any plans I had for further education, this made my decision easy. Applying for 6th form at 16 I’d always loved films and was always a strong contender for the main part of the school play as a youngster and I’d been interested in the media and how it affects society for as long as I can remember, so it made perfect sense to choose Media Studies at A level. If you were to tell me back then that in 5 years time I would be running my own Film/Media production company with a degree behind me I would probably have thought you were on drugs.
At this age I was completely unaware of what I wanted to do career wise when I first chose my A Levels. I chose Media Studies, English Literature and Philosophy and Ethics. I have always been a deep thinker and I have always looked at alternative views to different subjects, this made philosophy and ethics a no brainer! I also loved to read books, the feeling of being gripped in a story behind a page is just brilliant. Although I liked my other A levels It soon became clear that Media and Film was my passion.
Sat in the Media class room our teacher Kris Mansfield asked us to get into groups of 3. This was one of the most pivotal moments I’ve perhaps ever had as it has defined and paved the way for what has happened in the years gone by. I looked at Tony Bessant and Phil Connell, two students who I had barely ever spoken to before and the decision was made, we grouped together. After this Kris briefed us about the coursework, which consisted of a horror film trailer as well as a movie poster plus some other works.
Kris Mansfield and Andrew Mackenzie, the men who gave me the tools.
My two main tutors were Kris Mansfield and Andrew Mackenzie. They were not old which was a good thing in my opinion as they could relate to us as A Level students, they also had a sense of friendship which was obvious from the way they taught the class. They would often teach us as a pair and would throw ideas back and forth as the class would intervene. Media never ever seemed like a lesson, it was always the place where you would go and build up a mountain of knowledge in your head. It was never an effort to learn in Media, it just happened and this is due to Kris and Andy and their teaching styles which were pinch perfect in teaching this complex subject. It went in my head and stayed in there, whereas with other subjects I had to constantly revise my notes. In Media I never revised, Tony used to tell me in the lessons “Make some notes” and I just didn’t need to, that final year I got just a few marks short of the highest grade in my written piece, which I was extremely happy with.
The whole class got along with Kris and Andy, Kris had been at the school for a number of years but Andy was a new teacher in our school at the time. I always remember the very point which granted Andy a huge amount of respect within our class, it was a month or so before one of our exams and he came into the class with a pack for each of us. The pack was a massive booklet with absolutely everything you could ask for in terms of revision. He must have spent absolutely hours putting this booklet together, it screamed the word ‘EFFORT’ and for that we grew to him. It was clear he wanted us to succeed and be driven within this subject, he cared. Kris was the same, if you mentioned something in the class and Kris thought it could be relevant to a particular theory or point even if it meant going off topic, he would explore it with you and keep going until he not only understood you but until he could also relate your point to something else, extraordinary standard of teaching which most teachers cannot compare with. Most teachers would shrug it off and say it was ‘off subject’. This is exactly why these two teachers in particular made our class a brilliant place to learn, they had a telepathic understanding of methods in teaching not just students but people.
Kris and Andy are modest people and will never accept responsibility for my love in this subject. However if it weren’t for Kris and Andy I would not be doing what i’m doing today, I can almost guarantee that. Their incredible teaching abilities opened the path for me to explore what I love, that is a fact, and credit to them.