Here we speak to two of our creative industry tutors to find out more about their backgrounds and their top tips for learners.
At Coleg y Cymoedd, we are lucky enough to have an extremely high calibre of industry professionals within our staff, especially in our creative department.
Dominic Farquar has recently joined the college as a creative industries lecturer following five years working within the film sector as a grip – the person responsible for setting up and rigging the camera equipment on set.
During his career, Dominic has worked on a range of award-winning television programmes and films including Doctor Who, War of the Worlds, Netflix’s Sex Education, Star Wars, Maleficent and the Downtown Abbey film.
He brings with him experience in grip and camera work, which learners studying creative and digital media production courses will benefit from.
Dominic joins a team of talented professionals with industry experience, including Vanessa Batten, who has been at the college for over a decade. Vanessa is Coleg y Cymoedd’s long-standing animation specialist on the level 3 and 4 diplomas in Foundation Art and Design. She is also the course leader on the college’s new level 3 Game Art, design and Animation course, based out of a specialist digital studio at the Rhondda campus.
At the beginning of the year, Vanessa, who works part-time at Coleg y Cymoedd, joined Aardman Animation studios, where she works as a producer and foundation course leader at the Aardman Animation Academy, alongside her college role.
Since joining the company, she has been involved in a number of projects including creating an online model making course with model makers from the firm as well as supporting Aardman Academy’s Stop Motion industry training programmes, which has seen her take part in weekly Q&A sessions with multi award winning directors like Nick Park and Will Becher – the names behind famous productions like Wallace and Gromit, Creature Comforts, Chicken Run and Shaun the Sheep.
Currently, she is working with Netflix, in association with Aardman, to develop outreach programmes designed to inspire younger generations to join the creative industry.
Alongside Coleg y Cymoedd, Vanessa worked as a freelance live studio artist and production artist for BBC’s Life Drawing Live, and as an associate animation lecturer at Cardiff Metropolitan University.
For those of you thinking about pursuing careers in TV, film and animation, Vanessa and Dominic’s advice is to start off by finding a course that you love and inspires you and to work hard.
Vanessa said: “As the industry is constantly changing, it’s important to be adaptable and be willing to try new things. This shows that you can problem solve and find new ways to challenge yourself. Be ambitious and get as much experience as you can, this can be volunteering for projects, attending events and getting to know fellow people in the industry to see how it all works.”
Dominic’s top tip is to always be enthusiastic and follow your passion.
He said: “Coming into teaching straight from the industry benefits my learners as I have fresh knowledge and skills to bring to my lessons as well as advice and tips on how to make it into the industry. I know first-hand what employers are looking for and a demonstratable passion for thr industry and willingness to put in the work goes a long way.”
Vanessa added: “There is often the misconception that the creative industry is small and that there are very limited jobs available within it, but that is not the case. The industry is booming and there are a wealth of opportunities available – it is possible to make a career doing what you love!
“Connections are key in the industry so reach out to people and be friendly with everyone you meet. Always go the extra mile to explore your creativity and ambition but don’t be scared to reach out and ask for help and guidance!”
Rhondda Cynon Taff