Mature student Donna Smith on finding her spark at MetFilm School’s ScreenSpace
While many of our undergraduate students at MetFilm School arrive fresh out of sixth form or college, many others take the scenic route to higher education. Such is the case for London-based mature student Donna Smith, who this year graduated from ScreenSpace’s BA Content, Media and Film Production with a first-class honours.
In addition to her time studying on the course, Donna also worked on creating promotional branded video content for a local charity, Family Based Solutions, which has now received over 2,000 views on YouTube.
ScreenSpace prides itself on inclusivity, welcoming creative people from various backgrounds. Speaking about our diverse student community, Head of School, Dr Lisette Johnston, notes: “the fact some have balanced caring and work responsibilities, have English as a second language, or they are the first person in their family to participate in higher education, further proves that with dedication, passion and hard work, anything is possible.”
Here’s what Donna had to say about joining ScreenSpace as a mature student and finding a craft you love…
“From a young age I had a keen interest in performance. I’ve acted on stage, am professionally trained in tap, ballet and contemporary dance - and I’ve also worked in theatre as a freelancer. I joined ScreenSpace having previously worked as a Stage Manager for the Black Arts Theatre Company, and Youth Culture TV as a researcher for shows that were commissioned for Channel4, amongst others. Growing up I’d always been in front of the camera, but I was curious to explore other roles that contribute to creating a film or a production.”
Going back to School
“I had always wanted to pursue a degree in film or media after leaving college and visited various universities. I knew of MetFilm School but financially it wasn’t an option for me, so when I found out about ScreenSpace I was so excited!
My dad passed away in 2017 so coming back into education was a big step for me and I was so anxious as a mature student about starting a degree. The mix of students within our group was great and I found I wasn’t the only mature student; we all learnt a great deal from one another. ”
Finding Your niche
“The BA Content, Media and Film Production course provides such a hands-on experience. I’ve learnt a variety of skills such as writing scripts, producing, editing and how to tell stories that engage the audience. I never thought that university would give me the opportunity to be pitching to Twitter or MTV.
The diverse nature of the course meant that I’ve graduated being able to create any type of content. I used to run away from the editing suite as I’m not a technical person, but the course forced me to address this skill head-on.
It wasn’t until I joined ScreenSpace that I began to focus on the craft of Directing. The course encouraged me to discover my style of directing which, along with my previous experience of being in front of the camera, informs my current and future work. It’s given me back that spark, that bounce – the confidence to say, ‘wow, I can do this!’”
Advice for curious creatives
“You’ve got to go for it, live your dream, and hustle. Don’t stop no matter what challenges you face. Especially for women, and women of colour. If you know that your life isn’t quite right and there’s something that you’ve always wanted to do – do it. I did and I’m actually a new person because of it.”