Chris Smithson

Degree: BA Film and Cultural Studies
Currently works: TV Producer/Director

Why did you choose LICA?

The broad range of modules was key and I felt I could indulge my interests and specialities whilst exploring other exciting areas of film and culture I may not have otherwise encountered.

What was the best part of your course?

For me, I enjoyed the ‘cultural’ side of the course. It was a surprise really, which is why I think I enjoyed it! I knew I enjoyed film, but combining and seeing film from a social and cultural point of view was fascinating. Incorporating sociology and psychology into your studies gives a compelling insight into film and how we view it.

I also enjoyed the Hong Kong Cinema module, as it was another area I never had really indulged in before the course. I found the films incredibly beautiful and it was fascinating to learn and analyse the industry and I have since taken many things from it.

How did your degree help with the work you do now?

Research is an important part of making television. Learning to research thoroughly and quickly is one aspect that has helped me in my career. Being able to analyse from an artistic and academic aspect as well as a cultural/social one has also been very important. When making TV programmes (or if you want to be a filmmaker) you not only have to approach things from an artistic and auteur stance, but also from a social and cultural point of view. The audience is always in your mind, and if you can’t understand an audience, they won’t understand you. In this sense, my degree has been invaluable to me, and has given me an edge over other graduates, enabling me to become one of the youngest Producer/Directors at ITV and in the freelance industry.

What’s ‘Lancaster Life’ like?

‘Lancaster Life’ is versatile, loyal, socially intense, and most of all, fun! It has great balance between academic studiousness and healthy social life; between lively city life and glorious country scenery; between intimate collegiate campus living, and a local friendly town. Lancaster is truly a great place to live, work and study. I enjoyed my time there immensely, and look back on it fondly.

Any advice for the next generation of LICA students?

Make sure you inhale every piece of knowledge and squeeze every bit of wisdom from your tutors. They’re experts in their field, very approachable and kind peers and friends.