Shirin Shafaie

  • Current role: Director
  • Year of graduation: 2015
  • Degree course: MA Film and TV

Shirin ShafaieMy fondest memories from my time at the University are of  when we were out shooting films and playing in each others films in different times throughout the year. It was magical.

We asked Shirin...

What is your current role and how did you get to this point in your career?

I have established my own media production company called Visual Academics Ltd. I gained tremendous amount of support from the UH Career and Enterprise Team to develop my business idea and finally establish and run it.

How did your studies at the University of Hertfordshire help shape your career?

Before coming to University of Hertfordshire, I already had a PhD in politics and was working as a researcher and academic part-time. But after studying Film and TV at UH, I gained practical experience in professional film making that together with my academic experience created a unique set of expertise that I now use at my own company.

What made you decide to study at this University?

My sister was already a PhD student (with funding) at the University and I had heard about the massive amount of support that UH offers to its students to build their careers after graduation. I was also impressed by the programme in Film and TV because it gave me a choice to decide between cinema and television (I chose TV path for my final project).

Moreover, the fees for UH were considerably lower than other universities offering similar programmes in London. It was truly value for money.

What was the best or most useful thing about your course?

I got incredible technical support in terms of using the equipment and the TV studio from the staff. We had amazing tutors who have all worked in the industry and provided invaluable tips and advice on top of our usual work on how to enter the industry after we graduate.

Even more interesting and useful were the connections that I made with other students taking the same course, all brilliant people with good experience coming from different backgrounds.

What is your stand-out memory from your time at the University?

My fondest memories from my time at the University are of when we were out shooting films and playing in each others films in different times throughout the year. It was magical.

Are you still in contact with friends you met at the University of Hertfordshire?

Yes, absolutely. In fact, I still work with a few of them and when a possibility arises, I hire them as freelancers for my different projects.

What advice would you give your younger self if you were starting at the University tomorrow?

Be more engaged in social media when you start university to build a stronger fan base for your future work in the industry.

Do you have any advice for University of Hertfordshire graduates who are considering a career in your industry?

Definitely take part in Business Training offered by the Enterprise Team and explore business ideas. You learn a lot even if you don't establish your own business. Also consider taking part in the Flare competition. I believe you can take part up to 2 years after graduation.

I was a finalist in 2016 and thoroughly enjoyed the process, plus I got a lot of support for my business including free marketing material, designed and produced by a marketing agency. Thanks UH!

What are your future career plans/ ambitions?

I want to grow my business and within the next 3 years, employ at least 2 full-time employees to work for Visual Academics Ltd.

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