Richard Elson

  • Current role: Film Director
  • Year of graduation: 1999
  • Degree course: BTEC Foundation in Art and Design

Richard Elson Find which part of the industry you are most interested in and target that, don't spread your focus between different genres.

We asked Richard...

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

I'm a director for film, TV and theatre. After Hatfield I studied film at Arts University, Bournemouth and sought out work experience within film and TV. Starting as an assistant editor in light entertainment I broke into drama after writing to every editor I could find.

I moved up to editing the likes of 'Poirot' and 'Secret Diary of a Call Girl', all the time making my own short films. A series of these got me noticed by a producer for the BBC and I was able to finally get into directing.

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

It was my time in the LRC that helped my career the most. I was there all hours of the day, sometimes not seeing daylight, working on films I was making. It was there that I met James Kennett, another student, who I have since worked with in many guises over the years.

We've collaborated together frequently and ran a business for a few years. The contacts that came as a result of that have helped push my career forward.

What made you decide to study at this University?

To be honest it was the proximity to where I grew up, and the fact friends of mine from school were going there too.

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

There are two lessons from my art course that I use all the time in my work to this day. The first was learning to throw something away and start from scratch if it was wrong, no matter how much work that's gone into it. You need to be brave enough to admit when something can be better.

The second is about the importance of negative space and the perspective that can give to any art form. The silences and looks between actors can be the most moving in a film.

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

Being woken up by security guards when me and my friends camped out on a mattress outside the LRC one night after celebrating the Norwegian Constitutional Day.

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

Yes, I still work with a couple and see them regularly and am in contact with a few others. I'm Facebook friends with a few more still who are in other countries now.

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

Take more risks.

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

Find which part of the industry you are most interested in and target that, don't spread your focus between different genres.

What are your future career plans/ ambitions?

To direct high end TV drama as well as my second feature film (and third, fourth, fifth, sixth...)

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