March 14, 2015

Coventry Art and Design Graduate Profiles

Dear students,

Looking for a stepping stone in Hollywood?

Read up on Coventry University graduates' success story! 

To find out more on Art and Design courses at Coventry University, call your nearest JM Office today!

Kevin De La Noy

BA Communications Graduate

Executive Film Producer
When he left Coventry University in 1983, Communication Studies graduate Kevin De La Noy was unsure about his future. His desire to travel and his determination to do something different led him towards the exciting film industry. Starting with various low-paid jobs, he gradually built up his understanding of the industry. He finally discovered a role that was ideal for him: a producer.

Being able to identify his strengths may be the reason for Kevin’s success in the world of Hollywood. His credits so far include Titanic, Saving Private Ryan, Braveheart, Mission Impossible 1 and 2, The Last Samurai, Blood Diamond, The Dark Knight and The Dark Knight Rises. 
“Organisation is what I do best. To be a producer you have to be highly organised and know how to balance everything – under constant pressure. This role suited me. I can get 20 calls an hour – each one different and requesting weird stuff. But that’s what I love. You have to enjoy it to stay in control.”

“When you get your degree, you think that the certificate is going to open all these doors for you. It does open the first door, but behind it, there’s a flight of stairs. It’s bloody hard work and you have to be prepared to put everything into it.”

Christopher Townsend

BA Graphic Design Graduate

Award-winning Visual Effects Supervisor
Christopher Townsend was the visual effects supervisor for many accredited movies, including Iron Man 3Pirates of the Caribbean: Dean Man’s Chest and disaster movie The Day After Tomorrow. He was nominated for both an Academy Award and a BAFTA last year for Iron Man 3.

Talking about how the Graphic Design course supported him in his filmmaking job, Christopher said:
The most influential factor that contributes to his success may be his passion, as Christopher doesn’t consider his job as just ‘working:’

“Coventry University’s graphic design degree course was one of the early adopters of computer graphics, so when I graduated in 1988, it gave me a solid understanding and knowledge base to take into my career in film.
Some people look at Higher Education as just being a stepping stone, but I was fortunate enough to choose a vocational course which really taught me some great life skills that I’ve been able to use every day.”

“I don’t just have a job, it’s a lifestyle. Working in the film industry can be very rewarding and can be very hard; often I’ll work six-day weeks and 14-hour days. You’ve got to really love what you do.”
Alison Snowden

BA Graphic Design Graduate

Award-winning Film Maker

Alison Snowden is an English animator, voice actress, producer, and screenwriter, best known for the cartoon series ‘Bob and Margaret‘.

You may relate to her story of transforming from a shy student to a highly accomplished filmmaker. Although Alison had demonstrated her talent in art and storytelling from an early age, her career advisor at secondary school had said that she was far too shy to consider a career in the Arts! Luckily Alison decided to take a foundation course at Mansfield Art College, followed by a degree in Graphic Design at Coventry University.

A milestone in her life could be when Alison attended Britain’s National Film and Television School. Here she met her husband, David Fine, who is also a filmmaker. They both studied live action and discovered a similar passion for animation. At the end of the four-year course, the couple embarked on creating a short animated film: ‘Second Class Mail.’ This film won numerous awards including an Oscar nomination, leading to Alison pursuing a career with David, who soon became her husband. Their films have been nominated for Oscars three times; they also won an Oscar for Best Short Film for Bob’s Birthday.

Dale Driver

BA Media Production Graduate

Award-winning Film Maker
Dale Driver chose to leave the engineering job he had been familiar with for 11 years to follow his true dream of becoming a professional filmmaker. He decided to enrol on the Media Production course at Coventry University to hone his skills and complete his short film project “Citizen.” The sci-fi film was shortlisted for a number of awards and secured the runner-up position in the Best Sci-Fi Film category at the 2014 ITSA Film Festival in California. It was also shown in Europe and featured on the Sky’s film programme ‘My Cine Shorts.’

Dale now runs his own commercial and corporate film company, Blue Ridge Films, and recently won ‘Best Videographer’ for the West Midlands in the Wedding Industry Awards. He is now working on his second sci-fi film “Goldfish.”
“Make the most of your time at university, because you’ll never have that much spare time, freedom and access to equipment again. Art and Design offer the wonderful Media Loan Shop and you should use this wealth of tools at every opportunity. Just hire everything out, learn about it, play with it and fail with it. Also, get experience and meet people wherever you can, treat every job with the utmost importance. It may seem like nothing at the time, but by doing a good job, you are creating contacts, and that’s how you REALLY get the opportunities in life.”

Nicole Agba

BA Transport Design Graduate

Auto Car – Courtland Next Generation Award 2014 winner

Besides the many graduates who have been working to become established experts in their fields, there are also a number of young graduates achieving early success at the very first stage of their career. A typical example is Nicole Agba

Nicole was announced as the winner of the Autocar-Courland Next Generation Award 2014 at the age of 23, just a week after her graduation from her CU course.
Her car design impressed the judging panel, including Autocar Magazine’s editor, for its innovative concept: the biometric steering wheel uses a smart fabric with sensors to monitor the driver’s heart and respiration rate. This means it is potentially capable of detecting the symptoms that indicate fatigue, anger or nervousness in a driver. The award came with the opportunity for her to undertake five months of work experience at JLR, Peugeot, Toyota, McLaren and Skoda respectively.
“Work hard, network and love what you do! Find the area of design that you not only enjoy, but thrive in. The design industry is very competitive, make the most out of every opportunity open to you and remain optimistic.
Coventry University’s amazing reputation in the automotive industry is what initially attracted me to the course. The best thing about the course was that it gave me the opportunity to evolve and grow into the designer I am today.”

Kayleigh Wright

Final year BA Fashion Student

Winner of the Broadweavers and Clothiers Bursary

Kayleigh Wright has just won the Broadweavers and Clothiers Bursary for her amazing portfolio. Talking about her studies at Coventry University, she has pinpointed the main advantages of the course that led to her achievements: the placement opportunities, financial support, high quality facilities and flexibility of course content.

Kayleigh also noted the advantages of cultural experiences in nourishing her ideas and inspiration. That’s why she decided to apply for the Erasmus program run by the university. Through Erasmus, Kayleigh spent 10 months studying in an arts academy in Milan.

Kayleigh is currently traveling around the famous cities within the fashion world, looking for inspiration for her final major projects and updating her sketchbook. On her return she hopes for a graduate job within London’s innovative fashion industry.

You can read about Kayleigh’s adventures in fashion, and life in Milan, on her blog: I Am Kayleigh Wright

“The encouragement to pursue international work placements, study and research along with the financial support given by the university to undertake those travels are a real selling point. Equally the facilities available for the fashion department are amazing, the space in the studios and equipment available allow you to really explore design boundaries. Within the rest of art and design building, there are a multitude of workshops that you can book yourself onto at any time. Furthermore the teaching staff are incredibly supportive and talented. Now in final year, I’m receiving critical feedback weekly on a one-to-one level, focusing specifically on my individual project to ensure that I’m on target to achieve what I want. The freedom to pursue your own specific area of interest is also a massively unique part of the course. Although I have chosen the design route, other students within fashion are pursuing areas such as PR, filmmaking and events management. As long as you can explain your vision and they can understand how you can achieve it, it’s likely you can do it!”

“To be immersed in a different environment and learning to tailor yourself to their way of life is so interesting! Naively, I did approach the exchange with the attitude of ‘how different can it be?’ However, it really is very different! I’d advise anyone within art and design to gain the experience of living abroad, for any period of time.”

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