Graduate Jamie Shakespeare on working with Sacha Baron Cohen

Jamie Shakespeare graduated from BA (Hons) TV and Film Set Design in 2013 and has since worked on Night at the Museum 3, The Brothers Grimsby and The Mummy.

“Through connections Anna Solic, the course leader, has, I met Stuart Kearns, a Supervising Art Director, when he visited the University for a day, and we kept in touch. Upon graduation he contacted me and offered me my first film job, as an art department assistant on The Gunman.

Having only been to London on two occasions previously, it was a big jump for me to find myself moving there over a weekend (I was offered the job on a Friday afternoon, to start on the Monday), but it was the best thing I did. Taking the plunge and moving here, I found myself going from job to job, and I am now permanently based here. The film industry is booming in the UK at the moment - most films are made here.

I’ve since worked on Night at the Museum: Secret of the Tomb, ITV’s Peter and Wendy and The Brothers Grimsby. Meeting Sacha Baron Cohen and working THAT elephant scene as part of The Brothers Grimsby was one of the many highlights of my career so far and was a laugh a minute.

Coming back to Wales last year to film the Welsh part of Their Finest Hour and a Half was a great experience. It felt like coming home to the place where my career was launched. I popped in to the Uni and saw the lecturers again - it was great meeting the current students and we actually got one of the students involved in the film over the summer break, in a paid role as art department assistant.

Right now, I’m working as a draughts person in the Set Decorating department on The Mummy. We have some HUGE set builds, it’s fantastic to see all the ancient Egyptian sets up close, and to get to draw some parts for them myself! Seeing Tom Cruise wander around is also a slightly surreal experience…

I’d advise any current or prospective students to take any opportunities that come their way with full enthusiasm - this industry is fast moving and you have to take a leap of faith when you start out. The course well prepares you for entering into this fantastic, vibrant industry. As long as you are committed, willing to learn and friendly, people will be more than willing to teach and help you develop your skills within the department. Oh, and also learn Sketchup! It’s so widely used in the industry now, it’s absolutely essential.”

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