Interview with Sophie Maynard, Forces Media Academy Student

The OA spoke to Sophie Maynard about studying Creative Media Production.

Tell me about your Service history
I joined the Royal Navy in November 2014, and became a Warfare Officer. I left as a Sub Lieutenant in October 2017.

What is the Forces Media Academy?
The Academy is for Service leavers and veterans wanting to work in the media, including television, film, radio, digital and marketing. It launched in September 2017 and offers a Higher National Certificate (HNC) in Creative Media Production.

How long is the course?
One year. My course started in September 2017 and finishes in June 2018.

How much does the course cost?
The course is free and all students receive an £18,000 bursary from the Royal British Legion. The financial support makes a huge difference, especially for those with families and a mortgage.

Why did you apply?
I have always been interested in the media. While living in Botswana, I ran a small social media company, promoting local tourist businesses. Then in the Navy I was sometimes involved with PR and wrote articles for Navy News.

What does the application process involve?
First, I completed an online form and submitted a personal statement. I then had a face-to-face interview.

What has the course involved so far?
It is week seven and I have already made several short films. We are taught the whole film production process and we try the different roles, including camera operator, director, presenter, producer and editor. On one project we found a real client and then produced a factual or promotional film for them.

At the Academy’s official opening, I was thrown in at the deep end and interviewed HRH The Duke of York. It was a great experience, but I felt nervous, having never interviewed anyone before.

What do you like about the course?
In addition to the training, the equipment is brand new and top of the range. The teachers are all experts in their fields, and I have access to a large network of industry contacts.

What has surprised you most about the course?
The variety of people on the course. I expected everyone to have lots of media experience, but the reality is a broad range of skills and experiences. Some students have no prior media experience, while others follow the latest digital trends. This diversity makes the course more interesting, because everyone brings their own ideas to projects.

What do you want to do after the course?
It changes. At first I wanted to make documentaries, but I’m now considering investigative journalism. I also like campaign management, helping organisations to develop their social media presence. The great thing about the course is that I can explore each of these roles.

Apply for the 2018 course
The Academy is now accepting applications for its 2018 course. Find out more about the course.