the adventure starts here....... / by Darren Williams

This isn't really the start of the adventure, just the birth of my new site. I'd like to think that the adventure got started years ago but it is only now that things are getting really exciting. So why not start with a little background, to explain how I got to where I am. At the age of 27 I recently decided that had to make an exciting positive change in my life and career. The problem for me was deciding what to do and what move to make next.

I have until now been proudly working with my family business ( since graduating from the University of Birmingham. Stepping into the business was something I never thought I would do growing up, especially as cleaning and hygiene supplies isn't the most exciting of industries to be involved in. However, it was my family business, I was needed, so I stepped in to help pick up the pieces that nobody else had time for. 5 years on and the company has gone from strength to strength, relocating to new premises, total rebranding, modernising and streamlining, and most importantly we have built a team perfect for running the business for years to come.


At this point now, I was left in the fortunate postion where everything was in place for me to step away from the business and pursue what I really wanted to do for the rest of my life. So, back to my original dilema, what and where? 

Luckily I have always known what makes me tick. I love adventures, the great outdoors, being active, being creative, i'm a bit of a closet geek with technology, I love photography and finally i've always loved and been fascinated by wildlife! (Its is worth noting that none of these passions were satisfied by working with my family business). Therefore, I sat with a friend and decided to think what my dream job would be. It was extremely obvious to me, but equally as unrealistic. I wanted to be involved in wildlife film in some way for this would tick all my boxes, yet how would I ever get into it? I do love wildlife, I do obsessively watch wildlife programmes and collect wildlife magazines, but, I had no previous experience working with animals, or film making and I certainly didn't have a degree in Zoology. 

However, despite my seemingly thin level of experience I knew that I had the skills, desire and ability to get into the industry somehow. At least now I knew what I wanted to do, even though it still seemed unrealistic that I could actually attain my dream job, I was going to have a go at it anyway. So I faced my next question of, where? where on earth do I start? It was after trolling through the internet looking at numerous volunteering scheme's, photography workshops and wildlife adventure experiences, that i eventually stumbled across the dream course..........MA Wildlife Film Making at UWE Bristol. It seemed to too good to be true, it was in Bristol, for one year and ran in partnership with the BBC Natural History Unit. This was incredible and there was no doubt in my mind that if I was ever going to get into the industry, this would have to be my route.

So the application process began, immediately buoyed with optimism after reading that the course was actively looking for applicants from various backgrounds. It seemed that my dream job may not be such a dream after all. So I took to digging out the old GCSE, BTEC certificates none particularly relevant for a masters. Even my degree in Sport and Exercise Science seemed a tenuous scientific link to the course content. I knew that my strengths lay not in my qualifications, but in my heart so i poured it out into my personal statement as best i could. 

It seemed to have done the trick, and on the 20th July 2012, up popped an e-mail on my laptop inviting me to attend an interview for the course. I was ecstatic, I couldn't believe i had been given an interview but knew that if there was anyway I could prove myself, an interview would be it, perfect! So that left me one week to prepare for the interview. Plenty of time you would think, but when you are anxious to impress you always believe there could have been more time to prepare. I prepared some of my favourite personal photography and put together a 7 minute movie showcasing footage taken from a trip to Tanzania. Never had i thought that the footage taken on that trip would be shown to professionals in the industry. Oh well, its all i had, so it better work!

Interview day came, with my interview at 11.30am, i set off bright and early leaving Hereford at 8.15am for Bristol. Leaving plenty of time for me to grab a cup of tea, relax and obtain some passport photo's. Or so i thought, it seems passport photo's on the 26th of July are hard to come by. I tried four photo booths in four different locations in two cities, luckily I found a working machine in plenty of time and it had justified my early leaving time from Hereford.

The interview was at the leafy Bower Ashton Campus, I sat waiting in reception, 11.30am came and it seemed they were running late. Nevertheless, I was greeted by a smiling Susan McMillan  (one of the course leaders) and we made our way to the interview room where I met Reema Lorford and Abigail Davies. Thirty or so minutes later i shook their hands and thanked them for a great interview. I then left with a smile on my face as i felt it had gone very well, but i wasn't getting too excited just yet.

During the interview I had been told by Abigail that they would let us know their decision as soon as possible, 'great' i thought, but it was only that afternoon I realised I didn't ask exactly how they would let me know. So i sat staring at my inbox all day friday eagerly waiting for a response. By 5pm it hadn't arrived so I resigned myself to a weekend of anxiously waiting until monday.

When monday arrived I continued watching my inbox, i must admit it wasn't my most productive couple of days at work. By 4.30pm, still no sign............ then I remembered. As we had applied online for the course using they're online application process, it was obvious that that was where their response would be. Feeling a little stupid and even more so anxious than ever, I logged on, checked my application for my dream course, and read the two best words i could wish to see... UNCONDITIONAL OFFER.

With out hesitation, I clicked the option to firmly accept the offer.......the adventure starts here!