Alumnus Jacob Lee Johnson, who graduated from Regent's having studied BA (Hons) Screenwriting & Producing, is now a production assistant for NBC Universal in New York.
What are you working on at the moment?
Currently I'm a full-time production assistant for NBC Universal in New York, and a part-time script reader for Spec Scout. I work on a show for NBC doing basic PA duties (slating in, taking edit notes, setting up and breaking down equipment, etc.) but have also been given the opportunity to shoot on multiple episodes as well as assist in the post-production editing process.
Tell us about your journey from graduation to where you are now.
After graduation I received an unpaid internship offer from the UN in their television department. I moved to New York to get settled, and a night of bar-hopping led to me meeting a shooter/editor at NBC. This person set up an interview for me for one of their internship positions, which turned into an interview for a production assistant position, which turned to a job offer.
What are your plans for the future?
I'm loving my time at NBC, but the position only lasts until July, leading me to look for other opportunities. I'm applying to positions in development and production at major studios mainly in LA but also some in NY. I look forward to starting a long term creative position at a studio, as well as having time for creative independent projects and writing.
How did your studies at Regent’s impact on you professionally and/or personally?
From a story-perspective, Regent's seems to teach telling an engaging and entertaining story over pushing students to be overly philosophical and make things that, ultimately, very little viewers would appreciate. This is incredibly important, as high-level executives at major studios have pointed out this pet-peeve they have with film students of other universities. I'm glad to have studied at a place that values story over ego.
Most importantly, the greatest thing I received from studying at Regent's was the personal creative relationships I made and continue to have. I absolutely love my Regent's friends, and some of them continue to push me and motivate me on a daily basis. I don't know why I get to be so lucky to have friends like these, but am extremely thankful and aware that they made the whole Regent's experience priceless and that I wouldn't be working where I am today without them.
What is your funniest/fondest/best memory of Regent’s?
Don’t think this is the best place to share some of the funniest memories, but third-year would have to be my fondest memory. Not only were the modules fulfilling, but I also had the opportunity to share an apartment with a fellow Screenwriting & Producing student. As we constantly supported and pushed each other outside of class-time, this allowed everyday to be filled with creative projects, diving deep into assignments, and pursuing extracurricular activities that allowed us to get the most out of the experience. This led to a forging of, in my opinion, a life-long creative partnership/an even better friendship and added so much value and positivity to the learning process.
More specifically, the BFI lecture day was a standout memory, as well as the Alien screening. Having the opportunity to interact outside the classroom setting really brings a new perspective and social dynamic that should be encouraged.
What advice would you give to recent graduates starting out in their careers?
Probably not the most shareable piece of advice from a university perspective, but I definitely realise the unmatched value in the friendships and creative relationships you make. They are so much more valuable in the long term than marks. If you realise a certain approach to these next few years makes you the most creatively motivated, then put that in front of everything else. And if you're able to find that, then definitely recognise how cool it is that you found it, and encourage other people to get there as well.
What does the Spirit of Regent’s mean to you – what three words best describe the experience that Regent’s provides?
Spirit is a mixture of a whole bunch of things – which might be the point. The spirit of Regent's is so far reaching and non-singular that any type of person could find people to surround themselves with that encourage and support them on an internal level.
Three words to describe Regent's: world-discovery, self-discovery, nostalgia.