Even for seasoned professionals, working on an Oscar-winning production is a big achievement. But Carlijn Hoogstad has taken her headline film credits in her stride.
Just one year after graduating her BA (Hons) Film & Screen (TV & Digital Media) programme, Carlijn has worked on 1917, Cats and Maleficent: Mistress of Evil.
‘When 1917 won an Oscar and a BAFTA for Best Visual Effects, it felt great. I didn’t personally work on the shots themselves, of course, but it felt so surreal – it was overwhelming to have worked on that production. I'm really grateful,’ she said.
Carlijn started her career as a runner – a standard first job in the industry – but moved into a production assistant role shortly afterwards, assisting the 1917 team at Moving Picture Company (MPC).
At MPC, she assisted the manager of three visual effects departments, ensuring the 120 artists were comfortable in their jobs.
Her achievements are a testament to her drive and ambition to break into the industry, even while she was studying.
‘I knew the film industry would be difficult to break into, and I never thought it would happen this fast,’ she said. ‘It can be competitive,’ she added.
‘While I was at Regent’s I connected with as many people as possible. My programme was very practical, which prepared me to meet producers and directors at work,’ she said. ‘Now I have the skills to work with so many successful people. But I'm still starstruck on a regular basis!' she jokes.
Regent’s: a time to remember
‘Regent’s was one of the best times of my life, and I’d love to stay in touch with everyone from my classmates and tutors.
‘Everyone at Regent’s is so supportive – the small classes are a lot more interactive, and they mean you get a lot of personal attention and get to develop connections with other students and your tutors. You grow together across your whole programme. It’s one of the reasons I chose to study there.
‘When I joined Regent’s, I thought I wanted to be a director but when I finished my final project, I knew I wanted to work in production. That’s where I’ve taken my career since.
‘While I was studying, I put my hand up to help out on a production that one of my tutors was working on. After that, he had me in mind for a role as a runner on a commercial – and that’s how I started building up my CV.
'Now, I want to help students break into the industry – it can be scary but super rewarding, and I want to give back.
Advice for future graduates
'Once you’re in the industry, you feel lucky and want to help out, she said. ‘With that in mind, I have some ideas about what students can do if they're just about to graduate.'
‘Get your name out there. Send your CV to as many production and post-production houses as possible.
‘Connect with alumni on LinkedIn and reach out to them with questions. They’ve been where you are now. One day you’ll be doing the same thing!
‘Apply for jobs even if you don’t meet 100% of the requirements. I did – and I got my foot in the door.
‘Build your skills in many disciplines. As well as having film experience, I had worked in customer service and reception jobs before, so I had administrative experience. This was definitely an advantage!’