Alumni Q&A: Len Rowles, English with Film, 2008
Len Rowles graduated with a BA Hons in English with Film in 2008. She is now studying at the National Film and Television School.
What did you do when you graduated from King's?
During the long University summers I worked as a Production Coordinator for a company that produced TV Dramas for Channel Five. I also wrote for Film sections of Magazines in a bid to become a Film journalist. When I left I was desperate to start making films, and started to coordinate for UK Film Council Shorts. This was a great way in, as they tend to be crewed by professionals who are in between jobs, and can thus recommend you for the next thing! I became an Assistant Director and worked on TV programmes such as Emma for the BBC and features such as Perriers Bounty, Kick Ass and Harry Potter. I then started producing my own funded shorts and music videos, which led me to my MA at the National Film and Television School.
What were your memories of living in campus accomodation?
I lived at Great Dover Street in my first year, and then swiftly moved out with friends to Camberwell! Great Dover Street was excellent if you were studying Sciences but there wasn’t much of a Humanities contingent at the time. I wish I’d discovered East London at University – I was late on that band wagon.
Who was your favourite lecturer/member of support staff?
Sarah Cooper and Michelle Pierson in the Film Studies Department. They were two very strong, extremely intelligent and motivating women who spent a lot of time answering my questions and developing my critical skills. They were utterly supportive during my time at University. I love them to bits!
Were you involved with any clubs and societies?
I did some projects with the KCL Film Soc – although it was quite new when I was at Kings. I was also involved in the Kings Players as a videographer on a few of their productions. I actually made my first film with a bunch of Kings and London College of Communication students; we were Production and they were the crew. We ran around rooftops all over London. The wonderful thing about London is that there is such a large pool of fellow students, whatever you want to do someone will want to do it with you.
What was your favourite thing about King's?
The film seminars. They felt tucked away in a corner of the campus, it felt so peaceful. The repertoire of films was fascinating. The lecturers were incredible. I also loved the libraries - I still have a membership!
Do you keep in touch with many people you met here?
I have a core group of friends from Kings that I see regularly. They are all doing different things; teachers, journalists, academics, but we’ll always be close. My wider King's social circuit is still there thanks to facebook. Luckily, one of my best friends from university – Fran Poletti, is studying Screenwriting in the year below me at Film School, which is convenient! Interestingly I have made a lots of films with people I went to King's with…
What do you wish you'd known at University that you know now?
I wish someone had told me I would manage to get into Film if I kept at it. No one made it feel like it was possible because there was so much talk of ‘competition’ and ‘experience’. If you don’t have any contacts of your own that is so off putting! The fact is, people in the industry want honest, reliable, hard workers and it really was just a question of persevering, volunteering for a short while and getting to know people. The industry is like a family, people hire who they get on with and can trust and they always need passionate people. Once someone knows you, they will be more than willing to help you in your career.
I also wish I’d known about Short and Sweet in Café 1001, Brick Lane on a Monday night. It’s a brilliant way to get started! Look it up.
What do you do in your spare time?
What spare time!! Sadly film takes over your life - but luckily the work feels like play and my colleagues are my dearest friends.
What was your ambition when you were at King's?
To be an Independent, Creative Producer. I’m there in some respects and have a long way to go in others, but the trajectory feels positive at the moment. I really wanted to be part of the story development process rather than a taxi booker, and the story and structure skills I learnt studying English and Film at Kings have been invaluable to making that leap.
What is your ambition now?
I graduate from the NFTS next year and will be armed with a slate of projects, so the idea is to raise the funding/be commissioned for something of my own in the next year or two. I would also love to find the time to get married and have children. I have met a lot of women who have missed out on having their own family because of their career, so I’m trying to be aware of that!