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Film & Media student makes all the right connections for his dream career

A student from the University of Central Lancashire (UCLan) has been making the right connections in the professional industry to become an Assistant Director on the hit TV epic Game of Thrones.

Markham achieved this position within three months of attaining a First Class Honours degree in Film and Media Studies.

During his time at the University, Markham Pickering has developed an impressive portfolio of experience. Prior to him securing work on the HBO show, Markham edited highlights for Premier League football matches, worked as an extra on Game of Thrones, pitched ideas to CBBC, participated in ITV’s pitching boot camp and recently worked on the production team for Johnny Marr’s latest music video.


His editing work with Tottenham Hotspur was the result of a second year placement with local company, ADI. Working under the tutorship of Georgina Gregory, Markham gained hands-on experience and professional skills which will benefit him as he prepares to make the transition from university to working life.

“I edit in real time so I'll get a feed of the match and if there are any scoring opportunities, or other incidents, I edit them into two-three minutes of highlights. Also, I play videos live so it can be quite stressful. ADI gave me training and it was certainly an advantage coming from a film and media degree, as they really look for that.”

The final year student also took the opportunity afforded to him when CBBC visited UCLan in search of ideas for new programmes. His pitch interested the Creative Director Sam Lewens who asked the UCLan student to develop the idea further.

Markham has also taken advantage of UCLan’s new partnership with ITV through the Northern Lights initiative and was a participant in the Perfect Pitch Boot Camp.

Keen to make his way into television, Markham has been creative in his attempts to get into the industry and was successful when he found work as an extra on Game of Thrones. He appeared in one episode in the second season and has returned to the season five film schedule, where he has also acted as a body double for actors.

“I was looking for different television-related work experience as that's the area I want to go into. Back in Northern Ireland, it was an open audition for an extra and I went along because I love the show.”

“I thought it was a great way to shadow directors and more. You're there for 12 hours a day and you get talking to them alongside watching them work. It's the best kind of experience, you actually spend time with the actors and it’s a very intimate setting. A lot of the assistant directors who work on the show now used to be extras so I'm trying to work my way in. Hopefully for next season I'll get some work as an assistant director.”

Markham is keen to try his hand at everything relating to film and media. Very recently he was given the opportunity to help out on former Smiths guitarist Johnny Marr’s music video.

He has been impressed with the supportive nature of the film and media course, particularly the invaluable experience and encouragement given by course leader, Peter Atkinson.

“The course is great because everyone is really encouraging when opportunities arise. They understand that it's good to have a degree but it's important to have hands-on experience.”

Peter is full of praise for Markham’s initiative and believes he has a bright future. He added: “At every stage of his time here, Markham has been able to capitalise on opportunities that UCLan has put in his path.

“His editing work for Tottenham Hotspur derives from our Film and Media work placement module, which is designed to help students into work and his portfolio of work experience is fantastic. I'm also very jealous of him because he got to work on a video shoot with Johnny Marr.”