Film Production alumnus shares his journey from UCLan to working with BBC 'Dragon'

Graduate, Anthony Smith, started his own award-winning production company, worked with some of the biggest franchises in film and TV, and now is part of the team of BBC ‘Dragon’, Steven Bartlett.

Anthony Smith always knew he wanted to work in entertainment. He said: “It was probably the attention seeker child in me, but there was something about making people laugh, cry, happy, motivated, that I loved. Fast forward 10 or so years and doing a Film Production degree, at the time, felt like that natural progression for me.”

Excited by the feature film module on the BA (Hons) Film Production course, he chose to study at the University of Central Lancashire. He said: “I believe it was the first in Europe at the time, and the idea of being part of a feature film was an amazing concept for me. Preston was far enough for me to live away from home and be able to learn valuable life lessons, something I think every uni student should seriously consider.”

Graduating with a First in 2014, Anthony has done some amazing things in his career. He said: “My journey has been a bit nuts when I look back. I’ve started and left a multi-award-winning video production business (Red Pencil Productions), directed and edited TV commercials, and worked on some of the biggest films and TV shows in the industry including James Bond, Disney, Marvel, Harry Potter and Gangs Of London.”

Anthony is very proud of his career journey. “When I look back on what I’ve worked on, who I’ve met and achievements I’ve gained from them, it’s a real pinch me moment,” he says. And he’s still pinching himself today, now in his dream job working with Britain’s youngest ever ‘Dragon’. He said: “I’m the Trailer Editor for The Diary of A CEO, Europe’s biggest business podcast with Steven Bartlett. I produce the trailers for two weekly episodes which are a key advertising asset on Steve’s socials as well as valuable PR for the podcast."

"It’s impossible to say that studying at UCLan hasn’t impacted my life. I took the opportunity, but UCLan gave me that opportunity."

Anthony Smith, BA (Hons) Film Production graduate

Anthony believes that “the experiences, failures and challenges learnt” from his previous roles can been seen in his current success. He said: “I was asked to find a new and exciting way to promote podcasts and we’ve achieved that. The trailers have a style that’s becoming known in the industry, inspiring other podcasts and has become something that me, and the team are proud of."

Of his time at UCLan, Anthony will always remember the lifelong friends he made. He said: Whether it be playing football, making films, nights out and socials, it was all made possible because of so many people. I urge anyone to seriously consider more than just the course when applying to university. There’s so much more that you can learn and experience away from the course, and you may never get that opportunity again once you’re out in the world of careers, mortgages and 'adulthood’.”

Anthony Smith, UCLan graduate
Anthony Smith, UCLan graduate

So, if you’re thinking about a similar course or career, what advice does Anthony have for you?

He said: “You can’t expect anything to just come to you. Once you graduate the hard work continues. There’s no magical formula or career process, especially in this industry.

"My biggest piece of advice is don’t take the course, the lecturers and the experience for granted. If you use the time properly, you’ll not only give yourself a great chance to have a career you love, but also get to have some of the best years of your life preparing for it. And when you graduate, make yourself so good that any company feels lucky to have you. Whether it’s bringing you in as a freelancer or full time, make sure your portfolio and your personal branding means that they’d be stupid to pass on you.”