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ArtFormer Film Student Turned Legal Eagle Warns of "Overpriced" Arts Degrees After...

Former Film Student Turned Legal Eagle Warns of “Overpriced” Arts Degrees After Red Carpet Triumph.

An award-winning filmmaker who just screened his first feature film to a sold-out premiere, is warning young people against pursuing dead-end degrees after his own career path took a plot twist.

Alasdair Gretton-Richards from Manchester opted for a more vocational law degree to enhance his job prospects and find stability in his professional life after initially graduating with a film degree in 2020.

The 25-year-old year old who is currently a paralegal at Barings Law, says his film school experience was “overpriced and underfunded” finding fault in the predominantly group-based learning where some students “lacked commitment.”

Now encouraging others to choose subjects that can lead to worthwhile careers, Alasdair’s comments come after Prime Minister Rishi Sunak recently announced a crackdown on ‘poor quality’ courses.

“When I tell people I studied film, they ask if we watched movies all day, which was basically true,” said Alasdair. “It made me feel undervalued and was money down the drain.

“I started making movies when I was 8 so I thought studying film would allow me to achieve my dream of being a director, but what I learned could have been self-taught through YouTube with my money being spent on film equipment instead.

“Contrast that to my law degree, you couldn’t afford to miss anything otherwise you’d drop too far behind, and everyone wanted to learn.

I agree with plans to cap the number of students being accepted on low quality courses because too many young people are being sold false promises. These degrees are often poorly planned and have bizarre and subjective grading criteria where minimal work can sometimes still get you top grades in the mostly group projects.”

Alasdair completed a Law Diploma from the University of Law Manchester in 2021 before completing his Legal Practice Course (LPC) and his achievements were even recognised at London’s Barbican Centre where he gave a speech alongside former Home Secretary David Blunkett.

His fascination with law was fuelled by his interest in copyright legislation, which he previously encountered during his film studies at Sheffield Hallam University.

Despite one day hoping to become a solicitor at Manchester based Barings Law, Alasdair hasn’t let his passion for filmmaking lose focus.

His debut feature film, ‘Masked Conspiracy’, premiered on August 5th to a resounding success at the Imperial Rooms in Matlock where he grew up.

The 45-minute picture, which took 2 years to make, used iconic locations from well-known TV series’ such as the Derbyshire quarry in Star Wars spin-off, Obi-Wan Kenobi, and centres around the story of an eccentric man and his friend’s ‘discovery’ of aliens.

Alasdair has previously helmed a number of short films including ‘The Cook, The Egg and The Hitman’ which won awards for Best Editing and Best Comedy at Newcastle Student Film Festival 2019. He has also received top honours in the Red Script Film Competition for his horror writing and his work was recognised in the top 13% of screenplays for the BBC comedy script room competition in 2020.

Speaking about the premiere, he said: “I’m extremely grateful to everyone who bought a ticket and it’s humbling to think people would pay their hard-earned money to see our film.

The film explores the confusion around modern day pop culture, the conspiracies we draw in society and the troubles of amateur film making in the modern age.

“I want to thank my crew, without whom this would not be possible. I wanted to bring something back to where I grew up in Matlock, Derbyshire.

“As a filmmaker, you always hope your work resonates with people, so witnessing the audience’s reactions validated all the effort we poured into this project.”

Alasdair began working at Barings Law in September last year after seeing law as a more secure career option compared to the uncertainty he faced in the film industry.

Emphasizing the value of engaging and purposeful education, Alasdair firmly believes that students should carefully weigh their choices, opting for subjects that align with their passions and offer promising career prospects.

His aim is to qualify as a solicitor specialising in intellectual property and film distribution law while continuing to pursue his love for filmmaking and one day have his work premiere at Cannes Film Festival.

He added: “Becoming a solicitor doesn’t mean I’m leaving my passion for filmmaking behind. I see it as a chance to broaden my horizons and explore new avenues for storytelling, plus I really enjoy fighting for justice on behalf of society’s most vulnerable.

“Also, despite everything, I did enjoy my time in Sheffield as it made me realise what I wanted to do in life. I don’t blame anyone, it just wasn’t right for me.

“I want to thank Barings Law for their unbelievable support which has reaffirmed to me that I made the right choice. My message to other students is, while creativity and passion are crucial, choose subjects that align with your interests but can also offer viable career opportunities that lead to fulfilling and stable futures.”

Sam Allcock
Sam Allcock
With over 20 years of experience in the field SEO and digital marketing, Sam Allcock is a highly regarded entrepreneur. He is based in Cheshire but has an interest in all things going on in the North West and enjoys contributing local news to the site.
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