Paths To Success – Film Maker & Producer

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In the third of my Paths To Success blog series, I’ve been talking to Jay Shurey who describes himself as a rather eccentric creature from Sussex and who works full time as a Quality Controller for a Sharedealing Register whilst also working as a professional film writer and producer. Having had the pleasure of working with him on set, Jay is a shining example of reaching your goals in an ethical manner.

For those of you who haven’t been following the blog series so far, this year I’ve been particularly interested in the paths that people take after education, especially following the increase across the UK in encouraging schools and colleges to embed employability into their lessons. The first time I tried this with students, I was met almost audible rolling of eyes – kids have genuine skills in detecting something that’s been “embedded”, much like a careers version of hiding vegetables in their spaghetti. They know.

So instead, with exam results fast approaching I decided to buck the trend of the many posts telling students that “results don’t matter” (they do, you worked hard), or “I didn’t need GCSEs” (no, but you had something else) and create a positive set of real careers stories to help motivate both my students and other teachers. I’ve been talking to an array of interesting people about how education shaped their own employability skills and their often irregular paths to success.

Jay Shurey – JQS Media

Jay Shurey appears to have a multitude of hats, and quite aside from the slightly reclusive person I originally met, watching him ‘in the zone’ is quite another matter. In our interview, it was clear that Jay is not just creative but can command a team of actors to turn a sleepy village in Sussex into a setting for an edge of the seat thriller.

Hi Jay, could you tell me a little bit about your experience at school.

School was quite an enjoyable time for me. I had a great group of friends and great teachers. Unfortunately when it came to GCSEs, I had a very difficult time learning in most of my subjects. I would struggle to remember what had been said and then it was too late as the class had moved on to the next topic.

Media Studies was different as it was of great interest to me which helped the learning process. I finished my GCSEs with only one pass (in media studies) and felt at that point that I had blown it. However, I didn’t realise at the time that sixth form would present me with so many opportunities to change everything around for the better.

With it being the end of the school year, I have to ask: do you have a particular teacher that you remember?

My favourite teacher was Charlie Olsen who was my Media Studies teacher at what was then Boundstone Community College, but is now the Sir Robert Woodard Academy. If it wasn’t for her, I may not have fallen in love with film making. I owe a lot to her for where I am today.

Mrs Olsen taught me through my 2 years of GCSE Media Studies and my 2 years of A-Level Media Studies and although she wasn’t my teacher for A-Level film studies, I would often seek her advice for certain elements of my work on that course such as whether a shot would work or whether a part of a story would make sense. She was always very supportive of what I did and was a great source of knowledge whenever I had a question.

Could you tell me a little bit about your experience at college / university?

Sixth form was where everything changed and was definitely the best years of my learning. Because of GCSE results, I needed to take a GNVQ course before being eligible for A-Level studies. I chose Business Studies as I felt it would be the most ideal course to take. It mixed IT with media, two subjects I had interest in.

One year later, I passed the GNVQ and had gained the equivalent of 5 GCSE passes. For A-Levels I took Media Studies and Film Studies, and again, due to my interest in the subjects, I passed both subjects. I left Sixth Form with a GNVQ and two A-Levels. Not bad when compared to how things were looking at the end of my GCSEs.

What happened once you finished your A Levels? Did you have a clear path after that?

Once A-Levels were complete, I continued making my own amateur short films. I also started up my own business in 2006 working on video projects for clients. These projects included corporate videos, wedding videos and VHS to DVD conversions.

At the end of 2015 I decided to close the business so that I could focus on my dream of making a professional film. I found a full-time job at a Share Registrars, meaning I could save some of what I earnt to fund my professional film project. The film is now all shot and as I write this, I am about to launch a crowdfunder campaign for the post production of the film. When I received those GCSE results I thought my dream had died. Now I’m living the dream!

Thank you so much to Jay for giving up his time to talk to us about juggling two jobs in very different industries and creating a long term path to his dream job. Pop back next week for a link to our extended podcast!

Jay can be found at where you can find out more about film making and get a sneak peek at his latest film, Betrayed or watch the trailer below! You can also become a part of the film through his production Kick Starter Campaign.

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