DMU grad Mark Craig gives lecture about award-winning film career

An award-winning documentary maker has given a guest lecture to students from the Leicester Media School at De Montfort University Leicester (DMU).

Mark Craig, who graduated from DMU (then Leicester Polytechnic) in 1981, delivered a lecture which outlined his hugely successful 30-year career and gave practical advice to media students with an interest in filmmaking.

Mark Craig

He gave students an insight into how his love of athletics informed his early documentary work and provided snapshots of the critically-acclaimed documentary ‘The Last Man on the Moon’ and his current project, a documentary about Cuban track and field legend Alberto Juantorena.

Mark said: “I took the students on the journey that I have been on, some of that journey was very much a career plan in the short term, but only 30-plus years later do I have a bigger perspective of what my career journey has been.

“Some of that journey has been quite unexpected. I’ve been given opportunities that I would never have expected myself to have been given, and I’ve given things a go and then moved on to the next stage of my career.”

Mark Craig New

He explained how he was inspired by a similar guest lecture during his time at DMU and outlined how he transitioned from a degree in graphic design to filmmaking.

“I hope the students are inspired by some of the things I’ve shown them and some of the experiences that I’ve shared,” he said.

“I was very much inspired 35 years ago by a visiting guest lecturer who came to speak to us. He put on his show reel and I immediately looked at that and thought ‘that’s what I want to do.’

“That gave me a direction to follow in the first ten years of my career, after that the horizons changed, technology changed, my ambitions changed and I ended up making documentaries. So I hope in some small way that all the students here take something from the lecture.”

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He explored the differences between making documentaries for a mainstream television audience, independent films and films created for cinema release and also compared the styles of historical and observational documentaries.

Perhaps the key piece of advice that Mark gave to students with aspirations of going into documentary making was to be determined and to keep an open mind.

He said: “Go into documentary making with your eyes open. Listen to all the advice that anybody ever gives you but at the same time if you still want to do it then do it and don’t give up.”

Hearing about Mark’s career in this lecture has given Communication Arts student Samson Ajayi an invaluable insight into the industry and ideas that he can begin applying to his studies straight away.

Samson said: “I think it was very insightful and since he was really into what he was doing he could give us some good advice on where to start. A lot of people talk about where they are now and not how they got there.

“He really started from where he begins his process form to explain how he got to where he is now. He showed the videos from where he started through to his best and showed how his hard work has paid off. I’m literally going away now to apply what I’ve just learned.”

Posted on Tuesday 23rd January 2018

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