Vice Chancellor's Fund:Lee Child Scholarship Recipient 2012
Creative Writing and Media Studies
Aaron Latham is not afraid to admit that he has picked a tough career path to follow. But with the help of the Vice Chancellor’s Fund he believes he can make the contacts he needs to fulfill his ambition of becoming part of an industry he has always been passionate about.
For Aaron, video games started as a hobby. But after seeing a Games Design course in a college prospectus, he began to consider his lifelong passion as a career choice. ‘I admire the games industry, because it has the potential to make you feel things other mediums don’t. You get to know the characters and can influence and change things. You can’t do that with a film.’ After completing the course, Aaron had to make a choice about which area of the industry he wanted to go into and having always found writing came naturally, this seemed the perfect fit. Having done his research, Aaron discovered that many established games writers had begun on a traditional writing path and transitioned into the industry later. It was this that lead to Aaron beginning his course at DMU. ‘I decided to do creative writing but still wanted to keep an element of media in there for design and composition purposes.’
Aaron tried to make the most of his degree at DMU, gaining as much relevant experience as possible to benefit his career. ‘I got to work with the games art students in the second year and it was really good to see things from another perspective and interesting to work with artists and programmers as I will have to do that if I make it into the industry. And it was great to see something I had written come to life on the page through one of their drawings and I felt proud to have done that.’ Although this was great experience, Aaron feels that he also missed out on a lot of opportunities to enhance his experience and career prospects during his time at DMU due to financial constraints. In his second year, due to personal reasons, Aaron had to travel back home to Kent a lot more often. ‘I was going home a lot more, so spending a lot of money on coaches etc so at that point my loan was already running out.’
So with funds already stretched to the max, there was certainly nothing left for Aaron to spend on the much needed networking opportunities so vital to his future career. But after receiving his scholarship from the VC Fund, this shouldn’t be a problem in future. ‘Receiving the Scholarship meant that I knew I would be able to do things that I hadn’t had the money to do in the past. There had been a talk about writing for games at the Nottingham writers studio the year before, I really wanted to go but wasn’t able to afford to. Receiving the money meant that next time something like that came up, I would be able to go and network which could benefit my future career.’
Aaron has several ideas for projects that he’d like to create and is busy using the money to get business cards printed, which he plans to hand out at networking sessions and conferences that he is now able to afford to go to. ‘If I find that there is a conference I want to go to, then the money is there now.’ Aaron is planning to move to Ireland at some point in the future as the main employer of games writers has just opened a studio over there. ‘It won’t be cheap to relocate to a new country so I am also going to try and keep some of the money in the bank for that. I just want to be able to look back in a few years and say I went after what I wanted to do and I tried hard to get into the industry that I have always loved.’