Festival Production Newcomer of the Year Nigel Hughes talks to us about his career highlights and why networking is so important.

Did you study? If so, where and what?    

I’ve just finished 3 years at the University of Gloucestershire, studying Digital Media Production.  

What was your very first industry role and how did you get it? 

After talking to the Innovations Manager for Cheltenham Festivals, I was fortunate enough to be asked to film Jazz acts in 360 degree at the Cheltenham Jazz Festival as part of my placement. It was hard work, yet enjoyable. 

What has been your biggest achievement or ‘pinch me’ moment so far? 

Being asked to paid work at the Cheltenham Literature Festival. Made me realise I can do this. 

Is there one person who has helped or pushed you, been a support? 

Andrew Lansley, the Innovations Manager for Cheltenham Festivals for giving me the opportunity. There are others who have helped me in one way or another, when I’ve asked for advice or other students on my course who kindly got me a pint of cider at the jazz festival! 

Where would you like to be in 5 years from now? 

I’d like to be a successful freelancer, with a good network around me. 

Is there more industry should be doing for newcomers? 

I think Production Futures is on the right track and it would be nice for others within the industry to think about how they can support newcomers to the industry. I also think University’s could perhaps do more to reach out to the industry to work with students whilst at University to show them the opportunities out there. 

How important is networking for newcomers? 

Very. I believe you can open more opportunities for work, with the right network. 

Will you come back to the awards as our guest next year?  


How did you feel when you won the award? 

Shocked to start with, then over the moon. 

What made you want to work in the production industry? 

I wanted to learn and experience something that I have  never done before. This was to take me outside of my comfort zone and be totally unrelated to anything I’ve done in my previous career. 

How has winning this award affected your personal or professional life, and what are your future goals? 

I’m still smiling at winning the award. I need to update my CV with the award details on! 

What advice would you give to other newcomers who aspire to achieve similar recognition? 

Just go for it, don’t even hesitate.  You have nothing to loose and it’s better to try, than regret not trying afterwards. 

Are there any upcoming projects or initiatives that you’re excited to work on and why? 

I have a meeting about festival work next year and there is the possibility on more 360 degree work in the area. 

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