How can students use social media to enhance your digital brand? What about building an effective showreel or portfolio for a multimedia career? In today’s guest blog, KCL alumnus Omar reveals some exciting career lessons from journalism and creative industries!
Hola! I’m Omar Mehtab – a reporter and producer for the BBC’s flagship tech show, Click. I was born and raised in East London, coming from a working-class background, and I’ve worked my way up the career chain to do what I do now. I report, produce, film, edit, direct, write – all across TV, radio and online.
My career steps after King’s
I graduated from King’s College London back in 2015 – a Master of Arts in English Literature. Which I loved doing – even though finding a job afterwards was quite tough…!
But the thing is, I used to go on the radio and TV for the BBC now and then – mainly with Asian Network, Newsbeat, etc. I was a young Muslim lad who had an opinion about flipping anything – politics, economics, societal issues, religion. So, it meant that soon after my Masters, I was able to get chatting with the teams there. I found out someone there was going on holiday – a researcher who answered the phones during the call-in show that I used to feature on. So, I got a week’s worth of work experience to cover for him on holiday.
From there, I grafted and secured freelancer shifts – picking up skills and learning on the job and in my spare time as I went along. After a year, I then joined Click – and was thrown in the deep end. Learning how to film, edit, produce… All from scratch. It’s been a rollercoaster – but now, I’m one of the most multi-skilled and biggest contributing team members on the show!
On KEATS, you can find out how you can develop your employability during your time at King’s, ahead of a career in creative industries.
Industry insights – the world of online & multimedia
I mean, I’d like to say it’s quite clear – the massive world of online journalism and social media is where it’s at. But despite there being a general shift away from radio and TV, we cannot say that the picture box or the wireless is redundant – not yet.
The effect the online world has on the real world is ridiculously big. But there are still audiences who prefer the traditional way of consuming news – both young and old. You can specialise in one more than the other if you wish, but what I’d advise is getting across the board – thinking of different ways and treatments your story can be adapted to each platform.
And trust me – you need different treatments. You can’t just stick a TV package on YouTube and expect it to bang. Recognise and learn each platform so you can maximise the reach and impact your work has.
Thoughts on Social Media – and using it for your career!
Social media is undeniably addictive and the best way of advertising around. It’s accessible, varied, nearly everyone is on it! I mean, I can go on TikTok and waste away an hour in a blink…! But it’s about how you use it that’s key:
- Know the algorithm. I may be on TikTok a lot, but I’ve gamed how I interact on the app so the algorithm can show me the very content I want to see (mainly Star Wars and cute animals tbh).
- Get out of your bubble. You may follow a whole load of people who like pineapple on pizza, but there’s a load of people (including me) who doesn’t think it fits at all. Be open to a variety of opinions.
- Go deep. Recognise the niche communities and groups and subreddits that people won’t usually know about. That’s where you’ll find the most interesting of people and stories.
The importance of a showreel or a digital portfolio
I recently launched my website and a showreel I did of my work, and you know what? I received a lot of attention, potential work, and love off the back of it. I sometimes suffer from what people commonly know as Imposter’s Syndrome – a low sense of self-confidence at times. I mean, I still question if I belong in this industry and if I’m good enough.
Bun all that – put yourself out there. Make the showreel, send that email, go to that networking video call. Trust me – showing off what you can do will always be appreciated by others. By having a website, showreel, being active on social media platforms – you and your work are easy to find. It really is one of the best ways.
Advice for aspiring content creators
Just because you may not be employed at the moment, it won’t stop you from creating content and building meaningful work experience! My advice is:
- Pick a topic or story – and develop it. Write the article and post it as a blog. Use your smartphone, buy a cheap microphone, an inexpensive tripod, and boom – you can now film your own footage, voiceover, and pieces to camera. Use some free editing software, royalty-free music, and you’ve got your own video report.
- Then, email away. Send a portfolio of your work to anyone whose name comes up as the producer in the credits of your favourite shows or outlets. Ask to meet for a video chat to talk about their career journey – trust me, journalists love to talk about themselves. And then get whatever information you need, and perhaps ask for an opportunity.
The stories are out there – it’s up to you to bring them to light, and show journalists and the public alike just how important they are, and how well you can tell them!
Interested in a career across the creative industries? Then check out our various Sector Guides, whether on Journalism, Film, TV & Radio careers and more on the King’s Careers KEATS pages!