Richard had been working in marketing and graphic design prior to taking up his postgraduate qualification in radio. But it was an earlier job as a cinema projectionist which gave him the idea for a radio feature, which went on to air as part of Radio 4’s New Storytellers Series earlier this month.
He explained: “While studying the course at BU I was made aware of the Charles Parker Prize. It is named after the producer of the renowned ‘radio ballads’ and invites submissions from students at university radio courses. I had been working on a feature about the work of cinema projectionists and decided to develop this as an entry to the prize. The feature was influenced by my own experience and went on to explore how the role of projectionists has changed, from being seen as the important final stage of the production process in the heyday of moving pictures, to a declining art replaced by digital technology.”
Having developed the feature from scratch with the support of the BU course team, Richard was successful in being selected as a winner of the Charles Parker Prize 2020. He then worked with Soundscape Productions and other industry professionals to prepare the programme for broadcast on BBC Radio 4. He said: “The whole process was a great experience. It has been a goal of mine to have a programme featured on BBC Radio, so to finally hear the piece go out was quite surreal. Not only has it given me new contacts in the industry, but it has given me important credentials which will be beneficial as I develop my career. I am a big believer in taking opportunities when they arise, but I am also thankful for the support of Bournemouth University in getting me to this point.”
Since the programme went out Richard has received positive feedback, both from the media industry and those involved in cinema projection. The programme was featured in the Observer Week in Radio Review and promoted by the British Film Institute via its social media channels. Spurred on by this success, Richard is now exploring a sequel looking more broadly at the role of cinema and its relevance to audiences in a changing world. Reflecting on his decision to return to university for a postgraduate qualification, he said: “It’s early days in terms of building my career in radio, but it’s fair to say that none of this would have happened without the degree and I am appreciative of the doors it has opened for me.”
Richard’s radio feature ‘Projectionists’ is now available on BBC Sounds.