Knowing that he wanted to enjoy the beautiful city of Edinburgh and pursue a career in film and video production, Queen Margaret was an easy choice for Film and Media graduate David Blomquist. In this testimonial, David shares some of the highlights of his time at QMU, valuable advice for making the most of university life, and tells us about his exciting job at Moonwake Beer Co. as their content creator and social media manager. 

Why did you choose to study at QMU and what attracted you to the course?  

Stepping off the train in Edinburgh, I knew straight away I’d be living here. QMU was the university I found to have the best communication during the application process, which also continued when I came to visit. Film was my main reason for taking the course, but I was also interested in the combination of studying theoretical and practical modules.  

What did you enjoy most about your course? 

"The personal support I got from lecturers was something I don’t think is normal at most universities."

I really appreciated the direct communication I had with most teaching staff, who took note of who you were and what you wanted to do with the course. I wanted to focus on practical modules, like video production, and got the help I needed to guarantee those modules later in the course. 

Were there any particular course activities you found especially interesting? 

Making films and video content is the main reason why I took the course, and any practical modules I had in that regard were interesting. However, I was very surprised that my favourite module on the entire course was theoretical: Film and Family, held by Michael Stewart. This module taught me the connection between practice and theory within film. Most importantly, the module reassured me that Film and Media was the right choice when I sometimes had my doubts. 

How did your lecturers support your learning? 

"The university is quite small, which creates an opportunity to have a better relationship with the lecturers."

The waiting times to hear back from them were minimal, and they always found time to talk to you. My dissertation mentor Walid Salhab is a great example of this. He found the time to meet and provide support, even during the busiest periods. This is something I know there is lack of in bigger universities, a direct line of communication and support. 

What challenges did you face with the course or university life? How did you overcome them? 

I struggled initially with knowing there were several services and support systems in place for students. When I made sure I was looking outside of the classroom for opportunities, that’s when I broadened my university experience. 

Did you take part in a placement as part of your course and if so, can you tell me a little about that experience? 

My modules allowed me to work with clients on certain projects. An example of this was a 2nd year project where we were given a client based on what we wanted to focus on in 3rd and 4th year. My group’s client was a local deli, who needed a promotional video made for them. We learned everything from pitching them a concept to delivering the final product. After graduation, I started working with clients on various projects, and the knowledge I gained from that experience came in handy. 

Do you have any advice for students who might be interested in this course? 

If you aren’t sure what you want to work with after the course, but you are interested in media and film studies, you’ll get a good introduction in the first year to learn about the possibilities within the respective industries. If you have a specific job in mind you want to be qualified for, make sure to read up on all the modules and talk with the staff.   

Did you win any awards, scholarships or internships?

I received the Bruce Thomson Award, for best marked video production dissertation which was a nice qualification to put on the CV. 

Which University services did you use to support you through your university journey and how did they help you? 

I started using the Business Innovation Zone around 4th year, which is fantastic if you wish to go into self-employment. They support you on how to set up a business, can guide you through different grants and funding, and help a bit with in-house exposure. Highly recommend it.  

Did you attend an online or in person Open Day/Offer Holder Day before coming to QMU?

I reached out personally to the Admissions office and established a connection, and later had a quick private tour around the campus.  

What’s your ‘top tip’ for making the most of being a student? 

Collaborate with fellow students, look up support services the university offers, make use of the library and academic literature you have access to, and talk to your lecturers. 

What was the most valuable lesson that you learned at university? 

"Going beyond the classroom provides you with the most opportunities."

You have access to so many people and services, so don’t end up focusing only on the modules. There’s tons of sports and societies and the most beautiful city in the world at your doorstep. Find something beyond the course, and you can most likely combine the two in some way. For example, I joined the Film Society, which led me to be cinematographer on other students’ final projects.  

Can you tell us about your life post-graduation? 

During university, I knew a wanted to focus on videography after graduation. So, I started a job in another industry I liked, the craft beer industry. Working as a bartender part-time and doing videography on the side, I continued to build a portfolio and tried to combine both industries. Four years later I am the content creator at Moonwake Beer Co, a brewery in Leith. I started out in their taproom, and because they had an open mind and knew I wanted to work with videography, they took my ideas on board and I started to work on a retainer with them. Finally, they accepted my pitch for a full-time role of creating content and handling of social media platforms.  

Anything else you’d like to share about life at QMU or as a graduate? 

As a graduate, I want to say: Take your time. It took me 4 years to land a graduate job that I enjoyed. You might get a job straight away or it might take a few years. Focus on expanding your skillset and build that portfolio. If anyone has any questions they’d want to ask, I’m always available at @moonwakebeer to arrange a visit to the brewery taproom for a chat. I think it’s important to support people who are in a position that I’ve been in, so don’t hesitate to reach out.  


Find out more about our Film, Media and Communications undergraduate courses