When Isla McLeod graduated from the New Zealand Broadcasting School at Ara, she came away with more than a degree. She was also awarded a scholarship from SKY as the top graduate of her Film & Television class.
Now based in Auckland, Isla has continued her successful path in broadcasting, working regularly as a production freelancer for Mediaworks while undertaking a Master’s thesis at Victoria University.
“This year I’ve been working on the game show Family Feud as the assistant talent manager and assistant floor manager,” she says. “My hours vary depending on the shooting schedule, but I’m committed to 30 hours a week; twenty of those on set and ten in the office.”
Isla says she’s never applied for a job in television, or gone to a job interview. “Every contract that I’ve had has been offered to me in person by a producer in the industry who I’ve met on a previous job. Each of my jobs has led to the next, starting with my internship. I take this as evidence that the internship programme at Ara is a keystone of Broadcasting School.”
Knowing she wanted to work in film or television, Isla came straight from high school to study at Ara. “I chose Broadcasting School because it was a degree programme rather than a diploma or a certificate, and the internship programme is a vital step into the industry. Also the application process ensured a high standard of students.”
Isla says she enjoyed every aspect of the programme and says the small classes helped her to forge lasting bonds with her peers. “The tutors were knowledgeable and approachable and the course was well-structured. You learn a bit of everything in your first year, then you have more freedom to hone in on your passions.”
She believes the course prepared her “brilliantly” for the broadcasting industry. “It gave me the necessary technical knowledge, industry awareness and a prepared attitude. A massive strength of the programme is professional practice; it’s utterly reflective of the industry.”
After completing her Master in scriptwriting, Isla plans to combine talent and floor managing contracts with working as a freelance writer and creative.