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Rebecca Morris

Rebecca MorrisVP Creative Services, Consumer Products, Zodiak Rights

BA Performing Arts, 1995

What made you choose Middlesex University?

For performing arts, it had the best reputation out of all universities. There was simply nowhere else I wanted to go!

What course did you study?

BA Hons Performing Arts.

What attracted you to your course and made you apply? 

I've always been involved in dance and drama and wanted to pursue this through my degree. The BAPA course had a great reputation and it meant I could finally move to London.

What aspects of your course did you enjoy most?

Without a doubt the creative process. I really enjoyed taking an idea and creating a visual language to convey that idea, theme or story. I loved performing too and we were incredibly fortunate with the facilities and the inspirational backdrop that was Trent Park.

What is your fondest memory of life at Middlesex?

The amazing Trent Park campus, the many rehearsal hours, midnight swims in the outdoor pool, walking through the carpet of daffodils in spring and making some incredible life-long friends.

What one piece of advice would you give to a prospective student interested in studying at Middlesex?

Just do it.

What made you choose the industry you work in and what are its pros and cons?

To be honest, I completely fell into consumer product licensing back in 1999. I started working for what was Pearson Television (previously Thames TV) in a brand new division set up to exploit the TV rights off-air through licensed products. I readily admit I had no idea what licensing was…But soon fell in love with it!

I was incredibly fortunate to join what is now known as FremantleMedia, at a time where there were just a handful of us. The main pro is that it never gets boring…Two days are never the same. My work is very varied and ranges from commissioning an illustrator to coming up with graphics for a T-shirt range, through to presenting to a room full of licensees on the creative development of a brand.

How did you get your foot on the career ladder post university?

I decided fairly soon after graduating that the life of a dancer (there is so little funding available for contemporary dance), was not for me. I got a temporary job working for a firm of building contractors (of all things!) in Southgate. Building was not an industry area that appealed or that I particularly enjoyed but I soon learnt real office skills which enabled me to move to a similar position in the media industry.

What has been your defining career break or highlight to date?

My career highlights include: organising the food and drink awards for Time Out Magazine; being part of the original team responsible for the brand identity of Pop Idols which went on to become a global phenomenon; and overseeing £16M licensed product development for the London 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games.

I would also list designing the Historic Olympic Museum Collection logo and point of sale which went on to become a great hit at retail and my personal favourite…Standing in for Bungle (from Rainbow) for the calendar and greetings card shoots. I knew my degree would come in useful somewhere!

What does the future hold for you?

I'm currently working on the consumer product style guide development for a new pre-school TV show, overseeing all product development globally for our TV shows and working with the production teams here to ensure what kids see on TV translates beautifully into compelling and fun products. I also have a few personal product projects on the go in my spare time…Watch this space!

What are the top three career tips you would give to current students and recent graduates?

Make sure you get work experience. University is fabulous, but it's a bubble and you need to complement what you learn with real life experience.

Networking is incredibly important. Find like-minded people in the industry you want to progress in. Talk to them, find out what you can about the business and then look at how your own particular skills and experience can enhance that business. Don't be afraid to cold call or send CVs on spec. LinkedIn is also a great tool.

Make sure you do your research. You need to know your market, know your strengths and never give up!

What one piece of advice would you give to the 17/18 year old you?

You can do whatever you want to do, you just need to believe in yourself!

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