Robert Taylor - alumnus profile
When Rob graduated in 2000, he had no idea that just four years later he would be filming the last ever-series of Fred Dibnah's much-loved Made in Britain. Since then, he has been behind the lens capturing unique moments all over the world.
Working in television
Work in the television industry is largely freelance, so Rob set himself up as a freelance camera assistant as soon as he graduated. During his studies he did some part-time work in the industry which opened those all-important doors and kick-started his network of contacts. He did lots of running and making cups of tea during this period, but remained focussed and determined to establish a good reputation in the industry. His advice to anyone in his position now is "even if it’s making tea, make sure you do it brilliantly and take pride in it".
By 2004 Rob was well established and filming regularly for the
Discovery Channel and the BBC. A yearning for something a bit
edgier and more exciting prompted Rob and his wife to move to Asia
and start work on some adventure programming projects. During
this time, Rob fulfilled his ambition to travel down the river in a
dugout canoe and sleep out in the jungle. He reflects on
this as one of the highlights of his travels: "I’ve always
wanted to go in a dugout canoe! I’ve been lucky enough to do
it a few times now – all because of my job!"
Camera in hand, the world became Rob’s oyster. He went night diving with giant eels in New Zealand, spent time in Antarctica with the extreme environment athlete Richard Parks and filmed all night in heavy tropical rain in Laos. Rob is based back in the UK now, but reflects fondly on the time he spent overseas: "It’s a real privilege to see such amazing things and work closely with people who are so passionate about what they do."
The television industry can be a hard one to get into, and Rob was no exception. In the early days he made the most of all the learning opportunities that came his way and soaked up knowledge from the experts around him. Staying focussed was tough at times, and Rob is candid about the grit required to succeed: "it takes hard work, persistence, horrible soul destroying networking and a bit of luck!". Rob also identifies how important pushing himself beyond his comfort zone has been in achieving professional success. He has been proactive and actively sought out opportunities that feel a bit scary: "By far the best jobs I’ve done have involved me feeling nervous. Sitting on the plane to Antarctica I was petrified – it costs a huge amount to send someone there and I didn’t want to screw up."
Camaraderie and friendship
When he manages to escape from behind the camera, Rob recalls spending quite a bit of time riding his BMX around the UWE Bristol campus. He remembers Bower Ashton as "an awesome creative campus" where he met people who have become firm friends. Friendship and team work have underpinned much of Rob’s success and he highlights the incredible camaraderie he has experienced in some of the most far-flung corners of the earth: "Everything can go wrong, the weather can be appalling, you haven’t slept for 48 hours and you still haven’t got the shot you need….but you look around the team and everyone is buzzing".
Rob recalls a comment from Richard Parks in Antarctica: 'it doesn’t have to be fun to be fun,' but lots of Rob’s achievements since he left UWE Bristol do sound pretty good fun.
You can catch some of Rob’s camera handy work on Extreme Endurance: Race to the South Pole, airing on Channel 5 in the New Year.