Oscar Featherstone, a 2011 graduate of Yoobee Colleges South Seas has been globally recognised for his editing work on the CNN investigative journalism story, Putin’s Private Army, winning a News & Documentary Emmy Award for his efforts.
An Editor for CNN International in London, Oscar was inspired to work in the media industry after watching the film “Live from Baghdad” which details the efforts of veteran war reporter Ingrid Formanek setting up the a news gathering operation in Baghdad during the first Gulf War. This prompted him to look at what Film and TV school could offer him.
“Film schools seemed like a natural fit for me, and the fact that South Seas pitched itself as entirely practical learning was right up my alley. I’ve always been more of a practical learner than anything else really.”
Ten years since graduating, Oscar credits the solid industry foundations he picked up while studying at South Seas.
“The broad nature of the course at South Seas gave me a great base. There are some things in our industry that are subject to constant change, and some things that aren’t. The things that don’t change; I learned at South Seas."
“Anyone that’s set foot in a newsroom knows they can be either quiet as a millpond or more hectic than a Sunday market with a shortage of cheese. Every day is so different and of course you can’t script for emergent events, so as an editor you never know what kind of cutting you’re going to do. I am lucky enough to work alongside the very best in the business, and the sheer gravity of some of the stories I get to tell is a real privilege.”
His Emmy Award winning work for Putin’s Private Army resulted in a three part story: a humanitarian vignette, an investigation, and a character profile.
“The edit itself took two weeks. – which is an incredibly long edit in the news world. They give editors a lot of creative freedom at CNN, which is not something I’ve found with other channels. You don’t get producers or reporters pointing at your screen and telling you to nudge frames here and there.”
Oscar says being awarded the Emmy for his work on Putin’s Private Army was a total surprise.
“It wasn’t even five years ago that I was cutting corporate videos to earn my bread. But it’s not so much about the award itself, though it does look nice sitting on the shelf, it’s the professional recognition it’s afforded me and my colleagues who worked on the story.”
Looking ahead, Oscar doesn’t know what the future has in store, but he does know he’s found his forever career.
“I’ve never approached my career with a definite “plan” and so far that method seems to be working pretty well. What I do know is that I’ve found my lifelong career, and I’m never going to get bored of it.”
And his advice for aspiring film and TV makers:
“Patience. It’s going to take a few years of doing the hard yards and you’ll think you’re massively under-valued. That period ends. The other thing I would say is, if you’re not good at taking criticism (I wasn’t) then that’s something you’ll find you’re going to want to work on pretty quick.”
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