James Ward, BA Geography student at the University of Leeds

James Ward

What is the name of the company you work for and what do they do?

I am currently working for Warner Bros. Over the years they have produced some of the greatest movies of all time such as: Casablanca, Goodfellas and Mad Max, whilst also distributing numerous TV shows and video games including Game of Thrones, Friends and the Batman: Arkham titles.

What is your role within the company?

I am working within the sales team, helping account managers of HMV, Tesco, ASDA, Amazon and a variety of other retailers. I help maintain relationships with these clients and monitor, set up, and decide certain promotions, prices and deals. My role requires me to act as an effective and efficient middleman between Warner Bros. and the wider market, ensuring smooth and clear communication. 

Can you give an insight into a typical day?

My typical day is always changing due to the dynamic nature of both sales and the film industry. However, I usually begin the day with a variety of client-focused tasks involving either chasing up orders, sending out promotional copies of DVDs and Blu-Rays, or checking retailer websites for missing products or pricing. Larger pieces of work, such as creating price files for our catalogue, creating product deals and producing updated trackers of market trends, are usually tackled in the afternoon. Around twice a week I also attend sales meetings, where I am required to present on market trends, bestselling titles and any outstanding competitor behaviour. 

What do you enjoy the most and do you get involved in any interesting projects?

Due to my long-standing love for film and TV the most enjoyable aspect of my job is the day-to-day interaction with Warner Bros. content and franchises. I am lucky enough to attend premieres and early screenings of content and these viewings never lose their novelty! We are currently presenting our films for early 2018, like IT and Justice League. Preparing and presenting these titles for clients is always rewarding and fun, mainly because I get to talk about films for 2 hours!

What do you think you have got out of this experience so far? 

Already the sheer amount of responsibility and independent work has been a large learning curve. It has required me to develop my ability to solve problems by myself, through my own existing knowledge and through communication with the wider sales team. As I am often face-to-face with clients, the experience has also allowed me to develop my presentation skills and professionalism, especially as I am trying to sell our product and so must come across enthusiastic and knowledgeable. The most beneficial part of the role for me personally though has been the fact I have already learnt a huge amount about the inner workings of the industry. This will set me up for my, hopefully, future career and giving me a greater understanding of the complexities and nuances of movies and TV.

Do you have any tips and advice to current students thinking of undertaking a year in industry?

Don’t be overwhelmed by the application process. A lot of the time companies are not looking for the perfect academic candidate; they want someone who is willing to throw themselves into the job and do it with enthusiasm! My internship said they would prefer someone doing business, and I got it doing geography! Take the plunge and give it a go. Also, and most importantly for me, is pick what you enjoy. Don’t choose a placement that doesn’t get you excited, once you find one that will keep you engaged and happy then you’re all set.