Any yet despite this fluidity, there still appears to be a glass ceiling when it comes to career growth. Obviously each field of work is different and comes with its own specific opportunities and limitations - however when it comes to film journalism, location still seems to dictate how far you can push your professional prowess. I can only relate to this issue through the experiences I’ve encountered first hand - and while I’ve certainly been able to achieve a lot more than I ever thought would be possible without caving in and moving from Manchester to London - I still feel the limitations of my surroundings impacting my career potential every day, working as part of an industry that rarely looks further afoot than Leicester Square.
Seriously. If I had a quid for every commission or great gig I’ve had to miss purely because I’m not based down South or I can’t swing the £60+ train fare to see the necessary film screening before a PR team will let me near an interviewee - my freelance career would be booming. It’s as if those in charge are aware of the necessity for regional coverage but unable or unwilling to enable its growth. It’s not just missed opportunities either - the real kicker (and the one that goes largely ignored) is just how much harder the people who want a pop-culture oriented career, who are based outside of London, have to work. Over the years, I’ve had to do countless full time day-jobs alongside the often 24/7 task of trying to pursue my creative passion, against the odds.
‘If you’re so bothered, just move’, most of you will no doubt think - but that’s not the point - and If anything relocating would only reinforce the vicious cycle of geographical restrictions. Instead, I’ve quietly decided to wear my Northern proximity as a badge of defiance. One that says, ‘No - you don’t need to pick up and move or choose between leaving family and friends or dipping into your personal savings - if you want a shot at achieving your dreams.’ Even if it means working a side-job or watching those who happen to be in the right place quickly rise up the ranks ahead of you or missing out on the occasional amazing opportunity. I’ve learned to love my Northern heritage and position, despite its mild drawbacks and periodic frustrations. I’ve worked it into my writing style and editorial tone of voice. It helps make me unique. Should I really have to abandon that in order to succeed? I don’t think so - so I won’t.