Alistair Thom knows that if you’re going to be successful in the creative media industry, you need to be versatile and always be adding to your skill set.
Alistair graduated from UCOL Manawatū with a Bachelor of Applied Visual Imaging (now the
Bachelor of Creative Media). He is now a partner at Kevin Bills Media, where he has worked with clients such as FMG, Waka Kotahi NZ Transport Agency, and Fulton Hogan.
"I really enjoyed study and had done a bit of photography before applying. I wanted to get away from working on agricultural machinery as I was going back and forth between here and Australia a few times a year. I always had a camera in my hands when I travelled around," says Alistair.
When looking into study options, Alistair chose the UCOL's creative degree as it would help him develop skills in multiple disciplines instead of just photography. The programme also gave Alistair a good understanding of how to operate a creative media business.
"Photography and web were my two main media back then, but now I have crossed over to photography and video in my job. The industry changes all the time and you need to be flexible."
"I didn't know at the time how the business classes would help me, but a few years down the track it is obvious and these lessons helped me navigate to where I am now. I wouldn't have it any other way."
"I was just thinking about how the industry has changed and how the study at UCOL enabled me to navigate these changes. Being versatile is really important. On some jobs I'll be videoing real estate, creating time-lapse imagery, doing commercial shooting, and creating 3D tours of buildings. I have had to adapt, learn, and grow all the time."
Alistair's UCOL lecturers had worked in the creative industries, so they had a wealth of expert knowledge and valuable insights to share.
"The direction and support I got from the lecturers was huge. We still connect and talk about what we are doing. The best thing was that if you needed any help or had challenges, they were there answering any questions at all hours."
After graduating, Alistair and fellow UCOL graduate Navneet Kumar started Fusion Photo and Film. Together, they worked on many commercial jobs, weddings, and real estate photography and videography.
"Working on weddings was an excellent start for videoing and taught me a lot about narrative and cutaway shots that help tell a story," says Alistair.
Fusion Photo and Film would do contract work for Kevin Bills Media, which led to the companies merging. Kevin Bills Media currently has three UCOL graduates on staff, with another seven UCOL graduates having previously worked for the company.
"Through COVID we were able to increase our business. We went from 10 to 15 videos a month, to 100 a month. Time-lapse photography of large commercial builds has enabled us to have the unknown advantage of monitoring a business build from afar. Knowing how to do all this came from a core understanding UCOL taught - to know your industry and keep ahead of it," says Alistair.
You can view a showreel of Alistair's work
Discover more about UCOL Te Pūkenga Creative programmes