Welcome to our latest NFTS story, a series of blogs featuring our alumni talking about where they were before they came to the School and where they are now (follow the series by using the #NFTSStories hashtag across Twitter and Instagram). Stephanie Bradshaw graduated from the NFTS Assistant Directing and Floor Managing Diploma in 2019 after making a career change from working with Formula One team, McLaren and has already worked on a number of Netflix shows including The Crown!

What were you doing before applying to the NFTS? I was formerly working in IT, travelling the world with the F1 team McLaren and then continued on as a Project Manager. Then I discovered what an Assistant Director was, ironically whilst being an extra in a TV series at McLaren, and decided to change career before it was too late! When I was 14, I tried to get into TV and did work experience in the industry but I found it difficult to find what I wanted to do so I ended up on a different career path!

What are you doing now? Since graduating from the NFTS, I have been working on a Japanese/British drama called Giri/Haji for BBC/Netflix which will be released toward the end of this year, The Crown and am now working on Armando Ianucci’s new series: Avenue 5. It’s been great learning from all kinds of different people in the industry and meeting new cast and crews. I feel lucky to have had these opportunities already! 

How has studying at the NFTS helped you in your journey to your current career? I chose to study at the NFTS rather than try to get straight into the industry as I felt I could learn the more technical aspects quicker than I could by trying to find work straight away. I had no contacts in the industry at all so I had no idea where to start. I feel that I gained about 5 years’ worth of experience in a year at the NFTS, learning things such as scheduling and how to run a production as a 1st AD, which would have taken a long time if I’d started at the beginning. I fully expect to work my way up in the industry again and one day reach my goals once I have gained more experience working with a lot of different ADs and productions! I feel that going to the NFTS has given me a huge insight into the industry and a lot of practical experience to give me a good starting point in my new career.

What advice would you give to an aspiring NFTS student? Follow your dreams! Accepting a place at the NFTS was one of the best things I have ever done and I’ve met so many talented and inspiring people along the way. Always do what makes you happy. Life is too short to settle on things which don’t make you want to get up and go to work in the morning. 

If you were stranded on a desert island, which film, TV boxset or video game would you take? I would probably take the boxset Friends with me as it’s something I watch whenever I’ve been scrolling through Netflix for too long and give up!

For more information about the Assistant Directing and Floor Managing Diploma, please visit www.nfts.co.uk/assistantdirecting