Imogen Dodds, Film BA (Hons) graduated 2019
It didn’t take long after graduating from Kent, just a year in fact, for Imogen Dodds to secure her first job in the film industry. Now a Junior Marketing Manager for Lionsgate, Imogen shares how her love of film has not only helped her to excel in her career but has also propelled her on a mission to make independent and blockbuster movies accessible to the masses.
I loved my course; my lecturers were some of the best mentors I’ve ever had and my passion for film grew the more I learnt about areas such as screenwriting.
‘There was always a lot going on as part of my course, but I found my path to where I am through The Gulbenkian, an independent cinema and theatre right in the middle of campus. I joined their programme, Gulbenkian Uncovered, which is open to all students and offers a great introduction to independent arts, both on screen and stage. I was a Marketing and Programming intern there for my placement year too. The Gulbenkian has many different initiatives you get involved with, but one of my favourites was our outdoor cinema screenings. My role covered the social media marketing and funding application for the events, and it was great to see my hard work pay off when hundreds of students turned up to watch.
The Gulb was instrumental in giving me new skills and experience, but it was also a safe environment to try out new things and figure out what did and didn’t work. For example, a screening of The Wicker Man in the woods on campus landed well, whereas a showing of Sharknado wasn’t quite as successful!
After I graduated, I’ve been lucky enough to work for larger studios such as Paramount Pictures and Sony Pictures Entertainment, marketing their mainstream blockbusters at a theatrical and home entertainment level. I loved working for both studios, but my current position as a Junior Marketing Manager at Lionsgate is even more varied. I still get to work on the big blockbusters, but I’m also involved in the marketing of smaller, British titles. My role involves figuring out who the target audience is for each film and how to convince them that it’s worth seeing before I plan the premiers; junkets (interviews with the talent); and experiential events that give the film exposure. I also work with my team to create assets such as posters, trailers and social media posts. Basically, every day is different!
Film marketing wasn’t where I thought I’d end up though, I studied at Kent with the ambition of becoming a documentary filmmaker. I loved my course; my lecturers were some of the best mentors I’ve ever had and my passion for film grew the more I learnt about areas such as screenwriting; Hollywood and the Golden Age; and microbudget filmmaking. But during my placement year, I also developed an interest in market demand – what do people actually want to see at the cinema? I’d say my move into the film industry was inspired by an intention to marry these two interests: to showcase great films but also target them at the people who want to see them! A more personal mission that started with Gulbenkian Uncovered – and which I continue to pursue at Lionsgate – is to make cinema more accessible. Growing up in rural Northumberland, I wasn’t used to having access to the range of films and shows on campus and in Canterbury, and I really valued the opportunity to expand my horizons. I believe everyone should have the opportunity to access great films, small or large.
My advice for getting into the industry is simple – throw yourself into as much as you can at uni and outside your studies. Placement years are especially great for testing out what you do and don’t enjoy. And finally, embrace what you can do naturally. As social media natives, your skills are highly valued in industry, so just knowing how to post on TikTok puts you leagues ahead of others.