Film, Media & Creative
Hertfordshire has been a national centre for film-making for a century. It hosts some of the biggest and best names in Hollywood, including Elstree, Warner Bros., Sky, Sunset Studios and the BBC. The county also has a thriving gaming and digital media industry and arts and cultural sector. Learn more about Hertfordshire's thriving creative sector, the prospects of this industry, household names, discover job roles and research qualifications, jobs and courses.
What are the Creative Industries?
The creative industries can be divided into 16 exciting career pathways including arts, culture and heritage, design, fashion, film & TV, gaming and immersive technologies, media, music, photography and videography, podcast and radio, publishing, architecture, theatre & performing arts, writing and journalism, visual effects and animation, advertising, PR and marketing.
You can explore these 16 creative industries in more detail on the brilliant meet-ERIC.com website. You can watch this 10 minutes video developed by ERIC to get a crash course on what creative industries is and what careers are available.
The Creative Industries in Hertfordshire
The reel deal
Some of the world’s best-known films, including all Star Wars and Indiana Jones films, and all eight Harry Potter films, were made here. Hertfordshire-based firms’ specialist and technical experts have been recognised for their contributions to Oscar-nominated and winning films.
Hertfordshire is a major contributor to a global success story, as the UK has one of the world’s most successful and dynamic creative sectors. Hear from some of our local residents describe their career pathway into the creative industries.
HOP into film, media and creative
A GROWING TALENT BASE
There were 4,550 firms in Hertfordshire’s creative industries in 2016, involved in activities from film-making to digital content production.
The number of employers has grown by 6.5% per year since 2010. Creative industries employed 17,600 people in 2015. Employment has grown by 10.6% annually since 2010, far exceeding the national growth rate of 4.5%.
The University of Hertfordshire is a key contributor to this creative ecosystem, with specialisms in animation, animatronics and digital media. Its animation school, UH Animation, is among the top four in the world. Alumni from the university are actively involved in world-leading games and animation companies and have worked on blockbuster productions such as Harry Potter, Avatar, Prometheus and the GTA series.
Hertfordshire is home to both Elstree Studios and Warner Bros. Studios Leavesden. Elstree has made three of the top shows on British television: Dancing on Ice and Who Wants to be a Millionaire? for ITV, and Big Brother for Channel 5. Some of the most famous films in the world have been made at Elstree, including Star Wars, Indiana Jones, The Shining, Superman, and Labyrinth. More recently, Elstree has been home to Kick Ass, The King’s Speech and Sherlock Holmes: A Game of Shadows. Thanks to a £1m Growing Places Fund loan from the LEP Elstree Studios was able to expand its studio space, resulting in it securing the £100m Netflix contract for The Crown.
BBC Elstree Studios has been home to some of the broadcaster’s most popular shows, including Grange Hill, Top of The Pops and Kilroy. BBC Elstree is best known for popular drama programmes such as EastEnders and Holby City.
The £100m Warner Bros. Studios Leavesden, owned by Warner Bros. Studios and opened in June 2012, is the largest studio space in the UK and is known worldwide as the home of the Harry Potter films. Other notable films include Edge of Tomorrow, Jupiter Ascending, In the Heart of the Sea and Man from U.N.C.L.E., as well as numerous TV productions and advertisements.
Its secure, 200-acre site is the only facility in Europe owned by a Hollywood studio. It has more than 250,000 square feet of studio space and hosts some of the largest sound stages in the UK, as well as one of the biggest heated underwater filming tanks in Europe. Its 100-acre back-lot is among the most extensive in Europe and can be adapted for multiple production needs.
In 2019, Sky announced plans for the development of a new major film and TV studio in Borehamwood, close to Elstree Studios and BBC Elstree. The intention is that a 32-acre state-of-the-art facility will house 12-14 soundstages, with the ability to merge and sub-divide multiple stages, providing flexibility to accommodate productions of all sizes. The stages were to be equipped with cutting-edge technology, with the Studios expected to become one of the most sustainable production sites in the world.
Sunset Studios in Broxbourne will be the first expansion of Blackstone and Hudson Pacific Properties’ studio platform outside Hollywood. The two partners acquired a 91-acre site to the north-west of the M25-A10 junction through a joint venture for £120 million. With an expected total investment of £700 million, the facility is estimated to generate 4,500 permanent jobs and £300 million annually for the local economy.
Hertswood Studios is a proposed new studio complex in Borehamwood. Planning permission has yet to be secured, but if built, the 90-acre site will provide a total of 1 million sq ft of film studio space, including 21 stages, supporting workshops and offices, as well as an additional commercial, hotel and film industry college space of 600,000 sq ft, making it the single largest studio in the UK.
THRIVING DIGITAL MEDIA
A growing number of digital content, gaming, software and visual effects (VFX) companies have started in Hertfordshire or chosen to locate here.
Hertfordshire’s digital companies produce content for feature films, television, games, commercials, websites and mobile phones. Games production and distribution companies such as Aspyr Media Europe Ltd, Rising Star Games Ltd, and KOEI TECMO Europe Ltd operate successfully from the county, taking advantage of Hertfordshire’s communications links with London and connectivity to key international markets.
For the last ten years, UH Animation’s annual exposé has been a primary recruitment forum for high profile companies seeking out new and exciting 2D, 3D, animation and VFX talent. Companies such as Disney Animation, The Mill, Tandem, Double Negative and Framestore are regular participants.
The University of Hertfordshire is also home to G+VERL (Games & Visual Effects Research Lab), a ground-breaking project linking scientists, artists, clinicians and filmmakers. It brings together the worlds of film, art, technology and computer science to undertake research into digital image-making and high-resolution image technologies. Sharing methods and promoting interdisciplinary understanding, the project brings together world-class research in a wide range of areas, including video art, digital film, visual effects and medical visualisation.
Hertfordshire is strong on promotion too, with corporate and events management companies such as SMYLE helping global brands launch new products or celebrate successes.
Some of the most famous films in the world have been made at Elstree, including Star Wars, Indiana Jones, The Shining, Superman, and Labyrinth
Apprenticeships in Media and Creative
Creative, Film, Media Learning Opportunities
'Media' Job Vacancies
Creative, Film and Television Job vacancies
Do you have lots of interest in the creative sector? Want to channel your creative talent and energy but not sure where to start?
Take a look at some job roles in the Creative Industries on HOP. You can also visit Discover Creative Careers bringing together careers information and opportunities from creative organisations in one explorable directory.
Here you can find all the short courses and qualifications relevant to the Creative, Film and Media. Browse courses that are quality assured by the Education and Skills Funding Agency.
Apprenticeships are one way to start a career in creative, film or media. Go to our HOP pages on Apprenticeships for more information on how to become an apprentice. You can find out more detail on what each apprenticeship qualification involves through the Institute of Apprenticeships.
The vibrant School of Creative Arts at The University of Hertfordshire offers an inspiring and supportive environment in which to start your journey towards a creative career. Their film, media, design, visual arts, music and art therapy courses are all led by talented artists, experienced lecturers and industry experts. Find out more about what our University Creative Arts school has to offer by clicking here.
Virtual Employer Encounters
Want to go behind the scenes into the world of film and media production? Take a look at our virtual webinar with guests from Warner Bros. and the producer and founder of Brave Soldier Films.
Virtual Employer Encounters
This webinar will explore what it is like to have a career in the Performing Arts Industry including the best entry routes into the industry and the demand for different roles.
Virtual Employer Encounters
This webinar will explore what it is like to have a career in the Fashion Industry including the best entry routes into the industry and the demand for different roles.
Work, Earn, Learn: Can apprenticeships build an inclusive & skilled sector?
Are creative apprenticeships working? If not – why not? How do apprenticeships improve diversity and fair access – do they?
What are the barriers around apprenticeships in our sector and how might these be addressed? These were just some of the important questions put to a panel by Chair Dianna Djokey on Thursday 2nd February.