From Netflix to Channel 4 and beyond: Salford alumnus walks us down his path to success.
When University of Salford alumnus Michael Sheridan graduated from his BA (Hons) Television and Radio course, he hadn’t imagined himself sitting on the other end of a video call during a pandemic telling us about his traineeship with Netflix – but here we are.
The Cheshire-born up and coming media star graduated from the University of Salford in 2019. After gushing over our similar experiences of working on Salford’s state-of-the-art MediaCityUK campus, (which is turning 10 this year) we get down to business.
What is the Netflix traineeship?
“It was an amazing three-month traineeship with Netflix UK’s Publishing and Editorial team. They’re the team that creates and manages the social media content for Netflix UK’s Instagram, YouTube, Facebook, Twitter & Netflix’s TikTok.
“We had a multitude of masterclasses, and we created lots of content for the social channels. I ended up making a number of content pieces, and they got over 20 million views all together!”
How did you land such an impressive opportunity?
“People always ask me, and they think I’ll have a really exciting answer, but I just saw it on a Facebook group and emailed an application.
“I completed the application which required me to come up with five ideas for content. I then had an interview where I pitched three more.
“There were lots of applications, so I feel so incredibly lucky and grateful, especially being from a working-class background up North, that I was able to work for a brand as big as Netflix.”
Were you working remotely through the pandemic?
"The Entire traineeship was remote due to the Covid situation, but we would go into the office sometimes as restrictions started easing. It was cool getting to walk around the Netflix offices. I’m a big ‘Sex Education’ fan, and there’s a huge poster that I got to take pictures beside.”
Talk us through a normal day in your traineeship.
“It was a pretty varied day-to-day depending on what you were working on. Once a week we’d have a pitching session, so I’d spend some of the time coming up with social media ideas. Once these were approved, we’d then spend the rest of the week creating the content and liaising with the team to get feedback.
"I also had the opportunity to write a script and record my own voiceover for a video I edited and produced. In between, we had a variety of masterclasses in areas such as what works on TikTok, community management, motion graphics, dynamic text, writing scripts, tone of voice, public speaking and more!
“Sometimes, it involved watching Netflix too, to come up with the ideas and content that will resonate with an online audience.”
How did Salford help you gain such success?
“All the university networking events really helped! One of the things they said in the interview was how impressed they were with the things I’d done – and a lot of those opportunities were from Salford.
“The things I learned from my course were useful. I studied TV and Radio, and skills like storytelling and taking the audience on an emotional journey really helped.”
What have you been doing since the traineeship ended?
“I’m currently working in the Channel 4 social media team, creating content for their online platforms. I’m only in my second week, but so far so good!”
What’s the dream job?
“Oh wow – now that’s the question! I’m still figuring that out, and I hope that it helps people who are reading this realise that you don’t always need to have it all figured out!
“I’m definitely interested in the future of streaming services, social media and TV. Being LGBTQAI+, I’m also passionate about representation and social justice, themes which much of the content I created at Netflix centered around. I’m really excited about the opportunities social media content brings and the positive impact it can have on the world.
"This was part of the reason I set-up my podcast Ways To Improve The World where I have life-affirming conversations with people who are changing the world, featuring a variety of guests including television actors, broadcasters, activists, musicians, social entrepreneurs and more!"
He added: "I love working on things that have a real social impact. Oh and I also love Doctor Who. If I could get to work on that show, I’ll be very happy!"