Meet Luke Trower, highly commended at the Business Disability Forum’s film festival held at KPMG in London. Luke has Asperger’s and his film gives us an emotional and inspirational insight into his world. I had the privilege to meet his parents Brad and Jo and his sister Megan, who encourage Luke to ‘be the best he can be’ and it is to their credit that he is on this wonderful creative path. I caught up with Luke to get his views on what motivates him, who inspires him and where he sees himself in 5 years.
- As a DSA student, what is your experience of the DSA process and was it successful? For DSA, I had a positive experience of this. My advice for anyone on the Autistic Spectrum would be to apply early. I think that this would be very beneficial to anyone on the Autistic Spectrum because it takes a few weeks for everything to process so by applying early it is easier to get everything sorted and put in place so that you know what strategies are available for the following year; even if nothing is finalised.
- Why did you choose your university, and what factors influenced your decision?I wasn’t sure what I wanted to do, I didn’t know about graphic design at all. So my decision to pursue an art foundation course at Loughborough University came directly from my sixth form art teachers Mr Sinnott and Mr Smith. We had a group of about 9 students that would spend lunchtimes and breaks in the art department.
- What interested you to make this short film?
I heard about the film competition through Loughborough University’s DSN (Disability Support Network). This is a student run society for students with disabilities. I had created some work in the past that was quite similar and as I am interested in Motion Graphic Design, I thought it would be an excellent opportunity to combine these things.
You have Asperger’s how do you think that works to your advantage?
I think there are many benefits to having a Neurodiverse mind. Seeing patterns and structure in things. Being able to focus so intently that I can produce vast amounts of work. I see things differently that’s for sure.
- How did you come up with the idea for your film?
The idea for the film came from my mistakes. I was originally storyboarding and trying to fully plan a different idea that in the end seemed quite forced. At about 3 days in, I decided that it was better to be spontaneous, say how I felt having a disability was like and working with that. This idea was much more successful because what I was saying was a more accurate representation of how I felt.
- Where do you get the inspiration from?
I get my inspiration from multiple sources. I generally look at things that I see online such as YouTube, Dribbble and Lynda. I am attracted to the contemporary styles that I see on these platforms.
- What motivates you?
My motivation comes from a drive to be as successful as I can be. I certainly feel more motivated when I have something to work towards such as a brief or a personal goal. However, I have a tendency to be quite unmotivated when I’m at home because there is not as much structure as I would have at a job or university.
- Do you have any advice for young people having the same challenges?
I remember when I was at the Film Festival, one of the people in the winning group said that I was “brave.” On reflection, I think that with these challenges bravery is quite important because you push yourself outside of your comfort zone and then you will be able to open yourself to new opportunities; this is certainly what I have found personally. Finding coping strategies that work is also key; remember too that a strategy that works for someone else may not work for you. I also found that it took me a long time to open myself to new opportunities; it did not come immediately.
- What is your greatest achievement to date?
I think that aside from the Film Festival and the general personal development that I have gone through in the past few years, my greatest achievement would be the award that I won from Loughborough University for my specialism on Art Foundation – Visual Communication. To be recognised by the university out of over 70 students for my ability to take risks in my work assures me that I am creating good work and that I am working in the right way.
- Who would you like to watch your film? Any one famous?
There is nobody famous that I would like to show my film to. I would like my art teacher Mr. Sinnott to see it though because it would mean a lot to him. He would understand the context; where I have come from and how far I have come since then.
- Where do you see yourself in the next 5 years?
While continuing with my studies, I would like to start to create my own YouTube vlog about living with AS at university. I have not seen many vlogs about it but I think that it would be good because it gives me more opportunities to create the work that I am interested in while helping people.
- Where would you work if you could work anywhere?
I would like to work for Channel 4 because they create documentaries about the type of issues that I am interested in. I could make the title sequences, credits and any other motion graphics required for them. I feel that it is a company that I would certainly fit into very well.
- Do you want to continue making films or focus more on Graphic design or some other medium?
I feel that I could combine film making with motion graphics. Through my idea of a YouTube channel, I could certainly use motion graphics to help get my points across about disability even easier to people who are on or off the Autistic Spectrum. Outside of this, I would like to stay open right now though and see what opportunities come my way in the future.
- What emotions do you feel your film brings forth in viewers?
I think that for people who are not on the Autistic Spectrum, I would like them to have a sense of understanding after watching the film as to what it is like to be on the Autistic Spectrum. They may even be willing to find ways of being more inclusive afterwards. For people on the Autistic Spectrum, I would like to give them a sense of positivity and hope (which was discussed at the Film Festival) that they too can get a balance between work and social life which they may feel that they currently do not have.
Receiving my Loughborough University John Mack Award; presented by Vice Chancellor Bob Allison (Photo by Jagjit Samra)
Luke would also like to thank the following people who have supported him throughout his education and aspirations: Mrs Weller and Miss Braden; WestCliff school Southend, Loughborough University tutors Claire, Steven, Helen, Jo, Tony and Paula as well as Jackie Hatfield and Caitlin who has encouraged him throughout his life.
By Anna Moody Head of Marketing, Microlink PC Ltd.