Fife Oscar winner shares road to success on return to old school

Did you know Fife has an Oscar winner?

Chris Burdon picked up the best sound gong earlier this year for his work as a sound engineer on Top Gun: Maverick.

He got his first Academy Award nomination in 2013 for the film Captain Phillips, a category won by Gravity.

And despite flying high in Hollywood, he's not forgotten his roots and paid his old school, Madras College in St Andrews, a visit.

He spoke to 1st year media studies pupils on his journey from the Kingdom to red carpets and the big screen and hopefully inspired them as they embark on their own career path.

Chris wanted to be a musician growing up, and studied chemistry at university.

He's also worked on TV, on programmes like Spender, Casualty and Holby City before transitioning to films.

The 200 pupils and staff were also treated to clips from Top Gun: Maverick, Chris was able to explain just how much work goes on behind the scenes.

He said: "St Andrews was a lovely place to grow up as a kid, so meeting all the kids today was really great.

"It’s brilliant to come back to Madras College – it’s been almost 40 years since I’ve been here and of course this is an amazing new school.

“It’s been a pleasure to talk about my time at Madras, explaining what I do and how lucky I’ve been in my career.

“I hope everyone found it interesting and what I tried to get across more than anything is that it’s all down to effort and enthusiasm. It doesn’t matter if you are shy or a bit quiet, if you are enthusiastic then you can do pretty much anything you want to.”

He also attended Canongate and Lawhead Primary Schools in the early 70s before moving on to Madras at Kilrymont and South Street.  

Vicki Birmingham, English teacher and developing the young workforce coordinator, said: “The whole school has been very excited to welcome Chris back to Madras College.

“It’s not every day you get an Oscar winner coming in to school to share their success, so we were delighted that Chris could make it.

“It’s been an excellent opportunity for our pupils to hear from someone at the very top of their field and I’m sure his accomplishments will inspire many of those in the audience to go on to do great things in the world of work.”

S1 pupil Joanna Drage said : "It was really interesting to see all the different parts of the sound in the movie and to hear about what it was like to win an Oscar."

Jude Holsteen added: "I thought it was really fun and inspiring."

And S4 pupil Maisie McKidd said: "I was very inspired by the talk, especially because he went to Madras and he's from a fairly small town.

“It's amazing to see how far you can go from such a small school."

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