You just can’t work alone in this industry, thinking everyone is competition. Instead, think of them as potential future collaborators! At the end of the day, it is your responsibility to go out there and make opportunities happen. Qualifications are not enough anymore; companies are looking for self-starters.
One thing I struggled with was finding work to support me as I tried to break into filmmaking. Some young people are in the financial position to do full-time unpaid internships, but for me that wasn’t an option. Instead, I worked several jobs to save for projects. An issue with this was that once I’d saved enough, I’d passed the young person’s “cut-off” of 25! It’s great that there’s so much support for young filmmakers, but a lot of it is geared to 16-25 year-olds. It’s such a tough business that I think it should be 16-30!
My advice to young people is to look for local projects. Jobs do exist! This year I’ve worked with Godiva Films, G7 Film Productions and Chocolate Films, all fantastic at facilitating people’s first forays into film. Networking events used to seem daunting to me, but after doing projects with these organisations, I had something to say! I never would have had the confidence to plan a project without them.
Today, I am grateful for the struggles I went through. The skills I learnt in seemingly unrelated voluntary and office roles helped me understand the importance of coordination in getting a project off the ground, and overcoming my mental health issues made me a more resilient individual. I currently work part-time in an office, and am producing my first documentary with Simple Leaf Collective. In five years, I would love to have my own collective, and maybe make a documentary about Ghana, where I’m from.
My parents are still not the most inclusive about my creative career,
My mental health issues started in the second year of uni. I had ideas, but was afraid to express them in case people would see there was “something wrong with me.” In the end, it took a breakdown, a couple of months away from work, CBT and anxiety management to reignite the creative spark that had burnt out four years earlier. Now I see that I needn’t have felt shame, and that I certainly wasn’t alone.
I think more people would ask for support if there wasn’t such a stigma. I was able to volunteer with a charity who were very understanding of my situation, but not everyone has the same luck! I want to speak about my experience so people will know support is out there. If I can inspire one person to ask for help sooner than I did, then I have done good. I wasted so much time feeling too shy to approach people.
AISHA - ASPIRING FILM PRODUCER
Yvette Vanson - 1000 Londoners
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