New Voices on Screen with the Scottish Film Talent Network was a 2-day filmmaking lab, focusing on supporting BAME filmmakers which took place on the 29th and 30th of October in Glasgow. It was a great opportunity for filmmakers from diverse backgrounds to attend master classes, screenings and sessions with industry professionals. Its aim is to help prepare participants for application to their talent schemes and to build their knowledge and contacts to help them succeed in the Film Industry.
Here at Screen NETS and Screen Academy Scotland, we also work to increase the diversity of talented individuals working in film and TV. We were delighted to promote the programme to our graduates, trainees and students who were eligible to apply. Three talented individuals from Screen NETS/Screen Academy were selected and where required we provided funding support to assist two of them to take part.
Amongst the participants on the lab were Screen NETS Post Production Trainee, Kal Singh Lally, Edinburgh Napier BA Film 4th year Nasareen Saraei and Screen Academy MA Screenwriting graduate Aude Konan . Below are Kal and Nasareen’s blog about their experience on the New Voices on Screen.
Kal Singh Lally, Screen NETS Post Production Trainee
For a couple of days recently I had the pleasure of attending a lab run by the SFTN for upcoming writers and directors. Going in I hoped it would help showcase some of the opportunities that were out there and give me a chance to speak to various industry professionals.
The range and wealth of talent we got to speak with was fantastic. From speaking with Robbie Allen (Creative Scotland) and Gaynor Holmes (BBC Scotland) we were able to get a clear idea of what they are looking for as commissioners, some of the mistakes they are seeing on a consistent basis and what support exists for you as writer or director.
Another highlight included meeting Hong Khaou, writer/director of ‘Lilting’. This was especially relevant because this had been his first feature film and was also made on a small budget. He spoke extensively about how he had managed to get to that position and what opportunities had come as a result of this. He also spoke in depth about the problems and obstacles that he faced on such a short shoot with a limited budget.
Meeting so many likeminded individuals who are all in the same sort of position as you was another benefit and hopefully has created a support network for us and will bring about collaborations that might not have happened otherwise.
Ultimately I have come away with a much better understanding of the support and opportunities available at the different stages of your career. By meeting people at these different stages and hearing first-hand how they are approaching that next step, it’s provided that extra bit of belief and understanding that you can also be there one day.
I’m continuing with my Screen Nets One traineeship developing my skills as an Assistant Editor for TV drama and feature film but I am now better equipped to develop my screenwriting skills with a focus on the future.
Nasareen Saraei, BA Film 4th year, Edinburgh Napier University
Staying in a lovely hotel overlooking the water, with the BBC building at its doorstep, I was pretty nervous the night before the 2 day BAME New Voices on Screen event. I study at Edinburgh Napier’s Screen Academy and my university tutor Paul Gray emailed me telling me I should applyand I was luckily one of 20 chosen. A biography list of all of the participants was emailed out the night before, and after reading the document, I felt slightly intimidated. Everyone seemed to be pretty successful- from winning awards, to working on professional BBC productions in the past (and I cringed a little that I’d decided to write that I like condiments in my bio). However, after the initial nerves, I met people who didn’t seem as beyond me as I’d first thought- which was good for me to realise. And I met some amazingly talented directors who showed us films that really inspired me- films that were not only good, but seemed actually achievable. I simultaneously enjoyed them, and also thought hey- I could do that.
I’d never thought that my unique background could contribute to what I have to offer-but the speakers told us that we have been brought up differently, which means we have unique stories that should be heard. Being half Scottish, half Iranian, I definitely had such a different childhood compared to my peers, because of my mix of cultures, and I’d never thought of this as an assetuntil now. The day was very positive and I enjoyed the refreshingly encouraging atmosphere. I learnt of schemes available, and enjoyed the evening drinks- getting to speak to some amazing directors and producers. At first it seemed daunting, especially after the long first day, but after a few drinks I actually really enjoyed that opportunity.
I was encouraged to apply for the BBC trainee schemes, which I’ll definitely do- especially as I’m nearing graduation. It’s also inspired me to enter more short film festivals such as the Glasgow Short Film Festival. I’m still not 100% sure what I want to do after my degree, but the event definitely made me more ambitious to get to where I want to be- which is certainly somewhere within this industry. This year, in 4th year, there are 12 people hoping to write and direct, but only a few pitches will be selected to be made next semester. Before the event I was content to take a modest and coy ‘back-seat’ in the competition, but now I know I definitely want to make my film.