Our declared vocational ethos is “to shorten the odds of getting our movies and programmes made, distributed and recouping!”. This communicates the pragmatic nature of our intentions and contrasts somewhat with the “art school” approach of most screenwriting/filmmaking programmes that prioritise the “finding of one’s voice” or simply completing screenplays. We make the assumption that our writer/producers/film-makers will have already found their voice or some quiet whisper of it and, if they haven’t, they are pretty unlikely to ever stumble across it.
There is an old industry adage, “You can’t teach someone how to write, but as a writer you can learn how to.” And the same must apply for producers, directors, actors.
This apparent paradox informs all that we do. Our programmes are designed to maximize participant-led learning processes. They are designed, not just to fulfill the particular learning outcomes of individual courses, but to provide training in all the core collaborative skills necessary for a successful creative career within the film and television industries.
These skills are essential for our particular industry but they are among the most valued by ALL employers, namely:
- The ability to communicate with clarity and elegance in person and on paper.
- An enthusiasm for collaboration.
- A dogged determination to be pragmatic and “glass half-full”.
- A healthy balance of chutzpah and humility.
- The ability to improvise and be original within set parameters.
- The stamina to revise work again and again.
- Good time management.
- The ability to develop a logical argument and counter argument.
- A lifelong commitment to analyse human psychology (with an expertise in the reading of text and subtext in language).
We put small group work at the centre of our training processes. This aids, of course, participant-led work but also allows for a high level of two-way communication between mentors and participants. All of our staff are active film makers, including Bafta and Oscar winners, and our regular tutors are made up of the best and most successful in the business.
We learn through:
- Workshops with Writers and Producers
- Industry seminars with Sales Agents, Distributors, Exhibitors, Film Finance, Writers, Directors, Actors, Sound Designers, Line Producers, Cinematographers, Editors etc.
- Pitching verbally and on paper
- Analytical screenings
- Scripting (from shorts to full-length features)
- Re-writing and more re-writing!
The emphasis of our programmes is script/story-development, creative producing, business planning, directing (including the making of short features) to high professional standards, working in partnership with the film industry.
So, we put particular emphasis on the skills required for TELLING and SELLING stories rather than simply the construction of them. To this end, we have a pitch element in every course and on the major Project we oblige writers/producers to produce several drafts of formally assessed loglines and one-pagers.
Those of you who have been offered a place on this programme will have already been through an extensive application and interview process and will be familiar with the intentions of the programme.
All participants are key members in the development of our identity, our industry reputation and, indeed, our training practices. If you are offered a place on one of our programmes, I very much hope that you will embrace this opportunity as active partners.
Our staff endeavor to create an inspiring and rigorous creative environment that sets the bar very high; that demands you work, consistently, to the very best of your ability; that challenges you to develop work that is the product of your highly individual sensibility rather than a lacklustre attempt to anticipate the market. We tutors/mentors commit ourselves to objective support for your creative intentions and are mindful that our industry experience should not hoodwink us into a sense of creative superiority!
The buck stops with you. You are the true architects of your success. We’re here to walk the road with you!