APPLICATIONS ARE NOW CLOSED FOR THE BFI FILM ACADEMY ONLINE ANIMATION CAMP. THANK YOU TO ALL THAT HAVE APPLIED.
It’s official! In February 2021, we will be running our eighth national BFI animation camp online – as part of BFI Film Academy, the national Department for Education and Lottery funded scheme for young people with a passion for film.
We are on the look-out now for 25 young animators from across the UK (aged 16-19) to join us online for our national animation camp. The dates of the camp are 15th – 19th February 2021, but don’t delay, applications close on the 7th of December. See our Animation Camp page for more information.
Meet Mike Parker, one of the Mentors at Calling the Shots. Having been a Producer for 30 years, creating documentaries, drama, comedy, high-end TV and feature films, he brings a wealth of experience to his role. Mike is also the course leader for the Film Production BA (Hons) course at the University of Gloucestershire. We caught up with him to find out about his experiences as a Mentor on the BBC New Creatives scheme.
What does mentoring on the New Creatives scheme involve?
I enjoy working closely with the Artists to develop their ideas and to ensure that their creative vision can be realised within the budget and time frame to the highest possible standard.
How are you matched up on the New Creatives scheme?
Usually I am approached by the artists who have been selected for the scheme or by Calling the Shots. I often also help develop their ideas before they are selected by Calling the Shots. As course leader for the Film production course at the University of Gloucestershire, we can provide professional facilities and our students usually provide all the crews on these projects.
Which New Creatives projects have you worked on?
Wake Up Britain, Trigger Bang, Fruity and I have recently been asked to work on These Lines that divide us.
What is the best part of being a New Creatives Mentor?
It is wonderful to be able to help the new generation of filmmakers develop their voice as filmmakers and to help them through what is usually, their first experience of working professionally, within the industry.
What is your favourite memory from working on the New Creatives scheme?
The best time is always in the final mixes and grading sessions at Films@59 where all their hard work comes together, and they see the finished film in all their glory!
I am a young screenwriter whose audio drama, Burn Your Wishes – which chronicles the annual fireworks display of a rural council estates last originals – was commissioned by the BBC and produced by Calling The Shots. Now that the process has come to an end, I can reflect upon my time as a New Creative and share my personal experience of a scheme that is granting people like me the chance to do something amazing.
What is so special about the New Creatives scheme is that each cohort is made up of brilliant people who come from a plethora of backgrounds. My background is in screenwriting, so this was the first time I had ever been given full creative control over my script.It was very new to me to be part of the journey every step of the way and I was overjoyed to move beyond the writing desk into the realm of directing. Over the course of several months I have written a script, cast my audio drama, successfully navigated the territory of production and enhanced my story through post production into a final project that I am immensely proud of, all during a global pandemic.
The scheme offers its New Creatives the funding, mentoring, training, and support to take their ideas to screen. This was a valuable opportunity for me to work with a renowned production company who has been developing talent and engaging with new filmmakers for years, and get that elusive first credit to my name. The Calling the Shots team tailored the training and support to my strengths and experience so that I was never left feeling out of my depth. There was constant support from people ‘in the know’ who were always happy to answer even my most basic questions – believe me I had a few!What was great about the process was that I was given the space and time by the production to focus entirely on the creative process and elevate my idea to the best possible place it could be. It’s rare to be given such freedom to work on a passion project and this is what sets the scheme apart from other opportunities out there.
The mentorship process was as vital to me as the experience of production. I was mentored by prolific playwright, Mike Akers who helped me with my script and showed me the benefits of audio drama and the creative freedom that the medium allows. Yet, in a way, everyone was a mentor to me including the producer Anna Lea, project manager Sophie Freeman, and executive producer Jeremy Routledge. I was privileged to learn from these industry experts and ultimately be inspired by their suggestions and advice.
Every day as a New Creative was a new lesson and I feel that I have gained an immeasurable amount of knowledge and confidence from the scheme.The process has equipped me with some important tools that I know I can apply in future and I now have another experience behind me to enable me to continue my career in the film and television industry. I would encourage anyone with a unique idea and a passion for the creative industries to get involved. But understand that this is more than a funding opportunity – immerse yourself in the process, be open to change and progression, and make the most of everything the New Creatives scheme offers.
Tom Stockley is an artist, poet, community activist and one of our Round Two New Creatives. As part of the scheme he created an audio piece, The New Wild West, which examines the forgotten history of Knowle West and the local heroes fighting for its future.
We interviewed Tom to shed light on what it’s like being a part of the BBC New Creatives scheme. Keep scrolling to learn more.
How did you get onto the New Creatives programme?
I’ve been making audio work in different forms for a while so when I saw this programme that had a framework of support and a brief to clarify some of my ideas, both creative and socio-political, it seemed like a good match. I’m glad they thought so too, that doesn’t always happen.
What was the programme like?
I’m used to either working on my practice freely or delivering fairly short, sharp commissions. So to be working within a fairly long term process of workshopping, shaping ideas and a piece being slowly sculpted from many angles was a good process for me. It felt a bit like school again, although not in a bad way.
What was the mentoring process like?
My mentor was Bristol-based poet, writer and producer Rob Mitchell. The whole process was super personal. It felt really well matched and it was massively validating to have someone who could offer encouragement, critique and understanding of my process. It was a big job to do, chasing after my neurotic twists and turns over pints and meeting rooms, but they did a good job.
What did you take away from the experience?
I now have a less cavalier attitude towards creating larger scale works and a more realistic idea of the project management and collaborative side of things. I’m trying to maintain that punk spirit which is important to me as an artist, but learn how to dress that up to make work for bigger platforms. Like a trojan horse of socialist-leaning creativity.
Has the New Creatives scheme helped you further your career?
There’s certainly some buzzwords that help on my creative CV. ‘Audio production for the BBC’ will probably wet some whistles. But it’s also helped me clarify what kind of work I want to make and how I want to make it.
What message would you have for others considering a scheme like this?
Do it! But be very clear about your ideas and values and don’t waver too much. Listen to the advice and the experience of others, but ultimately only you know what you want to say and how you want to say it. You are the artist and contrary to how it might feel, the world needs more of those.
Find out more about Toms work at: www.tomstockley/weebly.com
Join Helena Middleton behind the scenes of BREADLINE: a dance/movement film about food poverty. Although the UK is the seventh richest country in the world, many people struggle to afford food. Set in a young couples kitchen, BREADLINE uses dance and movement as a new way of shining light on this urgent issue.
Helena is a Bristol based film and theatre director. She makes collaborative, devised theatre and bold, intimate films about 21st century living. Find out more about her work at helenamiddleton.co.uk.