Meet Writer and New Creative, Zia Holloway

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.