Beyond Brontës Skills Initiative- Year 1

Beyond Brontës Skills Initiative- Year 1

Beyond Brontës supports young people from a diverse range of backgrounds and circumstances to overcome obstacles that may have prevented them from entering the screen industries.

The first group of trainees – from Bradford, Leeds, York, Barnsley, Calderdale, Harrogate, Kirklees, Selby and Wakefield – successfully completed the scheme in June 2020, with the support, input and encouragement of a wide range of broadcasters, production companies, industry professionals and experts.

They were given training in lots of exciting and creative roles, received detailed careers information and enjoyed visits to busy studios and offices, including the BBC’s MediaCity, as well as one-to-one support from our dedicated team and amazing networking opportunities. The trainees were also matched with experienced personal mentors active and successful in the industry.

Many had the chance to work alongside dedicated, professional teams on real-life TV and film projects – and some are already taking their first steps in their own careers. We can’t wait to see what they achieve.

Beyond Brontës – Year 1 Highlights

During autumn 2019, in conjunction with our partners Studio12, trainees attended a number of Script to Screen masterclasses. These ranged from pitching workshops with Ruth Bader from Leeds-based factual indie True North (producers of shows like A New Life in the Sun, Say Yes to the Dress and Teen Mom UK), a session on combining poetry and narrative film with filmmaker Khadijah Ibrahiim (We are Poets), a workshop on writing scripts with stand-up comedienne and writer Danielle Ward (Take A Break Tales, Do the Right Thing) and an opportunity to pitch their ideas to development executives from Candour Productions (Catching a Killer), Can Can Productions (The Steph Show) and Channel 4 (whose National HQ is now based in Leeds city centre).

Then in December 2019, the trainees had the opportunity to attend a Runners Bootcamp, run by industry training consultant Addie Orfila, who has over 20 years experience working in TV on productions like Hollyoaks, Heartbeat, Touch of Frost and Countdown. This full-day entry level course gave participants an overview of what a runner does and the key tasks involved, a session on demystifying production, a breakdown of the essential paperwork on set and a look at how to understand a script.

We kicked off the new year in 2020 with a careers advice and personal development training session. Experienced industry freelancer Hannah Kenworthy (24 hours in A&E) delivered a session on the essential skills involved in being a successful production assistant and casting researcher; actress and presentation-coach Victoria Pritchard (In The Club, Doctors, Hollyoaks) delivered a confidence building session; and Barbara Govan chief executive Screenhouse Productions facilitated a personal branding workshop.

Beyond Brontës has been a great flexible approach to help me enter the industry. I work full-time and have still had plenty of opportunities to attend the events on offer. The team at Beyond Brontës are so supportive and give great advice for starting out in the industry and listen and adapt all events, talks and sessions based on the feedback we give.

Bethh Oliver, Beyond Brontës participant

Beyond Brontës has offered me experiences and expertise tailored around me and my needs. Over the past six months I have been able to develop skills and receive countless opportunities to network, not only with industry professionals, but with 49 creative and likeminded individuals, like myself, who all want the same thing - We want to succeed and we want each other to succeed

Anna Kolacz, Beyond Brontës participant

Trainees have also had mentorship training provided by ScreenSkills, and we hosted our first Mentorship Mixer, where participants had the chance to chat with people in the industry about their next steps and bigger future goals.

Also luckily, in the months prior to the March 2020 lockdown, we were able to set up exclusive Beyond Brontës trainee internships at our partner regional production companies, True North, Wise Owl Films, Rollem Productions, Button Down, Prime Studios, Duck Soup Films, Rockerdale Productions, and also at Screen Yorkshire’s Film Office.  We look forward to working with even more regional production companies as we welcome our second group of trainees.

We also announced that Beyond Brontës would be collaborating with the BBC in the North, which started with a day at MediaCityUK in Salford. Participants had the experience of running a live news broadcast, with a practical session presenting and taking over the gallery at BBC Breakfast, as well as talks from the digital team and a tour around Dock 10, where many of the studios are based. More sessions with the BBC North team are yet to be announced, so follow our social media to keep up with our adventures across the Pennines.

Under lockdown, Beyond Brontës continued to provide exciting online sessions, embracing the possibilities of working online to reach a series of wonderful session hosts and facilitators no matter the physical distance.  We has sessions from David Thomas, Abigail Dankwa (Tipping Point, Big Brother, UEFA Champions League Final), Clare Addy, LTBL Productions, Carol Russell (Story of Tracy Beaker, Soon Gone: A Windrush Chronicle), FestivalFormula, Suga Suppiah (Fantastic Beast and Where to Find Them), and Bruna Capozzoli (Angry Birds Makerspace, MAMO), with some sessions facilitated by Think Bigger and Kurious Arts.  These covered all aspects of the industry from Development to Post, including sessions on Freelancer Finance, production office etiquette, networking, and the festival circuit, as well as exploring the potentials of platforms like YouTube and techniques like Previs.

Alongside these lockdown sessions, we had a selection of chats with industry professionals and talent managers, including Carrie Britton (Scripted Talent Executive for Drama and Comedy BBC Studios), Sarah Lee (Creative Director at The Talent Manager), Sarah Vignoles (Talent Scheme Director at The Edinburgh TV Festival), and Alice Ramsey (BBC Writers Room Development Producer).  This gave our trainees exclusive access to the people involved in recruitment, expert advice, and solutions to the questions they wanted answered most.

The screen industries are growing in the region, but the talent behind the cameras doesn’t currently reflect the diverse communities in the UK. We want young audiences to find out about the opportunities available now and understand that a career in the film and TV industries could be for them. Anybody from any background can have a career in the screen industries; there are so many opportunities and there is a place for everyone.

Sam Fray, Beyond Brontës Programme Manager

Sam Fray, Beyond Brontës Programme Manager

On the 23rd June 2020, we held a virtual graduation to celebrate the end of the first-year.  Aside from one spot of technical difficulties, it was fun, inspiring, and surprisingly emotional.  We thank everyone who attended for making the event special and thank everyone who has been involved in the first year of the project.

We’re so proud of our trainees and what they’ve achieved. Although they’ve faced curve-balls and challenges – especially from the Covid-19 lockdown – they’ve demonstrated an amazing resilience and flexibility.  We’re excited to continue working with them as alumnis, offering help and advice as they begin their careers.

Watch our video to find out more

Beyond Brontës held a ‘Get to Know You Day’ for applicants at Northern Ballet in Leeds, where applicants met with the team at Screen Yorkshire to find out more about the programme. Prospective trainees also got to hear about what it’s like to work in the industry and the many different roles required on a film & TV set from experienced crew, including; Jess Taylor – Head of Make Up (Emmerdale), Ruth Bader – Assistant Producer Factual (BBC Bitesize, Fake Britain), Lisa Phillips-Dodsworth Assistant – Costume Designer (Emmerdale), Ben Reid – VFX (Star Wars: The Last Jedi, Breathe and The Ritual) and Richard Knight, Screen Yorkshire’s Production Liaison and Education Manager, who has fifteen years’ experience working as a location manager (Four Lions, This is England, Utopia).

Get in touch

Whether you are a current trainee or want to enquire about further opportunities, get in touch. Our team is also happy to signpost you to other opportunities available that may be more suited to your needs. If you applied to Beyond Brontës this year but weren’t selected for the final 50, don’t be disheartened. Screen Yorkshire will be putting out another call for applications in 2020 and we encourage anyone who still fits the criteria to re-apply.

  • Sam Fray, Beyond Brontës Programme Manager

    Sam Fray, Beyond Brontës Programme Manager

    Sam manages the Beyond Brontës programme, that has been established to address the lack of diversity in the screen industries by supporting young people in the Bradford District and Leeds City Region to develop the skills, confidence and connections to enter and succeed in the screen industries.
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    Abigail Houseman, Beyond Brontës Administrative Assistant

    Abigail supports Sam to keep the Beyond Brontës programme running smoothly.

English isn’t my first language, can I still apply/take part?

We do not have any non-English speakers on the team currently. We would suggest that you apply in English to the best of your ability. The course will require lots of interaction, therefore we suggest applicants are confident in how they can meet these requirements and we will do our best to accommodate any specific needs where we can.

I have dependants/am a carer. Will this course still be available for me?

Where we can, Beyond Brontës intends to support, remove obstacles and be flexible for our participants. We will assess support with costs associated to caring responsibilities, based on the individual needs of participants

I’m receiving benefits. Will the programme affect them?

There are various benefits that can be claimed with specific regulations and rules on what might affect your benefit claim. The best way to assess your query, would be to visit your local Department of Work and Pensions or alternatively, contact them. Details for contacting your relevant claim department by telephone, can be found here:

Will I be trained in a particular field of the screen industries?

Beyond Brontës will provide various resources to help the selected cohort to gain knowledge, skills and confidence in the industry overall, in addition to supporting individuals’ tailored career interests. Where we can, we will cater to help individuals gain access and insight into their field of interest.

How long is the commitment to the course?

We are stipulating 6 months as the minimum and 12 months as the maximum engagement time for the course. We want to support those who may face barriers so some flexibility will be available and can be further assessed when the cohort is selected.

I’m studying at University/have a degree. Does that make me ineligible?

No - the programme intends to help those who wish to enter the screen industries. You can apply for Beyond Brontës whether or not you have a degree, regardless of whether that degree is relevant to the screen industries or not. Unless you already have an established career in the screen industries, as a freelancer or other, you can apply.

How do I know if I am under-represented in the screen industries and eligible for Beyond Brontës?

It is against the law to discriminate against someone with a protected characteristic and there are many individuals with protected characteristics who are under-represented in the screen industries. Some of these protected characteristics are: gender, race/ethnicity, social class, disability, LGBTQ+ identity, religion, pregnancy and maternity, marriage and civil partnership and location. These protected characteristics can intersect eg. a working-class individual with a disability. There is more information on protected characteristics here:   Beyond Brontës intention is to redress the issue of under-representation in the screen industries by aiding under-represented individuals with protected characteristics to enter the industry. Therefore, we encourage applicants who identify with having a protected characteristic that may be under-represented in the industry to apply for the programme. If you are unsure if you are under-represented in the screen industries there is further information here: (see pp. 31-39).

I’m not from a working class and/or BAME background. Am I still eligible to apply?

The programme is not solely aimed at those from working class and/or BAME backgrounds. Beyond Brontës aims to redress the issue of many people with protected characteristics not being represented in the screen industries. There is further information on under-representation and protected characteristics in the answer to 'How do I know if I am under-represented in the screen industries and eligible for Beyond Brontës?'

I’m not in the 18-24 age bracket, but want to be on the programme. Is that possible?

No - Beyond Brontës is designed for people aged 18-24 to help those entering both the screen industries and the careers sector for the first time, we are building soft and hard skills for people who have not had the opportunity to gain that experience. For those from a different age bracket, get in touch with us and we will be happy to share industry advice more suited to your needs.

I’m from Leeds City Region, but based outside of it. Can I still take part?

No - you must be residing within Leeds City Region at present to take part in the scheme. Beyond Brontës, its funders and supporters only have resources for those currently residing within Leeds City Region.

Do I have to be based in Leeds City Region?

You must live in the Leeds City Region area to be eligible. This includes the following cities and districts (view map) Bradford, Leeds, Wakefield, Kirklees, Calderdale in West Yorkshire Selby, Craven, Harrogate and York in North Yorkshire Barnsley in South Yorkshire