Hundreds of school children get insight into London’s booming film industry
One-of-a-kind event showed young people the jobs behind the capital’s film scene, 700 school children got an eye-opening insight into the many careers available in London’s booming film and TV industry.

The first of its kind event brought together industry practitioners from a wide spectrum of film-related businesses; from lighting to cameras, postproduction, media make-up, prop-making, and casting. The aim was to show young people the behind-the-scenes jobs that are available in the capital’s film scene, getting them to understand that the film industry is much more than just being an actor or director. There are a vast number of career paths behind the cameras, including technical, creative, and business and management jobs which young people can aspire to.

Children aged from 11 to 18 got a whistlestop tour of everything film and TV, including a live set and six interactive zones to explore.

It was held at UCL PEARL (Person-Environment-Activity Research Laboratory) next door to Eastbrook Studios, which when completed, will be London’s largest studio complex.

PEARL is a unique facility to explore the ways in which people interact with their environment. It is a massive space – around 4,000m2 and 10m high – in which they can create life-sized environments – a railway station, high street, town square – under controlled conditions, so that they can examine how people interact with the environment. It provided a stunning setting, replicating film studio conditions, for the 700 visitors to the careers event. PEARL’s world class technicians also lent their expertise to ensure the event was a ‘wow’ experience for the school children.

Anna Wilson, Sector Lead for Film & Creative Industries, Film Barking and Dagenham, explains the purpose of the event: “The event was to demonstrate the broad scope of industry roles for students in a dynamic way and hopefully bust some of the myths surrounding working in film, which can seem mysterious and out of reach. Rather than ‘tell’ them about these jobs, we want to ‘show’ them. It’s also key to introduce students to young diverse practitioners, with the view that introducing them to professionals they can relate to, we’re shortening the aspiration and attainment gap and in doing so, inspiring a whole new generation of East London creatives”.

Lisa Dee, Head of Film Barking & Dagenham, Film Barking and Dagenham, says: “This year marks 10 years since we started Film Barking and Dagenham. Of course, we love it when a huge Blockbuster chooses to film in Barking and Dagenham, but today’s career event trumps that, and we couldn’t think of better way to commemorate this milestone than to be able to show our local young people the future careers that they can expect to have within their hometown of east London. The Make it Here programme will be developing training and job opportunities to further enhance the borough’s skills base within the local screen sector, and it’s that future pool of talent that will make the magic happen on and off the screen. Made in Barking and Dagenham – we couldn’t be prouder!”

It’s an exciting time for the film and TV industry, with massive growth particularly in London and the South East. The London Borough of Barking and Dagenham is home to two new studios: The Wharf, which opened this year and Eastbrook Studios, which is currently being built. The borough itself, through Film Barking and Dagenham have hosted already this year major shows for Netflix, Apple and Warner Bros and ensured that young people from the local college have been recruited by those productions work on the shows when filming in Barking and Dagenham.

Studios and producers are working flat out to service viewers’ demands, but such growth produces its own set of challenges in terms of skills gaps and supply shortages.

Film Barking and Dagenham, the event organiser, has a dual remit to encourage film producers to ‘Make It Here’ in the east London borough and to help fill the skills gaps by educating and upskilling local people to fill the many jobs that will be in demand over the coming years. They worked with Inspiring Futures: The Barking and Dagenham Cultural Education Partnership (CEP) to deliver this large-scale event; the CEP nurtures links between cultural organisations and schools to work towards every young person having the opportunity to be creative,

either in school or beyond.

The event comes hot on the heels of new research published in June, which was commissioned by ScreenSkills that film and high-end television production in the UK could be worth £7.66 billion – up from £5.64 billion – by 2025 and require nearly 21,000 more crew under the newly published detailed analysis.

Ten media students from Barking & Dagenham College gained work experience by marshalling at the event.

 Councillor Darren Rodwell, Leader of Barking and Dagenham Council says: “Here in Dagenham we are no longer making cars but making films and we are determined that growth in the borough is not just bricks and mortar, but something that benefits all of our residents and businesses.

This event is a fantastic opportunity for our young people to not only learn first-hand about the different roles involved in film production, most importantly, it provides an opportunity for them to think about preparing themselves to be best placed to take on the jobs and opportunities that come with it.”

Studio owners and operators, Hackman Capital Partners and The MBS Group, sponsor the new “Make it Here” program, and MBS will be lending their industry expertise on the day.”

Jason Hariton – Chief Real Estate Officer, MBS Group, the world’s largest studio advisory and production services company and part of the project team behind Eastbrook Studios, “We’re delighted to be working with Film Barking & Dagenham on this valuable event, showcasing the diverse range of roles our

industry has to offer.

“The investment we are making, both at Eastbrook Studios and the supporting production infrastructure in East London, will create a wealth of opportunity, available to all members of the community. This is a wonderful chance to raise awareness amongst school children from the local area and to inspire them to become the film makers of the future”.

Jack Farenden, 15, from Dagenham, a student at Dagenham Park School, got to have a go on the live set doing the clapper board. Jack said, “It was very informative and interesting being here really brings to life these jobs I’m interested in going into the industry perhaps on the creative side or as a producer.”

 

Jack posed in front of a car donated by ELS Action, Film/TV action vehicle specialists; the Ford was used in the BBC drama Ashes to Ashes.

Monica Marques De Gouveia, 14 from Romford who goes to Eastbrook School got to try out doing media make up at the event. She said, “It’s been an eye opener I didn’t think I would be interested but I do have an interest in makeup being here and seeing the media makeup is giving me an idea of what I might want to do after university.”

Danielle Everitt Director of Final Checks Makeup and Hair Academy in Romford said, “I’ve done a lot of careers events, but this is the first time I’ve really felt it was educational. I got really good feedback from the students and many of them didn’t realise that all of this actually happens on their doorstep.”

Frankie Gentry, 13, from Dagenham, a pupil at The Sydney Russell School said, “I found today interesting. It was fun to watch the music and how it all works with the camera people et cetera and how they all work together to make it happen. The photography zone was great. I like acting and this event has inspired me even more.”

Deborah Ogwu, 12, from Dagenham, a pupil at All Saints Catholic School said, “It’s been an absolutely terrific experience to give us ideas for what we can do in the future. It’s given us insight into the creative arts and the pathways that we can take. It was also really inspiring to see local artist Hakkz perform.”

 

About Film Barking and Dagenham: It’s an exciting time for the film and tv industry. Studios and productions are working flat out to service viewers demands. But such growth produces its own set of challenges – skills gaps and supply shortages – so we’re here, mobilised to educate, retrain, upskill and promote – and to have a set ready workforce within the next few years.

As the studio is developed and launched, we will be collaborating with local employers and education and training providers, as well as sector development specialists across the UK, to ensure that we:

  • Connect with talent across the borough
  • Create accessible and structured pathways into screen industry careers
  • Maximise opportunities for career progression and sustainability
  • Include access points for those who are returning to work or looking to retrain or diversify
  • Create an environment of collaboration and co-design with the local community

 

More information can be found at: https://filmbarkinganddagenham.com/