Free development opportunities available for broadcasters during lockdown

Charlie Spargo's picture

Training and personal development is getting a vast range of people through our current crisis - and with any luck, we’ll all come out the other side with more skills and capabilities than before.

For broadcasters, they’re responsible for entertaining most of the home-bound population still needing entertainment and news, though many have been furloughed and the large proportion of freelancers responsible for creating television and radio are facing an uncertain period.

National body ScreenSkills, which supports development in the UK’s leading film, TV and animation industries, has announced it will use its resources and connections to provide a free package of remote training, workshops, talks and networking for the coming weeks.

“We know the big worry for many freelancers right now is the impact of lost jobs and income due to the Covid-19 crisis,” said its Chief Executive, Seetha Kumar. 

“We thought it was important to play our part in making sure the industry and its workers stay as resilient as is possible in the circumstances. So we have built a range of online sessions - some offer practical guidance on issues such as employment law, others on skills from pitching and development to managing teams and others offering useful industry insights from executives, creatives and commissioners that we hope will be helpful for your return to work when it comes. Still others are just to help you get through the day.

“It’s a programme developed in haste with enormous support from our colleagues across the industry and will evolve in coming weeks. But it is being shared in a spirit of all doing what we can to support the amazing screen industries workforce during this hiatus in production.”

What's on for screen professionals

Six sessions a day are running over the coming weeks, free to access. There will also be mini writers’ rooms to support writers including first-timers hoping to break into the industry.

The early morning session, running between 10am and 11:15am, is dedicated to training workshops. These are set to include sessions on storytelling, commentary writing, pitching and development and managing and leading teams.

Before lunch, there will also be industry masterclasses enabled by ScreenSkills’ wide range of connections across TV and film. The workshops run from 11:30am and 12:45, including greats like Kate Thornton, Sanjay Singhal, Mobeen Azhar, Simon Ford, Ken Loach, Tim Wardle and more. This is followed by ‘Lunch with a Commissioner’ between 1pm and 2pm. Commissioners already signed up come from Channel 4, the BBC, UKTV, ITV and Channel 5.

More than 60 talent managers are confirmed for the mid-afternoon slot between 3pm and 4pm, for the ‘Talent Manager Takeover’. They’re there for career advice, CV clinics, interview practice and more.

After work each day comes craft workshops and partner sessions from 5pm to 6pm. Examples include music in documentary with Neil Crombie, Alex Parsons and Rupert Houseman; guiding UGC in filming; improving sound; diverse and inclusive casting; and presenting skills. The day ends with a relaxed 7pm - 8pm session for socials and peer-to-peer support.

Find the upcoming sessions, each one revealed on the week, through ScreenSkills’ event directory.