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MetFilm School Leeds collaborates with Screen Yorkshire’s CoSE:Y & The Mill School of Performance

By Elise Czyzowska

08 August 2023

Last month, MetFilm School joined forces with Screen Yorkshire’s Centre of Screen Excellence: Yorkshire (CoSE:Y) and The Mill School of Performance for a unique and collaborative learning opportunity.

Across three days, our students worked with CoSE:Y trainees and Mill School’s performers on a film shoot for an original concept, where all involved were able to experience working on a real set, and to network and collaborate with local talent.

In today’s blog, we spoke to Karen Roch (Manager, Centre of Screen Excellence: Yorkshire), as well as MA Directing & MA Screenwriting students from our Leeds campus: Soumya Rathee, Joshua Deal, Molly Bailey, and Chloe Ali.

Setting up the collaboration

CoSE:Y was set up by Screen Yorkshire to bridge the gaps in the TV and Film industry that were lacking entry-level trainees within various roles, and is a ground-breaking skills programme delivered with support from ScreenSkills, using National Lottery funds awarded by the BFI, as part of the Future Film Skills programme.

These courses aim to introduce trainees to the industry within their chosen disciplines, and to gain entry-level jobs on productions, enabling a smooth transition from either their existing jobs, or into new job opportunities.

During the preparation for the shoot, all participants had their own roles and responsibilities to complete. ‘They worked with other members of the crew to set up production meetings, and worked through the planning stages to bring their vision to reality’, explained Karen Roch (Manager, CoSE:Y).

Before the three-day shoot, we also spoke to Molly Bailey, an MA Screenwriting student at our Leeds campus who co-wrote the script for the project, alongside acting as Script Supervisor during the shoot, and even directed a scene of her own.

Sharing a sneak peek into the project’s script, Molly shared that ‘the brief left a lot of space for creativity – the only thing we needed to fulfil was to make it complex for the set designers and make-up artists. As a result, we did a real “trip through the decades”‘.

Photography provided by Screen Yorkshire

The value of an on-set experience

As anyone in the industry knows, the best way to learn is by doing – in fact, this is a key element of the School’s pedagogy.

‘We minimise the difference between being a student, and being in the industry’, explained Jonny Persey (Director, MetFilm). ‘It’s about make, make, make, all under the guidance of professional filmmakers.’

Karen Roch emphasised this same point, listing how the collaboration provided a strong networking platform for future filmmaking projects, all done by forming positive working relationships. Karen continued:

This collaboration was set up to encourage good working practice, and to give all collaborators a real on-set experience, to teach set etiquette, and make them aware of the appropriate workflow processes that take place during filming.

It was a huge success, giving all participants not only key on-set experience, but also support from industry professionals, encouraging confidence and good working practice.

Karen RochManager, Centre of Screen Excellence: Yorkshire

Photography provided by Screen Yorkshire

Working as a director on the project, Joshua Deal (MA Directing) showed just how easily such positive working relationships had formed between the participants. ‘The opportunity to work with so many talented people was a dream’, he said, ‘and it really made my role as director so enjoyable’.

Screen Yorkshire have also organised a special screening, where the final clips will be shown at a local cinema in Leeds.

Our students, as well as all the trainees and performers involved in the collaboration, will get to experience the all-exciting ‘reveal’ of their hard work. For this screening, both friends and industry professionals will be invited, helping once again to build and promote future working relationships.

Photography provided by Screen Yorkshire

Highlights from the shoot…

Between the on-set experience, and the chance to really flex their creativity, the takeaways from this experience were hugely positive, and when we asked Karen for her highlights, she shared a similar message: ‘The highlight was seeing all the learners form bonds, and come together from various backgrounds to work towards a finished piece. New friendships were formed, and the example of collaboration within different organisations provided a vital learning platform.’

Our students also spoke highly of the experience, with MA Directing student Chloe Ali describing it as an ‘exciting opportunity for collaboration’. Soumya Rathee, another MA Directing student from our Leeds campus, expanded on what made the three-day shoot (as well as the time spent in pre-production), so unique:

Perfect synchronisation is not easy to achieve, but I could feel it while working on the project with Screen Yorkshire. Even on a tight schedule, everyone was lovely, helping, and understanding.

I got what I seek as a filmmaker: good memories, and a nice experience of working with like-minded people. I hope to have many more experiences like this in the future!

Soumya RatheeMA Directing student, MetFilm School Leeds

Based in Leeds, UK, Screen Yorkshire is the engine that drives the film and TV industries in Yorkshire and Humber. Screen Yorkshire is leading on Screen Alliance North, a new £2.3m BFI Skills Cluster, alongside Liverpool Film Office, Screen Manchester, and North East Screen, backed by BFI National Lottery Funding.

As part of Screen Alliance North, Screen Yorkshire together with its Northern partners will enhance its commitment to training regional talent with an initial three-year programme of strategic and operational interventions to take a dynamic approach to raising the bar for production, craft, and technical skills. The aim is to build a stronger, happier, more diverse and skilled workforce across the North of England, helping to secure its future as a leading global centre for screen production.