We’ve been cooking up a new initiative called ‘The Takeaway’. Its aim is to bridge the gap between young creatives and the creative sector.
Often, it can be difficult for young people to know what they want to do with their careers, especially after the challenges of COVID and Brexit. Both of these events led to young people finding themselves lacking confidence, skills or knowledge to enter the creative (and other) industries.
The Takeaway gives young creatives the chance to be part of commercial projects, exposing them to technical expertise, providing them with post production skills, as well as helping them to work more effectively as an individual and within a team.
To kick everything off, a Takeaway brief is issued to the young creatives. This comes from a real commercial client who’s partnered with The Takeaway.The brief outlines what is expected from the students in terms of the ‘vision’ and guidelines for the project. It’s a helpful document for all those involved to refer back to throughout the life of the project.
Next, teams are assembled within the group of students, with mentors (creative industry professionals) being assigned to each group. These mentors are there to empower the students to find solutions to their own hurdles, rather than doing all the work for them.
Following this, the first creative planning session takes place, with teams deciding how best to execute the brief. Now comes the fun stuff! The teams deliver the project they’ve been assigned to, with each person practising fulfilling different roles on the day, like team leader or head videographer.
After the creative project brief is completed, it’s time for post-production. This means time for teams to pull together their work and shape it into a masterpiece.
For our first Takeaway project, we teamed up with Pride Cymru to present an exciting and challenging brief. Six creative students from Media Academy Cymru (MAC) stepped up to take part, with mentors Jake Neale and I briefing them on their task.
Their task was to attend Pride Cymru 2023 at Cardiff Castle and film only between the hours of 12pm and 4pm. They also needed to create a showreel video that celebrated and commemorated the event.
The project goals were to showcase success of the event, reinforce the Pride band, highlight the elements of community and emotional connection and drive anticipation for Pride Cymru 2024.
The students split into two teams of three, and were each allocated a mentor. For this project, Jake Neale, videographer and graphics and motion designer, was mentor for one team, and I was looking after the other team with my experience as a photographer and creative project manager.
“The Takeaway is a unique, valuable and much-needed experience for young people interested in working in the media industry.”Sarah Cocchiara-Devine, Media Academy Cymru tutor
On the morning of Pride, the students turned up with the most infectious enthusiasm for the day ahead. Jake and I briefed our teams once again, gave them a quick tour around the castle and then they were off to shoot footage for their showreels.
Jake and I were joined by MAC tutors Sarah Cocchiara-Devine and Patrick Devine, who also acted as mentors for the students, as well as enjoyed the atmosphere of the day.
With each team member knowing their respective tasks, we also encouraged them to switch things up during the day, so everyone had experience across different roles. We were there for our teams throughout the day, checking in every few hours for a group chat and something to eat (gotta keep those creative juices flowing!).
“The Takeaway was an amazing opportunity that gave us brilliant hands on professional experience in the creative sector whilst also supporting us with professional mentorship! What I have taken away from this programme is confidence to pursue a career in the industry and technical skills such as editing, sound and video recording!”Penny Weir, Media Academy Cymru student
After an exciting day filming at Pride, it was time for the students to start the post-production process. This meant going through all of the footage they captured at the Pride event and whittling it all down to their favourite shots for a showreel with a maximum length of 2 minutes and 20 seconds.
The teams had two weeks to create and submit their best Pride showreel, with Jake and I being on-hand to mentor them throughout.
After the first mentoring meeting with my team following Pride, I could tell that they were feeling a bit deflated, wishing they’d done a few things differently on the day.
However, I assured them this was all part of the creative process, with the most important thing being how they came up with solutions. And that’s just what they did – by the time our next mentoring meeting rolled around, they were feeling much brighter about their process, having found solutions to pivot towards.
It was a learning curve for me as a mentor to not just want to give them the answers, but I was so proud to see them come up with ideas themselves, and I know they were proud of themselves too.
After two weeks of the teams working to create their best Pride showreel, they joined us for an awards ceremony and pizza lunch with industry professional judges – Dan Walsh from Pride Cymru, professional videographer Joe Sullivan and marketing expert Rhi Leedam.
They heard from each team about their process throughout the project. And the teams had a chance to answer questions from the judges and play their showreels. While we split for lunch, the judges deliberated.
There was an air of anticipation as we returned to the room. The judges began by giving their constructive feedback to the team, with each student being commended for their individual contributions throughout the project.
Finally, the winning team was announced, but with only two points difference! It was a difficult task for the judges to determine the winner, as both teams demonstrated an excellent quality of work, as well as teamwork, determination and problem-solving.
We’re so proud of these young creatives for taking on this challenge, and we’re thankful for the mentors, other supporters and industry professionals for taking their time to bring The Takeaway to life. If you’re a school, university, college, or if you work with young people and you’re interested in collaborating with us as an education partner, please get in touch. We’re excited to see what the next Takeaway project brings!
“What an experience the Takeaway has been. I have gained proper skills in a real professional setting. It was good for me personally as I didn’t feel like I had to be better than anyone else. It was so fun and an amazing event to take away with me for the future, as well as now having connections in the industry!”Bethan Young, Media Academy Cymru student
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