CSI members can provide guidance and support up-and-coming talent by acting as mentors and trainers.
For people, aspiring to careers in the film and television industry, the first step is often the hardest. Getting a foot in the door can be especially challenging for women, members of minority communities and people with disabilities who may lack the personal connections that can be key to landing that first job.
Four Corners, a London-based charitable organization, is working to change that. The group, which is funded by ScreenSkills, the industry-led skills body for the film, television, visual effects, animation and game industries, provides job placement and mentoring services to people seeking employment across a range of disciplines in filmmaking, photography and the arts. Its focus is on improving industry diversity by targeting its career assistance to underrepresented groups. “We were founded 45 years ago by four filmmakers from different parts of the world as a community film workshop,” says Helena Goundry, the organization’s project coordinator. “Today, we assist hundreds of people from across the UK. We provide entry-level training and help people early in their careers who are struggling to get to the next rung on the ladder.”
Colorist is among the jobs that Four Corners believes can benefit from greater diversity. The organization offers free online training for prospective colorists in the basics of DaVinci Resolve. Participants also receive one-on-one mentoring from veteran colorists and access to talks and webinars on career topics. “We provide expert advice and guidance,” Goundry says. “Mentoring is always a part of our training programs because it’s how people find work.”
Four Corners works hard to reach people in underserved communities. It conducts an aggressive outreach program and maintains close ties to other charitable organizations and community groups. It also carries out targeted advertising and marketing through Facebook and other social media sites.
Goundry notes that people with physical disabilities often have an especially hard time finding employment. Employers are sometimes concerned about accommodating special needs, but she insists such fears are misplaced. “Employers are fearful of getting it wrong,” she explains. “But actually the changes they have to make are minimal. Thankfully, attitudes are changing. Production and post-production companies want to be more diverse and they are now coming to us for help.”
In fact, Four Corners has achieved an enviable success rate. Nearly a quarter of those who take part in its training and mentoring programs are successful in landing jobs. “We recently placed a young woman as a trainee on a high-end television drama for eight weeks,” Goundry recalls. “She was very gregarious and made a strong impression. Four months later, she was contacted by one of the editors she worked with and hired as an assistant on a documentary. That was really nice. We have a lot of success stories like that.”
CSI president Kevin Show has signed on as a Four Corners mentor. “It’s a wonderful organization whose goals are shared by CSI,” Shaw says. “I encourage other members to get involved as it’s a great way to give back to the industry and help others.”
For more information on becoming a Four Corners mentor, visit https://www.fourcornersfilm.co.uk/contact.