Nurturing Young Filmmakers

For many people who dream of one day making a film – young filmmakers included – the idea that one day you might be a professional film director or a producer might feel like a bit of a pipe-dream. 

It’s easy to see why. 

Traditionally, the film industry has been a workplace shrouded in mystery. A place of big names, big budgets, closed doors, and usually far away in the Hollywood Hills. 

But, here in the UK, things are changing. 

A Future for Young Filmmakers

Young filmmakers here in the UK can now not just dream of a career within the film industry, but with a rapidly growing industry here in the UK, there has never been more opportunity to make it their reality. Thanks to a lot of investment and a lot of energy over several generations, there is now more opportunity than ever before for young filmmakers to get started in the industry. 

At Sparks, we’ve been inspiring and developing young filmmakers for 12 years now, and the transformation in that time alone is something to behold. 

Between 2010, when we first started out, and 2019, jobs in film and TV production grew by a huge 78%

Current forecasts suggest the growth of streaming will lead to 30,000 new UK jobs in film over the next few years. This represents not just a major increase in opportunity for all the film professionals working in the UK today, but all the talented young filmmakers who aspire to a film career in the future. 

Investment in the UK film and TV industries has sky-rocketed and film production is now becoming a major industry. UK productions now account for almost 25% of box office revenues worldwide. From huge franchises like James Bond to global exports including Downton Abbey, UK productions are having a major impact on the film industry and on the world. 

Most recently, Hollywood’s Sunset Studios has announced they plan to invest £700,000,000 to build a ‘world class studio’ in Hertfordshire. According to reports, this is likely to create more than 4,000 new jobs within the UK film industry and further solidify the UK’s position as a global leader in film. 

So, even with the challenges of the pandemic to overcome, the UK film industry is booming. 

At the same time, there is a digital skills crisis taking place.

Despite huge growth to the film industry, there is a lack of the required skills in today’s young people leaving school and education to fulfil growing film and TV production needs. 

This is a real problem and just one of the reasons why we’re so passionate about helping young filmmakers to develop and unlock their potential. We strive to develop their creativity, their skills and know-how, so that they’re equipped to make the most of the exciting creative employment opportunities ahead.  

We’re inspired by the fact that film and media content that we enjoy years from now, whether in the cinema or from the sofa, will be dreamt up and expertly crafted by today’s young aspiring filmmakers.

Young filmmakers may just now be starting out on their journey, but just imagine all the creative greatness that will emerge from the creative minds of filmmakers who have been creating, exploring and developing their skills since their early years. Their potential to succeed is enormous and we love to help inspire and make real all the incredible possibilities of what they will become and what they’ll create in the future. 

We know that not all the young filmmakers we work with will necessarily go on to win BAFTAs, or even become professional filmmakers, many of them have other ambitions besides film. Developing filmmaking skills or digital literacy may just be one part of a bigger picture.

For those who do want to take their filmmaking ambitions further, our film workshops are often the first place they learn about what can be achieved with a camera and a character. They learn what it is to shoot a sequence, or script a story arc, to light a shot using captivating chiaroscuro. It’s often the first experience of how to work as part of a team towards a production, with young filmmakers making different contributions and taking on different responsibilities. 

Youth Film Academy - Speaks Film School for Young Filmmakers

Development Opportunities for Young Filmmakers 

From a young age, development opportunities are vital for nurturing talent and helping to develop valuable skills and plugging the digital skills gap we’re facing. Just like in any art form, or any sport or talent, the opportunity to practise is essential for development and unlocking individual potential. 

This is why it’s so important for us to nurture young filmmakers and young people who have a passion for film and media. There is a huge wealth of opportunity awaiting those who can discover and develop their talents as artists working within film and we can’t wait to see what this leads to creatively in the future. 

Our filmmaking activities currently support young filmmakers up to the age of 18. From there, some young filmmakers may go on to further filmmaking training, at a film school or at university, or through an industry training programme. 

But this isn’t just about the future of the film industry. It’s also about exploration and education more broadly. Alongside nurturing the talents of future filmmakers, there is also an important need for nurturing future audiences.

In a world where we’re all consuming more media content than ever before, preparing young people with enhanced skills to appreciate and engage with film and media is another increasingly valuable skill set. Not only does it keep the content creators on their toes and drive them to be ever more inventive and innovative, but it also means that the next generation will be more informed and can enjoy film with a deeper – and perhaps more critical – understanding. 

This changes how we interact with the stories we love, how we communicate and how we engage with the world around us. Developing skills in digital and visual literacy is so important to us and as the amount of media we consume increases, these skills are becoming ever more and more important. 

Summer Camps for Teenagers - Filmmaking Camps for Young Filmmakers

Lastly, and this is a reason that often gets overlooked, it’s important for us to nurture young filmmakers simply for the sake of it – a case of “art for art’s sake”, which applies as much to filmmaking as to any other art form. 

As humans we love to tell stories, we love to make things, we love to create. It brings us happiness and a sense of pride. It helps with our wellbeing and our sense of self expression. For young filmmakers who are likely to be highly visual, simply the opportunity to make films and to produce, especially as part of a group, is an enjoyable, fulfilling experience. 

For many young filmmakers, the idea of going on to a professional career in film may well be a dream that’s about to come true. For lots of other young people, it may be a case of broadening horizons, or finding pride and enjoyment in learning something new. Whatever the outcome, for us to make the most of the opportunities in front of us, there is no question that we need to nurture the talents and develop the skills of young filmmakers. 

Sparks Film and Media Arts offer filmmaking courses for young filmmakers. For more information on our programmes or activities, take a look here > > >