Programme Officer Sapphire Paston shares the highlights and takeaways from the first half of Creativity Works: Content Production

This week Creativity Works: Content Production cohort focused on how to develop creative ideas and make them a reality.

Participants got stuck into executing their shoot schedules and capturing material for their 90-second responses to the Reebok brief on the theme Legacy, and enjoyed industry talks from a mix of directors, audio specialists, photographers and producers.

Highlights included a session with Photographer and Director Leonn Ward and her assistant (and Create Jobs alumna!) Steph Okoye.

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Leonn told us her inspiring story of moving from Ireland to London to pursue a career in photography, despite not having any contacts in the industry and after falling in love with the medium through creating experimental collages with photographs of her late mother.

After landing an incredible opportunity to shoot a global campaign for Adidas, Leonn went on to shoot for other huge brands, including Calvin Klein, Elle and Nike, before transitioning into moving image, producing films for Stella McCartney and Dazed, as well as music videos for Joy Crookes and Michael Kiwanuka among others.

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As Leonn and Steph discussed their casting process, their ethos of representation, relatability and realness really resonated with the group, with participant Anne commenting:

“I really do love and appreciate people who are here to represent London youth as it is”

Through street casting, Leonn is able to shine a light on those who aren’t usually in the spotlight. What's her number one tip for collaborating with industry professionals and potential cast members alike?

“Showing you care and being a nice person gets you a long way!”

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Another highlight of the week was a hugely entertaining Music Videos Masterclass with director Nathan James Tettey and Untold Studios’ Head of Music and Social, Annie Ayres.

The pair had the cohort in stitches with their tales of working with big name rappers including Dave, Headie One and Stormzy, and showed the kind of creative chemistry and friendship (read: constant mutual ribbing) that can only come from spending hours together on shoots.

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As Annie mentioned, when executing big productions, “it takes a creative village”, so being able to build rapport and collaborate effectively with a range of people is crucial.

Nathan and Annie were very honest about the challenges of producing music videos, from rappers’ egos to creative differences and on-set antics, with Annie advising the group to recognise that things do go wrong, but “be open to this – take your learnings and make sure you don’t make the same mistakes again” and reminding them that “the way to show your experience and expertise is in your ability to overcome setbacks.”

This frankness had participant Abena commenting that she found it “reassuring to hear that it’s ok if things don’t always go to plan”, and Nathan emphasised the director’s role as “the ultimate problem-solver” when shooting.

Next week the cohort will continue to develop their projects whilst refining their writing, post-production, editing, and pitching skills.