Directors UK: Multi-Camera Directing Skills for TV
In January 2016 I helped Directors UK launch a unique new training initiative designed to provide six young directors with the creative, editorial and technical knowledge they need to become the next generation of multi-camera directors. The course was developed by some of the UK’s top multi-camera practitioners and was jointly funded by Directors UK and Creative Skillset in partnership with Pinewood Studios, The London Studios and Cloudbass who provided our facilities and crew.
Directors UK Multi-Camera Directors Training Video
As a freelance multi-camera director, like many of my generation, I got my first break as a studio director when I was working as an AP at the BBC. In the late 1980’s at the BBC in Manchester, I was fortunate to be trained, supported and mentored on the job by my executive producer who was also a very experienced studio director. He was prepared to allow me to make mistakes on one of his shows, whilst also being on hand to step in if I got into trouble. Although I wasn’t in a full-time staff post at the BBC, the shortest contract I ever had was a one-year contract, so it was worth training me - as I would be around for some time and could go on to direct a range of BBC Manchester output.
Within six months I was directing live three-hour Saturday morning children’s programmes on BBC1 and I never looked back.
Today we work in a very different freelance market and for aspiring multi-camera directors it’s almost impossible to break into studio directing. The perceived risks of letting someone new take control of a very expensive studio, working to a tight deadline and an even tighter budget are too great. Broadcasters and producers want their multi-camera directors to have experience - and in order to get experience you need training and a job.
In January 2016, I had the privilege to help Directors UK launched a unique new training initiative designed to provide six young directors (Abigail Dankwa, Stuart Earl, Jan Genesis, Kelly Sparks, Dionne Weston and Lewis Wright) with the creative, editorial and technical knowledge they need to become the next generation of multi-camera directors.
This training not only aimed to raise the bar of excellence among the industry’s rising talent, but with 50% of the selected candidates from BAME backgrounds and with 50% women, it’s also helping to create a truly diverse and inclusive workforce for the future. Graduation from this course will be seen as the ultimate affirmation of the skills and talent required to become one of the best in the field.
In setting up this course we wanted it to set new standards in training. We wanted it to be free for the trainees - so we could attract people from a wide range of backgrounds. We also wanted widespread industry support and I’ve been impressed at just how well this training initiative has been received.
This course has been directors taking the lead in training the next generation of directors. It’s the first time this has happened - and it’s the most ambitious training scheme Directors UK have been involved in so far - and we hope this will set the standards for the future.