2015 Grierson DocLab trainee Sammy Gecsoyler on at Lion TV, Brook Lapping and his PACT scheme experience.

We are soon set to announce the trainees selected for Grierson DocLab 2019! To gear up for this, we're revisiting some DocLab alumni to see what they've been up to since the scheme. For this blog, we hear about Sammy's work experience and the importance of diversity in the industry.

Sammy Gecsoyler

The TV industry can seem cryptic and impenetrable from the outside, with advertised openings fleeting and dominant industry lingo dense and hard to understand. Without the Grierson DocLab, I would not have been equipped with the skills and knowledge required to navigate the industry. I would have remained an outsider.

Since completing the DobLab in 2015, I have been involved in development at Lion TV and Brook Lapping. In addition, through the PACT Diversity Scheme, I have secured a position as a Production and Development Trainee at Hat Trick productions for six months. My time at these companies has been brilliant and I have learnt so much about the industry. Through encouragement by the Grierson Trust and PACT, as well as individuals at the aforementioned companies, I have also begun freelance filmmaking. I will be telling stories that offer a well-informed, unique and diverse perspective. This will be achieved through utilising my own experiences and local networks.

Diversity in the TV industry is lacking but improving. Initiatives such the Grierson DocLab and PACT Diversity Scheme are key to alleviating TV’s diversity vacuum. As someone from a working-class, BAME background, access to the TV industry is both practically and culturally difficult.

Increasing diversity is not only beneficial to disadvantaged entrants. Greater access to production equipment and a wider array of platforms means new, exciting and diverse stories are being told in greater numbers. In order to remain competitive and relevant, television needs to embrace diversity.

I would not be where I am today without the Grierson Trust and their excellent DocLab scheme. From the bespoke training courses to the excellent network and contacts provided by the scheme, the benefits have been great and long-lasting. I feel not only well-versed in TV but also confident in my abilities to succeed in the industry.

Read about PACT's Diversity Scheme and the trainees.

Published: 30 April 2019

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