Mal from Grierson DocLab 2019 on his experience of the scheme

2019 DocLab trainee, Mal on his DocLab placement leading to more paid work in the TV industry in Leeds

Mal Sen at Wise Owl Films

The TV industry is extremely difficult to break into wherever you are but even more so for those of us that are not based in the traditional TV hubs. Having spent a year and a half unsuccessfully attempting to find TV work in the north-east, I decided to apply for the Grierson DocLab scheme in the hopes that I would gain the skills, knowledge and contacts required to break into the industry and ideally be part of the growing TV landscape in the North of England.

Being selected as one of The Grierson Trusts’ trainees for 2019 was an incredible opportunity and has really transformed my career. The DocLab residential and training weekend gave me the confidence and skills to hit the ground running at my month-long placement at Wise Owl Films in Leeds. During my time there I worked in development, helped do research for a number of projects and got to work on location on their first commission The Metro: A Rail Life Story in Newcastle.

After I finished my placement I was kept on as a runner for the remainder of the shoot and made contacts that directly lead to my next job working on a new BBC Three show, Angels of the North for Twenty Six 03 and I will be returning for series two in March. I can safely say I wouldn’t be where I am without The Grierson Trust’s support.

Personally, I thoroughly enjoyed every part of the DocLab experience, from meeting and listening to talks from so many people in the industry, to watching some truly amazing films at Sheffield Doc/Fest and even pitching my own idea to industry professionals. Although the highlight for me has definitely been getting to know and learning from the other DocLab trainees.

Follow Mal on twitter.

Get started on your own career in TV and apply to Grierson DocLab 2020 now. Applications close Friday 20 March 5pm.

Published: 26 February 2020

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