Hear directly from the trainees about how it feels to be selected

Leyla Alizada (London) 

I received the news of my selection for the scheme on my birthday, and it felt like an amazing gift!  

With a background of almost four years working in film equipment retail, it felt as if I had hit some kind of wall as I found more often than not that I was craving the feeling of working within the industry, but felt like the technical route didn’t showcase my strengths as an individual. That’s when I honed in on my skills around logistics and worked on test shoots as well as supporting other people’s personal projects.  

By then, I felt I had garnered enough confidence in my capabilities to apply for the Grierson DocLab scheme, and that attempt has been successful!  

What excites me the most about joining the Grierson DocLab In Focus: Production Management trainee scheme is the ongoing support I will receive in my journey, from expanding my skillset with training, to liaising with industry professionals for mentorship and advice.  

Alongside these, I am particularly excited about being given the opportunity to work on a three-month Netflix documentary placement. I am so grateful to The Grierson Trust for recognising my potential and I look forward to every moment!  

Shanice Bolding (Wolverhampton) 

I am so pleased to be joining the 2022 Grierson DocLab In Focus: Production Management cohort! This year I started a 12-month sabbatical from my current employment as an Assistant Manager in inclusion and diversity within banking. Although I am still passionate about inclusion and diversity, I wanted to provide myself with the opportunity to immerse myself into my other interests and passions including documentary programme making. I believe documentaries provide the opportunity to experience stories that might otherwise seem distant, unrelatable or inaccessible, and helps to put ourselves in the shoes of others to build bridges of empathy.

I am super excited and grateful to be given the opportunity to work on a Netflix production and to learn from industry experts. I am also looking forward to meeting my peers who share my love of factual television!  

Heidi Carmichael (Middlesex) 

I’m tremendously excited to be participating in the Grierson DocLab In Focus: Production Management training scheme. The power of story and storytelling, via documentaries in particular, has always fascinated me. Documentaries have the power to challenge the norm and create greater awareness around a subject in an objective manner. In an age where social media offers unrivalled levels of freedom of information, I believe the importance of documentaries and factual-based media will only continue to grow.    

I originally trained in musical theatre and, whilst I have experience producing short films, I am coming to the scheme after taking taking time away to look after family members who unfortunately became ill. I’m looking forward to utilising my varied professional background and skills I’ve built up over my career so far, and implementing them whilst learning this new role. I’d like to think I’m a natural problem solver who offers creative solutions, and someone who always prioritises the project itself above everything else.   

I can’t wait to meet my fellow participants and commence our production management journey.  

Lauren Devine (Manchester) 

I’ve long been fascinated with storytelling in any and all forms, and my professional interest in documentaries began when working in film festivals. Meeting documentary filmmakers, hearing their stories, and creating a platform to connect their projects with audiences was a defining professional experience that stayed with me, and affirmed my passion for the genre and authentic visual storytelling.  

My professional background is in cultural event management, film festival production, and freelance film journalism. The opportunity to contribute to a creative culture and industry that I so revere means the world to me both professionally and personally, and I can’t wait to get started .

Louise Haines (Reading) 

I was 14 when I knew I wanted to work in TV and filmmaking, then I woke up one day aged 40 with a varied 18-year financial services career that was no longer for me. I got a small amount of unpaid set experience, then while watching online documentaries I saw a Grierson DocLab advert for the Production Management scheme. This offered the chance to utilise skills from my favourite financial services roles, and make a desired major life change. The rest - as they say - is history!  
I am delighted to be selected to the 2022 cohort and so keen to get started on everything PM. Personally and globally, the last three plus years have exposed many fault-lines, inequities and essential calls to action, which documentary makers are so well placed to share and amplify with audiences. Playing a part in that, getting things done and potentially contributing to change, is giving me a strong sense of purpose - something that has been gnawing at me for a long time. I can’t wait to meet the rest of the trainees, our tutors, and other people in this incredible industry, and discover what impact we can make together.  

Orla Lawton (Manchester) 

What a surprise and an honour to be selected for a place on the Grierson DocLab In Focus: Production Management scheme!  

It’s hugely exciting to be given the chance to explore what a career in production management for documentary programme making looks like, and to be able to look forward to applying the production skills I’ve learned through my career in live event production to a different format.  

I’ve always had a keen interest in documentary television, in particular natural history, the outdoors, mountaineering, extreme sports and those documentaries produced in interesting and extreme locations! It’s always fascinated me as to how they are produced and end up as the final product on our TV screens. I’m particularly excited about exploring my passion for this genre of documentary programmes and learning about the production behind them – to meet documentary television industry professionals and to absorb their knowledge!  

I’ve never known how to bridge the gap or the best route to take between a career in live event production and television production, so it’s a huge achievement for me to have been given this opportunity by The Grierson Trust. I look forward to my journey into documentary programme making!  

Abi Makin (Leeds) 

I am absolutely delighted to have been chosen for a place on the Grierson DocLab In Focus: Production Management training scheme. After a thrilling and rewarding career in stage management for musical theatre, I’m so excited to be taking a step in a new direction, building on the skills and experience I already hold.   

I have always consumed factual TV like it was going out of style, constantly craving the next story or social issue that I’d never heard of before. It’s a hugely important genre that gives exposure to narratives that otherwise would be left by the wayside. The idea that I could be a part of these productions is incredible, and I am truly grateful to have been selected.  

In particular I’m looking forward to learning more about the industry, watching a concept become a piece of work and how those in production management play their part in the final product.  

The scheme is a fantastic opportunity, and I can’t wait to get started.  

Lucy Matthews (Reading) 

I am very excited to be selected for the Grierson DocLab In Focus: Production Management training scheme. This is the first step into a career in documentaries. I want to be a part of creating change through telling powerful stories. I am hugely passionate about getting to the heart of an issue and presenting all the facts to the audience to make their own choice.  

After a long period of dealing with mental health issues and not being able to work, I decided to make the move into Film/TV. I wanted to create something meaningful and to make change in the world. I love social issues, questions of what is right and wrong. Are we right to judge certain people when don't we know the whole situation? I love nature and natural history: showing the wonders of nature and our impacts on it as humans is important to create change. Nature documentaries connect people with the world around us.  

I look forward to being able to bring my project management background, from my previous career, into production management. I love putting all the elements into place so something wonderful can be created. I am very excited to get the opportunity to work on a Netflix production.  

Published: 8 September 2022

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