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Hundreds of school children get insight into London’s booming film industry at PEARL!

Updated: Jun 15, 2023

Figure 1: 700 school children got an eye-opening insight into the many careers available in London’s booming film and TV industry at PEARL.

PEARL was recently host to a first-of-its-kind event bringing together industry practitioners from a wide spectrum of film-related businesses; from lighting to cameras, postproduction, media make-up, prop-making, and casting. The aim was to show young people the behind-the-scenes jobs that are available in the capital’s film scene, getting them to understand that the film industry is much more than just being an actor or director. There are a vast number of career paths behind the cameras, including technical, creative, and business and management jobs which young people can aspire to, and PEARL was proud to play a part in recreating this.

The event was held in anticipation of the up-coming Eastbrook Studios in Dagenham. Currently under construction, it is due to be London’s largest studio complex. Our unique PEARL facility, purpose-built to explore the ways in which people interact with their environment, is located just next door to the studios and will be in a unique position to complement the studio's cinematic endeavours. Consisting of a massive space – around 4,000m2 and 10m high – PEARL allows life-sized environments, whether they be railway station or a town square, to be created under controlled conditions. This lends itself to simulating almost any other environment, including replicating realistic film studio conditions such as a live set for the 700 visitors who attended the careers event. PEARL’s world class technicians also lent their expertise to ensure the event was a ‘wow’ experience for the school children, aged from 11 to 18, who got a whistlestop tour of everything film and TV, including six interactive zones to explore.

Figure 2: School children finding out about behind the scenes film and TV jobs at Film Barking and Dagenham’s careers event

Anna Wilson, Sector Lead for Film & Creative Industries, Film Barking and Dagenham, explained the importance of the experiential aspect of the event in helping to inspire the students: “The event was to demonstrate the broad scope of industry roles for students in a dynamic way and hopefully bust some of the myths surrounding working in film, which can seem mysterious and out of reach. Rather than ‘tell’ them about these jobs, we want to ‘show’ them. It’s also key to introduce students to young diverse practitioners, with the view that introducing them to professionals they can relate to, we’re shortening the aspiration and attainment gap and in doing so, inspiring a whole new generation of East London creatives”.

Lisa Dee, Head of Film Barking & Dagenham, Film Barking and Dagenham, spoke about the 10 year anniversary of the Film Barking and Dagenham organisation, and how the Make It Here programme will help to keep local talent in the borough: “This year marks 10 years since we started Film Barking and Dagenham. Of course, we love it when a huge Blockbuster chooses to film in Barking and Dagenham, but today’s career event trumps that, and we couldn’t think of better way to commemorate this milestone than to be able to show our local young people the future careers that they can expect to have within their hometown of east London. The Make it Here programme will be developing training and job opportunities to further enhance the borough’s skills base within the local screen sector, and it’s that future pool of talent that will make the magic happen on and off the screen. Made in Barking and Dagenham – we couldn’t be prouder!”

Figure 3: Lisa Dee, Head of Film Barking and Dagenham being interviewed by the BBC

Danielle Everitt, Director of Final Checks Makeup and Hair Academy in Romford, has organised numerous careers events, but non quite like this one held at PEARL. He said "this is the first time I've really felt it was educational. I got really good feedback from the students and many of them didn't realise that all of this actually happens on their doorstep.”

Below are some comments from the students attending the event, which demonstrate the positive impact this day had on their future career aspirations:

Jack Farenden, 15, student at Dagenham Park School: "It was very informative and interesting being here really brings to life these jobs. I'm interested in going into the industry perhaps on the creative side or as a producer.”

Figure 4: Jack Farenden, 15, from Dagenham got to have a go on the live set doing the Clapper board at the Film Barking and Dagenham careers event. Jack is posed in front of a car donated by ELS Action, Film/TV action vehicle specialists; the Ford was used in the BBC drama Ashes to Ashes.

Monica Marques De Gouveia, 14, student at Eastbrook School: “It's been an eye opener I didn't think I would be interested but I do have an interest in makeup being here and seeing the media makeup is giving me an idea of what I might want to do after university.”

Figure 5: Monica Marques De Gouveia, 14 from Romford was delighted to be shown media make up techniques by Danielle Everitt at the Film Barking and Dagenham careers event

Frankie Gentry, 13, a pupil at The Sydney Russell School said, “I found today interesting. It was fun to watch the music and how it all works with the camera people et cetera and how they all work together to make it happen. The photography zone was great. I like acting and this event has inspired me even more.”

Figure 6: Frankie Gentry, 13 thought the technical camera jobs zone was “really cool” at the Film Barking and Dagenham careers event

Deborah Ogwu, 12, a pupil at All Saints Catholic School: “It's been an absolutely terrific experience to give us ideas for what we can do in the future. It's given us insight into the creative arts and the pathways that we can take. It was also really inspiring to see local artist Hakkz perform.”

PEARL was thrilled to be able to contribute to this experience and look forward to the role it can play when Eastbrook Studios is up and running. If you think we can help your organisation to recreate a specific scenario or working environment, please get in touch!

Credits: Thanks to Kate Bishop for providing the text on which this article is based, as well as the photos and quotes.

For more information about this specific event, please contact:

Kate Bishop, Wow! Marketing Ltd, 020 8441 8615, 07885 405 387

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