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"I feel like there's a role for basically anything and it's made me a bit more curious and excited"

Kimberly joined Arts Emergency at 18 to explore different creative careers and went from Work Experience with Kode Media to becoming a Loop Talent camera trainee.

Why did you join Arts Emergency and what did you hope to get out of having a mentor?

I just wanted to learn more about careers in the creative industries. I wouldn't say my school was the most creative environment, so I felt like Arts Emergency was a way to do that. I did do Media Studies for GCSE and A level, but it's quite theoretical and I wanted to do more hands-on stuff.

I knew that people acted and I was interested in that. But I didn't really know that it was a whole career and I honestly had no idea that Film and TV was an 'industry'. When I was in Sixth Form, Daisy May Hudson came to my school and she did a talk about like a documentary that she'd made which captured her experience of hidden homelessness. And I left that talk, thinking, ‘Oh, my gosh! like this is really cool’. And then at the Arts Emergency interview they asked ‘What do you want to do in the future?’ And so I said I want to do acting, and something film related.

What opportunities have you had in media and TV production through Arts Emergency?

I've spoken to quite a few people by requesting connections through the Wish List. I've spoken to film producers and directors as well. I'm just finding out more about their role and how to get into it, how to find opportunities.

I also got a work experience placement with Kode Media. Over the week I was given a brief that they’d received from a music artist and I had to create a concept and then pitch it to the team. So I had to think about my favourite music videos and what the concept was, and what I think the budget was, and the set design, and how I think they would have got it together, and then creating a treatment.

I was also speaking to the different people that would usually work on a music video. Directors, graphic designers, producers. And when I spoke to them I was telling them about my idea, and they were giving me feedback. I also had to think about doing a budget. Over the week I was putting on different hats and thinking, 'Okay, like, if I was a producer, what would I do, if I was a director what would I do, if I was like this, what would I do? And then I had to pitch it, which was very daunting. But I did it!

How about your Loop Talent traineeship?

I applied to be a camera trainee because before this I'd only been on set once. And if I'm being honest, I didn't know anything about the camera department or cinematography. Part of the Loop traineeship was being partnered up with a mentor - a cinematographer called Rick. He would try and get me on any set that he was working. I've been on set so far, for, like 3 different productions as a camera trainee, and 2 of them were short films, and one of them was a commercial.

Because within Film and TV I'm still like trying to work out what exactly it is I want to do, it's allowed me to see what roles exist. Within the camera department, it's not just a cinematographer - you've also got the focus pullers and assistant cameras. I didn't know that these existed before that. So it's just nice seeing how everybody worked together, but also in the grand scheme of things, how the cinematographer works with the director. And little things like how much waiting around there is! It's just cool to see how things actually get made.

I feel like there's a role for basically anything and it's made me a bit more curious and excited.

Have these experiences moved you closer towards your career choice?

Just seeing the many different routes that I could go down in Film and TV. I could maybe be a cinematographer, or I could be a director, or I could work in set design. And they said that they'll be willing to have me back whenever, so I need to follow up from that!

With acting I've met people who regularly send me any casting calls that they see which they think I could go for, or if there's any workshops. I've been to the theatre with one of the people that I met a few times. And she also sends me plays, all the time, which is really nice! I still regularly speak to some of the actors that I've met, and they're just like really supportive as well.

Do you think you would have been able to access opportunities like these without Arts Emergency?

Definitely not, because I wouldn't know where to start! It's not like I knew anyone that was doing this, I'd never seen anyone go down this route and no one in my family is doing this either. Even little things like going to the theatre. One of the very first things I did with Arts Emergency - they were giving out tickets to go and see play called Three Sisters at the National Theatre. And previously I’d only been to the theatre with my school and if I’m being honest I don't really remember what I went to go and see! I feel like those little things are the kind of things to excite you and keep the passion going.

What have you achieved during your time with Arts Emergency that you are most proud of?

That I didn't really know what it is exactly that I wanted to do, but even though I didn't know, I still tried to find a way to learn about the different careers.

They've given me a lot of hope, because with Film and TV and acting you're constantly applying for stuff and you're just not getting it. With Arts Emergency, just being able to speak to people that are doing what I want to do, or having the opportunity to go to the theatre or go to the cinema and see things, watch things, it can give you hope and remind you that this is something that I can actually work towards, even if I don't feel like that all the time.

Because I didn't really know what I wanted to do, my Arts Emergency mentor was actually working in marketing. But even though she was in marketing, she was still really supportive. During lockdown I spoke to a ton of people that I’d met through Arts Emergency over zoom and she'd come onto like every single call just for support. And if I ever need to send an email or I'm applying for something, and I wanted a second opinion she would always read it.

What are you doing at the moment, and is it what you expected to be doing?

I would be at university if I applied for film for drama school, but I just thought really hard and I just decided that that wasn't something that I wanted to do. As of now I’ve really just been like trying to find opportunity to get on set and get acting opportunities as well. I've been like applying for short courses, acting stuff, film stuff. I'm doing a film training program with like an organisation called East Side. Any opportunity I can get on set, I’m taking that.

It’s not what I thought I’d be doing, because I thought I'd be at university right now, even though I knew that it wasn't something that I wanted to do! I didn't think I'd be working towards a career like this, because at the time I didn't know something like this even existed.

What would you say to anyone thinking of joining Arts Emergency?

I would say if you don't really know what it is exactly that you want to do that's fine. There's so much pressure on young people, especially at this age - I still feel so much pressure. And sometimes I just have to remind myself that I am literally 18, and I don't have to have everything like figured out.

So don't be afraid to not know that you what exactly it is that you want to do. The fact that you're applying for Arts Emergency just shows that like you're curious to explore different roles and the many different careers that exist. You just get so much support from your mentors, and Arts Emergency in general to help you figure it out.

During lockdown I spoke to a ton of people that I’d met through Arts Emergency over zoom and (my mentor) would come onto like every single call just for support. And if I ever need to send an email or I'm applying for something, and I wanted a second opinion she would always read it.