“I’ve definitely found the place to learn film making skills, shout about stuff and toughen up.”

I was lucky enough to find the charity WORLDwrite and its citizen TV station WORLDbytes in Hackney. I love film and have always been interested in a career within the industry but never knew how to get my foot in the door and start making one. I love challenging ideas but I doubt I’d have opened my mouth in the past, working with WORLDwrite has allowed me to gain confidence and do so. I can’t stand victim hood and people winging on about vulnerability- it’s a real pet peeve of mine. I’ve definitely found the place to learn film making skills, shout about stuff and toughen up.

I needed to find a work experience placement from school and  I wanted to do something filmy but you can’t get a look in in the media unless you already have qualifications, a posh accent and a load of money to fund your own costs. My dad suggested WORLDbytes as he’d previously featured in one of their programmes. I went to visit them to find out more and they were amazing. They don’t turn anyone away, you have to select them, they don’t select you, so that was it, work experience sorted. But it became far more than that.

At WORLDbytes there’s lots of people like me who just want to have a go at TV making, don’t have any skills already and like the idea of alternative programme making. So I was quite happy although a bit shy about getting stuck in on my own. You soon feel very welcome and it doesn’t matter if you are young, you get treated like an adult and not like a ‘youth’, which is great.

With WORLDwrite and WORLDbytes not only do you get free training in camera, sound, lighting, presenting, research, script writing and lots of production tips but you make actual programmes that can make an impact, which is really exciting. You don’t feel like you’re just learning new stuff but contributing to something, which is why the charity refers to people as volunteer-learners on its training packages. You need to learn to use the kit in order to make programmes that matter. One of the first things I did, aged sixteen at the time, was to help shoot over 50 debates at the Battle of Ideas Festival at the Barbican. There were about 60 of us in the WORLDbytes crew and we had to operate as media professionals. It was awesome, terrifying and brilliant. Here were these big wig, global speakers debating major issues on everything from assisted suicide to the economy to censorship in sport. They trusted me with a camera to film them! I learned the basics of capturing and organising footage for the edit after the event, too. I’m looking forward to learning editing next. I also got to be key camera crew for WORLDbytes ViewsBox which was really good fun aswell as getting important messages across, this involved erecting a pop up inflatable video booth (and working out how to cut the sound of whooshing air to keep the booth up). We got big speakers and the public to come into the booth and speak to camera for one minute on issues ranging from freedom to free speech to housing and homelessness. Some of them were really good and I learnt about this campaign run by this woman who is trying to stop parents being made criminals for letting their kids off the leash, she was really good, and a freedom we need more of.

I have learnt so much and I’m still volunteering and still learning with WORLDbytes. To be honest, if you’re serious about the media and making TV, especially citizen TV, you never stop learning. I’ve done everything from creating a vlog (an edited short film on a phone) to now shooting a major documentary to major debates, as well as the ViewsBox shorts. I now know my F stops, how crucial sound is, how nerve racking it is to be in front of the camera, too. I think everyone at WORLDbytes gains new skills and we’ve all learnt the importance of team work, time keeping and testing ideas. There’s nothing like it really.

Might I get a job in the media? Who knows! But I have already had two real paid commissions as a camera person thanks to WORLDbytes recommending me, better than most Saturday jobs!

It’s been a breakthrough for me, personally, and I think for all the rest of our crew. Learning TV making is seen as a bit of a luxury but really we all want great stuff to watch, whether its sport, news or entertainment. So it shouldn’t be a luxury, especially if we want everyone to have a go and get a hearing, not just those with the cash. Thank you WORLDwrite, you did it for me!

Overall, my experience at Worldwrite has been one I am extremely grateful for. I have learnt a countless amount of skills and techniques that I hope to have the opportunity to use again one day. Along with all the technical skills, I have also met some amazing people who have welcomed me without question and shown me the ways of how the charity works, and I believe it is something they should be extremely proud of and to keep doing all the fantastic work they have been for so many years.