ScreenSkills has launched a free package of remote and interactive training, online talks and masterclasses with industry leaders. These will support freelancers in upskilling and staying in touch with industry during these difficult times.

Leading figures from across all the broadcasters, indies and the new content providers have stepped forward to give their time to share insight and show solidarity with the screen industries workforce in this unprecedented period of lockdown. The new package builds on initial support in mental health, wellbeing and practical issues such as employment law that have been underway since the beginning of the week.

Announcing the extended programme today, Seetha Kumar, chief executive of ScreenSkills, said: “We know the big worry for many freelancers right now is the impact of lost jobs and income due to the Covid-19 crisis. ScreenSkills, with colleagues across the creative industries, has lobbied the Government to act and gave a cautious welcome to news of some financial support for freelancers.

“However, we thought it was important to play our part in making sure the industry and its workers stay as resilient as is possible in the circumstances. So we have built a range of online sessions – some offer practical guidance on issues such as employment law, others on skills from pitching and development to managing teams and others offering useful industry insights from executives, creatives and commissioners that we hope will be helpful for your return to work when it comes. Still others are just to help you get through the day.

“It’s a programme developed in haste with enormous support from our colleagues across the industry and will evolve in coming weeks. But it is being shared in a spirit of all doing what we can to support the amazing screen industries workforce during this hiatus in production.”

Training and support is being offered from the High-end TV Skills Fund with industry contributions and through ScreenSkills film team investing industry contributions to the Film Skills Fund and National Lottery funds awarded by the BFI. This builds on work kickstarted by the ScreenSkills Indie Training Fund who have been offering rapid response support including an employment and contract law surgery, business skills for freelancers and mental health and wellbeing sessions since Monday with more to follow.

Now the TV Skills Fund is investing contributions from BBC, Channel 4 and Channel 5 in a programme led by media consultant Donna Taberer of six sessions a day for forthcoming weeks including Q&A sessions on finance, business skills and working from home.

ScreenSkills Online Training Schedule

The schedule will be:

  • 10.00 – 11.15 – training workshops including storytelling, commentary writing, pitching and development and managing and leading teams.
  • 11.30 – 12.45 – industry great masterclasses with Simon Ford, Ken Loach, Tim Wardle, actor Con O’Neill, Rowan Deacon, Zac Beattie, Kate Thornton, Sanjay Singhal, Mobeen Azhar, Olly Lambert, Dan Dewsbury, Anna Hall, Amy Flanagan, Lisa Holdsworth, Pete Beard, Jon East, Nicole Taylor and Jenny Ash signed up so far.
  • 1.00– 2.00 – lunch with a commissioner. Enthusiastically supported by broadcasters, this is an opportunity to “have lunch” with a commissioner. Nearly 40 have volunteered including from: Channel 4 – Karl Warner/Kelly Webb Lamb/Phil Harris; BBC – Emma Loach/Jack Bootle/Tommy Bulfin; Channel 5 – Guy Davies/Lucy Willis; UKTV – Helen Nightingdale; ITV – Kate Teckman and Amanda Stavri; Amazon Studios – Dan Grabiner
  • 3.00 – 4.00 – talent manager takeovers. More than 60 talent managers from across the UK and the widest spread of indies will cover general career advice, networking, CV clinics, juggling portfolio careers, interview practice and how to manage you career and development plans
  • 5.00 – 6.00 – craft workshops and partner sessions with practitioners including James Green, Matt Rudge and Sophie Jones and music in documentary with film-maker Neil Crombie, composer Alex Parsons and editor Rupert Houseman. Sessions will cover presenting skills, how to get an idea out of your head and onto paper, guiding UGC in filming during isolation, improving your sound, diverse and inclusive casting, presenting skills and how to be a great freelancers and how to be a great entrepreneur.
  • 7.00 – 8.00 – peer-to-peer support sessions and socials.

There will also be mini writers’ rooms to support writers including first-time writers.


To Register

The detailed programme will be released a week at a time to allow everyone a chance to benefit.

All ScreenSkills events can be found in the directory here. Numbers will be kept modest in the first week of pilots but will be adjusted where possible after that to meet demand.

ScreenSkills politely ask freelancers not to over-book as we want to reach as many freelancers as possible. And if you need to cancel please let us know them we can release the place. They hope to record most industry great masterclasses and craft workshops and these will be shared at a later date for those freelancers who can’t make the allotted time or if sessions are over-booked.

In order to apply for opportunities, make sure you’re registered and logged in to your ScreenSkills account.


View all courses and register here.

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