I'm lucky to be able to indulge myself in one of my passions, filmmaking, for a living. I'm one of those rare people who can say with all honesty, that I love my job. And I'm constantly looking for new ways to stretch my experience, and around seven years ago I started to teach film. I still take on the odd contract to make short films with production companies, but teaching has become far more rewarding personally.
In those early days I was passing on my skills to a variety of different age groups, from those with learning difficulties in their 20s, to elderly, early-onset dementia sufferers. It was remarkable the response that was attained, especially with those with dementia.
Then came an opportunity to run a short term workshop over a period of weeks with school students from challenging, socioeconomic backgrounds.
This was the start of something that led me to where I am now. I had found my niche. Teaching young people film literacy and filmmaking. Almost three years ago now, I took up my current post with PQA, and haven't looked back.
That experience has enabled me to take on ever more challenging positions and projects. Last year was no exception, with a very rewarding project with the Festival Theatre, and then becoming part of a team that is bringing film literacy skills to school teachers, to enable them to take it into their classrooms. This is part of a much wider project by Creative Scotland nationwide.
All of these projects have been adding up to a very wide level of experience and knowledge, but I could see that there was a bias toward those of school age in most of the projects being funded. There was definitely a market for these skills in post-school age, especially for those in society who are disadvantaged. Film is a remarkable vehicle for improving self confidence and raising self esteem in those who feel left behind, and feel that all hope may be lost.
So I was excited to see a new post advertised recently to run a project with young offenders in a Scottish prison.
Of course, it will be a great addition to my wealth of experience, but that aside, I know film will bring a lot to those incarcerated. I applied, and today I attended the interview at the prison I would be working in, along with six other strong contenders. I'm keeping my fingers crossed that it will be me they choose.
I'm already excited at the prospect of meeting my new students. Afterall, who wouldn't want to make a positive difference to someone's life given the chance.