Keri Collins - Writer
Mentored by Kenneth Branagh
What were your reasons for applying to Guiding Lights?
“I was living in a rural backwater where nobody made, or even talked about, films. This meant I could not develop my writing or directing and my work was stagnating. I had worked as 1st Ad on a few indie films and made a few contacts that way, which led to me having a couple of scripts optioned by independent companies; but when they failed to move forward I felt that I was totally stuck in a rut.
What I desperately needed was to get to know a broad range of people from different parts of the country, and from different disciplines within the film industry. If I was going to make any films, or get my scripts to people who could help me make films then I needed to somehow enter a network of people that just didn’t exist where I lived!"
What did you learn during your time on the scheme and what were the highlights of the year?
“I learnt a great deal from my mentor; his experience and nous were invaluable to me when he gave feedback on my work, which really enabled me to step my scripts and shorts up to the next level. However, I also gleaned a huge amount of knowledge, tips and invaluable contacts from my colleagues, the other mentees, who were such an incredibly talented bunch of individuals. Watching their work and speaking to them about film taught me more than I ever expected.
A very practical skill I developed during the year was the art of pitching; how to do it succinctly, yet with passion and excitement. I actually got a great deal of interest in my scripts through the various pitching sessions that GL ran throughout the year."
How has your career progressed since the scheme ended?
“When the scheme ended in 2009, I was commissioned by BBC Wales to write a ten minute short, which was produced in the summer of that year. At the same time an old short film that I had written and directed was also broadcast by BBC Wales.
In 2010, I was shortlisted for the Digital Shorts Wales scheme with a project which has now garnered the interest of the Film Agency for Wales. I was also commissioned to direct a BBC Wales short film and was even fortunate enough to be named ‘Best Director’ at the series awards.
I am now directing a new short, FUNDAY, written by one of my 2008-09 Guiding Lights colleagues Nicholas Horwood, and am attached to direct a low budget rom-com which should be happening in 2012 with any luck!"
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