Viral Careers: Dominique Unsworth
30 April 2019
In this series of interviews we’re talking to people about how they got to where they are. Find out about the key moments, and people, in the lives and careers of some of the creative people we most admire.
Name: Dominique Unsworth
Tell us about the work you do.
I set up and run my own production company, with paid staff and so my main ‘job’ is CEO of Resource Productions. However, I set that up so that I could develop and make film and video content as a producer. So my job is full-time, actually around 50-60 hours per week and also includes some training and teaching work. I have to juggle a lot of different things in order to make enough money to keep the organisation running and pay my own salary and that of our eight staff.
What did you want to do when you were 16?
I had always loved TV and as a child I wanted to be a children’s TV presenter. I wrote letters to lots of broadcasters and production companies and by the time I was 16 I had worked at a few companies and even secured paid freelance work for a teenage channel ‘Trouble TV’ as a researcher/director. As soon as I got my first work-experience I started to learn about all the different job roles, from being in the working world at a young age.
Was there a moment that opened up new possibilities and brought you to where you are today?
I think the opportunity that got me into producing, was actually through the support of a local youth centre in Slough and the Arts Development team at Slough Borough Council, who helped me through a ‘Community Arts Training Scheme’ to set up what is now ‘Resource Productions’. I hit a glass ceiling at a very young age and knew the only way I would speed up progress from runner/researcher to what I really wanted to do – would be to set up on my own. I also went on a life-changing programme called the Clore Fellowship which was funded by Arts Council England and enabled me to take time out and carry out work placements at Pinewood Studios and the Royal Opera House Digital department.
Who has influenced your career?
So many amazing people have influenced my career and lots of publicly funded organisations like Lighthouse, where I was introduced to my current film mentor, Tim Bevan, through the fantastic Guiding Lights scheme. On the Clore Fellowship I had BFI CEO Amanda Nevill as my mentor, and as a teenager I also worked for TV producer Matthew Littleford, who I recently reconnected with – and who for the last two years has also mentored me. In the past I worked for Marc Boothe at B3 Media, where I learnt LOADS and throughout my career my former business and enterprise mentor Ramesh Kukar has helped me reflect on my own practice.
What advice would you give your 16 year old self?
It’s hard to say. I’ve enjoyed every part of my career journey and wouldn’t want to change it! I would have loved to know more about apprenticeships – as I’m a really practical person and whilst I loved doing a degree and building a network of wonderful friends, it didn’t really help my career, it was more a social experience. Once I graduated I was back to being a runner again!
Opportunities in the creative industries can be difficult to identify and aren’t always accessible, or visible, to young people from all backgrounds – something that our Viral project aims to change.
Viral is a collaborative learning programme that provides production training, business development, mentoring, showcasing opportunities and peer-to-peer support for a diverse group of 16-25 year olds from Brighton and the surrounding areas. To support Viral 2019 through sponsorship, get in touch.
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