It’s not often you get the chance to meet not just one, but two BAFTA winning filmmakers.
That is exactly what Stockton Riverside College students got to do, when two of Britain’s up and coming film talents paid a visit.
Sharing their experiences of life in the industry so far, multiple BAFTA award winning writer-director Adam Tyler and Stockton’s own BAFTA Breakthrough Brit AJ Riach, held a question and answer session with Film and TV and Performing Arts Acting students.
What’s more the students could now go on to see their views help shape the filmmakers’ next piece of work as the guys used their visit to the college as a chance to capture the views of young people living in the North-east.
A former Stockton Riverside College Film and TV student himself, AJ said: “We have come up here to research for a potential TV programme that focuses on Britain today and the lives of young people growing up outside of the big cities.”
With the show in the very early stages of creation, Adam said: “We believe that it is important that stories from every corner of our country are told through TV drama and film. We particularly feel that the lives of teenagers are under-represented and we want to do something about that.”
Not giving much away about the team project, Adam did reveal: “It is a scripted series that will tell the story of a girls’ boxing team and the community that grows around them, also talking about the pressures teenagers feel today.”
Three-times BAFTA winner Adam explained: “Writing is all about good research and making a show like this means listening to the things that matter to the young people we hope to be representing onscreen.”
Adam, who is rapidly being recognised for tackling some of the most challenging issues of our time through his work, picked up the BAFTA for Best Drama at the British Academy Children’s Awards in 2016 and 2017 and won the BAFTA for Best Writer in 2017.
He said: “I am lucky enough to have had some successes in my career so far. I want to use that success to try and tell stories that maybe aren’t being told. Everyone’s experience has value and for me this project is very much a part of that mission.”
Happy to talk to students hoping to make their own way in the industry, the guys spoke openly and honestly about the successes and struggles they continue to face, even after achieving such prestigious recognition.
AJ, who was named BAFTA Breakthrough Brit in 2014, said: “For me it is important to show students from this area that you can achieve the things you want to do. That’s why I come back to the college to speak about what I’m working on now and also to show that I can still go through the same struggles making content that I did when I was in college.
“If coming in for an afternoon helps or inspires someone, or gives them a reason to say, I can do this, then that is great.”
Speaking to the students Adam said: “I only started winning awards when I stopped chasing them. There is probably a good lesson in that.”
For all budding filmmakers he said the important thing is to just keep creating. “I wasted a lot of time in my twenties waiting for the perfect thing. That was stupid, you should just keep making stuff.
“I have probably made 150 films so far, and I would only show you about eight. You will almost certainly make a lot of not good films before you start to make the good stuff.”