Producer Dominique Unsworth discusses how Resource Productions works with the local community and develops and promotes filmmaking talent
I’ve just celebrated the 20th anniversary of Resource Productions, which I set up when I was 21 with the support of a youth centre (SYPC) after working as a runner, researcher, self-shooter and camera-op since my teenage years, without much career progression or direction.
No Oscar or even a feature film (yet), but I’m proud to say that I’m still loving doing the best job in the world (Producer), in a town that’s not recognised for its’ film heritage (Slough) in partnership with people who are often absent behind the scenes (inc. youth, women, Black, South Asian, East Asian, neurodiverse, gay, working class, deaf, disabled and carers).
Over the years we’ve organically grown from a one-person, youth-focused, community video project… into a powerfully diverse team of 12 with broadcast commissions, Pinewood Studios’ BFI Film Academies, ScreenSkills training contracts, our very own Berkshire Film Office and a rolling diverse talent pool of 500+ under-represented creatives, who we support into work.
Our approach is three-fold. We are constantly engaged in outreach, through which we identify talent. We then mentor or train that talent to devise and deliver both creative and commercial productions, that will ultimately lead to paid work.
We identify and nurture non-traditional artists and filmmakers who might not otherwise consider a career in the Screen Sector.
We do this by working with community-based organisations, including charitable partners Aik Saath (a conflict resolution charity) and SWIPE (West Indian People’s Enterprise) to provide weekly free Into Film workshops in filmmaking open to young people aged 11 to 25. These workshops form part of our YES (Youth Engagement Service) programme.
Clients ranging from BAFTA, BFI, Creative England, BBC and Channel 4 contract us to devise and deliver regional and national outreach for their own training, recruitment and commissioning programmes. Activities range from getting girls into gaming to encouraging more Black, Asian and other minority ethnic writers to apply to feature development schemes.
It’s crucial for the sector that talented individuals who might not otherwise get their first foot on to the creative career ladder are supported to progress their personal development through signposting, networking, mentoring, training, accreditation and work.
‘The Creative Collective’ is our talent development programme, which encompasses both formal accredited courses and informal bespoke training workshops. We generate revenue by charging fees for some sessions but offer bursaries to those most under-represented, which are subsidised by training contracts or public funders.
We match talented diverse artists and filmmakers with training schemes, work placements, apprenticeships, jobs and funders. In order to ensure our talent is fit for work in the mainstream industry, we work closely with film and TV partners.
In addition to developing talent, we aim to develop their projects, which might range from producing a first storyboard, to shooting their first short drama. Our focus is on producing projects that tell stories from perspectives not currently seen in the mainstream media.
We co-develop, script, shoot and edit high-quality, emotive and engaging, cost-effective documentary, drama, animation and motion graphics with our ‘talent’ for broadcasters as well as charitable and commercial clients.
As a not-for-profit production company that seeks to enable social change through film, whilst diversifying the creative industries, our mission isn’t what you’d expect from a regular producer, but so far, so good! Our model of developing projects and people from the grass-roots up, means we were championing access and inclusion before it was ‘fashionable’ and the results have yielded real, creative, social and financial outcomes for us and the filmmakers we work with.
I remember taking one young director to see her film in competition at her first ever film festival when she was still at school. She didn’t win an award that day, but her talent was recognised, she got the bug and kept working hard. We were there to help if she ever needed, and this year, over a decade later, she was nominated for a BAFTA. I didn’t produce that nominated film, but the pride I felt could have burst my heart!
Every filmmaker that comes through Resource Productions’ virtual ‘door’ is a ‘production’ in development. Whether they make their work with us or another company is irrelevant; I am just pleased to have known (and hopefully supported) some amazing people, who might not otherwise have had the knowledge, confidence, skills or connections to apply their talent.
If you know anyone aged 16 to 19 living in Buckinghamshire, Berkshire or Surrey, who’d like to apply to our BFI Film Academy, you can find the application form here:
PINEWOOD BFI FILM ACADEMY
If you’re a freelancer based outside London, looking for that extra bit of help to get your next job then join our Creative Collective here: