London Film Studios is an East London based production house. The Academy promotes an equal and diverse creative industry by training young people in film and production. When Shantelle first started the Academy, it wasn’t smooth sailing. To succeed, she had to learn to listen to her students, and to adapt.

Shantelle’s social enterprise model…

Shantelle uses revenues from her production company to train and employ young filmmakers from diverse and challenging backgrounds. Providing this training has not been an easy ride, and Shantelle’s first class started with disaster.

“I had young people wanting to leave in the break. They weren’t engaged and I felt that what my team and I had worked on for the last year and a half was a big fat flop. All that effort to secure funding was for nothing.”

How could Shantelle engage these young people?

A good friend and her daughter from Know Your Power Ltd., who both specialise in personal development, were observing the class. They talked with the students individually and identifed the problem.

As it turned out, to Shantelle’s surprise, the students did not dislike the class. The reason they weren’t engaging was because the majority were dealing with huge issues including starvation, homelessness, poverty and various disorders. This was the real barrier, not her ability to train.

Time to adapt…

“This news really broke my heart and we decided to change the second half of the lesson. We bought everyone sandwiches and drinks and discussed their likes and dislikes for films and TV shows. We needed to make it relevant.”

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“At the end of the session and without coaxing the majority of the class came and spoke to me one-to-one and apologised for not participating much earlier on. They explained their personal situations and said they loved the class and would definitely be back next lesson.”

Every lesson since has been great. The kids are growing into a talented creative workforce.

“We learned a lesson in that first class. We had to make sure we were listening to what our students needed and adapting our plans accordingly. Only from a place of understanding can real lives change.”

Written by Jen Welch

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