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THE MEDIA APRIL 2018

Training the next generation of TV practitioners Training the next generation of media practitioners in television is crucial for the industry to continue to thrive. The good news is that the three main TV players – SABC, M-Net and e.tv – all offer funded or partially funded courses in TV and film skills for youngsters. Big Fish, an NPO set up specifically for the purpose, also offers a fully funded course, reports GLYNIS O’HARA. courses vary in terms of numbers acc epted, the depth and length of the courses, the qualifications needed to get in, and the frequency. Here’s more details on each broadcaster. Big Fish The Big Fish School of Digital Filmmaking offers a fully funded twoyear full-time course in film and TV production, in Cape Town. The funding covers not only tuition fees, and equipment and production budgets, but also accommodation, entrepreneurial training, life skills training, computer literacy, student counselling and weekly student stipends, which are often used to support families in rural communities. It takes a minimum of 100 students per year, but this year, for example, it enrolled 150 learners. “We’re supported by the European Union and from this year, by the department of higher education and training,” said founder and CEO, Dr Melanie Chait. “Funders include the department of arts and culture, Old Mutual, and e.tv, among others.” “We offer accelerated, intense training, packing a three year course into two years. But it’s holistic training too. We can’t just train for the job, we have to encourage self confidence, teach life skills, encourage the practice of self-discipline and meeting deadlines and much more. Our students are helped to see themselves as agents of change, to challenge social injustice and tell their own stories from their own point of view.” The skills needed today encompass not only those for big studio or location shoots, but also one-person outfits. “There’s a huge demand for digital content and citizen journalists today can film and edit their own pieces. In documentaries, social media has had a huge influence, meaning filmmakers need skills to develop material across different formats. This doesn’t mean the long form documentary is dead at all, but there’s now a new, micro-format at play as well,” Chait says. Big Fish also allocates a fulltime staffer to help students find employment when their studies are over. Over 80% of students find employment and “the remaining 20 percent work on different projects including at Little Pond, a production trust The Media | wagthedog.co.za P 37


THE MEDIA APRIL 2018
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