Budding screenwriter from Dagenham inspired by filmmaking course

A screenshot of Joshua Rodwell in the short film Granted.

BTEC media student Joshua Rodwell playing the lead role in a short film he and fellow Barking and Dagenham College created during the course. - Credit: Young Film Academy / Barking and Dagenham College

A budding screenwriter and actor from Dagenham has been inspired to follow his dreams after taking part in a filmmaking course.

Joshua Rodwell, 18, was one of six BTEC media students at Barking and Dagenham College who took part in a British Film Institute course, delivered by the Young Film Academy.

During the 10-day course, which has a focus on employability, the group worked together as a crew to create their own short films.

They learned practical filmmaking skills from writing a script and directing to being a camera operator and sound technician.

Mr Rodwell, who took the lead acting role in their film Granted, said he would recommend the course to anyone who’s interested in the industry.

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“I believe that even if you’re 50/50 on the idea of pursuing a career in filming, the course will sway you,” he said.

“I loved the freedom of us getting to choose the topic and storyline of our piece and also meeting top industry professionals along the way.

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“We got some great feedback and information on how to improve and only ever constructive criticism."

Mr Rodwell said the course had helped him in writing his own pieces.

“It was really helpful and even more inspirational, as it shows no matter who you are or where you come from you can do it," he said.

After he finishes his BTEC next year, Mr Rodwell hopes to either continue writing and acting in his own pieces or be hired as a writer.

“Either way the course has narrowed my vision to become a screenplay writer,” he added.

The courses help train and inspire the next generation of filmmakers, supporting young people aged 16 to 19 to develop the commercial and cultural knowledge and skills they need.

Hannah Bixby of the Young Film Academy said: “It was a challenging year with the circumstances of the pandemic and there was lots of juggling to do.

"Over two filming weekends, the students pulled together in a team and adapted to adhere to social distancing rules.

“They took it all in their stride and managed to produce really excellent stuff.”

Visit www.youtube.com/watch?v=Hk3Z_74sqFA to watch the two films created by students at the college.

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