Talent Campus: Mentoring… One view from a mentee turned coach


By Mark Walker

Applications to Talent Campus 7.0 close soon…

If you are still on the fence about applying, now is the time to throw caution to the wind and just get that application in – what have you got to lose? You don’t HAVE to go, even if you get in, but you won’t have that choice, if you don’t apply. Talent Campus has had a massive impact on me and my writing and you can read about some of this HERE. As you will see there is a mass of content to get your teeth into – great speakers, fantastic guests and the opportunity to schmooze industry professionals at the end of the course. However, in between the classroom antics of Talent Campus and the intensity of The Crucible, there is a 4-week period of mentoring and coaching which helps prepare you for The Crucible and I thought it would be useful to talk a little bit about this Momentum Phase and what you can hope to get out of it.

At the end of the first 5 days of Talent Campus, you will have time to spend with each of the four mentors working with the CAMPUS. At Talent Campus 5.0, this was Bob Schultz, Lucy V. Hay, Karol Griffith and Leonardo Rizzi and David Pope joined in Talent Campus 6.0 in place of Leonardo. Spending time with each of the Mentors on the Saturday of Ignition Week gives you the opportunity to think about who would like to work with and gives the mentors the chance to discover who they think they can help. On the Sunday, you will be split up into Mentor groups of around 7 and will spend most of that day further discussing your projects and the format of the weeks to come. Each group will also be assigned a Coach who will work with the group to support, encourage and inspire you. During my time at Talent Campus 5.0 I was supported by Bob and Panayiota Panteli both of whom were incredibly supportive and helpful in the Momentum weeks and, indeed, continue to be so.

When the Ignition Week finishes, Talent Campus is far from over.

You will spend the next 4 weeks working closely with your mentor group, discussing projects via WHATSAPP chats and via ZOOM conference calling on a regular basis. Each week, you will ZOOM with your group and Coach to discuss progress and support each other, and then 1-to-1 with your Mentor to discuss one of three specific projects that you will be working on as you build up to The Crucible. One week you will look at developing a 2-pager for a TV series, then next week for a Feature Project and the third week for your Passion Project – which can be anything you want it to be.

The primary purpose of the Momentum Phase is to help get your projects ready for The Crucible; to give you the support you need to produce 3, high-quality treatments that you can use to sell yourself and your projects. Bob, as mentor, had incredible insight into how we could make projects better and make them work. His input could have been small, or large, but each time his mentoring made my projects better and helped me further my understanding of the process of writing. As our Coach, Panayiota provided unwavering insight into the creative process with hints and tips based on her experience and knowledge of the industry, as well as making sure no-one gave up or got left behind – she acted as an inspiration to keep going.

And there is still more to it than that.

Over the 4 weeks you will develop a close bond with your Mentor Group and, as well as developing your projects, you will find yourself part of a close-knit, mini-community as well as the wider Talent Campus community. I have certainly found this with my group and, although Talent Campus 5.0 is long finished, we regularly ZOOM together, chat on social media, provide feedback on projects and we are even working on a short film together. It feels like a “family” now and I do not foresee a time in the future where that group will no longer be working together to support each other and build on what we learned at Talent Campus.

I was lucky enough to be asked back as a Coach for Talent Campus 6.0, working with Lucy in her mentoring group, and continued to learn a lot from her and the group I was assigned to. It was also a privilege to see Talent Campus in action from the other side and support a new group of Campers develop those bonds and support networks that I found so useful during the Momentum Phase at Talent Campus 5.0.

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So, yes, Talent Campus has a lot of teaching, speakers and learning in the Ignition Phase, and an incredible opportunity in The Crucible, but it is important not to forget the Momentum Phase in between; a period in which you will not only develop your projects and skills as a writer, through the amazing input from your Mentor, Coach and peers, but in which you will also develop a strong bond with like-minded creatives who all want the same – to succeed and to help their friends do the same. Success and development in this industry relies on Networking and Talent Campus sets you up with a valuable network of support almost without you realising. It’s a fantastic opportunity, so don’t miss out – get the application in.

Apply Here.

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Talent Campus is for Life, not just for Ignition….

Mark Walker
Screenwriter