Looking back at the whole Talent Campus experience, it’s amazing to realise the inner demons which many of us ‘Campers’ have conquered since we first turned up at Ealing Studios in July.
For example: I’m shy yet determined; quiet yet opinionated, sociable yet an introvert, hate telling jokes but love a good laugh and definitely not a public speaker but at the same time itching to be heard. Complex, you might say, like any good character should be… (Or merely schizophrenic, depending on your point of view.)
So when an e-mail landed on the computer and the opportunity to apply for a three month mentorship with some of the best in the business, small group masterclasses with Hollywood greats and one-on-one pitching sessions with gatekeepers of our choice came along, the temptation to run a mile was overpowering; after all, I’m not a ‘real’ writer, am I? I’d never get in, would I? I’m not at that level yet, am I?
Then something deep within me said, “Okay. So if not now, when?” And the answer came back “Never!”
The thought frightened me. I’m 56 and have been struggling to make any major inroads into the industry and the thought of giving up all the hard won yet small victories which I’d secured, in order to weed the garden and hang out washing, scared the bejeezus out of me! It was enough to make a person apply… So I did.
Having put heart and soul into the application, I was over the moon to be included into the fold.
This was the first of many unexpected and awesome victories to come as a direct result of “surrendering to the training”, as Chris Jones puts it. What followed was an epic voyage of self-discovery which exposed our fears and taught us to deal with them, head-on. Confidence and courage grew to a point where walking on broken glass and 1500 degree hot coals became merely part of the game.
Invincible (if only ever so slightly singed) in our new skins, we pitched with conviction, spoke in public without fear and learned the valuable lesson of ‘you get out what you put in’. In supporting each other, we learned not to face struggles alone and to celebrate our successes in style, together. We bonded in a unique and meaningful way that time, I feel sure, will not break. It was and continues to be a life changer for me and has affected every part of my existence for the good. And yes, there was plenty of writing too!
Though the phrase “If I can do it, anyone can” may be bandied about way too often, it is so true in this instance. So if you are wavering, cogitating or doubtful about applying for this incredible experience and you think that maybe you can’t handle it – you can. Trust me; I’m a Talent Camper, who continues to cherish every exhilarating moment.
To quote Star Trek’s Captain Christopher Pike – “I dare you to do better.” So carpe diem and good luck!
Kim L. Wheeler – Screenwriter/Producer
Bio: Kim is a produced playwright, published author and poet and is about to have her winning short screenplay produced as part of the Create50 ‘The Impact’ initiative. She is currently developing a TV Crime Drama Miniseries “The Judge’s Wife” as part of the Creative Skillset/LSF Talent Campus Initiative.