The WFTV Mentoring Scheme is a programme designed for women who have more than seven years’ experience working in film, TV or digital production and are looking to take a significant step in their career.
We encourage applications from all disciplines and areas of the film, television and digital industries, including creative, craft, technical and business roles. In the past have had a set decorator, a colourist, an agent, a costume designer, a vision mixer, a media lawyer and a composer, in addition to directors, writers and producers.
The scheme runs for six months, during which time participants receive six hours of mentoring contact with an experienced industry figure and an intensive programme of exclusive seminars, training workshops and networking opportunities.
It is free to apply and to participate in the WFTV Mentoring Scheme and you don't need to be an existing member to apply*. Application deadlines are advertised via the WFTV newsletter and website, and on social media.
Applications for the 2020 WFTV Mentoring Scheme in association with ScreenSkills opened on the 25 September 2019 and will close at 14:00 on Sunday 27 October.
*Please note, if you are chosen for the scheme we would expect you to become a member by the time the scheme starts in January.
I have nearly but not quite seven years' experience - can I still apply?
The scheme is designed for mid-career level women. The dynamic relies on everyone having enough industry knowledge to share with the group, so it’s not suitable if you are still establishing yourself in your career, as you would soon feel out of your depth. However, if you are close to seven years, have a proven track record in your field and a clear goal then, as long as you will have seven years' experience by the time the scheme starts, your application will be considered.
I have got more than seven years of experience but I’ve had a career break – am I eligible?
The scheme is designed to help people stay in the industry, and that includes helping people re-enter the industry after maternity leave or other reasons. As long as your total experience (excluding your time out) is more than seven years, you are eligible.
Is there an age restriction for applicants on the scheme?
Not at all. We have had mentees across a wide range of ages from 27 plus.
I’m not a producer or director – does that put me at a disadvantage?
We like to have as diverse a group as possible so we positively encourage people from different disciplines. So far we’ve had a set decorator, an agent, a financier, a colourist, a technical ops director, a couple of DoPs and editors, a vision mixer, a presenter, a distributor, a composer, an AD and a voiceover artist, as well as directors, producers and writers. We would love to expand this list even further.
I’m an actor – can I apply?
The scheme is primarily designed for people working in production or business roles, i.e. behind the camera. We have, however, had a number of mentees who are ex-actors currently working as writers and directors. We have also had actors who are transitioning into another role, or running two careers side-by-side, and wanted to work on developing their non-acting career.
I’m not sure what my goals are – can’t you help me with that?
This isn’t the right forum for you to ‘discover’ what you want to do. This is a short and intense scheme, which requires you to really understand where you want to get to. The mentor-matching process very much depends on you being able to articulate your needs so the right person can be found. However, many people find the process of just filling in the application form (regardless of whether they are accepted onto the scheme) helps them reflect on their experience to date and work out what they need to do next.
Do I have to live in London to apply?
Part of the success of the scheme is down to the interaction of the group, which occurs during a fortnightly programme of seminars (and other additional events); the people who tend to get the most out of the scheme are the ones who are able to attend all the sessions.
All sessions take place in Central London, but we have had mentees who have travelled from Cardiff and the south coast on a regular basis. Unfortunately, we aren’t able to reimburse travel expenses so you would need to factor this in to your day-to- day budget. It may be possible to seek funding for these trips from outside organisations and we would try to facilitate this.
Do I have to pay a fee to join the scheme?
• The scheme, and all the scheme workshops are free.
• You will be kept informed of relevant external training opportunities but please be aware that we don’t offer funding for training outside of the scheme.
• From time to time there may be suggested trips to conferences and festivals which would be at your own expense. E.g. Previous groups of mentees have gone to Sheffield Doc/Fest and Cannes Film Festival.
It’s very time consuming to fill in the application form – why is it so detailed?
The transformation process that is at the heart of the mentoring scheme starts with the application form, where you have to, perhaps for the first time, articulate your goals and dreams and think about what you need to do to realise them. For the process to really work you have to be totally committed to it for six months; if you truly don’t have time to fill in the application form it is unlikely that you would be able to fully participate in, and benefit from, the scheme.
What’s the selection process?
All eligible application forms (i.e. those that meet the selection criteria and have complied with the submission requirements) are reviewed by a panel of experienced industry figures. Shortlisted applicants will be invited to interview with the mentoring scheme producer (at a central location in the region in which the scheme will be held). Successful applicants will be informed four weeks after the application closing date and the scheme starts in approximately two months later.
I’m freelance and don’t know my work schedule – what happens if I can’t make my mentoring appointments or other sessions?
Of course, we all understand that life gets busy and sometimes work commitments can’t be altered, so you may not be able to attend every session.
You are required to attend the induction and debrief days (see the application form for the dates) as these are an integral part of the process and essential to your personal development.
Do I have to be a member of WFTV to apply?
No. You do not have to be a member to apply. If you are chosen for the scheme we would expect you to become a member by the time the scheme starts in January.
Can I get feedback on my application if I’m not selected?
Due to the high number of applications we are unable to give feedback on unsuccessful applications.
However there are a number of common mistakes that you can avoid:
• Fill in every section of the application form with as much specific detail/information as possible. The best application forms avoid generic statements and really showcase the achievements and personality of the applicant. For instance, instead of saying “I’m a TV Producer /Director”, say “I’m a TV producer/director specialising in science programmes for the BBC, Channel 4 and Discovery Channel. Credits include..... and xxxx was RTS nominated... I enjoy troubleshooting on location and can get a good interview out of even the most recalcitrant contributors “, etc.
• Be clear and honest about your goals – if you can’t define your goals you probably aren’t ready to take part in this scheme.
• Make sure you follow all the submission details as outlined on the application form e.g. ensure you send an up to date CV with your application.
Key Terms for entering the 2020 Mentoring Scheme
1. Applicants must be UK residents.
2. The scheme is not designed to:
a. Provide training for women in entry level positions or who are trying to break into the industry for the first time
b. Provide counselling
c. Help on a specific project that is better suited to a consultancy e.g. Script editing
3. Mentees must be willing and able to travel to central London for interview, induction, fortnightly seminars (planned for Tuesday evenings) and mentoring sessions.
4. The closing date is 14:00 on Sunday 27th October 2019. Applications received after that date will NOT be considered.
5. If you haven’t been contacted by Friday 8th November 2019 you have not been shortlisted.
6. Due to the high number of applications we receive it is not possible to give individual feedback on unsuccessful applications.
7. Mentors and mentees will be introduced by WFTV after a thorough application and selection process designed to identify those women who will most benefit from the scheme.
8. Whilst every effort will be made to find a suitable mentor, there is no guarantee that short-listed applicants will be placed with a mentor, if no such suitable mentor can be found.
9. Selected mentees MUST provide a headshot and 100 – 200 word bio to email@example.com for use on the WFTV website and related publicity. Mentor matching will only commence for each candidate once a photo/bio has been received.
10. Successful applicants agree to participate in any relevant publicity.