Success Stories

Shayne Thomas-Gordon

Quality Assurance Operator, Sky Studios

“MAMA Youth was not what I expected, the training is so intense and the training is also why I’m where I am today.”

Shayne completed MAMA Youth’s intensive boot camp TV Production training in 2017 and now works at Sky Studios in a position of considerable responsibility as a Quality Assurance Operator. He says the ethos of MYP was what drew him into applying for the unique course and in addition to gaining the skills he needed to enter the industry work ready, he surprised himself with what he was capable of.

What does your current role involve?

My department covers quality assurance for films, sports and entertainment shows. I essentially watch the raw material that gets sent in from distributors and check to ensure that all the footage is where it needs to be, subtitles are there and there’s no errors, before sending it to Transmission for it to be played out.

What were you doing before MAMA Youth Project?
I had finished university and spent a year dropping off CVs to so many places. I really wanted to work in TV, especially with cameras and then a friend told me about something called MAMA Youth. I really admired the ethos of the organisation, trying to help people who wouldn’t really have the chance to get into the industry and were from different cultural backgrounds or have difficulties at home. I just really liked what it stood for.

How would you describe the training?
It was definitely not what I expected. I expected it to be like, intense, but not that intense! It’s such a valuable experience, all the way through, right from the interview process, there are a lot of surprises. The great thing that MAMA Youth do is they look out for these other little areas of improvement which makes the training so individual. So, say for instance in my case, I wanted to be more organized, I wanted to be more efficient and I wanted to build up confidence. Every trainee gets a series of 1-2-1’s for career and personal development and the attention to detail is incredible, I didn’t realise how much would go into it all.

What impact has MAMA Youth had on your life?
MAMA Youth made me realise there's a lot that I can do which I didn't necessarily know I could do before. Like, with that experience I suppose I was kind of chucked in the deep end where a lot of people have trained ten, five years of their life to do what I learnt in fourteen weeks. You get a better self-awareness to know the things you need to improve upon and you develop the patience and skills to improve them – you end up surprising yourself. MYP has given me a better insight, it forced me out of my comfort zone and to say “I can do it”, in a pressurised environment. If I hadn’t have done the training, I wouldn’t be where I am now, everything has stemmed from that. I would never have got the chances and opportunities that I’ve had since. MYP is so important to get voices out there and heard, now more than ever, whenever you turn on the news there’s something horrible going on. I feel like MAMA Youth is doing its part to get the controversial things out there and in doing so, make the world a better place.

Tell us a funny story from the MYP training?
It was my first shoot at an art museum and we were rushing around obviously. You know like, the levels are high, you're thinking, "I'm here on the shooter's day!" We were rushing and trying to get everything ready and being a gallery there was a lot of valuable stuff around. I had my bag on my back just behind me and Bob Clarke, founder of MYP who was directing said, "Shayne, quickly, quickly get set up!" So, I'm rushing and then I think the bag that's on me accidentally tapped a piece of art that was right behind me and it was wobbling around, and I'm thinking, "Oh no, did anyone see that... did anyone see that…" and luckily enough no one said anything, so I thought okay, it's fine. Then at the end of the shoot, Bob goes, "Did anyone see Shayne almost knock over that 2 million pound piece of art?" and I was just like, “I thought I'd got away with that... I really thought I got away with that..” Just goes to show that incredible attention to detail and that Bob misses nothing!