Francis Sylver is an aspiring camera man from Peckham. He completed training at MYP June 2015. Francis has recently been offered a contract at Procam TV, after completing a paid work placement organised by MAMA Youth Project with one of the charity's main industry supporters.
"In the couple of years before my experience on the MAMA Youth Project I had tried my hand at becoming a self employed artist. With very little fruit to show for my labour and time passing me by, a steady income with a more stable career was needed. I tried various job roles such as retail stockroom assisting, visual merchandising and the food and beverage industry. Whilst fortunate to gain employment I always felt capable of achieving more and particularly trying to utilise my design skills in future career prospects.
I had always enjoyed video production and was fascinated by the technicalities of being a camera operator. Running opportunities, camera operating and assisting experience were scarce and never showed substantial progress. MAMA Youth Project offered me a great chance to make a significant breakthrough in my development. All that they asked for in return was my hard work and commitment.
In my role as a trainee camera operator I was given full responsibility of camera prepping and ensuring that all equipment was in correct working order. I quickly had to learn how to light a shot to a good standard, working in tandem with my sound operator in ensuring that we always put ourselves in the best possible position to capture interviews, cutaways and anything spontaneous required by our director. I learnt how to work collaboratively with directors, producers, editors, interviewers, interviewees and even with the establishments who were helpful enough to provide us with locations for shoots. Delegating duties and strong clear communication were very important skills that I developed, along with calmness under seemingly stressful conditions and concentrating whilst physically and mentally fatigued.
Despite the outrageously early call times I really did enjoy my time with the MAMA Youth Project. Working closely with my peers from various backgrounds on a day to day basis was a pleasure even though they proved to be troublesome at times.
On completion of the programme MYP recommended me, along with the rest of the production crew to Procam Television for a 13 week work placement. This was fantastic to hear as I had been searching for such an opening but with no success in the past. We took on board advice and lessons from MYP such as good time keeping and general helpfulness and worked very hard.
At the end of the placement I felt proud to hear that the entire MYP production crew including myself had been offered extended contracts at Procam TV.
The advice that I would give any young person starting out at MYP is as follows. Come into it open minded and don’t be afraid to grow. Be flexible in your approach to your work and gain the skill of adaptability because you will most definitely need it, I promise you. Try to master as much as you can about your role, the industry and how other people work so that you can offer simple solutions to what may seem like complex problems. Be a genuine person and be polite and willing to converse with people from varying backgrounds. Don’t be too shy, if the occasion calls for it do share you opinion.
Finally, enjoy yourself and don’t allow fear of making mistakes to constrict your development, experiment with your subjects. This is quite a rare opportunity so don’t allow it to just pass you by." - October 2015