Reflecting on Creative Breaks

If you’d told me three and a half months ago that I would be stood here today having successfully produced a short film, I wouldn’t have believed you. And yet, here I am. We’re on the verge of beginning an international multi-media campaign, showcasing some of the amazing, inspiring things that we all know go on here in Greater Manchester every day of every week.

Back in August, I arrived at Creative Breaks straight from an episode of severe depression, with my self-esteem at an all-time low. Even putting together an application and travelling in for the interview was a real effort. As for arriving at the first day of the training, well you would not believe how nervous I was! Equally, you probably wouldn’t believe how glad I am now that I have taken part.

Through previous work experience in education and volunteering in public relations for a major national youth charity, I had plenty of experience of team working, writing, community work and in many other areas. But when it came to film making, the very foundation that Creative Breaks is built upon, I was a compete novice. My confidence was at rock-bottom. I had a lot to get to grips with.

Union Street Media Arts staff and the team from PANDA laid on an amazing training programme for us in the first couple of weeks, and ongoing throughout the last three months. As well as a useful refresher for me in soft-skills like communication, team work and questioning; I was able to spend much valuable time getting to grips with the technicalities of filming, recording and editing. Something it turns out that not only do I enjoy massively, but also seem to have rather a talent for!

Throughout the project, I’ve been lucky to work with a team of fantastically enthusiastic and artistic people – something which I have to say I haven’t always found easy. By nature, I’m someone who likes to be very organised and, as one of my colleagues would say, “on the ball.” Sometimes that hasn’t worked well with some of the team’s more creative and artistic moments. Although it’s been stressful at times (three months really isn’t long to make a film), we’ve worked together to find ways of pushing through our more challenging moments, and always came out of the other side a better, stronger team, all the more determined to reach our goal and do justice to our amazing hidden gem.

For me today doesn’t mark the end of Creative Breaks, Instead it’s about the beginning of something much more exciting: my future as a professional working in the media industry. It’s not a background I come from, but I’ve discovered a real passion for telling stories that engage an audience and make them think. Mental health is an area very close to my heart, and I’ve been humbled and honoured to be able to present Start in Salford and not above all to give Steve the chance to tell his story.

Next on my list of things to do in life is, well, more of the same. I have already been lucky enough to work with the BBC on two documentary programmes, one for BBC Radio Wales and one for BBC Two, both in the field of mental health. Now I would like to find more projects that I can work on, more stories to tell, and more ways to make people think. I hope that at the same time I’ll have the chance to grow my own skillset and be able to continue to work alongside some of the amazingly talented and committed professionals that it has been such a joy to meet so far.

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