Industry-led skills body ScreenSkills interview two Screen and School Film Brighton graduates

13th October 2022

ScreenSkills, the industry-led skills body for the screen industries, recently spoke to two graduates from Screen and Film School Brighton to discuss the importance of studying on courses that have clear links with the screen industry. Crystal Leaity and Jack Matthews are both fully established in the industry now and can proudly call themselves a junior production coordinator and an edit assistant, respectively.

ScreenSkills pride themselves on ‘training the people who make the shows the whole world loves’ and they are supporting continued growth and future innovation across the country by investing in a skilled and inclusive workforce who are critical to the UK screen industries’ global success. Specifically, their work includes identifying skills gaps to provide an evidence base for investment training, providing careers information, mapping and quality-marking professional pathways to improve entry-level diversity and work readiness, as well as supporting development at every stage of a professional career in screen.

Everyone at Screen and Film School Brighton are extremely proud that our BA (Hons) Filmmaking degree course is credited, and industry recognised by ScreenSkills. Having this endorsement and support is a sign that the hard work, creativity and preparation we put into developing our courses is paying off. Here are some of the reasons why they choose to recognise certain degree courses for their relevance in today’s climate:

All ScreenSkills Select courses are independently assessed by their team of expert industry evaluators, who use rigorous criteria and provide annual feedback to help further strengthen links and relevance to the industry. They make sure that courses address the main priorities for screen employers, making it easier for students to get the job they want after finishing their studies.

Studying on a ScreenSkills Select-endorsed course means it has:

  • Great industry relevant course content
  • Firm links to local and national employers in the screen industries
  • Proven to best prepare you for a career in screen

Junior Production Coordinator and Screen and Film School Brighton graduate Crystal Leaity started her career working as an actress in BBC (Poldark), and ITV (Mr Selfridge) dramas after attending RADA in 2012. She worked in a number of TV roles for five years and in 2016 she decided to move her career focus towards working on the other side of the camera, starting with studying BA (Hons) Filmmaking at the Film School. Crystal spoke to ScreenSkills about her journey from being an undergraduate to becoming a successful screen professional.

“Studying at Screen and Film School Brighton has given me a platform to work with some incredible, exciting new talent and to tell underrepresented stories that resonate with me and hopefully others. The lecturers are so supportive and try to persuade you to work outside of your comfort zone. There are also some brilliant masterclasses with industry professionals and after school workshops run by alumni and current Screen and Film School staff. My studies have given me confidence to pursue a career in production. This is something I never thought I was able to do. Fortunately, I now have the skills thanks to my lecturers’ support and guidance.”

Crystal expanded on this and said that there were two important factors when deciding on where to study. She told ScreenSkils: “Brighton was a particularly important location. I have always been drawn to filming on celluloid film and expanding the film world outside of London. I moved from London to Brighton to get a new perspective. Also, ScreenSkills are a wonderful organisation with a great reputation. Knowing that they endorsed the Screen and Film School course definitely gave me confidence when applying.”

Crystal’s current role as a junior production coordinator means she is working on stellar productions including BBC Three’s Meet the Khans, Charlotte in Sunderland and BBC One’s Extraordinary Portraits. In terms of any advice for students who are starting to look for the right course, she told ScreenSkills to “go with what interests you and don’t worry about the level you are at now. We all started somewhere.”

As well as Screen and Film School Brighton graduate Crystal, ScreenSkills recently spoke to fellow alumnus Jack Matthews. Jack works as an in-house edit assistant at The Edit, a post-production company in Brighton, working on well-known productions, shorter films as well as feature films. His main duties include taking footage from set, preparing it for the offline editors to begin assembling the cut as well as assisting with all of the stages of post. Some of the productions they cater for, and Jack has worked on include: The Repair Shop, Interior Design Masters, Saving Lives at Sea, Night Coppers, and Emergency Nurses.

Jack, who is from Sussex, chose to study at Screen and Film School Brighton because it was local, but also because our BA (Hons) Filmmaking degree was endorsed by ScreenSkills. Here is what Jack discussed with them:

“The fact that the course was endorsed by ScreenSkills Select whilst I was studying there is proof of the quality and commitment of the teaching and the links to the industry.”

When asked about what advice he would give students who are looking for a degree course, he was clear to them about the need for students to decide beforehand what they want to achieve from their studies: “Do you want to learn about the history of production, or do you physically want to get your hands on kit? If you know what you want, then you are more likely to find relevant work after you graduate. For any roles that come up but don’t go overboard – a five-hour drive away is not sustainable. Other bits of advice I would offer are to communicate, hold a conversation, understand people and work out problems very quickly. Asking relevant and timely questions to get an answer is also crucial and turning up early and meeting deadlines is vital. Never turn up late for a shoot.”

Jack is currently practicing what he preaches and that is clear to see by the current success he is experiencing. Jack and Crystal have both benefited from studying on Screen and Film School Brighton’s BA (Hons) Filmmaking degree course. It has given them the opportunity to start their screen careers in earnest.

Thank you to ScreenSkills for taking the time to speak to our two brilliant filmmakers and thank you to Jack and Crystal for sharing their thoughts.



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