BFI Film Academy Labs

Labs are free Q&A sessions that provide young people interested in film with industry insight, professional advice and support to develop their own programming and filmmaking practices.

These monthly events are supported by the National Lottery and take place online. You can find out more information and sign up for future events on the BFI Film Academy website, or look below!

We are planning our next session, why not watch previous LABS while you wait!

Upcoming events

Why Good People Make Bad Characters: Creating Characters for Drama

Join us from 18:30 – 19:45 on Monday 13 May, to understand the intricate art of character creation.

Ever stuck for how to make characters? Ever feel that your characters are bland or two-dimensional? In this masterclass, Jenny Thompson will lead you through her method of character creation. Sharing her candid experiences making characters in audio and television, Jenny demystifies the creative process and shares a practical guide to making your characters sparkle. It’s a journey from inspiration to script to casting to the finished product. Along the way Jenny will share her route into the industry and what her key creative takeaways are.

If you’re an aspiring writer intrigued by the magic of character development for the screen, this masterclass is your gateway to unlocking the secrets of the creative process.

About the speaker: Jenny Thompson grew up in Dorset and dreamt of being a great historian. She failed at that, and went from making up stories about the past to making up stories for the present. By being willing to live absolutely anywhere, she won a series of promotions taking her from London to Belfast to Birmingham and to Cardiff and moved into TV. She is, according to her CV, a multi award-winning producer, story producer and development producer. She has a slate of writers with whom she is working and spends her days either reading scripts in the warm or outside in the rain watching a stuntwoman choreograph attack-by-crowbar. Either is brilliant.

Watch previous BFI Film Academy Labs

The below videos are produced by Film Hubs South East, South West, Midlands, North, Scotland and Northern Ireland as part of the BFI Film Academy programme beginning in 2023.

Finding an Agent: Why, When and How with Fiona Grant

Developing Stories for Different Formats with Alex Rühl

Creative Powerhouses: The Role of Producers in Film and TV with Sara Huxley and April Kelley

Developing Your Project and Telling Authentic Stories with Myriam Raja

Creating Content for Commercial Companies with Alfie Barker

Building Your Portfolio with Euella Jackson and Elle Dimond

Funding the Short Film with BFI NETWORK, Short Circuit Scotland, Ffilm Cymru and NI Screen

The below LABS were produced by the Independent Cinema Office and feature Young Film Programmers as the interviewer. They were all paid for this opportunity to practice their skills in interviewing.

Working in Sound Design with Emma Butt

Music Documentaries with Vanessa Lobon-Garcia and Colm Forde

Directing Horror Films with Russell Owen

Film Trailer Design with Mark Towers

Programming Archive Film with Simon McCallum

Film Poster Design with Sam Ashby

Production Design with Gini Godwin

Film Funding with Thomas Wightman and Nicole Davies

Working in Animation with Astrid Goldsmith

First Jobs and CVs with Kate Wood

Script Editing with Jack Casey and Lily Slydel

Pop-Ups and Start-Ups with Yi Wang and Carmen Thompson

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