1 November 2019
Everyone at USW is thrilled that, thanks to our close partnership with Screen Alliance Wales, we are able to create so many opportunities for our students and graduates to work on this ground breaking series. To be able to support so many talented young people now and on future series is both an honour and a privilege. Tom Ware, Head of USW Film and TV School Wales
Adapted by writer Jack Thorne from Philip
Pullman’s acclaimed series of novels, the series will have its global premiere
on Sunday 3 November on BBC One and BBC iPlayer.
His Dark Materials is a Bad Wolf production. Through their not-for-profit educational initiative Screen Alliance Wales (SAW), Bad Wolf continues to develop relationships with local schools, colleges and universities, building career pathways and supporting young Welsh talent.
Working with USW’s Film & TV School Wales, SAW promotes a wide range of skills needed to work in the film industry, including traineeships, placements and shadowing, and an online networking and jobs portal.
Andrew is a production assistant trainee on His Dark Materials. Last year, he was on a work placement on season one, which led to a subsequent interview for his current role.
Andrew said: “My degree involved different aspects of
industry from film theory, history of film, to practical assignments making
short films etc. We learnt all the different aspects of production – all
working together to make something beautiful.
“It feels amazing to go from graduating to
working on a high-quality BBC/HBO production. Studying at USW gave me the
confidence to apply for work experience. During my first week, I got to work
with one of my favourite actors but my favourite part of my role is being able
to see every single part of the production – from pre-production through to
“This is my first proper job working in the
industry. I never thought I would go into a role like this. I didn’t even know
this job existed when I started studying film."
Ben Jenkins has always had an avid interest in the business side of television. Since graduating from the Masters course, Ben has worked on productions such as; Bargain Hunt, Casualty, and Da Vinci’s Demons. From there he went on to work as Jane Tranter’s Executive Assistant at Bad Wolf. Ben is now Operations Executive on His Dark Materials.
Ben said: “My advice to anyone thinking about working
in this industry would be to grab any opportunity that is offered to you. These
experiences will set you above your competitors."
“The film industry in Wales has exploded over
the past four years. It is an incredible opportunity for Wales that we can
build something like His Dark Materials. Viewers can expect a highly enjoyable
visual experience with gripping drama.”
Sarah Notley studied BA (Hons) TV and Set Design at USW, and is now Art Director on His Dark Materials.
Sarah said: “His Dark Materials is very different from
anything else I have worked on. A stand-out moment for me was last year. We had
a huge location build for season one. The scenery was beautiful and the
location was close to home. We created a set of 20 buildings inside a quarry.
It was a long process involving a lot of people. It was a real highlight when
we handed over the finished product for filming.
“Then the visual effects add to our level of
work and the whole scale of this show is elevated. It adds a whole other level
to what we have created.
“It’s hard for me to watch the production on
screen and not critique my own work. I always watch everything twice. The first
time I will analyse it. If I don’t do that I don’t think I am doing a good job
as art director. There is always something to improve upon and grow from. The
second time I watch, I can relax and enjoy it.
“Nothing like His Dark Materials has been seen before. There are multiple worlds in the books, it’s beautiful that we can explore those worlds on screen. That level of detail from the books really comes across on the screen."
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