"I have Attention Deficit Disorder (ADD), and a few years ago I would have definitely said no to something like this. But my experience here changed a lot of things. Gradually I have become more confident and started really enjoying filming and being filmed. In the end, coming back felt like a really natural thing to do."
This week we took some time to talk with 15-year-old Cleon, one of our former trainees turned mentor. Cleon and several other past participants have come back to See Change Films and Families Forward through our mentorship programme to support our new trainees on their filmmaking journey. Through this programme, mentors can then progress to assistant film trainers and eventually work alongside the See Change team as paid film trainers. In this blog, we will be introducing our new mentors and following their progress throughout the course.
Cleon took part in the See Change Films and Families Forward's film-training course two years ago when he and his family, along with several other families, travelled as a group on a countryside adventure. As they kayaked and rock climbed, they also took time to film, direct and edit their own film entitled 'Family Time'. In our Q&A with Cleon, he tells us how he has changed since his initial training course, what skills he has gained from mentoring and how he hopes the experience will prepare him for the future.
Cleon, how has your mentoring experience been so far?
It’s been great. When we were filming Family Time two years ago I often felt I was just doing what other people told me to do. Now I have more freedom and confidence to actually decide what I want to do. And it’s cool to be involved in two film projects at the same time – I am helping the trainees with their documentary but also shooting our own Making of -film on the side.
Why did you want to become a mentor at See Change Films?
I have Attention Deficit Disorder (ADD), and a few years ago I would have definitely said no to something like this. But my experience here changed a lot of things. Gradually I have become more confident and started really enjoying filming and being filmed. In the end, coming back felt like a really natural thing to do.
What specific skills do you want to gain from this experience?
I’m going be a year eleven student next year. I want to be able to help the younger students then, and I think that mentoring is good training for that. I also want to learn more about all the different aspects of filmmaking. We were recently filming in Hastings, and I was interviewing others, being interviewed, and working behind the camera – I want to do as much as possible now.
Do you feel you have gained new skills already?
I think the biggest things for me are building confidence and improving social skills. When we were filming Family Time, I didn’t know most of the people there and felt like bit of an outsider, just standing there and not really knowing what to say to others. When we went to Hastings this spring, I had met the other families only once before but it felt so much easier to talk to them and get to know everyone. It’s much easier to work with people when I know their personalities a bit more and know what level they are on with their filming skills.
What has been the most challenging part of mentoring so far?
The challenge for me is to learn how to help others in the best way possible – to find out the specific things they need help with and to figure out what is the best way to explain things to them.
What about the best thing?
I have learned to do many things at once and to enjoy them all. Two years ago, when we went away for a week to film Family Time, I was struggling to focus both on the filming and the activities we were doing. This year it felt much easier: I was swimming, and enjoying my free time but also having a really good time filming. The most fun I have when I am working with my auntie Linda and my cousins Levi and Shakenen. I’ve known them all my life.
How do you think this experience will help you in the future?
I’m not really the one to follow rules or do what others do. Mentoring can give me a good idea of what it means to lead a team and how to be in control. I’ll be able to put these skills on my CV and hopefully they are going to help me to get a good job one day.