One of the most surprising aspects of my work with Enlightened Media is the success and enjoyment I'm getting out of training, be it 1-2-1 photography tuition, small group videography lessons or a 50-strong workshop on Factual TV Production. I've been thinking about it a lot this month, because I've been asked to consider what it takes to really shine in my workshops, and to nominate some Rising Stars for Channel 4.
I teach Creative Factual Production for Channel 4's Talent Unit, and C4 PopUp is the new format through which Channel 4 goes out on the road to discover and nurture some of the most promising and upcoming young filmmakers in the country.
Their challenge, once I've taken them through introductory exercises and presentations, is to produce a short film (from concept to world premiere) in just 4 hours - now that's pressure in anyone's book.
It's an intense experience all round, as we harness the group's raw talent, energy, enthusiasm and original ideas, and distill all that potential into 6 dynamic and engaging short films in one day.
And it's worth the hard graft, because this is a competitive workshop with huge rewards: internships and mentoring from Channel 4 are up for grabs to kickstart the careers of those who impress.
So as well as teaching factual production, it's my job to identify Rising Stars from each of my workshops. With so much talent in so many different roles - presenters, producers, directors, camera, sound, editing etc - I thought it would be really tough to choose...and in many ways it is...but even amongst a shining pool of talent some people just shine brighter. Why? How?
For me the answer is not just how great they are at their job - there are loads of people who are great at their job and work hard - in fact to me that should come as bog standard. It's how they approach their job, and the rest of their crew, that really sets some people apart as Rising Stars.
Those who engage in every aspect of the workshop, listen to the rest of the crew and their ideas, respect and bond with everyone, are positive, constructive and flexible, create a great working atmosphere, are generous with praise and credit, keep calm and even tempered under pressure, and support everyone else in their roles - they are the people who make a film crew really tick and allow creativity to flourish.
They are the people who really stand out for me, and the ones I want in my crews - genius divas need not apply!
So if you're aged 16-25, interested in a media career, and live around Wolverhampton, Norwich, Preston, Glasgow or London, come and make the most of this incredible opportunity - C4 PopUp will be at a venue near you before the end of 2015.
And remember, my Rising Stars don't just bring their own A game, they also bring out the best in everyone they work with... including me, the trainer!
Thank you to Rosie Turner and Carol Alevroyianni for the photos used in this post :)