Thirty Screen School students at LJMU worked behind the scenes of ITV1’s hit series Maternal in an unprecedent move for the network.
The excited students worked for up to two months as camera operators, script-checkers, runners and in other roles on the hit show which was partly filmed at LJMU’s IM Marsh campus.
Lynn Saunders, of Liverpool Film Office who helped broker the arrangement with ITV and Liverpool Screen School at LJMU, said: “I’ve never known so many students on a big set ever!”
“They did brilliantly, really got stuck in and felt like part of the team,” said Faiza Tovey, Head of Production at ITV Studios.
"They were so helpful; I ended up doing another gig afterward" - Conor, BA (Hons) Media Production
The medical drama about doctors who are new mums stars Parminder Nagra, Lisa McGrillis and Lara Pulver and has been praised by critics for capturing how difficult it can be for women juggling family life, whilst under pressure at work.
The students secured the work after training with Liverpool Film Office and the majority got further paid work from the networks they developed.
Conor Coleman, a final year Media Production student, spent two months on the camera team. He said: “It was lots of fun. I couldn’t be happier. I tried my best to do my camera tasks but also learn as much as I could about the way the crew works. They were so helpful too in advising me about how to find work and I ended up doing another gig afterwards.
Libby Raby, a MA Scriptwriting student, worked one-to-one with the script supervisor, said: “I got to learn the whole job and it was great to soak up other roles on set and just the exciting atmosphere filming for TV creates.
Libby also networked to land herself a backstage role on another job – working on the show Sexy Beasts, adding: “This seem to be how it works; one job leads to another.”
The Screen School has a long-standing relationship with Liverpool Film Office which provided students with special training called ‘Set Ready’ before students began their placements.
Director of the Screen School Rachel McLean said: “This was an innovative three-way partnership between LJMU, ITV and Liverpool Film Office and proved not only helpful to the students in seeing how employment is particular to this industry but also to ITV in identifying future talent and employees.
“Networks are paramount in the film and TV industry both at institutional and individual levels.”
Vice-Chancellor Professor Mark Power, who attended a screening of the show and a panel discussion on breaking into the film industry at the Screen School on Thursday said: “This is a particularly good example of how LJMU works with industry to give students transformational experiences and demonstrates how the LJMU Screen School offers real skills for students to be ‘set ready’.”
- Maternal is a six-part medical drama which aired on Monday, 16 January and is available on ITVX.