The creative industry is not always accessible for all the many talented creatives striving for success. Which is why we do our best to offer that support to create a more equal industry.
An example of this, is Alumni Urbain’s inspiring journey into film. Before joining iconic steps, Urbain was unemployed, struggling with the harsh reality of homelessness. In 2020, Urbain’s talent in film and TV secured him a prestigious £15,000 BFI community grant to bring one of his film ideas to life. Despite possessing incredible ideas, Urbain felt that what he needed were opportunities that could grant him access to the industry. He lacked essential support like CV writing assistance and had no prior experience in film production. Fortunately, Iconic Steps became the space where he could progress his abilities.
“I was in a vulnerable situation where there was little support available for individuals over 25. Iconic Steps was a place that provided support when I really needed it,” Urbain reflected.
Age was a significant barrier, robbing Urbain of precious years and hindering his progress compared to his peers. “The income and age disparity in the industry makes it extremely difficult to compete,” he explained. Moreover, Urbain shared that his personal struggle with mental health was worsened by his experience of homelessness, especially after being diagnosed with bipolar disorder. However, he found solace in Iconic Steps, where he felt comfortable expressing his personal challenges.
Alongside diverse peers and supportive tutors, he enjoyed participating in their commercial production course. Mentorship from course directors boosted his confidence in production knowledge, as he could get guidance on production budgets and processes. “Money and networking are essential, and having someone accessible to bounce ideas off was incredibly valuable,” Urbain affirmed.
Now housed, Urbain’s knowledge of fundraising and mentors fuels his excitement for the future. He released a self-inspired film about a black gay man’s journey as a rapper, and the conflict between his identity and aspirations. His next grant goal is raising an impressive £100,000, with £10,000 from Awards for All and £15,000 from the Arts Council secured so far. Urbain reflects emotionally on his journey, the hands-on experience he gained, coupled with his neurodivergent traits of ADHD and dyslexia, has empowered him. Supported by a strong network and guidance, he now feels equipped to navigate his next steps with confidence.