iZen UK, the UK arm of the content production group that includes Chalkboard TV, Glasgow based Storyboard Studios and Clapperboard, has entered a creative diversity partnership with Line Light, a new talent and employment consultancy.

LineLight was founded by Gabriella Lafor, a production coordinator at ITN Productions and one of the inaugural winners of the David Lyle Foundation scholarship, which helps young executives to build successful careers in the international television business.

The partnership was brokered with Line Light and Lafor by iZen UK’s managing director Mike Benson and Natalie Humphreys, founder and managing director of Storyboard Studios as an ongoing initiative for the three iZen UK companies. It will offer iZen direct access to creative and production talent outside of the traditional TV industry, and reciprocally usher in a new generation of more ethnically and economically diverse voices with the aim of creating a legacy of new sustainable careers in TV.

Under the deal, Line Light will work with all three iZen UK companies to generate fresh responses to broadcaster briefs and identify new talent and development opportunities. Drawing on iZen UK’s creatives, the agreement will also mentor talent from diverse backgrounds.

The initiative will focus on three main areas: Identifying and developing new talent through regular workshops and internships, creating a fund to develop script ideas with potential to get on-screen and recruiting staff from under-represented backgrounds into all levels of existing productions

Mike Benson said: “I think we all appreciate how hard it can be break into our industry if you don’t live in the right area, stumble upon the right person or happen to have the resources to put yourself in the mix in the first place. I do think the key to contributing towards meaningful change for companies like ours is to not look in the same places we’ve always looked for fresh people and ideas. Creative people, whoever they are, simply want to realise their ambition to get excellent ideas on screen and that is what we believe this scheme will promote. This partnership is designed to fast-track creatives who have the passion, skill and talent to work in television, but not the access and get them in front of people who can say yes.”

Lafor said: “Entry-level schemes and script initiatives are all very welcome and come with the best intentions. But when you work two jobs to make ends meet, these schemes are a long way away from a sustainable creative career. We as an industry are still incredibly risk averse, which means the likelihood of your project being commissioned if you’re from ‘the outside’ is minute. This partnership fuses the track record of the executive talent of the iZen UK group with a treasure trove of innovative ideas and fresh new creative talent. We can’t wait to get going.”

Jon Creamer

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