Growing in confidence and gaining experience on-set at BBC’s Ghosts

Posted 2 May 2023

Dan Hopson is a disabled aspiring screenwriter from Bournemouth who used his mentoring programme connections to secure his first on-set work experience with Monumental Television.

Daniel, from Bournemouth, is a young freelance screenwriter who stumbled upon Media Trust & ScreenSkills Early-Stage Talent Programme last year when searching for jobs and talent programmes in the TV and film industry. Having a passion for writing exciting stories for the screen and studying screenwriting at university, Daniel was looking for the next step in his career. He applied to Media Trust & ScreenSkills Early-Stage Talent Programme to do just this, seeing it as a great opportunity to be mentored by someone in the industry he is so passionate about, and to empower his job search. 

And to his surprise, he was accepted on the programme! After facing rejection from other schemes and courses, Daniel felt so motivated to be accepted onto one that was exactly what he was searching for.

I wasn’t expecting to get accepted onto the programme, so when I did, I was delighted!

During Daniel’s 1-2-1 mentorship, through his mentor Jill Forbes (Head of Production) he was introduced to the Team at Monumental TV (part of ITV Studios, who partnered with us on this mentoring programme). They were set to begin shooting on the new series of hit BBC show Ghosts and seeking some passionate entry-level talent to provide work experience for. It was a case of right place, right time and Daniel’s clear fervour for the industry, plus the tenacity of our mentoring team, led to him being offered the spot along with another mentee also on the programme, Sangeetha Veluru. Thus, in February 2023, Daniel travelled to Shepherd’s Bush to visit ITV White City. 

He was there to meet his mentor in person for the first time, along with the rest of the team. He met Tamara Campos (who is in Series Development) and some of her colleagues to talk about projects they had received via submission. They discussed whether to pass on them or consider them as a project on Monumental’s slate. For Daniel, it was a great way to start the day as it was both so illuminating and inspiring. He then got to read through a script and do a script reader’s report on it for Tamara. 

The next day, Daniel was at the set of the hit BBC show Ghosts, where he finally got to meet fellow mentee Sangeetha in real life. Daniel and Sangeetha had initially got to know each other online, throughout the virtual mentoring programme during our online mentoring circles, and the peer-to-peer learning and networking.

It was very surreal seeing the actors and actresses I have seen on TV and them just walking around the grounds!

Together, Daniel and Sangeetha stayed on set watching the magic of television production take place. He got to meet and watch the stars, such as Charlotte Richie, Martha Howe-Douglas, Simon Farnaby and Lolly Adefope, do what they do best. And even more excitingly, Daniel was able to read and review the unreleased scripts for Season Five of Ghosts! 

For Daniel, the highlights included being able to learn and watch how different camera angles for the same scene are set up – noting how a ten-second scene could have four different camera angle set-ups “that took a ton of organising and moving parts”.

It was nerve-wracking at times, but overall, it was a great experience!

The experience taught Daniel that he was more interested in the writing side of television than the production. Daniel said that he, “would want to stick to the writing as this is my expertise having done a Screenwriting course at university” but was glad he got to experience both sides. 

Taking part in this experience and programme allowed Daniel to learn a whole range of production skills and techniques, such as dealing with submissions for scripted development, practicalities of on-set production in a major scripted show, and the enormous planning and preparation that goes into the budgets of TV shows.

“I feel more confident now I’ve been on a TV set and TV office environment as it wasn’t as daunting as I expected it to be. The workshops were very interesting and helpful in learning new information. It helps to interact with the group and guests too from the industry!”

Read more blogs ...

Justine and Lauren’s path to HETV Success


We spoke to Justine Leahy and Lauren Marks about their experiences on the ScreenSkills HETV: Building Your Career Portfolio programme, delivered by Media Trust, and how it has prepared them for a future career in...

Posted 21 June 2024

Two images of Justine and Lauren. Next to them is a quote that says