Meet A Mentor: Zaf and Steph

In the spirit of our 3-for-3 Inspiration Sessions, mentor Zaf & mentee Steph thought they could each pick 3 highlights inspired by their weekly meetups during the programme.

7 July 2021

Here goes in no particular order...

Zaf's #1: 3-for-3 Inspo Sessions
From our very first ever chat months back over Zoom we instantly started sharing links of things we liked. I think it was literally in the first 10 minutes of meeting - we joked about having way too many tabs open and kept interrupting each other with another killer promo or film we saw. The interruption was mostly me from pure excitement admittedly...
At the end of the session, I had the idea of tasking Steph with bringing 3 bits of inspo to our next catch up and I would do the same. Music videos, podcasts, poetry, exhibitions - nothing too small or big, new or old. As long as we can discuss why we rate it - anything goes.
Steph's taste is unbeatable - it kept me on my toes for sure, always envious of the weekly bangers I'd missed off my radar but even more excited to see what she comes up with next.

Steph's #1: Supportive bond

From our first conversation, I could tell Zaf & I would be great friends haha. We exchanged details of where we’d come from and hopes for the future and could see that we cared about a lot of the same things. With this as a foundation, we were able to work towards goals together and Zaf definitely pushed me to go after everything I wanted to do with the support I needed to do so.

One thing I also really appreciated was the room for transparency. I was able to be myself, say when I didn’t know something or say when I was just tired, and vice versa, I think this was really helpful because I realised everyone has their challenges no matter how experienced and created room to work through obstacles together.

Zaf's #2: Steph
The multidisciplinary creative; filmmaker and designer extraordinaire. I learned a ton from Steph over the course of the programme - she's incredibly talented, hard-working, somehow manages to juggle a million projects and still finds the time to support other creatives coming up.
I introduced her to lots of people within my network; from producers and filmmakers to editors and EPs. She jumped at each opportunity and soaked everything up like a sponge, impressing everyone along the way.
She takes feedback really well and also has a brilliant ability to distil and articulate her thoughts of work and inspiration that she likes. Importantly, she's unafraid to tell it how it is or what she honestly thinks in a very diplomatic way! Big ups Steph, you're magic.
Steph's #2: Industry knowledge + networks
Prior to the programme, I hadn’t had much industry experience, most of my filmmaking knowledge had come from working on my own projects and so my understanding of how the industry actually worked was close to none. I was able to learn about the whole process behind how a film gets made from a commercial perspective, the pitching process, and collaboration between agencies and production companies. I was also introduced to an amazing bunch of people within the industry in various positions who gave me insight into their roles and how it fits into the filmmaking process.
Vicky Grout's Industry Talk
Zaf's #3: Talks
Each month we rounded off the evening with some amazing talks - Edem Wornoo, Koby Adom, Vicky Grout and Poppy & Rubina from Brown Girls Do It Too.
The Q&As were invaluable - super insightful, creatively inspiring and down-to-earth. It was amazing to see how vast the Meet A Mentor network stretched and the positive impact it can have on young underrepresented creatives. Steph and I came away from our monthly sessions creatively energised each time and wanting to learn more.
Steph's #3: Inspiration
Every week, Zaf and I would exchange our 3 favourite pieces of content for that week and it opened up my world to a whole host of cool stuff I had never seen before, it also got me into watching more stuff in general which I found really inspiring. I was taking in a whole host of artistic techniques and themes that I could experiment within my own work in future.

What was also interesting to discuss was the why behind the chosen 3 as well. This unknowingly helped us get to know each other and our perspectives on life and art.
Alumni Edem talks about his journey