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Meet a Mentor: Dylan and Prano

Working with Create Jobs, we're proud to deliver Meet a Mentor: Behind the Lens; a four-month mentoring programme, funded by ScreenSkills.

Here's what Dylan Matthews, an aspiring actor/ director and his mentor, director, Prano Bailey-Bond had to say about their experiences on the programme far...

Dylan Matthews

Dylan is an aspiring actor, writer and director whose main passion is acting. During his studies at the University of South Wales, he's found a desire to understand the depths of how to deepen the connection between the audience and the performance. His time acting has been spent in his local theatre, as well as appearing in a few films and performances during his time at university.

Why did you sign up to the programme?

I signed up to have a better understanding of the creative industry that I'd like to work in, while gaining new skills through small tasks and conversations with my mentor.

What have you gained from the programme so far?

So far, I've gained a much deeper insight into directing actors and I've had plenty of reading material to help me. I've also had feedback on my writing, as well as setting up plans for the future sharing of monologues and musical numbers. I'm also hoping that this will help me with my Acting for Camera module, and prepare for a musical I'll be performing in soon, so it's been great to have insight from someone working within the creative industry.

Who is your mentor and what have they helped you with? 

My mentor, Prano Bailey Bond has been helping me to work with actors as a director. She's already given me some really sound advice on how to ensure that I am treating actors with proper respect, and shown me how to subtly implement ideas to optimise actor's performances.

What are your hopes for the rest of the programme and how might it help you with your future career?

I want to gain more knowledge outside of university and hope my future career prospects will be improved by having a deeper understanding of on screen directing. I'm currently planning my final year essay which will examine the differences between theatre and film/Television and I think all the information and knowledge from my mentor will really benefit my work.

I'm extremely thankful for this opportunity. To meet someone with proper experience is of huge benefit to me and I've already received so much help and brilliant advice in the short time Prano and I have been corresponding.

Prano Bailey-Bond

Named a Screen International 'Star of Tomorrow', Prano’s strong body of work invoke imaginative worlds, fusing a dark vocabulary with eerie allure. Her short film NASTY screened at over 100 festivals, premiering at BFI London Film Festival. She is currently in post-production with her debut feature, financed by the BFI, Film4 and Ffilm Cymru Wales. Prano is represented as a writer-director by Casarotto.

Why did you sign up to the programme?

Growing up in the 90's in rural Wales I felt like the film industry was something that existed in a very far away land. I'd loved to have had a mentor back then, so felt this was a really worthwhile scheme to give my time to. There are also lots of issues around representation in the film industry that need addressing. Signing up to this programme is a way for me to do something real and tangible towards that. 

What have you gained from the programme so far? 

Well, my mentee asks excellent questions that require me to reflect on my own practice as a writer and director, which is always a good thing.

His passion for what he's doing is infectious and it's a real pleasure to be able to guide him and offer advice, but also to listen, and to explore his goals on the programme, almost as if they were my own; that way we're both learning and growing a little bit through the process.

The wider meetings with the other mentors and mentees have been inspiring too - there are lots of talented people on the programme. 

How have you supported Dylan?

Dylan is a talented young actor, writer and director. In our first session he read me some of his poetry which was incredibly evocative and beautifully delivered.

He clearly has the skills so part of it is about encouraging further confidence in him. Mostly at this stage our discussions have been about working with actors, sharing some of my own techniques with Dylan and discussing the experiences and challenges he has faced as an actor and director.

I think that in some ways we've been defining what a director is to actors and how to support your cast and get the best out of them. We've had some great discussions and plan to look in more detail at Dylan's writing and acting work next, and possibly do some acting exercises over Skype. 

What have you learned from being a mentor and would you recommend it to others?

I've learned that it's about listening and asking the right questions, helping the mentee discover things for themselves, as much as giving answers. I would definitely recommend it to others - it's very rewarding and lovely a space for you and your mentee to explore and discuss your craft.

Find out more about Meet A Mentor: Behind The Lens.