Life through a lens
Ayrshire might not enjoy quite the same climate as Hollywood but it does share one thing with Tinseltown, and that’s its own filmmaking industry. Granted, there may be a slight difference in scale between the two but we all know what acorns grow into.
One of those acorns is Ayrshire Film Company, a filmmaking company with a social purpose. And who better to tell their story than Taylor McInroy, one of its co-founders?
“After graduating from UWS in 2013 with a degree in Filmmaking and Screenwriting, I worked as a freelance videographer in and around Kilmarnock, doing a lot of work for charities in particular,” says Taylor. “It was during this time that I met Eddy Gemmell, with whom I soon began to develop ideas. As our collaboration deepened, we realised that setting up a filmmaking company should be our next step. And with our shared interest in community work, it was a no-brainer to form Ayrshire Film Company as a Community Interest Company.”
So what kind of films does Ayrshire Film Company make?
“Our films cover a broad spectrum of genres and topics,” says Taylor. “Eddy handles most of our news and sports output but we also make films for corporate clients as well as general documentaries. For example, we made a series of short films about Irvine Meadow XI earlier this year and we’re hoping to make a series of films about aspects of Ayrshire history. On the corporate side, we’ve recently worked on a showcase video for Morgan Sindall, the main contractors for the new school campus in Maybole. We’ve also chronicled the progress of the flood defence works in Millport for the main contractors, and we’ve done some filming for the School for Social Entrepreneurs in Birmingham.”
There’s more to Ayrshire Film Company than just making films, though.
“We’re here to serve the community by offering young people an outlet for their creative skills whilst providing them with training and practical experience,” explains Taylor. “So to that end we’re open to any young person who’s keen to get a practical grounding in filmmaking.”
And the cost of this training?
“It’s free,” says Taylor. “The way it works is that young people come to us as volunteers and in exchange they get high-quality training and access to good equipment. We’ve provided training to about 60 young people so far, some of whom have stayed with us for several years whilst others have gone on to careers in the media. For example, one young lady now works for Rangers as a videographer, and another works with Marvel in London.”
Impressive achievements, but for Ayrshire Film Company there’s much work still to be done and many more young people to help.
“We have very good links with both UWS and Ayrshire College, as well as with local secondary schools,” notes Taylor. “We’re doing workshops with pupils at Kilmarnock Academy and will soon be rolling these out to pupils at both Grange and St. Joseph’s Academies. We also work with SL33, a hub operated by East Ayrshire Council which helps young people to develop skills which will help them to find employment, and we’ve been commissioned by the Ayrshire Rural and Islands Ambition Fund to run some workshops for community groups. Our aim is to be a community asset, not just for today but for years and decades to come.”
We’ve no doubt that will be the case, but meantime we’ve got one final question for Taylor: where can we see films made by Ayrshire Film Company?
“We’ve got a dedicated YouTube channel,” says Taylor. “Most of our films are uploaded there. If you like what you see or would be interested in training with us, then we’d love to hear from you.”