Loui Goodinson had dreamed of becoming an actor since childhood – but his hopes were dashed when he developed stage-fright at 16.
Thanks to Rotherham stately home Wentworth Woodhouse, the Thorpe Hesley 19-year-old is now forging a TV and movie career – on the other side of the camera.
Loui became a young film-maker on the mansion’s first Young Creative Producers training programme in 2022.
He was one of ten local young people selected for the scheme, which runs in conjunction with RMBC. It aims to encourage young people to see career opportunities in culture and the arts, ahead of the town becoming the world’s-first Children’s Capital of Culture in 2025.
They not only learned about how the industry works, they got to watch a Netflix production crew at work when it came to Wentworth Woodhouse on location
The experience springboarded Loui into a career. He is now a freelance location assistant and has recently worked on the set of ITV’s Emmerdale and drama series The Bay.
Loui said: “I’m determined to make this my career. And it’s all thanks to the Creative Producers programme.
Said Loui: “My mum told me about the programme and I knew I’d regret it for the rest of my life if I didn’t apply. I’d just gained a BTec Distinction in performing arts at Barnsley College, after wanting to be an actor from the age of six.
“I’m dyslexic and it affected me a lot at school, but I was good at drama and studies with a Sheffield drama academy from the age of six. By eight I had an agent and landed work as an extra in two TV series, This England and The 4 OClock Club. But I developed performance anxiety and was at a loss as to what to do
“That six-month programme was a huge eye opener. It taught me things it would have taken three years at university to learn – how to use a camera, the technical terminology, how to use lighting and sound and the editing process. It also dramatically improved my communication skills and made me much more confident in expressing myself.
“ I realised I wanted to be behind the camera, telling actors what they need to do.”
Wentworth Woodhouse Preservation Trust also helped him forge industry connections.
“I knew Netflix was coming back to film a new series – The Bodies with Stephen Graham, which was released in October – so I asked the Trust’s Filming and Events Manager Helen Flower if I could be an on-set support volunteer,” he explained.
“My aim was to study everything and try to speak to the right people. It worked like a charm! I met a guy in their locations team who gave me some work experience as an on-set locations assistant.
“My tasks included cleaning out rubbish bins, erecting tents to keep the crew dry during outdoor filming, but it led to some paid work with film company HBO Max UK when they came to the house to film in April.
Helen put me forward for what became my first proper job – a one-month Location Marshall role. That was a great start for my CV and I’m now a freelance location assistant. On each set, I meet the people who can lead me to my next contract.
My plan is to become a location manager and in the future, get a chance to direct an episode of a tv series to help me on my way to becoming a director.
“I love the genre; how it makes you feel better or worse when you’ve watched something. A director has made you feel that way.”
Steve Ash, head of the Digital Volunteers Team at Wentworth Woodhouse, which runs the programme, said:
“When we started to train Young Creative Producers we could only have dreamed that one young person would end up gaining a career in the film industry.
“This was exactly the aim of the Children’s Capital of Culture project – to open people’s eyes to the career opportunities in the creative industries
“Along with another of our young producers Ryan Widdowson, from Woodhouse, he co-directed the film Four of a Kind, which premiered at our House of Future Creatives event in 2022. Ryan was also a locations assistant on the HBO Max set and is now at Sheffield Hallam doing film studies.
“To work with Loui’s dyslexia, we structured his training, reduced the amount of reading and gave him time to work out tasks for himself, rather than overloading him with instructions.
“This worked really well and Loui will tell you how important that approach was.
He transformed himself, found his forte and grew in confidence and determination.
We are so proud that he is taking everything he learned with us into his career.
“We hope to run more Creative Producer programmes before 2025.”