Can you imagine what it feels like to direct, produce and edit your first hour of TV? Well, that was the reality for Creative Access alumni Salomè-Dior Williams who was handpicked by ITV to be one of a handful of producer directors in their successful Fresh Cuts series. Salomè’s episode examines Black British fashion trailblazers, and this is how it went...
Can you tell us any more about how this episode idea came together?
I was lucky enough to work across the development process for ITV’s Fresh Cuts concept at the beginning of the year.
For the uninitiated, Fresh Cuts debuted in 2022. It’s a Diversity Commission Fund initiative from ITV & ITV Studios which scouts first-time producer directors to achieve their first single factual non-scripted film for ITV. Picture: Adessy Akerele (researcher), Mohamed Shalaby (shooting producer), Salomé-Dior Williams (producer/director), Jason Ferguson (Director of Photography – DOP)
I created a slate of areas that had enough depth & history that could be mined across the series. When I left, the company was considering whether to give applicants fully formed ideas from the slate, which would have ruled me out of the scheme for fairness. Thankfully they opened the project out to people pitching with or without an idea. Months later I decided to apply for the scheme and thankfully got it. In my interview I was asked which ideas were my top three to make, and Fashion was top of that list.
I found my main story through social media and with the help of a friend. I watched the GUAP gala last year through the stories and posts of all my favourite creatives. The theme and red carpet blew me away.
GUAP Gala extends from GUAP Magazine, founded by Ibrahim Kamara & Jide Adetunji, is a youth-led new media platform dedicated to discovering, showcasing and nurturing emerging & underrepresented creatives & communities. The Gala exists to recognise underrepresented figures across the arts and culture sectors.
Unfortunately, last year it was in October so I assumed I wouldn’t be able to shoot it in time. Thankfully a good friend r helped put me in contact with the team. Last year was scheduled for September but unfortunately due to the tragic loss of the late Queen Elizabeth, it was delayed. This year however was scheduled for their original date to coincide with fashion week, and the rest was history.
1Xtra DJ Remi Burgz was a natural choice for a narrator. Not only is she a close friend of the GUAP team but also featured naturally in the film, from start to finish.
For my master interviews (the history of black Britons in fashion) I really wanted to get a collection of people who have affected and changed British fashion in some capacity. Thankfully the community were super open to help and I had a mix of designers, curators, stylists, and authors who contributed to the evaluation and documentation of British fashion.
Unfortunately, I was filming until the 11th hour, which meant my turnaround time was insane, to say the least.
What drew you to the topic?
Fashion is a far cry from what you usually see on TV during Black History Month. It’s a much lighter topic that is a reflection of what I really wanted this film to capture. The film is about black excellence, despite adversity and how the people who came before us paved the way for a new generation who in turn are paying it forward. Black people are not a monolith, and with the film we manage to explore inequality without dwelling on it; it sees young CEOs, designers, master tailors, creatives demonstrate that being Black and British is limitless.
Photo: Gus Casely-Hayford OBE British curator, cultural historian, broadcaster & lecturer
I loved working within a team with such a diverse range of talented people. I also, really enjoyed morning meetings and brainstorms when my team would come together and discuss editorial.
What advice would you give to people on how to boost their hiring potential in this industry?
It’s okay to want to do more than one thing. When I started in the industry, many people told me I couldn’t do development & production. But now, nearly 10 years later I’m glad I followed my passion. I wouldn’t have got this opportunity without working in development, and without working in development I wouldn’t have my first one hour documentary commissioned on ITV1 & ITVX. Go for what you want, be diligent and trust your creative voice.
You’re a proud Creative Access alumni. Do you have any comments for anyone else about to start a relationship with CA?
Creative Access is a one-of-a-kind organisation. Without CA I wouldn’t have got my first two paid jobs in TV & film. In an industry that previously was extremely exclusive and nepotistic, it helped me, a young black woman from a working-class background, to get a foot in the door whilst giving me a community that supported my growth.
I know Creative Access has helped so many other amazing creatives to break through and I can’t wait to see all the talent to come. If you haven’t already signed up let this be your sign.
You can catch Salomè’s Fresh Cuts episode Black in Fashion here on ITVX.
If you haven’t already you can register with Creative Access at this link. It means you’ll be among the first to hear about our latest offers bursary funds, events and job or career opportunity highlights direct to your inbox.