New game focused on working in the TV and film industry

News | Posted on Tuesday 28 November 2023

A new educational game, Play your way into production, which explores working in the TV and film industry, launched today and is available to play as a free PC download.

Screenshot from Play your way into production game showing the studio from above

Researchers from the Screen Industries Growth Network (SIGN) at the University have been working with One to One Development Trust to develop the game, which can be played for free on a PC. It gives players an insight into the screen industry and the opportunity to explore a TV set to find out more about how things work and the wide range of jobs available.

Play your way into production helps potential new entrants to the screen industry understand the tasks and duties of certain job roles and develop skills which are traditionally gained through (unpaid) work experience. The game is particularly relevant to those studying film or TV production courses and those teaching media studies or film production. It will also be of interest to people hoping to get into the industry, regardless of their qualification.

Set in a film/TV studio, the fictitious Pink Sprout Production Company is making a CGI-rich documentary. Players take on entry level roles to investigate the set, interact with different characters and respond to a variety of different scenarios that occur over the course of a busy production day. These scenarios reflect some of those that may be encountered when working in the industry including – getting to grips with unfamiliar tasks, understanding hierarchy of roles and working for long hours. There are no right or wrong answers – just consequences depending on decisions made and lessons learnt. 

The game features a TV/film studio environment populated by 17 crew members with varied backgrounds and experience. Players can move freely around the set during different times of the day, exploring technical equipment and props, overhearing conversations, taking on tasks and helping out with the shoot.

Jude Brereton, SIGN's c​o-director and skills and training lead and professor in audio and music technologies at the University of York, said the impetus to create this game was to address the persistent skills gaps that employers have identified in the screen industries.

She commented: “Skills gaps in film and TV are very likely to widen as the industry develops and technology progresses. There are many barriers, such as the expectation to take on unpaid work experience in order to develop skills, which means people are making career choices without a real understanding of what
would be expected of them. We are hoping this game will help.”

Game developers, One to One Development Trust, based in Wakefield, said games of this nature really help to put people in the work environment and understand more about the challenges faced working in a highly competitive industry.

Judi Alston, creative director and filmmaker, adds: “The scenarios have all been based on ‘lived experiences’ which give the game an authenticity which can benefit those considering careers in this industry. One to One Development Trust have also
produced a short film available to watch on the website which includes an insight into the game’s development process and a series of interviews with young people who speak honestly about their early experiences in the industry, offering advice to others.”

To support the development of young people interested in working in the industry, One to One Development Trust facilitated work opportunities for four young interns to work with them on the game on 3D model production, sound effects music and video - all of which have been included in the game and film.

To accompany the game, there is a set of educational learning resources to view online or download, which focus on skills development, exploring the types of jobs available in the industry and signposting to useful organisations to find out more about job opportunities.