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Emmerdale director Ian Bevitt gives Leeds Trinity University students big break as he declares: “Everybody in this room is a director!”

Ian Bevitt gives a masterclass in storyboarding (Photo: Joe Greenough)

By Immy Share

Ian Bevitt turned his audience of students into directors at Leeds Trinity University today during a workshop on Soaps and Storylines as part of Journalism and Media Week.

He did so by handing out blank sheets of paper asking his audience of those aspiring to break into the media industry to storyboard interpretations of three random sentences he provided:

‘“Let’s stop for a drink?” says Janet.’
‘“Ice cream?” says John.’
‘“Beer!” says Spot.’

Ian Bevitt introduces his audience to storyboarding

He then chose a handful of his audience’s artwork to display through a projector, asking the relevant student to talk through the way they had interpreted the script sentences and in turn how their drawing came about.

In response to one student’s storyboard he said: “It’s a totally different story and you’ve made it into a comedy. You didn’t tell the story that was written down but I don’t mind that at all!

“I think everybody in this room is a director!” he added.

“Anyone who can read a novel is a director – because you get a picture in your mind and therefore you can visualise the words on the page.”


Whilst he gave a workshop on storyboarding, Ian revealed he does actually only physically storyboard himself when he is directing special effects and stunts.

“I always go through the storyboarding process in my mind but I don’t always draw it out,” he said.

Ian began his career as a journalist for the Pontefract and Castleford Express but now works as a freelance director, having directed 88 episodes of Emmerdale and 317 of Coronation Street to name just a selection of his work.

In talking about his career journey, Ian advised aspiring journalism and media students to take the job that scares them.

He said: “Back in the day, there was a more formal structure, but there’s nothing stopping anybody from doing anything now.”

Ian also told his audience that a director fundamentally takes written words on a piece of paper and makes them into moving pictures.

He added: “When you put pictures together in a certain way, they either flow or jar in much the same way as if you jumble words together in a sentence.

“There’s a grammar to pictures.”

In his aim to make everyone in the room a director, Ian also advised that it is not just soaps which tell a story, but journalism is still “storytelling”.

He gave Yorkshire Voice an exclusive on his top tips for breaking into the industry.

He said: “Doing something slightly above what you think you can do takes you further on.

“As somebody once said to me, ‘otherwise how does anybody get to be president of the United States?!’”

What do you think?