Image description: Gerlof sits against a black background looking off into the distance.


Gerlof took part in SEE’s Screen Progression Programme, a high-quality training course which can award the SQA National Progression Award in Film and Media Level 6. This course culminates in learners getting to write, direct and edit their very own short film. Here, Gerlof shares how SEE helped him achieve his dream of making films, decades in the making... 


I first discovered SEE’s Screen Progression Programme at the very beginning of the year, when I was actively searching for a film course late one night. The fact that it was offered free of charge and within such easy reach from where I live was a major deciding factor.  

It truly has been a life changing experience, as it reignited an old, dusty childhood desire of mine to make films. The course was comprehensive and hands-on and the practical nature of it was of especially great value to me. 

The course as a whole was very enjoyable indeed, but to be afforded the opportunity to write and shoot my very own short film was by far the most exhilarating thing I've done since I sat on the back of a 7-foot hibernating crocodile back in South Africa. 

Our course leader Sean was a guiding light all throughout, with a deep well of knowledge and experience to draw from, and he always made the time to help you through your tasks in a calm, attentive and supportive manner.  

I'm 42, a father of two, and had been working as a full-time professional photographer since 2012. I never imagined that I'd be taking up a course like this so late in the game, but it has had a tremendously positive impact on my life. It has reignited my old, dormant desire to write and direct films and it is thanks to this course that I feel a breath of fresh air and a reinvigorated ambition to pursue a dream I thought to be long dead.  

The most surprising thing to me was that I was still able to conjure up a fairly decent story worth telling, even after nearly two decades of doing virtually no creative writing. The course managed to coax it back out of me again and helped bring it into the light.  

I'd say that, whether you think you're too young or too old or too inexperienced to consider doing a course in film, you should jump at this opportunity with SEE. You'll be daunted at first and might even consider turning back but if you jump, I promise that you'll be a completely different person - dare I say an actual filmmaker - within a year from now.  

Opportunities such this course are rare and unlikely. I've learnt firsthand that if they find you, it is no accident. All you have to do is lift your head, open your eyes and SEE.