Location Manager Cory Townsend is one of the 19 individuals who have been selected for the Leaders of Tomorrow Programme. It's a three-year programme starting in the summer of 2021 focused on providing comprehensive and tailored support to mid-level professionals working in high-end TV to give them the tools to progress to senior level, decision-making roles in the future.
“Co-producer Tim Mannion, with whom I worked last year, recommended me for the programme,” says Cory. “He said I'd be perfect for it and when I read the description I thought it was exactly right for me.
“I've been very lucky in that I have worked with a lot of successful and accomplished people who placed their faith in me and offered me opportunities in a range of roles. As a result of this, my path within the industry hasn't been a typical one – by that I mean I didn't start in a certain department and moved up that one ladder. I feel that this has afforded me a more rounded view of the industry as a whole and how everything works together, so I look forward to seeing what I am capable of with ScreenSkills’ support.”
“The main thing that appeals to me is the flexibility of the programme. It really is tailored to each individual and what they can make of it. So it will fit around my freelance commitments and shooting schedules, and I can partake in any of the training courses at a time that suits me.”
Cory's email address – firstname.lastname@example.org – acts as a clever advertisement for his broad skillset. “When I was at university, they really hammered home the importance of personal branding and I think that email address alone has opened a lot of doors for me. It sort of set the bar for me - I have to live up to it!”
“My strength is that I can assess a situation quickly and produce the goods. If I'm given a task – any task - I will do it myself, research how to do it, or else reach out to my network of experienced professionals for advice.”
Cory was born in Crewe, Cheshire and studied media and performance at the University of Salford. He is now based in Maddiston in Scotland and it was a job that prompted the move.
He was working on The Etruscan Smile in 2017 as Brian Cox's assistant and “fell in love with Scotland and never looked back.”
He has frequently worked with Brian Cox since they first worked together a decade ago, and the two men are currently working together again on the third series of the HBO drama Succession.
“My association with Brian has taught me so much. He has been working for more than 60 years and has passed on a lot of his knowledge of the industry. I feel like I have experience in lots of realms beyond my 34 years.”
Cory says the mentoring aspect of the Leaders of Tomorrow programme “appeals greatly” to him, and that “ScreenSkills is in the perfect position to put me in contact with individuals who can help me progress”.
He has previously done ScreenSkills unit manager training and really enjoyed it. He explains why it appealed to him: “I jumped into locations three years ago as location assistant and was quickly being offered the role of assistant location manager, missing out the unit manager stage. I felt it was important to understand the managing of a TV/film unit to better fulfil my role. I always want to have as much knowledge as possible in any role I take.”
Cory is a great fan of what ScreenSkills does. “It's fantastic. It can only help to have backing from such a well-established and trusted training provider and I am so happy to be part of the Leaders of Tomorrow programme, which I believe will help me achieve my goals in the industry.”