Creative Assembly senior games designer Catherine Woolley was named as one of BAFTA's Breakthrough Brits in 2015. Ahead of the closing of submissions for this year's awards on May 30th, she reflects on the importance of highlighting up-and-coming games talent in the UK
How did it feel to be named as a BAFTA Breakthrough Brit?
It was absolutely stunning to be named as a Breakthrough Brit, to think that out of hundreds of amazingly talented people within the games industry I was picked.
It was just the best thing to ever happen, I met so many amazing people at the reception in our honour from games, film and TV and it was a big surprise to my family and friends as I had to keep it secret.
What opportunities has this opened up for you since your win?
From the get-go I knew that the main thing I wanted out of being a Breakthrough Brit was mentoring and I've had the best experience being able to talk to people I greatly admire in the games industry and talk them through my career and where I want to go. It was amazing to get one-to-one mentoring from industry legends like Tim Schafer and Steve Gaynor.
Why should other devs and aspiring devs consider entering BAFTA Breakthrough Brits?
I think developers from any discipline should apply as it can be hard sometimes to get your face out there in the games industry.
There are tons of us working hard each and every day to get a game out there and it doesn't hurt to get noticed for the brilliant work you've done.
It's also an even better initiative as it can help put smaller indie devs in the spotlight, which ultimately will get their game attention and potentially open new doors for them.
What advice do you have for them when preparing their application?
With your application just make sure to sell yourself as much as possible.
Don't half-heartedly fill out the form, put your everything into it and be as enthusiastic and thorough as you can to let everyone know what an amazing job you did on the last game you worked on and that you're only going to do better and greater things.
Also make sure to have someone read over it for you, it's never a bad thing to have someone check your work.
Why are initiatives like BAFTA Breakthrough Brits important when highlighting the games talent we have in the UK?
The Breakthrough Brits highlighting games talent in the UK is great because BAFTA is recognised worldwide and it can help put the spotlight on games that are developed in the UK, that a lot of people may not realise are.
Helping to enlarge the opinion those have of the games industry in the UK, while also giving the UK some media attention, informing people of all the amazing talent we have in our country.
Why is it important that games in particular are included in BAFTA Breakthrough Brits, as opposed to just film and TV?
It is important that games are included in the Breakthrough Brits as it can show to those outside of the games industry that we are a large industry and we have such a mixture of diverse talent out there that people may not realise.
Games aren't just about violence, they can be about meaningful stories, challenging adventures and strategic mastery.
How else are you involved in supporting BAFTA?
I like to try and support BAFTA as much as I can, I generally try to go along to every event they have for games, while also recommending work colleagues to attend, introducing them to the world of BAFTA.
I'm also a full BAFTA member so my membership fee supports BAFTA, but then also allows me to vote for the awards.
I also accept anything else that comes my way, so for example I'm currently on the BAFTA Games Committee which is an amazing experience which I'm incredibly proud to be a part of.
Anything you’d like to add?
I urge everyone to apply to BAFTA Breakthrough Brits, and even if you aren't successful don't give up and keep going, because if you don't make it this year there's always next year.
Your career will only progress, plus you can always attend BAFTA events and meet new people and talk to previous Breakthrough Brits for advice.
The application for the BAFTA Breakthrough Brits closes on 30th May. For more info and to apply online visit www.bafta.org.