The History of FDI

Why did you decide to set up FDI?

I took a call one day from a young lady who said she wanted to become an Art Director, so I asked to see a portfolio & she replied ‘you don't have to be be able draw to be an art director.....Do you?’.

It was this that led me to believe that the industry needed the training for what art direction and an art department is in the film industry.

How did you go about setting up this school?

The first steps were to purchase the physical assets and then following the setback of colleagues stepping back from it, I decided to continue. I passionately felt it was so important and saw that the industry sorely needed a stream of new talent that the course would provide as well as offering the individuals a recognised training and the opportunity to enter the profession with relevant skills.

How long passed to the first day of the first course?

I had carried the idea around & discussed it with colleagues for a while before deciding to initiate it and from then it was just 5 weeks to set it up.

Has it always been based at Pinewood Studios?

The studio has always been in the old house, although we have recently moved to a larger room. The house and the wider studio facilities serve as a perfect environment for this type of course. Both the interiors and the architecture being excellent aids and are incredibly valuable in explaining some of the visually critical design elements for set design and we use it extensively in the initial exercise phase. Being part of the wider Studio community presents trainees with a sense of the scale and scope of the Film Industry - how it works & the scale of the process in creating the films.

Who were your first students?

The first group back in 2002 consisted of Andrew Bennett and Alex Lemonis, of course it grew by reputation, very much by 'word of mouth'. It grew rapidly from there to today where now it runs with 6 or 7 trainees on a rolling entry.

How has the training course changed since you first established it?

The team and myself strive to continue to make the courses industry relevant and from September 2017 the course has been reviewed and revised running for 8 weeks reflecting the combined elements of study from our previous advanced couse together with new computer introductions.

April 2005 I approached Creative Skillset who recognised the value to the film industry for the courses.

Five years ago I was asked by Creative Skillset to offer a CAD course as well, so we then took on Kee Keealoha and have continued since then to provide the training.

2017 FDI is an acredited Creative Skillset training provider and has assisted funding to eligible students.

2018 ScreenSkills launches and FDI is becomes a nominated training provider and expands its trusted status across the CPD scheme with bursary awards through to today.

Terry has given me the tools and confidence to pursue art department work - I think taking his course was the best career decision I've made thus far.

Liliana Aslanidou

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I would highly recommend the course to anyone with the determination and drive wishing to enter the incredible world of the Art Department.

Liam Morgan

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In every persons career there are always key mentors and supporters along the way. For me, Terry is one of these people and FDI was the start of a career I love.

Andy Proctor

Draughtsman (Star Wars: Force Awakens, Rogue One, Cinderella)

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I thank Terry for believing in me, all those years ago and for giving me the confidence and skill set that are required in the Film Industry today.

Damian Leon Watts

Assistant Art Director, (Mission Impossible 5, Dad’s Army, Woman in Black)

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Our Tutors

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