Media Parents

Media Parents B2W Mentor Emma Loach

by Amy Walker

Emma Loach, Commissioning Editor BBC Documentaries

We are delighted that BBC Docs Commissioning Editor Emma Loach has agreed to mentor returning PD Laura Martin-Robinson, Media Parents Back to Work Scheme Winner from Cardiff, who is being sponsored on the scheme by Hat Trick Productions.

Emma joined the BBC documentary commissioning team in January 2017. She is responsible for a large range of output including series and singles across all the channels such as Birth, Ambulance, The Met, Nadiya On Anxiety and Stabbed: Britain’s Knife Crime Crisis on BBC One; The Baby Has Landed, Hospital, The Ethics Committee: A Life and Death Decision, David Harewood On Psychosis and Being Blacker on BBC Two; Hometown, The Left Behind, Acid Attack: My Story on BBC Three and Border Country: When Ireland Was Divided on BBC Four.

As an executive producer, Emma was responsible for helping to originate and deliver the Ambulance brand for BBC1, The Trial for C4 and a diverse range of series and singles across all the channels.

Laura Martin-Robinson, B2W PD

Laura Martin-Robinson PD (centre, rear) with talent and talent managers at Fremantle Media Parents Returners Lunch in November.

On the face of it Laura has it all – two BAFTAs and a great relationship with a production company ie ie productions (pronounced yeah yeah) that enables her to work flexibly. But she has three kids, and working part time on Welsh regional productions barely covers her childcare costs. She wants her career to be self-sufficient, full time and has network ambitions.

Read Laura’s review of Edinburgh TV Festival 2019 here:

And see her profile here:

Join us for Media Parents' Pop Up Christmas Drinks with Take 1 on Tuesday 10th December

December 10, 2019 @ 6:13 pm Posted in Freelancer Profiles, News, TV Returners Comments Off

Available Now PM Helen Landeau

by Amy Walker

I’m currently free so if anyone needs a Production Manager? writes Helen Landeau. It’s been five years since my return to tellyland and Media Parents were there to support me back into the cut and thrust of the production office like I’ve just come out of rehab!  Previously, I had done sixteen years at the BBC as Production Co-ordinator and got my parole via redundancy in 2006. I left to join the Filofax clan of the corporate world in the dizzying heights of the concrete jungle that is Canary Wharf but the calling to return home to TV was deafening and so after eight years, I relented. No regrets!

I’m currently free so if anyone needs a Production Manager? writes Helen Landeau.

In my last Media Parents blog, I’d just finished working on the BBC One landmark documentary, ‘Stephen: The Murder That Changed A Nation’.  To date, an important documentary to me personally and professionally.  Being almost the same age of Stephen, I was there throughout the timeline of events and thought I’d known everything about this tragic event but the forensic research unearthed things that I didn’t even know!  When it was broadcasted in April 2018, me and the production team didn’t expect the reception we’d receive from the viewers and industry peers – it made the hard work so worthwhile.  However, the post production paperwork wasn’t so great but hey, someone’s gotta do it and it was muggins.

Leaving that behind, I went to Emporium Productions (part of Hat Trick) and was Production Manager on ‘Donal MacIntyre’s Murder Files’ for CBS Reality.  This series was green-screen studio with drama recon and about visiting solved murder cases with the lead detective. I finally got to meet Clive Driscoll as I didn’t get the opportunity from the Stephen Lawrence series. I worked with a cracking team especially Nick Kenton, a brilliant Series Producer.  This was the second series and it ran quite smoothly (can’t say that too often these days) and working with a pro like Donal – it was great.

After delivery of the Donal series, I stayed on at Emporium and working with Nick again on a brand-new series called ‘Talking Animals: Tales From The Zoo’ for Channel 5.  This was a bit of a challenge (which I do like) as it included working with voice-over artists and comedy writers.  What’s the problem with that I hear you cry?  Well, as a factual PM, you don’t usually work on a cross-genre programme every day.

We filmed at Jersey Zoo and it was a fantastic opportunity to go on location to visit the island of Jersey, see the animals at Jersey Zoo (created by Gerald Durrell – as in the comedy drama, ‘The Durrells’) and of course, making sure my team were okay.

Working on this production kept me laughing every day and sometimes, I step back and it’s such a privilege to be doing this job.  Keep an eye out as it’s due for TX on Channel 5 early next year!

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December 4, 2019 @ 2:24 pm Posted in Freelancer Profiles, TV Returners Leave a comment

Media Parents Fremantle Returners Lunch

by Amy Walker

In November, Emily Gale and Jenny Spader, Fremantle’s talent team, hosted a lunch for Media Parents factual returners which was supported by talent managers from the BBC, ITV and Multistory, Nutopia and The Garden Productions. It was a fantastic opportunity to meet, to get on the radar of different companies and to share experience of returning. Meet our returners…

Elena Mourey, Producer / EP

Back to Work Winner 2018

Elena Mourey PD (left) with ITV Multistory's TMs Ros Malthouse and Nikki Ryan at Fremantle's Media Parents Returners Lunch.

I’m an experienced producer, writes Elena Mourey, who has worked on important and emotional series like the RTS award-winning Hospital for BBC2, C4′s The Job Interview, People Like Us for BBC3 and The Undateables, C4.

With over a decade’s experience, I’ve developed the skills needed to draw the best out of sensitive contributors at extremely difficult times in their lives, in places hard to access. I have directed, shot and edited BBC one hour (People Like Us), filmed and conducted master interviews, managed teams to find the best cast and stories, filmed with contributors with complex compliance issues and gained access to hospitals, schools and council estates. In my future roles, I’m looking for more edit experience and my eventual goal is to SP.

Fazeena Abduraman, Production Coordinator

PC Fazeena Abduraman (centre) with The Garden's Debbie Hartley and Elsa Sharp from the BBC.

I am an experienced co-ordinator, writes Fazeena Abduraman,  and have recently returned to work at the BBC after a break.  I have worked mainly in factual/ factual entertainment programmes as well worked on both live and recorded shows. I am available in the New Year.

Jenny Madalura, PC / Researcher

Back to Work Winner 2018

Jenny Madalura, PC (right) with ITV's Jessica Wilson

Since working with the BBC as a researcher I have been out of media work for nearly 10 years due to having a family. In the meantime I’ve studied for a law degree and worked part-time as a LexisNexis copywriter, whilst being a full-time parent to two kids.

I am eager to return to media work and given the opportunity I can offer a wealth of transferrable skills and life experience, together with legal, writing, business and media skills that would be an asset and benefit to any media company.

Joanna Gretton, Casting Producer

Back to Work Winner 2019

Casting Producer Joanna Gretton with Nutopia's Natalie Spanier.

My extensive media production career across Factual, Docs and Daytime has meant I can deliver the best possible contributors that the programme requires, writes Joanna Gretton. I fully appreciate the sensitivity of a story and have direct experience of working with people from all walks of life.

I am absolutely thrilled at being selected as a WINNER of the Media Parents Back to Work Scheme from a large pool of talent. I am excited about re-entering production as a job-sharing casting producer. I’ve found two potential partners and I’m approaching companies who are sympathetic to a job share opportunities – so if this sounds like you please get in touch. You will be getting two talented brains for the price of one!

Katie Walmsley (Luckes), PM / Prod Exec

Back to Work Winner 2018

Katie Walmsley with Fremantle's Head of Talent Emily Gale.

I am a Production Executive with 25 years of television experience under my belt, writes Katie Walmsley. Before my career break I worked my way up from Coordinating for the Natural History Unit in Bristol to production managing, to the role of Production Executive at STV, running and overseeing a team of Production Managers across a diverse range of programming, and setting up and dealing with major budgets and series.

Having relocated from Glasgow I took the decision to put my TV career on hold and bring up my two young daughters, however I have always missed the cut and thrust of television and am itching to get back to work. With the girls now settled and happy, my ambition is to forge new contacts and find a great company and that will recognize and bolster my skills whilst supporting my return to work part-time. Ideally I’m looking for a flexible role that can be office and home based. I am realistic and would be happy to come back as a Production Manager to show a new team just what I can do.

Laura Martin-Robinson, Shooting PD

Back to Work Winner 2019

Laura Martin-Robinson PD (centre, rear) with talent and talent managers at Fremantle Media Parents Returners Lunch in November.

I’m a documentary self-shooting P/D with 15 years experience in observational and immersive presenter-led docs, writes Laura Martin-Robinson. I worked in London in BBC Arts, then Docs and then freelanced before moving to Wales 5 years ago – where I’ve been working with companies like Indus/Folk, Twofour and now ie ie (yeah yeah) productions.

Last year I won 2 Welsh BAFTAs (Best Doc and Best Director) for a BBC1 film I made with Welsh actor Richard Mylan and his son Jaco about autism. More recently I’ve made a 3×30 obs series for BBC Wales about the Welsh Women’s Homeless football team. As well as shooting and directing these films, I also developed and got them to a commission. I’ve also worked at Blast! Films, Betty, Plum Pictures, Raw and Rare Day as a development producer/DV director.

I’d like to continue making documentaries for BBC Wales and broaden out to network commissions. I’m also happy to work on funded developments, making tasters, writing pitches and casting – especially if it’s on the film I’m then hired to direct!

Melissa Bishop, (Shooting) AP / Researcher

Back to Work Winner 2018

AP Melissa Newbury with The Garden's Debbie Hartley.

I am an experienced AP / Researcher with a good knowledge of the production process and an appreciation of high production values, writes Melissa Bishop. I have excellent editorial skills and have worked across a wide variety of programmes, in various roles, and as a producer for Legal Television Network.

I am particularly strong with contributors. Creating trust and negotiating with people from any background, some vulnerable and in difficult circumstances. I can shoot sequences well and understand what is needed for the edit. I recently studied for a Masters degree in Documentary and Factual Programming to deepen my understanding and programme making skills.

Sheela Banerjee, PD

Sheela Banerjee, PD.

I am a highly experienced producer/director, with a 14-year track record in making programmes for the BBC and Channel 4, writes Sheela Banerjee. I took a career break from television after having my daughter and have been working as a part time lecturer and freelance journalist while she’s been young. I would love to return to work full time now and am looking for edit producing or development roles.

Huge thanks to Fremantle’s Emily Gale and Jenny Spader for hosting this event. Our next event is our Christmas Event on December 3rd – see you there!

Join us for Media Parents' Christmas Event with YouCanFreeUs on December 3rd at the Royal Geographical Society, Kensington

November 27, 2019 @ 10:06 am Posted in Events, Freelancer Profiles, News, TV Returners Comments Off

Media Parents Christmas Event

by Amy Walker

Want to feel your best for Christmas and 2020? Media Parents is joining forces with YouCanFreeUs (charity which protects trafficked women and children) at the fabulous Royal Geographical Society in Kensington for our Christmas event on Tuesday December 3rd. It’s a celebration of wellbeing and there will be drinks and dancing too.

Join us for Media Parents' Christmas Event with YouCanFreeUs on December 3rd at the Royal Geographical Society, Kensington

Dr. David Hamilton will be speaking about the mind-body connection and how to harness it for health and wellness in an evening that will revitalise you and may change your perspective on how you can influence your wellbeing for Christmas and 2020.

Learn about the placebo effect and how belief can alter biology. Also learn about the physical effects of mindfulness, and even how visualisation shapes the brain and causes actual changes in the body. You will also learn about the specific effect of positive feeling on blood vessels and how visualisation practices can alter immune function. David will also share examples of strategies used by people around the world that helped facilitate their recovery from injury, illness and disease.

Event tickets are £25 but a number are being offered free to Media Parents members + a guest. To claim your place RSVP by Monday 2nd November to our events email address with your name and guest’s name if you would like to take someone along (in the event of high demand, priority will be given to people who have written for the Media Parents blog this year).

If you would like to skip the freebies and buy a ticket please go here:

More about Dr. David Hamilton:

David has a PhD in organic chemistry and spent 4 years in the pharmaceutical industry developing drugs for cardiovascular disease and cancer. Inspired by the placebo effect, he left the industry to write books and educate people in how they can harness their mind and emotions to improve their health. He is an accomplished author with 10 published books, regular blogs on his website and occasional blogs for the Huffington Post (US version). David is the ‘Kindness Tsar’ for Psychologies Magazine and writes ‘The Kindness Conversation’ and the ‘Kindness Project’. He is also the ‘Life Hacks’ monthly columnist for Soul & Spirit Magazine and in 2016 was voted ‘Best writer’ by readers of Kindred Spirit Magazine. David is featured in the award-winning documentary, ‘HEAL’. He appears regularly in the media and was recently featured on Channel 4’s live show ‘Sunday Brunch’ in the UK and ‘CBS Sunday Morning’ in the USA.
Please note that Dr. Hamilton is doing this talk “pro bono“….YouCanFreeUs will be able to put 100% of tickets sales to work fighting against human trafficking.

Join us for Media Parents' Christmas Event with YouCanFreeUs on December 3rd at the Royal Geographical Society, Kensington

November 26, 2019 @ 3:14 pm Posted in News Comments Off

TXing tonight For Sama 9pm Channel 4

by Amy Walker

For Sama transmits on Channel 4 on Saturday 26th October at 9pm.

Read Back to Work Winner Laura Martin-Robinson’s blog from Edinburgh as she watched the film’s UK premier.

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October 25, 2019 @ 10:20 pm Posted in News Comments Off

5 minutes with PC Clare Lawrence Making a career change into TV

by Amy Walker

Sometimes life throws a lot of things at you all at once and pushes you into fight or flight mode, making you completely readdress what you want to do writes PC Clare Lawrence. This happened to me last year and, always the fighter, I made the conscious decision to pivot into TV. I have long wanted to work in TV but had told myself that it was too late for me and that I couldn’t afford to begin as a runner with bills to pay and children to feed –  it was time to change the story! Ahead of Media Parents’ Bristol event in November, read about Clare’s success in finding work in Bristol c/o Media Parents.

PC Clare Lawrence has found work through Media Parents

I’d worked as a freelance stills photographer for nine years with a lot of success and prior to that as a self-shooting researcher for a commercial agency, I knew I had a host of transferable skills with which to enter the industry, but no actual TV experience – yet! After working solo for so long, I also missed being part of a creative team and knew this was the right move to make.

Being a complete outsider and knowing no-one in the industry at the time, I did some research and attended a couple of Bristol networking events, feeling very green and like a fish out of water. I attended a Media Parents networking event and after meeting Amy Walker also began working for Media Parents in January 2019. For Media Parents I look after all the Bristol / Cardiff and more recently London positions that are advertised and manage the social media accounts, as well as helping to run the Bristol events. This has given me a perspective into the different routes in TV and communicate with a lot of Talent Managers and freelancers. Amy also helped me to redo my CV and it wasn’t long before I secured my first role as a Production Coordinator for Mustang Films.

Nine months later I have three good Production Coordinator credits under my belt; a presenter-led arts series for BBC World News ‘China’s Greatest Treasures’, BBC2 series ‘In search of Dracula’ presented by Mark Gatiss and a fun Channel 5 series ‘Driving Mum and Dad Crazy’. As I didn’t start as a runner, I have had to learn a lot of the jargon very quickly and there have been a lot of ‘in at the deep-end’ moments, but very quickly I have immersed myself into the roles and people have been surprised when they have learned I am fairly new to TV. Knowing a lot of the technical side of things has definitely helped me along the way and a nuance for how to run a business, having run my own for so long. Like any good PC – enjoying a colour-coded spreadsheet is a definite plus!

It is encouraging that in my mid-30s it is not too late to change career and that being highly motivated and applying yourself will take you anywhere. Attending networking events has been invaluable as has the mentoring I have received from Media Parents Amy Walker and informally from others in the industry. It is also thanks to production companies willing to think outside the box and be open to my transferable skills that I have come so far, so quickly.

As a single Mum of two children, working in production is the right balance of creativity and logistics within a relatively standard working week. I will always be a creative person and pursue photography in my own time; in production I feel part of a bigger picture and look forward to working my way up the production path. I’m excited to be starting a new PC position in October at Outline Productions for BBC2 until the end of Spring, which I found through Media Parents. I met Outline for the first time at a Media Parents networking event in Bristol, which Isa Snow Campbell also attended, so it pays to get out there…

October 18, 2019 @ 7:24 am Posted in Freelancer Profiles, TV Returners Leave a comment

5 minutes with PD Laura Martin-Robinson on World Mental Health Day

by Amy Walker

The night before Edinburgh TV Festival I found out someone in my family had been evicted from supported accommodation and was sleeping on the street, writes PD Laura Martin-Robinson. They’ve struggled with mental illness for years and it’s happened before – but it’s still terrifying and heartbreaking every time. So on Wednesday at 5am when I whispered goodbye to my sleeping kids and got the plane to Edinburgh for Media Parents Back to Work Scheme, facing the entire TV industry for the first time since I became a mum was the last thing I wanted to do.

Laura Martin-Robinson reflects on returning to work on World Mental Health Day

I arrived at the venue and began with a Media Parents networking session with Amy Walker. As I introduced myself I started crying. I blamed it on crappy mascara. As soon as we finished, Amy sent encouraging messages, and we had been introduced over email to useful delegates so we set about meeting people and engaging with the TV Festival Sessions.

At The Making of a Mega Doc a clip from ‘For Sama’ was shown (For Sama transmits on Channel 4 on Saturday 26th October).  Directed by Waad al-Kateaba, a Syrian woman, bombs are falling around her as she gives birth. Executive producer Nevine Mabro talked about why a war film from the perspective of a woman and mother was ground-breaking.

Next up 1-2-1’s with Donna Taberer, Head of BBC Talent and Clare Sillery, Head of BBC Documentaries organised through the Media Parents Back to Work Scheme. Both were encouraging and had suggestions about next steps. Donna told me about the Screenskills Series producer programme which sounded right up my street.

PACT Chief John McVay with PD Laura Martin-Robinson and two more of the 5 Media Parents Back to Work Winners at Edinburgh TV Festival

Dorothy Byrne was someone I didn’t know much about but by the end of her MacTaggart Lecture I’d fallen in love. She was powerful, commanding and hilarious. Taking on diversity, bastard bosses and political leaders refusing to engage with the press she said. “In evil regimes the first thing they do is arrest or kill the journalists…what’s happening here is they are trying to ignore us”.

Day 2 Duty of Care. Jeff Brazier – Jade Goody’s ex-partner – was a great choice for the panel but it was disappointing there were no casting APs talking about the pressure from the top to ‘cast good characters’.

At the evening drinks I chatted to the talent scheme delegates. I was impressed by how much more representative this new generation of TV felt in comparison to when I started out. 29 out of 30 of the Ones to Watch scheme were women.

Day 3 Edinburgh does the Call Centre was surprisingly moving. Sexual harassment, mental health and industry culture was discussed. Fatima Salaria was honest and brave, talking about the toll work had taken and the importance of female networks.

It had been a tough start to the festival but hearing the voice of these senior women in my industry who’d been through their own crises and still making amazing work I felt braver and stronger.

Laura M-R: "It had been a tough start to the festival but hearing the voice of these senior women in my industry who’d been through their own crises and still making amazing work I felt braver and stronger."

Being a woman, a mother and having other caring responsibilities (as women often do) can take over and stretch women to their limits. And freelance TV culture can be a punishing place to be stretched. We end up losing so many of these female voices, especially at the top.

After the festival Dorothy Byrne tweeted about the messages thanking her for speaking up about women’s issues. I was one of them, Media Parents another. While I know there’s still a long way to go before our industry becomes more equal – I felt like the conversations in Edinburgh were an empowering start.

Laura is kindly being mentored by BBC Commissioning Editor for Documentaries, Emma Loach. Follow her progress here. Huge thanks to Hat Trick who supported Laura’s trip to Edinburgh on the Media Parents Back to Work Scheme this year, and for the support from the TV Foundation, which runs The Edinburgh TV Festival.

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October 10, 2019 @ 9:57 am Posted in News Comments Off

Media Parents B2W Mentor Kim Shillinglaw

by Amy Walker

Kim Shillinglaw, Director of Factual, Endemol Shine

We are delighted to announce that Kim Shillinglaw will be mentoring returning Casting Producer Joanna Gretton on the Media Parents Back to Work Scheme. Joanna first saw Kim via the Media Parents Back to Work Scheme at Edinburgh TV Festival, we are grateful to Kim and Endemol Shine for their continued support for the scheme. Follow Joanna’s progress on this blog.

Kim Shillinglaw became Director of Factual at Endemol Shine in September 2016. She is the strategic lead for factual programming across the group, and has led the growth of production companies Dragonfly, Dragonfly West, DSP, Tigress and Workerbee, producers of award winning programmes for C4, BBC, ITV, Netflix, Quibi, National Geographic and many others.

Prior to joining Endemol Shine, Kim was Controller of BBC Two and BBC Four responsible for bringing younger audiences and a more contemporary flavour to the channels with shows like the award winning Muslims Like Us, Real Marigold Hotel, Exodus, Hospital, Employable Me, Inside The Factory, American Crime Story and The Super Rich Season as well as other acclaimed shows such as Mum, Wolf Hall, and Charles III.

Previously, Kim was in commissioning for many years. As Head of Commissioning for Science and Natural History she significantly increased the number of hours and her output was acclaimed as ‘a golden age for science on television’, with shows including Stargazing Live, Trust Me I’m A Doctor and The Young Ones, dramas such as the RTS-winning Challenger, the BAFTA-winning Frozen Planet, Wonders of the Solar System and Planet Earth II. She also commissioned the acclaimed Blue Planet II.  Prior to this Kim was an Entertainment Commissioner at CBBC, where she created the first series of multi award winning comedy Horrible Histories, and worked as a programme maker in documentaries and current affairs.

She is a trustee of Raspberry PI and former trustee of Nesta, and has served on committees and panels for DCMS, the Royal Society, BBC, Science Museum and many others.

Joanna Gretton, B2W Casting Producer

Returning Casting Producer Joanna Gretton, leftt, with Media Parents Back to Work Scheme Winner Candida Scott Knight

Joanna has been working with Media Parents for three years, helping other talent find gigs and return to TV so now it’s her time. Prior to working for Media Parents Joanna was a PD and caster on documentaries and cast celebrities for royal obituaries. Thanks to Media Parents’ Flexible Working Event Joanna has met one job share partner and is looking for more potential job shares as she makes her way back into part time work. Raw TV supported Joanna’s Edinburgh Festival trip, and Endemol Shine will support her mentoring.

Huge thanks to Hat Trick and Raw for making the Media Parents Back to Work Scheme possible this year, and for the support from the TV Foundation, which runs The Edinburgh TV Festival.

Contact Joanna Gretton here: Casting Producer Joanna Gretton

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October 9, 2019 @ 9:25 am Posted in Freelancer Profiles, News, TV Returners Comments Off

5 minutes with SP Jonathan Schütz working from home

by Amy Walker

At Media Parents’ recent Back to Work Drinks, SP / Exec Jonathan Schütz shared that he had recently worked from home on a Nat Geo production. Here he explains how…

SP Jonathan Schütz in the crowd at Media Parents drinks, with event sponsor Steph Keelan from S+O Media front left

Four times a week I haul myself out of bed at stupid-o’clock to get my 3-year-old son up, wash him, give him his banana and get him to nursery, writes SP Jonathan Schütz. And then at 5pm repeat in reverse. So does it make sense to be working somewhere across London, with around 3 hours commute, allowing a maximum 6-hour working day?

I’m an experienced specialist factual series producer and EP, and a series of accidents has led me to making most of my programmes these days in/about/for East and South East Asia. Square that commute with the nursery run!

SP Jonathan Schütz on location in China

Fortunately, over the winter, I had the opportunity to work in a different way. Nat Geo Asia offered me a reversioning job: turn a made-in-China 6 x 30’ series about a holy mountain into an international standard 2 x 1hr. It didn’t hurt that I’ve actually been to that very mountain!

So how to do this in an efficient, affordable way? The answer was black boxes. I bought a load of black boxes. One was a new computer, with a whizzy video card. Another was a server, another a NAS, a network switch, a UPS. And a big new monitor. Set it all up in the spare bedroom, install Resolve (free!) and lo and behold, an edit suite!

Shoots like this then edit at home? Yes please!

With 13TB of material spread across 16,500 clips, and all the labelling in Chinese, it took a month of sorting to get on top of it all. After that, I engaged a script-writer (me) and an offline editor (me), a PM (me), and a Taiwanese AP (not me) to help with translations and communications. And then everything proceeded as normal, just with snail’s-pace approval times as the Chinese production company (and various government departments) also had a say.

This back-bedroom production set-up’s not for the faint-hearted. If anything goes wrong, you’re on your own. So I backed up everything, all the time. Onto the server. Onto local drives. Onto a remote server, and then another remote back-up server. If my house burnt down and the server centre blew up, this project would still be standing.

Jonathan with his other boss

But the joy was that I could set my own hours. Start after nursery drop-off? Easy. Put in an extra hour after bath-and-story-time? No problem. A couple of snatched hours over the weekend? Why not? Mid-day nap with my face on the keyboard? OK, then.

That said, I could do many things in that bedroom, but finishing wasn’t one of them. So that all got done by people who know what they’re doing (thanks, Clear Cut!).

Now the series is waiting for Nat Geo’s legal department to finish doing its stuff. In the not-too-distant future, the world will get to see Laoshan, China’s Holy Mountain. If you spot it, tune in – and see what you can get done in the back room while your offspring snores next door!

October 2, 2019 @ 5:19 pm Posted in News Comments Off

Ed TV Fest with returning Casting Producer Joanna Gretton

by Amy Walker

Edinburgh TV Festival was 72 hours not to be forgotten, with so many broadcasting bosses and talent under one roof, it was going to be a thought-provoking few days writes Media Parents Back to Work Winner, Casting Producer, Joanna Gretton. Joanna was kindly sponsored at Edinburgh by Raw TV.

Returning Casting Producer Joanna Gretton, right, with two of the five Media Parents Back to Work Scheme Winners

My bags were packed, I waved farewell to the kids and embarked on a journey into the unknown – the 44th Edinburgh TV Festival.  I felt excited if not slightly daunted about whether the industry had changed, there were questions that I wondered whether I’d find the answer to. Which production companies be open to part time casting producer job share roles?  Who would I be able to secure meetings with and was I going to make meaningful connections to follow up?

I was instantly reassured. On arrival I had a warm welcome from Sarah Murch, MD of the award winning regional Indie, Blakeway North, a long-time Media Parents supporter. Encouraging me to get in contact with my CV, she said she would be happy to share her London factual contacts book.  It felt like I was moving in the right direction.

Memorable moments were meeting Oscar winner Simon Chinn, producer of ‘Untouchable’, a film about Harvey Weinstein, and Dan Reed Director of ‘Leaving Neverland’.  The first lecture I attended, “Making of a Mega Doc”  was a lively discussion on the impact of Netflix and the competition it had created.

Joanna Gretton (left) with Simon Chinn, Dan Reed and returning PD Laura Martin-Robinson

Dorothy Byrne, Head of News and Current Affairs at CH4 brought the house down delivering her hugely insightful MacTaggart Lecture.  I implore you to watch it back on You Tube.   Speaking out she used the lecture to brandish our politicians for being liars.

Thanks must go to Pat Younge, MD at Sugar Films, who was warm and encouraging.  As a boss he said that Indies now wanted to employ people who had come back after a career break as they were keen to have a ‘safe pair of hands’ on board, someone who could get the job done. I felt reassured that my 15 years of telly experience was going to count and put me back on the career path I once adored.

Another hot bed for discussion was during the Steve Hewlett Debate:  Duty of Care. Many questions were asked about who has responsibility when the cameras stop filming? There was a strong panel line up, including amongst others the reality TV star Jeff Brazier. It was an eye opener to hear his first hand experiences.  The new incoming OFCOM rules proposed to protect vulnerable TV participants meant that it could reduce diversity on screen, saying “A Jade would never be given that opportunity again”. It made me realise that as a programme maker, one should always care deeply about people voices being heard, but raised the question of how does one protect the contributors after the show has TX’d (e.g. on social media). This this was a conversation that did not have a clear answer.

I can honestly say that my first experience of the Festival has certainly given me an insight back into the telly world, thank you to Raw for sponsoring me on this insightful journey via the Media Parents Back to Work Scheme.  For me, it has opened up the world of TV again – there are P/T casting producer job-share roles, I just need to look for them, and having met a jobshare partner via the Media Parents Job Share event there is nothing holding me back. The networking circuit at the Festival also presented me with many opportunities to meet the right people and I will be following up in coming weeks and months. I would also be keen to hear from other potential casting job share partners.

Joanna Gretton in the crowd at Media Parents Job Share Event, sponsored by West Digital

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September 23, 2019 @ 9:55 pm Posted in News Comments Off