Media Parents

Brighton Event Thursday December 8th

by Amy Walker

If you’re a Series Producer /PD /Edit Producer /Editor /DV Director /AP /Researcher /Production Manager or Production Co-ordinator and you’d like to work out of Ricochet’s Brighton office then

RICOCHET NEEDS YOU!

We are the biggest TV production company in Brighton and we are currently staffing up projects for the BBC, ITV, C4 and C5.

We are holding an Open Day on Thursday December 8th from 2pm-8pm

Come and meet our Senior Team*, find out about our new commissions, and check out our offices.

To register (and even if you can’t attend but want to work here) please send your CV mentioning Media Parents to:

recruitment@ricochet.co.uk

it’s a date!

Media Parents is brilliant for jobs, networking and training - join now at www.mediaparents.co.uk

* including Lisa Cox, who mentors for Warner Brothers on the Media Parents Back to Work Scheme. Thanks Lisa.

November 22, 2016 @ 11:15 pm Posted in News Comments Off

Development Exec Kirsty Calvert Ansari C4 Back to Work Winner

by Amy Walker

Having been on maternity leave since the end of last year I’ve been excited but apprehensive about heading back to work. Whilst TV hasn’t really changed much over the past 12 months I feel like my life really has, and it’s been daunting trying to imagine how my new home life will fit around a job. So being sponsored by Channel 4 on the Media Parents GEITF Back to Work Scheme was an unexpected godsend and a much needed introduction back into the world of tv writes Kirsty Calvert Ansari.

Development Executive Kirsty Calvert Ansari was one of this year's Media Parents Back to Work Scheme winners.

Firstly, I’ll start by saying the trip to Edinburgh TV Festival was so much more than I’d anticipated. Not only was it great meeting MDs and Creative Directors of companies full of brilliant advice and support, but also it was about meeting a group of lovely supportive people in totally the same position as me. It was a place to reconnect with old contacts, to have coffee with commissioners and talent agents and to circulate my cv and tell people ‘’I’m back’’ and looking for a job.
But it wasn’t all just about networking, it was also good to be able to attend lectures. From channel controllers and commissioners, to format masterclasses, Amazon, Hans Rosenfeldt’s Crime Noir, Youtube and Sharon Horgan, the schedule was certainly varied. But with such a busy schedule there were hard decisions to make too (such as whether attend the lip-sync battle with Mel B and Prof Green and experience a cringe-fest of commissioners in lycra or to hear Patrick Holland’s needs for BBC2).

Kirsty’s Edinburgh digest :

Quick upsum:  ITV definitely want a load more crime; formats are king; Sky 1 admitted to being ‘more Homer than Marge’; Cassian Harrison wants us to be surprising (but not ‘too’ surprising); Ben Frow is fed up with copycat jibes; and finally to a packed auditorium Vice’s Shane Smith sounded a warning to legacy media that it needs to adapt.

Read more about the 2016 Media Parents Back to Work Scheme winners at www.mediaparents.co.uk

Among the many super helpful people I met were Alex Gardiner MD at Shiver, Kate Beal Blyth at Woodcut Media, Lorraine Chalker-Phillips at Label1, Will Smith at ITN Productions, Helen Hawken at Discovery, Lucy Leveugle at C4, Claire Laycock at TLC and my mentor from C4 Ralph Lee who was extremely encouraging and insightful.
Fuelled by free coffee, ice-cream, toast and skittles, Edinburgh has reinvigorated me and boosted my confidence. My plan in the short term is to look for a Head of Development role and then hopefully in the future a role in commissioning. My mentor Ralph Lee has already pointed me in the direction of a C4 commissioning attachment scheme that looks really interesting.
Since writing this, Kirsty has landed a flexible development exec job at Twenty Twenty.

Media Parents is brilliant for jobs, networking and training - join now at www.mediaparents.co.uk

November 8, 2016 @ 10:02 am Posted in News Comments Off

Can Producer Viv Perry take her baby to Edinburgh TV Festival?

by Amy Walker

When Producer Viv Perry asked if she could take her 5 month-old baby to the Edinburgh TV Festival courtesy of the Media Parents Back to Work Scheme everyone’s immediate reaction was “yes she can”. Viv and Isaac took it all in their stride and caught up with Reggie Yates along the way…

Media Parents Back to Work Scheme Winner Viv Perry catches up with ex-colleague Reggie Yates at Edinburgh TV Festival http://www.mediaparents.co.uk/freelancers/13412/vivienne-perry

My trip to Edinburgh for the TV festival was the first time I’d gone further than zone six since I’d had my son, writes Producer Viv Perry.  So, it was with some serious excitement and to be truthful, trepidation, that Isaac and I set off for the Edinburgh TV Festival thanks to the Media Parents Back to Work Scheme.  In short it was hectic, intense and totally worth it.  I don’t plan to go back to work until Isaac is one so this was a great opportunity to meet the companies who’ll be crewing up in the coming months, to think about where I’m going next in my career, and to keep up to date with how the industry’s evolving.

At the TV Festival with 5 month-old Isaac

I’m currently a producer and I received huge amounts of encouragement to take the next steps to achieve my ambition of being a series producer.  BBC Talent Manger Caroline Carter was incredibly useful in dissecting my CV and pointed out how I’d buried some of my key skills in dense descriptions of my roles.  Time to refresh my personal statement and bullet-point my achievements.

Likewise Edd Buckley – Talent Manager from Blast! helped me think through how to make those steps to build on my edit producing experience as the company likes to grow talent within established long-running series such as Supervet.

It was refreshing to think through alternative funding models for getting commissions off the ground with Noel Hedges from DRG – a company that specializes in acquiring programmes from producers to sell on.

In between nipping out to feed Isaac, I managed to make the most of the lecture programme.  Jay Hunt was upfront about her instinct to back programmes that didn’t really fly the first time round – singling out Gogglebox and First Dates as examples of hits that took nurturing.

Combined with Ralph Lee’s observation that a hit factual series is ‘not subject driven, but is relies on place, precinct or process’ I felt I’d gleaned a few nuggets towards developing a smash hit factual series.

I enjoyed the session on What Men Want and was pleased to hear Reggie Yates hold some of the panel to account – as he claimed that “TV is failing men, not content” – pointing to the fact that his contemporaries don’t necessarily turn on the box to watch interesting programmes – there’s a world of Netflix’s and Amazon Primes competing with Dave and Top Gear!  I’d produced Reggie Yates in my radio days so it was great to catch up with him and see his work mature and become ever more incisive.

The festival has left me excited to return to work next year and raring to make the most of my Media Parents Back to Work Scheme mentorship with All3Media – having chatted with Sara Geater who couldn’t have been more supportive of my return to work.

Read more about the 2016 Media Parents Back to Work Scheme winners at www.mediaparents.co.uk

http://www.mediaparents.co.uk/freelancers/13412/vivienne-perry

September 17, 2016 @ 9:45 pm Posted in News Leave a comment

media parents back to work scheme 2016 winners

by Amy Walker

Congratulations to the six winners of the Media Parents Back to Work Scheme 2016, and thank you to everyone who applied, and to this year’s sponsors – Warner Brothers, SKY, Endemol Shine, Channel 4, the CDN and All3Media. Meet the winners…

All3Media : VIVIENNE PERRY, producer

Viv Perry is a Producer with pre mat leave credits on 24 Hrs in A&E, Inside the Klu Klux Klan and music docs. Having started her career in radio, Vivienne has an eclectic CV with a range of experience. She would like to build on her experience in the edit with a view to series producing ultimately.

CDN : ANNE-CLAIRE PILLEY, PD

Anne-Claire Pilley is a Producer Director based in Glasgow, who was responsible for many Scottish BBC documentaries including My Boyfriend the War Hero, and Transplant Tales. A mum of two young children Anne-Claire has not worked since being diagnosed with breast cancer in January 2016.

Channel 4 : KIRSTY CALVERT-ANSARI, Development Exec

Kirsty Calvert-Ansari is a Development Exec who was Head of Features and Formats development at RDF and a Factual Executive at ITN Productions before taking adoption leave in 2015. In addition to originating commissions, Kirsty was part of the teams who developed Child Genius, The Gift, and Make Bradford British, as well as working on the first series of The Undateables.

Endemol Shine : VICTORIA HARRIS, Casting Producer

Victoria Harris is a Senior Casting Producer who worked for Endemol Shine several times, as well as Raw, Love, Optomen and others, before taking mat leave in 2015. She would like to use the scheme to help her step up to Casting Exec.

SKY : GEMMA EXLEY, Digital Producer

Gemma Exley is a Digital Producer responsible for the online content around big name shows (I’m A Celeb, Big Brother, Ant & Dec’s Saturday Night Takeaway). She could use the scheme to come back in more flexibly after mat leave.

Warner Brothers : ANNA COWDRY, PM

Anna Cowdry is a factual Production Manager whose work includes several South Bank Show series for SKY ARTS, and work for Fresh One and Silver River. Living in Brighton, Anna has always commuted to London, but now that’s no longer an option she needs support to establish herself, ideally flexibly, in a smaller pool.

Please watch this space for details of the scheme’s mentors and updates from Edinburgh TV Festival. Follow our progress at @mediaparents.co.uk.

Media Parents is brilliant for jobs, networking and training - join now at www.mediaparents.co.uk

August 12, 2016 @ 3:06 pm Posted in News Comments Off

5 minutes with Diana Hinshelwood producer & trainee screenwriter

by Amy Walker

As a children’s  producer, writes Diana Hinshelwood, I often write scripts but I wasn’t a scriptwriter – despite ambitions to be the next Sally Wainwright. As a parent, the holy grail is working from home.  I can write, I thought.  All I need to do is find an agent.  If only it were that simple.

Diana Hinshelwood, Children's TV Producer and wouldbe screenwriter

Most agents were kind  but weren’t looking for children’s writers.  But one agent said he enjoyed my writing  and if I ever tried writing  for mainstream, he’d happily take a look.

Encouraged by this, I booked onto John Yorke’s Screenwriters’ Course. I was ridiculously excited and nervous about doing something new. The course is on-line, and broken into modules to do in your own time but to a deadline. We posted exercises for others to comment on,  which is nerve wracking  but the comments were mostly encouraging.  And there was no shortage of imagination amongst our group.  What a creative lot we were!

The best bit was watching classic films for ‘homework’.  Thelma and Louise, The Godfather, Million Dollar Baby.  I didn’t mind putting in the hours for that.  But the exercises that followed were hard, and answers by no means obvious.  Who is the protagonist? Antagonist?  What do they want?  Obstacles?  etc .  And did these films follow all the rules?  Well, no. We’re told the protagonist must appear very early on with a clear goal.  So, in “The Godfather” Michael Corleone doesn’t appear until two thirds in.  The exercise prompted fierce discussion and in most cases we disagreed on interpretations.

We also had different tastes.  I thought “Million Dollar Baby” was brilliant, but others were critical of Clint Eastwood and his directing. Another film I loved was the Disney animation “Cars”  – loathed by everyone else. Perhaps as a children’s producer I have a different perspective.

We  had to rewrite treatments for existing soaps – which was difficult even when you’re familiar with the characters.  And ultimately we were building up to writing our own treatments using the structures and techniques we’d been taught.  However, it is one thing to know the rules but quite another to apply them in your own writing.  Ultimately, I loved it!  The feedback I got was amazing. (Quote from David Roden: “This is a cracking piece of writing, and you should be very proud of yourself. Do not stop working on this.”) and with tweaks and advice from David and  John, I’ve been encouraged to turn my treatment into a script.

I’m so pleased I did this course.  It’s given me new skills and confidence – and another challenge.  But that’s what being a working parent is all about.

APPLY BY JULY 31st for the Media Parents Back to Work Scheme 2016. Media Parents is brilliant for jobs, networking and training - join now at www.mediaparents.co.uk

July 16, 2016 @ 12:16 pm Posted in News Comments Off

Media Parents Back to Work Scheme Opens for Applications

by Amy Walker

We’re delighted to announce that Media Parents will partner with broadcasters, indies and the Edinburgh International TV Festival for a fourth year running to support parents getting back into TV with our Media Parents Back to Work Scheme – so please apply! APPLICATIONS ARE NOW CLOSED

Media Parents Back to Work Winners at Edinburgh TV Festival 2015

Media Parents (a social enterprise set up to promote flexible working and help working parents balance the demands of media and childcare) is running a scheme to help parents and carers back in to the TV industry following a career break.

Sponsors so far are Warner Brothers, All3 Media, Channel 4, the CDN, Endemol Shine and more will be announced shortly.  Thank you to Kitty Walshe Remarkable Television MD, PACT Chief Executive John McVay,  Wall to Wall MD Richard Thomson, SKY Head of Comedy Jon Mountague, BBC Wales Series Producer Samantha Rosie and BBC Wales Head of Production Talent Catrin Whitmore, Mark Robinson, Creative Director ITV Shiver and Channel 4’s Deputy Chief Creative Officer for mentoring last year’s winners.

Winner Anne Henry with Channel 4's Ralph Lee at Edinburgh TV Festival 2015

In 2015 seven successful media parents / carers were awarded sponsored places and returned to the TV workplace – this year we’re offering the opportunity again. Will you win a place?

Successful candidates will be awarded a free delegate pass, plus travel and accommodation in Edinburgh, with bespoke mentoring sessions from the sponsors. To apply by July 31st (sooner if you can please!) send an email to us to request an application form or click the link below.

Media Parents Back to Work Winners 2015 at GEITF

Applicants are required to send a 300 word précis outlining their experience and ambitions upon returning to TV, plus a CV including all dates of work, and completed application form obtained from the above address, submitted by July 31st. The email should be titled with the applicant’s name, job title and genre. Applicants must be available to attend the Edinburgh TV Festival from 23 – 26 August 2016. See the Festival programme and dates here : http://www.thetvfestival.com/

Director Vito Rocco is now directing EastEnders having completed the Media Parents Back to Work Scheme 2015

Candidates are required to have 3 years’ experience in TV and should not have worked continuously in TV for more than 12 weeks since the career break. This doesn’t mean you need to have been out of work for 12 weeks, it means you can’t have worked continuously for 12 weeks since you have returned to work.

There is no submission charge but successful applicants must subscribe to either the talent or network section of www.mediaparents.co.uk for one year to prove their commitment to returning to the workplace. Thank you for your interest, we look forward to working with you. Download application form here : application form media parents Back to Work Scheme

APPLY BY JULY 31st Media Parents is brilliant for jobs, networking and training - join now at www.mediaparents.co.uk

July 15, 2016 @ 10:34 pm Posted in News Comments Off

TXing TOMORROW BBC2 Editor Daren Tiley

by Amy Walker

Media Parents Offline Editor Daren Tiley writes about working flexibly from his garden edit shed to coincide with the transmission of his latest programme for BBC2, Ian Hislop’s The Secret of Beethoven’s Fifth Symphony.

TXing Saturday 28th May 9pm, Daren Tiley's latest work : The Secret of Beethoven's Fifth Symphony

Back in 2008 I decided to build my own small facility in a converted barn within my house grounds in Sussex near Gatwick.  I realised that after working in Soho as an Editor for over 20 years it was time to think ahead of the game and offer a tailor made editing service where directors can work within a relaxed countryside setting without the distractions of busy London life. In a way, I thought to myself why not set up a post house on a mini scale just like the music  industry has done for many years and even offer Bed & Breakfast included in the deal if required.

The Surrey edit that Clearcut built. http://www.mediaparents.co.uk/freelancers/9614/daren-tiley

So I enlisted the help of the engineers at Clear Cut Pictures to build the suite for me which is still going strong today. The DT Editing Shed was born!!

Since it was built I have cut many single one off documentaries for terrestrial television from “Hammond Meets Moss” for BBC4 & “Eva Cassidy A Timeless Voice”  for Sky Arts are a few to mention…It has grown from strength to strength over the past few years with production companies having smaller tighter budgets thus offering Offline & Online at a fraction of the cost of Soho facilities.

Daren Tiley meets Arrow Media's Head of Talent Dawn Beresford at a Media Parents event.

So last year a director I had worked with at the BBC a few years back contacted me as he had decided to move down to Sussex to live and thus we started working together again.

So this weekend the DT Editing shed announces its first 90 min feature doc on BBC2.

Get ready for “The Secret Of Beethoven’s Fifth Symphony”  BBC2 9pm Saturday 28th May with John Eliot Gardiner’s Orchestre Revolutionnaire et Romantique.

Coming Soon from The Garden Edit Shed yet another 60 min feature doc for BBC2 on “Glyndebourne” backstage !!!

http://www.mediaparents.co.uk/freelancers/9614/daren-tiley

Media Parents is brilliant for jobs, networking and training - see www.mediaparents.co.uk for details.

May 27, 2016 @ 12:26 pm Posted in News Comments Off

5 minutes with composer isa suarez on her gig June 3 – 5

by Amy Walker

Media Parents Composer Isa Suarez’s latest gigs will run from June 3rd – 5th, see below.

Just a reminder about my gig at Baskfest (10pm) and also an update about Saturday night:

8pm- 9pm: there will be free tasting of pintxos designed by Arzak, the Michelin starred Basque Chef and free tasting of Basque wine K5 designed by another Michelin starred Basque chef Arguiñano!
9pm- 2am: bring your own drinks or you can buy them in the shop next door to the Hive


”Experience 2016′s European Capital of Culture without the airmiles at this festival celebrating San Sebastian and all things Basque” Time Out – London
BASKFEST – FREE ENTRY
FRI 3 JUNE: 6 -9PM
SAT 4 JUNE: 12PM- 2AM
SUNDAY 5 JUNE: 12PM- 7PM
Festival program and transport info are in the enclosed flier


LOCATION
THE HIVE 260-264 Kingsland Rd, London E8 4DG

http://www.mediaparents.co.uk/freelancers/12898/isa-suarez

May 22, 2016 @ 4:15 pm Posted in News Comments Off

5 minutes with Composer Jon Nicholls on Radio 4

by Amy Walker

Media Parents Composer Jon Nicholls writes about his recent work for Radio 4 – Clouds in Trousers and In Weatherland.

Almost in shot… Composer Jon Nicholls with Series Producer Katy Ferguson at The Finish Line Media Parents post event in May 2016 http://www.mediaparents.co.uk/freelancers/3569/jon-nicholls

Alongside my screen work, I’ve also been very involved in radio drama for a long time now as both composer and sound designer. I love it – at its best, it’s an almost cinematic form with an incredibly close and direct relationship with your audience. I’ve just finished working on two related series for Radio 4, which are going out over the next three weeks. The first is a wonderful book by Alexandra Harris called ‘Weatherland’, which is a history of English weather and writers’ and artists’ responses to it. I’ve a long-standing collaboration with the producer Tim Dee, based at BBC Bristol, with whom I’ve worked on over twenty radio projects (https://jonnicholls.com/radio-drama/radio-short-extracts/), and he asked me to compose a series of pieces exploring different aspects of the weather – ice, snow, clouds, wind etc – which was a lovely challenge. Very often the production process for radio drama is similar to that of television, with the composer receiving a ‘picture lock’ to score in the linear fashion we’re all used to, so it was terrific to be able to compose slightly more freely than I often get the chance to.

I’ve always loved the blending and layering of acoustic / organic sounds with electronics and samples, and this was a perfect opportunity to explore this in depth, mixing strings played by the brilliant Bristol Ensemble with abstract soundscapes and textures derived from processed recordings of wind and water. As quite often happens, my children (12 and 15) also both feature! They’re quite used by now to being woken up at odd hours of the day and night to have mics jammed in front of them, and they supplied some lovely whistling and distant wordless vocalisations for the wind piece. It’s being serialised on Radio 4 as a narrative history documentary the week after next.

However, that wasn’t the end of it… Tim felt that Alexandra’s book was so rich that there was much more to be done with it, and commissioned the writer Katie Hims to create a drama inspired by ‘Weatherland’. She’s written a beautiful and touching love story, ‘Clouds In Trousers’ (http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/b07b3nrd), starring Patsy Ferran and Patrick Troughton, which is being serialised all this week on Radio 4. I did score this one in the more standard way, but drew heavily on the set of pieces I’d already created for ‘Weatherland’, so hopefully they feel as if they share the same musical as well as literary DNA.

http://www.mediaparents.co.uk/freelancers/3569/jon-nicholls

http://www.mediaparents.co.uk/freelancers/3569/jon-nicholls

Media Parents is brilliant for jobs, networking and training - see www.mediaparents.co.uk for details.

May 21, 2016 @ 1:51 pm Posted in News Comments Off

5 minutes with… Series & Edit Producer Gaby Koppel

by Amy Walker

Things I’ve learned…. by Series / Edit Producer Gaby Koppel.
As Media Parents features a job which could mean a step up for someone working in the regions http://www.mediaparents.co.uk/job-listings/7489/series-producer Gaby Koppel writes about getting on in TV by moving out of London.

Gaby Koppel (left) at the Media Parents Arrow Media networking event. http://www.mediaparents.co.uk/freelancers/314/gaby-koppel

I was twenty-five and a fresh faced cub reporter straight from local newspapers when I first entered the hallowed portals of the BBC.  Unfortunately, it wasn’t the corporation’s iconic Television Centre or even John Reith’s magnificent building in Portland Place but the rather more modest Yorkshire headquarters on Leeds’s Woodhouse Lane, where I was the latest recruit to the popular nightly magazine show Nationwide fronted by Sue Lawley and Hugh Scully.  Two hundred miles away from the glamorous presenters, I was about to have a rude awakening to the realities of regional telly.

LESSON ONE: IF YOU ARE LOOKING FOR A FIRST JOB, OR A LEG UP, IN TELLY, TRY THE REGIONS.  IT’S LESS COMPETITIVE AND IN THESE DAYS OF REGIONAL QUOTAS THERE ARE LOTS OF GREAT OPPORTUNITIES.  YOU MAY HAVE TO TAKE SOME SHIT, BUT YOU GET THAT EVERYWHERE.

From what I’d seen on screen I expected that I’d be joining a large team and would be able to hide my total ignorance about this fabulous medium by sitting at the back and copying the others.  Arriving punctually, I was whisked into the boss’s office for what promised to be a cosy welcome chat.   It wasn’t.

Leaning back in his chair, a man with grey hair and a cable knit cardigan said: “This is BBC North, we are the regional representatives of the television news and our first responsibility is to serve them.  We also put out a nightly television programme called Look North, that is our second priority.  You, Nationwide, are third.  Never forget that you are last, you are bottom of the pile. I don’t want to hear about you getting in the way of my staff.”  With that, he showed me to my seat in the darkest corner of the newsroom and left me there saying “You better call London.”

That is how I learned that I was the sole representative of Nationwide in Leeds.

LESSON TWO: DON’T BE INTIMIDATED BY GRUMPY MIDDLE AGED MEN. YES, YOU SHOULD RESPECT THEM BECAUSE THEY HAVE THE ADVANTAGE OF EXPERIENCE AND KNOWLEDGE, BUT THAT DOESN’T GIVE THEM THE RIGHT TO TREAT YOU BADLY.

There was a phone on my desk but no list of numbers.  After a few minutes, Brian the genteel continuity announcer who was sitting opposite mentioned something about ‘the circuit’ without explaining what it was.  More time passed and somebody brought a small contraption to my desk that could have been designed by Heath Robinson – an aluminium box with a speaker and a switch, attached to which by cloth-covered cable was a set of Bakelite headphones.  I swear it was the same kind of model they used at Bletchley Park during the war.

I listened in and could hear disembodied voices.  This was the fabled circuit.  Editors in London were talking to researchers in other regions with tags like Alison in Birmingham, Steve in Manchester, Bob in Bristol and Tina in Norwich as though the location was part of their identity.  They ran through today’s programme menu and the forward planning, and discussed potential contributions to different stories from the regions.  Finally, when it sounded as though everybody was about to go I summoned up the courage, pressed my button and said, “It’s G-G-Gaby in Leeds”.  Silence.  Then, even more worryingly, “We’ll want something from you on The Cod Wars, speak in a minute.”  Panic.

All I could think was – FISH? For Godsake, we are in the middle of the country, I don’t even know where the nearest sea port is.  What are they on?

As soon as the circuit finished I rushed over to the huge map on the newsroom wall and discovered that we were within striking distance of Grimsby and Hull.  Armed with this information, I sat by my phone and waited for the rest of the shift, but it never rang.  I was exhausted after a long day doing virtually nothing.

LESSON THREE: EVEN WHEN YOU THINK YOU AREN’T DOING ANYTHING, YOU ARE LEARNING, AND THAT APPLIES WHEN YOU HAVE LOADS OF EXPERIENCE AS MUCH AS WHEN YOU HAVE NONE.  I HOPE TO AND TRY TO LEARN SOMETHING EVERY DAY I WORK ON A PRODUCTION.  THE DAY YOU STOP LEARNING IS THE DAY TO LEAVE THE BUSINESS.

The following morning I waited for the circuit.  I didn’t say anything apart from “Hello it’s Gaby here in Leeds” but I listened and took copious notes.  One of the forward planning stories was strong on human interest, just the kind of social issue I was interested in, about ‘granny bashing’ by frazzled carers and family members.

Gaby Koppel and her daughter Sarah. Photograph Graeme Robertson. http://www.mediaparents.co.uk/freelancers/314/gaby-koppel

Here my journalism training kicked in.   I got on the phone to all the branches of Age Concern in the area as well as a handful of local authorities, and within a few hours I had rustled up a solid case history of a woman caring for a mother suffering from early dementia who was willing to talk about feeling ‘close to the edge’, and crucially she was willing to say so on camera.   I rang the producer who had been asking for contributions to say I had someone who would talk about wanting to hit her mother and she told me she’d like me to make a one-minute film with the woman.   Hooray! I was ecstatic.

LESSON FOUR: YOU MAY THINK YOU KNOW NOTHING, BUT THAT’S JUST YOUR INSECURITY.  AND IF YOU REALLY DON’T KNOW ANYTHING, COMMON SENSE CAN GET YOU QUITE FAR.  BUT ONLY UP TO A POINT….

And then she uttered the classic line.

“Gaby, have you ever directed a film before?”  I gulped. Film directors were people like John Ford and Francis Ford Coppola, not me. None of my names featured the word Ford and it wasn’t even an aspiration.   It was a dream for some people maybe, but definitely not me.  I wanted to sit at the back, remember?

“Er, n-n-no,” I stammered.

“OK, no probs.  I’ll tell you what to do.  Have you got a pencil?”

“Y-e-e-s.”

I waited what seemed like an age, prepared to take down the creative bible that would help me, a humble writer, forge a memorable piece of visual storytelling. My pen was poised.

“Get lots of cut-aways.”

“Yes, what else?”

“That’s all.  Tell the cameraman to get lots of cutaways.  Don’t bother to ask what they are, just make sure he gets lots.”

LESSON FIVE: BEST ADVICE FOR A FILM MAKER IS GET LOTS OF CUT-AWAYS.  EVEN IF YOUR GOAL IS TO PRODUCE A SEAMLESS AUTEURED PIECE, THERE’S NOTHING LIKE HAVING A SAFETY NET.  YOUR EDITOR WILL THANK YOU.

My one-minute masterpiece hit the air two nights later and I’d gone from zero to hero by the end of my first week in telly.  A ‘hero-gram’ (slang from the pre wi-fi age: hero + telegram, in other words a note congratulating me on hitting the air so quickly) from programme editor Roger Bolton arrived promptly in the internal mail that kept the BBC going in the days before email.  By now I’d been running on adrenalin for five solid days. I cried.

LESSON SIX: WHEN YOU ARE FINALLY THE BOSS, MAKE SURE YOU GIVE POSITIVE FEEDBACK REGULARLY TO ALL MEMBERS OF YOUR TEAM NO MATTER HOW LOWLY, EVEN IF THERE’S ROOM FOR IMPROVEMENT.  PRAISE IS LIKE A DRUG, A GOOD ONE.  THE BOOST PEOPLE GET FROM PRAISE WILL MAKE THEM FEEL VALUED, SPUR THEM ON TO GO THE EXTRA MILE, AND WILL PAY YOU BACK A HUNDRED TIMES AS WELL AS MOTIVATING YOUR TEAM TO LEARN MORE AND MOVE ON.

I’ve still got that hero-gram.

http://www.mediaparents.co.uk/freelancers/314/gaby-koppel

May 18, 2016 @ 9:24 pm Posted in News Comments Off