Offline Editor Polly Rose is in the TALENT section of www.mediaparents.co.uk and speaks here about returning to work, and her experience of the ITF Women Returners Course in March that she applied for through Media Parents. The same course, funded by Skillset is being run in Cardiff on April 13th for women in WALES and the SOUTH WEST. For more information please email email@example.com
It’s an oft-repeated John Lennon line* that “life is what happens to you while you’re busy making other plans”. When I walked out of a BBC Cardiff edit suite one January evening in 2006, at the end of a happy edit on Doctor Who Confidential, I remember thinking that even after years as a freelance editor I still sometimes couldn’t believe that I get to do this as my job. Little did I know that it would take five years, two sons and a move to Bristol from London before I next set foot in a cutting room (though I still have much the same face, unlike the Doctor who is looking rather different these days). The media landscape has changed a lot in the five years I’ve been away, not least the technology – RED cameras, iPhones, Twitter…
(*he borrowed it from the Reader’s Digest if you believe Wiki Quotes).
During my time out I did explore other career options, since my usual working hours as an editor were definitely not family friendly. However, any profiling exercise I did just served to point up that I’m essentially cut out to be an editor (one showed my top two strengths as “reconfiguration” and “narrator”). I was also reluctant to waste the years of experience I had built up in order to start anew and, when it came down to it, I couldn’t face the thought of never cutting another music sequence.
I’ve had some fantastic and fascinating editing experiences, from working on location at London Zoo (alongside fellow Media Parents Editor Leo Carlyon) all one summer to cutting a half hour documentary on a horse race in ten days straight with Sara Hardy. I’ve seen narcotics cops, aristocrats, Spiritualists, Drag Kings and Sir Gerry Robinson. I’ve worked on several medical documentary series over the years including Children’s Hospital, Life on the List and Your Life In Their Hands, which turned out to be very useful grounding for when my eldest son had cardiac surgery as a baby.
Luckily my return to work has coincided with greater recognition of the problems faced by parents in media (hurrah!), and after going along to the Media Parents event at BBC Bristol in November last year I started to feel that combining motherhood and editing in the way I hope to do might actually be possible. After a short editing job for fellow Media Parent Lucy Swingler I was confident that I can still cut it as an editor, but I was seriously daunted by the task of starting again in a different city. Apart from my first job as a runner I have always got work through personal recommendation, and having moved back to my hometown of Bristol the thought of starting again outside my familiar London network was pretty scary.
After reading a post on the Media Parents blog in January, I applied for and got one of ten places on the Indie Training Fund’s new “Reviewing Your Options” workshop for women returning to work in TV. So, on March 1st I waved my partner and two small boys off to the Transport Museum for a London daytrip, and set off for the ITF offices in Hoxton Square feeling excited and apprehensive.
The workshop was run by Sue Ahern of Creative People with input from Joyce Adeluwoye-Adams, Diversity Advisor for PACT, Skillset’s TV Co-ordinator Raechel Leigh Carter and “token male” Ian Wyatt, the ITF’s Training Director. It was fast-paced and packed a lot of useful information, discussion and activities into the day – the “elevator pitch” exercise was especially helpful (if terrifying!).
Sue covered topics including how to build your profile and pitch your skills through your CV, social media and face-to-face meetings; job applications and interviews, possible approaches to flexible working, further training opportunities, negotiation skills, and taking the long view of your career to plan the next phase.
I found hearing the experiences of the other women who were attending the workshop interesting and enlightening. They helped to remind me that I’m not alone in trying to find new ways to work, so I can continue to do a job that I really enjoy and use the skills I’ve developed while still being there for my kids.
I would recommend the workshop to any woman in my situation. I left feeling energised, with increased confidence and skills to approach my return to freelance work, and a wider network of contacts and support.
Polly Rose, Editor, is in the Media Parents TALENT section www.mediaparents.co.uk
If you would like to apply for the ITF Women Returners Course in March that Polly found out about through Media Parents, the same course, funded by Skillset, is being run in Cardiff on April 15th for women in WALES and the SOUTH WEST. For more information please email firstname.lastname@example.org