Media Parents

Monthly Archives: December 2011

Media Parents New Year Coaching Session

by Amy Walker

Media Parents is really lucky to have a great session on Marketing Yourself coming up on January 17th.  It’s run by Reuben Milne from Spark Creativity who has recently run this course at Channel 4.   Here’s a taster of what to expect from the session… and Reuben’s biog.

Reuben Milne from Spark Creativity will be teaching Media Parents how to market themselves on January 17th.

Reuben’s company – Spark Creativity – provides PR consultancy and creative support to marketing agencies and blue chip organisations across the UK.

Alongside this, Reuben also operates as an accredited Mind Gym coach, delivering hundreds of training sessions every year to companies throughout the UK and Europe. 

He also delivers his own creativity, presentation skills and personal branding coaching for media organisations such as Channel 4, TRC Media and UKTV.

 Over the last couple of years, Reuben has started to explore how the techniques involved in brand communications can be applied to individuals to achieve the same results – raising awareness and creating a more compelling case to ‘buy’.

The session:

The session will offer you the opportunity to reflect on how you are perceived and how well you are currently managing and influencing that perception.  By the end of our time together, you will have: 
· Gained an understanding of what you need to know about yourself in order to maximise your impact 
· Explored how to make the most of the opportunities to promote yourself 
· Experimented with content, delivery and structure to ensure that you create an authentic, memorable and lasting impression in front of others 

If you’d like to come along to this session please email events@mediaparents.co.uk for more details. 

See www.mediaparents.co.uk for great networking, talent, jobs and information. To contact anyone on the Media Parents blog please go the the NETWORK part of the Media Parents site. To join us please go to www.mediaparents.co.uk

December 31, 2011 @ 2:40 pm Posted in News Comments Off

5 minutes with Che Charles… Edit Producer, PD, location director

by Amy Walker

Che Charles (right) networking at the Media Parents Christmas Party 2011.

I started my career as runner on BBC2′s iconic 90s drama This Life. After that I went north to work on Granada TV in particular Manchester United TV and Men and Motors on these channels you were expected to shoot, script and go into the edit at researcher level it was a fantastic experience and I was definietly thrown in at the deep end.

I then got the opportunity to AP so I went back to London and worked on a whole raft of programmes from Car Booty, Property Ladder, Family Bratcamp, Wedding Stories, Jimmy and The Farmer and, The Ultimate Popstar to name a few.

Che Charles, PD networking at a Media Parents evening with Toby Ward, Head of Production for Comedy & Entertainment at Tiger Aspect.

In my spare time I started up an online music TV show “Musio MusicTV” with my sister. It was a weekly show that contained interviews, performances and chat. We interviewed everybody from Mark Ronson, Florence and The Machine etc it ran for 4 years.  In 2010 we gained commissions with Soho House, Babelgum and Universal Records.  I was able to juggle my love of music with my online music show, as well as work at ITV as a producer/director.

I then moved to the BBC to work as a director on Crimewatch Roadshow which was great and very exciting. Whilst out shooting with the police my only protection was my camera and a big burly copper.

I now have a baby who is 16 months old called Joseph and just when I thought I would never get back in after my year and half out I was given a lifeline by my faithful old employers ITV.

Che Charles braves the weather at the Media Parents summer BBQ.

My first baptism of fire was edit producing on new ITV1 Simon Cowell Brainchild Red or Black.  It was great to get back at first, but it was very upsetting leaving Joseph with the childminder and watching him cry. But as he got more used to his surroundings so did I.

After that I moved on to a cookery show for ITV1, edit producing. Tight schedules and long hours were the order of the day but it was definitely worthwhile and a good viewing with the exec made it rewarding.

I finished just before Christmas and the usual fear of “will I ever work again?” looms heavy in the mind. It’s back to sending lots of CVs to jobs@…. and as it stands, I don’t even get a response for the chance of an interview. It seems my CV is dismissed at the first hurdle.

[If you feel like this please check out CV tips by scrolling further down the Media Parents blog].

Nowadays you can send loads of CVs out a day but still not hear a word, when I started in TV many years ago, before email you would send letters out and would be grateful for responses back via letter. Now with email people just can’t be bothered unless they know you.

[Read Steve Wynne’s tips on how to create a connection with an employer in your covering email by scrolling down the Media Parents blog].

The media is like the lottery you have to be in it to win it.

Che Charles is a member of the TALENT section at www.mediaparents.co.uk  Sign in to the site and click this link to see Che’s profile and connect with her:

http://www.mediaparents.co.uk/freelancers/918/che-charles

See www.mediaparents.co.uk for great networking, talent, jobs and information. To contact anyone on the Media Parents blog please go the the NETWORK part of the Media Parents site. To join us please go to www.mediaparents.co.uk

December 27, 2011 @ 10:46 pm Posted in News Leave a comment

Media Parents Christmas Party 2011

by Amy Walker

Huge thanks to BAFTA and to all who came along to the Media Parents Christmas Party and made it such good fun.  Happy holidays one and all!

Media Parents founder Amy Walker would like to thank everyone who came to the BAFTA party. It was a lot of fun.

Raising the roof at BAFTA!

We’ve had some great parties – see the first photos of our Christmas one
here
http://blog.mediaparents.co.uk/

Please help us to make next year a great one for Media Parents too by
spreading the word about us, our top talent and jobs to employers and
freelancers you know. Email us for literature to pass on.

And make 2012 a great one for you too – join us at our workshop on January
17th on how to market yourself (companies, talent and networkers welcome) -
and get stuck in with our new functionality coming in the New Year.

A merry Christmas, and very happy holidays to all our readers!
 

December 23, 2011 @ 3:37 pm Posted in News 2 Comments

5 minutes with… Sammy Todd, AP and Production Co-ordinator

by Amy Walker

Since writing this blog Sammy Todd has found flexible work through www.mediaparents.co.uk  Please read on for her experience as a single media parent.

Sammy Todd is an AP / Production Co-ordinator in the TALENT section of www.mediaparents.co.uk

Being a single parent is challenging at the best of times but if there’s one thing that a Production career equips one for, it’s dealing with the challenges that come with being a single parent. Sadly though, for all the cross-pollinating skills, they don’t make particularly compatible bed partners.

My leaving lunch at CNN was the day before my baby was born. I was massively pregnant, had the best job in the world, and was convinced that as soon as the babe arrived I’d trundle back into work and pop her under the desk like a little cat. Being a Freelancer, maternity leave wasn’t an option and naturally, my position was filled pronto – and as it transpired, neither cats nor babies were permitted under desks.

As soon as Mahala arrived work was the furthest thing from my mind, it was such a beautiful time. I was grateful that I didn’t have to rush back – I had my project and my own production to attend to – my little girl and my new life.

Fast forward four and a half years, and this January Mahala is starting school. Suddenly, there is a window and the potential of resuming a career.  Life has changed radically for me since she was born – my Mother passed away when Mahala was one, and during her illness I separated from my now ex-husband. Needless to say with grief, responsibility, and chartering unchartered waters, it would have been impossible to juggle any more of a load – let alone realise a wage needed to cover childcare and living costs.  Staying home wasn’t a hard decision to make, as there really wasn’t much of an option.

I have been extremely lucky though, in that we still live in our home – just about. I’m a resourceful type and I realise I have a lot of personal strength.  I also realised it wasn’t just a case of ill-affording childcare as, even if I could, it seemed a false economy. The past four years have been the best investment I’ve ever made – all my time, money and love being poured into this little being – and I am pleased to say, my daughter is confident, bright, creative, strong, healthy and happy.  And I feel quite secure, when I wave her away at the school gates, that she’s going to be okay.

So, where will I be rushing off to, once the drop off,  the kiss goodbye and “be a good girl” is out of the way? CNN would have been great – but they closed down the Creative Services department a couple of years ago. Not unlike so many of the great production companies I’ve worked for – here today, gone tomorrow.

Sammy Todd is in the TALENT section of www.mediaparents.co.uk

I’ve worked on incredible programmes: Millennium (a history of the last thousand years for Jeremy Isaacs Productions/BBC/CNN) and The Face (the story of the image of Christ/PBS) to name a couple of highlights.  But as the last letter to contributors was dispatched,  the lights of the office would be turned off and with a final “thanks – you were great”, there ended another chapter, turfed out, looking for the next gig – and as we know, one is ‘only as good as one’s last project’.  Months between jobs was never a good look.

In terms of taking out my little black book and heralding a rallying cry to all my ex-colleagues – to be honest, there are only a handful who are still in the game. I look towards all the incredible AP/Producers on Millennium and sad to say, less than a quarter of them still work in Production. Which is criminal, as this team was the crème de la crème – handpicked by Sir Jeremy Isaacs to bring their collective talent to a legendary series. And I can only surmise that gradually, the job insecurity, the disproportionate demands on the workforce as budgets squeezed, the nature of the projects changing with the nature of times, all contributed to the burn out. Big budget documentary fast became a dinosaur, in favour of the ever more lucrative world of ‘format reality shows’ – the colossal docs too expensive to make, particularly as most of the budget nowadays goes to the commissioners requirement of a ‘Celebrity’ presenter in favour of the “scintillating academic”.

For my time in production, the glory days are over. How can I compete with a Media Graduate (of which there are 35,000 such disillusioned youngsters flooding the marketplace each year) in an Industry where there are only 32,000 jobs available? The Media Graduate who is available days, nights and weekends with all the passion that goes with landing an illusive ‘media’ job – and who is willing to do the work for little or no money – and doesn’t need to leave the office to cook supper and help with homework. I have years of experience, have skills that have taken decades to acquire and yet, daily rates have remained unchanged since I was running at 15 – and with inflation, for the hours that I would be putting in – my earnings, now, are less than I would receive as an immigrant cleaner.

As for job security, well, if I was looking for that, I wouldn’t have been a Freelancer, but the costs have been high. I naively thought that I would be able to break out of my support roles and move into Producing /Directing – not only do I have the talent and capacity for it but I reckon I would have been good. But who had the time or money to nurture or mentor that young blade?

I eventually sold my PD-150, as I never managed to afford the ‘final cut pro’ master-class – and thought I might better my chances of existence on a paradise island in Brazil. It was a bold and rather daring move – and it changed my life in the way I had hoped – but not in the way, I imagined. It was there, that however tough things seem here, you realise quite how finely balanced things are. One didn’t need to worry about heating bills but god forbid your child is sick, as the boat only goes to the mainland once a day. And you realise that the location you are born in the world determines absolutely and utterly everything about your potential and possibilities.

I know now, that I can bring so much more to the table, in terms of talent & experience than ever before. I am in my creative element  as I progress through life with the confidence, self-belief and ability that maturity brings. I have focus and ambition, but the motivations are different from my twenties – my needs are those of having to create stability and long-term security for my child, rather than accolades and BAFTAs. But I need a job that doesn’t mind if I leave by 5. That understands, that parent meetings are just as important as production ones. And school holidays – where will Mahala go, now that Granny isn’t here?

As for solutions, the whole culture of the Industry needs to change.  Perhaps there are solutions – a case of enough ‘old-timers’ and impassioned folk coming together, creating forums where the issues can be tackled, solutions realised and an Industry ‘formula’ suggested – and with enough clout behind it, implemented. Media Parents is a prime example of such a force – we’ve been called to arms but now the troops need to be rallied, create strategy and effect change.

Perhaps new roles need to be created – Production Mummies – who support all areas, make the tea, pick up the slack, plug in creatively and are the epicentre for all the whines and traumas of the job, before leaving in time to make most of the school runs.

IT Managers (my god, what luxury) – but with that investment, remote working wouldn’t just become possible, but the norm. Not only that, they would offer brush ups on the skills, show the shortcuts, examine how to file things uniformly so that anyone can find and access the work, the odd course in Excel formulas and social media techniques – bringing Production up to the Century and as a result, making it a far more efficient and well-oiled machine.

Wages becoming public and salaries being forced to be Industry standard – that would surely level the playing field. And then, maybe, just perhaps, people would think differently when they demanded unreasonable requests, or an intern wouldn’t need to feel guilty leaving the office at 6pm. And perhaps the Commissioners would be forced to offer healthier budgets, exposed as the perpetrators of an exploited workforce – resulting in a drained talent pool, diminished programme quality – and surely, lower back-end sales?

I would love to work on a project now, and would relish the thought of being part of a world I so know, love and understand, with knowledge that my contribution genuinely makes a positive difference. But, who is going to take on a coordinator or AP/researcher that needs to leave the office at 5? Why choose me, over the 1000’s of wonderfully, talented folk out there who can leave at 7 and are expected to?

If anything prepares one for being a single mother, it’s a career in Production. One knows intrinsically, there is always a way – there really are no problems, just solutions. Being a single parent or working in Production require one to live expecting the unexpected, to roll with the punches and ride the waves, to be challenged so physically, emotionally and mentally, that one becomes as strong as an ox. Creativity, positivity and a broad life experience, are all essential to the role. A dash of intelligence is helpful, and being flexible is key.

It has always been a privilege to work in the Industry but now, more than ever, one has to be privileged to be able to afford to. It’s a depressing day, when, at an Industry forum on career and parenting,  a talented series producer (and parent), in all seriousness offers this solution to the issues and problems raised: “I would suggest, marrying an Investment Banker.”  If that’s not a statement to lose heart over, I’m not quite sure what is.

See www.mediaparents.co.uk for great networking, talent, jobs and information. to contact any of the people in these photos please go the the NETWORK part of the Media Parenset site. to join us please go to www.mediaparents.co.uk

Since writing this Sammy has worked flexibly through Media Parents, and has accepted a project with regular hours.  Sammy can be found in the TALENT section of www.mediaparents.co.uk and on the watercooler within the site.

December 5, 2011 @ 11:14 pm Posted in News Leave a comment

5 minutes with… Annabel Laister, Sales Executive

by Amy Walker

Annabel Laister, Media Parents NETWORKER writes about the company she is working with thanks to Media Parents…

DLT Entertainment are expanding and are going from producing/distributing primarily Drama/Scripted formats such as the long running successful series My Family, to opening the doors to factual, documentary and entertainment finished programming. We are looking for producers/production companies with great content. If you want the boutique distributor experience with worldwide contacts and representation at important international TV markets such as MIPCOM,MIPTV and Natpe then please contact Annabel Laister at alaister@dltentertainment.co.uk

Media Parents NETWORKER Annabel Laister and her son Kalani.

Annabel found her job at DLT Entertainment through Media Parents.  She works flexibly from home 2 days a week in Hove, Sussex and one day in London at the offices of DLT Entertainment where she is an executive in the Sales and Acquistions dept of this international TV production and distribution business.

Annabel is also mummy to her son Kalani who is 11 months old. Part of her job involves attending TV markets such as MIPCOM, MIPTV, and next on the agenda is NATPE in January 2012, in Miami. Annabel has managed to bring her baby and partner to all these events in the past year, and with a bit of organisation says it can be done: “But be prepared to miss out on the fun part of media networking which goes on in the bar!”

Annabel also runs Green Room a media networking group in Brighton and the South East, we meet to drink and network usually at the bar Madame Geisha in Brighton.

Annabel Laister is in the NETWORK section of www.mediaparents.co.uk

@ 10:34 pm Posted in News Comments Off