Media Parents

Monthly Archives: May 2012

Encounters : Calling All Filmmakers and Animators

by Amy Walker

Calling filmmakers and animators
Submit your shorts to Encounters by 6 June for a chance to showcase your work at the UK’s leading short film and animation festival! 

See www.mediaparents.co.uk for great networking, talent, jobs and information.

 
Call for Entries 2012 – Deadline 6 June

As a dedicated short film festival, Encounters is one of the best-known showcases and networking events for emerging film talent, providing filmmakers and animators with an amazing platform for their work as well as the chance to rub shoulders with industry professionals in a dynamic, fun and informal setting. The festival’s international juries will discern a whole host of awards this year, including the UWE European New Talent Awards (animation and live action) only for graduating students or first time directors, with €1,000 prizes up for grabs. Not forgetting that we are also the leading UK gateway to the world’s most prestigious short film and animation awards, including the BAFTAs, Cartoon D’Or, European Film Awards, and Oscars®!

Short films completed from 1 Jan 2011 and under 30 mins in length from every genre are eligible for submission. The deadline for entries is 6 June, with an early cut-off this week for our Children’s Jury Award programme (25 May).

All submissions, whether or not they are selected for the Encounters programme, will be made available for festival delegates at the festival and online via our Digital Viewing Library.

Visit www.encounters-festival.org.uk to submit.

May 31, 2012 @ 12:15 pm Posted in Events, News Leave a comment

TXing TONIGHT… title music by Tom Lown, Composer

by Amy Walker

Following a stint in New York, working as an in-house composer/producer for Ant Music, Tom Lown is now back in London, composing as a freelancer. He has recently collaborated with Media Parents talent Daniel Hagon, scoring the music for his short film “2nd Chance” which will be shown in various cinemas/festivals this summer.

Tom Lown wrote the music for Battle of the Brides for Dragonfly which TXes tonight.

Tom has also recently composed the Title Music for Battle of The Brides for Dragonfly. This first transmitted last Thursday and Episode 2 is this Thursday at 9pm on SKY Living. You can check out a preview of the titles here: www.tomlown.com and find Tom’s profile on Media Parents here: http://www.mediaparents.co.uk/freelancers/2343/tom-lown

Tom Lown is a Composer in the TALENT section of www.mediaparents.co.uk

See www.mediaparents.co.uk for great networking, talent, jobs and information.

May 24, 2012 @ 12:08 pm Posted in News Comments Off

5 Minutes with… Charlotte Fisher, PD / AP

by Amy Walker

After 15 years working as a news reporter and correspondent for ITV and ITN, with two children under 5, I had decided to take a break from TV. I loved my job, but I was driving hundreds of miles a day,  and then trying to get back  from Peterborough or Northampton in time to read the children a bedtime story every night was exhausting. People told me I needed to rethink my work life balance.  They were probably right.

Charlotte Fisher back at work after a career break, and a career change from news to factual thanks to Media Parents. Charlotte can be found in the TALENT section of www.mediaparents.co.uk

I decided instead to write the novel that all English literature graduates plan to write and freelance as a journalist – mainly working from home. I also started doing some  media training and  – shock of all shocks – looked after my children myself! But after a year out of the game, I missed TV and admittedly was finding looking after the kids and trying to work from home more exhausting than a 200 mile commute.

Instead of going back to the news-room, I wanted to try to move into factual and documentaries as I’d always enjoyed making longer programmes: I’d produced and directed a few half hours and short films while I was a reporter and health correspondent.  But factual is a totally different world from news and I didn’t know anyone in it.  So I spent almost a year talking to people and working out how my skills as a TV news reporter and producer/director fitted into the factual world.  And now, thanks to Media Parents, for the very first time I’m officially working in the factual world! 

I’ve just finished archive producing on the World’s Scariest series for Channel 5 at Mentorn Media, and I’ve since moved desks at Mentorn to help on Traffic Cops for a month. However, I’ve had a lot of invaluable help and advice from people along the way,  which I think is what made swapping genres possible. Cue the Oscars  “I’d like to thank” speech.  But I would…

Charlotte Fisher and her daughter take a break from networking at the Media Parents Christmas Party 2012.

I started by applying for the Women in Film and Television mentoring scheme,  where I was lucky enough to get a place.  There I met a fantastic group of women all trying to move on to the next or a different stage, and I had a great mentor, Will Hanrahan, who was also originally a news reporter and presenter, but now makes factual programmes and set up his own production company, FirstLook TV.  Will acted as one of my referees when I finally got to that stage of the interview process. I went to lots of events like FastTrain, the freelance training day at the BBC where I came across Media Parents.  I went along to networking events, and tried to find out a much as I could about the industry and where I would fit in.

Six months on, I was pitching my own documentary at Sheffield Docfest in front of 200 people and a panel of commissioners. Thank goodness for a background in live TV – but it was still nerve-wracking! A few months later I joined Media Parents thanks to discovering them at FastTrain.

I applied for a few jobs via the site, but felt that I was not ticking the right boxes. The criteria were very specific – it seemed that to work on a particular documentary series on a channel as a producer you needed to have already worked on a similar show, on the same channel with the same job title.  My news experience was not going to do the trick.

But then I was invited to an interview for World’s Scariest. It was incredibly informal in comparison to a news board, where you face three or four people who test your general knowledge and then get you to do a live stand-up in the room. Amy Walker, the series producer, and Matt Holden, the executive producer, seemed very positive about me working with them …and I started the next week, covering as an AP.

This led to being offered the job of finding and licensing the archive across the series of four programmes. Initially, I had reservations about the archive role, as I was used to being out in the field and haven’t had a desk job since I worked in newspapers. However, I really liked the team of people that Amy Walker had brought together through Media Parents and Mentorn to work on the series, and so I decided to give it a go.

Charlotte Fisher is in the TALENT section of Media Parents http://www.mediaparents.co.uk/freelancers/2804/charlotte-fisher

That was more than 3 months ago and I’m still here. In fact I really enjoyed the archive producing: finding footage, negotiating with commercial archives and individuals and liaising with Mentorn’s lawyer James Jackson over some of the very unusual and specific things some people wanted written into their licence agreements.

It was great to see some of the ideas I’d had, and pieces of archive I’d found, make it to the final cut. And I got to go out on a couple of shoots including an unforgettable trip to Germany with the Scariest Animals P/D Zoe Fryer where we interviewed an animal trainer in German – and Zoe filmed him getting way closer to a lion than I would want to.

Working at Mentorn has been a great experience,  three months on I still love the team I’ve been working with, I’ve been given more opportunities to work on other programmes with the company… and I’m really hoping everyone will be back soon for World’s Scariest – Series 3.

http://www.mediaparents.co.uk/freelancers/2804/charlotte-fisher

See www.mediaparents.co.uk for great networking, talent, jobs and information.

May 23, 2012 @ 2:33 pm Posted in News Leave a comment

5 minutes with… makalla mcpherson, director

by Amy Walker

I am a young female director, who has been freelancing for about two years now working mainly on music videos. I have directed videos for Wretch 32, Kay Young, Mumzy Stranger, DJ Riskgo, Lisa Maffia to name but a few, plus I’ve dabbled in commercials and most recently have taken the plunge into drama which is where my passion for directing lies.

Promos Director Makalla McPherson and Wretch 32. Makalla is in the TALENT section of www.mediaparents.co.uk

http://www.mediaparents.co.uk/freelancers/3320/makalla-mcpherson

I have recently made two short films: Tight Rope a short film about domestic violence, and recently wrapped Tiny Steps, which looks at  how a young couple deal with the loss of a baby. I am keen to transfer my skills from short films and promos and get into TV drama or factual directing but am finding it quite difficult.
I know TV is a different route from what I have been doing in promos and wonder if there is anyone out there who could give me some professional advice or some on set experience by shadowing, as maybe an AP, to get more experience in the broadcast platform.

You can check out my work at www.makallamcpherson.co.uk and contact me through my profile on www.mediaparents.co.uk  here : http://www.mediaparents.co.uk/freelancers/3320/makalla-mcpherson

I know this is a long shot but if you don’t ask you don’t know.

Makalla McPherson on set directing a promo. She is looking for opportunities to cross over into factual and drama and can be contacted through the TALENT section of www.mediaparents.co.uk

 

See www.mediaparents.co.uk for great networking, talent, jobs and information.

@ 1:52 pm Posted in News Leave a comment

5 minutes with… Stefanie Watkins, FCP & Avid Editor

by Amy Walker

Bristol-based Editor Stefanie Watkins writes for Media Parents about editing natural history programmes, hoping to have a family and a career, and her latest project Planet Earth Live, which TXes on Sunday 20th May at 8pm on BBC1.

I’m an editor, writes Stefanie Watkins, working mostly in natural history and science for the past seven years. Bears and presenters are some of my favorite animals to edit, but I tend to fall in love with whatever topic I’m editing and always do my best to make the audience fall in love with it too.

Editor Stefanie Watkins is in the TALENT section of www.mediaparents.co.uk http://www.mediaparents.co.uk/freelancers/1194/stefanie-watkins

As an American recently moved to the UK, my biggest challenge has been cracking into the industry here. Resources like Media Parents, Fast Train, and of course the Wildscreen Festival have been vital towards helping me get to know the right people to make it here. These critical contacts aren’t necessarily the talent managers and executives you’d expect, and as I always say to film students, keep in touch with your classmates and be nice to everyone. Case in point, the first hour-long broadcast show I ever edited was for the currently running series “America the Wild” on Nat Geo Wild. The executive producer is a former classmate of mine, and he took a chance on me because he already knew I’d fit in well with their team. You really never know who will be your next boss!

Natural History tends to take an immense time to shoot and edit, so one of my chief jobs as an editor is weeding out the best stories and beautiful shots from hours and hours of often not a lot happening. There’s a reason channels aren’t inundated with live wildlife drama every day. The amount of time needed to film and edit compelling natural history is phenomenal, and the urge to perfect a scene to the highest quality must always balance with rigid deadlines.

Working with the BBC, I’ve been blown away by the spectacular footage, beautiful original scores, and incredible stories produced from all corners of the globe. I’ve been editing a few short five-minute pieces about a family of giant otters for Planet Earth Live, and I can only hope I’ve done it justice. These wildlife camera people and producers are some of the best natural history storytellers in the world, and I feel so privileged to be surrounded by such talented people.

Stefanie's latest production, Planet Earth Live, TXes at 8pm on Sunday 20th May on BBC1. Pictured : Stefanie and her cat Boo.

Spending hours in the edit room or filming wildlife in the field, we all feel some form of bond with these animals. It’s hard not to, because we as humans will always see our own humanity in their actions…and scientifically speaking this isn’t far off. Many animals do have emotions and bonds with their families similar to our own. That’s why the Planet Earth Live stories about parents fighting to protect their babies resonate with so powerfully with us.

My husband and I have been talking about starting a family in the coming years, and I have to admit the thought terrifies me, especially working with parents who often sacrifice time with their children into the late night hours, just to get a show out. I’m so happy to be a part of Media Parents for this very reason. Hearing everyone’s stories about how they’re coping gives me hope you can have a career in TV and a family life. Plus, fingers-crossed, we’ll never have to fight off voracious caiman or marauding lions. And for that, I’m incredibly grateful.

Stefanie Watkins is currently editing a film on black bears for BBC/Nat Geo but will be available from mid-July.  Please contact her through the TALENT section of www.mediaparents.co.uk

http://www.mediaparents.co.uk/freelancers/1194/stefanie-watkins

See www.mediaparents.co.uk for great networking, talent, jobs and information.

May 19, 2012 @ 2:03 pm Posted in News Leave a comment

Meet Media Parents at BECTU Freelancers Fair Friday June 29th

by Amy Walker

Come say hi and workshop your CV with Media Parents at the BECTU fair on June 29th. See www.mediaparents.co.uk for great networking, talent, jobs and information.

Join Media Parents at BECTU Freelancers fair on Friday 29th June.  Get free CV advice from us and take part in the seminars on offer below.  Entry costs 10 pounds for non BECTU members.

Seminars:

Starting with one that I’ve taken part in on the BBC/TRC Media Series Producer Programme, so I know it’s good!  Media Parents Editor Leo Carlyon also went to this session at the FastTrain event this week and thought it was great:

14.30 – 15.30 Combining Words and Pictures … Scripting for Factual TV presented by Frank Ash, courtesy of the BBC Academy

This session is for anyone who wants to improve the quality of their commentary writing.  Principally aimed at those in factual, but relevant to all. Writing effective commentary is one of the most challenging aspects of programme-making. This session will offer participants an insight into the essential ingredients of writing to complement and enhance pictures and sync, including the type of language to use, and the importance of rhythm and finding the appropriate style for your film. As well as practical tools and tips, the session will look at a number of case studies from different factual TV genres.

10.00 – 11.15 Back to the Future: What lies ahead for British Film? We debate film policy and key recommendations from the Film Policy Review and the BFI’s Forward Plan. Our panel will include Maggie Ellis (head of production & talent development at Film London), Roy Button OBE (senior VP and managing director of Warner Bros Productions), celebrated film director, Ken Loach and Martin Spence (assistant general secretary, BECTU).

11.45 – 13.00 Budget Blues: Making shows on a shoestring Investment, or lack of it, governs the range and quality of what we see on our screens and impacts on the way we work. Join John McVay from PACT and Kate Townsend from Storyville.

14.00 – 15.15 Data Wrangling: How to master this key technical challenge Managing your digital workflow and backing up what you’ve filmed securely is one of the most fraught – and potentially fiddly – aspects of shooting tapelessly. This taster session will help answer your questions, and show you how to handle your digital footage simply, safely and reliably.

15.45– 17.00 Get Your Career on the Right Track with top tips from the expertsEveryone knows that competition for jobs in film and tv is fierce and never more so than in the current recession. How do you get that all-important first break? Join this session for top tips on how to make your talent shine through, from our panel of industry experts: Caroline Carter, BBC talent executive; Colin Campbell-Austin, people development manager, Channel 4; Alison Small, director of the Skillset Film Industry Craft and Skills Academy; Carys Morgan, Broadcast Hotshot and head of development at Minnow Films.  The session will be chaired by documentary film-maker, Marc Sigsworth.

60 Minute Talks

11.30 – 12.30 Accountancy Question Time, chaired by Steve Sykes, Blue Skies Partnership

Steve Sykes will provide a briefing on key accountancy issues for freelances and then the floor will be yours! PAYE, Schedule D, VAT registered or not, Limited Co or sole trader? Submit your questions for our guest panel in advance to selliott@bectu.org.uk or bring them along to the discussion.

13.00 –14.00 New entrants: is it possible to avoid exploitation?

New entrants are caught in a double bind: they need experience but there is a severe shortage of paid entry opportunities. The national minimum wage exists to protect the vulnerable from exploitation but sadly some employers in our industry are willing to break the law. Join us to find out about your rights, how you can enforce them and what you can do to get paid. Our speakers will include, Martin Spence, BECTU assistant general secretary, Michelle Wyer, assistant director, National Minimum Wage Compliance Unit and a representative from Intern Aware.

16.00 – 17.00 Cast, Direct, Produce: The Importance of Collaboration in the Making of Quality TV Drama

The success of Downton Abbey, Titanic, The Tudors and others suggests that a new era has dawned for British drama. Lyn Burgess, top personal and business coach to the entertainment industry, will chair a conversation on the ins and outs of television drama casting, directing and producing.  Join Lyn, producer Madonna Baptiste (Margaret Thatcher:The Long Walk To Finchley), director, Diarmuid Lawrence (The Mystery of Edwin Drood) and Jill Trevellick (Merlin) to discuss the importance of team collaboration, creativity, and imaginative casting to ensure success in quality TV drama. The session will be followed by an opportunity to network. PLEASE NOTE: This particular session is aimed solely at casting directors, TV directors and producers.

Advance booking for all sessions is strongly advised. Please avoid booking sessions where the times conflict.

Freelance Toolkit Workshop

Two sessions of the Freelance Toolkit will be delivered by the much-lauded David Thomas of David Thomas Media. 16 places per session. Advance booking essential.

CV/Showreel Clinic

Courtesy of the Crewing Company (which is also exhibiting along with its sister company Alias Hire) visitors can book in advance for a 15 minute One to One to review their promo material. Advance booking essential; places are limited. Prepare to subject your promo material in advance to make the most of the opportunity.

Accountancy Corner

Visitors will also be able to meet with a team of tax experts for advice and information. Arrive early to book a one-to-one.

BECTU members free, non members use this address to book your place:

http://www.bectu.org.uk/events/2012/06/29/713

Come say hi and workshop your CV with Media Parents at the BECTU fair on June 29th. See www.mediaparents.co.uk for great networking, talent, jobs and information.

@ 11:37 am Posted in Events, News 1 Comment

On the road with… Jim Shreim PD and Ginita Jimenez AP/Producer

by Amy Walker

Not everyone on Media Parents is a parent.  (The only restriction on the site is that people must have three or more years TV experience).  Media Parents lists all kinds of jobs, so often the freelancers who aren’t parents fill jobs which otherwise wouldn’t be filled by the parents on the site.  Here Shooting PD Jim Shreim and AP/Producer Ginita Jiminez share photos and experiences from their latest overseas gig through Media Parents.  World’s Scariest Drivers TXes TONIGHT on Channel 5 at 8pm.

George Bush Intercontinental Airport, Texas. One of 14 flights in 12 days for the World's Scariest Series. Photo by Jim Shreim (not pictured).

We took 14 flights in 12 days for the World’s Scariest series, writes Ginita Jimenez. We landed in New York and worked our way westwards through North Carolina, across 5 States and 3 time zones, touching on a Texas-Mexico border town, the Arizona Desert, the Rocky Mountains, the Tornado wrecked town of Joplin and San Diego’s beach metropolis, ending up in the Hollywood Hills, before returning back to the UK.  This was one of two US shoots for World’s Scariest Series 2, now showing on Channel 5.

Somewhere between North Carolina and Texas. Photo by Jim Shreim.

Ginita Jimenez, AP/Producer pictured, writes about her latest gig through Media Parents on World's Scariest Drivers, TXing tonight at 8pm on Channel 5.

I’m an experienced bi-lingual Spanish-speaking Assistant Producer, writes Ginita Jimenez. For the last five years I’ve worked on a wide range of fast turnaround factual programming in hostile environments in Asia, Africa, South America and Europe. I’ve interviewed a myriad of extraordinary people the most notable being, Mauritanian Nomads, Bangladeshi and Soweto School Children, Welsh Male Choristers who made the fastest selling classical album of all time and a Spanish ex drug dependant who completely turned his life around. Most recently for Discovery, I interviewed engineers at the Alma Observatory in the Atacama Desert, whose mission is to move millions of pounds worth of antenna receptors at a height of 16,000ft above sea level under the duress of oxygen starvation and in wind chills of -25°. Their office is the second highest in the world, the first being somewhere in China.

Luci Romberg was interviewed for World's Scariest 1. Photo by Jim Shreim, PD on World's Scariest Drivers, TXing TONIGHT on Channel 5 at 8pm

Interviewing contributors is one of the most enjoyable parts of my role and I continue to marvel at the walks of life I’ve crossed thanks to working in the media.  So I was delighted when my first job through Media Parents was working on Mentorn’s World’s Scariest Series. A production company I thoroughly admire and a themed series built on the mighty perspective of raw amateur video and emotional witness testimony.

Captain Chesley Sullenberger, the pilot who landed his plane in the Hudson River. Photographed by Jim Shreim for World's Scariest Plane Landings.

I was assigned to work on World’s Scariest Drivers, the concluding episode in a series of four, starting with World’s Scariest Flights followed by Scariest Weather and Scariest Animal Encounters. PD Jim Shreim returned to work on Drivers as he’d already PD’d on Greatest Dare Devils (and had done an American shoot too) so he was familiar with the editorial parameters set by Series 1.

Denver International Airport. Photograph 23 of 50,000 airport photos by Jim Shreim on the World's Scariest US Tour.

In addition to producing our Drivers programme Jim and I were assigned to pick up the lion share of Scariest’s US interviews. Due to the extreme nature of these stories, we’re talking dust storms, landslides, tornados and extreme animal and driving incidents, those involved lived in relatively remote areas making the flight path quite a challenge. Additionally, the schedule was fluid in parts at the point of our departure, which is not unusual for a production of this scale.

Two factors made this prospect a little less daunting. Bar our 2 brilliant floating researchers, one PD and AP worked in partnership on their programme throughout the research and contributor finding stages but when it actually came to the shooting phase, due to the multiplicity of several happening at once or PD’s needing to start their edits etc, we were prepped to pick up shoots for each other’s programmes. This meant keeping to the show’s editorial and visual shooting style whilst upping the bar already set by Series 1.

World's Scariest in Los Angeles. PD Jim Shreim (right of frame) with his cousin, film director, James Hickox.

This was no more relevant than to Jim and I, who were essentially picking up a quarter of the series in the US. So the first factor was that communication channels between teams and between the PD and AP regarding story, contributors, scripts and logistics, had to be fluent and precise. And it was. Credit to our SP, Amy Walker for configuring such a resilient and dedicated team (thanks to Media Parents and Mentorn Media’s talent) and for setting the pace.

Whoop Ass Hot Sauce in Phoenix, Arizona.

Secondly, our kit was compact. We always carried the XF305 on board with us and the rest of the kit piled safely (one light, stands, boom, tripod, batteries), just about made 1 trolley, leaving a pair of hands to deal with our personal luggage.

This sounds terribly mundane but small disciplines like this matter when you’re dealing with the physical and mental demands of foreign shoots as intense as this, and when days, nights and flights blend into each other.

We flew and filmed and flew and filmed, so much so that we had airport security searches and pocket emptying speeds off to a fine art like a scene out of Up in the Air.

As luck would have it, one of the interviewees for World's Scariest Drivers was Hollywood actress Kelly Hu. Pictured in LA by Jim Shreim.

We had a great Production Co-ordinator, Marco Calabrese, and Production Manager, Tina Lohmann, who worked around the clock (due to the time differences) to ensure our movement timings were as kind as logistically possible, allowing us to get to the location quickly and get the best possible emotional delivery from our contributors.

New Bern, North Carolina. Photo by Jim Shreim.

On one particular early morning, we set off on a two-flight journey from Phoenix’s desert terrain to the sleepy snow covered town of Granby, Colorado at the foot of the Rocky Mountains. We had three interviews to shoot for Drivers that day followed by a two-hour drive which would get us into Louisville for a shark attack interview the following day. Granby however, was host to the extraordinary story of Marvin Heemeyer, who in 2004 took a bulldozer he’d spent 9 months customising on a 2hour rampage through this picturesque Rocky Mountain town.

All three of our contributors, a now Chief of Police, a Senior Investigator and the ex editor of Granby’s newspaper were senior figures at the forefront of Heemeyer’s rampage in 2004. They were nothing but flexible with our schedule, fully cooperative and willing to open up about their experiences on camera.

Media Parents Talent Ginita Jimenez, pictured, was AP on World's Scariest Drivers, TXing tonight on Channel 5 at 8pm.

Three factors made this shoot a stand out experience for me. The first, Jim and I have the same work ethic, love of people and adhere religiously to the principle of teamwork. Secondly, the people we interviewed told remarkable, jaw dropping stories. Tales of heroism and human kindness, witness accounts of the worst and best side of human behaviour and encounters with animals and weather phenomena most of us couldn’t conjure up in our worst nightmare.

Thirdly, I witnessed a very different side of America. Several times Jim and I would marvel at how people perceived our English accents based on their own perceptions of England and the English. Oh that English charm, it opened doors for us!

Talking of which, thank you Media Parents for opening your door to my work with Mentorn Media and for a truly memorable experience, if not for the record amount of flights taken in 12 days, for crossing my path with exceptional contributors and a brilliant series.

See www.mediaparents.co.uk for great networking, talent, jobs and information. To join us please go to www.mediaparents.co.uk See you at our networking drinks on Thursday 17th May contact us via the site for the venue details.

May 17, 2012 @ 11:16 am Posted in News Leave a comment

5 minutes with… PD Evy Barry, pitching at the BBC FastTrain Event

by Amy Walker

Media Parents PD Evy Barry writes about her experience of pitching at the BBC’s FastTrain Event, a free training day for freelancers on May 16th. Plus top five pitching tips from the speakers at the event listed at the bottom of Evy’s post.

PD Evy Barry (right) is in the TALENT section of www.mediaparents.co.uk http://www.mediaparents.co.uk/freelancers/385/evy-barry

Having registered for various sessions at the BBC FastTrain freelancer training event, which I read about via Media Parents, I was interested to see a call for ideas for the pitching session.

The pitching session was expected to be one of the most popular sessions and a good opportunity to get some face time with some of the top commissioning editors from ITV, Channel 4, BBC and Channel 5.

I sent in an idea called ‘Can You Raise It?’ which was about tapping into the burgeoning philanthropical efforts of members of the public who would team up with an inspired celebrity for a unique challenge that would capture the public’s imagination with incredible feats of endurance and bravery and oh I could go on – but I only got 2 minutes to get the idea across.  Any longer and I would be silenced by the klaxon.

Part of the brief was to choose who to pitch to.  I picked Jo Clinton Davis at ITV as I felt this was where I could most see the idea as a programme.  I got an email on Saturday morning saying I had made it through the short list.  This gave me until Wednesday to work the idea up.  I began to identify what I could say in two minutes – which is not as long as you would think.

I was intending to read/perform my pitch until I had a coaching session with Frank Ash at the BBC Academy about an hour before the big event.  He was really inspirational and made me think carefully about what I was going to say.  He asked me what the two most important things I wanted to get across were and to make sure I included those two things at all costs.  Start with explaining the concept clearly and make sure you know why you want to make the programme.  Frank told me to just have some bullet points on a piece of paper and to talk to the panel passionately instead of reading out loud.  He also advised me that two minutes doesn’t give you long to explain your programme so don’t have too much to say.  The commissioners can always ask you questions afterwards.

The prospect of performing instead of reading made me feel a bit underprepared but what was the worst that could happen?  I pitched third of eight and reassuringly when I opened my mouth words started coming out!  I managed to get the concept across, and the two most important points, and the why should this programme be made now – and then the klaxon went off.

The audience clapped and all of the commissioners congratulated me on a well delivered pitch.  There was constructive criticism too especially with regard to getting celebrities to commit themselves to anything but short filming schedules, and that there should be more of a twist to the idea to make the idea more commissionable.  Obviously it is a crowded marketplace to get a charity idea commissioned.  I had deliberately targeted ITV as the BBC have Sport Relief, Comic Relief etc, C4 – Secret Millionaire and C5 Starlight and they did all point this out but and they also said this – if you come to something from a new angle it can be something they would be interested in.

Overall it was a very positive experience and I learned a lot.  I hope the crowd, and I don’t think there was a spare seat in the house, enjoyed it as much.  It was certainly an opportunity all around to get a masterclass in pitching…..And as Frank Ash said “You are doing well if you get one in ten ideas commissioned.”

Top Five Pitching Tidbits from Commissioners at FastTrain

  • Think : Why you? Why me? Why now? before you pitch. If you can’t answer these questions for the comm ed, don’t try.
  • Danny Cohen “Our job is to find great ideas AND great talent” – so you need to make yourself known to commissioning editors.  Watch this space for a Media Parents meets the Commissioners event later this year.
  • When a big idea comes it can be explained in a sentence.
  • Zai Bennett is looking for “boysy” ideas for BBC3 and science.  BBC1 want the next Apprentice big fact ent format for 9pm.  BBC Daytime is not getting enough fact ent pitches – they are scaling back their long runs of shows and want more variety.
  • Pick your moment to pitch – a chance meeting in the loo could be the place to ask to pitch, not to do the pitch itself!
PD Evy Barry is in the TALENT section of www.mediaparents.co.uk  After concentrating on a few of her own projects she is now looking for work. http://www.mediaparents.co.uk/freelancers/385/evy-barry

See www.mediaparents.co.uk for great networking, talent, jobs and information. To join us please go to www.mediaparents.co.uk See you at our networking drinks on Thursday 17th May.

@ 10:59 am Posted in Events, News 1 Comment

Find Media Parents at FastTrain Weds May 16th

by Amy Walker

If you’re a freelancer or talent manager attending FastTrain please stop by and say hello to us on the Media Parents stand. #FastTrain @mediaparents if you’re on Twitter.

Amy Walker, Series Producer and Media Parents Director will be at FastTrain, accompanied by Claire Brown, Media Parents Employer Liaison, and Claire Seeber, a Writer Director on the Media Parents site – please scroll down this page to read Claire’s brilliant blog piece.

Amy Walker, Media Parents Director looks quite like this but with blonder hair and red specs. See you at FastTrain...

Claire Brown, Media Parents Company Liaison, with her daughter. Claire will be at the BBC FastTrain event.

Claire Seeber with her family. Claire is a writer/director in the TALENT section of www.mediaparents.co.uk and will be on the Media Parents stand at the FastTrain event.

If you miss us at FastTrain please join us for a drink on Thursday 17th May from 6:30pm in central London – details of the venue for this can be found on the Media Parents watercooler or you can contact us through www.mediaparents.co.uk for more info.

May 15, 2012 @ 11:04 pm Posted in News Comments Off

Five minutes with… Zoe Fryer, PD

by Amy Walker

Media Parents PD Zoe Fryer writes about returning to directing as a working mum, and her new production World’s Scariest Animal Attacks TONIGHT on Channel 5 at 9pm. #worldsscariest

PD Zoe Fryer directing on location in Japan. Zoe is in the TALENT section of www.mediaparents.co.uk http://www.mediaparents.co.uk/freelancers/23/zoe-fryer

I have been working in television for 14 years on a variety of different productions that have taken me all over the world and given me privileged access into many people’s lives, for which I am honoured, and always grateful to experience.

PD Zoe Fryer's daughter Amber Rose.

I took almost a year out of work after having my daughter Amber Rose (now 2) and at first was very daunted about returning to production and being able to balance television contracts and bringing up a child.

Media Parents has been invaluable in making that transition easier, just the fact that an organisation like this exists to support us all and raise awareness that different ways of working are possible really helps. Having a family doesn’t mean you have to leave the job you love.

While this will always be a juggling act with its tough moments, I have found that if you talk to production companies, they can actually be a lot more accommodating than you might think.

My first job back was for Rockabox Media on a series called First Homes with Gaby Roslin. It was meant to be a full time post, but when I looked at the schedule and their budget limitations, I proposed working on a part time flexible basis, which turned out to suit us all. Ok, some weeks I might have been working six days all over the country, but some weeks were only two days so I had all that extra time at home with Amber Rose.

Through Media Parents I then got involved with the ‘Worlds Greatest/ Scariest…’ series at Mentorn Media.  This was full time but in pre-production I was able to come in early and leave earlier in the evenings so as to get back in time for the childcare. This has been incredibly valuable in enabling me to juggle all my commitments and means that my child care ‘team’ are brilliantly flexible and accommodating when I say, ‘Oh by the way I am going to Japan next week for five days, is that OK?’

Zoe Fryer made films in Japan on the tsunami and Okinawa for World's Scariest series. Zoe is a PD in the TALENT section of www.mediaparents.co.uk

I have enjoyed working on this series as it’s a new genre for me and I have learnt a great deal. In the first series, I worked on ‘World’s Greatest Heroes’ which was tough for many reasons, but luckily I was working with an amazing and supportive team at Mentorn Media. A great testament to that fact is that the majority of the PDs from series 1 were back for series 2 recently, and I have also been able to learn a lot from their amazing talent. Although I worked on ‘World’s Scariest Animal Attacks’, all of us (Jules Seymore, Jim Shreim and Jamie Matson) worked collaboratively across the series to span the globe and cover the best stories possible.

Fully armed with many lessons learnt from series 1, series 2 has had increased expectations but ‘World’s Scariest Animal Attacks’ has been incredible to work on, I have really loved every minute.

You’ll be pleased to know that these animal attacks are very very rarely unprovoked – people generally end up doing something to put themselves in these situations, so respect wildlife and you should be fine – although I have particularly enjoyed debates about which animal various members of the production team would rather be attacked by… Tune in to channel 5 at 9pm TONIGHT, Sunday 13th May to see what you think.

Zoe Fryer, PD, is in the TALENT section of www.mediaparents.co.uk http://www.mediaparents.co.uk/freelancers/23/zoe-fryer

See www.mediaparents.co.uk for great networking, talent, jobs and information. To join us please go to www.mediaparents.co.uk

May 13, 2012 @ 8:13 am Posted in News Comments Off