Media Parents

Monthly Archives: August 2012

5 minutes with… Lisa Palmer, Presenter

by Amy Walker

How do you get a TV Career? Do you need Family or Friends on the inside? or should I have been born an Aristocrat?? asks Lisa Palmer, budding TV Presenter.

http://www.mediaparents.co.uk/freelancers/2507/lisa-palmer

A few years ago I lost my job as a “fuel finance controller” for an airline, although at the time I found this financially difficult, it gave me the time to pursue the career I had always dreamed of as a child; becoming a household name on national television.

When I was younger, I never really had the opportunity to pursue my dreams. My Parents used to buy, renovate and sell properties, so we were often moving. Nowadays I’m passionate about property, I really enjoy watching property shows such as Property Auction and 60 Minute Makeover and feel I have the right personality to interview people for these types of shows. I have a great understanding of property, I am hands on with DIY and have modernised many properties and I love helping my friends with decor and ideas for their properties. But moving so much growing up was a big distraction and time just passes you by. I suffer with dyslexia and was not taught grammar at school, which really lets me down sometimes. I have had a lesson with a friend who works as a teacher but it can still be a battle. Still, not to worry though because I could charm them all with my glowing personality!

I am one of those people who do not want any regrets in my life, I want to look back on life and feel I did everything I wanted! Believe me the bucket list is long (jumping out a plane etc… mustbemad.com)

So, with support from my parents I went and filmed a showreel with my redundancy behind me, to be honest I was very green and lacked confidence. I started applying for jobs in TV but to be honest if you have no experience, you are a nobody and how on earth do you get anywhere??? I thought I would apply for internet presenting jobs, ok I had to pay my own expenses and it was not easy, but, it did help as I started to build my confidence and knowledge of how it all comes together.

Lisa presenting. http://www.mediaparents.co.uk/freelancers/2507/lisa-palmer

Once I got more footage, I began to apply for TV jobs and started to get my foot in the door. I got picked for ITV This Morning’s Garden Party where we filmed over 4 days and I had one of the best times ever! It was so much fun and the crew were a great laugh and guess what? I WON and got to meet Her Majesty! (Well a great look a like!!)

After appearing on ITV it definitely helped, as I got to appear on other shows. I got to appear on The Vanessa Show where I would sit on the sofa and give my honest opinion on various topics. I was in my element! It was a great studio environment as I could talk and well, I love to be centre of attention!!! I became a regular and this definitely helped as I have done lots of TV bits and pilots since.

However, I still felt I needed more confidence talking to the camera or chatting to celebs, I started to feel self-conscious of my appearance, which was hindering my performance. After I had my little boy over 9 years ago I never really lost my baby weight and if you’re like me, you will still have got those bloomin clothes you can’t bear to chuck out, at least they have come back in to fashion!

Lisa Palmer with her son Brad. http://www.mediaparents.co.uk/freelancers/2507/lisa-palmer

I was lucky to see an advert for Fabulous Magazine – “want to lose weight” hell yeah!! Believe me you must follow this diet; I lost all my baby weight and more in 6 weeks, although it did help having a rather fit personal instructor! Having to bare all is a memory I don’t want to relive – awful!!! I hope you don’t see the magazine as the ‘before’ picture is damn right awful he he!!

I now have my body back the way I wanted it and my confidence is sky high. I now feel I’m ready to live my dream of being a down to earth, opinionated and fun loving mum, who loves to talk. So watch out you lovely loose women, budge up and make room for me!!!

You can see Lisa's presenting credit list here: http://www.mediaparents.co.uk/freelancers/2507/lisa-palmer and at www.lisapalmersmith.com

August 24, 2012 @ 5:39 pm Posted in News 1 Comment

5 minutes with… Louise Bates, Reporter / Producer / Narrator

by Amy Walker
Louise Bates has worked as a radio and television reporter/producer in news and current affairs for the BBC, ITN and Channel 4 News. She series edited and presented a strand for Bloomberg TV’s personnel finance programming on arts and antiques. She was a scriptwriter and voice of APTN, writing and recording news and features for all major international broadcasters.  She is freelancing again and pursuing work as a writer-producer/narrator/reporter-presenter. Most recently she conducted research for BBC Radio 4’s ‘Archive Hour’.  Here she turns her hand to creative writing in ‘A Eurozone Fairytale’. It is based loosely on Hans Christian Andersen’s ‘The Emperor’s New Clothes’ and inspired by musings in print, on television and radio on the Eurozone crisis.  She is looking for a broadcaster to develop the idea with her.

A EUROZONE FAIRYTALE

Once upon a time there was an Emperor who lived in a far off golden land, bathed in sunshine and surrounded by deep blue seas. It was a place everyone wanted to go to – especially those whose lands were dark and grey most of the year. When it was time to holiday they spent lots of golden nuggets in the sunny, beach-strewn Land of Yoghurt and Honey which made the Emperor and his people very happy. Theirs was a life of complete delight and beauty and the Emperor got very lazy  – playing board-games and sitting in the hot sun for most of the day – while the women, like women everywhere, cooked and cleaned and looked after the children without battering them, and slaved. Occasionally a man went off to sea to catch a fish.

The people in the dark and grey lands were very clever people and worked extremely hard. The sun rarely shone on their faces and the only holiday they were allowed,  apart from Christmas and a couple of weeks in the summer, was spent in the Autumn in big tents with girls who had great big muscles in their arms from carrying big mugs.  The people mostly though, strove all day, all year-long, making loads of toys which children all over the world bought, and they became very successful, making lots and lots of golden nuggets.

They had so many golden nuggets they didn’t know what to do with them. In fact it was getting to be a bit of a problem because, for one reason or another, their nuggets became very valuable and no-one could afford to buy their toys anymore.

So one day they decided they needed to form a really good club and swapped all their golden nuggets for millions and millions of silver ones which they gave to all the members when they joined.

But the club was a very exclusive club and only let in people who were really well dressed. The rules and regulations were very strict indeed.

The Emperor wanted to join the club very much because the idea of having lots of silver nuggets – literally growing on trees instead of the sour little green fruity things that were just everywhere – was awfully appealing.

He thought and thought about how he could get into the club. He didn’t have much of a wardrobe.

But then he met a nice man from the Land of Tall Buildings and ‘Wilderness’ who said he would help him.

The Land of Tall Buildings and ‘Wilderness’ man said he’d weave the Emperor a robe in gold and he’d make a crown of platinum, encrusted with diamonds. The Emperor was ever so pleased but when it came to putting them on so he could travel to the land of grey clouds and wind and rain, he said, ‘but all these things aren’t gold, or platinum or diamonds, they’re nylon and cheap base metal and glass’. The Land of Tall Buildings and ‘Wilderness’ man said that it didn’t matter.

Nevertheless the Emperor looked absolutely splendid and his dream came true. He became a member of the very special club.

Things were so good and his people were so happy, there was much delight – for suddenly all the Emperor’s children could buy lots and lots of toys that they’d never had before. It was truly wonderful.

But as time went by the Emperor’s robe started looking a bit ropey. The golden thread frayed really badly. His crown melted in the sun and all the glass stones fell out.

http://www.mediaparents.co.uk/freelancers/1093/louise-bates

The club owners weren’t at all happy. But just imagine their dismay when one day the Emperor turned up at a very important meeting in the Land of…Land of…Not Very Much Except Snowy – stark bollocks naked! All his beautiful clothes had just dropped off him. It was just terribly embarrassing and the people of the cold land were very cross indeed.

But, however embarrassing it was, all the club’s terribly strict rules and regulations went out of the window and very reluctantly – for the sake of the toys (and the silver nuggets) – the Emperor was allowed to stay on. But he was told in no uncertain terms that because he’d been so naughty as to dress up in clothes that were just tat, all his people had to take their clothes off too and spend a lot of time naked like him.

Not surprisingly the Emperor ran back to find the man from the Land of Tall Buildings and ‘Wilderness’ to tell him of his plight – but he’d buggered off to the Land of Chocolate Cows That Went Ding-a-Ling-a-Ling.

Some club members held secret talks and whispered among themselves that they thought the Emperor should be thrown out of the club.

The Emperor’s people meanwhile, who were very slowly and reluctantly removing their clothes as per their punishment, had no more thoughts of toys. They didn’t even want to go out. There’s no blinking point in toys if you can’t show them off to your friends, is there?

Those sour little green fruits were no longer in abundance either and people started to miss them….a bit.

But even worse -  no-one came on holiday anymore, spending nuggets golden, silver or whatever – it was a crying shame. The sun still shone, the sea was still blue but the bestest and most beautiful land of all was not even a pin-prick of vacational possibility on the minds of all the sun-free, pale-skin  peoples of the windy, rainy places – not even in the Land of Strong Liquor, near the Land of the Mad Dogs. Everyone just started going on holiday next door, to the Land Which Bought Toys With Tinsy Winsy Coins That Decorate The Bellies Of Ladies Who Dance With Pointy Shoes That Turn Upwards.

The Land of the Mad Dogs, who were also pale and pretty miserable in the main -except when they got lobster-red in the sun and splashed about in the sea on a banana for two weeks a year – stopped coming too. They were just too busy congratulating themselves on not even wanting to join the club. They always knew they were badly dressed and they much preferred buying toys with slivers of tissue paper with an old but very nice Lady printed on them. They couldn’t swap their tissue paper for many silver nuggets anyway.

Things got worse and worse and worse….

To start with the Emperor managed to cover his unmentionables with a bit of cloth the   club-owners lent him. But as time went on his nakedness and the nakedness of his people became a very big problem indeed. So big, their nakedness ceased to embarrass the club members and they just got used to it.

There they were turning up time and time again in the Land of….Snowy – naked from head to toe – and all the other club members thought – well, if a man like the Emperor can be naked, then we might as well go naked too. The people in the Land of the Little Green Man, for example – reigned over by a midget who was always slobbering over this useless bit of stone – got so willingly naked, the club management gave them a rousing round of applause and lots of silver nuggets to say thank you. And soon everyone in the club realized that getting naked wasn’t such a bad thing afterall. So long as the silver nuggets were there, somewhere – anywhere – then everything was fine.

But it wasn’t. It wasn’t at all….

All the people who were not in the club got very worried. They still wanted to see people in the world with clothes on. And they especially didn’t like to think these club members in the cold Lands of Beer Tents and Mad Dogs and the warm, passionate Fiery Land of Clappy Hands and Knock on Wood (Ole!!) and even the Land of Nutella With the Odd Tomato: they didn’t like to think they were all happy with the situation. And that’s not mentioning the Land of the Great Onions for God’s sake!! These club-members had been leading the way for ages – they’d even invented things like the guillotine for crying out loud!

They knew if they didn’t do something about this pretty quick it could get contagious and everyone would start going around completely starko – even them. They knew better than anyone what it was like being cold with no clothes on and it wasn’t fun at all.

They started putting a lot of pressure on the club managers and saying things like ‘this isn’t a game of futbal for goodness sake, this is about the children of the world, and  toys, and making toys, and selling toys – everywhere’.

No-one knew what to do. No-one. People talked about it on the telly and on the radio incessantly. Even really, really big-brained people like Paul Mason on BBC Newsnight and Robert Peston on the News were at a complete loss.

But one day a really beautiful Fairy called Hazel flew down and said ‘I know what you can do’.  ‘No’, they said, ‘you don’t’.  ‘But’, she said, ‘I do know. I was Harold Laski’s star pupil at the LSE!

‘Tell the Emperor to give you back the nuggets and give him double the amount of’ (wait for it) ‘Nugget-inis. Give him time to make some new clothes and when he’s got some socks and shoes on, swap his Nuggetinis for loads of Nuggettins and then when he’s got some pants and a vest on, swap them for some Nuggettis and when he’s fully dressed give him back his silver Nuggets. It may take time and several monetary and fiscal phases’, she said, ‘but – way to go!’

And that’s what happened. The Emperor saw that the little sour green fruit trees had leaves on and they were brittle and very opaque once sewn together – no sneaky previews of his unmentionables with this fabric! He and his people wove a few garments here, a few garments there and gradually, bit by bit, slowly but surely, they covered themselves from head to foot in a lovely home-grown fashion – almost in the Grecian style.

But the best bit of all was the miserable, pale-faced, puny, white-skinned club members from the Bloody Freezing Lands started taking their families on holiday again – to the beautiful sunny coastlands that belonged to the Emperor – because they could swap their silver nuggets (and even the Mad Dogs, their tissue paper) for lots of Nuggettinis and spend them, not on toys, but on what the Land of Nutella And The Odd Tomato knew better how to do than all the Lands put together – a bit of dollchy veety.

The End.

June 2012

‘A Eurozone Fairytale’ is dedicated to Hazel Everett, BSc (LSE), JP whose tutor was the economist, Harold Laski.

http://www.mediaparents.co.uk/freelancers/1093/louise-bates

If you have more than 3 years' media experience see www.mediaparents.co.uk for great networking, talent, jobs and information.

August 16, 2012 @ 4:22 pm Posted in News Leave a comment

5 minutes with… Ben Justice, in development

by Amy Walker

Going from Pretender to Developer

Hi there, my name is Ben – I’m 27 and I am trying to make my way in the world of television in either a development role creating formats and ideas, as a contestant or question researcher or generally assisting pre-production. At this point I’m sure that I could go into the countless productions I’ve made tea on, my numerous inspirations I’ve had and how I’m trying to move from my media degree to the industry and how I worked really REALLY hard.

Ben Justice at the Media Parents 2nd birthday party in July. http://www.mediaparents.co.uk/freelancers/3615/ben-justice

But I can’t.

You see my story is a little…unusual. You see although I have indeed loved TV my whole life, and have always wanted to make shows, my university education was in fact in animation – the traditional kind that Disney does. Now in hindsight, it seems it was a bit of a frivolous decision, but everything is easier in hindsight. Heck, I’d like to be able to set my life PERMANENTLY in hindsight. Options  Select  ‘Hindsight On’  Confirm. The thing is when I took the course, the years before my final year – everyone within…err…..a year had found work. I remember thinking ‘a year?!? – wow they must be rubbish!’ not realising the fate that would befall our year.

A screenshot from Ben's animation graduation film. http://www.mediaparents.co.uk/freelancers/3615/ben-justice

We made a great animated animated short, it toured the world – got nominated for major animation festivals, what should have been the standard route into the industry. I will spare you the sob stories but safe to say through a mix of recession and a lack of risk taking by the larger studios only five had found work after a year. I wasn’t one of the lucky ones, but after doing a couple of smaller gigs making animated museum tours I finally got a chance to make tea, wash plates and clean up as a runner at a major post-production studio dealing with major movies. This was the big chance! I’d get to train at last! Hurrah!

Then something quite strange happened.

A TV company suddenly got in contact with me totally out of the blue to offer me an interview to be the assistant to their key gameshow creator. ‘Wait? Me?! I haven’t even done TV!’ I spluttered over the dishes I was washing. However as I spluttered, my stomach fluttered. Gameshows have been a huge passion for me my whole life, and it was a dream to make one. The thing is – I just love games, quizzes, puzzles…anything like that. I’d make the Christmas quiz with my Grandad, chuck cuddly toys down the stairs as if they were ‘Gladiators’ (I will point out this wasn’t in the last six months), absorb general knowledge. In later life I’d go on a few gameshows – and my game loving exploits not only lead me to create my own online to captive audiences of messageboard goers, but also become an amateur poker title-holder. I just absorb games like a sponge in the shape of Bruce Forsyth – there are few gameshows I haven’t seen. My development in my own time had led the TV company to contact me and I went for the job against two others. It could have been there and then I got the job of my dreams, but as it was my stomach fluttered a bit too much, and for whatever reason I came second and left cigarless. The spluttering over the dishes that night-shift turned to muttering.

Assistant adjudicator's seat. http://www.mediaparents.co.uk/freelancers/3615/ben-justice

Unfortunately, I was barely making any money as it was and I made the very hard decision to not only leave, but to give up on animation. I’ll quickly whisk you down ‘Plot Avenue’ by outlining that this was the major shift towards me looking more widely at media.

In-between the time of that and my next major gig, I just worked really hard. I worked as a bookie, as a banker, and a PA (although I assured the butcher, the baker and the candlestick maker that their jobs were safe for now) whilst also in that time going back to the company that first interviewed me for a bit of work experience working for Charlie Brooker – making tiny spaceship props and pointing out that ‘Pac-Land’ was definitely NOT ‘Pac-Man’. All the time I kept doing my art and started taking commissions, developing my format ideas and trying them out on accommodating players online and generally trying to start more fires than ‘The Prodigy’.

After a while, another TV company in Wales got in contact with me out of the blue noting two things – one being that I was a poker player, the other being that I was madly into games and was creating them myself. They offered me a contract working on their current poker show as a new media editor, but also wanted to pick my brains on gameshows they and others were developing. I cannot tell you how exciting this was. In my second week I was sitting in on a genuine gameshow pitch and was asked to voice my opinions openly. I was trusted to be taken into the fold on an internal idea and we looked at it objectively, and having seen it for the first time, spotted a quite game and show-breaking flaw within the first 15 minutes. I might have saved several weeks of development, but the company suddenly didn’t have a show to take forward to show the BBC.

Later that week, I went to the head office and showed a germ of an idea I had to  demonstrate I was coming up with ideas. The concept was basic – an ‘unfair’ gameshow. I figured we had had a lot of ‘mean’ shows – but not one that was quite literally unfair. I demonstrated how gameplay would work and smiled to myself when he seemed to take to it, and did that ‘rubbing your glasses with a cleaning cloth thing you only do when you are considering something.’

‘Lets go with that.’

‘Lets go with…err…what?’

‘Lets pitch this. We’ll give you the time and any support you need, go and develop it for the BBC.’

‘…’

Ben Justice is in the TALENT section of www.mediaparents.co.uk

So after I had taken some smelling salts I got to work and discovered that I was quite good at this developing lark. I came up with several ideas for rounds, question researched myself and generally made a gameshow more or less by myself. Later on I would travel to Bath to meet the creator of another gameshow to iron out some bumps and brainstorm some new rounds. I’d also work on another gameshow working with one of the most respected quiz adjudicators and would learn a lot more assisting him. After much work and quiz researching – ‘The Advantage’ was born – and after being cleared two internal pitches I found myself on a train to Manchester with a huge complement of the company ready to present my final pitch for my gameshow to go on primetime TV at the first time of asking. I would like to say I was better than thinking about all the washing up I had done earlier in my career – but I wasn’t! After arriving in the old studios in Manchester – we pitched our little hearts out – but ultimately after an agonising six week wait – it was all over. The commissioner didn’t feel the theme was ‘strong’ enough and that was that. Gah. I hoped to pitch again to another company but then the latest twist happened.

The people who had trusted me and shown me so much faith retired from the company – and suddenly all my hard work wasn’t going to result in a job. A major reshuffle at the company occurred and as a result I had no chance of getting the career in development with them. Other than the fact it has been several months since then, this is the situation I find myself in – knocking on the glass of the TV industry doing a funny dance trying to get noticed.

My somewhat unconventional route to the TV industry shouldn’t be something that undermines me, heck – it’s what makes me an attractive proposition. I have a natural eye for an edit and storyboarding thanks to my animation background, I have format making skills from testing on contestants online, and I have artistic skills that not many could utilise – and that’s without going into my ‘gamey geekdom’. I want to make entertainment television so bad and have plenty of ideas already in my head ready to share.

Sometimes in this life you have to ‘speculate to accumulate’ – and I think there’s a good chance I could be bloody brilliant. Until I get the chance to find out if I am or not, I’ll keep rolling the dice.

http://www.mediaparents.co.uk/freelancers/3615/ben-justice

If you have more than 3 years' media experience see www.mediaparents.co.uk for great networking, talent, jobs and information.

August 4, 2012 @ 4:49 pm Posted in News Comments Off

5 minutes with… Hazel Palmer, Camera Operator

by Amy Walker

Media Parents talent Hazel Palmer volunteered to help out at the Olympics, and ended up being a rollerskating NHS Nurse… If you missed her in the Opening Ceremony, here she is in all her glory… and out on the town with the other nurses afterwards as pictured in the New York Times link.

Hazel Palmer, Camera Operator, spent an evening on the other side of the camera as a rollerskating NHS nurse at the Olympic Opening Ceremony. http://www.mediaparents.co.uk/freelancers/95/hazel-palmer

http://london2012.blogs.nytimes.com/2012/07/28/after-the-opening-ceremony-the-nurses-head-home/ New York Times Article.

From Hazel’s profile on www.mediaparents.co.uk:

I have over 10 years experience in TV production and filming (on & off in between bringing up a child).

I’m experienced in many styles of camera work including ENG, PSC, multi-camera OB and studio, plus self-shooting directing of location reports, corporates and documentary. I’m skilled at hand-held, have a good eye for a shot and a good understanding of directing and editing requirements. I have many excellent reports from people I’ve worked with.

Projects I’ve worked on include news, entertainment, music events & videos, reality, sports, promos, short films and documentaries, with credits on Channel 4, BBC, ITV, Eurosport, TVNZ (New Zealand) and various film festivals.
I’m also adept at directing, lighting, sound recording, vision mixing, photography, editing (FCP & Avid) and rigging. I’m familiar with most types of camera (despite new ones coming out almost every week at the moment!)

I’ve a degree in Photography, Film & TV and am member of The Guild of Television Cameramen.  And you can find me on Media Parents here: http://www.mediaparents.co.uk/freelancers/95/hazel-palmer

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

August 3, 2012 @ 9:20 am Posted in News Comments Off