Media Parents

Monthly Archives: August 2014

5 minutes at GEITF with Kate Smith, Development Producer

by Amy Walker

The Audio Network popcorn has been wolfed, the Farm chocolate has disappeared, the freebies have been distributed (though I’m not giving my ITV water bottle to anyone).  My Edinburgh TV Festival is over, writes Kate Smith, Development Producer and one of the Media Parents GEITF Back to Work Scheme winners.

Kate Smith, 3rd from left, with the Media Parents geitf Back to Work Scheme Winners. http://www.mediaparents.co.uk/freelancers/463/kate-smith

I was delighted to get a place on the Media Parents GEITF Back to Work Scheme; I’ve been planning to relaunch myself back into freelancery in September, so the festival couldn’t have come at a better time.

I’ve alternated production and development work throughout my working life, and taught both to bright-eyed and bushy-tailed telly students at Glasgow Clyde College for the last 8 years. So the TV Festival was a brilliant chance to get a massive injection of all things telly, and refresh on channels, controllers, platforms and formats.

Meeting the other Media Parents delegates (and Vera MD Rebecca Parkinson) the night before the Festival started was great.  The support of other mamas has got me through my baby-wrangling years, so talking TV through the prism of parenthood felt pretty natural.

Kate Smith (right) "The support of other mamas has got me through my baby-wrangling years, so talking TV through the prism of parenthood felt pretty natural." http://www.mediaparents.co.uk/freelancers/463/kate-smith

Kate Smith (right) "The support of other mamas has got me through my baby-wrangling years, so talking TV through the prism of parenthood felt pretty natural." http://www.mediaparents.co.uk/freelancers/463/kate-smith

I saw several controllers, a handful of masterclasses, some brilliantly bizarre beatboxing and a very thought-provoking interview with Frankie Boyle.   Perhaps most useful for me were the controllers; Cassian Harrison on BBC4’s approach ‘singular subjects with a deep history’, Charlotte Moore on BBC1’s interpretation of ‘risk-taking’.  Plus a great session on sizzles, which now firmly focus on character and story rather than bombastic music and edit.  Then a fantastic session with Jeff Pope – I don’t work in drama, but couldn’t resist the brilliant Sheridan Smith. Really interesting to hear him talk about how he builds his narratives by creating a ‘universe of facts’ then finding a story to navigate through it.  Loads of insight into the process.  And of course, we also managed to see a bit of back-slapping in the awards, hosted by John Bishop, including a really well-deserved award for the Educating Yorkshire team.

Inexplicably, Amy Walker of Media Parents didn’t win an award for her stellar networking skills.  Unlike her, I’m not a natural at what we both call ‘gentle stalking’, although I did manage to meet my lovely Raise the Roof mentors, Sarah Walmsley and Jane Muirhead on the Glasgow to Edinburgh train to the festival. But by day two (something to do with a drop of sparkling French courage, perhaps?) even I managed to track down the Scottish production people on my list, and was reintroduced to Harry Bell of Tern Television by Amy in the foyer of the EICC. Perhaps most happily of all, the Festival gave me the perfect excuse to email other friends and contacts in Scottish indies to let them know about my place on the Back to Work Scheme, and as a result I’ve got several meetings in the next few weeks.   Watch this space…

Kate Smith is sponsored by Raise the Roof Productions in Glasgow.

kate smith, development producer

Extensive experience across factual, features, entertainment and comedy; ob doc, formats and development. BBC, ITV and C4; directing and DV skills. Fluent Spanish and French.

Available part time, Glasgow or Edinburgh.

http://http://www.mediaparents.co.uk/freelancers/463/kate-smith

For great jobs, events and networking opportunities please join www.mediaparents.co.uk Media Parents is delighted to be working with GEITF, Skillset, Shine Group, Channel 4, Endemol, Raise the Roof Productions, the BBC, Discovery Channel and Channel 5 to deliver the Media Parents GEITF Back to Work Scheme.

August 28, 2014 @ 1:03 pm Posted in News Leave a comment

media parents GEITF back to work scheme winners 2014

by Amy Walker

Congratulations to the six Media Parents GEITF Back to Work Scheme entrants who have won hotly contested places to the Edinburgh TV Festival and mentoring from the BBC, Channel 4, Discovery Channel, Channel 5, Endemol, Raise the Roof Productions, Shine Group and Media Parents. They will be tweeting and blogging from the TV Festival, and here they are…

Script Editor and Drama Development Executive Kumari Salgado will be sponsored by the BBC. http://www.mediaparents.co.uk/freelancers/4368/kumari-salgado

Kumari  Salgado, Script  Editor  & Drama Development  Executive

I am a single mixed race parent of a 10 year old boy.  I had a successful career in TV drama where I worked my way up from the position of receptionist in an indie to development assistant, development executive, script editor, Head of Development, producer and executive producer.  I worked mainly for indies, where I developed a number of successful TV dramas such as Sirens, Goodbye Mr Chips and Can’t Buy Me Love.  I produced Can’t Buy Me Love when my son was six months old.

In 2013, after almost 5 years out of TV, I worked as a temporary script editor on Holby City covering another employee’s maternity leave.  However, this  was only 12 weeks’ work. Since that time I have worked as a freelance script reader for BBC Films and BBC Wales.  However, while this gives me flexibility with my time it is extremely low paid, unreliable and sporadic work and I feel that I am not working to my full potential.  I would very much like to find my way back into full employment in TV where I can make the most of my 15+ years’ of experience.

Anna Coane will be sponsored by Endemol .

Anna Coane, Comedy & Entertainment Producer

In 2011 I took a year out to have my first child and when contemplating returning to work I felt ready for a new challenge – I have always loved editing and (with the help of a Media Parents event) I was delighted when my first job back was as an Edit Producer. I am now an experienced Edit Producer, have developed strong storytelling skills, and am comfortable cutting a variety of formats. I have managed to step between genres throughout my career – I have experience of comedy, scripted, entertainment, fact/ent and reality.

However I have always wanted to be a Producer. When I stopped work in August 2013 to have my second child, I had gained two Producer credits, so on returning to work this time (a year later) I’m really keen to gain much more producing experience, especially in comedy/entertainment, with a view to working towards becoming a Series Producer.

http://www.mediaparents.co.uk/freelancers/2251/anna-coane

Rachel Tierney will be sponsored by Shine Group.

Rachel Tierney, Development Producer

I have extensive experience as a freelance TV producer and development producer, working for some of the UK’s most critically and commercially acclaimed production companies in the ten years up to taking maternity leave in August 2013. One of my most rewarding experiences has been working with Century Films’ Brian Hill to produce a Storyville documentary about childbirth. In 2011 I was embedded in maternity wards across the world, in Sierra Leone, Cambodia and the USA.

I’d dearly love this opportunity to address my current challenges by re- immersing myself in the latest industry knowledge and thinking, and by making connections with a peer group who are in a similar position – so that we can share ideas and build confidence together.

Carer Radica Anikpe is a broadcast journalist. http://www.mediaparents.co.uk/freelancers/4077/radica-anikpe

Radica Anikpe, broadcast journalist / Producer / AP

I am a fully loaded broadcaster without portfolio, waiting for my opportunity to be catapulted back through the doors of my beloved television. How so? I am an experienced producer with a background in national newspaper and magazine journalism, a top-class interviewer and a dab hand at both writing and dulcet-toning voice-overs. I have, if I may say so, a pretty impressive portfolio of work behind me: I was a teenage writer for the teenage press! I was producer at MTV! I’ve worked on the Brits AND the MOBOs!  I have voiced programmes on Radio 4!

I am naturally entrepreneurial and am at my shining best in a small team with a sole goal in common. I am a cool-headed creative opportunist who genuinely loves television, almost as much as I love a deadline.

PD Clair Titley. http://www.mediaparents.co.uk/freelancers/6048/clair-titley

Clair Titley, Producer / Director

I started my career in documentaries as a researcher for Testimony Films in 2004 and have worked in production and development since then. I made the difficult leap from AP to Director in 2011, with a First Cut film for Channel 4. I completed the edit just five days before I gave birth to my daughter.

With good reviews, I was also nominated for the ‘RTS Bristol Futures Award for Outstanding New Director’. After a year out I took the plunge and returned to work full-time, as a PD. It was great to be working again (albeit still surrounded by babies!) but as the inevitable long production hours and six-day weeks grew, I struggled to spend time with my daughter. Since that contract finished earlier this year, I have been torn as to whether to return to the industry. I managed to secure a short contract working one day a week on an observational film, but in an AP, rather than PD role. I would love to continue in the industry as a PD in Bristol, but I worry that this might be an unrealistic ambition given my situation: I don’t want to return to work full-time again just yet and my daughter’s needs mean I will have to be more flexible.

Kate Smith will be sponsored by Raise the Roof Productions in Glasgow. http://www.mediaparents.co.uk/freelancers/463/kate-smith

Kate Smith Development Producer

I’ve had a successful and varied career as writer, producer, researcher and lecturer, including nearly nine years of production work in radio and television. In 2005, I gave up full-time work as a television producer, and started producing children.

Nine years and three small girls later, I’ve working part-time as a lecturer in television production, and very part time as a freelance development producer. However, I’ve just given up teaching to throw myself to the wolves of freelance work once more.

Here’s wishing all the Media Parents GEITF Back to Work scheme winners 2014 the very best of luck, please read more about them on the blog and via www.mediaparents.co.uk in the coming weeks. Thank you also to all those talented people who applied but didn’t get a place this time, hopefully we will see you at an event soon.

Media Parents is delighted to be working with GEITF, Shine Television, Channel 4, Endemol, Raise the Roof Productions, the BBC, Discovery Channel and Channel 5 to deliver the Media Parents GEITF Back to Work Scheme. For great jobs and further networking opportunities please join www.mediaparents.co.uk

August 18, 2014 @ 6:36 am Posted in News Comments Off

5 minutes with…Charis Williams, presenter, single mum and upcyler

by Amy Walker

Charis Williams, TV presenter, designer, re-use expert and artist. Most recently on ‘Kirstie’s Fill Your House for Free’ which TXes tonight on Channel 4 at 8pm, and previously presenter, designer and salvage expert on The New Reclaimers on UKTV Home writes about combining her TV work with being a single parent.

Being a single Mum and working in TV… does it mix?

For me, in a word… yes! I have to be honest, it can be difficult at times, I have to carefully coordinate childcare, and organisation is key. Luckily my children at six and eight years old are at school, and the school runs a breakfast club and after school club which makes life a lot easier and means I can avoid the rush hour traffic. I also have a wonderful family, without my Mum I would find it near impossible to go away for a week to the opposite end of the country to film as I did for the Glasgow shop / studio filming for ‘Kirstie’s Fill Your House for Free’. You really have to know your children are with someone you trust to look after them as well as you do, especially when you are a long way from home and really under pressure. For me that means Mum is always my first port of call. I definitely owe her a trip to the Caribbean!

Charis Williams is currently appearing in Kirstie's Fill Your House for Free, Tuesdays at 8pm on Channel 4.

I find in my line of work there are times I am rushed off my feet and manically trying to get projects finished and pieces designed for filming, so I do feel pressure running the house, looking after the kids and working to the deadlines too. Having said that I always get the job done, I’m the type of person that gets bored without challenges. I also run two businesses – Salvage Sister, where I upcycle ‘trash’ into beautiful and unique home wares and Brighton Wall Art, which is my bespoke artwork business. I’ve set up my businesses to work around my children, I have built a workshop in my garden so I can work from home which is also close to the school.

I do feel guilty that for a few weeks I might not see the kids for their bedtime story or miss the occasional assembly. I balance this by being able to take most of their six week holiday off and work around term holidays, sometimes that means working at night when they’re in bed. I believe in spending quality time with my children when I’m with them, that doesn’t necessarily mean spending loads of cash – but taking them different places, educating them and having fun together. A lot of people are probably able to spend more time with their kids, I believe in quality over quantity.

Whatever job you do, if you have children there is always a juggling act and a feeling of guilt – that inevitably comes with Motherhood. And it is difficult being the only parent – there is more pressure on you as you are being mother and father and providing for your children alone. I believe it is important for your children to see you working hard to support them and make a good home and life for them, they learn by example after all. I learnt so much from my parents, my mother has incredible drive and energy and my father is very talented, and able to teach himself anything. I didn’t really appreciate these qualities growing up – I don’t suppose children do until they have faced their own battles. Now I have children of my own I really respect how hard they worked and the ethics they instilled in me. It is extremely important that learning starts at home and we pass on what we have learnt to our children rather than expecting them to learn everything at school.

I do know that without my children I wouldn’t have the same need to succeed, and my tenacious attitude and competitiveness which drives me. Before I had children I felt a little lost and not sure how to reach my goals – they have given me a reason to fight for things that I want. I want my kids to grow up knowing Mum never gives up and always tries her best, I want the best for them and to be a good role model for them. I’m at a place in my life now where I feel I have everything in place, I’m at my happiest and looking forward to the future. Although it can be a challenge, it’s never boring! I’m lucky to have such amazing, healthy children to share my life with and I’m working in an industry I love and meeting talented, like-minded people all the time.

Charis Williams AKA The Salvage Sister

Media Parents has launched its GEITF Back to Work Scheme, please join www.mediaparents.co.uk and scroll down our blog for details.

August 4, 2014 @ 9:52 pm Posted in News 1 Comment