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.
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.
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, 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.