Development Producer Anna Curtin is Endemol Shine’s candidate on the Media Parents Back to Work Scheme. Here Anna writes about her adventures in Edinburgh and beyond – she is now #backtowork – it can be done!
GEITF started well for me when I got a free phone charger and then I met my fellow Media Parents delegates who are lovely and inspiring people. Knowing that everyone comes with some anxiety was reassuring. Luckily the talent managers I met (Melissa Clay-Peters from Princess Productions and Nicky Searle from Dragonfly Film & TV) were very supportive of parents returning to work and both gave me some great tips for my CV – it’s important that a Development Producer includes the commissioning editors’ names against credits.
The sessions made me realize that my break from TV hasn’t made a difference in what the commissioners are looking for. They want authenticity, innovation and ultimately good story telling. Someone asked Channel 5’s Controller Ben Frow if 5 still wanted fixed-rig shows and he explained that fixed-rig is just a filming technique – it’s still all about the story. It seems the best way to approach 5 with an idea is to shout loud and proud that you came up with this show for Channel 5 and that you want to work with them. Makes sense.
Angela Jain, Director of Digital Channels and Acquistions for ITV said it was essential to watch the channel you are pitching to, and that the best approach is to “Make me laugh and bring me cake”. Most of the commissioners want to be surprised.
The session about TV titles was interesting – basically don’t put the word British or Benefits in a title – they’ve been done to death. There goes my ‘Get Britain Off Benefits’ idea then.
I reconnected with several friends and ex-colleagues at GEITF, and set up follow-up meetings in London. I also met my mentor Kitty Walshe, MD, Remarkable TV. A mum herself, Kitty is a firm believer in parents returning to work – positively, the general consensus is that working parents are very good employees and have good time-management and patience.
I think one of the main things I took away from Edinburgh was not to apologise for being a parent or for taking a break. We are all still relevant and valuable to the industry. Taking some time out to have kids is not an affliction – after all producing a human being takes a lot of hard work, and we want to return to work as we love it and have a lot to offer.
Since returning from Edinburgh I’ve met with Kitty Walshe again to discuss my Back to Work Plan, who was very nice and helpful. She gave me some suggestions for my CV and some good advice in general. She put me in direct contact with people who may be looking for good development people so I’m excited about that. She’s also going to send my CV to other companies where she has good contacts. I got my first short development contract care of Media Parents at CPL Productions – and I’ve recently got another contract at Ricochet – so who knows where that will lead?
If you are looking to get back into the workplace, do join Media Parents on Nov 23rd for our CV A&E at Fremantle. Scroll down this blog for more info.