Media Parents

Monthly Archives: April 2016

How to write a cover letter – briefly

by Amy Walker

A cover letter is the gateway to a potential employer opening and reading your CV – it’s hugely important to your job application or spec letter, so time spent getting it right is well spent, writes Media Parents Director Amy Walker.

This morning I received a cover letter that was 505 words long – almost as long as this blog post – multiply this by the number of spec emails a TV employer receives each day and you’ll soon realise that you’re likely to be wasting two people’s time with a long one.

Use your cover letter to open doors for you – it’s not a given that someone reading your email will even open your CV – so work it – make them want to read your CV and meet you. If you apply for a job via Media Parents there might only be five other applicants, but for any other job site or spec letter there could be easily ten times as many people making the same approach. Either way, you need to stand out in a positive way from the crowd.

Use your cover letter to stand out from the crowd - in a positive way. (Photo Anna Curtin)

The basics are

Keep it brief

Be relevant

Spell check

And that’s largely it.

BREVITY

So how brief is brief? All employers are busy, so, keeping manners in mind, the shorter the better. Remember you are demonstrating your ability to organise and select relevant material here (vital in most TV jobs) – a long letter can shoot you in the foot by implying you have no prioritising or editing skills.  Natalie Spanier, Talent Manager at Nutopia says “Keep them incredibly brief! Most talent managers will just want to get straight on to looking at your CV. Restrict it to key information e.g. availability and any wishes for your next job. But never more than 5 or 6 lines.”

Nutopia COO Helena Tait and Head of Talent Natalie Spanier meeting Media Parents talent

“I HATE long cover letters.  I don’t read them, I might skim the first paragraph, but I think a short, concise one is best” says Boundless Production Manager Anna Gordon.  “Polite, well written and spelt but brief! I haven’t got time to wade through loads of info. I’m afraid I largely ignore cover letters if they’re too long!”

RELEVANCE

Some people choose just to fire off a CV without a cover note, but this is a slightly wasted opportunity IMHO. Why not take the time to read the job ad or the company website and briefly highlight your relevant skills for the job? Employers don’t have time to wade through a long letter, nor do they have time to hunt for what they need on a CV, so judiciously highlighting really helps. Why not take the time to tailor a cover letter and CV rather than expecting an employer to do that work for you?

Raw Cut's Claire Walker

Rawcut Head of Production Claire Walker lists her cover letter pet hates “The ones where you know it’s a copy and paste – yes we all do it, but come on! The ones where they mix up what your company does, and what one with a similar name does. The ones where they could be anything – researcher, co-ord, editor, producer! Make a choice!” A cover letter shouldn’t be a standard one – no more than your CV should – research and send it like a guided missile to get you the job!

Pi Productions’ Head of Production Viki Carter says “As I view it the cover letter is to persuade me to interview you – I will ask for more detail on the things you highlight if and when we meet.”

Pi Productions' Head of Production Viki Carter meets freelancers at a Media Parents event

GAPS

If you’re a parent returning to the workplace you can choose to highlight a break from work on your CV or in your cover letter – frame it positively so you outline any refresher training you have done to prepare for the return to work, and also any relevant new skills you picked up during the sabbatical. Don’t labour it and don’t apologise.

SPEC LETTERS

In my first job in TV Peter Bazalgette recommended I watch programmes by the company first. A blindingly uncomplicated tactic mirrored by many of his successful programmes. Highlight something you’ve seen and loved, point out your relevant experience to that company, or for another series of that show. In an increasingly competitive industry this is still good practice today but with a word of warning from Endemol Shine Exec Matt Holden : “If you’re going to write and tell a programme maker that you like their show, then you have to think hard about what it elements really engaged you, it’s your opportunity to begin a dialogue, so make it thought provoking. It doesn’t matter if the person who reads your cover letter disagrees, at least you have shown you’ve engaged with the show.”

Endemol Shine Exec Matt Holden at a Media Parents event

HUMOUR

Like a CV a cover letter can demonstrate your ability to select and organise material as mentioned above. Both can also demonstrate your personality, so if you’re confident and can write well, humour can help. But remember brevity is the soul of wit.

Amy Walker founded and runs Media Parents and is happy to answer any cover letter queries fielded through the Media Parents contact page. Amy is also Head of Talent at TwentyTwenty Television and welcomes spec letters.

Our next event is on May 3rd at The Hospital Club, see our site emails and watercooler at www.mediaparents.co.uk to obtain tickets. Media Parents is brilliant for jobs, networking and training - see www.mediaparents.co.uk for details.

April 26, 2016 @ 4:26 pm Posted in News Comments Off

Media Parents May Post Spectacular Event

by Amy Walker

On May 3rd Media Parents is joining forces to host a marvellous evening in conjunction with The Finish Line at the glamorous Hospital Club in Covent Garden. Attended by experienced professionals working in post production from across the industry including Media Parents, ITV Studios, Crook Productions, TwentyTwenty Television,  MSV Post, Boundless Productions, Blast! Films, Raw TV, Windfall Films, Endemol Shine, Blink Films, RDF, Buccaneer Media, Waddell Media, Bookhouse TV, Raw Cut TV, Vaudeville Post Production and The Finish Line, this event will be hugely useful for anyone who uses, or books for, the edit.

Our next event is on May 3rd at The Hospital Club, see our site emails and watercooler at www.mediaparents.co.uk to obtain tickets. Media Parents is brilliant for jobs, networking and training, read further on this blog for details.

This Media Parents event is an opportunity for everyone working in the edit to meet at the glamorous Hospital Club. The event is kindly hosted by The Finish Line, a company with an innovative and flexible approach to post production. The Finish Line team create pop-up post, inside or within close proximity to your production office. They offer solutions that work for your time and budget. This means they have more flexibility to make the shows you deliver look and sound as good as they possibly can.

As Zeb Chadfield, Founder of The Finish Line says “Our talent, systems and workflows are like no other. By using the latest, greatest tools and the most experienced operators, we can complete final post on site with minimal set up, which also removes the need to run around town for viewings.”

Here follow biogs for attendees from The Finish Line, we will also be joined by a host of execs working across post at a range of brilliant indies including Blast! films, Zodiak Media, Raw TV, Endemol Shine, Twenty Twenty Television, Buccaneer Media, MSV Post, RDF Media, Crook Productions and more.

Zeb chadfield, founder, The Finish Line

Zeb started linear editing at age sixteen and has worked full time since. In his early career he was a jack of all trades, doing everything from running on-set graphics, cutting and compositing title sequences to designing and building edit suits and machine rooms. His true passion however has always been Colour Grading and Online Editing which led him to work in post houses all over the world. Zeb has now settled in London where he set up The Finish Line to provide an alternative to traditional Post Production. His credits cover everything from Vicious and Hollyoaks Later to Hunted and The Island with Bear Grylls.

David Grewal, director, The Finish Line

David is a multi talented online editor with a wealth of experience on all grading and non-linear edit systems. He started his career at Resolution where he had risen from Runner to Online Editor as well as supervising the machine room before moving on to Clear Cut Pictures where he worked as Senior Online Editor. He has worked on many of the biggest factual shows of the past decade including ‘Top Gear’, ‘Wife Swap’ and ‘Big Brother’. His flexibility and calm demeanour have won him many fans all over the UK.

Jonathan Blessley, MD, The Finish Line

Jonathan’s introduction to the industry took shape at a leading post house many moons ago where he quickly ascended through the ranks, starting at entry level as a Runner and ending up as Senior Post Producer, whereby he was responsible for overseeing countless high profile series from ingest to delivery, including Stephen Fry’s Planet Word, Jungle Gold, The Charisma of Hitler, Brazil with Michael Palin to name but a few. Having being asked to run the The Finish Line at the beginning of 2015 has proven to be a most rewarding endeavour.

THE GUESTLIST

Alexandra Riverol-Brown Production Manager ITV

Alison Hunt Editor Thirty Media Ltd

Allison Dore Line Producer Crook Productions

Amy Walker Director Media Parents / Head of Talent, TwentyTwenty Television

Ann Booth-Clibborn Executive Producer freelance

Cate Duffy Assistant Editor Platform Post

Dafydd O’Connor Producer Silent Movies

Dan Jones MD Vaudeville Post Production

Daren Tiley Editor Freelance

David Grewal Partner The Finish Line

Dermot O’Brien Film Editor Freelance

Ed Bengoa Head of Production MSV Post

Elliot McCaffrey PD-Edit Producer Freelance

Esther Johnson Head of Production Boundless Productions

Farrah Drabu Editor DNR Films

Fiona Caldwell Executive Producer Boundless Productions

Gaby Koppel Series/ Edit Producer freelance

Gyles Neville Executive Producer TwoFour

Hana Canter Head of Production TwentyTwenty Television

Harriet Brady Resourcing Manager ITV Studios

Harriet Scott Series Editor Blast! Films

Harry Connolly Edit producer freelance

Ian Greaves Producer / Cameraman BigBlueWorld

Ian Hunt Series Director Thirty Media Ltd

Ian Paul Garland Editor A Light in the Dark Films

Isa Suarez Composer Freelance

Jane Bevan Production Exec Raw TV

Jason Hendriksen Line Producer Windfall Films

Jo MacGregor Edit Producer Liquid Films Ltd

Jon Nicholls Composer

Jonathan Blessley MD The Finish Line

Kate Hampel Edit Director Freelance

Katy Ferguson Series / Edit Producer Freelance

Kerry Jones Client Liaison Media Parents

Kim Duke Producer/Director + Series Producer Freelance

Lee Butterwick Avid Editor Frozen North Films Ltd

Leisa Fisicaro Edit Producer Freelance

Lucy Butler Production Manager Boundless Productions

Lynda Hall DoP Freelance

Mandy Thomson Executive Producer October Films

Matt Holden Executive Producer Endemol Shine

Matt Norman Composer Silverscore Productions

Megan Gerrie Series Producer Freelance

Miranda Peters Executive Producer Blink Films

Miranda Simmons Line Producer Firecracker Films / Freelancer

Nadia Jaynes Head of Production Buccaneer Media

Nick Singfield-Strank Head of Technical Production RDF

Nicola Waddell Executive Producer-SP Waddell Media

Paul Golding Series Producer and Location Director Freelance

Paul Tasker Series Editor Freelance

Rita Kaye Video Editor Golden Age Films

Romesh Aluwihare Editor

Ros Edwards Series Director / Series Producer freelance

Sabine Pusch edit producer freelance

Simon Myers Editor Garden Shears Editing Ltd

Soul Nazemi Editor freelance

Steve Warr Executive Producer Raw Cut TV

Tina Lohmann Head of Production Bookhouse Media

Tom Heycock Editor Self Employed

Zeb Chadfield Founder The Finish Line

Our next event is on May 3rd at The Hospital Club, see our site emails and watercooler at www.mediaparents.co.uk to obtain tickets. Media Parents is brilliant for jobs, networking and training - see www.mediaparents.co.uk for details.

April 13, 2016 @ 5:28 am Posted in News Comments Off

Five minutes with Zeb Chadfield founder of the Finish Line

by Amy Walker

Zeb Chadfield, Founder of  The Finish Line, sponsors of Media Parents‘ next event on May 3rd, writes here about the age-old conundrum of needing experience to get a job in TV, and discusses his own early career before launching a global post production business.

Zeb Chadfield working the fishing boat in New Zealand with his dad.

How do you get experience if no one will give you a job to get it? From my point of view there are two major misconceptions here, the first is that the request is a request for experience in the industry you are trying to get into. The second is that you need to have a job in said industry to get experience in it.

I never went to university, actually that is a massive understatement, I hardly even went to school. I was out on my own at 15 and had no experience in anything… My dad was a fisherman when I was young and he had to get up around 3am and head out to sea. Whenever I could, I would go with him, so I was very good at getting up in the morning. When I was around 9 or 10 my dad moved from fishing into tourism, and there I worked as crew on the boat when school was out. I was speaking to tourists every day, helping them to put on lifejackets and pull in fish. When a little older I started answering the phones, taking bookings and handling payments. I also had to feed penguins before school every day, so when I was 15 and I was looking for a job I had loads of experience but I just didn’t know it.

Zeb Chadfield fuelled his passion for editing with tape to tape edits of The Young Ones - he now runs a global post production outfit.

Looking back at my childhood, I also had learned something very important for my future that I had no idea was going to be so valuable, I had learned to edit! This started with Young Ones episodes that were on TV really late. I would sneak out and set the VHS to record and then run off back to bed. I would then have the episode on video, but with all the adverts. So I would setup two VHS recorders and dub the raw recording to another tape but would have to do it really quickly so there wasn’t a big dropout when you started rerecording. If you wanted smooth edits you would go through this process of playing the tape, hitting record at the right time, then pausing the recorder just as the adverts started, fast forward the player, then un-pause the recorder at the moment the player started to play the next part. This simple practice planted the editing seed.

Next was door-to-door sales. This was the most life changing experience I have had and it has honestly made me who I am today. At the time I didn’t think much of it, I was just happy to have a job and as it had nothing to do with post production you could be forgiven for thinking it was of little benefit to my future, but you would be very wrong. If you have had a job where you get doors slammed in your face and told to “fuck off” all day every day you can do anything! This job taught me so much about communicating clearly, sales, goal setting and most importantly getting knocked down and getting back up again. In any job these skills are very valuable. Communication is key when you are in a high pressure environment with tight deadlines. Being able to sell your ideas is massively beneficial and setting goals to push yourself will help you achieve things you never thought possible. You will get knocked down throughout your life so being able to take it on the chin and keep moving forward is integral if you want to achieve great things.

Zeb’s article continues here. Zeb and The Finish Line team will be hosting Media Parents’ Post Spectacular Event at The Hospital Club on May 3rd. For tickets please see site emails and the watercooler at www.mediaparents.co.uk further details will be published on this blog shortly.

Our next event is on May 3rd at The Hospital Club, see our site emails for details. Media Parents is brilliant for jobs, networking and training - see www.mediaparents.co.uk for details.

April 7, 2016 @ 9:39 pm Posted in News Comments Off

Media Parents Alias Hire Tech Catch Up Photos

by Amy Walker

Huge thanks to Danny Dawson and the Alias Hire team for an enjoyable and informative tech evening at Endemol. Danny and his team are offering attendees a spectacular £100 off kit hire, so to take up that offer please email Danny c/o www.aliashire.co.uk ASAP. Here are some photos of the event, thanks to Media Parents members for taking them!

Still our favourite snap of the night - Alias Hire MD Danny Dawson rocking the timecode headband look.

Raw TV Production Executive Jane Bevan networks with some the ladies from The Garden Productions.

Executive Producer Ann Booth-Clibborn lost no time meeting people at her first Media Parents event.

Alias Hire's demo and Q&A was hailed as "brilliant" by a hundred freelancers and company members from Media Parents.

Endemol Shine Exec Producer Matt Holden helps out with some event photos.

Getting hands-on with the kit. (Photo : Matt Holden)

Huge thanks to the Alias Hire team for sponsoring and running a brilliant evening. (Photo : Michelle Reynolds)

Thanks to Janet Midian for taking this photo at her first Media Parents event. Good to know she was too engrossed to take any more! (Photo : Janet Midian)

Good to see Media Parents' Amy Walker brought all her teeth to the event. (Photo : Matt Holden)

Director Ben Lawrie shooting the action. (Photo : Michelle Reynolds)

Suits you madam! PD Sabine Pusch, currently working as an Edit Producer through Media Parents, tries the kit for size. (Photo : Ben Lawrie)

The Raw TV crew in full swing. (Photo : Matt Holden)

Photo : Michelle Reynolds

Photo : Matt Holden

Contact Danny Dawson at www.aliashire.co.uk for details of great kit hire.

Our next event is on May 3rd at The Hospital Club, see our site emails for details. Media Parents is brilliant for jobs, networking and training - see www.mediaparents.co.uk for details.

April 1, 2016 @ 10:49 am Posted in News Comments Off