I was delighted to have been accepted on the Media Parents Edinburgh Back to Work scheme. I dearly want to return to the job I love and, in time, move up from Producer Director to Series Producer without feeling somehow apologetic that I have commitments outside the office, writes PD Josie Besbrode. And this is the start of that process. I’m pleased to say that thanks to Media Parents social media coverage I’ve already had an offer of flexible work, and although it was too soon for me to take it up, I hope its a sign of things to come.
Having spontaneously shared my cab from Edinburgh airport to the TV festival with Natalie Hill, an Exec from Hello Halo who was very encouraging about working parents and generally just fun to chat with, I was feeling buoyed. I headed straight in to meet Talent Managers, Victoria Goodwin from the BBC, Simon Wright from Elephant House Studios, and Sallie Leak from True North. It’s been easy to stay within a familiar network circle and it felt good to start expanding that.
I also met up with Development Exec, Morgana Pugh from BBC Studios, who made me feel excited about upcoming projects, which was a welcome reminder of my continued love of the job. Head of Development at Sundog Pictures, Nicky Huggett, also praised how supportive the company is towards staff and freelancers; another cheer. I heard quite few times, in fact, that contrary to my fear, working mums are welcomed. Not only because 50% of factual TV is directed by women and some of them will inevitably procreate but also because they get s*!t done on time. I’m yet to confirm or deny this but pleased to have the reputation.
A great highlight was meeting Pat Younge co-founder of Sugar Films who was brimming with useful advice. He said to set goals 6 months ahead to avoid being overwhelmed. Books he recommended include Three Big Questions for a Frantic Family, Wild Courage (Elle Harrison) and Strengths Finder (Tom Rath). We also talked about stepping up and how useful it is to be supported through that process.
Which brings me neatly on to Warner Brothers who I am very pleased to be mentored by. Meeting Lisa Cox from Ricochet, who champions working parents, was a delight, and am very excited to continue that relationship.
It wasn’t just networking and free bacon sandwiches, however. Jon Snow humbled everyone during his MacTaggart lecture when he implored us to open our ears and arms to those beyond the TV elite. David Attenborough talked, need I say more? Actually he did say, there’s people all across the country capturing fantastic imagery of wildlife in their gardens and local area and therefore the broadcasting of natural history footage should be shared with the audience, which really stuck with me.
Ben Frow ‘in therapy’ session gave a refreshingly candid account of both himself and Channel 5′s achievements. The day he was sent to boarding school as a young boy was the worst of his life, what proceeded shaped him into the determined, inclusive but also shy and rejection fearing man he is. He likes the production process at Channel 5 to have as little interference from himself and commissioners as possible and confessed when the ratings first came in for their hit show Rich House, Poor House he thought “‘Oh I better watch that”. And on that note, so must I…
I am exploring job sharing as a possible way ahead – if you are interested please get in touch via firstname.lastname@example.org and watch this space.