Media Parents Back to Work Scheme Winner 2017, Edit Producer Emma Sayce, made it her goal to break back in to flexible work via the scheme (which is currently open for applications, apply here.). Emma has just finished a 12-week stint job sharing as an Edit Producer on Maverick’s BAFTA winning CBBC show Operation Ouch! She and job share partner Nikki Ryan write here about their experience of job sharing in the edit.
Six months ago, neither of us had really thought about job sharing, but having done it, we’re keen to repeat the experience. We’ve found it to be a productive and enjoyable way of working.
Operation Ouch! is a 12 x 28’ science/medical series for kids, presented by identical twin doctors Chris and Xand Van Tulleken. Nikki worked as an Edit Producer on the series a few years ago, and when the Head of Production, Maria French, contacted her about coming back for the 7th series Nikki (very nervously) asked for part time hours. On such a busy edit this wasn’t viable, and the idea of sharing the role came up. Maria sounded out the Series Producer and Exec, and both were happy to give it a go. Maverick advertised the position through Media Parents and found me to pair with Nikki.
Maverick had chosen us on our individual merits … but it was down to us to make the partnership work, and we had never met! After our first conversation it was clear we were on the same page – both committed to the job, and to making the process of sharing it work.
Nikki worked 3 days a week, Emma 2. In the main, looked after our own VTs from start to finish, but this didn’t mean we worked independently. Being across 3 edits, on a fast turnaround show, meant lots of planning and we did this together – mapping out what each edit would be cutting and when, and lining up work for each other so we could hit the ground running on our respective days. We made it our business to be across everything our job share partner was doing, so that we could answer questions about it, and the production team could treat us, essentially, as one person.
All this meant we had to be in close communication. We had detailed handover phone chats on Wednesday and Friday evenings, spoke to each other during the day whenever we needed to, and had a joint email account which we kept an eye on during our days off. We did find ourselves putting in a bit of time ‘out of hours’, but this didn’t feel onerous. We could fit it around family commitments, and we also enjoyed it! How often, as a freelancer, do you get a detailed insight into how someone else does your job, and the opportunity to compare approaches and share best working practices?
None of our editors had worked with a job share duo before but they were extremely supportive, as was everyone on the production. We definitely felt able to work as effectively as we would have done as individuals. The job of an EP is, after all, a creative one, and it’s easier to be creative in the edit when you’re not tired, not stressed because of what may/may not be going on at home, and generally feeling happy with your work/life balance. You also get time out of the edit to come up with the odd funnier line / fresher idea / solution to something that is proving tricky. In this way, we felt we offered good value to our employer – 2 brains for the price of 1!
One big lesson, from our experience, is that job sharing really is a team game. There’s no room for competition or egos – your partner’s success is your success. You need to pair up with someone you trust, communicate easily with and who has a similar work ethic. Interestingly, we found that you don’t need the same experience, just the same attitude!
This job share has exceeded our expectations. Through Media Parents we feel lucky to have hit upon a partnership that works, and we’re keen to test it out on different kinds of show. We’re aware, for example, that on something like a single narrative doc, we’d be collaborating on a much more creative level. We’ve spoken to other job sharers who’ve made that work!
We’d encourage anyone interested to try and get a job share going. You can post here to find a job share, or on the Media Parents watercooler. Hopefully this will become progressively easier to do, but for now it seems that if a production company knows one of you, they’re more likely to give it a shot. We hope this way of working will allow those of us who need to give time to our lives outside telly (for whatever reason), to also have long and fulfilling careers within it.
Emma is now working for Endemol Shine, her Media Parents Back to Work Scheme sponsoring company, and will be available in November. Nikki Ryan is currently on mat leave – congratulations ~Nikki!
Read more about Media Parents Back to Work Scheme here : http://blog.mediaparents.co.uk/2018/07/media-parents-back-to-work-scheme-opens-2/