I was ecstatic when Sister Pictures Exec Gina Marsh personally congratulated me for winning a place as their mentee on the Media Parents Back to Work Scheme, writes Drama Assistant Coordinator Jenny Madalura. Sister Pictures specialise in high-end drama, with an impressive portfolio of series like ‘Spooks’, ‘The Split’, and ‘Flowers’. Magali Gibert, Sister Pictures’ Head of Production would be my mentor, and I was to receive a ticket to the Edinburgh TV Festival. It was so long since I heard the word ‘win’, in the same sentence as TV!
For me its been family first and career second as a mum raising two kids with a 20 year gap between them. These last two years my son has been through a journey of his life fighting leukaemia, thankfully now he is in remission after receiving a bone marrow transplant. You forget sometimes, what you did and how you did it before being a parent, so it was exhilarating to be in Edinburgh for three days to get some of my media mojo back : networking and learning new things about the industry, seeing the new talent out there and the different platforms, discussing industry trends penetrating the traditional forms of media content and development.
So, Edinburgh TV Festival… A room full of stands, heaving with people going to various screenings or talks. YouTube’s stand was an oasis of plants and seats, coffee and food, with places where you could charge your phone amongst the hustle of media people and execs talking to each other, or busily on their phones.
I sat calmly down thinking “how did I do this before?” and a first friendly face was a woman who also like me needed to sit down and gather it all in. She was from a company called A & E Productions, an American company, and I started by saying, “It was good to get some coffee to start the day!” She thankfully agreed. Then, I guess we started talking and I mentioned that I was on this programme, the last thing I worked on was at BBC3 in White City, and as a researcher for Panorama and Tim Samuels’ docu-series. I even forgot to say my name at the beginning as we were just talking. It was good, so we exchanged details.
That’s pretty much what I did through out the sessions : I met young people from the Talent programme who were amazing; I saw Joanna Lumley, but my phone ran out of battery so couldn’t pap her. Lenny Henry was there, promoting his birthday show. Saw Steve Coogan and Christine Langan, Sue Perkins and Hugh Grant, Steven Frears (Director), Dan Winch Producer of ‘A Very English Scandal’.
There were a few of the master classes, ‘A Very English Scandal’ and ‘Legendary Women of TV Reveal All’, ‘In Conversation with Steve Coogan and Christine Langan’ I made sure to attend to bone up on scripted production.
There were a lot of interesting media people who I was able to meet including our Media Parents Back to Work Scheme returners, who all had different experiences and roles in production. They were all lovely people and I will be excited to see them again at September’s drinks. In a very short space of time, we’d all managed to connect with contacts that may help our journey back into work. But the proof is in the pudding of whether or not there will be work at the end of it – so the hard work begins now, in the following up all these contacts and seeing where it will lead to.