Tune in tonight to watch Channel 5′s Model Railway Challenge, from Media Parents Executive Producer Pat Doyle and the Knickerbocker Glory team.
Tune in tonight to watch Channel 5′s Model Railway Challenge, from Media Parents Executive Producer Pat Doyle and the Knickerbocker Glory team.
Our next event, on October 17th, is a CV event, kindly hosted by ITV’s Shiver, in which freelancers discuss their CVs with employers, partly for advice and partly to network. Scroll down this blog to find out who is coming and read their CV tips, we’re also delighted to be joined by Nicky Searle and Didem Gormus from Raw TV in addition to those named below. There will be employers who are keen to network and employers who are looking to hire – hiring particularly factual Edit Producers and SPs, production roles and factual development people. Scripted employers looking to meet 1st ADs, Coordinators and Line Producers, people who want to cross over from factual and people who are interested in Scripted Development, with or without experience. Sound good?
If you do nothing else between now and Wednesday, choose your top person to meet and watch their output so you can demonstrate an interest. Read how returner Jaime Caruana prepared for her meeting here.
we all read CVs digitally these days. if you don’t have anything relevant to the job or company your interested in at the top of your CV the employer may not bother to scroll down. Front load your CV like pretitles.
I don’t usually send on cover letters to execs or SPs, just your CV with a couple of lines, so make sure that any information you want to get across is on your CV – don’t put all the relevant info in your covering letter.
ensure your email address is your name, i.e. not email@example.com or firstname.lastname@example.org rather, email@example.com. If you have changed your name with marriage, be consistent so people can find you.
Signpost. Also save the document as your name, job title, CV (and maybe the date). Send it in an email titled with your name and job title for max discoverability.
CVs lead with skillset and most relevant experience to the role you are going for. If you’re looking to move into a new area of work, then note the transferrable skills/experiences that you have that will help you establish yourself. You might have come a long way, but kill your darlings – it demonstrates that you can select relevant detail which is important in any TV job.
Including the names of managers / commissioners you have worked to (or talent you have worked with) enables your CV to start networking for you before you get into the room.
Keeping details brief, concise and informative helps when passing your details on to hiring managers. Your CV should read like a good menu!
On a CV a no no for me is when I read the person’s’ ‘Interests’ are :Eating, Reading, Travelling… Come on… those are universal interests! What makes you unique? What do you bring to the party? I love meeting people who have rich and diverse interests and who I can learn from. The best meetings I have are the ones where I frantically scribble down all the recommendations the freelancer has given me. Isn’t that after all why we work in this industry because we are always learning something new?
It’s not rocket science, mistakes can lose you a job and can stay on your CV for years. Get a friend to proofread or ask Media Parents for a CV M.O.T.
Some CVs are stored in inboxes and deleted if they are too large. Keep your formatting by saving as a PDF.
To attend this event see the watercooler at www.mediaparents.co.uk. Can’t make it? Email us for CV advice via our contact button.
Mental Health and wellbeing is hugely important in the workplace, particularly for returners, writes Media Parents Amy Walker. To ensure that your team is supported we’re coordinating a two-day nationally accredited Mental Health First Aid Course for TV companies later this year. If you would like to find out more please drop us a line and read on…
This fully accredited two day workshop will teach you how to spot the signs and symptoms of mental health and provide help on a first aid basis. As well as developing your mental health awareness, you will learn a set of skills to allow you to offer appropriate support to someone experiencing a mental health condition. Let’s make TV more inclusive.
The course has a minimum number of attendees so we are offering to host it so that Media Parents members can act collectively. For more course information click here MHFA_course_outline (1).
It’s 5 years ago this month that my maternity bubble was burst and I came back to work, writes Series Producer Ali McBride. I was happy in my baby bubble, but also keen to return to telly, and thanks to Media Parents Back to Work Scheme I was given the confidence to do so with gusto.
Five years in and the plate spinning is working (just) but, sadly it seems, not for everyone. As a consequence I’ve seen many new Mums and Dads flee the industry. So I wanted to see if, in my own small way, I could help other parents find a balance.
When I started working at Crackit North I saw an opportunity. I was Series Producing a new Channel 5 series based at a hospital in Barnsely and we needed to follow the shifts of the staff to capture their working day. To cover certain staff shifts we needed to be flexible with the hours we filmed, so flexible working became an essential part of my hunt for the perfect PD.
I knew of a director looking to return to work after having her first child – Kate Walker - so we discussed the job and she grabbed the offer with both hands. Across three months, Kate and another PD who was also happy with the flexible shifts, followed the staff, gained the trust of the team and filmed some incredible stories.
I know that flexible filming schedules don’t suit every production but I do know that having a flexible PDs team was a real asset to the production. After this experience I’m keen to spread the word that flexible working can work and should be considered more naturally as part of the crewing up process. The challenge now is to see if I can make this role work on my future projects!
The idea of returning to work as a Shooting Director with a ten-month-old baby was daunting to say the least – the prospect of long hours and the physical demands of shooting full time made me question my career which I had always loved. When Ali contacted me with the opportunity to work part time with flexible hours it sounded too good to be true.
I gave her a diary of the days I was available and the best times I could work, Ali then married this up with when the key characters we wanted to film were on shift and so I began. I worked on average three days per week over the filming period, which included some evenings and weekends – this worked perfectly for me as no additional childcare was needed and I got to spend more time with my baby. I never felt my relationships with the staff I was filming were compromised as many of them also worked part time and had families. Ali’s strategic approach to filming meant that my time on location was maximised and I always felt like a valued member of the team. It couldn’t have been a more perfect way to return to work.
Kate is available from October 15th and Ali is available from November, both for work in Leeds and the North West. Find them on Media Parents.
Casualty 24/7 Wed Channel 5 @ 9pm. Crackit North Productions.
Edinburgh does…Question Time, hosted by the amazing Kirsty Wark. After all these years shouting at the TV from my sofa, I was there, mic in hand and selected to ask the first question, kicking off the whole debate writes Melissa Bishop. As Kirsty says my name and peers at me over her famous reading glasses, all eyes turn in my direction, cameras recording for posterity. I am now very nervous. But I am up in Edinburgh as the Warner Bros returner on the Media Parents Back to Work Scheme.
“As a recent report in Broadcast magazine has shown that the number of women directors in TV have actually fallen in recent years, what do the panel suggest to address this problem?” Job done, my voice was not too wobbly and I had taken a first little step out of my comfort zone. That’s what I was here for after all.
On the way to the airport at 5.30am on the first day of the Edinburgh TV festival, I’d had 20 minutes to gather my thoughts. This was in fact my first Edinburgh TV Festival – brilliant. I had always meant to go but life gets in the way and somehow I’d never made it. The event is completely jam-packed, there are so many interesting, talented people to meet, I didn’t want to be doing it at anything less than 100% match fitness, so I’d prepared well. However, I was really nervous. Imposter syndrome strikes again.
In addition, somewhere in the back of my head I was worried that being out of TV work, as a full-time carer, would been seen as a personal weakness somehow. When I got talking to people, I realised how any people have been in the same situation, or have experienced something similar and are totally understanding. It really isn’t just me.
The MacTaggart Lecture this year was beautifully written and passionately delivered by Michaela Coel, in front of a packed house. A fascinating personal insight into the industry through the eyes of a “misfit” (her words) – culminating in a moving call to arms for all in the industry to address this problem, to get our house in order – “fix this house”. Her words resonated deeply and the message regarding lack of diversity permeated the rest of the festival.
It’s a great place to make connections, including Expectation Factual Head of Talent Anna Bonnadio, and Anouk Berendsen, Head of Talent at All3Media who kindly agreed to meet with us returners. One thing she said that struck me was “Be honest and open… just ask for what you want, what you need as a parent/carer in TV.” If we all did this, things would have to change.
The first Media Parents session with Amy Walker flipped a switch in my head. Amy asked us in turn to introduce ourselves, in three clear sentences, name, what we are and what we want to do.…easy, but I couldn’t. I hadn’t thought through how to communicate really basic information about myself to others. So when I was asked to speak, I could only reply ‘but, what am I?’ Basic yes, but very easy to overlook. I realised that in my previous attempts to introduce myself to people whilst networking (not something that comes naturally to me and makes me feel a bit icky – to be perfectly honest), I’d either take so long thinking up my opening lines that they’d left by the time I was ready, or gone up to them and ended up rambling, trying to explain my entire life history to my poor victim. Not a very memorable encounter, or memorable for all the wrong reasons.
So: “Hello I’m Melissa Bishop…I’m a factual Researcher/AP, returning to documentary. Pleased to meet you.”
Try thinking of it as a conversation, Amy advised, when we’re discussing how uncomfortable the power dynamic of networking can make me feel. They are not ‘the boss’ and you are not asking for a job. You’re two peers, exchanging information and ideas. They might actually like talking to you. As someone who has been out of this world for a few years, my confidence has taken a bit of a battering. I’ve found that it often takes just small mental adjustments to counteract this and feel ok about introducing myself back to the working world. Just this one session on it’s own was a total confidence boost.
As inspiring as anything I have mentioned so far, was meeting the other returners. All extremely talented and really lovely human beings. Michaela Coel’s MacTaggart Lecture enforced the idea that there is room for all of us in TV. Here’s hoping that message will be taken away from here and acted upon. I’ll be doing my little bit by asking for what I need as a carer in TV.
Having won a place on the Media Parents HETV Drama Return to Work Programme funded by Screen Skills (formerly Creative Skillset). Media Parents acted on my behalf in approaching production companies to find a mentor, Antonia Gordon at Silverprint Pictures, and a work placement.
A fantastic aspect of the HETV Back-to-Work Scheme is the introduction to an industry mentor. This is a person completely separate to the work placement, but the equivalent of a potential boss.
I am delighted to have Antonia, a Head of Development at ITV, as my mentor. Someone completely neutral, who works in the same field. Media Parents found a great match for me and the relationship is blossoming.
I feel that I have a mentor who is fully supportive of the back-to-work plan I developed as part of the returners course, as well as contributing heavily towards the plan and pushing me when I need pushing. Antonia’s been great at providing me with new contacts and is always there for moral support, should I have any wobbles. Being another parent, working in the industry, she gives me both inspiration and confidence in what I am doing.
I was introduced, via email, to Sarah Stack, the Head of Development at Kudos, and a meeting in person was soon arranged. It wasn’t clear whether the meeting was just to say “hello” and discuss my start date, or to see if I fitted their mould before they committed. I decided to err on the side of caution and prepped for it like I would an interview. I did my research on the Head of Development, the team and the company. Most importantly, I watched as many Kudos transmissions as I could. I also prepped answers for the standard interview questions.
When we met, it was obvious straight away that this was going to be more of an informal meeting/chat regarding placement dates. Phew! The funding from Screen Skills covered a 4-week, full-time placement. Given my 8 year career break, I felt that launching myself straight into full-time hours would be a huge shock. So, having had negotiating training from Media Parents, I negotiated spreading the 20 days out, part time. The HoD thought this arrangement would be mutually beneficial – Kudos would be able to utilise me for longer and I would get more time across their slate.
I am writing this blog mid-placement. I spent the Sunday before I started in a complete state of anxiety, where my coping mechanism was to spend the day manically cleaning my house. The anxiety kept me wide awake the night before and put me off eating any breakfast in the morning. This was going to be a huge challenge – dropping the kids off at school breakfast club for 7:30am, catching the earliest train I could and arriving at the offices of Kudos in a calm and relaxed manner!
I had nothing to worry about. They all know why I am there (and if they didn’t, I made a point of telling them when I introduced myself). The first thing the HoD asked me when I arrived: “Was I nervous?” I decided to be honest. Why lie? The HoD is a mum too. She totally gets it.
I spent the first couple of weeks observing, attending meetings and not being afraid to ask questions. By this week (my third), I have made an effort to be proactive and contribute more. The key thing for me is that, by the end of my placement, Kudos feel they have got something out of it as much as I have. To be continued…