Media Parents

Author Archives: Amy Walker

About Amy Walker is a jobs and social networking site committed to keeping experienced talent in TV production. It was set up by Series Producer Amy Walker.

announcing the nations & regions back to work winners

by Amy Walker

We’re delighted to be partnering with the Salford Media Festival, and reintroducing two mums to TV via the Nations & Regions TV conference this week. If you are attending the festival please come to find us and say hi, if you’re not, please see our twitterfeed @mediaparents where we will be sharing knowledge from the lectures. Here they are…

anna burns, edit producer

Anna Burns is an edit producer with 17 years TV experience, looking for work in Manchester.

I wish to return to work as an Edit Producer. I worked as a Producer/Director prior to having my daughter but as a single parent I am now unable to commit to working away on location. However, I enjoy the role an Edit Producer brings and my many years of shooting and cutting my own programmes means I have great experience of the edit. I also wish to gain new contacts within TV companies in the north, as I lived and worked in London for the most part of my career many of my contacts are still based there.  So it would be great to meet various companies based at Media City.

shamaila khan, content producer / researcher

Shamaila Khan is a web content producer looking to return to broadcast as a researcher.

Since taking voluntary redundancy from the BBC (after my daughter was born) I have worked part time on two short term contracts for Rasa Productions a theatre company.

I worked for the BBC in Manchester for nearly ten years on various websites as a researcher and then assistant content producer before the relocation to Media City.

My plan for returning to work (in the media) after four years is getting back to work I enjoyed and want to be a part of again.

I also want to work in areas which my previous contracts/work commitments may have restricted me from i.e Television and Radio.

I am happy to undergo more training if necessary as I am aware I may not possess all the necessary skills for a TV role and also understand that four years away from the media can result in lots of change.

I feel that starting again is nerve wracking  but also exciting as I want to devote the time I have (now that both children are at school) to work that I am passionate about but also something I feel I am good at.

I would love to work as a researcher ideally in Entertainment/Drama or Children’s TV, I enjoy these subject matters and could be an asset to but I am also willing to consider any work that gets me back into the media.

The flexibility of working when you are solely responsible for school runs and children’s welfare while working at a location that may not be close to home will be a challenge but one that I will happily accept, you never know until you give it a try!

Amy Walker, Media Parents director (pictured left), will be at the festival with Anna and Shamaila. Please stop us and say hi or tweet us @mediaparents where we will be sharing knowledge from the festival.

Please join for great jobs, networking and events. The Media Parents Back to Work scheme is currently accepting more applicants, please email for details.

November 17, 2014 @ 7:40 pm Posted in News Comments Off

5 minutes with… Rachel Tierney, PD

by Amy Walker

Mired in the snotty, skint end of maternity leave, my first thought at seeing the Media Parents Back to Work scheme was a wistful “wouldn’t that be nice” before rescuing the baby from the stairs.  But two people sending me the link in one weekend was a sign – or at least, enough to register in my sleep-addled brain, so I applied.

Rachel Tierney, second from right, with the Media Parents geitf Back to Work Scheme Winners.

And got a place. NOW the logistics started.  Could I really leave the baby for three nights?  Could her dad get time off work at short notice?  If the baby (and dad) survived would I survive the emotional wrench? It was a crash course in Getting On with It – a trial run for string-pulling behind the scenes without letting work down.

Then it dawned on me. Three nights. Away. In a bed. With just myself. Emotional wrench that it indeed was it was also the most exciting prospect I’d faced for many months…

Pretty much the best thing about the scheme was being plonked, without baby / household / distraction, right in the middle of TV world. This isn’t dipping a toe back in – it’s full on, 10hr days of just thinking, talking, listening, watching TV and the executives running the TV industry. Intimidating, overwhelming, intense, yes – but so quickly exhilarating and inspiring, too.  With admittedly, moments of “so nothing’s changed…”

Realisation dawns on Rachel Tierney that she has a bed to herself!

After a year away from development meetings and commissioner briefings I was keen to see the Meet the Controller sessions. Informative and entertaining, these were a great way to get up to date on what different channels are looking for, what’s coming up and where things have moved on to (or not) since I last worked in development. There was the odd edgy moment such as when Charlotte Moore faced repeated questioning from Krishnan Guru-Murthy about being a woman (and nice) in charge of BBC One – frustrating to watch, when no one had raised the issue with Danny Cohen, Cassian Harris or later Peter Fincham.  The latter handled his own interrogation about “risk” (TV buzzword of the moment) with wit…

Diversity was also on the agenda, with sessions exploring TV’s record on and off camera.  Sky is introducing quotas; the BBC was keen to talk up its forthcoming Black Britain season, which includes a David Olusoga-fronted History of Black Britain (which won TWO CDN Diversity Awards last night). I was glad to see this is one conversation at least which does seem to be moving forward since I last hung out in TV world… Time will tell.

Rachel Tierney is a Producer Director getting back to work.

My favourite session, being a nosy parker (why else would I work in documentaries?!) was Sizzles that Sold the Show.  An extremely rare opportunity to spy on other people’s taster tapes and hear why they did or didn’t work… 50 Ways to Kill Your Mammy was the standout winner, a funny, lo-fi tape with no bells and whistles, just a smart idea with great characterful delivery.  30% of first pitches now apparently arrive on commissioners’ desks with an (unfunded) tape – so smart, cheap ideas are the way forward.  Although one of the panellists was from content agency Fifth Street, and revealed that production companies hire his services to make killer sizzle tapes. That can’t be cheap.

I also went to How to be a Better Indie, expecting to learn how to handle the commissioning process better in the eyes of broadcasters, though it was also largely about how indies treat freelancers. Well, yup, it ain’t always great, hence the anxiety I and other Back to Workers were feeling about returning to the workplace. Still with betty and Wall to Wall represented on stage it’s clear production companies can make it work for all concerned.

The most depressing session for me, and not just because I’m waving goodbye to the age bracket, was about the 16-34 audience. A lively and riled-up panel discussed where now for young viewers, with BBC Three facing a move online (“a kick in the knickers”, Fox Project’s Georgia said..).  An impassioned exploration of what TV does, and should mean for younger viewers – and where it, and they, might go in the future.

Networking is not my favourite thing, especially in an environment where everyone else is GO GO GO and you’re still trying to remember where you left your self-confidence (somewhere around 7cm dilated, probably).  But with allies in the other Back to Workers and the fab mentoring from Amy Walker I did feel able to get involved.

6 Media Parents Back to Work Scheme winners will attend the Televisual Festival, please say Hi! Here 2014 GEITF Back to Work Scheme Winners at the Edinburgh TV Festival and Media Parents' Amy Walker, 3rd from right, next to Rachel Tierney.

So, a success.  I felt reconnected with the industry, my lactating boobs didn’t explode after three nights away, and most importantly, my partner welcomed me home with the darkly muttered words “…I don’t know how you do it”. Quite.

Please join for great jobs, networking and events. The Media Parents Back to Work scheme is offering two FREE places at the Nations & Regions TV Conference in SALFORD. Apply by 5pm on Friday 14th Nov to for details.

November 12, 2014 @ 3:27 pm Posted in News Comments Off

5 minutes with Jamie Farnell-Warren…Composer

by Amy Walker

“After becoming a dad nearly four years ago it has been quite an act juggling work and childcare”, writes Composer Jamie Farnell-Warren. “Quite apart from this I am very sorry to report that composers, of which I am one, are feeling rather unloved presently.”

Jamie Farnell-Warren: "Composers… are feeling rather unloved recently."

The rise of the behemoth that is ‘The Music Production Library’  hasn’t helped us much by spewing great masses of cheap music into the factual world of programming. Libraries do have a part to play but they pay composers very little and only the person who owns the library really makes any decent money. As  freelance composers we are seriously struggling to compete. I know there are some great directors/producers out there who still value composers and the music we create and I have worked with many of them so many thanks to you. So my message is if you invest so much time on making a great film please invest in a person and some original bespoke music and release your editor from spending 12 hours sifting through 1000 library pieces.

We are also actually quite a bit cheaper than you might think.”

"Composers… actually quite a bit cheaper than you might think" Jamie Farnell-Warren.

I have composed for factual/film and documentary and as a member of the BBC Worldwide Composers group and from that I’m asked to pitch on many upcoming BBC productions. I was asked to compose the soundtrack to  the six part series ‘INDIAN OCEANS WITH SIMON REEVE’ for BBC2 putting together an eclectic soundtrack which comprised huge orchestral scores, African vocal songs and everything in between!

Following on from this my next BBC4 series ‘BULLETS BOOTS & BANDAGES’ also highlighted  the diversity of my work moving from huge orchestral themes through to delicate piano sonatas.

As a result I was asked to compose the quirky soundtrack for the BBC1 show ‘ALLOTMENT WARS’ through ‘WILD PICTURES’.
 I’ve also worked on many US shows and have had music featured on  ’AMERICAN IDOL’, ‘SO YOU THINK YOU CAN DANCE’  & ‘THE SQUAD PRISON POLICE’ to name but a few..

Have a listen/watch to my music show reel and if you do require an experienced composer on your next project please drop me a line or advertise your job with Amy on the Media parents website.


Recent Credits:

ITV1 1 x 45mins ‘Man to Manta with Martin Clunes’

BBC2 6 x 1hr ‘Indian Oceans with Simon Reeve’

BBC4 3 x 1hr ‘Bullets, boots & bandages’

BBC1  1 x 1hr ‘Allotment Wars’

6 x 45mins ‘The Squad’

Please join for great jobs, networking and events. The Media Parents Back to Work scheme is offering two FREE places at the Nations & Regions TV Conference in SALFORD. Apply by 5pm on Monday 10th Nov to for details.

November 7, 2014 @ 1:27 pm Posted in News Comments Off

announcing the Televisual Factual Festival Back to Work Scheme Winners

by Amy Walker

Congratulations to the eight people who have been awarded places on our November Media Parents Back to Work Scheme. Six of them will be attending the Televisual Factual Festival on November 13th and 14th at BAFTA, so if you are also attending please look out for us and say hello! Here come the girls…

Production Coordinator Helen Landeau talks to the BBC's Charlotte Lamb at the Media Parents Back to Work drinks.

helen landeau, production coordinator

Helen Landeau is a BBC-trained Production Coordinator with over 10 years of location filming experience in Factual, Factual Entertainment and History. Helen has recently taken the risk of leaving the corporate world to become a freelance Production Coordinator after being inspired by Back to Work Scheme winner Harriet Wallace’s story in The Guardian. Helen had been in the corporate world for just under 8 years and had used some of her TV skills in various roles across the organisation, but had always wanted to return. Within a month of joining Media Parents Helen has started her first coordinating role, she is hoping to consolidate that experience through the coaching and mentoring provided on the Media Parents Back to Work Scheme. @HLandeau

Jo Molloy, edit producer.

jo molloy, edit producer

In a previous life I used to have quite a successful career in telly – I lived in Los Angeles and worked as a producer/director and series producer mainly on high profile mainstream factual/entertainment documentary series for British companies like September Films, and Lion Television. My kids were born in the States, but it was a quiet time for British TV in Los Angeles so I did a few projects mainly consulting and development or pick up shoots.  When we returned to the UK I decided to focus on being a mum.  For years I didn’t work, then through a contact I starting making a couple of films for charities – pitching, directing/producing and edit producing.  I also spent 4 months working on a DIY obs-doc TV series as an edit producer. It was hard balancing childcare and the long hours but I really enjoyed being in the edit, and I think I have a pretty good idea for what makes a story work. @JoMMolloy

In 2011 my husband and I decided to take a year out and bring up our children in Prague where he’s from, which quickly turned into two years. We’re back in the UK now and I can’t help that niggling feeling that I’m not reaching my full potential, I always loved working in the TV industry and have 15+ years of experience in TV….is it going to waste?  And where do I begin?

Producer Director Rebecca Towers.

rebecca towers, producer director

I’m a Senior Producer Director with fifteen years experience at the BBC where I worked as a programme producer, journalist and filmmaker across multiple factual genres and formats. Whilst I specialised in politics, I also worked on documentaries, current affairs, news and history programmes.  I have had the pleasure of working on some fantastic flagship programmes during my career and it has been a privilege to make films and content that have had a positive impact on people’s lives.

Shortly after becoming a mum, I left the BBC to spend time with my daughter and to explore work on a wider range of factual filming and writing projects.  Since then, I have produced several short films for television, pitched and produced corporate film content and currently write a monthly interview series, ‘In the Spotlight’, highlighting female talent within the TV and film industry.

Establishing new contacts in factual programming is a key focus and the Media Parents Back to Work Scheme is a great opportunity to make new connections, get up to speed on industry news and best practice and to receive tailored advice on building an industry profile following a career break. @RTowers_TV

AP Kate Boddington with her daughter.

kate boddington, assistant producer

I made the transition from maternity leave to the world of working TV parents this time last year. Securing mentoring and attending Televisual Factual Festival would not only help me to gain confidence in my ability to juggle work and being a new mum but also give me the chance to focus on nurturing my career and building skills to progress in this highly competitive industry.

Since returning to work following maternity leave I have been able to undertake two short and one longer contract. I would be really keen to make the most of the guidance on offer. I am keen to explore a few career options including the possibility of moving back into a role within a commissioning broadcaster or what steps I should make next in factual TV Production. @kboddington

Gina Mahoney, Edit Producer.

gina mahoney, edit producer

Since having twin boys in January 2012 I’ve been back at work for two short edit producing stints one for John Torode’s Australia and the other for a reversion of Ramsay’s Kitchen Nightmares USA.   I think this is a real achievement as when I first had my two boys I thought I may never leave the house again let alone go out to work.

I think the Media Parents back to work initiative is just what I need to help me gain the confidence to go out and sell myself in the right way.  I could do with some insightful direction for my CV, help to create a good online presence, tips on the most successful ways to approach companies for work and to become skilled at how to network.  I have lots of valuable television production experience in many different genres, including live, entertainment, sport, factual, children’s and most recently food.  Ideally I would like to return to edit producing but not just food shows I would like to broaden my experience again with a view to working back towards producing then series producing again. @MahoneyGina

Becky Sharpe, Shooting PD.

becky sharpe, shooting PD

I am a London-based Director who has been telling stories and making films in one role or another since I was a teenager. I shoot and am happy to write scripts and voice over. I have a commitment to humanitarian projects in my personal work, doing photographic and film projects with people with disabilities and disadvantaged adults and children.

My career started after Film School at Saint Martins in a Soho Cutting Room on BBC programs and then I independently produced awardwinning short films. I went on to work for broadcast and internet, multi-screen installations, interactive drama, and high budget Corporates for clients such as PriceWaterhouse Coopers, as well as working in Europe and Africa (Sky TV/APTN). I hope to make new connections in broadcast television for full time work – with a view to working as a DV Director and as a Producer/Director. @BeckySharpie

Ali Schilling, Producer.

ali schilling, producer

I left television in 2009. I was extremely fortunate to have worked for some amazing companies on some fascinating factual and current affairs programmes.  I’d travelled all over the world to weird and wonderful places and had worked with some inspirational people. Stopping to have children took me on another journey – equally amazing – but I’ve never lost my love of television and the absolute privilege I felt in making it.

I have explored new areas since having my children.  I’ve worked with Save the Children’s media team, setting up press trips for print and broadcast journalists to STC’s global projects.  With over a decade’s experience setting up international shoots this was an area I felt hugely confident in but it made me realise just how much I missed programme making. I now also run my own family photography business – Ali Schilling Photography – part time.

I am right at the start of re-launching myself back into the television world.  As a parent, I had already identified that a logical first step would be to find work as an Edit Producer as the hours are more regular.  I have edited films I’ve produced and know I have the necessary storytelling skills to craft good programmes.  Many of my old contacts have now moved on and so I have been feeling quite daunted about making that first step.  Recently someone told me about the Media Parents Back to Work Scheme.   It sounds like an incredible opportunity and would not only give me the guidance that I feel I’m lacking but also the confidence I would need as I feel my way back into the industry again.

Lucy Dywer Comedy Producer / AP.

lucy dwyer, comedy producer / AP

I got my first non-scripted comedy producer job in 2012 after a 2 year career break in which I gave birth to and looked after my daughter. Prior to this I was an AP within comedy / entertainment for a number of years. I love comedy and would like to focus on working in scripted comedy. I want to be part of a production company / organisation that will help me nurture my current writing, editing and producing skills. Ultimately I want to work as a script editor / writer as I feel that this plays to my strengths and will also hopefully enable me to work more flexibly than producing in either a studio or an edit. @skiddlyboooo

If you would like to join us at the Televisual Factual Festival please see below.

The Televisual Factual Festival.  Exclusive Media Parents discount

13-14th November 2014, BAFTA

The Televisual Factual Festival is the leading forum for business information and debate for factual television filmmakers, business executives and project leaders. With over 50 speakers12 sessions, the Pitch for Cash competition with a £5k prize fund and two Meet the Commissioners networking lunches, the Televisual Factual Festival is a must-attend event for anyone working in factual television. Book your exclusive discounted ticket online using the code MPdisc15. APPLY TODAY

Please join for great jobs, networking and events. The Media Parents November Back to Work scheme is currently open for applicants. Please scroll down the blog for details.

October 31, 2014 @ 7:32 pm Posted in News Comments Off

5 minutes with Clair Titley… PD on the Media Parents Back to Work Scheme

by Amy Walker

“I am normally a little skeptical when people mention ‘flexible working’ within the TV industry,” writes Clair Titley, PD on the Media Parents Back to Work Scheme. “In my experience, ‘flexible working’ in TV means that the Production Manager will order you a pizza if you have to work beyond 9pm. The only people I had come across in TV who actually worked flexible hours were Execs or possibly Series Producers – certainly not PDs or APs.” Keep reading and you’ll discover that Clair is currently working flexibly in TV…

2014 GEITF Back to Work Scheme Winners at the Edinburgh TV Festival, featuring Clair Titley, far left, and Media Parents' Amy Walker, 3rd from right.

So when my daughter was about one year old, I threw myself back into work full-time. I loved being back in production – it was a breath of fresh air after a year of nappies. But I really struggled with not seeing my daughter when the inevitable long hours and weeks kicked in. I assumed there was no other way to work though. I then found myself at a cross-roads, not wanting or able to go back to a full-time career, but very reluctant to give up a career that I absolutely love and feel very passionately about.

Somehow I got chatting to Amy Walker from Media Parents over the phone and told her my situation. I think her words were “You can’t tell me its not possible!” and she persuaded me there was an alternative to the all-or-nothing scenarios. I applied for the Media Parents Back to Work scheme and suddenly found myself in Edinburgh at the TV Festival networking again.

Clair Titley, left, is being mentored by Channel 4's Deputy Chief Creative Officer, Ralph Lee, via the Media Parents Back to Work Scheme.

It’s amazing when you get talking to people, whether its the BBC’s former Chief Creative Officer Pat Younge, or junior production staff, how common the issue of juggling family life and work life is. But I also discovered that although there tend to be very few flexible jobs advertised – there are people out there who are willing to consider different ways of working. It might mean finding more creative solutions to a role, whether that be job-sharing or longer pre-production periods – but perhaps there is some hope after all? Someone also pointed out that some productions might even greatly benefit from only having to pay me part-time, but still gaining all my expertise.

So I’ve returned from Edinburgh with a bunch of new contacts, including Channel 4′s Deputy Head of Features Alex Menzies, and Channel 4′s Deputy Chief Creative Officer Ralph Lee as my mentor, some new ideas and most importantly, more confidence in asking for flexible working. Before, if I asked a potential employer about working part-time I was sure I could see their eyes glazing over – and I would assume that the conversation had ended. But by the end of the festival, having spoken to a variety of other mums and carers in TV, I found that there might be ways that my flexible working might help employers – it just requires a little more creativity on both sides to work out how!

Clair Titley is now working flexibly, 2 or 3 days a week in Bristol.

Please join for great jobs, networking and events. The Media Parents November Back to Work scheme is currently open for applicants. Please scroll down the blog for details.

October 29, 2014 @ 3:26 pm Posted in News Comments Off

5 minutes with Radica Anikpe… development researcher & presenter

by Amy Walker

It was slightly surreal: receiving a message on my phone from Media Parents’ Amy Walker congratulating me for winning a place on the Back to Work scheme. Was she really telling me that I was going to be going to the Edinburgh Television Festival? In less than a week? She only blooming was!

2014 GEITF Back to Work Scheme Winners at the Edinburgh TV Festival, featuring Radica Anikpe, 4th from left, and Media Parents' Amy Walker, 3rd from right.

They say it takes a village to raise a child, I would add that it takes no fewer folk to facilitate the removal of one slightly over-excited writer/presenter/carer from London to Edinburgh for four days.

Radica was too excited to take any more photos beyond this point.

The pre-festival networking coaching session acted like balm to my petrified-of-networking soul. The upshot? Networking is just chatting, and remembering that it probably won’t lead immediately to a job, it’s just a chat, yeah? Nerves soothed, we were straight into the festival.

The festival is a full fathom immersion into the world of television, surrounded by those who make, commission and present it.  You are surrounded by the great and the good. Look, that’s Kirsty Wark! Look, that’s Peter Fincham. Look, that’s Stuart Murphy!

It was an inspirational trip, with the sessions alone being worth the cost of a ticket. Highlights for me included an informative session on sizzle reels: keep it long enough to cover the subject and short enough to remain interesting, and be wary of over-promising and thus shooting yourself in the foot come production.

Phil Edgar-Jones’ controller session was fabulously entertaining, especially as he had chosen clips with the aim of soothing sore heads (it was the morning after the big do, ouch!). His Sky Arts channels are all about celebrating genius in new and innovative ways and he is always happy to receive a short email with a programme idea.

Radica Anikpe, papped at GEITF, is now working in development at Channel 5 thanks to meeting Andra Heritage at the Media Parents Back to Work event.

Steve Pemberton and Reece Shearsmith’s hour on how they create their shows was an insightful look at how much rigour they apply to writing and performing.

I have a funny feeling that it could be one of those career-defining moments, but it is a little too early to be making predictions. I will say that it was a full-on, exciting, experience that I grabbed with both hands and not a little gusto. I schmoozed like I have never schmoozed before. Thanks to Amy I have a meetings in the diary with not one, but two commissioners and list of agents to email, and CVs sent to the BBC, among others. Never mind the ready-made peer group of my fellow winners.

Thanks Edinburgh, you were splendid. 2015, yeah?

Radica Anikpe is now working in development at Channel 5 thanks to meeting Andra Heritage at the Media Parents Back to Work event.

Please join for great jobs, networking and events. The Media Parents November Back to Work scheme is currently open for applicants. Please scroll down the blog for details.

October 16, 2014 @ 11:55 am Posted in News Comments Off

media parents back to work drinks and new scheme launch!

by Amy Walker

To cheer on the Media Parents GEITF Back to Work Scheme winners, and open admissions for our new Back to Work Scheme we had a drinks party in central London, attended by Discovery Commissioner Helen Hawken, Channel 5′s head of in-house content, Wall to Wall’s Head of Talent Susie Worster amongst other employers and a host of great freelancers. The evening was sponsored by Promotion Hire whose friendly team also joined us for the evening. Here are some photos from the night, and details of how to apply for our next scheme are below – applications close on October 20th and there are 6 places up for grabs with entry to the Televisual Factual Festival in November included.

Discovery Commissioning Editor Helen Hawken with Channel 5's head of in-house production Andra Heritage.

Vera Productions MD Rebecca Parkinson, with PD Ana Garcia.

2014 Back to Work Scheme Winner Radica Anikpe, right, is being mentored by Michelle Chappell, Commissioning Editor at Channel 5.

2014 & 2013 GEITF Back to Work Scheme winners Anna Coane, comedy producer, and Harriet Wallace, factual producer.

Susie Worster, Head of Talent at Wall to Wall talks to Producer Becky Jones.

Vera MD Rebecca Parkinson talks to BBC Comedy's Charlotte Lamb and Producer Julie Clive.

Brook Lapping's Paul Birmingham talks to freelancers.

Drama Director Vito Rocco talks to 2014 GEITF Back to Work Winner Kumari Salgado, Script Editor.

2013 Back to Work scheme winner Sidra Khan has been working for Channel 4 as an edit producer since taking part in the scheme.

Rachel Tierney, PD, 2014 winner (left) talks to AP Hina Zaidi.

Production Coordinator Helen Landeau talks to BBC's Charlotte Lamb.

Caroline, Jude, Peter and Alain from Promotion Hire, sponsors of the event.

Media Parents' Kerry Jones and Amy Walker. Amy is currently Head of Talent at The Garden Productions.

Our latest Back to Work Scheme offers support to freelancers returning to TV after a career break. Six entrants have the opportunity to win a pass to the Televisual Factual Festival in November, in addition to a personalised mentoring programme. Media Parents provides individual coaching on every aspect of returning to the workplace. In addition to mentoring from relevant people at broadcasters and indies, Media Parents offers sessions on getting the most from mentoring, networking, CVs, personal branding, interviewing and stepping back into the workplace. The scheme is subsidised by Skillset which is offering a bursary for 80% of the course fee. For more details please email us at Applications have now closed but you can still get tickets for the Televisual Factual Festival on November 13th and 14th.

The Televisual Factual Festival.  Exclusive Media Parents discount

13-14th November 2014, BAFTA

The Televisual Factual Festival is the leading forum for business information and debate for factual television filmmakers, business executives and project leaders. With over 50 speakers12 sessions, the Pitch for Cash competition with a £5k prize fund and two Meet the Commissioners networking lunches, the Televisual Factual Festival is a must-attend event for anyone working in factual television. Book your exclusive discounted ticket online using the code MPdisc15. Offer expires 31st October

Please join for great jobs, events and training.

October 4, 2014 @ 4:41 pm Posted in News Comments Off

media parents back to work drinks… who’s coming?

by Amy Walker

We’re delighted to announce a stellar line-up of companies and freelancers in attendance at the Media Parents Back to Work Drinks on October 1st. Media Parents GEITF Back to Work Scheme Winners from 2014 and 2013 will be attending. We’re sorry the guestlist has now closed, but we will be launching a new Back to Work Scheme, in conjunction with Skillset and the Televisual Factual Festival, so please do apply when the details are made public. Meanwhile here are company attendees at the drinks :

Helen Hawken - Director of Programming, Factual, DNI
Caroline Ross – Director of Human Resources, Shine Group
Priscilla Baffour – Industry Talent Specialist, Channel 4
Susie Worster – Head of Talent, Wall to Wall
Rachel Ayres – Talent Coordinator, Shed Media Group
Paul Birmingham – Production Manager, Brook Lapping
Andra Heritage – Head of Channel 5 in-house Production
Miranda Wayland – ITV Diversity & Inclusion Manager
Charlotte Lamb – Talent Coordinator, BBC Comedy
Amy Walker – Head of Talent, The Garden Productions / Media Parents
Kerry Jones – Media Parents
Caroline Bingham – Business Development, Promotion Hire
& the Promotion Hire team

Freelancers attending :

Jo Molloy PD
Stacey Burns Wyn Davies Sports Producer
Harriet Wallace Producer (2013 winner)
Sidra Khan PD / Edit Producer

(2013 winner)

Becky Jones Development Exec / SP
Heather Day PD
Helen Landeau Production coordinator
George Bland PD / Editor
Anita Lowenstein Dent
Einav Leshetz Editor
Kumari Salgado Script Editor

(2014 winner)

Elena Rottigni Researcher
Jamie Farnell Warren composer
Kate Boddington AP
Anna Coane Producer / Edit Producer

(2014 winner)

Radica Anikpe AP / Producer

(2014 winner) PD
Ana Garcia Shooting PD / AP
Amanda Rubin PD / social media
Rachel Tierney (2014 winner) PD
Hazel Palmer Camera Operator
Matt Holden Exec Producer
Zoe Fryer PD
Hina Zaidi AP
Claudia Lee PD / Editor
Gina Mahoney Edit Producer/Producer
Elanor Lee PM
Lucy Dwyer PD/Edit producer
Julie Clive Producer

Becky Sharpe


PD/DV Director

Mignon Van Weeran Producer
31 Liz PC
Vito Rocco Director
Jane Devoy Writer, drama
Rebecca Wolff Producer
Danielle Carpanen Edit Producer
Sarah Brewerton Editor, drama
Fiona Wailes Producer

October 1, 2014 @ 12:33 am Posted in News Comments Off

media parents Back to Work Drinks Weds 1st October, central london

by Amy Walker
Channel 4, Channel 5, Discovery Channel, the BBC, Endemol, Raise the Roof, Shine Productions, Wall to Wall, Media Parents and more companies want to meet parents coming back into the workplace this Wednesday October 1st. Commissioning Editor Helen Hawken, Director of Production, Factual West, from Discovery Networks International, along with a host of employers encouraging parents back to work. The drinks are kindly being sponsored by Promotion Hire.

Please join to join us at our next event, hosted by Promotion Hire on Wednesday 1st October

As a thank you for entering the Media Parents GEITF Back to Work Scheme, and to encourage parents in their efforts to get back into the workplace we’d like to invite you to join us for a drink. We’re having a party to celebrate the Media Parents GEITF Back to Work Scheme’s success, to launch a new back to work scheme, and to toast four years of Media Parents, so we would love you to come if you are free and a parent on your way back in. It will be a wonderful opportunity for all the sponsors, company supporters, applicants and winners to meet face to face over a drink – you really don’t want to miss this one! The event will take place from 6:30 pm 1st October in Central London. It is strictly by invitation only, so please RSVP to asap to get on the guest list. Venue details will be sent out on confirmation. Please title your email with your name and job title and attach your CV to the email so we can forward to attending companies.

We really hope you will be able to join us!
Amy, Kerry & David

September 28, 2014 @ 6:46 pm Posted in News Comments Off

5 minutes at GEITF with Anna Coane, Comedy Producer

by Amy Walker

As I try and write this with a baby squeaking in my ear, and a toddler hanging off my leg, I’m reminded of how I nearly didn’t apply for the Media Parents/GEITF Back To Work Scheme in the first place, writes Anna Coane. I wasn’t planning to return to work until September, this was too soon, I was still breastfeeding (a tiny bit), what about childcare, and I’d have to tweet and blog (tremble!). No, it would all be too ‘tricky’. And anyway there’d be drinking, and I wasn’t sure I was very good at that anymore.

Anna Coane

Then I realized that this would probably be the last time I’d be eligible (two kids is enough for me thanks), and I read an article by Harriet Wallace who also nearly didn’t apply last year, and wrote about landing her ‘dream job’ as a result. That sealed it, ‘just do it’ I thought, if I get a place we’ll make it work, somehow.

So I was amazed and delighted when I did win a place, even more so that it was sponsored by Endemol – I’ve worked for them several times, they gave me my first job back after my first child, and my first job as an Edit Producer.

At home, we did make it work, somehow, and a few days later I found myself at Gatwick, marveling at the smallness of my suitcase, and at how all the clothes in it were mine – it had been a long time since I’d travelled without kids in tow!

Once in Edinburgh it was a delight to meet the other five Back To Work participants – all returning to work after career breaks of varying lengths, taken for many different reasons. We all met with Amy Walker, Media Parents Director, the night before the TV festival started and professed nervousness at the dreaded networking, but we needn’t have worried. Amy’s networking suggestions were a really helpful prompt, as was her reassurance. The festival, it turns out, is a unique bubble where, once you’re prepped for it, the potential awkwardness and self-consciousness of networking is largely removed. At GEITF it’s normal to bump into old colleagues/friends and catch up, or meet someone totally new and start chatting. There’s a delegate list/portal, which offers unique access to people who might ordinarily be too busy/unknown to you to respond – you just email someone you’d like to meet, and chances are you’re chatting with them over a coffee before you know it – Media Parents is a great calling card.

Being an experienced Producer/Edit Producer of comedy and entertainment, including scripted, I gravitated towards these workshops so I’ve listed the top tips I picked up:

I’ve edit produced quiz shows (‘Pointless’, ‘Tipping Point’) so I was curious about the quiz show masterclass run by my mentor company Endemol and commissioners from BBC (Pam Cavannagh) and C4 (Justin Gorman). They imparted to us their top tips for making a great quiz show:

-          Don’t have too many rules, think about a narrative arc, and consider every eventuality.

-          Run-throughs are essential – play the game with people invested in the idea as well as those who aren’t, and get someone to try and break it. If it comes alive in the run-through you’re probably onto a winner.

-          Know your slot – daytime quizzes need to have a simple proposition and the play-along factor, good questions, interesting factual information and charm. A primetime quiz tends to involve more celebrities and needs to have a broader appeal, a quiz show for people who don’t like quiz shows.

-          God is in the detail – real contributors can be tricksy and will want to beat the game and, naturally, take all the prize money. You can’t re-take a round, and question verification is crucial (and must take as long as is needed, which is tricky if you are live). And always make amends if you get it wrong.

-          Development never ends – the first series isn’t necessarily the finished product, you’ll always be tinkering. Bringing contestants back repeatedly builds story. The choice of host is really important but the show itself is the most important concern.

I discovered a great opportunity for aspiring comedy writers in the ‘BAFTA Rocliffe New Comedy Showcase’. Each year 5 short scripts are chosen by a top industry jury from an open callout and are performed in the UK and New York, as a showcase for future British comedy. Previous winners have gone on to get commissions from broadcasters in the UK and the US. If you’re an as-yet un-commissioned comedy writer it’s got to be worth a shot!

A discussion about what it takes to get great drama commissioned in the UK – Simon Maxwell (Head of International Drama, C4) said that the international funding and the UK talent is there, and took us through his criteria for commissioning – is it a brilliant idea, could it be right on C4, and would it attract a European or international audience? Crime fiction travels very well internationally, he said, even more so now that the American audiences seem to have got over their aversion to subtitles. The differences between the US and UK production systems were examined, as was the role of the writer/producer or ‘showrunner’, common in the US.

Equally interesting was the ‘Jed Mercurio Line Of Duty Masterclass’. The Line of Duty writer spoke about the writing process, overcoming script issues, making bold decisions to kill off popular characters, and casting dilemmas. He also revealed that initially he found it very hard to be the writer, and get the powers-that-be to let him also produce. He was shocked on his first show (‘Cardiac Arrest’) at how excluded he was, as a writer, from the production process, so on his next show he secured the job of medical advisor (he’s a former doctor). After this he was able to negotiate a producer role on the next project – the role of ‘showrunner’ cropped up yet again.

‘Tales From The Casting Couch – How To Find The British Peter Dinklage’ hosted by Rick Edwards looked at the under-representation of disabled actors on screen. The panel blamed a failure of imagination and a lack of opportunity and auditions for disabled actors, resulting in an uneven playing ground. Both Sky and BBC have announced their intentions to enforce quotas, but the panel expressed mixed views on whether or not they are a good idea. Andrew Newman (Chief Exec, Objective Productions) suggested any quotas should be applied to the access to auditions and not on the results, which he said would stifle creative decision-making. But Kahleen Crawford (Casting Director) pointed out that the industry has been talking about diversity for 10 years and the stats regarding under-representation still haven’t changed.

The ‘Game Of Thrones Masterclass’ was exciting – Samwell Tarly himself was on the panel (by which I mean actor John Bradley was there!) as well as Mike Lombardo (President of Programming, HBO) and Zai Bennett, the new Head of Sky Atlantic (former Controller, BBC3). Mike defended some of the decisions they made to change certain aspects of George RR Martin’s books, while also revealing that he still hasn’t read any of them because he prefers to react to the TV scripts as they come in. George is an exec on the show and is sent every script, but it is the ‘showrunners’ (here they are again) who ultimately take control.

Being ‘Inside The Minds of Steve Pemberton and Reece Shearsmith’ was a joy. They discussed the writing process, and how they have always tried to pursue excellence, a high level of craft, including slick scene changes, even in the early days performing at comedy festivals. They always do a final ‘gag pass’, to see if any more jokes, particularly visual ones, can be crow-barred into a scene. They talked about how their most distinctive characters originated and developed (Pauline was originally played by a woman, didn’t work at all). They spoke of how hard it is to mix horror and comedy – it’s either too scary to be funny or the other way round, a fine line that they have walked throughout their careers. And they revealed that there will be more ‘Inside No.9’ coming soon…

The Ed talks (a series of TED Talk-style lectures), scheduled on Saturday morning (when a lot of people seemed to have already gone home) turned out to be an unexpected highlight for me. They were surprising, interesting and inspirational and covered topics such as ‘Where does creativity come from?’ and ‘Overcoming a lack of diversity’ (with Gurinder Chadha, director of ‘Bhaji On The Beach’). Steve Edge, successful artist/designer now in his late 50s, strode on sporting wild hair, enormous specs, and a very loud suit to tell us about how, despite severe dyslexia, he went from humble beginnings in the East End, to working with Jim Henson, Spielberg and George Lucas before setting up his own design agency. He shared his tips for creative success, basically – don’t wait, just do it now, don’t worry about what other people think, and don’t be afraid to fail: “don’t wait for a special occasion to wear your best outfit, wear it every day and the party will come to you, and you will have an amazing time”, he told us. Then, unbilled and to everyone’s surprise, Jon Snow padded onto the stage (not the ‘Game Of Thrones’ one, the news one). He talked about the impact and pros/cons of social media, remarking that lately the world at large seems to have more information about news events than governments, that in his opinion we are either on the precipice of something very exciting – a fantastic revolution brought about by the democratization of information, or of total anarchy. It was quite a morning.

The festival closed with Richard Osman in conversation with ‘Scotland’s Jesus’ Frankie Boyle. Richard confronted him about ‘those jokes’ saying that it looked to him as if Frankie had got too powerful, that producers didn’t feel they could censor him, that he would have never allowed ‘those jokes’ to make the edit. Boyle replied that he doesn’t regret the jokes, that comedy commissioners these days are too scared of content, their main motivation being to avoid controversy: “There’s a layer of people whose job it is to reject things, and unfortunately that layer is at the top”, he said. He spoke about the lack of women on panel shows, and quotas, saying that proposed quotas still get it wrong, it should be 50/50, then the onus would really be on the programme-makers to unearth female talent. He asserted that the BBC should sack Jeremy Clarkson, “a cultural tumour”, and reflecting on Boris Johnson’s public school education he concluded that he must have evolved his fringe “as some kind of makeshift cum shield”.

And on that note the festival came to an end.  As men with power tools dismantled flattage around our ears, one of the other media parents and I sat drinking tea and reflecting on the festival and the Back To Work Scheme. Had it all been too ‘tricky’, and had I forgotten how to drink? ‘No’, and ‘not entirely’, it turns out. I’d missed my daughters like mad, but they’d had a great time with Grandma. Plus I’d spruced up my CV, overcome my Twitter aversion, re-connected with old friends and colleagues and met lots of potential new ones. I’ve renewed my focus and excitement about comedy and entertainment, especially scripted and semi-scripted, and what’s also great is that the mentoring, from Amy and from Endemol, is ongoing. So with inspiration fired, new contacts made, and numerous meetings on the horizon, all in all it’s a good job I thought ‘just do it’ and hit ‘send’, at the very last minute.

September 12, 2014 @ 12:49 pm Posted in News Comments Off