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.

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

Back to School Event Weds 17th September 2014

by Amy Walker

Come along and join us for a day of free taster sessions taken from a selection of our new and our most popular training courses on Wednesday 17th September 2014.

Join us for the whole day and take advantage of all the sessions or just pop in for a quick taster or two. If you can’t make any of the sessions, then come along for a few early evening drinks.

We will have representatives from Media Parents, the Indie Training Fund and Creative Skillset on hand to talk about funding opportunities and the other services they offer.

We will also be announcing some exciting news on our new pricing structure for our 1 and 2 day courses.

Caroline Bingham, Business Development Executive at Pro Motion Hire, pictured on right, will be at the event. See also

Full schedule for the day –

10.30am – Introduction to Pro Motion Training

10.45 – 11.45amIntroduction to Location Audio 101 – A brief glimpse at our brand new sound course aimed at Self Shooters. When you are expected to be camera operator, director, producer and sound recordist all at the same time, this course will give you the essential knowledge to ensure your audio is as first class as your footage!*

12.00 – 12.15pm – Skillset Talk

12.15 – 1.15pm – Arri Amira Workshop – A quick guide. The new kid on the block and also one of the most eagerly anticipated camera releases this year. An example of one of the many bespoke camera workshops we can offer.

2.15 – 2.30pm – Indie Training Fund talk

2.30-3.30pm Introduction to Data Management- a brief overview of our Data Management Level 1 courses that look at either a Canon Mpeg or Sony XDCam workflow. Get an insight into the processes of tapeless shooting from acquisition through to offline with both theoretical and practical elements of safely transferring, backing up and handling tapeless media.

4 - 5pm – Introduction to Location Lighting 101 – Taken from our brand new Lighting course, Again, aimed at Self Shooters this one-day intensive workshop goes beyond the basic 3-point lighting model and explores the techniques for accurately controlling light, shadow and colour temperature.*

5 - 8pm – Drinks reception – join Media Parents Amy Walker for a drink from 5 – 6pm

To book your space on one or more of our taster sessions or just to let us know you are popping along please e-mail

*Our 101 Courses are aimed at addressing and enhancing the multiskilling now required by Self Shooters. They have not been developed to replace or undermine the skills of freelancers in the industry who specialise in the specific area of Camera, Lighting & Sound.

For great jobs, events and networking opportunities please join Join us at our next event, hosted by Promotion Hire on Wednesday 17th September

@ 12:43 pm Posted in News Comments Off

5 minutes with…Helen Landeau, Production Coordinator

by Amy Walker

I am a BBC-trained Production Coordinator with over 10 years experience but left TV some 8 years ago. During this time, I became a mum and working for a blue chip company but my passion for TV never waned – I’m still an end credits junkie! writes Helen Landeau.

My experience is extensive from pre-production right to delivery primarily in factual, factual entertainment and Children’s but I do have experience in other genres. I’ve organised many shoots – sourcing and booking crews, extra kit, location permits, devising filming schedules and call sheets, booking contributors, liaising with talent agents, casting, organising complex travel, transport and accommodation, working with children (enhanced CRB certificate) managing the production office, budgets to ad-hoc research. I’m also quite expert in MS Office and experience of SAP.

My credits on programmes (if anyone remembers them) are ‘Tomorrow’s World’, ‘Home Front’, ‘The Clothes Show’, ‘A History of Britain’, ‘Chelsea Flower Show (Catalyst TV), ‘Eurovision – Behind the Scenes’ (Lion TV), CBeebies Presentation ending in CBBC Education as a Junior Production Manager just to name a few.

When I left, I thought this would be a good opportunity to try something different. I adored my job but there was great change happening on the horizon. My friends encouraged me to go freelance but I wanted a different aspect.

My old BBC boss and good friend, posted a Guardian article on Facebook about a Series Producer, out of the game for 10 years, is now back!  I thought “How?”  I’d written myself off after nearly 8 years out but that article just sparked what I needed to do. I had known for months that the corporate world just wasn’t for me. I couldn’t kid myself anymore – I had to return to the job that I loved. It was time to go ‘home’.

I’m happy to start again knowing that I’m coming back to a job that I love.

Helen Landeau

September 5, 2014 @ 2:28 pm Posted in News Comments Off

5 minutes at GEITF with Kate Smith, Development Producer

by Amy Walker

The Audio Network popcorn has been wolfed, the Farm chocolate has disappeared, the freebies have been distributed (though I’m not giving my ITV water bottle to anyone).  My Edinburgh TV Festival is over, writes Kate Smith, Development Producer and one of the Media Parents GEITF Back to Work Scheme winners.

Kate Smith, 3rd from left, with the Media Parents geitf Back to Work Scheme Winners.

I was delighted to get a place on the Media Parents GEITF Back to Work Scheme; I’ve been planning to relaunch myself back into freelancery in September, so the festival couldn’t have come at a better time.

I’ve alternated production and development work throughout my working life, and taught both to bright-eyed and bushy-tailed telly students at Glasgow Clyde College for the last 8 years. So the TV Festival was a brilliant chance to get a massive injection of all things telly, and refresh on channels, controllers, platforms and formats.

Meeting the other Media Parents delegates (and Vera MD Rebecca Parkinson) the night before the Festival started was great.  The support of other mamas has got me through my baby-wrangling years, so talking TV through the prism of parenthood felt pretty natural.

Kate Smith (right) "The support of other mamas has got me through my baby-wrangling years, so talking TV through the prism of parenthood felt pretty natural."

Kate Smith (right) "The support of other mamas has got me through my baby-wrangling years, so talking TV through the prism of parenthood felt pretty natural."

I saw several controllers, a handful of masterclasses, some brilliantly bizarre beatboxing and a very thought-provoking interview with Frankie Boyle.   Perhaps most useful for me were the controllers; Cassian Harrison on BBC4’s approach ‘singular subjects with a deep history’, Charlotte Moore on BBC1’s interpretation of ‘risk-taking’.  Plus a great session on sizzles, which now firmly focus on character and story rather than bombastic music and edit.  Then a fantastic session with Jeff Pope – I don’t work in drama, but couldn’t resist the brilliant Sheridan Smith. Really interesting to hear him talk about how he builds his narratives by creating a ‘universe of facts’ then finding a story to navigate through it.  Loads of insight into the process.  And of course, we also managed to see a bit of back-slapping in the awards, hosted by John Bishop, including a really well-deserved award for the Educating Yorkshire team.

Inexplicably, Amy Walker of Media Parents didn’t win an award for her stellar networking skills.  Unlike her, I’m not a natural at what we both call ‘gentle stalking’, although I did manage to meet my lovely Raise the Roof mentors, Sarah Walmsley and Jane Muirhead on the Glasgow to Edinburgh train to the festival. But by day two (something to do with a drop of sparkling French courage, perhaps?) even I managed to track down the Scottish production people on my list, and was reintroduced to Harry Bell of Tern Television by Amy in the foyer of the EICC. Perhaps most happily of all, the Festival gave me the perfect excuse to email other friends and contacts in Scottish indies to let them know about my place on the Back to Work Scheme, and as a result I’ve got several meetings in the next few weeks.   Watch this space…

Kate Smith is sponsored by Raise the Roof Productions in Glasgow.

kate smith, development producer

Extensive experience across factual, features, entertainment and comedy; ob doc, formats and development. BBC, ITV and C4; directing and DV skills. Fluent Spanish and French.

Available part time, Glasgow or Edinburgh.


For great jobs, events and networking opportunities please join Media Parents is delighted to be working with GEITF, Skillset, Shine Group, Channel 4, Endemol, Raise the Roof Productions, the BBC, Discovery Channel and Channel 5 to deliver the Media Parents GEITF Back to Work Scheme.

August 28, 2014 @ 1:03 pm Posted in News Leave a comment

media parents GEITF back to work scheme winners 2014

by Amy Walker

Congratulations to the six Media Parents GEITF Back to Work Scheme entrants who have won hotly contested places to the Edinburgh TV Festival and mentoring from the BBC, Channel 4, Discovery Channel, Channel 5, Endemol, Raise the Roof Productions, Shine Group and Media Parents. They will be tweeting and blogging from the TV Festival, and here they are…

Script Editor and Drama Development Executive Kumari Salgado will be sponsored by the BBC.

Kumari  Salgado, Script  Editor  & Drama Development  Executive

I am a single mixed race parent of a 10 year old boy.  I had a successful career in TV drama where I worked my way up from the position of receptionist in an indie to development assistant, development executive, script editor, Head of Development, producer and executive producer.  I worked mainly for indies, where I developed a number of successful TV dramas such as Sirens, Goodbye Mr Chips and Can’t Buy Me Love.  I produced Can’t Buy Me Love when my son was six months old.

In 2013, after almost 5 years out of TV, I worked as a temporary script editor on Holby City covering another employee’s maternity leave.  However, this  was only 12 weeks’ work. Since that time I have worked as a freelance script reader for BBC Films and BBC Wales.  However, while this gives me flexibility with my time it is extremely low paid, unreliable and sporadic work and I feel that I am not working to my full potential.  I would very much like to find my way back into full employment in TV where I can make the most of my 15+ years’ of experience.

Anna Coane will be sponsored by Endemol .

Anna Coane, Comedy & Entertainment Producer

In 2011 I took a year out to have my first child and when contemplating returning to work I felt ready for a new challenge – I have always loved editing and (with the help of a Media Parents event) I was delighted when my first job back was as an Edit Producer. I am now an experienced Edit Producer, have developed strong storytelling skills, and am comfortable cutting a variety of formats. I have managed to step between genres throughout my career – I have experience of comedy, scripted, entertainment, fact/ent and reality.

However I have always wanted to be a Producer. When I stopped work in August 2013 to have my second child, I had gained two Producer credits, so on returning to work this time (a year later) I’m really keen to gain much more producing experience, especially in comedy/entertainment, with a view to working towards becoming a Series Producer.

Rachel Tierney will be sponsored by Shine Group.

Rachel Tierney, Development Producer

I have extensive experience as a freelance TV producer and development producer, working for some of the UK’s most critically and commercially acclaimed production companies in the ten years up to taking maternity leave in August 2013. One of my most rewarding experiences has been working with Century Films’ Brian Hill to produce a Storyville documentary about childbirth. In 2011 I was embedded in maternity wards across the world, in Sierra Leone, Cambodia and the USA.

I’d dearly love this opportunity to address my current challenges by re- immersing myself in the latest industry knowledge and thinking, and by making connections with a peer group who are in a similar position – so that we can share ideas and build confidence together.

Carer Radica Anikpe is a broadcast journalist.

Radica Anikpe, broadcast journalist / Producer / AP

I am a fully loaded broadcaster without portfolio, waiting for my opportunity to be catapulted back through the doors of my beloved television. How so? I am an experienced producer with a background in national newspaper and magazine journalism, a top-class interviewer and a dab hand at both writing and dulcet-toning voice-overs. I have, if I may say so, a pretty impressive portfolio of work behind me: I was a teenage writer for the teenage press! I was producer at MTV! I’ve worked on the Brits AND the MOBOs!  I have voiced programmes on Radio 4!

I am naturally entrepreneurial and am at my shining best in a small team with a sole goal in common. I am a cool-headed creative opportunist who genuinely loves television, almost as much as I love a deadline.

PD Clair Titley.

Clair Titley, Producer / Director

I started my career in documentaries as a researcher for Testimony Films in 2004 and have worked in production and development since then. I made the difficult leap from AP to Director in 2011, with a First Cut film for Channel 4. I completed the edit just five days before I gave birth to my daughter.

With good reviews, I was also nominated for the ‘RTS Bristol Futures Award for Outstanding New Director’. After a year out I took the plunge and returned to work full-time, as a PD. It was great to be working again (albeit still surrounded by babies!) but as the inevitable long production hours and six-day weeks grew, I struggled to spend time with my daughter. Since that contract finished earlier this year, I have been torn as to whether to return to the industry. I managed to secure a short contract working one day a week on an observational film, but in an AP, rather than PD role. I would love to continue in the industry as a PD in Bristol, but I worry that this might be an unrealistic ambition given my situation: I don’t want to return to work full-time again just yet and my daughter’s needs mean I will have to be more flexible.

Kate Smith will be sponsored by Raise the Roof Productions in Glasgow.

Kate Smith Development Producer

I’ve had a successful and varied career as writer, producer, researcher and lecturer, including nearly nine years of production work in radio and television. In 2005, I gave up full-time work as a television producer, and started producing children.

Nine years and three small girls later, I’ve working part-time as a lecturer in television production, and very part time as a freelance development producer. However, I’ve just given up teaching to throw myself to the wolves of freelance work once more.

Here’s wishing all the Media Parents GEITF Back to Work scheme winners 2014 the very best of luck, please read more about them on the blog and via in the coming weeks. Thank you also to all those talented people who applied but didn’t get a place this time, hopefully we will see you at an event soon.

Media Parents is delighted to be working with GEITF, Shine Television, Channel 4, Endemol, Raise the Roof Productions, the BBC, Discovery Channel and Channel 5 to deliver the Media Parents GEITF Back to Work Scheme. For great jobs and further networking opportunities please join

August 18, 2014 @ 6:36 am Posted in News Comments Off

5 minutes with…Charis Williams, presenter, single mum and upcyler

by Amy Walker

Charis Williams, TV presenter, designer, re-use expert and artist. Most recently on ‘Kirstie’s Fill Your House for Free’ which TXes tonight on Channel 4 at 8pm, and previously presenter, designer and salvage expert on The New Reclaimers on UKTV Home writes about combining her TV work with being a single parent.

Being a single Mum and working in TV… does it mix?

For me, in a word… yes! I have to be honest, it can be difficult at times, I have to carefully coordinate childcare, and organisation is key. Luckily my children at six and eight years old are at school, and the school runs a breakfast club and after school club which makes life a lot easier and means I can avoid the rush hour traffic. I also have a wonderful family, without my Mum I would find it near impossible to go away for a week to the opposite end of the country to film as I did for the Glasgow shop / studio filming for ‘Kirstie’s Fill Your House for Free’. You really have to know your children are with someone you trust to look after them as well as you do, especially when you are a long way from home and really under pressure. For me that means Mum is always my first port of call. I definitely owe her a trip to the Caribbean!

Charis Williams is currently appearing in Kirstie's Fill Your House for Free, Tuesdays at 8pm on Channel 4.

I find in my line of work there are times I am rushed off my feet and manically trying to get projects finished and pieces designed for filming, so I do feel pressure running the house, looking after the kids and working to the deadlines too. Having said that I always get the job done, I’m the type of person that gets bored without challenges. I also run two businesses – Salvage Sister, where I upcycle ‘trash’ into beautiful and unique home wares and Brighton Wall Art, which is my bespoke artwork business. I’ve set up my businesses to work around my children, I have built a workshop in my garden so I can work from home which is also close to the school.

I do feel guilty that for a few weeks I might not see the kids for their bedtime story or miss the occasional assembly. I balance this by being able to take most of their six week holiday off and work around term holidays, sometimes that means working at night when they’re in bed. I believe in spending quality time with my children when I’m with them, that doesn’t necessarily mean spending loads of cash – but taking them different places, educating them and having fun together. A lot of people are probably able to spend more time with their kids, I believe in quality over quantity.

Whatever job you do, if you have children there is always a juggling act and a feeling of guilt – that inevitably comes with Motherhood. And it is difficult being the only parent – there is more pressure on you as you are being mother and father and providing for your children alone. I believe it is important for your children to see you working hard to support them and make a good home and life for them, they learn by example after all. I learnt so much from my parents, my mother has incredible drive and energy and my father is very talented, and able to teach himself anything. I didn’t really appreciate these qualities growing up – I don’t suppose children do until they have faced their own battles. Now I have children of my own I really respect how hard they worked and the ethics they instilled in me. It is extremely important that learning starts at home and we pass on what we have learnt to our children rather than expecting them to learn everything at school.

I do know that without my children I wouldn’t have the same need to succeed, and my tenacious attitude and competitiveness which drives me. Before I had children I felt a little lost and not sure how to reach my goals – they have given me a reason to fight for things that I want. I want my kids to grow up knowing Mum never gives up and always tries her best, I want the best for them and to be a good role model for them. I’m at a place in my life now where I feel I have everything in place, I’m at my happiest and looking forward to the future. Although it can be a challenge, it’s never boring! I’m lucky to have such amazing, healthy children to share my life with and I’m working in an industry I love and meeting talented, like-minded people all the time.

Charis Williams AKA The Salvage Sister

Media Parents has launched its GEITF Back to Work Scheme, please join and scroll down our blog for details.

August 4, 2014 @ 9:52 pm Posted in News Leave a comment

Media Parents Launches GEITF Back to Work Scheme 2014 Apply by Tuesday 12th August

by Amy Walker

Media Parents will partner with GEITF, Channel 4, the BBC, Shine Television and others to support parents getting back into TV – please apply!

Media Parents (a social enterprise set up to promote flexible working and help working parents balance the demands of media and childcare) is launching a scheme to get parents and carers back in to the TV industry following a career break. In 2013 four successful media parents / carers were awarded sponsored places at the Guardian Edinburgh International TV Festival (GEITF) and returned to the TV workplace – this year we have six places, sponsored by Shine Television, Channel 4, Endemol, Raise the Roof Productions, the BBC and Media Parents. Will you win one?

Last year's winners: Ali McBride, Harriet Wallace, Kirsty Smith and Sidra Khan, media parents delegates waiting for Kevin Spacey's MacTaggart Speech at GEITF 2013.

The scheme is relaunching and successful candidates will be awarded a delegate pass, plus accommodation in Edinburgh, with bespoke mentoring sessions from the sponsors, with the Media Parents mentoring being provided by Channel 5 Commissioning Editor Michelle Chappell and Discovery’s Helen Hawken. The scheme is designed to reinvigorate careers and help talented individuals get back in to the workplace.

Media Parents is delighted to be working with GEITF, Shine Television, Channel 4, Endemol, Raise the Roof Productions, the BBC and Channel 5 to deliver the Media Parents GEITF Back to Work Scheme. To win a sponsored place at Edinburgh TV Festival plus mentoring please apply by Tuesday 12th August via

Donald-Iain Brown, Head of BBC Production Talent Network commented “BBC Production Talent Network is pleased to sponsor the Media Parents Back to Work Scheme.  Getting experienced creatives back into the workplace after their caring absence only leads to greater creativity and diversity of views, which only ever makes content richer and better; that’s what our audiences want – so it’s a win-win for everyone”.

Amy Walker, founder of Media Parents, is delighted to be launching the scheme “Media Parents has always been about keeping experienced talent in television. The key objective of this scheme is that our delegates leave Edinburgh with new levels of confidence, motivation and a network of business contacts that will support their ambitions to get back into TV and keep the industry workforce diverse. Media Parents is delighted to be working with GEITF, Shine Television, Channel 4, Endemol, Raise the Roof Productions, the BBC, Discovery and Channel 5  to deliver the scheme.”

Bella Lambourne, HR Director at Endemol said “Endemol is delighted to be able to be part of this scheme again after the success of last year.  Enabling and encouraging female talent to return and remain in production is as important as ever for the TV industry.”

Raise the Roof Productions MD Jane Muirhead said “Raise The Roof are proud to sponsor this year’s Media Parents GEITF Back to Work Scheme and endorse the work and mentoring opportunities available through the initiative. Our driving force at Raise The Roof is to welcome the most creative and experienced talent from all walks of life to our company, and this scheme allows us to offer support to those who are looking for flexible working hours or a return back to the workplace.”

Candidates will be asked to apply for a place via Media Parents and successful candidates will be selected to take part. Amy Walker comments “It is so encouraging that we have such prestigious partners who have long been supporters of nurturing talent and championing the cause. The Edinburgh TV Festival is an unmissable event in the TV calendar, and attending will inspire people wanting to get back to work with a bang, and also help them to make great connections.”

Applicants are required to send a 300 word précis outlining their experience and ambitions upon returning to TV, plus a CV, to by Tuesday 12th August 2014 to be considered. The email should be titled with the applicant’s name, job title and genre. Applicants must be available to attend the Edinburgh TV Festival in 2014. See the Festival programme and dates here :

Candidates are required to have 3 years’ experience in TV and should not have worked continuously in TV for more than 12 weeks since their career break. This doesn’t mean you need to have been out of work for 12 weeks, it means you can’t have worked continuously for 12 weeks since you have returned to work.

Successful applicants must subscribe to either the talent section of to apply for this scheme to prove their commitment to returning to the workplace.

Applications close on Tuesday 12th August 2014.

Visit to apply now.

Follow Media Parents on Twitter @Mediaparents


Now in its 39th year, the Guardian Edinburgh International Television Festival powered by YouTube is the UK’s leading TV festival. GEITF 2014 takes place 21 – 23 August.

  • From Kevin Spacey to Google’s Eric Schmidt, global heavyweights set the industry agenda at GEITF. The 50+ sessions present thought-leaders who’ll cut to the heart of the issues in the TV business with headline-making viewpoints
  • The Festival is attracts delegates from around the world, representing the full spectrum of the industry – from chief executives, controllers and commissioners to producers, directors, marketers, writers, new media companies, distributors and press.
  • GEITF is a charitable organisation.  Proceeds from sponsorship and the sale of each delegate pass support the GEITF’s talent schemes, the Network and Ones to Watch. These schemes identify and support emerging talent to promote a healthy and diverse future for our industry.
  • Mel Leach, Managing Director, Twofour Broadcast, is the 2014 Advisory Chair.
  • Elaine Bedell, Director of Entertainment and Comedy, ITV, is the Executive Chair.
  • Join in the conversation on Facebook/ThisIsEdinburghTVFestival, talk to us on Twitter @edinburghtvfest and network with us on Linked In

also read this inspiring story from one of last year’s scheme winners:

July 21, 2014 @ 10:47 am Posted in News Comments Off

5 minutes with Development producer & Cardiff mum back to work Sophie Fairs

by Amy Walker

“I just wanted to give you some feedback from the Cardiff networking Event”, writes mum back into work Sophie Fairs. So if you are a parent currently out of the work place, take heart and read on. Then read a bit more below about the Media Parents GEITF Back to Work Scheme that we will be launching next week. “I met with Tess Cuming the Head of Factual Entertainment at Boomerang that night and she was incredibly encouraging about me returning to work after a long career break.”

Sophie Fairs on her way back in to TV at the Media Parents Cardiff Event.

“Tess rang me a few weeks later, asked if could I come in for a week to help with development. I’m still here! I did the initial week and was then asked to cover for the Producer of their Channel 4 show “Posh Pawn” which was great, and I’ve been working development producing ever since. I just wanted to write to you to thank you for organising the event, it has enabled me to return to work in my previous role in production which I didn’t think was possible with a family ( I think I mentioned to you I was thinking of switching roles as I thought it would be more office-based). Boomerang have been incredibly supportive, offering me flexible hours and understanding the juggling act of being a mum and returning to work!

Camera operator Duncan Fairs also attended the Media Parents event in Cardiff.

I’ve had to turn down the opportunity of more work here for the summer as my husband is on a month long shoot.  Boomerang want me back though and have been so encouraging.  I’ve been very impressed with the ethos of the company and their philosophy towards working parents – I couldn’t have received more support, and it has been a pleasure to work for them.

Tess Cumming meeting another freelancer at the Cardiff event.

I’ve also had other offers of work through the event and have had to turn them down – all in all a successful outcome! I just thought I’d let you know my experience!”

Thanks for letting us know Sophie! And if you are in the same position please join and apply for our Media Parents GEITF Back to Work Scheme next week. Last year the scheme saw four parents return to TV via the Edinburgh TV Festival and mentoring from the BBC, ITV, Channel 4 and Endemol. More information next week, here is some from last year :“back-to-work”-scheme/

Media Parents is about to launch its GEITF Back to Work Scheme, please join and watch this space for details.

July 17, 2014 @ 11:28 am Posted in News Comments Off

bootcamp for production managers – bursaries available

by Amy Walker


Sunday 7 & Monday 8 September 2014

Best Western Country House Hotel, Thornhill, Cardiff

TWO DAYS of intensive, interactive and inspirational practical training for Production staff and freelancers.

Whether you are looking to step up into Production Management, or refresh your skills and knowledge this is an opportunity to develop abilities and job prospects.

The cost includes all training materials, food and accommodation and use of the hotels facilities, crèche facility available upon request, transport to and from Cardiff City Centre if required.


  • The Changing Demands of the PM in relation to Business and Finance

  • Working in a Multi-platform World

  • The Law, Logistics and Management

  • Industry Guests, Case Studies and Budgeting Exercises


Christine Pyke

Ric Michael

07979 917 768 (Christine Pyke) 07976 895 946 (Ric Michael) @PumaEvents

Cardiff Flyer Residential Bootcamp

Media Parents is about to launch its GEITF Back to Work Scheme, please join and watch this space for details.

@ 7:28 am Posted in News Comments Off

TXing Tonight: 9 months later – a media Parents commission

by Amy Walker

A Long Gestation… Media Parents talent Gaby Koppel writes about the commission that happened through Media Parents and will TX on Sky Living, Friday 11th July at 8pm.

Gaby Koppel attended the recent Media Parents CV Bash in London, along with 100 others.

Exactly three years ago wrote for the Media Parents blog, little realising the amazing consequences my contribution would have for me and two others.  It was to lead to a series that starts airing on Sky Living at 8pm this Friday.  The piece I originally wrote was a brief but heartfelt comment on ageism in the TV industry and ended with a link to the feature I’d written for the Independent about inherited breast cancer. Weirdly, what happened next had nothing to do with either of those two subjects.

Of course, the connection between the two must have seemed tenuous in the first place.  I was the link. I’d left the BBC in 2008 after a decade of series producing documentaries and features.  The decision came about partly because I felt my age was beginning to affect how people saw me, and also because I yearned to go back to my first passion – print journalism. Pursuing a ‘portfolio career’ of writing and producing explains how I came to be the author of a very personal newspaper article describing how I told my three children that I may have passed a deadly cancer gene on to them.

If you’d asked me then what I expected to happen as a result of the blog, I’d have answered with a shrug. Maybe some readers would take in what I’d said on either of the two issues and even be inspired to act.  It would be nice to think I was an agent of change even in the most minor contributory way.

But a few days later I got an email which changed everything.  It was from a young producer, Lauren Pushkin. She explained that she’d been shooting a documentary on spec with another producer Melissa Cortizo under the working title ‘Becoming Mum’.  They had both been struck at how overwhelming, exhilarating and exhausting the experience of becoming a parent was for them and as they said, ‘nobody warns you’.  They had been filming other women on that same journey, and now they wanted to get their work onto television but weren’t quite sure how to start.

So why me?  Well, they’d read my blog piece and thought I might be able to help. I thought it sounded a bit iffy – after all, who shoots a documentary on spec? At the same time I was hugely intrigued and it was a subject I understood all too well though my children were in their teens by then.  In my newly freewheeling freelance career I had the time and energy to dig deeper.  So when Lauren and Melissa got me into their edit and showed me their rushes, my chin nearly hit the floor.  These guys were serious.  They had assembled a great line-up of characters and shot some truly compelling moments with them. And not just moments either – they had followed stories through for a full six months.

I was overwhelmed with admiration that two young women both with small children could find the time and resources to shoot most of a documentary series with so little help or support from elsewhere.  If they could do this by themselves, then with some infrastructure behind them I thought they would really fly.

Fast forward three years, and the series is about to air on Sky Living. Once it was commissioned by Siobhan Mulholland at Sky TV I stood back, feeling that my job was done. As the months have gone by, I’ve been aware that the long journey has been tortuous at times. Very much like the process of becoming mothers, becoming producers of a six-part broadcast series has been a challenging experience for Lauren and Melissa, their achievement all the greater for that.  But with their talent, energy and huge reserves of creativity, I’m sure this is just the beginning.  I look forward to watching their careers progress.

In one very apt sense, I feel I was the midwife. I simply helped the baby come into the world – of course I’m both amazed and proud to see how she has grown.  Without Media Parents it may never have happened.

Nine Months Later Starts: 8pm Friday 11 July, Sky Living

Gaby Koppel is a freelance Series/Edit Producer and writer, currently working on A Place in the Sun – Home or Away (Freeform Productions for Channel 4)

Media Parents is about to launch its GEITF Back to Work Scheme, please join and watch this space for details.

July 11, 2014 @ 8:51 am Posted in News Comments Off