Media Parents

Author Archives: Amy Walker

About Amy Walker

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

Media Parents Cardiff networking, who’s coming…

by Amy Walker

Media Parents’ latest networking event is on Tuesday 29th April in Cardiff, kindly sponsored by Boom Pictures and Dragonfly Film & TV. If you are an experienced freelancer working in factual or drama we’d love you to join us. We introduce freelancers to employers in a relaxed environment, without the pressure of an interview. Our networking events combine timed “speed networking” sessions, and informal networking. You don’t have to be a parent, you just need to be experienced, as our events are open to people with three or more years’ TV experience. The jobs we advertise are sometimes flexible, sometimes standard TV mayhem. To join us in Cardiff you must be on the guestlist so please see the bottom of this post for details. Meanwhile, here are some of the people who’ll be joining us:

Yvonne Bainton, Head of Production, Dragonfly will be at the Media Parents networking event in Cardiff on April 29th

Yvonne Bainton, Head of Production, Dragonfly

Yvonne became Head of Production in 2013 and had previously worked as a line producer and production manager on some of the biggest shows in factual television, most recently series three of 24 Hours in A&E (Channel 4) at The Garden.  Prior to that she spent two years working on The Apprentice at Boundless Productions.

Yvonne spent eight years as resident line producer at Windfall Films, bringing complex and challenging projects to the screen, including the BAFTA-winning specialist factual series Inside Nature’s Giants (Channel 4/National Geographic), and innovative reality dramas Born With Two Mothers and Richard Is My Boyfriend (both Channel 4).

Dragonfly Executive Producer Sarah Swingler is Bristol-based and will be meeting freelancers in Cardiff at the Media Parents event on April 29th

Sarah Swingler, Executive Producer, Dragonfly

Sarah is the Dragonfly executive in day-to-day control of the company’s flagship series, One Born Every Minute, which she runs out of our satellite headquarters in the West Country. Sarah joined Dragonfly in January 2010.  Since then, she has overseen many of the company’s key programmes, including One Born At Christmas, World’s Toughest Trucker, and The Hotel.

Before joining Dragonfly, Sarah was an executive producer at Darlow Smithson Productions, where she oversaw a wide range of UK and US peak-time output.  Her DSP credits include the BAFTA-nominated Tsunami: Caught on Camera (Channel 4/TLC), Killer in a Small Town: The Ipswich Murders (Channel 4), and Megastructures (FIVE/National Geographic).

Sarah helped to devise the format for the first episode of global format phenomenon Wife Swap, which she also directed.

Nicky Searle, Dragonfly's Head of Talent, has been a staunch supporter of Media Parents and will be joining us again in Cardiff on April 29th.

Nicky Searle, Head of Talent, Dragonfly

After a production career in music, entertainment and event television, spending most of her time interviewing bands and working with key presenters she moved across to talent management in 2007. Most recently she set up the talent department at NBCUniversal International, and prior to that oversaw all production recruitment at Optomen. In six years of talent management she has worked across a variety of genres, from specialist factual to constructed reality.

Nia Thomas, MD, Boom Pictures Cymru

“From small acorns grow great oaks. It all started with youth and music programmes, and we’re incredibly proud of these roots which will continue to flourish within Boom Pictures.” Nia Thomas, MD

Siwan Phillips, Unit Manager, Boom Pictures Cymru

Joanna Adams, HR Manager, Boom Pictures

Paul Islwyn Thomas, Creative Director, Bulb Films

“We collaborate with the best talent to develop projects that are distinctive, make ‘noise’ and are talked about “ Paul Islwyn Thomas

Peter Rogers, Creative Producer, Bait Studio

We work with a diverse range of clients across TV, film, music and advertising, using our design skills to create enticing and arresting visuals for a variety of platforms.

Iain Tweedale, Head of Interactive & Learning, BBC Wales

Iain leads the BBC Online team in Wales with responsibility for the Wales edition of bbc.co.uk, along with interactive productions for network dramas and factual output. As head of BBC Learning in Wales, his team also produces websites such as Bitesize and works on developing learning content from programmes broadcast on BBC One and BBC Two.

Catrin Whitmore, Head of Production Talent, BBC Wales

Julie Scott, Head of Production, Drama

Julie Scott, Head of Production, BBC Wales Drama

I love helping to make television drama which people want to watch and have been lucky enough to work with terrific Executive Producers -Julie Gardner, Piers Wenger and Faith Penhale on their dramas here in Wales written by great writers, including Steven Moffat & Russell T Davies.

As Head of Production, I manage the productions from the development phase, working with the Editorial team to devise how & where to make the dramas, planning production schedules , budgeting , fund raising, through the production shoot , post production and delivery of the episodes to the Channels and Co producers.

I joined BBC Wales Drama when the cybermen invaded Cardiff ( Series 2 of Doctor Who) and we have recently finished shooting the 50th Anniversary special of Doctor Who  in 3D. I have worked on popular Science Fiction dramas such as Torchwood, Sarah Jane Adventures, An Adventure in Space and Time & our successful children’s drama Wizards vs. Aliens  for CBBC.  Also Upstairs Downstairs & the immensely enjoyable Eric and Ernie. I worked closely with the project team who built Roath Lock studios and moved Casualty from Bristol to Roath Lock.  Production Executive on the formative series of Sherlock, Being Human, Merlin, Spooks & New Tricks. My last major series as an Associate Producer was on Pride & Prejudice 18 years ago when Colin Firth as Mr Darcy swam in the lake en route to Pemberley.

Erika Hossington, Series Producer, Casualty

Erika Hossington, Series Producer, Casualty

Erika graduated from Cardiff University with a degree in Music, and after working in music and PR for a number of years, returned to study a postgraduate diploma in Broadcast Journalism.  This launched her television career, initially in music and arts documentary making, and she graduated into television drama a few years later at ITV in Wales.  Erika has been a freelance producer for ten years, producing short films initially, and then making her break into network drama in 2006 when she became a producer on the highly successful BBC Daytime drama, Doctors.

Over the last 5 years, she has developed and produced two new and successful returning drama series, whilst creating a reputation for herself as a producer who makes high quality content on a very challenging budget.  Her work has been watched by record breaking audiences and won numerous awards, with Land Girls lauded for “taking daytime television to a whole new level” (Broadcast Awards Panel 2009).

Erika is now Series Producer on CASUALTY for the BBC.

Wendy Wright, Line Producer, Casualty

Tom Morrey, Drama Talent Manager

I am responsible for all of the recruitment and contracting on BBC Wales Dramas. Working closely with the Line Producers and HoD’s this covers the engagement of fixed term contracts, freelance and casual roles.  The role also involves the training and development of our existing teams, meeting individuals who wish to begin or further their career in Drama and running the BBC Drama Apprentice Scheme.

I am also here to offer advice to production on various subjects including contracting, rates, BBC Policy and Guidelines, expenses, payroll and anything else they come up with!

Leanne Bowcott, Talent Coordinator, Drama

Leanne Bowcott, Talent Coordinator, Drama

I am responsible for the day to day running of the core activities of the Talent Team. The duties include coordinating the recruitment process from initial request through to hire, monitoring the freelance engagements on all of our Productions to ensure they meet BBC and HMRC Guidelines and to liaise with partners in Production Management, Finance, HR and Scheduling.

I manage the CV’s that are sent in to BBC Wales Drama, ensuring they are saved on to our database and sent on to the relevant Productions as required.

Val Turner, Production Executive, Factual and Music, BBC

Val Turner, Production Exec Factual & Music

A mum of 3 who has managed to have a fun and interesting career alongside bringing up a family – certainly a juggling act and part-time working from time to time has made that possible.  Background in recruitment and staff scheduling – as well as training and development.

Over thirty years’ experience in TV and Radio production in BBC Wales – in Radio Wales, Radio 3 and 4, Drama, Education, Events, Factual and Music (both local and network). A wealth of experience specialising as a  location Production Co-ordinator/Production Manager on most continents around the world – before taking a more central role in Factual and Music supporting the Head of Dept planning the wide range of output we deliver currently, from Composer of the Week and The Choir – to Cardiff Singer of the World, Young Musician, Proms in the Park, Choir of the Year, Doctor Who Prom, and various music docs – to One Show inserts and Crimewatch Roadshow on the network Daytime slate – to Crimewatch and Coast on the network Features slate – to Call Centres on the Documentary slate – to Xray, DVLA, 24/7, Weatherman Walking, Welsh Towns, Welsh Greats on our local slate.

Zoe Rushton, Talent Manager Factual & Music

Louise Ring, Talent Coordinator

Louise Ring, Talent Coordinator, Factual and Music

I am responsible for co-ordinating staff for productions  within the Factual and Music department. I am also building relationships with Independents and freelancers from outside the business. On a daily basis I deal with the Talent Manager, Production Managers and Producers, Recruitment and HR  to ensure we are recruiting the best staff for our productions. Duties include pulling together CV’s, organising meet and greets, booking interviews, helping with schedules and working with the schedulers. I am a main point of liaison for the team.

Andrew Weeks, Managing Editor, BBC Wales Sport

Andrew Weeks, Managing Editor, BBC Wales Sport

Andrew oversees the sports output for BBC Wales; home of Scrum V, Y Clwb Rygbi, Sport Wales, Radio Wales Sport, Camp Lawn as well as daily sports news output. Andrew coordinated the 2012 London Olympics on behalf on BBC Wales, and has managed coverage around the 2009 Ashes test in Cardiff; 2010 Ryder Cup at Celtic Manor, and the 2011 Rugby World Cup.  @andrewjweeks

Catherine Morrissey, Talent Manager Sport and Interactive & Learning

Craig Jones, Planning & Production Advisor, Editorial

Craig Jones, Planning & Production Advisor, Editorial

I work with the Head of Production Talent Wales and liaise closely with the Talent Managers/Coordinators to ensure we have appropriately skilled staff to work across all editorial productions when needed. I am responsible for raising/extending contracts, raising/extending attachments and setting the leaving action at the end of contracts for all staff working for the BBC in line with production needs. I am also responsible for investigating financial under/over recoveries based on salary paid to staff and cost reclaimed against each editorial area.

Serena Kennedy, HoP, Love West

Serena Kennedy, HoP, Love West

I’ve been working in television for 19 years. In my capacity as PM and HoP I have looked after series and one offs for all the major broadcasters; BBC, ITV, Channel 4, FIVE, UKTV, Bravo, Discovery. Previously, I was Head of Production at RDF Television West and Maverick Television. My credits span docs, ob docs, daytime, features and new media content amongst others and include high profile shows such as Wifeswap, Secret MIllionaire, Dickinsons Real Deal, Oz and James Drink to Britain, Embarrassing Illnesses, 10 Years Younger and How to Look Good Naked. I’ve worked with companies including Firecracker Films, Doghouse Media, Nutopia and Keo Films.

To meet any of the people listed here at our next event in Cardiff on April 29th, please email your CV with your name, job title and genre in the title bar to events@mediaparents.co.uk

For networking, jobs and great events please join www.mediaparents.co.uk. Our next event is in Cardiff on April 29th, please email your CV with your name, job title and genre in the title bar to events@mediaparents.co.uk

Amy Walker, Media Parents

Amy Walker, Director, Media Parents

Media Parents Director Amy Walker continues to work as a freelance Series Producer. Currently making a series with Kirstie Allsopp for Channel 4, her previous series is now airing on Discovery UK, fronted by Bear Grylls. Amy has worked for all the major broadcasters, in the UK and across five continents for many years. Read more here: http://www.theguardian.com/women-in-leadership/2013/aug/01/parents-working-in-tv

David Postlethwaite, Media Parents

David Postlethwaite, Media Parents

David Postlethwaite comes from a background in production. He was a production executive at the BBC, working across a wide range of programming,  before becoming Head of Production at a number of independents. He has worked with Amy and Media Parents since its inception and realises the importance of flexible working in the modern world.

how to join us in Cardiff on April 29th

Please email your CV, with your name, job title and genre in the title bar, to events@mediaparents.co.uk – and please tell your friends to do the same.

For networking, jobs and great events please join www.mediaparents.co.uk. Our next event is in Cardiff on April 29th, please email your CV with your name, job title and genre in the title bar to events@mediaparents.co.uk

April 18, 2014 @ 4:32 pm Posted in News Comments Off

happy easter from media parents

by Amy Walker

Happy Easter from Media Parents! Celebrate with us in person at our Cardiff Event on April 29th, scroll down for more info.

If you work in factual TV or drama and would like to join us in Cardiff on April 29th there are still places left to network with Love Productions, Dragonfly Film and TV, Boom Pictures, Indus Films, the BBC and others. To reserve a place please email your CV in an email titled with your name, job title and genre, to events@mediaparents.co.uk – please note you need 3+ years TV experience to attend. Thank you, we look forward to seeing you there.

Happy Easter from Media Parents. Check out our website at www.mediaparents.co.uk for great TV jobs, info and networking.

The Cardiff event is kindly hosted by the BBC and sponsored by Boom Pictures and Dragonfly Film & TV. Attendees will be offered the opportunity to meet Execs and Talent Managers in an informal environment with timed networking appointments and more informal free networking. To see photos of a similar recent event, scroll down this blog or go here: http://blog.mediaparents.co.uk/2014/04/media-parents-networking-new-event-on-april-29th/

These took a surprisingly long time.

For networking, jobs and great events please join www.mediaparents.co.uk. Our next event is in Cardiff on April 29th, please email your CV with your name, job title and genre in the title bar to events@mediaparents.co.uk

@ 12:08 pm Posted in News Comments Off

media parents networking… new event on april 29th

by Amy Walker

Some of the 80-strong crowd at the Media Parents networking event in Bristol in 2013. To join us at our Cardiff Event on April 29th please send a CV marked with your name, job title and genre to events@mediaparents.co.uk NOW

Media Parents’ latest networking event is on Tuesday 29th April in Cardiff, kindly sponsored by Boom Pictures and Dragonfly Film & TV. If you are an experienced freelancer working in factual or drama we’d love you to join us. We introduce freelancers to employers in a relaxed environment, without the pressure of an interview. Our networking events combine timed “speed networking” sessions, and informal networking. You don’t have to be a parent, you just need to be experienced, as our events are open to people with three or more years’ TV experience. The jobs we advertise are sometimes flexible, sometimes standard TV mayhem. To join us in Cardiff you must be on the guestlist so please email your CV, with your name, job title and genre in the title bar, to the email address below. Meanwhile enjoy some photos of last year’s networking event in Bristol which was attended by more than 80 freelancers and employers. A good time was had by all.

Thanks to Chris Hutchins and his team at the BBC for hosting and sponsoring the event.

Huge thanks to RDF West who also sponsored the event and employed through it soon afterwards.

Producer Harriet Talley came along to the event, after a break from the industry. She has since been sponsored and mentored through the Media Parents Back to Work Scheme by the BBC.

Indus' Jamie Balment meets a freelancer. We're delighted to say that Boom Pictures, which includes Indus Films, will be sponsoring the Cardiff event.

These events are a lot of work to organise, but a lot of fun when you get to meet people. Media Parents Director Amy Walker, pictured right of frame.

Helen Hagelthorn works part time at the BBC, and worked very hard with us to make the event happen. Thank you!

A big thank you to Dick Colthurst from Tigress Productions for attending.

Icon's Laura Marshall was determined to join us come hell or high water - and she made it.

Thank you to the BBC's Gaynor Scattergood for joining us.

Everyone "Love"d meeting Richard Bowron.

To join us at our next event, see below. Hopefully Steve Wynne will be there too.

To join us at our Cardiff Event on April 29th please send a CV marked with your name, job title and genre to events@mediaparents.co.uk NOW

For networking, jobs and great events please join www.mediaparents.co.uk. Our next event is in Cardiff on April 29th, please email your CV with your name, job title and genre in the title bar to events@mediaparents.co.uk

April 8, 2014 @ 11:36 pm Posted in News Comments Off

5 minutes with Bear Grylls… father and wild man of TV

by Amy Walker

Bear Grylls’ latest series premiered on Discovery UK last night, bursting with life-or-death footage and takeout. He counts summiting Everest and the odd world record amongst his achievements, and his favourite TV show? Duck Dynasty. So how does Bear Grylls balance his family life and demanding TV job? writes Amy Walker.

Extreme scripting.

Being on screen, Bear obviously has a lot of leverage in setting his terms, so I ask him what tips he has for the rest of us on negotiating work and family.  “Guard your family life hard – and when you are working then give it your all. It is possible to do both but requires a little self-discipline and good communication with your loved ones. Although sometimes the wheels do fall off a little – but that is all part of the adventure! I just make sure I prioritise family first and try not to walk too close to the line. It means I tend to film then get home, and say no to a lot of the fluffy celeby stuff that it can be easy for people to get swept along with. (Although I’m lucky in that the sense I am not great with the fluffy celeby stuff anyway!) The other key is learning to say no…”

Bear Grylls is choosy about his projects, but he’s chosen well recently, with Bear Grylls’ Wild Weekends earning him and Stephen Fry a Christmas Day slot on Channel 4. Slighter than he looks on TV, his wiry frame reflects his seemingly constant energy, not a man to sit still, his enthusiasm for this year’s series is palpable: “2014 definitely has our most exciting and diverse programming we have ever done, and the truth is that I have never felt so excited for TV before like this.” A canny entrepreneur, Bear is ever-mindful of the Bear Grylls brand, and, despite working in TV for less than ten years, he has defined and profited from his unique position in the market, setting up his own production company.

Bear Grylls' new series is now showing on Discovery UK http://press.discovery.com/uk/dsc/programs/bear-grylls-extreme-survival-caught-camera/

“We now produce the shows we love and believe in, with the partners we like and trust to deliver, and on networks that support our brand most effectively around the world. For that opportunity I am so grateful and in return I hope we encourage viewers to get out there and live and follow their own adventures. That really is at the heart of the mission for me, and it never fails to make me proud when I see people respond and go for it in their lives. TV is simply a window for people to discover some of that spirit for themselves.”

“I am maybe a little less patient with over-directing nowadays – that is why we tend to co-produce all our shows nowadays so we can pick the right team who I know will get it right first time when it matters. Having ownership in the productions also means I don’t feel so bad cutting down my time away from home or changing dates to make sure I am there for our three boys at key times at school etc. Little things like that matter. It’s no good playing the hero on screen and then not being a hero to the people who really matter.”

Team Grylls.

He’ll never stop adventuring, but is there anything Bear Grylls won’t do now he is a family man? “It is a hard one always this – managing risk along with having a young family – but I have developed a good instinct of what is smart to do and what is not, and I try and listen to that voice. I also know that the wild rewards commitment and that once you commit to something then the best way to tackle it is head on and without doubts. The key is knowing that there is always another option and not being afraid to use that. Ego kills and I always say that if there is any doubt then there is no doubt- we’ll stop, reassess and come up with a smarter plan. I like that dynamic and it has always been at the heart of how we work.”

“We” refers to his team at Bear Grylls Ventures, and in particular his safety producer and stunt co-ordinator Dave Pearce, media parents article here, whom he credits for his hand in the brand’s success “I try and take all the recognition side of [TV] with a bucket of salt, and I never take the success of the shows for granted – I have been very lucky and I so value it as a team effort. My attitude I suppose to TV has changed in the sense that I am now aware how few shows get the chance to keep rolling on and on, and how fortunate I have been. In the early days I just took it for granted that the show would always be recommissioned season after season. (In fact if anything I used to get a bit annoyed because I wanted a break from it but couldn’t seem to take one!) Now I realise how competitive it is and how blessed I have been with good timing and a few key breaks.”

...Dave Pearce is never far away (see above).

He seems to be on good terms with Discovery again after his key break with them at least.  So where does he think TV is going, and how is he responding to that? “People watch TV more to be entertained rather than to learn – the key is helping people learn cool stuff whilst entertaining them. That is always our goal. Great TV takes people on a journey and empowers people to go for it in their life, and if you can make people smile along the way then great!”

So did his parents’ own choices affect his career, and how would he feel about his children following in his footsteps? “My late dad had been a commando and a climber and his skills definitely inspired me to want to learn that stuff as a kid. He always used to say you have got to follow your dreams and look after your friends along the way. I want to pass that on to our three boys. I am not sure any of them would want to do TV as they are all quite spirited and tend to take the mick out of my shows mercilessly! I also suspect they’ll all want to forge their own path. I mean currently Jesse wants to be a bush pilot, marmaduke a farmer and Huckleberry a lifeboat man, so lets see!”

Bear Grylls’ Website
Bear Grylls’ Discovery Series

April 7, 2014 @ 9:31 pm Posted in News Leave a comment

5 minutes with… offline editor & fundraiser Alison Hunt

by Amy Walker

I’m a media mum with 2 gorgeous children Oliver aged 8 & Ashleigh 7, writes Media Parents offline editor Alison Hunt.

Offline editor Alison Hunt with her two children. Alison is currently raising money for BAFTA's Children's Hospices Screenings by running the London Marathon. To sponsor her please see below.

Despite working as an editor for some of the biggest indies for nearly 20 years, I’ve set myself the biggest challenge of my life this year – I am running the London Marathon. I wish I had tried this lifelong goal earlier in my life… but I’ve finally managed to get a place now I’m 45!  So the challenge is even greater.

I’m am running for BAFTA, which, as part of the Duke’s Charities Forum and HRH The Duke of Cambridge’s patronage of BAFTA, is raising funds to support a series of special Children’s Hospice screenings for children with life-limited conditions and their families throughout the UK.

To support BAFTA screenings, please sponsor Alison now. (Photo: Huw John).

It’s a great charity.  As mother of 2 happy healthy children I can’t imagine the difficulties these families go through.  BAFTA hopes the screenings can give these children a very special experience and treasured memory that they otherwise would find extremely difficult to access.

After having children and turning 40 I gave up my dream of ever running a Marathon as I thought I was too old, and my joints couldn’t take it.  But last year I started running 3 times a week, and after doing a 15k in October I decided I would give it a go. Training has been tough as it has been all through the winter.  Working full-time and long hours, the only time I could fit it in was before the kids got up.  So I have been running 3 times a week at 6.30 in the morning in the cold and dark, and doing my long run at the weekends whilst the kids were in activities.

Alison has been editing full time and traing before work at 6:30 three times a week. Alison's donation page: http://uk.virginmoneygiving.com/AlisonHunt28

Lighter mornings in February made it a little easier, but then in March the training really kicked in as the weekly mileage went up, and up and up. In March alone I clocked up 133 miles (214km).  Luckily for me I had a gap in my schedule around the most intense time training-wise, which allowed me to do my longest runs on consecutive Mondays – 20 miles (3 hrs 25 mins) & 22 miles (3hrs 40 mins).

BAFTA Glasgow Screening.

There are now just 10 days to go now until the event on Sunday April 13th.  I am on target to run it in about 4hrs 15 mins.  Now I have to look after myself, eat well and do a few more short runs so I am totally prepared for the big day.

Also I am now focussed on raising as much money as I can for the Childrens Hospices. Every pound that is raised will spur me on to the finish line to not only achieve a lifetime goal, but also raise money for a very worthy charity.  So please visit my Virgin Money Giving page, there are various links on there with more information.

My page: http://uk.virginmoneygiving.com/AlisonHunt28

https://www.bafta.org/about/giving/sponsor-a-bafta-marathon-runner,4152,BA.html

http://www.bafta.org/about/giving/bafta-christmas-hospice-screenings-2012,3627,BA.html

http://www.mediaparents.co.uk/freelancers/8591/alison-hunt

Alison Hunt has been working full time as an editor for nearly 20 years working on Documentaries, Reality Programmes and Factual Entertainment shows for BBC, C4, C5, Discovery, Nat Geo and Sky.

She has worked for most of the big production companies including RDF, Renegade, Boundless Productions, Mentorn, Twenty Twenty, Betty, Silver River and Wall to Wall.

For networking, jobs and great events please join www.mediaparents.co.uk. Our next event is in Cardiff on April 29th, please see our site for details.

April 3, 2014 @ 12:35 am Posted in News Leave a comment

5 minutes with… self-funding Producer Martin Wells

by Amy Walker

It was the beginning of 2013 when Director Colin Gardiner approached me with an idea for a self funded doco, writes Producer / PD Martin Wells. After reading up on Gig boat racing and chatting to Richard, another friend Colin had asked to help, we decided to get involved. With a very small budget, the adventure to make Blood Sweat & Oars began.

Media Parents Martin Wells with his colleague and fellow Media Parent Colin Gardiner on the award winning self funded documentary they made. http://www.mediaparents.co.uk/freelancers/4203/martin-wells http://www.mediaparents.co.uk/freelancers/5288/colin-gardiner

It took most of 2013 to produce, film and post produce. We decided to set up Tall Dog as a production company, even though we are all freelancers we felt an umbrella was needed to be taken seriously as a production company, albeit a small one. My own background has been as an editor for many years, before moving into directing and producing, along with doing more and more EP work. Colin’s background is similar, an editor for the past twenty years, and then a successful director in advertising and corporate docs. Richard has been a cameraman and DOP for many years and is one of the best in the business.

We also had the help of three other cameramen during the filming on the isles, along with using 5 go-pro’s to capture the sound and effort from on-board the gigs during the races. Wrangling the footage was done by us all after a race and often during races, so that was a challenge. As for post production. We can’t thank Films at 59 in Bristol enough for their help and support. They were an absolute wonder and nothing was too much.

The Project was to follow the Clevedon Gig boat club as they trained over the winter in preparation for the Gig Boat world Championships on the Isles of Scilly. What is it? Well the boat is a 9.8 metre hand made wooden ocean going rowing boat. It holds 6 rowers using old style large wooden oars and a cox who directs them and steers.

At weekends the giggers religiously rise from their bed at 5.30 am to get to a training session in the Bristol docks or on the Clevedon sea front. The weather is irrelevant; frosty morning, torrential rain…and sometimes even sunshine! On top of this already punishing training routine many attend equally strenuous training sessions in the gym 2-3 nights a week.

The regattas, which the club take part in, are a great spectacle of both camaraderie and competition. On land the atmosphere is friendly, a real community spirit. This all changes on the open sea, where no holds are bared in the race to the line, some 4 miles away. Signalled by the dropping of a flag on a distance boat, there is an explosion of oars in the sea, of cries of effort and determination, of screamed instructions from the cox. They pull as much sea past them as they can, as quickly as they can. Faces tell the story of the pain and the effort, the blowing cheeks as the air is sucked deep into the lungs to fuel another stroke. And all the time, behind this huge effort they concentrate on the technique of blade through the water as efficiently as possible.

The most extraordinary change has been amongst the women members of the club. Woman in there 40’s and 50’s have been propelled into overdrive as this passion for gig racing has taken hold. This level of dedication throws up many personal issues as they completely re-order their lives to accommodate this obsession. As a consequence there is now a new group of men in Clevedon, those who choose not to get involved in the sport, but their wives do. They are referred to in polite conversation as the ‘gigging widowers’.

After completion of the film we decided to start marketing our wares. To this end we have entered it into various festivals including The renowned Canadian international Film Festival in Vancouver. This festival attracts over 700 entries from over 30 countries, including many from Hollywood. So when we had a call saying we had won the award for excellence in film making, we were over the moon and slightly shocked when you consider the competition. The first thing we did when we found out, was to laugh. I don’t think we could quite believe it. Now it’s been great as we are getting the attention we believe it and the team deserve. The film is off to MIP and is in the catalogue. We also have the help of Sally Kenchington of Brightside films, who’s doing some nifty marketing and getting it in front of people for us. As for the next project. We are working of some ideas that are unique.

http://www.mediaparents.co.uk/freelancers/4203/martin-wells

http://www.mediaparents.co.uk/freelancers/5288/colin-gardiner

For networking, jobs and great events please join www.mediaparents.co.uk.

March 29, 2014 @ 7:12 pm Posted in News Leave a comment

february 13th event: The HoP’s Dream Shoot Guide

by Amy Walker

Shift 4 are running Media Parent’s HOP’s Dream Shoot Guide on Thursday 13th February. It’s free to members and open to all, so join us for a spot of networking with Raw TV, October Films, Mentorn, Crackit, Pioneer, Alaska, Flame and Dragonfly to name but a few, and to pick up great tips for shoots - see below to get a ticket. Here Shift 4’s Amy Swan explains why the facilities hire company is keen to hear the experiences of HOPs, PMs and Self-Shooters and share its advice on how the production process could be made smoother and more cost effective.

Amy Swan moved from Series Producing to Marketing & Business Development for Shift 4 after she had her two children. Pictured here at the Media Parents CV surgery in November.

Perfect planning, ideal weather, faultless crew, exemplary kit, great lunch, well-timed schedule, nothing missed and all on budget. Does this sound like a shoot of yours?!

As well as sharing our tips and suggestions, we’ll open the floor for discussion with the Heads of Production, Production Managers and Self-Shooters attending, plus we’ll have a range of our cameras available for you to see and try.

Pulling everything together to make the dream shoot a reality isn’t an easy job. With so much to consider and a myriad of unpredictable factors, the most crucial stage of the production process can often turn into a nightmare, especially when it comes to the finances.

The Shift 4 team who are sponsoring the event : From L to R, Alex Trezies (MD), Amy Swan (Marketing and Business Development), Alex Thompson (MD)

Shift 4 have over 20 years of experience supporting clients’ creative aspirations, sharing technical knowledge and helping shoot plans come to fruition. Known as the ‘boutique’ kit hire company, our demos, training, crews and equipment have resulted in a solid reputation built on recommendation and long-lasting relationships. We can’t control the weather and we’re not great at catering but we do have masses of suggestions of ways shoots could work better and money could be saved. And for me, 10 years working in production prior to joining Shift 4 has shown me both sides of the fence, with a unique take on how efficiency and spending can be improved.

So if you want to know the benefits of involving a facilities company early in your production process, or strategies to get the best out of self-shooters and avoid bills for missing kit, or insider knowledge on cost-saving kit items then reserve your place at the event here :

https://www.eventbrite.co.uk/e/the-hops-dream-shoot-guide-tickets-9417775821

The next Media Parents events will take place on Feb 13th in Central London. For networking, jobs and great events please join www.mediaparents.co.uk. Happy New Year!

January 24, 2014 @ 8:55 am Posted in News Comments Off

New year, new CV, new job…

by Amy Walker

There is no excuse for starting a new year with a sloppy CV, and it’s not going to get you the job you want. Media Parents’ Amy Walker urges you to spring clean your credits and get a job with our top 3 CV tips from Media Parents, and links to tips from many of the employers who work with us. Sort it out and let us know how you get on!

Cver 70 freelancers attended the latest Media Parents CV Surgery and got some great advice.

top 3 CV tips to get you started:

1. The top third of the first page of your CV is the most important part – make it relevant! Employers see this on their screen, and if they don’t see anything relevant to the job in hand they may not scroll down.

2. Start with your name, job type and contact details – this can be just your phone number and email address. If you want to start with a biog make this 3 sentences at the very most, including any awards. You need to get to your relevant credits quickly! No relevant credits? Don’t apply this time.

3. Your CV should be TWO pages ONLY, no matter how experienced you are. You need to show employers that you can select relevant material. Credits over 8 years old are largely irrelevant, so condense them or lose them.

Want more advice? There are tips here:

http://blog.mediaparents.co.uk/2013/10/media-parents-cv-tips-from-the-cv-event/

and here

http://blog.mediaparents.co.uk/2013/11/media-parents-at-bbc-cymru/

and here are some of the tips a freelancer got at one of our events

http://blog.mediaparents.co.uk/2013/06/5-minutes-with-paul-leyshon-director-producer/

more here

http://blog.mediaparents.co.uk/2011/11/media-parents-cv-event-london-gallery-and-tips/

and here

http://blog.mediaparents.co.uk/2010/10/media-parents-cv-event-wisdom-2/

That’s enough now!

The next Media Parents event will be in February 2014 please keep an eye on @mediparents and www.mediaparents.co.uk for details. For networking, jobs and great events please join www.mediaparents.co.uk Happy New Year!

January 12, 2014 @ 11:47 am Posted in News Comments Off

TXing this month… Time for School, Sixth Sense Media

by Amy Walker

The latest  show from Sixth Sense, Time For School, transmits in January: weekdays on CBeebies from Monday 6th January at 1630. The fly on the wall series, aimed at little ones and shot in two very different primary schools, follows two classes of Reception children throughout their first term at Big School.

Time for School by 6th Sense TXes from Jan 6th.

Time For School is an exciting and ground-breaking fly-on-the-wall pre-school series following the ups and downs of real Reception children as they enter big school for the first time – and embark upon the greatest adventures of their lives. Our cameras will capture every aspect, big and small, of this unfamiliar but fun journey, in an entertaining and heart-warming observational documentary style.

From first day nerves and finding where to hang their coat, to school lunches, lessons, play and PE, we’ll be there every step of the way as our young pupils embark upon their first term’s journey of discovery. From daily goings on to special celebrations (Diwali, Bonfire Night, Christmas), CBeebies’ viewers will be immersed into the everyday lives of our chosen children.

The series are shot on location at two contrasting schools. Mere Green Combined School is in Sutton Coldfield, Birmingham and is a suburban single-form entry school reflective of those found up and down the country. The other site is a federation of schools in picturesque Northumberland. The handful of students at the tiny Holy Island School learn together in one classroom, with one teacher. When the tide allows, they cross from their island home to learn alongside the class of children at Lowick School on the mainland.

Time For School will be shot from September to December 2013 throughout the Autumn term and will begin transmitting in January 2014. It is a Sixth Sense Media Limited Production fro CBeebies. Executive Producers are Nick Wilson and MD of Sixth Sense, Sallyann Keizer.

For more info about Time For School take a look at the CBeebies website:
http://www.bbc.co.uk/cbeebies/time-for-school

http://www.6sense.co.uk/Home.html

The next Media Parents events will be in 2014 please keep an eye on @mediparents and www.mediaparents.co.uk for details. For networking, jobs and great events please join www.mediaparents.co.uk

January 8, 2014 @ 10:52 pm Posted in News Comments Off

5 minutes with… Dave Pearce, Bear Grylls’ Stunt & Safety Producer

by Amy Walker

Dave Pearce’s first job in TV was guiding a small crew on the North face of Everest in 2006. Naturally! Here Dave talks to Amy Walker about working with Bear Grylls and managing family and working life: “I’d just left the services and the expedition leader needed someone to guide the camera people. I’d been to Everest before, summited in 2003. I’ve always loved the mountains, and had a draw to the bigger ones, so it was a total privilege.”

Dave Pearce, far right, hard at work securing Team Bear Grylls

“Rupert Day was the PD, the crew were Brits less two Canadian camera ops who had good backgrounds in mountain photography. The show was a doc following British service people making an ascent of the west ridge of Everest. We had to turn back close to summit.” I ask if this was disappointing, but Dave Pearce is definitely one of those guys who treats triumph and disaster both the same: “It was the right decision or people wouldn’t have come back. Base camp right below north face. It was completely different from the first time I summited – this time there were [TV] people who had not been in that extreme altitude environment – there were budget constraints, so there was just me guiding the camera team [the climbing team guides rotated] and we spent more time going up and down the mountain – I lost a lot of weight keeping them safe and filming…” Eventually the camera operator turned back, so Dave picked up the camera himself  “I took camera and filmed what I could – at 8000m alone, waiting for the others to come up the mountain – no one in the world was higher than that.”

It was a tough first TV gig by most people’s standards but it didn’t put him off. The appeal for Dave was always the challenge, but with TV “I liked all the different layers of challenge.” Acting as liaison between a TV crew and servicemen was a challenge he was well-placed to handle, but leaving his family was “Harder at the start… you get desanitised to it – my oldest was 14. Youngsters – all they need to know, is that you’re coming back. As long as they know you’re coming back that’s all that matters. Normal routine is best – long difficult goodbyes makes it worse.”

Dave spent three months on the mountain with a satellite phone – “Calls home from camp were one a week from the sat phone or less, on the mountain less. Jane [Mrs. Pearce] had been through that before during my 25 years in the British Commandos – if you’re used to it you have a way of dealing with it. Writing a letter by yak would arrive at the same time you get home.”

Pearce didn’t have a plan to work in TV at all. But soon after the Everest trip Bear Grylls contacted him to work on the Man V. Wild show –  “I turned it down initially because I had another commitment. They wanted me to fly out tomorrow, typical TV…” They managed to make it work eventually.

Just another day at the office for Stunt & Safety Producer Dave Pearce.

Pearce also took part in an expedition to Greenland with Bruce Parry – this time in front of camera. “We were reenacting the Scott and Amundsen race to the Pole in period kit. On a personal level it was really interesting to me to see what it was like living on the ice cap in that way with dogs and sledges. It was a hard environment – when I look back on the camera ops on that trip who weren’t really up to it. I think what they wanted was splits on the team but we had a right laugh and had to work together to survive. We’re still all great buddies now.” Because the aim of the show was to replicate the experience of the period the on-camera team were allowed no communication at all outside the camp for 3 months. Whilst Pearce enjoyed the experience, he is modest about his on screen presence “Being on screen is not a motivation of mine… Bear’s a good example of someone who is very good at talking to camera.”

Wherever Bear is...

What’s it like working with Bear Grylls? “You never know what it’s going to be like from one day to the next – I love his passion,” says Pearce, “He’s got incredible energy and presence – a bundle of energy and drive and let’s get it done. Bear’s a very talented guy in the outdoors – he has amazing balance and co-ordination. He’s the easy part I find, it’s obviously sorting the cameras that’s trickier. We work very collaboratively – he’ll have his ideas most definitely – we discuss the risks and our different approaches – I try to work around him, add a bit, take a bit away. Together we can add 50% more to what either one of us would think about individually.”

“Man v Wild was a good formula, it worked – we wanted to push the boundaries with the creative content and ways to do things. There’s no point doing something unless you push boundaries. That’s the show I’m most proud of. Yeah because there were so many components – and a well-oiled team.”

...Dave Pearce is never far away (see above).

The people are Dave Pearce’s motivation for staying with TV. “I could only operate in the genre of tv I work in – I like the people. Some people can’t handle it because it seems dysfunctional and the creative side doesn’t seem organized – I like it because it’s so different from my background – boarding school and the Commandos are institutionalized – I like the mess of tv. I love trying to make things happen – “you’ll never do that” is a red rag to a bull.  I love the rigging of big stunts – cameras in right places – sometimes on hoof – often a river higher than when we recceed – so we are trying to find different places on the fly. Bear is a master of that too.”

Pearce deals with that pressure with the attitude “’It’s only TV’ – it’s about making sure that everybody knows what’s going on so we are all safe. In years of Man V. Wild we’ve had a broken nose and a couple of cracked ribs – that’s the underlying thing for me [the safety.] The shows are a great by-product of that.”

Pearce has a routine for safety on set – “The recces beforehand are really important so that we plot the day and the director gets the best out of it. Then on the shoot I always give a quick brief – so everyone knows what is going to happen. I work with a great team – I always make sure I’ve got adequate resources – where the cameras are going – is [climbing / safety] kit correct – everything is double-checked and everyone’s tied in properly. When the event is happening there is minimal chat – people aren’t on the radios when the cameras are rolling, and there is strong leadership in place.

I love it when everyone is ok and the camera guys and director are saying ‘Whoa! that was great!’”.

Pearce is careful, and experienced but he isn’t complacent, “Situations that worry me most are rivers and glaciers because they are dynamic – always moving. Hanging someone off a 300ft cliff – I wouldn’t say it’s basic but the risks are minimal but people swimming down rivers with cameras is at some point out of control.”

Dave Pearce is in the Media Parents Network. http://www.mediaparents.co.uk/collaborator/7937/dave-pearce

When I speak to Dave Pearce he has just had an email from Bear telling him that their latest episode of Bear Grylls’ Wild Weekends, produced by betty and featuring Stephen Fry, will go out in primetime on Christmas Day. He is typically modest about it. “TV is a lot of hard work but worth it. There are lots of other shows going on. Bear is always pushing for the next project and growing things.” Dave Pearce will be there with him, a steady force, he’s got Bear’s back, and having worked briefly with him I’d say you can trust Dave Pearce to bring you back alive.

Bear Grylls’ Wild Weekend with Stephen Fry will TX on Christmas Day, 8:30pm, Channel 4

The next Media Parents events will be in 2014 please keep an eye on @mediparents and www.mediaparents.co.uk for details. For networking, jobs and great events please join www.mediaparents.co.uk Merry Christmas.

December 19, 2013 @ 11:33 am Posted in News Leave a comment