Media Parents

Posts categorised as: Freelancer Profiles

Karen Richardson Experienced SP seeks telly husband/wife for job share

by Amy Walker

**Experienced SP seeks telly husband/wife for job-share adventures a-plenty!**

Series Producer Karen Richardson at Media Parents Job Share Event

Actually, like a real floozy, writes Series Producer Karen Richardson, I seek as many job share partners as possible. Since discussing job share at the Media Parents Job Share event recently, it’s becoming clear that job-share partnerships can chop and change from one contract to the next depending on the nature of the job; the dates and general life events!  So, the more the merrier I say! If you’re interested in applying for the Media Parents Back to Work Scheme as a jobshare then please contact me through Media Parents too – applications close on Saturday 10th August.

The concept of job-sharing has been an epiphany for me!  It’s the only feasible way for me to do the job I love.   The role of Series Producer is intense so knowing that your job-share buddy is working when you are not (and vice versa) just fills me with utter joy!  It’s fair to say that I have become quite zealous about the idea of job-sharing as a way of staying in a senior role at a time in life when full-time roles are difficult either because of caring responsibilities or because you have other interests which you wish to dedicate time to and which make you a well-rounded, interesting human!

If the Political Editors of The Guardian; the CEOs of the Judicial Studies Board and the Head of Media & Campaigns at Macmillan Cancer Trust, the Series Editors on Unreported World – to name but a few – can job share successfully, in some case for decades, then it sure as hell can be done more in the world of TV.  One just needs a “can do” attitude.  And let’s be honest, if you’ve carved out a successful career in TV then you’ll have that in bucket loads anyway.

SP Karen Richardson in the crowd at Media Parents Job Share Event, sponsored by West Digital

For more job-sharing zealotry you can follow me @tellymumma an account I created to chart my return to the world of TV and the joy of the job-share and to up-skill my incredibly basic understanding of social media!

My skills as a Series Producer are, I promise, far more adept.  I’m an experienced Features, Fact Ent and Popular Factual SP returning to production after a 4-year maternity break and available to work from mid/end October.

I’ve a lot of experience in competition formats and tackling all the compliance and legal issues these generate and have SP’d several first series including The Great Pottery Throw Down for BBC2 and One Born: What Happened Next for More4 – the two series of which I am proudest.

Apply for the Media Parents Back to Work Scheme by August 10th, and join us for Media Parents Back to Work Drinks in September

Pottery was a behemoth of a series and at its peak we had a team of close to 80 on set and in the edits.  One Born on the other hand was a team of 6, with two newbie Shooting PD’s who had never cut an hour show in the edit before.  Completely different series to make but both encapsulate everything I love about TV – the stories of ordinary peoples’ extraordinary lives told with fondness, compassion, humour, warmth, curiosity and honesty.   Be it baking, pottery, property or parenting, I want to know everything about the world we’re entering and the people whose stories we’re telling.  This means I always ensure that my team and myself get out to meet and speak with people as early as possible at the start of a production since I believe this is how the best stories are found and the best TV is made.

Over the past couple of months I’ve spent a lot of time getting back in touch with all my old contacts – and making new ones – as I spread the word about returning to SP’ing in a job-share capacity.  This means I now have lots of people – genuinely interested in the idea of job-sharing SP’s – to e-mail for work once I’ve found my job-share partner.

Inspired by the Media Parents Job Share event, there is a small, but steadily growing WhatsApp group of SPs interested in job-sharing (several of us, myself included, are happy to consider Edit Producer roles to fill gaps in-between SP gigs) so – if you like what you’ve read – please get in touch with me via Media Parents.

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August 6, 2019 @ 3:06 pm Posted in Events, Freelancer Profiles, TV Returners Leave a comment

5 minutes with PM Natalie Brook Reynolds

by Amy Walker

I came into production management via a very different route to most people, writes Media Parents’ PM Natalie Brook Reynolds.

PM Natalie Brook Reynolds moved over from theatre where she worked with Sir Charles Dance

I trained as a stage manager in theatre and was a fairly successful Company Stage Manager for 12 years, my last show being Shadowlands with Charles Dance in the West End. More about that later – my career has evolved into PMing for TV and I’ve even set up a virtual PM business where I work from home for smaller companies that need ad hoc PM support. Back to how it all began…

I found that my stage management skills were very transferable and was asked back to again a year later. I was still working as a freelancer stage managing as well, but didn’t want the life of having to go out on tour for weeks/month on end especially as I had met my partner David at around the same time – moving into TV was appealing and slowly I started to move across.

At first, I worked for various production companies as a PC and then moving onto PM, because of my quick problem solving skills I seem to appeal to short form TV companies, although I have done long form, live studio and current affairs.

In 2016 I agreed to take a rolling freelancer PM role with Global Media and Entertainment in the VideoLab team which produced branded content and of course all the video content from their yearly OB events. I ended up staying nearly 2 years as Senior Production Manager with lots of my additional duties encompassing what can be described a hybrid of HOP/Production Accountant strands to my role. I would often be looking after 20 plus cost managers of video projects that were going on, managing up to 6 producers reporting into me, freelance editors and the permanent editor.

Within my time there I also put systems in place including a new cost manager and a 37-page financial management report which allowed business decisions to be made for the department.  I had the most fantastic boss who championed her team’s development and mine. By the time I decided to move on I was extremely proud of what I had done and the difference I had made to the video teams but I wanted new challenges.

I returned to freelancing, however last year I had an accident. I fell on a glass vase cutting the artery and all the tendons to the fingers on my right hand and had a 6 hour op to repair the damage. Over the last year I have had extensive hand therapy and recovered well, in this time I have worked, I was even back freelancing a week after the accident! It has made me reflect on work life balance and now I would love to work more part-time.

Currently I am still freelancing and am holiday covering the PM at Otro until the 9th July full time, but after this I am interested in short term freelance contracts in July and August ideally 4 days a week and am happy to do holiday cover and then ideally from 15th September to do more part-time freelance roles 3-4 days a week. If I can bring my skills to your company please get in touch:

https://www.mediaparents.co.uk/freelancers/413/natalie-brook-reynolds

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June 24, 2019 @ 6:55 am Posted in Freelancer Profiles Leave a comment

5 minutes with returning PM Hannah Williams

by Amy Walker

Media Parents Back to Work Scheme 2019 has opened for applications – yes it’s back! To get an application form or recommend a friend drop us a line c/o www.mediaparents.co.uk contact button.

I cannot express how much difference the Media Parents Back to Work Scheme made to reigniting both my career and my confidence writes PM Hannah Williams. (Hannah is currently looking to fill a gap before her next contract, so if you need a PM let her know: https://www.mediaparents.co.uk/freelancers/11460/hannah-williams-lovell)

PM Hannah Williams, 2nd from right top, with the other 2018 Back to Work Scheme Winners at Edinburgh

Since returning last August I was mentored by the wonderful Becky Parkinson at Merman. After a lovely chat and first meeting I suddenly found myself as one of the Merman team managing the Post in the UK for Frayed – an extremely exciting, funny and brilliantly written new comedy drama by Sarah Kendall.

This mainly involved coordinating Australian and UK post to work harmoniously together, as the show was shot (predominantly) in Australia and post was being split between the two countries. It couldn’t have been more perfect as it was almost exclusively home-based, aside from a few meetings or visits to the post facility in Soho.

I split 3 days across 5 which worked perfectly around my 3 children. Working with Australia came in quite handy when my children are creatures of unsociable hours anyway so I could catch up with the team in Melbourne first thing/last thing and still pick up/drop off my children at school. It just required a bit of multi-tasking and careful use of my time.

Hannah Williams gets back up to speed with industry events at Ed TV Fest

In my first few weeks back to work I felt slightly rusty but Becky was inordinately supportive and I knew I could always ask if I needed help. As it turns out, maternity leave hadn’t sapped all traces of experience and I found that I settled back into it quite quickly and loved it. Initially the contract was 6 months but I was kept on for a while longer and am hoping to rejoin them at some point in the future.

Since Merman, I took on some pre-production for a new children’s animation (which was also working exclusively from home) and am now actively looking for my next venture.

I think what this process has taught me is that I may have been out of the industry over enormous changes to tapeless or 4K but technical gaps can be answered by a simple question (or extensive google). Even the people who haven’t left the industry are still asking questions and are learning. Skills will never leave you but new knowledge can always be obtained if you need it.

The invaluable pep talk with Amy at the beginning of this journey, all those months ago in Edinburgh, still rings in my head today. Even if you have been out it does not erase all the hard work you have put in prior to babies. You are still the same person as you were with the same skills and the same talent so never make excuses for yourself.

Back to Work Scheme Winners Hannah Williams and Melissa Bishop at Media Parents Summer Party

The scheme has helped me hold onto that and regain the confidence to still see myself as a valuable asset, even if I have to be more specific about my hours and work schedule. So thank you Amy for calling me from your holiday when I had emailed you in two minds about the scheme. I really appreciated that as the support from Media Parents and the mentors from this scheme has been invaluable.

And to those of you who are a little shaky about going back to work or are thinking about applying for this year’s Back to Work Scheme if it goes ahead – DO IT! The worst that can happen is that you meet some amazing people, gain invaluable networking skills and get to have an incredible mentor and new network to support you. And if that’s the worst that can happen then you have no excuse!

https://www.mediaparents.co.uk/freelancers/11460/hannah-williams-lovell

June 21, 2019 @ 6:31 am Posted in Events, Freelancer Profiles, TV Returners, TV Training Comments Off

5 minutes with Ginny Bing: Producer Director&Edit Producer

by Amy Walker

I am a self-confessed property addict with a real passion for houses, interiors and antiques writes PD / Edit Producer Ginny Bing.  My interest has led me to working on many series on these subjects.  I’ve filmed people doing up houses, buying property and antiques at auction, I’ve debated interiors styles and filmed with many leading interior designers.

PD Ginny Bing networking at the Media Parents Cardiff event.

I love nothing better than looking at property online, in the flesh, debating areas and assessing whether a house is a bargain, a potential gold mine or a disaster zone. Although I was born and brought up in London I  developed a taste for looking at property in the country. What kind of house would I live in if I could live anywhere?

What kind of house would I live in if I could live anywhere? Ginny Bing, PD & Property Developer

The poacher turned gamekeeper and I became a property search agent, using my contacts in London and abroad to find the most amazing houses for wealthy clients.  It was a chance to see how the other half live. I accompanied one client on a private jet out to Lake Como so that I could show him a house I had heard about on the grapevine.  I hunted for dream homes in London, Italy and the South of France.

My TV experience spans a wide range of factual entertainment and obs docs for BBC, ITV, Channel 4 and Five as well as channels overseas. Recent TV jobs include: Edit Producer on a new series for Channel 4: ‘Sun, Sea And Brides To Be’, which is currently airing on Saturdays at 3.30pm on Channel 4.

https://www.mediaparents.co.uk/freelancers/476/ginny-bing

I recently renovated a former coach house in the Wiltshire countryside outside Bath. When I’m not working in TV you can find me working on my current house in Wiltshire and advising people on buying and selling property in Bath and the surrounding areas.

Access Ginny Bing’s profile via Media Parents here:

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February 8, 2019 @ 1:03 pm Posted in Freelancer Profiles Leave a comment

When You Actually Want Your Career to go Sideways… Mark Aldridge

by Amy Walker

Sooo, I just finished my first novel writes Exec / Series Producer Mark Aldridge.

Mark Aldridge, left of frame, at Media Parents CV Event

The small group of friends and trusted colleagues who have read it, really rate it. I hold the 292 pages of manuscript in my hands like it’s a new baby. It’s warm, it’s got a nice smell. It’s not exactly cuddly and adorable but it’s much loved all the same. There’s over nine months of development there and … Yeah, that’s enough of the baby similarities I think. Having finished the obligatory tweaking, proofing and editing, I send it over to my agent. Warren’s been reading it as we go along, full of his usual encouragement, but I’m looking forward to his opinion on what I consider to be the finished article… But that feedback will have to wait a couple of weeks.

I’m a father of 8-year-old twins and they were front-of-mind when I took a sideways step with my career. Perhaps inevitably, stepping sideways also means taking a hit with your income. I made a deal with my partner, we agreed I could do the book for a limited period of time, in our case a year. I just made it.

Now, it’s all about finding a job back in TV. I’ve had a steady stream of freelance work that’s fitted in around writing the book, but now it’s finished, I need to get back to the day job. So, the next few weeks are all about re-establishing connections and getting myself back on people’s radars as an Exec / SP in Production or Development.

I’m a story-teller. In the end, isn’t all TV about telling a good yarn? So, if anyone’s reading this who’s on the lookout, I’m combining my EP experience with my writing and looking for development roles, as well as broader EP or SP gigs. The storytelling was front and centre when I developed Channel 4’s ‘Utopia’ and I recently put it into action again working with the ‘Simon’s Cat’ team at Endemol Shine. But I’ve also applied storytelling on a wider scale. With ‘Rooftop Rainforest’, we told a compelling tale that ran right through the backbone of Sky TV. We built a living, breathing rainforest, with over a thousand plants and trees, on top of the Westfield shopping centre. The story encompassed Sky’s rainforest charity, gave the CEO an ideal location to address the great and the good and, of course, delivered two hours of high-end documentary to SkyOne.

Mark Aldridge and the Football Tonight team

So, whilst I wait for the response to putting the TV wheels in motion, I thought I’d note down some lessons I’ve learned over the year.

When You Actually Want Your Career to go Sideways…

If you’re considering a sideways step, be prepared to start near the bottom. You may be a hotshot in your established career, but you’re a noob in the other one. Sure, there will be a ton of transferable skills, but you will be competing with those who are already established.

Before you begin, set yourself a timeline for how long you (and family) are prepared to give it. Real change, change for good, change for the better, takes time. And your new career choice will have consequences for those who around you. They will need to be flexible too.

If you give yourself twelve months, like I did, know that you have a great deal of time there for development. If you stay focussed, you are going to be improving dramatically in that time. For me, the important thing was simply to get going. Then it got better. What was really curious was looking back at those early first steps and seeing how my writing had evolved over the year.

There’s another benefit too, this one’s probably the best one, your year of going sideways will certainly put what you did before into perspective. You’ll be able to see all the plus points and identify some of the negatives from your previous job. That can help guide you going forward. Hell, you’ll probably find what you’ve learned over the year supports your original career and that can only be a good thing.

I’ve set up a site, manwithseveralhats.com, that’s me. Two of the hats have gone sideways from TV production. Consultancy is one. Writing is the other.

So, I’ve got three hats right now. That’s enough. Any more and I’d be spread too thinly. As I say on the website, I’d be a very skinny hat, I’d be a Beret.

www.mediaparents.co.uk/freelancers/4258/mark-aldridge

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October 29, 2018 @ 9:34 am Posted in Freelancer Profiles, How To Leave a comment

Back to Work as a HETV Drama Coordinator by Zenna Barry

by Amy Walker

I’d had a 10 year break from TV writes Coordinator Zenna Barry. I’d worked in factual as a Coordinator but I’d always loved drama and originally wanted to work in film – so after an ex-colleague told me about the Media Parents website, I found that they were looking for coordinators on a ‘HETV Drama Back To Work Scheme’ funded by ScreenSkills which sounded perfect for me.

Zenna Barry was on placement on Tiger Aspect's drama Curfew with Sean Bean

I’d never worked in drama production before and I was advised to get some work experience before applying, which I did. Michaela Eccleston, Head of Production at Red Productions was then kind enough to become my mentor, and throughout the scheme she has been on the end of a text or call whenever I’ve needed guidance and encouragement.  We’ve also had face-to-face meetings at her offices which have really helped me understand drama production and carve out my plan for the future.

Mentor Michaela Eccleston, Red Productions' HOP with mentee Zenna Barry (right)

The scheme kicked off at the end of Feb, with CV and interview training and networking events in London that would re-align my mindset.  Media Parents then set up a 4 week placement on ‘Curfew’ for me – a high end TV drama being shot at Space Studios for Tiger Aspect.  The placement went well – even though it felt quite daunting to be back in the production office again.  But my mind was focussed on learning and so I just got stuck in.  Everyone looked so young and had already been working on the show for a few months and - I’m not going to lie to you – it was a challenging time, juggling childcare and new learning in a genre I haven’t worked in before – but I stayed cheerful throughout and made the most of my time there with the team – who were great with me:)

Zenna Barry with the production team on Tiger Aspect's Curfew

After the placement, reality hit home - it was now time to get a real job!!!  In my past I had been a Coordinator/ PM mainly in factuals and live programming.  But because I didn’t want to take this route again and with the large gap in my CV, my mentor advised me that I would have to go backwards before I could go forwards.  This was sound advice as I felt that I really needed to understand the drama processes before I took on any kind of role of responsibility.

On location for a Curfew night shoot

Media Parents contacted me and suggested I applied for a free Line Producers course run by Addie Orfila for the Indie Training Fund, also funded by ScreenSkills.  What a great week in Media City – with seven other aspiring LPs, learning all about how to PM and Line Producer in drama, it really helped with my knowledge gap.  I made some great contacts on the course which led to two weeks’ work on a children’s drama for the BBC – ‘The 4 O’Clock Club’.  Again a lovely production team – learning on the job, locally filmed, enjoying the catering (!) and loving being back in production!

Line Producer training at Media City

Courtesy of the Media Parents jobs page I then managed to secure 6 weeks work as an Assistant Coordinator on a Sky One comedy drama ‘Brassic’.  With a 4-day handover, I was then left coordinating the show whilst the main coordinator was on holiday for 4 weeks! I loved every minute of it, again working with a great team.  It was a tough job though, with long 12 hour days, which was tough on my family, but I was really starting to find my feet now and felt confident putting all that I had learned since the beginning of the year into practice.

ITV then got in touch and wanted me to interview for a Coordinator’s role on Emmerdale.  The commute would be tricky – Manchester to Leeds everyday – but the role sounded ideal, spending much more time down on set and learning directly from the senior PM,  so I decided to go for it.  After the toughest interview of my life (1.5 hours on Skype with a panel of three from ITV) I was delighted to hear that I got the job – a permanent in-house contract for ITV drama – wow!!  I’m so grateful and now well on my way to becoming a PM in drama which was my dream at the beginning of the year!!  Thanks partly to the negotiating skills I honed on the Media Parents HETV Drama Return to Work Programme the contract at ITV can offer me some flexibility and the work/ life balance that I so desperately crave.  To be there for my family in the evenings and at weekends whilst being part of a creative team – I’m so excited at what the future may bring!!

Thank you Media Parents for everything you have done for me this year – I will always be truly grateful for this scheme that helps parents like me get back into the game.

https://www.mediaparents.co.uk/freelancers/14984/zenna-barry

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@ 9:34 am Posted in Freelancer Profiles, How To Leave a comment

How to work flexibly on location in TV Ali McBride & Kate Walker

by Amy Walker

It’s 5 years ago this month that my maternity bubble was burst and I came back to work, writes Series Producer Ali McBride. I was happy in my baby bubble, but also keen to return to telly, and thanks to Media Parents Back to Work Scheme I was given the confidence to do so with gusto.

Series Producer Ali McBride returned to work via Media Parents and wanted to pay it back https://www.mediaparents.co.uk/freelancers/15861/ali-mcbride

Five years in and the plate spinning is working (just) but, sadly it seems, not for everyone. As a consequence I’ve seen many new Mums and Dads flee the industry. So I wanted to see if, in my own small way, I could help other parents find a balance.

When I started working at Crackit North I saw an opportunity. I was Series Producing a new Channel 5 series based at a hospital in Barnsely and we needed to follow the shifts of the staff to capture their working day. To cover certain staff shifts we needed to be flexible with the hours we filmed, so flexible working became an essential part of my hunt for the perfect PD.

Ali McBride and the Media Parents Back to Work Scheme winners waiting for Kevin Spacey's MacTaggart Speech at Ed TV Fest 2013.

I knew of a director looking to return to work after having her first child – Kate Walker - so we discussed the job and she grabbed the offer with both hands. Across three months, Kate and another PD who was also happy with the flexible shifts, followed the staff, gained the trust of the team and filmed some incredible stories.

I know that flexible filming schedules don’t suit every production but I do know that having a flexible PDs team was a real asset to the production. After this experience I’m keen to spread the word that flexible working can work and should be considered more naturally as part of the crewing up process. The challenge now is to see if I can make this role work on my future projects!

https://www.mediaparents.co.uk/freelancers/15861/ali-mcbride

Kate Walker

Kate Walker PD : "The prospect of long hours and the physical demands of shooting full time made me question my career which I had always loved" https://www.mediaparents.co.uk/freelancers/15868/kate-walker

The idea of returning to work as a Shooting Director with a ten-month-old baby was daunting to say the least – the prospect of long hours and the physical demands of shooting full time made me question my career which I had always loved. When Ali contacted me with the opportunity to work part time with flexible hours it sounded too good to be true.

I gave her a diary of the days I was available and the best times I could work, Ali then married this up with when the key characters we wanted to film were on shift and so I began. I worked on average three days per week over the filming period, which included some evenings and weekends – this worked perfectly for me as no additional childcare was needed and I got to spend more time with my baby. I never felt my relationships with the staff I was filming were compromised as many of them also worked part time and had families.  Ali’s strategic approach to filming meant that my time on location was maximised and I always felt like a valued member of the team. It couldn’t have been a more perfect way to return to work.

https://www.mediaparents.co.uk/freelancers/15868/kate-walker

https://www.mediaparents.co.uk/freelancers/15861/ali-mcbride

Kate is available from October 15th and Ali is available from November, both for work in Leeds and the North West. Find them on Media Parents.

Casualty 24/7 Wed Channel 5 @ 9pm. Crackit North Productions.

Our next event is a CV clinic on October 17th at Shiver, please see our site emails for details. Click image to join Media Parents www.mediaparents.co.uk for great jobs, training and events.

October 9, 2018 @ 4:44 pm Posted in Freelancer Profiles, How To, TV Returners Leave a comment

a researcher’s guide to Edinburgh TV festival : Melissa Bishop

by Amy Walker

Edinburgh does…Question Time, hosted by the amazing Kirsty Wark. After all these years shouting at the TV from my sofa, I was there, mic in hand and selected to ask the first question, kicking off the whole debate writes Melissa Bishop. As Kirsty says my name and peers at me over her famous reading glasses, all eyes turn in my direction, cameras recording for posterity. I am now very nervous. But I am up in Edinburgh as the Warner Bros returner on the Media Parents Back to Work Scheme.

Question Time Presenter Kirsty Wark with Returning AP / Researcher Melissa Newbury

“As a recent report in Broadcast magazine has shown that the number of women directors in TV have actually fallen in recent years, what do the panel suggest to address this problem?”  Job done, my voice was not too wobbly and I had taken a first little step out of my comfort zone. That’s what I was here for after all.

On the way to the airport at 5.30am on the first day of the Edinburgh TV festival, I’d had 20 minutes to gather my thoughts. This was in fact my first Edinburgh TV Festival – brilliant. I had always meant to go but life gets in the way and somehow I’d never made it. The event is completely jam-packed, there are so many interesting, talented people to meet, I didn’t want to be doing it at anything less than 100% match fitness, so I’d prepared well. However, I was really nervous. Imposter syndrome strikes again.

"I was worried that being out of TV work, as a full-time carer, would been seen as a personal weakness somehow" Melissa Newbury needn't have worried https://www.mediaparents.co.uk/freelancers/14397/melissa-bishop

In addition, somewhere in the back of my head I was worried that being out of TV work, as a full-time carer, would been seen as a personal weakness somehow. When I got talking to people, I realised how any people have been in the same situation, or have experienced something similar and are totally understanding. It really isn’t just me.

The MacTaggart Lecture this year was beautifully written and passionately delivered by Michaela Coel, in front of a packed house. A fascinating personal insight into the industry through the eyes of a “misfit” (her words) – culminating in a moving call to arms for all in the industry to address this problem, to get our house in order – “fix this house”.  Her words resonated deeply and the message regarding lack of diversity permeated the rest of the festival.

It’s a great place to make connections, including Expectation Factual Head of Talent Anna Bonnadio, and Anouk Berendsen, Head of Talent at All3Media who kindly agreed to meet with us returners. One thing she said that struck me was “Be honest and open… just ask for what you want, what you need as a parent/carer in TV.”  If we all did this, things would have to change.

Returner Melissa Bishop with Expectation Factual's Anna Bonnadio

The first Media Parents session with Amy Walker flipped a switch in my head. Amy asked us in turn to introduce ourselves, in three clear sentences, name, what we are and what we want to do.…easy, but I couldn’t. I hadn’t thought through how to communicate really basic information about myself to others. So when I was asked to speak, I could only reply ‘but, what am I?’ Basic yes, but very easy to overlook. I realised that in my previous attempts to introduce myself to people whilst networking (not something that comes naturally to me and makes me feel a bit icky – to be perfectly honest), I’d either take so long thinking up my opening lines that they’d left by the time I was ready, or gone up to them and ended up rambling, trying to explain my entire life history to my poor victim. Not a very memorable encounter, or memorable for all the wrong reasons.

So: “Hello I’m Melissa Bishop…I’m a factual Researcher/AP, returning to documentary. Pleased to meet you.”

Try thinking of it as a conversation, Amy advised, when we’re discussing how uncomfortable the power dynamic of networking can make me feel. They are not ‘the boss’ and you are not asking for a job. You’re two peers, exchanging information and ideas. They might actually like talking to you. As someone who has been out of this world for a few years, my confidence has taken a bit of a battering.  I’ve found that it often takes just small mental adjustments to counteract this and feel ok about introducing myself back to the working world. Just this one session on it’s own was a total confidence boost.

As inspiring as anything I have mentioned so far, was meeting the other returners. All extremely talented and really lovely human beings. Michaela Coel’s MacTaggart Lecture enforced the idea that there is room for all of us in TV.  Here’s hoping that message will be taken away from here and acted upon.  I’ll be doing my little bit by asking for what I need as a carer in TV.

https://www.mediaparents.co.uk/freelancers/14397/melissa-bishop

Our next event is a CV clinic on October 17th at Shiver, please see our site emails for details. Click image to join Media Parents www.mediaparents.co.uk for great jobs, training and events.

@ 8:23 am Posted in Events, Freelancer Profiles, TV Returners Leave a comment

Returning script editor Jaime Caruana how to manage work placements and mentors

by Amy Walker

Having won a place on the Media Parents HETV Drama Return to Work Programme funded by Screen Skills (formerly Creative Skillset). Media Parents acted on my behalf in approaching production companies to find a mentor, Antonia Gordon at Silverprint Pictures, and a work placement.

Returning Script Editor Jaime Caruana : https://www.mediaparents.co.uk/freelancers/7402/jaime-caruana

A fantastic aspect of the HETV Back-to-Work Scheme is the introduction to an industry mentor. This is a person completely separate to the work placement, but the equivalent of a potential boss.

ITV's Antonia Gordon https://www.silverprint-pictures.co.uk/about-us/

I am delighted to have Antonia, a Head of Development at ITV, as my mentor. Someone completely neutral, who works in the same field. Media Parents found a great match for me and the relationship is blossoming.

I feel that I have a mentor who is fully supportive of the back-to-work plan I developed as part of the returners course, as well as contributing heavily towards the plan and pushing me when I need pushing. Antonia’s been great at providing me with new contacts and is always there for moral support, should I have any wobbles. Being another parent, working in the industry, she gives me both inspiration and confidence in what I am doing.

I was introduced, via email, to Sarah Stack, the Head of Development at Kudos, and a meeting in person was soon arranged. It wasn’t clear whether the meeting was just to say “hello” and discuss my start date, or to see if I fitted their mould before they committed. I decided to err on the side of caution and prepped for it like I would an interview. I did my research on the Head of Development, the team and the company. Most importantly, I watched as many Kudos transmissions as I could. I also prepped answers for the standard interview questions.

When we met, it was obvious straight away that this was going to be more of an informal meeting/chat regarding placement dates. Phew! The funding from Screen Skills covered a 4-week, full-time placement. Given my 8 year career break, I felt that launching myself straight into full-time hours would be a huge shock. So, having had negotiating training from Media Parents, I negotiated spreading the 20 days out, part time. The HoD thought this arrangement would be mutually beneficial – Kudos would be able to utilise me for longer and I would get more time across their slate.

Sarah Stack https://www.kudos.co.uk/team

I am writing this blog mid-placement. I spent the Sunday before I started in a complete state of anxiety, where my coping mechanism was to spend the day manically cleaning my house. The anxiety kept me wide awake the night before and put me off eating any breakfast in the morning. This was going to be a huge challenge – dropping the kids off at school breakfast club for 7:30am, catching the earliest train I could and arriving at the offices of Kudos in a calm and relaxed manner!

I had nothing to worry about. They all know why I am there (and if they didn’t, I made a point of telling them when I introduced myself). The first thing the HoD asked me when I arrived: “Was I nervous?” I decided to be honest. Why lie? The HoD is a mum too. She totally gets it.

I spent the first couple of weeks observing, attending meetings and not being afraid to ask questions. By this week (my third), I have made an effort to be proactive and contribute more. The key thing for me is that, by the end of my placement, Kudos feel they have got something out of it as much as I have. To be continued…

https://www.mediaparents.co.uk/freelancers/7402/jaime-caruana


Our next event is a CV clinic on October 17th at Shiver, please see our site emails for details. Click image to join Media Parents www.mediaparents.co.uk for great jobs, training and events.

October 4, 2018 @ 9:10 pm Posted in Freelancer Profiles, How To, TV Returners Comments Off

A scripted PM’s guide to Edinburgh TV Festival : Hannah Williams

by Amy Walker

Two days prior to Edinburgh I walked into Tesco with my sleeping 3 year old draped, like a dead weight, over my shoulder, writes returning Scripted PM Hannah Williams. With my other hand I pushed a trolley containing my 10 month old (who thought it was hilarious to make her panda dive dramatically from the trolley every 10 seconds). My 5 year old headed up our procession ensconced in a fantasy game. A lady walked past, smiled at me and said, “Wow! That’s a full time job you have there!”

PM Hannah Williams who is being mentored by Merman on the Media Parents Back to Work Scheme, with her daughter Polly on their way to Edinburgh TV Festival

And, yes, it is a full time job (although I have never really thought of it that way). So, you can imagine that I entered the Media Parents Back to Work Scheme with a degree of trepidation, considering I am about to attempt another job on top of my “full time job”.

My Mum and 10 month old (Polly) came with me to Edinburgh and deposited me at the EICC on Wednesday morning. It was a little reminiscent of my first day of school (with the exception of the baby!). I have freelanced in the industry on and off for 5 years but, on the whole, I haven’t worked consistently. I was definitely nervous but inordinately excited. It felt like the right time to dabble my toe back in the glistening water of TV once more.

And I needn’t have been nervous. The overriding feeling I came away with was one of empowerment and a reignited spark for production. I could write hundreds of words about the seminars I watched and the people I met. But the feeling of empowerment really was the most overwhelming part.

Hannah Williams, left, with fellow Back to Work Scheme winner Katie Walmsley, Anna Richardson and Sue Perkins at Edinburgh TV Festival. "The feeling of empowerment really was the most overwhelming part."

I adore my children more than anything in the world. On the other hand I used to find TV making so exhilarating that I would often be in the office until the early hours, so devoted was I to the cause. And therein lies the crux. As much as I adore my children there still exists that person inside me who adores the career it took so long to build. It was Edinburgh that proved to me that it is possible to balance the two. There are many other Mums who do it brilliantly and many more supportive industry professionals who can help me to make it happen part time or via job share.

On Day Two I attended the seminar entitled ‘Legendary Women of TV Reveal All’. With a stellar line up of Olivia Lichtenstein, Arlene Phillips, Paula Wilcox, Selina Scott, Dorothy Byrne and the brilliant Dotty (A.Dot) hosting, we heard about how they climbed (sometimes grappled) their way up the career ladder. Olivia Lichtenstein described how she returned to work with a 5 month old and was immediately expected to visit Japan for a work project. Arlene Phillips moved us all to tears with a story of overcoming her lack of self worth and two generations of women thanked each other for changing the industry by their different contributions to the cause. They talked about the difference between once “clinging on and being grateful for being there at all” and, more recently, owning a place in the industry regardless of gender and presence of children.

I decided there and then that I wouldn’t make excuses for having children. A lovely talk with Media Parents Director Amy Walker reassured me that I have a lot to offer the industry. I should be selling my 16 years worth of experience rather than apologising for a slight absence. I think this is something that all my fellow mentees realised too. And quite rightly.

Returning PM Hannah Williams with Merman Producer Clelia Mountford

One of the most memorable moments at Edinburgh was a meeting with co founder of Merman, Clelia Mountford. Aside from the fact she is generally utterly lovely and extremely talented, she assured me that she once felt as I did after returning to work after her second child. We had a great chat and after a big hug she left. And I knew then that I was back and it would all be ok. If she could do it, so could I!

So I would like to thank Amy Walker, and Merman for sponsoring me in the scheme, and giving me the chance to regain my confidence, which had fallen along the wayside somewhere with discarded nappies and sleep deprivation. Between Media Parents, my new mentee friends and Merman I have a great support network should I need it. But, more importantly, I also now have my old determination and self-confidence back. So next time someone in Tesco tells me I have a full time job I shall hopefully be able to reply, “yes, and I work part time in TV too!”

Since writing this I have started my mentoring from Merman’s Head of Production Rebecca Parkinson, and have been hired by Merman. I will be joining them as Post Production Supervisor, which will comprise of three days a week work spread over five days, working mainly at home. Not only will I be working for one of the most exciting (and genuinely lovely) production companies around but the role fits perfectly around my children. I am enormously excited about starting a new chapter.

Join the Media Parents Back to Work winners for drinks in September

Meet Hannah at our Media Parents Back to Work Drinks on Sept 26th. Click image to join Media Parents www.mediaparents.co.uk for great jobs, training and events.

September 25, 2018 @ 11:47 am Posted in Events, Freelancer Profiles, TV Returners Comments Off