Media Parents

Posts categorised as: Freelancer Profiles

5 minutes with PC Clare Lawrence Making a career change into TV

by Amy Walker

Sometimes life throws a lot of things at you all at once and pushes you into fight or flight mode, making you completely readdress what you want to do writes PC Clare Lawrence. This happened to me last year and, always the fighter, I made the conscious decision to pivot into TV. I have long wanted to work in TV but had told myself that it was too late for me and that I couldn’t afford to begin as a runner with bills to pay and children to feed –  it was time to change the story! Ahead of Media Parents’ Bristol event in November, read about Clare’s success in finding work in Bristol c/o Media Parents.

PC Clare Lawrence has found work through Media Parents https://www.mediaparents.co.uk/freelancers/15905/clare-lawrence

I’d worked as a freelance stills photographer for nine years with a lot of success and prior to that as a self-shooting researcher for a commercial agency, I knew I had a host of transferable skills with which to enter the industry, but no actual TV experience – yet! After working solo for so long, I also missed being part of a creative team and knew this was the right move to make.

Being a complete outsider and knowing no-one in the industry at the time, I did some research and attended a couple of Bristol networking events, feeling very green and like a fish out of water. I attended a Media Parents networking event and after meeting Amy Walker also began working for Media Parents in January 2019. For Media Parents I look after all the Bristol / Cardiff and more recently London positions that are advertised and manage the social media accounts, as well as helping to run the Bristol events. This has given me a perspective into the different routes in TV and communicate with a lot of Talent Managers and freelancers. Amy also helped me to redo my CV and it wasn’t long before I secured my first role as a Production Coordinator for Mustang Films.

Nine months later I have three good Production Coordinator credits under my belt; a presenter-led arts series for BBC World News ‘China’s Greatest Treasures’, BBC2 series ‘In search of Dracula’ presented by Mark Gatiss and a fun Channel 5 series ‘Driving Mum and Dad Crazy’. As I didn’t start as a runner, I have had to learn a lot of the jargon very quickly and there have been a lot of ‘in at the deep-end’ moments, but very quickly I have immersed myself into the roles and people have been surprised when they have learned I am fairly new to TV. Knowing a lot of the technical side of things has definitely helped me along the way and a nuance for how to run a business, having run my own for so long. Like any good PC – enjoying a colour-coded spreadsheet is a definite plus!

It is encouraging that in my mid-30s it is not too late to change career and that being highly motivated and applying yourself will take you anywhere. Attending networking events has been invaluable as has the mentoring I have received from Media Parents Amy Walker and informally from others in the industry. It is also thanks to production companies willing to think outside the box and be open to my transferable skills that I have come so far, so quickly.

As a single Mum of two children, working in production is the right balance of creativity and logistics within a relatively standard working week. I will always be a creative person and pursue photography in my own time; in production I feel part of a bigger picture and look forward to working my way up the production path. I’m excited to be starting a new PC position in October at Outline Productions for BBC2 until the end of Spring, which I found through Media Parents. I met Outline for the first time at a Media Parents networking event in Bristol, which Isa Snow Campbell also attended, so it pays to get out there…

https://www.mediaparents.co.uk/freelancers/15905/clare-lawrence

October 18, 2019 @ 7:24 am Posted in Freelancer Profiles, TV Returners Leave a comment

Media Parents B2W Mentor Kim Shillinglaw

by Amy Walker

Kim Shillinglaw, Director of Factual, Endemol Shine

We are delighted to announce that Kim Shillinglaw will be mentoring returning Casting Producer Joanna Gretton on the Media Parents Back to Work Scheme. Joanna first saw Kim via the Media Parents Back to Work Scheme at Edinburgh TV Festival, we are grateful to Kim and Endemol Shine for their continued support for the scheme. Follow Joanna’s progress on this blog.

Kim Shillinglaw became Director of Factual at Endemol Shine in September 2016. She is the strategic lead for factual programming across the group, and has led the growth of production companies Dragonfly, Dragonfly West, DSP, Tigress and Workerbee, producers of award winning programmes for C4, BBC, ITV, Netflix, Quibi, National Geographic and many others.

Prior to joining Endemol Shine, Kim was Controller of BBC Two and BBC Four responsible for bringing younger audiences and a more contemporary flavour to the channels with shows like the award winning Muslims Like Us, Real Marigold Hotel, Exodus, Hospital, Employable Me, Inside The Factory, American Crime Story and The Super Rich Season as well as other acclaimed shows such as Mum, Wolf Hall, and Charles III.

Previously, Kim was in commissioning for many years. As Head of Commissioning for Science and Natural History she significantly increased the number of hours and her output was acclaimed as ‘a golden age for science on television’, with shows including Stargazing Live, Trust Me I’m A Doctor and The Young Ones, dramas such as the RTS-winning Challenger, the BAFTA-winning Frozen Planet, Wonders of the Solar System and Planet Earth II. She also commissioned the acclaimed Blue Planet II.  Prior to this Kim was an Entertainment Commissioner at CBBC, where she created the first series of multi award winning comedy Horrible Histories, and worked as a programme maker in documentaries and current affairs.

She is a trustee of Raspberry PI and former trustee of Nesta, and has served on committees and panels for DCMS, the Royal Society, BBC, Science Museum and many others.

Joanna Gretton, B2W Casting Producer

Returning Casting Producer Joanna Gretton, leftt, with Media Parents Back to Work Scheme Winner Candida Scott Knight

Joanna has been working with Media Parents for three years, helping other talent find gigs and return to TV so now it’s her time. Prior to working for Media Parents Joanna was a PD and caster on documentaries and cast celebrities for royal obituaries. Thanks to Media Parents’ Flexible Working Event Joanna has met one job share partner and is looking for more potential job shares as she makes her way back into part time work. Raw TV supported Joanna’s Edinburgh Festival trip, and Endemol Shine will support her mentoring.

Huge thanks to Hat Trick and Raw for making the Media Parents Back to Work Scheme possible this year, and for the support from the TV Foundation, which runs The Edinburgh TV Festival.

Contact Joanna Gretton here: Casting Producer Joanna Gretton

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October 9, 2019 @ 9:25 am Posted in Freelancer Profiles, News, TV Returners Comments Off

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