Media Parents

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B2W mentor Jessica Sharkey

by Amy Walker

Jessica Sharkey, Joint Director of Production, Hat Trick

Jessica Sharkey, Joint Director of Production at Hat Trick has been working with Media Parents since 2010

A big thank you to Hat Trick’s Joint Director of Production, Jessica Sharkey, for mentoring Media Parents Back to Work Scheme Winner Jessica Farrow, who has been working as a JPM since her return to work via Media Parents’ scheme.

Jessica Sharkey and Laura Djanogly oversee the whole range of programme output from the Hat Trick Group from initial development and budget negotiations, through production to delivery.

Jessica joined Hat Trick as Joint Head of Production in 2004, and has been jobsharing ever since, sharing her experience of job share for the benefit of Media Parents members. Hat Trick also considers job share and flexible working in all jobs listed on Media Parents. Prior to joining Hat Trick, Jessica was Production Executive at Alomo Productions, a role which followed 14 years in the freelance production world working in Drama, Comedy, Children’s and Documentary.

Jessica Farrow, B2W JPM

Since winning the Media Parents Back to Work Scheme in 2019 I’ve been JPM at Wild Blue Media, working on a 3-part documentary for Channel 4/Discovery about tribes in the Amazon.

Wild Blue have asked me stay to see this project through post, and also to help on another programme for Nat Geo until I go on mat leave at the end of March. Jessica Sharkey has very kindly agreed to stick with me longer term as a mentor, and suggested that our next meet up should be a month or so before I want to go back which will be this time next year, as I’ll be looking to return to work Jan 2021.

https://www.mediaparents.co.uk/freelancers/14788/jessica-farrow

Join us for Media Parents events, jobs and training at www.mediaparents.co.uk

January 1, 2020 @ 9:00 am Posted in News Comments Off

Media Parents Christmas Drinks Gallery

by Amy Walker

Christmas Drinks with YouCanFreeUs charity at the RGS were a lot of fun. https://www.youcanfree.us/

Here’s wishing you and yours a Happy and Healthy Christmas, and a Prosperous 2020. We look forward to working with you next year, and hope to see you at one of our brilliant events. Here are some photos from this year’s Media Parents Drinks, and some highlights from the year too.

Back to Work Winner Scripted Director Candida Scott Knight celebrates her return to directing with PD Julia Rooke at the RGS drinks

In true Media Parents style, PD Clare Richards brought her mum along to Christmas Drinks - cheers!

Got to love this one! https://www.mediaparents.co.uk/collaborator/3533/sunita-shroff

The lovely team at www.take1.tv invited Media Parents freelancers along to Christmas Drinks in soho. Back to Work Winners PM Hannah Williams Lovell and PC Jenny Madalura are pictured here with Take1 Founder Dom Bourne - cheers Take1!

Hannah & Jenny with Take1 CEO Louise Tapia - cheers ladies!

Take 1's Marketing Manager Emma Kemp is hoping to run an event with Media Parents in the new year!

january 2019

Petal Felix (pictured here with Media Parents' Joanna Gretton at Back to Work Drinks) wrote for the blog asking TV to be more diverse in 2019: http://blog.mediaparents.co.uk/2019/01/5-minutes-with-petal-felix-on-diversity-in-tv/

January event: Maverick TV's HoP Maria French (pictured here with the jobsharing Edit Producer she employed through Media Parents) and Spelthorne TV's Jude Winstanley joined Media Parents' Amy Walker for a masterclass in Negotiating

February 2019

Ginny Bing, PD blogged about juggling TV, kids and property developing http://blog.mediaparents.co.uk/2019/02/5-minutes-with-ginny-bing-producer-directoredit-producer/

march 2019

We celebrated International Women's Day with a flexible working survey - we all want it and there are many ways we are doing it! We're delighted that flexible working has made it into the 2019 Queen's Speech

April 2019

Easter break.

May 2019

Thank you to sponsors Outline Productions and Films at 59, Christopher Hutchins, Rob and Jasmine at BBC Bristol Club, and Clare Adams for all their help at the Media Parents Bristol Flexible working event in May

June 2019

At our summer party BBC Scripted Head of Talent Jacqui Taunton Fenton (now at ScreenSkills) had a good laugh with BBC Children's Exec Ros Attille and freelancers http://blog.mediaparents.co.uk/2019/06/media-parents-summer-party-photos/ Thanks to ClearCut for hosting!

Hannah Williams, one of 2018's Media Parents Back to Work Scheme winners blogged about her successful return to work at Merman http://blog.mediaparents.co.uk/2019/06/5-minutes-with-returning-pm-hannah-williams/ and PM Natalie Brook-Reynolds crossed over from theatre to TV http://blog.mediaparents.co.uk/2019/06/5-minutes-with-pm-natalie-brook-reynolds/

july 2019

Media Parents Back to Work Scheme applications opened. West Digital hosted Media Parents' job share event which resulted in Media Parents' Back to Work Winner Joanna Gretton finding a job share partner - and ultimately getting back to work as a job share!

August 2019

Media Parents five Back to Work Scheme Winners 2019 announced and head to Edinburgh. http://blog.mediaparents.co.uk/2019/08/ Thanks to Hat Trick and Raw TV for sponsoring the scheme this year.

Media Parents Back to Work Scheme Winners Laura Martin-Robinson, Candida Scott Knight and Joanna Gretton

PC Kirsti Davidson returned to work on BBC2's Gone Fishing at Owl Power

Jess Farrow returned to work as a JPM at Wild Blue Media

september 2019

Media Parents Back to Work Scheme works in partnership with Edinburgh TV Festival which the returners attend to network and participate in TV industry events. Click here to read the Back to Work winners’ take on the festival.

Employers, returners and freelancers celebrated with Back to Work Drinks in September. Thanks to S+O Media for sponsoring, and ENVY for hosting.

october 2019

Mentoring for the Back to Work Scheme began in October. Media Parents would like to thank BBC Docs Commissioning Editor Emma Loach for mentoring Cardiff-based PD Laura Martin-Robinson; Piers Vellacott, MD at Raw TV for mentoring PC Kirsti Davidson; Jessica Sharkey, Hat Trick Director of Production for mentoring JPM Jess Farrow; Endemol Shine’s Director of Factual Kim Shillinglaw for mentoring Casting Producer Joanna Gretton; Exec Coach Sam Jukes-Adams for mentoring Scripted Director Candida Scott Knight.

BBC Commissioning Editor Emma Loach is kindly mentoring for Media Parents Back to Work Scheme

november 2019

Media Parents would like to thank Fremantle’s talent team Emily Gale and Jenny Spader for hosting a returners lunch supported by ITV, the BBC, The Garden Productions, Nutopia and Multistory. Click here to see more.

december 2019

Romesh Ranganathan & Celebrity Island Composer Stefan Fletcher wrote for Media Parents blog, as did PM Helen Landeau.

If you are a company or freelancer who would like to blog for Media Parents, or a company who would like to sponsor a Media Parents event in 2020 please contact us via the contact button above. Many thanks to everyone who has supported Media Parents in 2019 by attending or sponsoring events, and employing great Media Parents talent. We look forward to working with you in 2020.

Presenter Sunita Shroff with Media Parents Director Amy Walker, Scripted Director Peter Chipping and Editor Daren Tiley at YouCanFreeUs drinks at the RGS

Join us for Media Parents events, jobs and training at www.mediaparents.co.uk

December 23, 2019 @ 2:23 pm Posted in Events, News, TV Returners Comments Off

B2W mentor Piers Vellacott

by Amy Walker

Piers Vellacott, MD, Raw TV

A big thank you to Piers Vellacott, MD of RAW TV, one of the sponsors of this year’s Media Parents Back to Work Scheme for not only sponsoring but also mentoring. Having mentored Elena Mourey on the Media Parents Back to Work Scheme 2018, Piers has been mentoring returner Kirsti Davidson, who left as an AP and successfully returned as a PC in 2019 after a substantial break.

Piers himself left four years of law school and decided to become a television producer! He joined RAW in September 2008 having previously worked as a Producer and Line Producer on over 50 hours of television programming across a range of genres. He is as conversant in US production and business affairs as he is in Europe, and has been across over 500 hrs of programming whilst at RAW.

Kirsti Davidson, B2W Production Coordinator

I recently finished a full time two month Production Coordinator contract with Owl Power on Mortimer & Whitehouse Gone Fishing. We were working on three shoots for Series 3, with the remaining three to be shot next year. I really enjoyed the process of production and it was a small and friendly team.

It was a bit strange at first being a PC after my last job in TV was as an AP 12 years ago, but it was a really useful experience.

I’ve now taken more illustration work, so I’m not available until end of February / beg of March. I’m looking to find something part time in spring which would be more manageable for my family.

https://www.mediaparents.co.uk/freelancers/16237/kirsti-davidson

Join us for Media Parents events, jobs and training at www.mediaparents.co.uk

@ 8:24 am Posted in News Comments Off

available now composer stefan fletcher

by Amy Walker

I am a freelance music composer for television, writes Stefan Fletcher, so far specialising in factual entertainment and documentaries, and I’m available now. I recently wrote the music for The Misadventures of Romesh Ranganathan (BBC2) and my credits and television placements include: Celebrity Island with Bear Grylls (Channel 4), Curiosity (BBC1), House of Extraordinary People (Channel 5) and 21 Kids and Counting (Channel 4), The Yorkshire Vet (ITV) and I’m a Celebrity Get Me Out of Here (ITV). Click here to listen to my reel.

Composer Stefan Fletcher https://www.stefanfletchermusic.com/ Photo credit: Helena Dolby

I joined Media Parents because networking plays a crucial role in my line of work. Media Parents seems like an excellent platform to reach out to those in your industry.

I got into music through learning the guitar at an early age and eventually went on to study Creative Music Technology (BMus) at Surrey University, a course specifically designed for writing music to picture.

Stylistically, I am very diverse, ranging from minimal piano and orchestra (suitable for documentaries) to high-impact trailer music (appropriate for tension and ad campaigns.) Whilst I do specialise in factual entertainment and documentaries, my music experience has covered lots of other areas too including: adverts, orchestration, metadata, computer games, production, mixing and more.

I would love to connect with editors, edit producers, executive producers, directors – anyone who has a say when sourcing music for television, be it bespoke or library.

Stefan Fletcher. Photo credit: Helena Dolby

https://www.stefanfletchermusic.com/

Join us for Media Parents events, jobs and training at www.mediaparents.co.uk

December 20, 2019 @ 8:14 am Posted in News Comments Off

Media Parents B2W Mentor Sam Jukes-Adams

by Amy Walker

Sam Jukes-Adams, Coach & NED, Emergence Films

Ex-scripted HOP and Coach Sam Jukes-Adams has been mentoring returning Director Candida Scott Knight, Winner of the Media Parents Back to Work Scheme 2019, and we are delighted to announce that Candida has secured a place on the BBC Continuing Drama Directors’ Scheme 2019, and will be directing a block on EastEnders next year. After 13 years out, and two years working with Media Parents to get back in.

Leadership, Executive and Organisational Coach Sam is a Tavistock Consulting trained, senior practitioner accredited Coach (EMCC). Sam works systemically, helping individual and organisational clients gain insight into, and address, the personal and organisational dynamics that contribute to their professional effectiveness, working one to one, in groups, and through workshops. Sam’s work spans all sectors, including Charity, Finance, Creative Industries, Property, Start Ups, Entrepreneurs and Tech, from Manager level to Senior Leaders and Business Owners. Sam works with Corporations, SMEs and Self funding clients on Integration programmes, professional effectiveness, and leadership. Sam enjoys working with people around the world, both face to face and online.

Prior to Coaching, Sam spent 20 yrs in TV Production. She has worked at the BBC, was Head of Production for Impossible Pictures, and latterly SVP Scripted Production, NBCUniversal International Studios. Working on and across development, financing, production and delivery of award winning content for both domestic and international networks (US NBC/AUS/CAN) and companies, ranging from science, (Horizon) CGI heavy Specialist Factual (Walking with Dinosaurs, Space Odyssey:Voyage to the Planets, Project Earth) and Drama (Primeval, Quacks, Camp, London Spy, Yonderland, You, Me and the Apocalypse, Glitch, Deadline Gallipoli).

Sam has always been a passionate advocate for the development of talent and teams, and is a visiting Lecturer on the Producer’s MA at MetFilm, London, and served as the Chair of the High End TV Levy Council, and on the board of Creative Skillset from 2016-2018. Sam brings this wealth of professional and commercial experience and knowledge to her coaching practice, and is constantly developing her practice, including currently completing Hogan Level 1 certification. https://www.sjaassociates.co.uk/

Media Parents Back to Work Scheme Winners Candida Scott Knight (right) and Returning Casting Producer Joanna Gretton

Candida Scott Knight, B2W Scripted Director

Since working at Channel 4 and directing Hollyoaks, award-winning short film director Candida has raised a family and moved to L.A. and back. For the past two years she has been building her skills and her intention is to direct drama again. After winning her place on the Media Parents Back to Work Scheme 2019 and attending Edinburgh TV Festival, Candida recently completed the BBC Continuing Drama Directors’ Scheme 2019 on EastEnders, and will be directing episodes in 2020.

https://www.mediaparents.co.uk/freelancers/14731/candida-scott-knight

Join us for Media Parents events, jobs and training at www.mediaparents.co.uk

December 17, 2019 @ 4:05 pm Posted in Freelancer Profiles, News, TV Returners Leave a comment

Media Parents B2W Mentor Emma Loach

by Amy Walker

Emma Loach, Commissioning Editor BBC Documentaries

We are delighted that BBC Docs Commissioning Editor Emma Loach has agreed to mentor returning PD Laura Martin-Robinson, Media Parents Back to Work Scheme Winner from Cardiff, who is being sponsored on the scheme by Hat Trick Productions.

Emma joined the BBC documentary commissioning team in January 2017. She is responsible for a large range of output including series and singles across all the channels such as Birth, Ambulance, The Met, Nadiya On Anxiety and Stabbed: Britain’s Knife Crime Crisis on BBC One; The Baby Has Landed, Hospital, The Ethics Committee: A Life and Death Decision, David Harewood On Psychosis and Being Blacker on BBC Two; Hometown, The Left Behind, Acid Attack: My Story on BBC Three and Border Country: When Ireland Was Divided on BBC Four.

As an executive producer, Emma was responsible for helping to originate and deliver the Ambulance brand for BBC1, The Trial for C4 and a diverse range of series and singles across all the channels.

Laura Martin-Robinson, B2W PD

Laura Martin-Robinson PD (centre, rear) with talent and talent managers at Fremantle Media Parents Returners Lunch in November.

On the face of it Laura has it all – two BAFTAs and a great relationship with a production company ie ie productions (pronounced yeah yeah) that enables her to work flexibly. But she has three kids, and working part time on Welsh regional productions barely covers her childcare costs. She wants her career to be self-sufficient, full time and has network ambitions.

Read Laura’s review of Edinburgh TV Festival 2019 here: http://blog.mediaparents.co.uk/2019/10/5-minutes-with-pd-laura-martin-robinson-world-mental-health-day/

And see her profile here:

https://www.mediaparents.co.uk/freelancers/9887/laura-martin-robinson

Join us for Media Parents' Pop Up Christmas Drinks with Take 1 on Tuesday 10th December

December 10, 2019 @ 6:13 pm Posted in Freelancer Profiles, News, TV Returners Comments Off

Media Parents Fremantle Returners Lunch

by Amy Walker

In November, Emily Gale and Jenny Spader, Fremantle’s talent team, hosted a lunch for Media Parents factual returners which was supported by talent managers from the BBC, ITV and Multistory, Nutopia and The Garden Productions. It was a fantastic opportunity to meet, to get on the radar of different companies and to share experience of returning. Meet our returners…

Elena Mourey, Producer / EP

Back to Work Winner 2018

Elena Mourey PD (left) with ITV Multistory's TMs Ros Malthouse and Nikki Ryan at Fremantle's Media Parents Returners Lunch.

I’m an experienced producer, writes Elena Mourey, who has worked on important and emotional series like the RTS award-winning Hospital for BBC2, C4′s The Job Interview, People Like Us for BBC3 and The Undateables, C4.

With over a decade’s experience, I’ve developed the skills needed to draw the best out of sensitive contributors at extremely difficult times in their lives, in places hard to access. I have directed, shot and edited BBC one hour (People Like Us), filmed and conducted master interviews, managed teams to find the best cast and stories, filmed with contributors with complex compliance issues and gained access to hospitals, schools and council estates. In my future roles, I’m looking for more edit experience and my eventual goal is to SP.  https://www.mediaparents.co.uk/freelancers/13955/elena-mourey

Fazeena Abduraman, Production Coordinator

PC Fazeena Abduraman (centre) with The Garden's Debbie Hartley and Elsa Sharp from the BBC.

I am an experienced co-ordinator, writes Fazeena Abduraman,  and have recently returned to work at the BBC after a break.  I have worked mainly in factual/ factual entertainment programmes as well worked on both live and recorded shows. I am available in the New Year. https://www.mediaparents.co.uk/freelancers/10952/fazeena-abdurahman

Jenny Madalura, PC / Researcher

Back to Work Winner 2018

Jenny Madalura, PC (right) with ITV's Jessica Wilson

Since working with the BBC as a researcher I have been out of media work for nearly 10 years due to having a family. In the meantime I’ve studied for a law degree and worked part-time as a LexisNexis copywriter, whilst being a full-time parent to two kids.

I am eager to return to media work and given the opportunity I can offer a wealth of transferrable skills and life experience, together with legal, writing, business and media skills that would be an asset and benefit to any media company.

https://www.mediaparents.co.uk/freelancers/15655/jenny-madalura

Joanna Gretton, Casting Producer

Back to Work Winner 2019

Casting Producer Joanna Gretton with Nutopia's Natalie Spanier.

My extensive media production career across Factual, Docs and Daytime has meant I can deliver the best possible contributors that the programme requires, writes Joanna Gretton. I fully appreciate the sensitivity of a story and have direct experience of working with people from all walks of life.

I am absolutely thrilled at being selected as a WINNER of the Media Parents Back to Work Scheme from a large pool of talent. I am excited about re-entering production as a job-sharing casting producer. I’ve found two potential partners and I’m approaching companies who are sympathetic to a job share opportunities – so if this sounds like you please get in touch. You will be getting two talented brains for the price of one!

https://www.mediaparents.co.uk/freelancers/11382/joanna-gretton

Katie Walmsley (Luckes), PM / Prod Exec

Back to Work Winner 2018

Katie Walmsley with Fremantle's Head of Talent Emily Gale.

I am a Production Executive with 25 years of television experience under my belt, writes Katie Walmsley. Before my career break I worked my way up from Coordinating for the Natural History Unit in Bristol to production managing, to the role of Production Executive at STV, running and overseeing a team of Production Managers across a diverse range of programming, and setting up and dealing with major budgets and series.

Having relocated from Glasgow I took the decision to put my TV career on hold and bring up my two young daughters, however I have always missed the cut and thrust of television and am itching to get back to work. With the girls now settled and happy, my ambition is to forge new contacts and find a great company and that will recognize and bolster my skills whilst supporting my return to work part-time. Ideally I’m looking for a flexible role that can be office and home based. I am realistic and would be happy to come back as a Production Manager to show a new team just what I can do.

Laura Martin-Robinson, Shooting PD

Back to Work Winner 2019

Laura Martin-Robinson PD (centre, rear) with talent and talent managers at Fremantle Media Parents Returners Lunch in November.

I’m a documentary self-shooting P/D with 15 years experience in observational and immersive presenter-led docs, writes Laura Martin-Robinson. I worked in London in BBC Arts, then Docs and then freelanced before moving to Wales 5 years ago – where I’ve been working with companies like Indus/Folk, Twofour and now ie ie (yeah yeah) productions.

Last year I won 2 Welsh BAFTAs (Best Doc and Best Director) for a BBC1 film I made with Welsh actor Richard Mylan and his son Jaco about autism. More recently I’ve made a 3×30 obs series for BBC Wales about the Welsh Women’s Homeless football team. As well as shooting and directing these films, I also developed and got them to a commission. I’ve also worked at Blast! Films, Betty, Plum Pictures, Raw and Rare Day as a development producer/DV director.

I’d like to continue making documentaries for BBC Wales and broaden out to network commissions. I’m also happy to work on funded developments, making tasters, writing pitches and casting – especially if it’s on the film I’m then hired to direct!

https://www.mediaparents.co.uk/freelancers/9887/laura-martin-robinson

Melissa Bishop, (Shooting) AP / Researcher

Back to Work Winner 2018

AP Melissa Newbury with The Garden's Debbie Hartley.

I am an experienced AP / Researcher with a good knowledge of the production process and an appreciation of high production values, writes Melissa Bishop. I have excellent editorial skills and have worked across a wide variety of programmes, in various roles, and as a producer for Legal Television Network.

I am particularly strong with contributors. Creating trust and negotiating with people from any background, some vulnerable and in difficult circumstances. I can shoot sequences well and understand what is needed for the edit. I recently studied for a Masters degree in Documentary and Factual Programming to deepen my understanding and programme making skills.

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

Sheela Banerjee, PD

Sheela Banerjee, PD.

I am a highly experienced producer/director, with a 14-year track record in making programmes for the BBC and Channel 4, writes Sheela Banerjee. I took a career break from television after having my daughter and have been working as a part time lecturer and freelance journalist while she’s been young. I would love to return to work full time now and am looking for edit producing or development roles.

https://www.mediaparents.co.uk/freelancers/14512/sheela-banerjee

Huge thanks to Fremantle’s Emily Gale and Jenny Spader for hosting this event. Our next event is our Christmas Event on December 3rd – see you there!

Join us for Media Parents' Christmas Event with YouCanFreeUs on December 3rd at the Royal Geographical Society, Kensington http://blog.mediaparents.co.uk/2019/11/media-parents-christmas-event/

November 27, 2019 @ 10:06 am Posted in Events, Freelancer Profiles, News, TV Returners Comments Off

Media Parents Christmas Event

by Amy Walker

Want to feel your best for Christmas and 2020? Media Parents is joining forces with YouCanFreeUs (charity which protects trafficked women and children) at the fabulous Royal Geographical Society in Kensington for our Christmas event on Tuesday December 3rd. It’s a celebration of wellbeing and there will be drinks and dancing too.

Join us for Media Parents' Christmas Event with YouCanFreeUs on December 3rd at the Royal Geographical Society, Kensington

Dr. David Hamilton will be speaking about the mind-body connection and how to harness it for health and wellness in an evening that will revitalise you and may change your perspective on how you can influence your wellbeing for Christmas and 2020.

Learn about the placebo effect and how belief can alter biology. Also learn about the physical effects of mindfulness, and even how visualisation shapes the brain and causes actual changes in the body. You will also learn about the specific effect of positive feeling on blood vessels and how visualisation practices can alter immune function. David will also share examples of strategies used by people around the world that helped facilitate their recovery from injury, illness and disease.

Event tickets are £25 but a number are being offered free to Media Parents members + a guest. To claim your place RSVP by Monday 2nd November to our events email address with your name and guest’s name if you would like to take someone along (in the event of high demand, priority will be given to people who have written for the Media Parents blog this year).

If you would like to skip the freebies and buy a ticket please go here:

https://www.eventbrite.co.uk/e/talks-for-freedom-dr-david-hamilton-how-your-mind-can-heal-your-body-tickets-72373335595

More about Dr. David Hamilton:

David has a PhD in organic chemistry and spent 4 years in the pharmaceutical industry developing drugs for cardiovascular disease and cancer. Inspired by the placebo effect, he left the industry to write books and educate people in how they can harness their mind and emotions to improve their health. He is an accomplished author with 10 published books, regular blogs on his website and occasional blogs for the Huffington Post (US version). David is the ‘Kindness Tsar’ for Psychologies Magazine and writes ‘The Kindness Conversation’ and the ‘Kindness Project’. He is also the ‘Life Hacks’ monthly columnist for Soul & Spirit Magazine and in 2016 was voted ‘Best writer’ by readers of Kindred Spirit Magazine. David is featured in the award-winning documentary, ‘HEAL’. He appears regularly in the media and was recently featured on Channel 4’s live show ‘Sunday Brunch’ in the UK and ‘CBS Sunday Morning’ in the USA.
Please note that Dr. Hamilton is doing this talk “pro bono“….YouCanFreeUs will be able to put 100% of tickets sales to work fighting against human trafficking.

Join us for Media Parents' Christmas Event with YouCanFreeUs on December 3rd at the Royal Geographical Society, Kensington

November 26, 2019 @ 3:14 pm Posted in News Comments Off

TXing tonight For Sama 9pm Channel 4

by Amy Walker

For Sama transmits on Channel 4 on Saturday 26th October at 9pm.

Read Back to Work Winner Laura Martin-Robinson’s blog from Edinburgh as she watched the film’s UK premier.

Click image to join Media Parents www.mediaparents.co.uk for great jobs, training and events.

October 25, 2019 @ 10:20 pm Posted in News Comments Off

5 minutes with PD Laura Martin-Robinson on World Mental Health Day

by Amy Walker

The night before Edinburgh TV Festival I found out someone in my family had been evicted from supported accommodation and was sleeping on the street, writes PD Laura Martin-Robinson. They’ve struggled with mental illness for years and it’s happened before – but it’s still terrifying and heartbreaking every time. So on Wednesday at 5am when I whispered goodbye to my sleeping kids and got the plane to Edinburgh for Media Parents Back to Work Scheme, facing the entire TV industry for the first time since I became a mum was the last thing I wanted to do.

Laura Martin-Robinson reflects on returning to work on World Mental Health Day

I arrived at the venue and began with a Media Parents networking session with Amy Walker. As I introduced myself I started crying. I blamed it on crappy mascara. As soon as we finished, Amy sent encouraging messages, and we had been introduced over email to useful delegates so we set about meeting people and engaging with the TV Festival Sessions.

At The Making of a Mega Doc a clip from ‘For Sama’ was shown (For Sama transmits on Channel 4 on Saturday 26th October).  Directed by Waad al-Kateaba, a Syrian woman, bombs are falling around her as she gives birth. Executive producer Nevine Mabro talked about why a war film from the perspective of a woman and mother was ground-breaking.

Next up 1-2-1’s with Donna Taberer, Head of BBC Talent and Clare Sillery, Head of BBC Documentaries organised through the Media Parents Back to Work Scheme. Both were encouraging and had suggestions about next steps. Donna told me about the Screenskills Series producer programme which sounded right up my street.

PACT Chief John McVay with PD Laura Martin-Robinson and two more of the 5 Media Parents Back to Work Winners at Edinburgh TV Festival

Dorothy Byrne was someone I didn’t know much about but by the end of her MacTaggart Lecture I’d fallen in love. She was powerful, commanding and hilarious. Taking on diversity, bastard bosses and political leaders refusing to engage with the press she said. “In evil regimes the first thing they do is arrest or kill the journalists…what’s happening here is they are trying to ignore us”.

Day 2 Duty of Care. Jeff Brazier – Jade Goody’s ex-partner – was a great choice for the panel but it was disappointing there were no casting APs talking about the pressure from the top to ‘cast good characters’.

At the evening drinks I chatted to the talent scheme delegates. I was impressed by how much more representative this new generation of TV felt in comparison to when I started out. 29 out of 30 of the Ones to Watch scheme were women.

Day 3 Edinburgh does the Call Centre was surprisingly moving. Sexual harassment, mental health and industry culture was discussed. Fatima Salaria was honest and brave, talking about the toll work had taken and the importance of female networks.

It had been a tough start to the festival but hearing the voice of these senior women in my industry who’d been through their own crises and still making amazing work I felt braver and stronger.

Laura M-R: "It had been a tough start to the festival but hearing the voice of these senior women in my industry who’d been through their own crises and still making amazing work I felt braver and stronger."

Being a woman, a mother and having other caring responsibilities (as women often do) can take over and stretch women to their limits. And freelance TV culture can be a punishing place to be stretched. We end up losing so many of these female voices, especially at the top.

After the festival Dorothy Byrne tweeted about the messages thanking her for speaking up about women’s issues. I was one of them, Media Parents another. While I know there’s still a long way to go before our industry becomes more equal – I felt like the conversations in Edinburgh were an empowering start.

https://www.mediaparents.co.uk/freelancers/9887/laura-martin-robinson

Laura is kindly being mentored by BBC Commissioning Editor for Documentaries, Emma Loach. Follow her progress here. Huge thanks to Hat Trick who supported Laura’s trip to Edinburgh on the Media Parents Back to Work Scheme this year, and for the support from the TV Foundation, which runs The Edinburgh TV Festival.

Click image to join Media Parents www.mediaparents.co.uk for great jobs, training and events.

October 10, 2019 @ 9:57 am Posted in News Comments Off