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5 mins with Isa Suarez Composer

by Amy Walker

Congratulations to Media Parents Composer Isa Suarez, who has just been awarded The Agadir International Film Festival ‘Prix du Jury’ for her film Just Gone, which is now premiering at Cannes Film Festival. The film was directed by Sophie Austin, and the DoP was also female, Lynda Hall.

Isa writes : Following the film award - Prix du Jury -  for Just Gone at The International Film festival of Agadir, this short film, directed by Sophie Austin, is now going to be at the Cannes Film Festival  2017. Original Soundtrack by Isa Suarez. Lynda Hall shot it beautifully, and I was asked to compose the soundtrack after its initial release last year.

Isa, who has scored programmes for betty and Talkback Thames, has also recently composed original music for an oral history mobile app called A Hackney Autobiography.

Composer Isa has also been recently awarded an Arts Council grants to compose Nocturnes Wonder. It will be new music  composed for a choir, a female beatboxer, piano and electronic music. The final pieces will be a suite of free downloadable pieces to listen to on  mobile phones while walking at night, or at home. Launching at Camberwell Arts Festival  in June 2017, Nocturnes Wonder is an open invitation to join us in a musical journey that runs through the night. You can enjoy Nocturnes Wonder at night, wherever you are in the world or during Camberwell Arts Festival.


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May 26, 2017 @ 1:49 pm Posted in News Comments Off

PD Zan Barberton on Perinatal Mental Health

by Amy Walker

Perhaps it is in the nature of being a documentary maker, but I frequently feel passionate about the subjects that I make films about, writes Media Parents Producer Director Zan Barberton.

PD Zan Barberton's film was supported by the Heads Together campaign, The Duchess of Cambridge introduced the film at its premiere. The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge and Prince Harry are spearheading a new campaign in partnership with inspiring charities, which aims to change the national conversation on mental wellbeing. (Photo by Nicky J Sims/Getty Images for Royal Foundation)

Perinatal Mental Health (affecting the mother in pregnancy and after childbirth, family members and the baby itself) is one of those subjects. It seems that more and more people are beginning to understand the importance of this issue, which affects nearly 2 in 10 women and has been calculated to cost the country around £8 billion annually.  I have been working on a film about Maternal Mental Health for 3 years, and I’ve been staggered by the amount of ignorance, silence and fear surrounding it. So it is wonderful that the young Royals – The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge and Prince Harry – have brought their significant influence to raising awareness of the subject.

Last week the Duchess of Cambridge made a speech to introduce a film I have worked long and hard on:  “If any of us caught a fever during pregnancy we would seek advice and support from a doctor” she said “getting help with our mental health is no different”. It feels like a tipping point. Slowly, slowly, the silence is lifting and this important subject is getting talked about.

The project is led by charity Best Beginnings, the brainchild of Alison Baum, a former BBC producer herself, and a bit of a force of nature. She is passionate about finding innovative ways to communicate health information and is a huge cheerleader for the power of film. I could probably write a few pages about Alison (she just got an OBE) but I suggest you go to their web site!

The series of 8 films is called “Out of the Blue”.  I filmed, directed and edited 3 of them. The idea is to allow women to speak openly about their experiences, breaking the silence and reducing stigma. It is an unusual type of filmmaking: obs doc in style, with high production values, but at heart informational. Every film had to hit specific “learning points” and was viewed and reviewed by a whole team parents, frontline healthcare professionals, Royal Colleges and other professional bodies so that it would provide proper, medically-checked information. This was a painfully slow process and meant that the project took around three years from start to finish – the gestation of a baby elephant.

PD Zan Barberton works flexibly on the film around her two children.

The production company was Heirloom Media, run by the talented Jacqui Smith, an executive producer on science programmes for BBC Scotland. A working mum herself, she allowed me to arrange my shoots and editing around my availability – which really worked for this project. I was honest about the time I spent on it and invoiced accordingly, and this meant that I was able to spend time with my family, or work on other projects during the slow periods. This way of working has meant that I have been able to regularly shoot – a part of filmmaking that I love.

Structuring this sort of film presented challenges. We decided from the outset that it would all be told in the past. On a practical level, consent could be tricky if we were filming present-tense stories with women suffering from mental illness. Aside from the practicalities, our target audience was potentially vulnerable new mums, so we wanted the film to be as reassuring as possible. A key message is that you can and will get better – so it helps to see healthy people on screen. We were lucky to have some wonderfully grounded and articulate contributors who carry the films with style and even humour. I am always humbled by the courage of people who choose to share their most painful experiences to help others… it is part of the privilege and responsibility of documentary work.

The films were of course made in close contact with the contributors, who viewed it regularly from the rough-cut stage, and whose feedback was taken extremely seriously.  One of the characters was shown coming very close to suicide in the film and I wondered about whether it was too raw an experience to expose an audience of vulnerable mothers to.  After she had seen the film she said something that really convinced me: Seeing her story on screen had allowed her to understand that her experience was a symptom of an illness rather than an act of selfishness. She said that she finally forgave herself.  Just hearing that made it all worth it.

The Out of the Blue series is available online on the Best Beginnings web site, and is also on the Baby Buddy App. Looking after your mental health is important even if you are well…and especially if you are a parent. So show it to your friends with babies!

Zan Barberton gets her hands on the ProMotion kit at a Media Parents event. Zan Barberton is currently looking for PD work or edit /edit producing. Find her CV on the above link at Media Parents.

Media Parents - join now for brilliant jobs and events at

April 4, 2017 @ 12:23 pm Posted in News Comments Off

TXing Tonight PD Phil Broadhurst’s One Born…

by Amy Walker

Media Parents PD Phil Broadhurst worked on tonight's One Born Every Minute

@ 11:53 am Posted in News Comments Off

Media Parents March Negotiating Event

by Amy Walker

Ever wanted to feel confident negotiating your contract / rate / flexibility at work? Thank you to everyone who joined us for Q&A and helpful tips from Line Producer Jude Winstanley of the Unit List and production companies including Endemol Shine, Twenty Twenty, Plum Pictures, with Media Parents’ Amy Walker amongst others…

"Make friends with Production Managers, they have the intel on rates" suggested Jude Winstanley. Pictured with Media Parents Director Amy Walker.

If you can’t attend Wednesday’s event feel free to send us questions via the contact button at ASAP.

Jude Winstanley, freelance Line Producer & Production Manager

Jude has worked in broadcast TV for 20 years and is currently a freelance, Line Producer, trainer and founder of TV industry online jobs board The Unit List.

Jude is also a volunteer events producer for the Royal Television Society Futures team and is regularly invited to take part in a wide range of consultations on industry development.  Her experience covers a range of genres; entertainment, factual, factual entertainment, documentary and children’s.

Continue reading →

February 27, 2017 @ 10:04 pm Posted in News Comments Off

5 minutes with PD Alicky Sussman on jobsharing

by Amy Walker

For the past year and a half, PDs Alicky Sussman and Milla Harrison have been job sharing. As PDs we have made two 60 min programmes together for BBC2 science series, Horizon (still on iPlayer) writes Alicky, and edit produced on Channel 4 rig show, Eden.

PD Alicky Sussman, right, with job share partner Milla Harrison

Our experience has been incredibly positive – as a team we are creative and efficient, delivering well-received programmes on time and in budget – but crucially we have also maintained a good work/life balance.

Find a job-sharing partner

When we were given our first job-sharing opportunity, it helped enormously that we presented ourselves as a ready-made partnership to Horizon editor, Steve Crabtree. Steve was able to see exactly what skills and experience he was getting, and then make a judgment – in just the same way that he would have done if we were applying as individuals. Media Parents profiles have a job share function so you can link to preferred partners after requesting to see their CVs.

Minimize the risk for your employer

Opportunities are more likely to come from people you know, or in areas where you have a proven track record. Milla and I both had previous experience making Horizons, and we had both worked with Eden’s Series Editor, Sunshine Jackson. A huge part of making the job share work has been these supportive bosses, who knew and trusted us.

Flex and compromise

For all the productions we have worked on, we have tried to be as flexible as possible to fit in with programme needs. On Horizon Milla worked 4 days a week spread over 5 and I worked 3 days spread over 4. To make this work budget-wise, we sacrificed having a full-time researcher (a Horizon is usually staffed with a full time researcher and full time PD). When edit producing on Eden we were contracted to work 2.5 days each, but agreed together at the start of the projectthat we would work an additional half day (usually at home) to fully hand over to each other.

Alicky Sussman, 3rd from left, with Milla Harrison, fourth from left on a Raising Films / BBC panel with Media Parents Director Amy Walker (photo : BBC)

Better together

Milla and I have a similar but not identical skill-set, and a combined 40 years TV experience. Together, we are quicker at writing scripts and making decisions. On location we take turns to be the Director or the Researcher/AP, reducing the pressure of a big shoot.

In the edit, we work on different sections of the script before passing to the other to refine. On days off, the films whirr away in the back of our minds, allowing for new, more creative ideas. Organisation and communication is key to making the partnership work. In the edit we avoid repeating or contradicting by writing detailed daily handovers, which include a plan for the following day.

No room for competition or egos

You have to trust your job-sharing partner and accept that there will be times when you have to compromise – job sharing may not be for everybody! When it works as it has done for us it benefits both employers and freelancers in a life-changing, work-enhancing way – we are both looking for work now so I hope more employers will be receptive to job sharing ongoing.

so how do you negotiate rates for a job share? find out at our March 1st event

Media Parents is brilliant for jobs, networking and training - join now for our next event on how to negotiate at

February 20, 2017 @ 8:19 pm Posted in News Comments Off

FREE initiative for emerging filmmakers

by Amy Walker

Modern Tales is a FREE five-month story and professional development initiative for emerging BAME, female and disabled filmmakers.

Media Parents is brilliant for jobs, networking and training - join now at

The programme supports writers, directors and producers in the development of longform dramatic fiction (feature film, series, serials, webisodes) that reflects the unique intellect, imagination and experience of diverse emerging filmmakers and that is also market conscious, industry aware and distinctly creative. Modern Tales is passionately committed to making a significant impact on the diversity issues the Film & TV industry faces. We believe that the training scheme we have devised, which utilises an innovative 360 approach to traditional script development, offers diverse emerging filmmakers a real opportunity to develop their projects and progress themselves as filmmakers in a way that will significantly enhance their career prospects and their ability to make a discernible impact on the industry. We have consulted widely, listened to feedback and discussed the barriers our target communities face in the industry.

In order to remove any potential cost barriers to those wanting to apply, we are pleased to announce that we will now be offering bursaries covering the full cost of the fees for all successful project development teams. This means that all the selected project development teams will be able to access the full 5 month programme for free. Please download project development application guidelines from the website for further details, follow our social media feeds or feel free to contact us at

Our unique five month development programme based in London offers:

• 8 day-long training sessions in the creation and marketing of fictional material forfilm, TV and online platforms

• Online support from industry mentors and access to an online peer community• An opportunity to network with other film creatives

• Individual project development for selected teams. Those teams participating in project development will progress to a developed long-form fiction project and additional content packaged in a portfolio to present to industry. They will also get the chance to pitch their project to Development Executives.

Tickets will still be made available for all eight individual training sessions for those not applying for full project development but who still wish to attend individual course days. For More Information: Visit

February 14, 2017 @ 3:20 pm Posted in News Comments Off

Media Parents February CV Workshop

by Amy Walker

BACK BY POPULAR DEMAND – CV need some help? Join Media Parents at this CV Workshop run by Amy Walker, Media Parents Director. To book a place at this Wednesday’s CV event see the watercooler at

See the recap of the tips freelancers found most useful here :

Amy Walker (right) at a Media Parents event in Bristol

Some testimonials :

“Thanks for a really useful evening Amy. I realised  my CV had become a list of jobs rather than an a document that sells me to prospective employers. Top tip from the evening – If you’re applying for different roles, have a CV for each listing the relevant experience at the top as the person reading it may not make it down to the bottom of page two..” Ian, Series Producer
“Thank you for the MediaParents CV workshop, which was absolutely brilliant.” Clare, PM, Line Producer

“Thank you for a fantastic session, it was really helpful.” Kerry, Researcher.

If you need some CV inspiration please read the links below : – it’s still the jobsite with the largest number of great jobs per capita in TV!

Media Parents is brilliant for jobs, networking and training - join now at

February 6, 2017 @ 3:47 pm Posted in News Comments Off

Brighton Event Thursday December 8th

by Amy Walker

If you’re a Series Producer /PD /Edit Producer /Editor /DV Director /AP /Researcher /Production Manager or Production Co-ordinator and you’d like to work out of Ricochet’s Brighton office then


We are the biggest TV production company in Brighton and we are currently staffing up projects for the BBC, ITV, C4 and C5.

We are holding an Open Day on Thursday December 8th from 2pm-8pm

Come and meet our Senior Team*, find out about our new commissions, and check out our offices.

To register (and even if you can’t attend but want to work here) please send your CV mentioning Media Parents to:

it’s a date!

Media Parents is brilliant for jobs, networking and training - join now at

* including Lisa Cox, who mentors for Warner Brothers on the Media Parents Back to Work Scheme. Thanks Lisa.

November 22, 2016 @ 11:15 pm Posted in News Comments Off

Development Exec Kirsty Calvert Ansari C4 Back to Work Winner

by Amy Walker

Having been on maternity leave since the end of last year I’ve been excited but apprehensive about heading back to work. Whilst TV hasn’t really changed much over the past 12 months I feel like my life really has, and it’s been daunting trying to imagine how my new home life will fit around a job. So being sponsored by Channel 4 on the Media Parents GEITF Back to Work Scheme was an unexpected godsend and a much needed introduction back into the world of tv writes Kirsty Calvert Ansari.

Development Executive Kirsty Calvert Ansari was one of this year's Media Parents Back to Work Scheme winners.

Firstly, I’ll start by saying the trip to Edinburgh TV Festival was so much more than I’d anticipated. Not only was it great meeting MDs and Creative Directors of companies full of brilliant advice and support, but also it was about meeting a group of lovely supportive people in totally the same position as me. It was a place to reconnect with old contacts, to have coffee with commissioners and talent agents and to circulate my cv and tell people ‘’I’m back’’ and looking for a job.
But it wasn’t all just about networking, it was also good to be able to attend lectures. From channel controllers and commissioners, to format masterclasses, Amazon, Hans Rosenfeldt’s Crime Noir, Youtube and Sharon Horgan, the schedule was certainly varied. But with such a busy schedule there were hard decisions to make too (such as whether attend the lip-sync battle with Mel B and Prof Green and experience a cringe-fest of commissioners in lycra or to hear Patrick Holland’s needs for BBC2).

Kirsty’s Edinburgh digest :

Quick upsum:  ITV definitely want a load more crime; formats are king; Sky 1 admitted to being ‘more Homer than Marge’; Cassian Harrison wants us to be surprising (but not ‘too’ surprising); Ben Frow is fed up with copycat jibes; and finally to a packed auditorium Vice’s Shane Smith sounded a warning to legacy media that it needs to adapt.

Read more about the 2016 Media Parents Back to Work Scheme winners at

Among the many super helpful people I met were Alex Gardiner MD at Shiver, Kate Beal Blyth at Woodcut Media, Lorraine Chalker-Phillips at Label1, Will Smith at ITN Productions, Helen Hawken at Discovery, Lucy Leveugle at C4, Claire Laycock at TLC and my mentor from C4 Ralph Lee who was extremely encouraging and insightful.
Fuelled by free coffee, ice-cream, toast and skittles, Edinburgh has reinvigorated me and boosted my confidence. My plan in the short term is to look for a Head of Development role and then hopefully in the future a role in commissioning. My mentor Ralph Lee has already pointed me in the direction of a C4 commissioning attachment scheme that looks really interesting.
Since writing this, Kirsty has landed a flexible development exec job at Twenty Twenty.

Media Parents is brilliant for jobs, networking and training - join now at

November 8, 2016 @ 10:02 am Posted in News Comments Off

Can Producer Viv Perry take her baby to Edinburgh TV Festival?

by Amy Walker

When Producer Viv Perry asked if she could take her 5 month-old baby to the Edinburgh TV Festival courtesy of the Media Parents Back to Work Scheme everyone’s immediate reaction was “yes she can”. Viv and Isaac took it all in their stride and caught up with Reggie Yates along the way…

Media Parents Back to Work Scheme Winner Viv Perry catches up with ex-colleague Reggie Yates at Edinburgh TV Festival

My trip to Edinburgh for the TV festival was the first time I’d gone further than zone six since I’d had my son, writes Producer Viv Perry.  So, it was with some serious excitement and to be truthful, trepidation, that Isaac and I set off for the Edinburgh TV Festival thanks to the Media Parents Back to Work Scheme.  In short it was hectic, intense and totally worth it.  I don’t plan to go back to work until Isaac is one so this was a great opportunity to meet the companies who’ll be crewing up in the coming months, to think about where I’m going next in my career, and to keep up to date with how the industry’s evolving.

At the TV Festival with 5 month-old Isaac

I’m currently a producer and I received huge amounts of encouragement to take the next steps to achieve my ambition of being a series producer.  BBC Talent Manger Caroline Carter was incredibly useful in dissecting my CV and pointed out how I’d buried some of my key skills in dense descriptions of my roles.  Time to refresh my personal statement and bullet-point my achievements.

Likewise Edd Buckley – Talent Manager from Blast! helped me think through how to make those steps to build on my edit producing experience as the company likes to grow talent within established long-running series such as Supervet.

It was refreshing to think through alternative funding models for getting commissions off the ground with Noel Hedges from DRG – a company that specializes in acquiring programmes from producers to sell on.

In between nipping out to feed Isaac, I managed to make the most of the lecture programme.  Jay Hunt was upfront about her instinct to back programmes that didn’t really fly the first time round – singling out Gogglebox and First Dates as examples of hits that took nurturing.

Combined with Ralph Lee’s observation that a hit factual series is ‘not subject driven, but is relies on place, precinct or process’ I felt I’d gleaned a few nuggets towards developing a smash hit factual series.

I enjoyed the session on What Men Want and was pleased to hear Reggie Yates hold some of the panel to account – as he claimed that “TV is failing men, not content” – pointing to the fact that his contemporaries don’t necessarily turn on the box to watch interesting programmes – there’s a world of Netflix’s and Amazon Primes competing with Dave and Top Gear!  I’d produced Reggie Yates in my radio days so it was great to catch up with him and see his work mature and become ever more incisive.

The festival has left me excited to return to work next year and raring to make the most of my Media Parents Back to Work Scheme mentorship with All3Media – having chatted with Sara Geater who couldn’t have been more supportive of my return to work.

Read more about the 2016 Media Parents Back to Work Scheme winners at

September 17, 2016 @ 9:45 pm Posted in News Leave a comment