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returner jenny madalura scripted assistant coordinator

by Amy Walker

introducing media parents back to work scheme winner jenny madalura

Scripted Coordinator Jenny Madalura will be sponsored on the Media Parents Back to Work Scheme by Sister Pictures

I have been out of media work for over 10 years since working with the BBC, writes Jenny Madalura. Having a family, getting a law degree and working part-time as a LexisNexis copywriter, whilst being a full-time parent to my two children, Luke and Ocean kept me out.

My son, Luke, is now 21, with Aspergers. Despite this, he was given a place at Ravensbourne College, to do a degree in Film and TV Production two years ago.  Shortly after, he was diagnosed with Acute Myeloid Leukaemia. Thankfully after nearly two years of extensive treatment and a bone marrow transplant, he’s now in remission and able to return to university.  My daughter Ocean just turned a year old, I feel I am ready to return to work and focus on my media career.

Eager to return to media work late last year I took part in some short practical back to work workshops thanks to Media Parents last October.  This gave me the confidence after such a long time out of a media career, to try and get back in.  Through Media Parents I was also fortunate to have been mentored by Leo Martin, from Fudge Park Productions, which was both insightful and promising. Thanks to my legal training I was offered assistant coordinating work, but due to unforeseen circumstances within the company, the offer to be taken on board was no longer viable. I am keen to try again.

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August 20, 2018 @ 3:52 pm Posted in Freelancer Profiles, News, TV Returners Leave a comment

returner melissa bishop unscripted AP / researcher

by Amy Walker

introducing media parents back to work scheme winner melissa bishop

Unscripted AP / Researcher Melissa Bishop will be sponsored on the Media Parents Back to Work Scheme by Warner Bros

I’ve been out of full time work for around three years, as I am the primary carer for my Mother.  I am now able to hand over some of that responsibility to my sisters, so am very much looking forward to getting back to work. My passion is factual TV, specifically documentary programming. I am especially strong with finding and managing contributors, from all walks of life. I love engaging with people and building a rapport. I feel I still have a lot to offer and have not yet reached my full potential and have many years left to work in the industry.

I had my first job in a production company twelve years ago, and for the following four years worked happily in various fairly junior TV roles, mainly as a Researcher. I then moved sideways to work for Legal Network Television, a corporate company making educational factual programmes, and worked my way up to producer.

For the past eight months I have been studying for a Masters’ degree in Documentary Production at U.W.E., affiliated with the BBC in Bristol. I undertook this as, at the time, I was unable to commit to regular work as my mother was recovering from illness. I thought it would be beneficial to me to brush up on my production skills, and hopefully make myself more appealing to the industry.

I do feel reinvigorated and have gained new skills. In addition it has really encouraged me to think deeply about factual and documentary storytelling and what building blocks are needed to make up truly exception programming.

Melissa is being sponsored by Warner Bros. Many thanks to the Warner Bros team for sponsoring again this year. To follow Melissa’s progress please read this blog and tweets @mediaparents.

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@ 3:38 pm Posted in Freelancer Profiles, News, TV Returners Leave a comment

returner geoff dibben scripted PM

by Amy Walker

introducing media parents back to work scheme winner geoff dibben

Scripted PM Geoff Dibben will be sponsored on the Media Parents Back to Work Scheme by ITV

I have worked in the film and TV industry since my early 20s, always in Production, writes Geoff Dibben.  I started as a Production Runner in drama, before moving onto ‘the floor’ as a 3rd AD, 2nd AD and 1st AD before becoming a Production Manager and Production Supervisor on features including War Horse, Clash of the Titans and The Dark Knight.

In 2006 after the birth of my second child I decided continuing to work on foreign location feature films would be unsustainable, especially as my wife wanted to return to work as a university lecturer.

I decided to take a sideways move into commercials and short-form corporate work which I was able to do from home, allowing me to spend time with my young family. The hope was I would be able to return to full-time production once the children were older, however this has proved harder than anticipated.

My children are now older and will both be at Secondary school so I am looking for a way into UK high-end TV drama production. I feel I have a great deal to offer not just an employer but the wider industry.  I have done everything from low-budget to super-high budgets and everything between. I have scheduled productions, budgeted productions and delivered productions, so have an extensive knowledge of physical production and post-production.

I am look to reinvigorate my career and get some mentoring, advice and relevant recent experience to get into high end TV drama productions as either a Production Manager or Line Producer or maybe as an in-house Production Executive.

I hope the scheme will introduce me to Heads of Production and Producers within Production Companies and allow me to demonstrate my skills and knowledge as well as my enthusiasm for the industry.

Geoff is being sponsored by ITV. Many thanks to the Endemol Shine team for sponsoring again this year. To follow Geoff’s progress please read this blog and tweets @mediaparents.

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@ 2:11 pm Posted in Freelancer Profiles, News, TV Returners Comments Off

returner jo larmer unscripted edit producer

by Amy Walker

introducing media parents back to work scheme winner jo larmer

Edit Producer Jo Larmer will be sponsored on the Media Parents Back to Work Scheme by Endemol Shine

I am an experienced live and edit Entertainment Producer with a huge desire to find the perfect work/family balance, writes Jo Larmer. I am particularly keen to pursue roles in the Edit or in the support side of production, such as licensing, marketing or talent management.

My main experience has been in very fast turn-around live studio shows – working with and managing a team to generate content, and script writing. I have also been responsible for cutting down studio shows with extremely tight deadlines. Consequently it’s fair to say I work very well under pressure! I also enjoy becoming part of a new team.

In recent years I’ve seen a more business-focussed side of television, having produced some events for BBC Worldwide’s Formats team. I have found this hugely interesting and have learnt a great deal from these roles.

Since having my children six years ago and being widowed 18 months ago, I have taken on several very short-term part-time contracts, but I am now looking to return to work part-time on a permanent or longer contract. My intention is to carve out a more definite career path that enables me to use my experience in and love of TV production to support my family financially, whilst maintaining a stable presence for them at home.

I am an extremely hard worker and firmly believe that since becoming a mother I work even more productively and efficiently than ever before.

Outside of work and looking after small people I enjoy running (I completed a marathon earlier this year), British Military Fitness, yoga and reading. I have also spent some time since my husband died fundraising for the Institute of Cancer Research and have raised over £60,000 to date. And I dabble enthusiastically but fairly unsuccessfully in arts and crafts and baking!

Jo is being sponsored by Endemol Shine. Many thanks to the Endemol Shine team for sponsoring again this year. To follow Jo’s progress please read this blog and tweets @mediaparents.

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@ 1:08 pm Posted in News Comments Off

Returner Katie Walmsley unscripted PM

by Amy Walker

introducing media parents back to work scheme

winner katie walmsley

Returning PM Katie Walmsley will be sponsored on the Media Parents Back to Work Scheme by All3Media

Before my career break I was a successful Production Executive with 20 years of television experience under my belt, writes Media Parents Back to Work Scheme Winner Katie Walmsley. I will be looking for flexible PM work on my return, having worked my way up from Coordinating for the Natural History Unit in Bristol to running and overseeing a team of Production Managers across a diverse range of programming as Production Executive, dealing with major budgets and setting up and running productions at STV in Glasgow.

When I became pregnant with my first little girl, we relocated from Glasgow to London to be nearer family. I now have two beautiful girls, Mia and Olivia, born 17 months apart. Following Olivia’s rather dramatic arrival into the world, my husband and I took the decision that I would take the role of a stay at home mum, but I have always missed the cut and thrust of my career and have been itching to get back to work.

I’ve kept myself busy with a few smaller local projects, most recently being Events Co-ordinator for the Royal Windsor Flower Show, however television is my passion.

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 need to remain a part-time mum. I am realistic and would be happy to come back as a Production Manager to show a new team what I can do.

Thank you to the team at All3Media for sponsoring Katie. To follow Katie’s progress please read this blog and tweets @mediaparents.

If you are interested in joining media parents click here.

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@ 12:36 pm Posted in Freelancer Profiles, News, TV Returners Leave a comment

returner Elena Mourey unscripted producer

by Amy Walker

introducing media parents back to work scheme winner Elena Mourey

Returning Unscripted Producer Elena Mourey will be sponsored on the Media Parents Back to Work Scheme by Raw TV

Taking a year off work to have my daughter has allowed me to refocus my ambitions and consider new career trajectories, writes returning Producer Elena Mourey. I am now excited to return to my TV career and the opportunity to go to Edinburgh to explore new ideas and the support of a mentor will certainly help get me reacquainted with the industry.

In the immediate future, I’d like to continue to make programmes I’m proud to say I’ve worked on, whether that’s something that sparks a national debate or more light-hearted programmes. I’d also like more responsibility in my future roles, working as a senior producer, so I can learn how to manage larger teams of people and build on those people skills that make me a good producer in the first place.

After much contemplation, I’ve concluded that my long term career goal is to become a series producer (I hadn’t previously allowed myself to admit this), because running a series, managing a creative production team and handling crises when they arise, is where a lot of my raw skills lie. Setting the challenge of this goal has reignited the passion for my career and I’m looking forward to the future.

I’m striving for more edit experience. I found edit producing on People Like Us, BBC3 and The Job Interview, C4, incredibly creative – not to mention vitally important for the roles I take outside the edit.

I’m enthusiastic about returning to work, but I can’t deny feeling trepidation too. It can be incredibly hard moving up in TV, even without having time off. Parenting teaches you militant time-management, precise and quick decision-making, crisis troubleshooting, all skills I know will be helpful in any TV role. But most importantly, I now have an undeniably new and fresh perspective on my career moving forward.

Elena is being sponsored by Raw TV on the Media Parents Back to Work Scheme. Thank you to everyone at Raw TV for supporting the scheme. To follow Elena’s progress please read this blog and tweets @mediaparents.

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@ 11:52 am Posted in Freelancer Profiles, News, TV Returners Leave a comment

Returner Emma Bodger Scripted Director

by Amy Walker

introducing media parents back to work scheme winner emma bodger

Returning Director Emma Bodger will be sponsored on the Media Parents Back to Work Scheme by Channel 4

Having directed many hours of British TV drama, I suffered an accident and subsequent disability, writes returning Director and Media Parents Back to Work Scheme Winner Emma Bodger. During a debilitating recovery period, I found it impossible to get work in the UK as a director, which sent me on a challenging (and quite inspirational) path through different ways of storytelling in Asia and Africa. I would like to harness that experience as a positive on the way back to directing full-time again in the UK.

The Media Parents Back to Work Scheme will provide a forward-facing structure to build on my strengths and past achievements which include an RTS award and an International Emmy.

I believe my career trajectory would have led to me to directing High End drama naturally years ago if I had not had the accident. I will relish the opportunity to network, make and rebuild the connections I need to achieve this career progression now.

As a female director who has found barriers to progression around diversity, sexuality and disability, I would love to bring a different and unique voice to the new rounds of British commissioning.

Emma is being sponsored by Channel 4 on the Media Parents Back to Work Scheme. Thank you to everyone at Channel 4 for supporting the scheme again this year. To follow Emma’s progress please read this blog and tweets @mediaparents.

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@ 9:07 am Posted in Freelancer Profiles, News, TV Returners 1 Comment

how to get back into TV directing by returner Kate Cheeseman

by Amy Walker

It’s nearly a year since I won a place on the Media Parents Back to Work Scheme with a bunch of other lovely talented returners, and what a year! writes Scripted Director Kate Cheeseman who was mentored by Channel 4. Read here about Kate’s journey to directing Call the Midwife. The scheme has helped us all back to work – Nicola Kingscote has Series Produced after a two year break, Josie Besbrode has been working flexibly as a PD, and Emma Sayce job shared prior to her current role. Emma is now “back in” after working sporadic short contracts to keep her hand in since maternity leave four years ago. This year’s Media Parents Back to Work Scheme is open for applications until tomorrow, so spread the word – it works!

Congratulations to the Back to Work Winners from 2017 for returning successfully

When I first tried to return to directing, despite hundreds of letters and applications, it was impossible. I had not worked in TV for some years. However, in the last few years people have woken up to some of the problems, and organisations like Media Parents, Raising Films and Directors UK have been spearheading change.

To help bridge my gap, last year I made my fourth short. It’s a great way of showing what you can do, of meeting people and just keeping up with technology and working practices. I linked up with a great team who were looking for a director and had a brilliant script. The schedule was tight, but we found an equally wonderful cast and crew.

Shortly after the shoot, I won a place on the Media Parents Back to Work Scheme. Showing willing despite not having professional credits for a while won me the place. I was off to Edinburgh TV festival.  It was a great boost as I felt that I’d had so many rejections it was becoming difficult to carry on! It was really encouraging for someone to actually believe in me.

Myself and the other returners all made the most of the festival, going to some great talks and meeting fantastic contacts.  Everyone who is anyone in TV goes!  I emailed lots of the people I wanted to meet before the festival and though I didn’t have a huge response, the few that I did hear from were well worth the effort.  One of those contacts recently helped me get a fantastic agent at ITG.

Media Parents Back to Work Team 2017 at Edinburgh TV Festival

Back in London my Channel Four mentor Chloe Tucker encouraged me to keep going. To some extent getting work is a numbers game.  No meeting is wasted either, even if it ends in a rejection it might lead to something further down the line. Being on the Back to Work scheme I felt I had something to tell people about rather than just asking for work. One of my meetings shortly after Edinburgh was with an executive producer I had known before my break and though she had no work at the time, she suggested I met with the producer on Call the Midwife.

In the autumn, I set about editing my short, What Happened to Evie. Post for shorts is tricky as you usually don’t have much money, so have to wait for people.  In the end I edited the film myself, which I wouldn’t normally recommend but we had such a tight script that it wasn’t too bad.  Finishing the film gave me something to show people and when I finally had the interview with Call the Midwife, I am sure this helped show I could direct actors. I also watched all the seasons of the show again. Several boxes of tissues later I met with the lovely producer and chatted about the programme. A few months later I was offered the finale of the next season. I can’t tell you how happy I felt.

Many of the contacts that I met through the Back to Work Scheme have been really helpful with advice and contacts, so, another plus for the scheme and great ongoing contacts for me. All in all, it’s been an incredible year, kicked off by getting on this fab scheme, and I hope just the start of lots of new journeys.

Congratulations Kate!

To apply for the Media Parents Back to Work Scheme 2018, click here.

Media Parents Back to Work Scheme 2018 is open for applications, see our blog for details. Join Media Parents for great jobs, training and events.

July 23, 2018 @ 8:42 am Posted in How To, News, TV Returners 1 Comment

how to Job share in Edit by Emma Sayce and Nikki Ryan

by Amy Walker

Media Parents Back to Work Scheme Winner 2017, Edit Producer Emma Sayce, made it her goal to break back in to flexible work via the scheme (which is currently open for applications, apply here.). Emma has just finished a 12-week stint job sharing as an Edit Producer on Maverick’s BAFTA winning CBBC show Operation Ouch! She and job share partner Nikki Ryan write here about their experience of job sharing in the edit.

Operation Ouch!'s job sharing Van Tulleken brothers

Six months ago, neither of us had really thought about job sharing, but having done it, we’re keen to repeat the experience. We’ve found it to be a productive and enjoyable way of working.

Job Sharing Returner Emma Sayce at Edinburgh TV Festival with her Media Parents Sponsor Endemol Shine Global HR Director Bella Lambourne

Operation Ouch! is a 12 x 28’ science/medical series for kids, presented by identical twin doctors Chris and Xand Van Tulleken. Nikki worked as an Edit Producer on the series a few years ago, and when the Head of Production, Maria French, contacted her about coming back for the 7th series Nikki (very nervously) asked for part time hours. On such a busy edit this wasn’t viable, and the idea of sharing the role came up. Maria sounded out the Series Producer and Exec, and both were happy to give it a go. Maverick advertised the position through Media Parents and found me to pair with Nikki.

Maverick had chosen us on our individual merits … but it was down to us to make the partnership work, and we had never met! After our first conversation it was clear we were on the same page – both committed to the job, and to making the process of sharing it work.

Tamara Durnford, right, Maverick TV's Talent Manager who crewed for the jobshare at Media Parents recent job share event

Nikki worked 3 days a week, Emma 2. In the main, looked after our own VTs from start to finish, but this didn’t mean we worked independently. Being across 3 edits, on a fast turnaround show, meant lots of planning and we did this together – mapping out what each edit would be cutting and when, and lining up work for each other so we could hit the ground running on our respective days. We made it our business to be across everything our job share partner was doing, so that we could answer questions about it, and the production team could treat us, essentially, as one person.

All this meant we had to be in close communication. We had detailed handover phone chats on Wednesday and Friday evenings, spoke to each other during the day whenever we needed to, and had a joint email account which we kept an eye on during our days off. We did find ourselves putting in a bit of time ‘out of hours’, but this didn’t feel onerous. We could fit it around family commitments, and we also enjoyed it! How often, as a freelancer, do you get a detailed insight into how someone else does your job, and the opportunity to compare approaches and share best working practices?

None of our editors had worked with a job share duo before but they were extremely supportive, as was everyone on the production.  We definitely felt able to work as effectively as we would have done as individuals. The job of an EP is, after all, a creative one, and it’s easier to be creative in the edit when you’re not tired, not stressed because of what may/may not be going on at home, and generally feeling happy with your work/life balance. You also get time out of the edit to come up with the odd funnier line / fresher idea / solution to something that is proving tricky. In this way, we felt we offered good value to our employer – 2 brains for the price of 1!

Channel 4's Jon Snow photobombs the Media Parents Back to Work Team at Edinburgh TV Fest 2018 - Emma Sayce far left.

One big lesson, from our experience, is that job sharing really is a team game. There’s no room for competition or egos – your partner’s success is your success. You need to pair up with someone you trust, communicate easily with and who has a similar work ethic. Interestingly, we found that you don’t need the same experience, just the same attitude!

This job share has exceeded our expectations. Through Media Parents we feel lucky to have hit upon a partnership that works, and we’re keen to test it out on different kinds of show. We’re aware, for example, that on something like a single narrative doc, we’d be collaborating on a much more creative level. We’ve spoken to other job sharers who’ve made that work!

We’d encourage anyone interested to try and get a job share going. You can post here to find a job share, or on the Media Parents watercooler. Hopefully this will become progressively easier to do, but for now it seems that if a production company knows one of you, they’re more likely to give it a shot. We hope this way of working will allow those of us who need to give time to our lives outside telly (for whatever reason), to also have long and fulfilling careers within it.

Emma is now working for Endemol Shine, her Media Parents Back to Work Scheme sponsoring company, and will be available in November. Nikki Ryan is currently on mat leave – congratulations ~Nikki!

Nikki Ryan, Edit Producer Job Share

Read more about Media Parents Back to Work Scheme here :

Media Parents Back to Work Scheme 2018 is open for applications, see our blog for details. Join Media Parents for great jobs, training and events.

July 18, 2018 @ 5:01 pm Posted in Freelancer Profiles, How To, News, TV Returners Leave a comment

media parents back to work scheme under deliberation

by Amy Walker

Media Parents’ Back to Work Scheme announces its 6th year in partnership with Edinburgh International TV Festival. Thank you to every who has applied, we have heard from great returning talent. Details of winners will be posted elsewhere on this blog. We will hold drinks in September for all applicants.

Media Parents is re-launching its hugely successful sponsorship scheme to help parents and carers back into the TV industry after a career break. 100% of our sponsored applicants have been offered work after taking part in The Media Parents’ Back to Work scheme. Will you be the next?

Media Parents Back to Work Winners 2017 : Scripted Director Kate Cheeseman, SP Nicola Kingscote, PD Josie Besbrode & Edit Producer Emma Sayce

We are hugely grateful to our sponsors – and are delighted to say that Channel 4 has just come on board. Other sponsors are All3Media, ITV, MermanEndemol Shine, Warner Bros, Sister Pictures and Raw TV for supporting this scheme for talented freelancers. PD Josie Besbrode and Edit Producer Emma Sayce have both returned to flexible work this year. Josie has been working part time and Emma has been job sharing – you can read their job share post here and look out for Emma’s latest job share piece. SP Nicola Kingscote has written about Edinburgh TV Festival, and Director Kate Cheeseman has written about returning to work to direct Call the Midwife.

Media Parents Back to Work Winners at Edinburgh TV Festival 2015

Previous years’ winners include a primary carer who had been out of TV for 8 years and has gone from directing EastEnders to now directing Emmerdale, other returners have secured commissions, and another successfully used the scheme to return to work in remission from cancer. 

Media Parents Back to Work Winners 2015 at GEITF

We offer companies the opportunity to sponsor one of our applicants to give them the boost of confidence and contacts that will help highly skilled TV workers back into the industry. Through the scheme companies can increase diversity in the workplace, play a part in reinvigorating the career of talented individuals – and in the process garner great PR as a company – we have a track record of gaining national media coverage in The Guardian and on BBC Radio 4.

Successful applicants will be awarded sponsored places at this year’s Edinburgh International TV Festival EITF in August – applicants must be available in Edinburgh from 22 – 24th August. Our winners will be awarded a delegate pass plus travel to, and accommodation in, Edinburgh with bespoke mentoring sessions from the sponsors. Historically places have been sponsored by Endemol Shine, Channel 4, BBC, CDN, Sky, ITV, Warner Bros, BBC Wales, All3Media, Raise the Roof Productions and Endemol Shine.

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

We work with mentees in advance t0 workshop CVs, and the onus is on mentees to formulate a back to work plan with Media Parents which they discuss with their mentor. Previous years’ mentors include Shine MD Tanya Shaw, ITV Creative Director of Programming, Mark Robinson, Sky Head of Comedy, Jon Mountague, ex Channel 4 Deputy Director of Programmes Ralph Lee, Channel 4 Drama’s Chloe Tucker, Wall to Wall MD, Richard Thompson, Ricochet Head of Production Lisa Cox, Boomerang Director of Programmes Sam Grace, PACT Chief Executive, John McVay, Channel 4 Commissioner Michelle Chappell, BBC Commissioner Catherine Catton and Nat Geo Commissioner Carolyn Payne among a brilliant array of execs from across the board in TV. We are told the experience is highly rewarding on both sides.

6 Media Parents Back to Work Scheme winners attended the Guardian Edinburgh International TV Festival in 2014, seen here with Media Parents Director Amy Walker.

Applicants for the scheme are required to complete and submit an application form (click here to download : Media Parents Back to Work Scheme Form 2018), plus a CV and 300 word précis outlining their ambitions upon returning to TV to by July 29th at 6pm. Candidates must have at least 3 years’ experience in TV and should not have worked in TV for more than 12 consecutive weeks since their career break. Applications are now open.

Ali McBride, Harriet Wallace, Kirsty Smith and Sidra Khan, media parents delegates waiting for Kevin Spacey's MacTaggart Speech at GEITF 2013.

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July 4, 2018 @ 7:00 pm Posted in News, TV Returners, TV Training 6 Comments