Media Parents

Posts categorised as: TV Returners

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

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

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

Media Parents Back to Work Winner JPM Jess Farrow nee Garland

by Amy Walker

When I returned to work from maternity leave in February earlier this year, I’d been left with a bitter taste from the industry I’d been in since University, as I’d felt pushed aside whilst unsuccessfully trying to find work at 6 months pregnant writes JPM Jess Farrow (nee Garland). I was ready to make a break from TV and forge a new career in Events.

Congratulation to JPM Jess Farrow who will be mentored by Hat Trick on the Media Parents Back to Work Scheme

I found a nice 3 day-a-week job organising training courses, and eased myself out of the fog and into working life. At first I loved the simplicity of the job, I didn’t have emails on my phone, no one called me on weekends, what bliss! I weighed this up against the fact that the role wasn’t very stimulating and it seemed like a viable trade-off.

I had a break from the job over Easter and saw an old colleague post on Facebook that she was looking for someone to do post paperwork on a couple of Channel 4 docs, the kind of stuff that was my bread and butter as a co-ord. I asked her if this could be done part time and she was thrilled to welcome me on board. I had a lovely 4 weeks’ stint at Flicker Productions and got a little reminder of why had loved TV I the first instance. I tapped into knowledge I had acquired in my career and felt truly valuable. I got to work with lovely people and watch some brilliant documentaries. When I returned to the events role I had the undeniable feeling of total and utter boredom!

I left the events job at the beginning of June and have been trying to pick up my career in TV since then. Post Production seems to be the only area that can offer the flexibility of part time work and even going up to 4 days a week I have been unable to find a JPM role (my last position before going on mat leave was as a JPM).

I am terrified that my career will be dead in the water if all I have achieved in my year back at work is a few short coordinator contracts. This sounds less like a summary and more like a moan but I can promise you I am really good at my job. I have a great CV and lots of references willing to sing my praises, which is why I find it so frustrating to be in this position. I will use the scheme to make contacts and find flexible work and shout from the roof tops about it when I get it!

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

If you are a TV returner, join Jess Garland and our other Back to Work Scheme Winners at Media Parents Back to Work drinks in September, see our watercooler at www.mediaparents.com for details.

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

September 3, 2019 @ 6:27 am Posted in TV Returners Comments Off

Media Parents Back to Work Winner PC Kirsti Davidson

by Amy Walker

My first job was as an art department assistant on a drama and then as work experience at TFI Friday writes returning PC and Media Parents Back to Work Scheme Winner Kirsti Davidson.

Media Parents Back to Work Scheme Winner Kirsti Davidson will be mentored by Raw TV

I managed to get a job at Television Centre Studios where I had the opportunity to work on a number of productions and in a variety of positions from Production Secretary, Production Coordinator and Assistant Producer in both Sport and Entertainment. I have experience of  live OBs, live studio, pre recorded studio shows and filming on location and worked on shows such as TFI Friday, Sports Personality, Grandstand, Sport Relief, Auntie’s Bloomers and Parkinson.

After 10 years, I I took a break to have a family. It was extremely difficult to get production work that fitted with family life, there was no such thing as flexible working or part time hours and I saw colleagues really struggling with employers and teams when they had to leave suddenly due to a child being poorly or picking up from nursery. It just looked so stressful, so after a few false starts I forged a new career as an illustrator where I could work from home – it was creative and I picked up some great transferable skills; including time management, adobe creative suite, patience, negotiation skills, being calm under deadline pressures and communication skills.

An illustration by Kirsti Davidson

Now my children are older and I am able to work longer hours and travel, I’d really like to work back in production again and be part of a team. Having been out of the industry for several years, I’m happy to work my way up from PC and am looking at courses to brush up on my production skills. I am grateful to Raw TV for the opportunity to be mentored by one of their team.

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

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

August 31, 2019 @ 6:49 am Posted in News, TV Returners Leave a comment

media parents back to work scheme winners 2019

by Amy Walker

We’re delighted to announce the Winners of this year’s Media Parents Back to Work Scheme, sponsored by Raw TV and Hat Trick Productions. Thank you to everyone who applied, it was an exceptional line-up this year and we look forward to having a drink with all applicants, sponsors, alumni and supporters at our Back to Work Drinks on September 25th (see watercooler for details).

Media Parents Back to Work Scheme Winner Returning Director Candida Scott Knight waving (not drowning) in the crowd at Media Parents Summer Drinks

Something unusual happened this year, in that we opened up applications to people who were unable to attend the Edinburgh TV Festival as well as those that were. And our sponsors chose people who were not able to attend, in addition to people who could. For a company that promotes job sharing this is an ideal result, meaning we have five people on the scheme this year, from Wales and Brighton as well as London. Here they are – if you would like to meet Laura, Joanna and Candida at the festival please drop us a line via the site or @mediaparents on twitter.

JPM Jess Farrow (nee Garland), London mentored by Hat Trick Productions.

Congratulation to JPM Jess Farrow who will be mentored by Hat Trick. Cheers Jess!

JPM Jess Farrow returned from mat leave in Feb 2019 and felt pushed out of the industry because she could not find flexible work. She took a flexible job in events before picking up a flexible post PM contract. She is using the scheme and support from Hat Trick to try to find flexible PC or JPM work, and to try to retain her JPM status rather than seeing her career go backwards after having a child.

PC Kirsti Davidson, Brighton mentored by Raw TV.

PC Kirsti Davidson will be mentored by Raw TV

After 10 years in TV as an AP Kirsti took a break to have a family and subsequently found it was extremely difficult to get production work that fitted with family life. So after a few false starts she forged a new career as an illustrator where she could work from home. Now Kirsti’s children are older and she is able to work longer hours and travel, it’s become clear to her that illustration is more of a hobby than a career, and she misses working in production and being part of a team. After 12 years out Kirsti is planning to retrain and re-enter the industry as a Production Coordinator, supported by Raw TV.

PD Laura Martin-Robinson, Cardiff supported by Hat Trick Productions.

Cardiff PD Laura Martin-Robinson will be attending Edinburgh TV Festival

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.

Director Candida Scott Knight, London supported by Media Parents

Returning Director Candida Scott Knight will be attending Edinburgh TV Festival alongside PD Laura Martin-Robinson and Casting Producer Joanna Gretton as part of the Media Parents Back to Work Scheme

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 work her way back up to directing drama again.

Casting Producer Joanna Gretton, London supported by Raw TV

Joanna Gretton (right) with Amy Walker at Media Parents Summer Party 2017

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.

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. Thanks once again to everyone who applied – if you didn’t win a place this time don’t give up – TV needs you. Join us at our Back to Work Drinks on September 25th at ENVY, see the watercooler for details.

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

August 19, 2019 @ 3:50 pm Posted in Events, News, TV Returners Leave a comment

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.

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

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

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

by Amy Walker

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Kate Walker

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

by Amy Walker

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Returner Melissa Bishop with Expectation Factual's Anna Bonnadio

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

by Amy Walker

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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