Media Parents

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.

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

Media Parents Back to Work Scheme Winner Director Candida Scott Knight

by Amy Walker

With my work experience as a director in drama on short films, Hollyoaks and a further 7 years directing shorter form, after raising a family and living overseas, returning to the UK, I’m absolutely ready to re-start my career in TV again writes Returning Director Candida Scott-Knight. Candida will be attending Edinburgh TV Festival this week as part of the Media Parents Back to Work Scheme, 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

Over the past 2 years I’ve been getting up to speed, meeting colleagues old and new, developing projects, applying to schemes, shadowing on Britannia II as well as completing training, most recently multi—camera, directing scenes on Coronation Street.

With a truer and more honest way of being in the way I am now, I bring a very real and authentic voice to the media today. With this quality and my experience, I’m very clear on my skills and what I now bring to take my career to the next level.

Returning Director Candida Scott Knight waving (not drowning) in the crowd at Media Parents Summer Drinks

I realise I may not be be handed the keys to direct immediately, although like learning to ride a bicycle I’m ready and know how to. So whilst I work towards directing, I’m open to looking at all positions and transferring my directing skills to other jobs within the industry so I can step back to full time work again and bring all of me to it.

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@ 3:11 pm Posted in News Leave a comment

Media Parents Back to Work Winner Casting Producer Joanna Gretton

by Amy Walker

I am attending Edinburgh TV Festival as part of the Media Parents Back to Work Scheme this year writes Casting Producer Joanna Gretton.

Joanna Gretton (right) with Amy Walker at Media Parents Summer Party 2017. Joanna will be attending EdTVFest with Cardiff PD Laura Martin-Robinson and Director Candida Scott Knight

Before leaving TV production to explore other avenues when my children were at nursery, I worked as a PD, AP and Casting Producer and casting is my chosen route to return. I love people and real human stories, my most recent credits were for documentaries and casting celebrity interviewees for royal obituaries. I’ve experienced human stories from a different perspective over the last three years in the course of my work for Media Parents, both as a Talent Manager and in supporting returners back to work. Now my children are both at school I want to bring these stories to screen again.

I know I need to refresh my skills – I’ve seen that companies sometimes ask casters to use premiere pro these days, so I’m going to look into that. I’ll also refresh my camera skills and I can teach myself how to cast on Skype. I’m very excited at the prospect of returning and bringing back my voice to TV.

Joanna Gretton (in red) at the Media Parents Job Share Event at West Digital in July

I don’t think I realised I could do casting as a job share until recently, and, thanks to the Media Parents Job Share event at West Digital  in July,  I’ve found one potential partner and am on the look-out for more potential job shares. I’ve started to approach companies to find out which are sympathetic to job share and I’m excited at the prospect – start with the companies listed on Media Parents if you are trying to work out which are supportive of flexible working.

For practical reasons I’m starting with the companies that are geographically close to where I live to make my commute and the school run easier. Get in touch if you want to job share, or watch this space to see how I get on.

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@ 2:48 pm Posted in News Comments Off

Media Parents Back to Work Winner PD Laura Martin-Robinson, Wales

by Amy Walker

It’s always been my dream to direct documentaries writes Media Parents Back to Work Scheme Winner Laura Martin-Robinson. I spent my 20s throwing myself into the world of work – researching at the BBC and making independent docs on the side. I got a job working on Louis Theroux’s San Quentin doc and my first film was selected for Britdoc and Birds Eye View. It was amazing and I felt I’d landed.

Cardiff PD Laura Martin-Robinson will be attending Edinburgh TV Festival through the Media Parents Back to Work Scheme

My 30s were spent figuring out how to make films, have kids and do it from Wales. Over the past 8 years I’ve had 3 children and 3 maternity breaks. I’ve continued working in between – but always part time. I’ve also had caring responsibilities for my brother, dad and mum. This stretched me emotionally, financially and physically. In an industry where confidence is key it took time for me to find my voice.

I began directing but it’s been a challenge. Being a mum and out of London has added an extra dimension of feeling cut off from the TV community and commissioners.

Having been at companies that weren’t on board with flexible working I now work with a Welsh production company ie ie (yeah yeah) productions. It’s a truly flexible company that is making it its mission to support women and underrepresented voices in film and TV.

Last year's Media Parents Back to Work Scheme winners at Edinburgh TV Festival

I’ve made films that have done well in Wales (I won 2 BAFTA Cymru awards) and that I’m proud of, but with the kinds of projects I’ve chosen (long term on a part time basis) I’ve barely covered child-care costs.

I’m now ready to step up a gear and go back to consistent work, build my networks and develop my craft as a director.

August 17, 2019 @ 9:56 am Posted in News Comments Off

Karen Richardson Experienced SP seeks telly husband/wife for job share

by Amy Walker

**Experienced SP seeks telly husband/wife for job-share adventures a-plenty!**

Series Producer Karen Richardson at Media Parents Job Share Event

Actually, like a real floozy, writes Series Producer Karen Richardson, I seek as many job share partners as possible. Since discussing job share at the Media Parents Job Share event recently, it’s becoming clear that job-share partnerships can chop and change from one contract to the next depending on the nature of the job; the dates and general life events!  So, the more the merrier I say! If you’re interested in applying for the Media Parents Back to Work Scheme as a jobshare then please contact me through Media Parents too – applications close on Saturday 10th August.

The concept of job-sharing has been an epiphany for me!  It’s the only feasible way for me to do the job I love.   The role of Series Producer is intense so knowing that your job-share buddy is working when you are not (and vice versa) just fills me with utter joy!  It’s fair to say that I have become quite zealous about the idea of job-sharing as a way of staying in a senior role at a time in life when full-time roles are difficult either because of caring responsibilities or because you have other interests which you wish to dedicate time to and which make you a well-rounded, interesting human!

If the Political Editors of The Guardian; the CEOs of the Judicial Studies Board and the Head of Media & Campaigns at Macmillan Cancer Trust, the Series Editors on Unreported World – to name but a few – can job share successfully, in some case for decades, then it sure as hell can be done more in the world of TV.  One just needs a “can do” attitude.  And let’s be honest, if you’ve carved out a successful career in TV then you’ll have that in bucket loads anyway.

SP Karen Richardson in the crowd at Media Parents Job Share Event, sponsored by West Digital

For more job-sharing zealotry you can follow me @tellymumma an account I created to chart my return to the world of TV and the joy of the job-share and to up-skill my incredibly basic understanding of social media!

My skills as a Series Producer are, I promise, far more adept.  I’m an experienced Features, Fact Ent and Popular Factual SP returning to production after a 4-year maternity break and available to work from mid/end October.

I’ve a lot of experience in competition formats and tackling all the compliance and legal issues these generate and have SP’d several first series including The Great Pottery Throw Down for BBC2 and One Born: What Happened Next for More4 – the two series of which I am proudest.

Apply for the Media Parents Back to Work Scheme by August 10th, and join us for Media Parents Back to Work Drinks in September

Pottery was a behemoth of a series and at its peak we had a team of close to 80 on set and in the edits.  One Born on the other hand was a team of 6, with two newbie Shooting PD’s who had never cut an hour show in the edit before.  Completely different series to make but both encapsulate everything I love about TV – the stories of ordinary peoples’ extraordinary lives told with fondness, compassion, humour, warmth, curiosity and honesty.   Be it baking, pottery, property or parenting, I want to know everything about the world we’re entering and the people whose stories we’re telling.  This means I always ensure that my team and myself get out to meet and speak with people as early as possible at the start of a production since I believe this is how the best stories are found and the best TV is made.

Over the past couple of months I’ve spent a lot of time getting back in touch with all my old contacts – and making new ones – as I spread the word about returning to SP’ing in a job-share capacity.  This means I now have lots of people – genuinely interested in the idea of job-sharing SP’s – to e-mail for work once I’ve found my job-share partner.

Inspired by the Media Parents Job Share event, there is a small, but steadily growing WhatsApp group of SPs interested in job-sharing (several of us, myself included, are happy to consider Edit Producer roles to fill gaps in-between SP gigs) so – if you like what you’ve read – please get in touch with me via Media Parents.

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

Media Parents Back to Work Scheme Opens for Applications

by Amy Walker

We are delighted to announce that Media Parents Back to Work Scheme will run again this year, supported by indies and the TV Foundation, which runs The Edinburgh TV Festival. Described by previous winners as “invaluable” and “life-changing”, here is the the back to work scheme in PM Hannah Williams’ words “The scheme has helped me hold onto and regain the confidence to still see myself as a valuable asset”.

2018 Back to Work Scheme Winners at Edinburgh TV Festival

This hugely successful scheme offers winning applicants the opportunity to be mentored by industry leaders, and to attend Edinburgh TV Festival to refresh TV knowledge and contacts. This year’s scheme is particularly seeking applications from Production Managers as well as editorial candidates.

Applications have now closed for this year’s scheme and winners’ progress can be followed on this blog. We are holding Media Parents Back to Work Drinks on Wednesday September 25th for returners. See our watercooler for details.

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July 29, 2019 @ 2:32 pm Posted in News Leave a comment

Come into the Garden Maud… and Job Share

by Amy Walker

Join Media Parents on Weds 24th July in the leafy garden at West Digital for a glass of rose and a spot of networking… Hopefully you will find your job share life partner if that’s your thing, or you could find out about the Media Parents Back to Work Scheme launch! Either way you’ll meet some great people in lovely surroundings at West Digital.

Join us for pink drinks in West Digital's leafy garden

West Digital is an independent, boutique post house that’s been providing creative and innovative picture and sound post production for almost 18 years.

Some of last year's Back to Work Scheme Winners at West Digital celebrating their return to work

Set in a relaxing building in the heart of Shepherds Bush, with it’s wide range of entertainment, cafes, bars, restaurants and shops, we have light and airy contemporary cutting rooms and fantastic finishing suites spread over four floors.

You're invited to enjoy the convivial atmosphere at West Digital - take a tour on the night if you'd like to

To help make you feel at home, we also have a tranquil garden and a relaxing cafe-bar reception – with friendly faces and great coffee.

West Digital MD & Lead Editor Peter Zacaroli and the team are really friendly. Nobody wanted to leave last time - thank you for inviting us back!

We pride ourselves on the quality of our work and our supportive company culture. Our talented creatives and fantastic support teams have a wealth of experience working across broadcast, theatrical, corporate, commercials and branded content.

Make sure you're signed up to the guestlist to attend Wednesday night's event:

Recent broadcast credits include, ‘Edwardian Britain in Colour’ (Ch5), ‘Great Green Wall’ (doc feature), ‘Chris Tarrant’s Extreme Railway Journeys’ (Ch5), ‘A Place in the Sun’ (Ch4), ‘Final Say’ (Sky Arts), ‘The Last testament of Lillian Bilocca’ (BBC4), ‘Coast v Country’ (Ch4), ‘Up For It’ (Film4).

Click image to join Media Parents for great jobs, training and events. Summer Party June 19th; Flexible Working Event July 24th and more...

July 23, 2019 @ 11:05 pm Posted in News Comments Off

5 minutes with PM Natalie Brook Reynolds

by Amy Walker

I came into production management via a very different route to most people, writes Media Parents’ PM Natalie Brook Reynolds.

PM Natalie Brook Reynolds moved over from theatre where she worked with Sir Charles Dance

I trained as a stage manager in theatre and was a fairly successful Company Stage Manager for 12 years, my last show being Shadowlands with Charles Dance in the West End. More about that later – my career has evolved into PMing for TV and I’ve even set up a virtual PM business where I work from home for smaller companies that need ad hoc PM support. Back to how it all began…

I found that my stage management skills were very transferable and was asked back to again a year later. I was still working as a freelancer stage managing as well, but didn’t want the life of having to go out on tour for weeks/month on end especially as I had met my partner David at around the same time – moving into TV was appealing and slowly I started to move across.

At first, I worked for various production companies as a PC and then moving onto PM, because of my quick problem solving skills I seem to appeal to short form TV companies, although I have done long form, live studio and current affairs.

In 2016 I agreed to take a rolling freelancer PM role with Global Media and Entertainment in the VideoLab team which produced branded content and of course all the video content from their yearly OB events. I ended up staying nearly 2 years as Senior Production Manager with lots of my additional duties encompassing what can be described a hybrid of HOP/Production Accountant strands to my role. I would often be looking after 20 plus cost managers of video projects that were going on, managing up to 6 producers reporting into me, freelance editors and the permanent editor.

Within my time there I also put systems in place including a new cost manager and a 37-page financial management report which allowed business decisions to be made for the department.  I had the most fantastic boss who championed her team’s development and mine. By the time I decided to move on I was extremely proud of what I had done and the difference I had made to the video teams but I wanted new challenges.

I returned to freelancing, however last year I had an accident. I fell on a glass vase cutting the artery and all the tendons to the fingers on my right hand and had a 6 hour op to repair the damage. Over the last year I have had extensive hand therapy and recovered well, in this time I have worked, I was even back freelancing a week after the accident! It has made me reflect on work life balance and now I would love to work more part-time.

Currently I am still freelancing and am holiday covering the PM at Otro until the 9th July full time, but after this I am interested in short term freelance contracts in July and August ideally 4 days a week and am happy to do holiday cover and then ideally from 15th September to do more part-time freelance roles 3-4 days a week. If I can bring my skills to your company please get in touch:

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June 24, 2019 @ 6:55 am Posted in Freelancer Profiles Leave a comment

5 minutes with returning PM Hannah Williams

by Amy Walker

Media Parents Back to Work Scheme 2019 has opened for applications – yes it’s back! To get an application form or recommend a friend drop us a line c/o 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:

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!

June 21, 2019 @ 6:31 am Posted in Events, Freelancer Profiles, TV Returners, TV Training Comments Off

media parents summer party photos

by Amy Walker

Thank you to everyone who joined us for the Media Parents Summer Party and made it such a good laugh. And of course thanks to the lovely ClearCut team for making the atmosphere so warm and welcoming. Our next event is the brilliant Media Parents Job Share Event on July 24th so please join us at that – click the link – invite friends, the more the merrier. Photos of the summer party are here:

It was great to welcome Dragonfly's new Talent Manager Gayl Paterson, here with Raw Cut's Tina Lohmann and freelancers

BBC Scripted Head of Talent Jacqui Taunton Fenton with BBC Children's Exec Ros Attille and freelancers

Curve Media's new Talent Manager Catherine Mabb meets freelancers

Renegade's Director of Production Ed Nissen with Emporium Productions Exec Matt Holden

Back to Work Scheme Winners Hannah Williams and Melissa Bishop are currently looking for work to fill gaps - grab them while you can!

Huge thanks to Joanna Gretton from Media Parents and to the ClearCut Team for hosting so well and making everyone feel so welcome

Thanks to everyone who made it - it was great to catch up with old friends and meet some new people. Join us on July 24th for our JOB SHARE event - the more the merrier!

Click image to join Media Parents for great jobs, training and events. Flexible Working Event July 24th - sign up now

June 20, 2019 @ 6:30 am Posted in News Leave a comment