Media Parents

Happy International Women’s Day 2022

by Amy Walker

Happy International Women’s Day from us all at Media Parents. And huge congratulations to all the filmmakers whose work was screened at yesterday’s Hastings Women’s Film Festival. You can download the Hastings Women’s Film Festival Programme 2022 here, and the filmmakers’ bios and film links. Festival attendees also enjoyed an inspiring and entertaining Q&A session from SISTER CCO Jane Featherstone, chaired by Media Parents Director Amy Walker.

Hastings Women's Film Festival with Clare Holman, centre, and Jane Featherstone, far left.

Actor / Director / Writer Clare Holman‘s film Only the Lonely won this year’s Best in Show prize at HWFF. The film, directed by Clare Holman and written by Veronique Christie and Elaine Spires, is set in London and follows Anna Calder-Marshall as Elspeth, a woman on a journey of self-awareness and discovery. Hearty congratulations Clare, and great to see connections being made via Media Parents re further projects.

Anna Calder-Marshall in Director Clare Holman's film Only The Lonely. The film won Hastings Women's Film Festival Prize 2022

Director / DOP Diana Olifirova‘s film Quadrality was also given special mention by HWFF speaker Jane Featherstone, CCO SISTER, for its artistry and composition.

Ukrainian Director/ DOP Diana Olifirova's film Quadrality opened the programme at HWFF

And Michaela Hennessy-Vass‘s Face It: Leonie, also made in lockdown via a BBC/ Arts Council/ Culture in Quarantine bursary, was also singled out for praise.

Crystal Marshall in Michaela Hennessy-Vass's Face It: Leonie

Each of the filmmakers received a prize for entry courtesy of the generosity of Waitrose in Hawkhurst. Many thanks to Kino-Teatr for hosting the event. Happy International Women’s Day 2022.

Media Parents is running an online networking event with Naked, part of Fremantle as our next event. Watch our blog for details. Join us for Media Parents events, jobs and training at www.mediaparents.co.uk.

March 8, 2022 @ 8:12 pm Posted in Events, News Comments Off

Hastings Women’s Film Festival Filmmakers

by Amy Walker

Media Parents is delighted to welcome filmmakers including special guest, Executive Producer Jane Featherstone, to Hastings Women’s Film Festival this year. Sussex resident Jane will take part in a Q&A session during the festival programme.

Jane Featherstone, Executive Producer/ CCO

SISTER CCO Jane Featherstone will speak at Hastings Women’s Film Festival

As the former chief executive of Kudos and co-chairman of Shine UK, Jane’s pioneering vision brought quality drama to the mainstream whilst growing Kudos into one of the UK’s most recognisable and formidable indies. During her tenure, Featherstone oversaw the production of some of the UK’s most ground-breaking and best-loved dramas, from BAFTA-winning television series Broadchurch and Life on Mars, through to Spooks, The Hour and Utopia.

Departing Kudos in 2015, Jane then founded Sister Pictures (in which Elisabeth Murdoch became a minority shareholder) in November 2015. In four years, the indie became one of the leading international drama producers, renowned for its phenomenal breadth of output including Landscapers (Sky/ HBO) Gangs of London (Pulse Films/ Sky Atlantic/ HBO), The Split S1/S2 (BBC One/ SundanceTV) Giri/Haji (BBC Two/ Netflix), Flowers (Channel 4) and This is Going to Hurt (BBC One/ AMC).

In October 2019 Jane joined forces with Elisabeth Murdoch and Stacey Snider to found SISTER, a global content company which produces and invests in visionary storytellers.

Forthcoming productions include The Split S3 (BBC One/ AMC) The Baby (HBO/ Sky)Gangs of London S2 (Pulse Films/ Sky Atlantic/ AMC), and The Power (Amazon). Chernobyl (HBO/ Sky Atlantic), the world-wide phenomenon and winner of multiple awards including 10 Emmy Awards, 2 Golden Globes and 9 BAFTAs adds to the critical and audience acclaim the company has achieved for its work.

Hastings Women’s Film Festival is proud to present filmmakers whose films are being screened below. Thank you to all filmmakers who submitted films this year, we watched so many great films. Each filmmaker’s name is hyperlinked to their website.

Diana Olifirova, Director/ DOP

DOP Diana Olifrova's short will open Hastings Women's Film Festival 2022

Diana is a Ukrainian cinematographer based in London. She works in film, TV – We Are Lady Parts (Channel 4), Heartstopper (Netflix), The Baby (coming soon to SKY/ HBO) – commercials and music videos. Beyond that she creates art films – pieces that are statement of the time, place and sense of self.

Diana feels and fills her pieces with layers of metaphors, visions and moving soundscapes. She loves collaborating with other artists in fields of music, fashion, dance, theatre, film and poetry to create her work. Diana is fascinated by light, people, art, movement and real life. Open and bold, observant, enthusiastic, sincere and exciting. Winner of BSC Emerging Cinematographer Award.

watch quadrality here

Joanna Suchomska, director

Joanna Suchomska, TV Researcher and Matka / Polka Director

Joanna Suchomska is a Polish-born documentary filmmaker based in Brighton. In her work, heavily influenced by her identity as an immigrant, she is especially devoted to the subjects of social controversy and taboo, women’s issues and human rights. MATKA / POLKA is Joanna’s second documentary. She wants her films to evoke radical empathy, which she believes can lead to social change.

Joanna is a graduate of MA Media Practice for Development and Social Change at the University of Sussex, where she specialised in Short Documentary. Translating her love for documentaries into a career choice, she works in factual television as a Researcher.

A.D. Cooper, Writer/ Director

A.D. Cooper, Writer (photo: India Roper-Evans)

A. D. Cooper is a writer, director who’s created a slate of short films that have won multiple awards at international film festivals. In 2021, she completed the thriller Odds and the multi-award winning Put Away for Hurcheon Films. Towton Audio produced her radio drama What did you do in the war, Mama? as a podcast.

In recent years, A.D.’s presented her own stage plays at London fringe theatres, and taught on the LCC M.A. Screenwriting and at Ravensbourne University. She’s working with her agent to progress her many other script projects.

watch put away trailer here

Ellie Brent, Writer/ Director

Director Ellie Brent

Ellie Brent is a freelance, award-winning director; who has made a vast array of promos, commercials and idents across the globe. Her sharp eye for style and aesthetics, rhythm and movement, with subtle wit and sometimes dark humour; has made her short-form work unique.

When Ellie is not dreaming up ideas or watching drama and comedy, she will either be singing soul in her Brighton choir, enjoying cardio tennis and the outdoor life, or planning her next overseas adventure!

watch the possible here

Anna McNutt, Producer

Producer Anna McNutt

Anna McNutt is an award-winning producer and writer based in London, UK. Born in the United States and of Yugoslavian descent, McNutt attended high school in Budapest, Hungary before completing her BA in Media & Communications, specialising in Creative Writing, at Goldsmiths, University of London. She obtained an MA in Producing, with distinction, from the same university.

Known for her sardonic dark films, For Him (2019) and Baby Thump (2021), McNutt is currently in development for her next short film, The Reservoir, with director Anna Parcerisas on the subject of sexual abuse.

watch for him here

Sara Jordan, Writer/ Performer

Sara Jordan, Writer/ Performer

Sara Jordan is an actress, writer and director. Her films Pic & Mix, The Tea Break, Lady What Does (co written with Lisa Harmer) Eat The Chickens, Planning The Funeral, Stuck and Jitters have all done well at festivals winning several awards.  Planning The Funeral, Stuck and Jitters can be viewed on Amazon Prime.

Sara kicked off this year filming The Plunge by Adam Nelki as an actress, and is now in pre production on a new black comedy she has written about a headmistress who is trying to juggle the pressures of work with trying to spice up her love life.

watch planning the funeral here

Janet Hodgson

Digital Filmmaker Janet Hodgson

Janet Hodgson was drawn into filmmaking through her studies in Social Anthropology, after spending many years working in advertising and broadcast research. She works very closely with her subjects, bringing the tools of the anthropologist – immersive fieldwork, observation, sensitive questioning – to her creative practice. She has made films about knitting, moustaches, and World War II veterans.

She is the brains behind the marketing for a community opera project and made “It takes a town to make an Opera” about Bloom Britannia, shot between lockdowns in 2020. Filmed in Hastings, St. Leonards and Bexhill in December 2020, and made for Barefoot Opera, a music education charity based in Hastings/St. Leonards, the film also features footage from a rehearsal performance at the De La Warr Pavilion in 2019.

watch the film here

Lisa Harmer, Writer/ Performer

Festival Founder, Writer / Performer Lisa Harmer

Lisa has worked in theatre, tv and film since her late teens, when she was part of the Anna Scher youth theatre and management. She has appeared in many continuation dramas over the years including EastEnders and Casualty and the more controversial Channel 4 series Metrosexuality  as Peggy, written for her and directed by Rikki Beadle-Blair (MBE).

Since relocating from her South London roots to St Leonards on Sea, she has co written/produced and acted in an award winning short, Lady What Does, currently being developed in to a 6 part comedy series.  Having written and co produced her  latest film Pebbles with local cast, crew and director/producer  Leigh Shine, she is excited that it will get its premier in the event. Lisa loves combining her skills and champions fellow female film makers, and founded Hastings Women’s Film Festival in 2020.

Nicola Stuart-Hill, Writer/ Director/ Performer

Nicola Stuart-Hill, Writer/ Director / Actor

Nicola is an actor, writer, director with sixteen years in the biz. Since Bad Mother, she set up Muddy Dog Films and has been in script development on the company’s first feature, psychological horror Sundowning, a personal story about caring for an elderly parent with dementia; which she will also direct and act in.

watch Bad Mother here

Marnie Baxter, writer/ director/ performer

Marnie Baxter, Writer / Director / Actor

Marnie Baxter is an actress and director with 25 years experience in TV, film and theatre. In addition to Bad Mother, Marnie has directed 2 other shorts, ‘Do This For Me’ which will have its premiere at BFI Flare later this month, and ‘Hello, Muscles’ funded by Creative Scotland, and starring Kate Dickie, to be released later this year.


Emilie Cheung, Director

Emilie Cheung, Director

Emilie is a short-film director based in the UK. After training with the BFI Film Academy in 2016, she made her directorial debut at 17, with a commission from Channel 4’s ‘Random Acts’, for her short film ‘Pas De Deux’. She has since gone on to direct a variety of projects; from social media commercials for ‘Adolescent Content’, to narrative shorts, including Underwire-nominated ‘Walk of Shame’.

Emilie also worked as a Young Reporter for IntoFilm, giving her the opportunity to interview influential names, including Damien Chazelle, Richard Curtis & Millie Bobby Brown. She currently works as a Team Assistant at SISTER.

watch fish here

Clare Holman, Director

Director / Actor Clare Holman

Clare is an actor, writer and director based in Rye and London. She trained at Guildhall school of Music and Drama and has been acting for 30 years. She is most recognised for her role as Dr Laura Hobson in Lewis but her career has spanned all our major theatres in lead parts and has covered an expansive range of parts in both film and Television.(Little drummer Girl, Censor).

Clare has directed four short films, winning many awards, and has directed for the BBC on Doctors and Holby City. She was commissioned to write a feature film for Dan Films, and worked with Hat trick as a writer on an original series.

Michaela Hennessy-Vass, Producer

Michaela Hennessy-Vass, Producer

Michaela has created TV comedy and drama for more than 20 years and is a former ITV Comedy Commissioning Editor.  Credits include Face ItBenidormThe Fattest Man in Britain, Ladies of Letters and Dara O Briain’s Go 8 Bit. She is executive producer for TellHerVision, an initiative to develop female writers’ rooms.

Known for nurturing and developing new talent from casting an unknown Robert Pattinson in a Catherine Tate comedy drama; developing an Edinburgh fringe show into a studio entertainment show to commissioning an unknown writer to create the runaway hit that was Benidorm.

watch face it: Leonie here

Olga Mamonova, Artistic Director, Kino Teatr

Olga Mamonova, Artistic Director, Kino Teatr

Olga Mamonova is Artistic Director of Kino-Teatr. Born in Moscow, she studied philosophy and history at the State Moscow University. After moving to St. Leonards and starting a family in 1996, Olga obtained an M.A. from the University of Sussex and ran a gallery of Russian Art. In 2010 she organised an exhibition at the National gallery of Russia – The State Tretyakov Gallery – of Russian/British artist Oleg Prokofiev, and made a documentary ‘Oleg Prokofiev. The Return’, which was filmed in England and Russia.

In 2015, together with her husband, artist Russell Baker, Olga transformed and re-opened a 1913 Kinema (now Kino-Teatr), and has been in charge of its film programming, live events and festivals. Olga is author of three non-fiction books on Russian art and history.

Amy Walker

Amy Walker, Director, Media Parents (photo: Robert Ludovic)

Media Parents Director Amy Walker has made hundreds of hours of network television as a producer, director and series producer. A passionate champion of diverse talent she has been Head of Talent for several factual indies.

In 2019 she was the Channel 4 Scholar at HULT Business School, where she was awarded an Executive MBA and won the university prize for most innovative idea. Amy has been Talent Exec at SISTER since 2021. She will co-present HWFF with founder Lisa Harmer.

Media Parents is running an online networking event with Naked, part of Fremantle as our next event. Watch our blog for details. Join us for Media Parents events, jobs and training at www.mediaparents.co.uk.

February 23, 2022 @ 7:05 pm Posted in News Comments Off

5 minutes with returning Production Manager Katie Bevell

by Amy Walker

A wave from the sidelines writes returning Production Manager Katie Bevell – I’d love to come back now please!

Returning Production Manager Katie Bevell is looking for a job share partner https://www.mediaparents.co.uk/freelancers/15146/katie-bevell

I’m sure I’m a story that is echoed all over. I thoroughly enjoyed my early production career, working my way up the ladder in drama and film, a bit of documentary thrown in. It was hard work, long hours but I loved it. Then having children made me rethink and step away, but now, thanks to a refresher course from ScreenSkills, I’m looking to get back in, and find a job share partner, writes Katie Bevell.

How did I get here? After a full-on career working up from production coordinator on EastEnders, to production manager on acclaimed BBC drama Five Daughters, I hit decision making time. Being a woman of a certain age, I decided that segwaying into post production might make it easier on family life. From post supervisor in drama, to post production manager on Songs of Praise, I still got the buzz although I missed production.

We moved to the High Peak, accessing work in and around Manchester for both my props husband and me in post production. The facility post producer door closed as hours were just too inflexible with a toddler plus my second came along. It was hugely challenging – I dotted around various unconnected freelance roles with a plan to concentrate on my career again once the children started school.

And then the pandemic.

Hats off to all during that time. Working parents, those furloughed, those with no income for five months all with school children at home trying to support learning. I salute all of you. I put my career plans on hold, and did a little super flexible sidetrack info festival management.

We may or may not be out of the woods yet, but it feels like schools are stable now and, later than planned, I’m here and working out my plan to come back. I got in touch with Amy at Media Parents and magically landed an interview…

I’m very aware I’ve been out of the game a while. My organisational skills are still there but I feel rusty so I was really excited to find a ScreenSkills course, aimed at production people returning after a career break, and looking to expand their co-ordinating skills into unscripted. The paid placements designed to solidify that training seem sensible with just one catch…. they’re full time as right now that’s the norm in production coordinating. Ok… that’s impossible with my home responsibilities…

I’m working with ScreenSkills and the lovely people at Media Parents to see how someone like me could access this training and paid placements. Part time if a production company can facilitate it, but one option is a job share situation. I’ve put the word out – if anyone out there is like me and interested in this Manchester course but needs part time – please get in touch via Media Parents!!! (Applications are now closed but maybe together…)

Katie Bevell

Production, Post Production and mum of two….

Media Parents is running an online networking event with Naked, part of Fremantle on March 9th, scroll our blog for details. Join us for Media Parents events, jobs and training at www.mediaparents.co.uk.

February 15, 2022 @ 4:13 pm Posted in Freelancer Profiles, TV Returners Comments Off

Hastings Women’s Film Festival 2022

by Amy Walker

After the success of our Women’s Film Festival on IWD 2020, Hastings Women’s Film Festival is back in the auditorium to screen more movies made by women. This year we are delighted to be welcoming SISTER Chief Creative Officer Jane Featherstone as guest speaker.

Media Parents is proud to sponsor the event and the doors are open NOW to female talent across the South East. We will be reigniting the energy created just before the world paused and our hair grew longer than ever before, writes Lisa Harmer.

Winners and presenters take the stage at Hastings Women's Film Festival 2020, sponsored by Media Parents

When: Sunday 6th March from 2pm

Where: Kino Teatr, Norman Road St Leonard’s On Sea, East Sussex TN38 OEG

The Event:

Women writers / directors/ performers / producers / crew are invited to showcase their work in a beautiful Art Deco seaside cinema in celebration of International Women’s Day. Media Parents is sponsoring the event, empowering more women in the business with a platform to celebrate their creativity and dedication to film.  Along with special guests, we kick off the week building up to International Women’s Day with an afternoon celebrating women’s films.

Sponsored by MEDIA PARENTS and curated by their Director Amy Walker and Hastings writer/ performer Lisa Harmer, in association with Kino-Teatr, the event aims to champion talent along the South Coast and in the South East.

submissions:

Are now closed, so please book tickets to see the wonderful films in the festival below:

tickets:

https://www.kino-teatr.co.uk scroll down, book now to avoid disappointment!

January 17, 2022 @ 5:04 pm Posted in News Comments Off

5 minutes with Offline Editor Daren Tiley

by Amy Walker

Back in September 2020 I put a post out on LinkedIn saying I was available for work and one of my old series producer friends from The One Show, Gareth Collett, got in touch with me about cutting a taster promo for a new series about Matt Baker’s family farm in Durham.

Media Parents Editor Daren Tiley edited the More4 Series from his home edit suite

After 4 days of shooting and 8 days of editing in the Daren Tiley Editing Suite we had produced an amazing 18 minute taster promo to take to the channels to sell!! Both Matt Baker and Gareth Collett were really excited by the cut and I had a hunch we had something very genuine and special which could be made into a possible series. After a couple of weeks I got the phone call from Matt saying Channel 4 really liked the 18 minute taster promo and wanted to commission a 4 part series for More4 !! Great news!! But even better news was they wanted me DT Editing to proceed with the whole post production process to channel delivery if possible!!

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

I naturally said yes and the production started straight away in mid October. There were 3 filming blocks of 10 day shoots and after the final block was filmed in early December post production started straight away. There was over 130 hours of rushes to be digitised and transcoded for a second Avid suite at the production companies office Big Circus Media which I helped build for them via installation company Altered Images.

After 12 weeks of Offline editing at DT Editing and 12 weeks of offline editing at Big Circus Media’s production office we finally had all 4 episodes picture locked. Not an easy time as we were all in lockdown and sharing Avid sequences between the 2 locations and having many zoom editing sessions with Matt & Gareth.
I was holding about 20 TB of storage for the series as I usually work with everything at full resolution.
With the looming TX date fast approaching the grade was done and I was to start the online’s of all 4 episodes followed by the audio dub by a fiend of mine who also has his own remote dubbing suite. Once  everything was done it I exported the final master sequences for QC and channel delivery.
An epic journey and many many long hours in the DT Editing suite but at least it has kept me sane during lockdown 3 though plus this time I am getting not only my name credit but also a facilities credit too!!
All episodes are currently Tx’ing on More4 so enjoy all!! Keep watching – the figures have been great!!
I will be available from mid May onwards so give me a buzz if your looking for an editor in the coming months ahead www.dtediting.com

https://www.mediaparents.co.uk/freelancers/9614/daren-tiley

Watch Matt Baker Our Farm in the Dales now on More4

Join us for Media Parents events, jobs and training at www.mediaparents.co.uk. Our next event will be company networking online, see this blog for details.

April 22, 2021 @ 1:39 pm Posted in Freelancer Profiles, News Comments Off

Media Parents Returners Event with Emily Gale

by Amy Walker

Media Parents Director Amy Walker will be in conversation with Emily Gale, Ex Head of Talent at Fremantle, discussing returning to TV on April 1st at midday.

Emily Gale hosting Media Parents x Fremantle Returners Event in 2019

You have great TV experience, so what’s holding you back from returning to TV? Confidence? Contacts? Something else? This confidence boosting online event is an opportunity to put your questions to Emily Gale and Amy Walker, whilst picking up tips on returning.

Sign up here https://mediaparentsreturnersevent.eventbrite.co.uk. When asked for your Media Parents URL use the code MEDIA PARENTS.

2019 Media Parents Returners event at Fremantle with then Head of Talent Emily Gale, Media Parents Director Amy Walker, and then Talent Coordinator Jenny Spader. Thank you ladies!

Join us for Media Parents events, jobs and training at www.mediaparents.co.uk. Our next event will be company networking online, see this blog for details.

March 9, 2021 @ 3:58 pm Posted in News Comments Off

How to Ace an Online Interview with Zoe Russell-Stretten

by Amy Walker

In order to maximise your opportunity in an online interview, make everything as easy as possible for a potentially tired, zoomed out, busy employer, writes Zoe Russell-Stretten, Head of Talent at Brinkworth. Ahead of Media Parents’ How to Ace a Job Interview Online workshop this Friday, Zoe has kindly shared some tips on online interviews.

Zoe Russell-Stretten from Brinkworth (left) at Media Parents CV Event in the days when we could all go out

We always interview people in pairs at Brinkworth, or even sometimes in threes. An interview with an AP or more junior will last approximately half an hour. Anyone more senior is typically an hour.

Tech:

Almost everyone uses either Zoom or Teams. If you don’t have a basic working knowledge of both, practise using the features before the interview. Always download the application prior to the interview, so you don’t waste the first ten minutes of precious time. It will work!

Maximise your broadband. There’s nothing more frustrating than a poor quality picture, one that is lagging, out of sync or other symptom of poor broadband. This is your first impression, and the interviewer should be able to both see and hear you in real time. Some people do genuinely suffer from poor broadband speeds, but often, this can be improved. Turn off the wifi on all of your other devices in the house; your mobile, other laptops, possibly your TV, an Alexa or Google hub. Beg or bribe other householders to withhold from using the internet for that one sacred hour. If an employer has to work extra hard to connect with you, it’s hard to make a good impression. Test this with a friend beforehand.

Audio. Again, do a test beforehand. Turn off radios. Shut windows. Explain to children, partners or housemates that there’s a lot of chocolate in this for them if they don’t make a noise for an hour. If your audio is unreliable, learn how to use the mute function. Mute yourself when you’re not speaking, to avoid the speaker getting feedback. To avoid most problems, it’s usually easier to use headphones.

Presentation:

Because we’re all at home now, you are technically inviting a prospective employer into your home. So take a look at what the employer can see. Laundry? Clutter all over the carpet? Questionable art on the wall? Something on the shelf (eg that BBC interview)? A lot of people have their home workstation set up in their bedroom. If all else fails, use a filter on your background but make it a professional looking one.

Even if your CV is brilliant, if your house presents as a mess, employers might be worried about entrusting a complex project to someone who can’t present a sense of order and calm. Unfortunately, first impressions really do count, and your home/environment says so much about you.

Also – unless absolutely necessary, avoid taking the call on your mobile. Wherever possible, use a static device. An hour of watching someone’s own shaky hand-cam is extremely draining (especially when you’re doing it hour after hour).

Lighting! We work in a visual industry. If you are anything above a researcher, you should be able to demonstrate that your mind considers things in a visual way. So make sure you’re not backlit, that your face can be seen clearly, and that again, the interviewer isn’t having to mentally work hard to piece together information about you because you’ve set up your interview poorly. It’s amazing the number of shooting PDs who interview for a job but fail to think about setting up the shot of their own face!

Framing. Test with a friend how your framing works. Set your monitor or laptop up so that it’s level with your face. So many people look down into their computer – and it gives the interviewer an excellent view up your nose.  Also, learn how far back you should be to your screen – another frustration is people who sit too close and you are left interviewing their forehead, or just the top half of their face. It’s just extra mental work for the interviewer, and in the TV industry, isn’t really a great first impression. Everyone should be able to frame a basic shot.

Our next event, How to Ace a Job Interview Online, is on Friday 3rd March, email via the contact button above for details

Personal Presentation:

Just because this is an interview taking place in your home, it doesn’t mean that you should dress like you’re at home. Think about how you personally present, and apply the same rules that you would if you were meeting in an office. Dress the part, secure your hair off your face, don’t wear dodgy slogan clothing or something that a child or pet has just been sick upon.

A note about make up – depending upon your camera – some more modern cameras allow a lot of detail. So it can mean a little less is more. One of the strange things about online interviews is you can literally see yourself and how you come across, and if you have any insecurities about your appearance, this can be really distracting. You want to be able to stay confident and focused on what you’re saying. Both Zoom and Teams have filters that allow you to optimise your image (not cat filters, just gentle improvements). If you’re feeling a bit less confident in your appearance (as so many of us do right now!), then these filters are well worth knowing about as they can give just a little boost of self-confidence and stop people from focusing too much on their own face.

Prep:

Now that we are all stuck at home, but with tools to access all of the information on the planet literally sitting in our pockets, there’s just no excuse for not preparing for an interview. Watch. The. Employer’s. Output. This isn’t the early naughties – everything is available on demand, and if it’s not, it will be somewhere on YouTube or Vimeo or similar. Familiarise yourself with the style of programmes. It will empower you so much more in an interview, and there may be opportunities to demonstrate that you’re so invested in getting the job, that you’ve taken time out of your day to do this kind of research. It really really impresses. Every time.

Also – come prepared with questions. Thoughtful, editorially focused questions. Try to make sure they don’t sound critical of the employer or previous output. Practical, logistical and rate-related questions relating to the job itself can be dealt with post interview with either the TM or PM, so don’t waste this opportunity by asking ‘how much will I get paid’ at this juncture. Ask about editorial steer, tone, use of music, access, casting, overall production schedule etc… anything that shows that you’re thinking the way you would if you were already in the job. This is just another way to show that you care about getting the job.

Etiquette:

There may be some people on the call that don’t do much speaking. The people that don’t speak are doing a lot of thinking… and almost definitely they are there because their opinions about you impact on your ability to get the job. So don’t forget to acknowledge them or include them in your greeting, farewell, and of course – if the opportunity arises to reference something they may have said or be involved in. If you’re really at a loss, just use your eyeline to make sure you’re looking at everyone at different stages in the call. Most often, they can see that you’re doing this and that you’re being inclusive.  Regardless of your level of seniority, this portrays you as a respectful team member, and everyone wants that!

Back in the good old days of offices, this same rule applied. People who failed to acknowledge others in the meeting performed poorly, and were less likely to get the job as it was an indication as to how they perceived a) their own status and b) how they would behave on a team.

Some Positives:

Online interviews, and homeworking, are brilliant for opening up more opportunities to work. As a Talent Exec, I can now hire people based purely on their skills, without having to take their geographical locations into consideration. I can hire people who are juggling childcare, or other caring responsibilities – where previously more exceptions would have needed to have been made, these issues are no longer something to be ‘solved’ or agreed upon. People can work far more flexibly.

The same goes for access in general – for those with other access to work challenges. The removal of a commute to an office instantly broadens the talent pool in a positive and exciting way. We have always tried to make jobs as accessible as possible, but we are able to do so with far more ease and success now.

And finally…

Just a general note for interviews in any situation. Please don’t tell me that you’re great. Just be great. The individuals that are at great pains to describe themselves using the adjectives on their personal statements on their CV come across as insincere – and I sometimes suspect they are doing it out of nervousness. Try not to let nerves get in the way, but if they’re there, it’s much more acceptable to acknowledge those by saying ‘ah… it doesn’t matter how many years I’ve been in this job, I still get nervous in interviews!’. That shows you care. Going hard the other way to cover up your fears is off putting and makes it very hard for the interviewer to see through the self-advertising which can come over as egotistical.

Join us for Media Parents events, jobs and training at www.mediaparents.co.uk. Our latest event is on Friday 5th March

March 3, 2021 @ 3:49 pm Posted in Events, How To, TV Training Comments Off

8 tips for producing TV in lockdown from SP Gaby Koppel

by Amy Walker

Media Parents Series Producer Gaby Koppel has made a series of Rip Off Britain during lockdown (to read more click here). Here are Gaby and her team’s tips for producing remotely.

SP Gaby Koppel, bottom left, at a Media Parents zoom session. Our next event, a CV Masterclass is on Friday 26th Feb, email via the contact button above for details

8 tips for producing TV remotely, by Gaby Koppel

  1. The daily Zoom team meeting is the most important moment of the day.  It’s your chance to see everybody, gauge the mood, make sure they are doing OK and do something about it if they aren’t.  If somebody’s not contributing much, maybe they are struggling.
  2. However important the Zoom meeting is, don’t let it drag on too long. Short and sharp is better.
  3. Don’t just talk about work – even if you are busy, find some space in the day to chat, use Whatsapp for some fun not just business.  Part of what helps to lighten the atmosphere in the office are conversations  about what was on telly last night and the all-important office gossip. Try to create some water cooler moments.
  4. It’s toughest for the juniors and newbies, and we needed to work hard to keep their spirits up. When I was new in the industry I learnt by osmosis from overhearing more senior people speaking on the phone or between each other.   You can never replicate that, so make sure that somebody on the team is keeping a careful eye on them.
  5. Home schooling: I could see what a struggle it was for parents with school age children. They’d apologise about have to take time out in the middle of the day, and you could tell from the time stamp on their emails that they were making it up at silly o’clock.  Huge credit to them for their dedication to both family and work.
  6. You can produce remotely at a pinch, but edit producing is a whole other ball game.  It meant that instead of watching a cut with an editor you’d have to wait for them to send over the whole thing when it would have been so much faster to whizz through a cut side by side to make sure all changes had been applied before it was due to go to an exec.  It wasn’t possible to spin through archive quickly, or to riffle through a selection of music options – often they’d be laid in and sent over before you had a chance to say ‘Nah.’  There are technical solutions on stream now but we worked without them for most of the year.  In future I’d say to maximise the gains from a remote edit you need to spend money on any technical solution available from day one.  They say if all else fails, try Zoom on the editor’s phone, though I didn’t have to resort to that myself.
  7. The changing rules of lockdown could feel like standing on quicksand – you are having to react more like a daily production than one which is produced over five months.  When that happens and you are changing key bits of commentary or  even coming up with new films at short notice it’s best if you can enjoy the ride and relish the taste of adrenaline.
  8. And finally, on a personal note you need to get out of the house at least once a day or you will go mad. I started running every morning – something I hadn’t done for years.

Gaby Koppel is available now as Series Producer/ Edit Producer:

https://www.mediaparents.co.uk/freelancers/314/gaby-koppel

Series Producer Gaby Koppel remotely surveys her Pop Up Shop team in Manchester

Join us for Media Parents events, jobs and training at www.mediaparents.co.uk. Our latest event is a CV masterclass on Feb 26th

February 24, 2021 @ 12:54 pm Posted in How To, News Comments Off

5 minutes with series producer Gaby Koppel making TV in lockdown

by Amy Walker

It was the moment that I really did take my eye off the ball. Up in the back bedroom of my Hackney home I was supposed to be ‘eyeballing’ the latest series of consumer programme Rip-Off Britain: Holidays, which meant I should have been checking every frame for mistakes and corrections – it’s the final safety net before transmission.  But my focus had wandered and mentally I floated off to the North of England’s glitziest shopping mall, writes Series Producer Gaby Koppel.

Series Producer Gaby Koppel remotely surveys her Pop Up Shop team in Manchester

But this was no fantasy shopping trip – I’d stopped the video on a sequence showing our production team at work on our annual Pop Up Shop at Manchester’s Trafford Centre.  It’s  a chance for presenters and experts to meet the public, and what’s unusual about Pop Up is that the crews are there on screen, so in the wide shots I could see all our producers, film makers and researchers.  By now the clock was ticking – up in Salford our facilities house was on tenterhooks for me to green light delivery, but instead of getting on with the job of checking captions and scripts and blurring, I was thinking ‘Oo there’s Natalie – and is that Steve?’  I let it play on a few more seconds and stopped again, ‘There’s Sherry and Kirk and even from behind I can tell that’s Ian’.

Suddenly reality kicked in, and with a jump I realised my mind wasn’t just wandering because I was tired – it was because I’d missed simply being physically in the room with people.  Being there with them, not on a screen, a phone or an email. This was my first time series producing remotely.

Right at the beginning of lockdown I worked on a quickly assembled daily daytime show for BBC1 One.  Healthcheck UK Live presented by Dr Xand van Tulleken, Michelle Ackerley, Angela Rippon and Mr Motivator scored a huge hit with the viewing public.  A small part of a large team, I was producing series of film inserts remotely instead of my weekly routine of getting on the train at Euston and heading north for three nights a week.  When my kids were younger I’d have leapt at the opportunity to do a TV job from home, but by now they’ve flown the nest I was more concerned about missing out on seeing my Manchester Uni student son.

At first the idea of running a team I’d never met in person while producing TV from our distant bedrooms and kitchens seemed like a ridiculous novelty.  But like TV people all around the country we discovered how adaptable we were.  Of course it was fascinating to see the rails of kids clothes, the geography course-work displays and the type of bedspreads favoured by my colleagues, but it could also feel like working in slow motion – initially all of us racked up huge hours to get the job done.  That’s because we work in a world greased by communication – a nod, a smile, even a joke around the long desk we share can move a production forward without having to send round a group email or schedule in a Zoom meeting.

SP Gaby Koppel, bottom left, at a Media Parents zoom session. Our next event, a CV Masterclass is on Friday 26th Feb, email via the contact button above for details

But it proved to be like learning a complicated yoga move – as time went on we picked up momentum and surprised ourselves by our agility as we learnt how to juggle Zooms, phone calls, Whatsapp messages and emails to get the team dynamics right and move things on. Even when you are 200 miles away you can sense when a one-to-one chat will boost somebody whose motivation is flagging, or when you can straighten out a film that has gone off course by summoning 5 key people to join an ad hoc video conference.

A team spread all over the UK was soon working efficiently. Of course the only people actually leaving home were the film makers, DITs and runners – their jobs made significantly  more laborious by the wiping , the distancing, the masks, the having to film outdoors if you can despite the weather, the constant reference to health and safety advisors, and a maximum travel time of 90 minutes.  Yet some of the results were astonishingly good because we had adapted to the circumstances, and because we were able to call on some top class PDs at short notice.

Julia Somerville and some of Gaby Koppel's Rip Off Britain team

We made a series of cookery films at chef Ellis Barrie’s Anglesey kitchen – with the restaurant shut we had the place to ourselves, and it was roomy enough to keep our distance.  Ground Force veteran Tommy Walsh made over his garden for us,  and Jay Blades worked his magic on an old chair in his airy workshop.  All credit to PDs Anneliese Edwards, Debbie Martin and Josh Newman.

Sometimes it is true that we had to lower our standards both technically and in terms of content – but the audience forgave us as if it was an imperfect hand-knitted sweater that had been made with love. When Gregg Wallace was good enough to film something on his phone for us – I’m sure he would have  had the grace to admit that he was somewhat out of his depth –  we were just grateful to him for being so game. I produced a two part interior design feature where the film maker remained outside the house (high five to PD Charlie Preston) , and we got endless mileage out of the contents of Chris Bavin’s fridge.  To achieve it we were innovating and problem solving every day, because that’s what we do.

By the time we went into production with Rip Off Britain: Holidays in August a lot of the lessons about how to make it work had been learned.  And though it could sometimes still feel like walking through quicksand in oversize wellies, we were beginning to find those magic moments all over again.   With thanks to my fabulous team, click here for some thoughts:

8 tips for producing TV in lockdown from SP Gaby Koppel

There’s been a lot of talk about the world of work being permanently changed by what we’ve learnt during lockdown. Though I personally cannot wait to get back to the office, I have to grudgingly admit that we’ve learned stuff that is transformational, like being able to recruit researchers and producers regardless of where they are based geographically.  I predict that video conferencing is going to be an essential part of our toolkit for the foreseeable future and some of our Zoom interviews have turned out to be high spec enough to use even when we don’t have to.

Those of us who have been lucky enough to work through this year will never forget it. I hope that everybody in the industry will eventually benefit from some of the innovations that have been forced out of us  – the progress may have been painful, but in retrospect it was nothing short of remarkable.

Gaby Koppel is available as Series Producer/ Edit Producer

https://www.mediaparents.co.uk/freelancers/314/gaby-koppel

Join us for Media Parents events, jobs and training at www.mediaparents.co.uk. Our latest event is a CV masterclass on Feb 26th

@ 12:51 pm Posted in News Comments Off

5 minutes with Producer Jodie Chillery

by Amy Walker

It was February 2020, and it was Prince Harry’s final engagement. With Lewis Hamilton, HRH was set to open a motor museum before a new life awaited in America. For me it was the shoot that would be the final tick in the box for my development to get its long-awaited greenlight, writes Media Parents Producer Jodie Chillery.

Development Producer Jodie Chillery works on access to Prince Harry.

Two years I’d been working on access to secure a new series that would see me directing shoots at the Isle of Man TT, the Silverstone GrandPrix and Manchester’s Parklife Festival. The positive parley with Prince Harry’s people to allow me to cover this event was definitely going to guarantee 2020 as a career highlight…

…And then it was March 2020.

The green light turned to amber.

The amber light has since dimmed so much it’ll require more than a battery change to resurrect the pitch.

Today, I’m teacher to a 9 year old boy who, for the most part, is more intelligent than I, loves a debate and is very strong willed in working on doing his own thing in his own time.  I don’t have the relevant qualifications, patience, resilience, willpower, skill, experience or desire to be a teacher.

Despite my obvious love for all things filming and TV, I’ve grown to hate You Tube and its inane content with such ferocity that most days I come close to doing a Kirstie Allsopp and threaten to smash any screen that dares to air its jaunty little red and white logo.

If you thought two years for access was a long time, that was a doddle compared to the two and a half hours to complete one 12 X tables worksheet. I cried. He cried. The video wouldn’t play. The printer told us to f*ck off. He demanded 84 counters so he could work out how many times 12 goes into 84. I dutifully cut up and coloured 84 tiny, floaty, bits of paper only for this unintentional confetti to end up under the bed, behind the cupboard and in my underwear. Ultimately I screamed “SEVEN, it’s seven!”

This was not the career highlight I had been hoping for.

Producer Jodie Chillery at the TV day job that's definitely easier than homeschooling!

For respite, we make a regular trip to the pharmacy and paper shop for a shielding neighbour. Over the months, we’ve watched a Barn Owl nest, hunt and hope to spot its owlets fledge. We’ve watched the trilogies of Back to the Future, The Karate Kid and Short Circuit. And when school was briefly open I coached a teacher in basic camera skills and edited his footage for a Remembrance film and their Christmas performance.

Isolation, sickness, death, the darkness of winter, the 12 times table, fronted adverbials and what the Vikings at Lindisfarne ate will all, I‘m sure, make me a better producer, and a more grateful workmate.

It’ll soon be March again. March the 8th precisely (International Women’s Day!), I’m led to believe is when I’ll be available for work. Give me posturing princes, apprehensive police officers and sensitive scripts any day, I’m more than ready to take them on!

https://www.mediaparents.co.uk/freelancers/4945/jodie-chillery

If you’re looking for work after homeschooling join us for How to Ace a Job Interview Online.

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

February 7, 2021 @ 6:52 pm Posted in Freelancer Profiles, News Comments Off