Media Parents

Monthly Archives: June 2013

TXing Tonight – Bicurious Me, Channel4 10pm


Shooting PD / Series Director Clare Richards’ new doc for Rare Day TXes tonight on Channel 4 at 10pm, please watch.

Media Parents' next event is our 3rd birthday party on July 17th. Details will be released soon. For networking, jobs and great events please see

June 20, 2013 @ 11:00 am Posted in News Comments Off

TXing Tonight – Confessions of an Alien Abductee, 9pm , C4


Jayne Edwards, Head of Development at Off the Fence Productions writes about the production of Confessions of an Alien Abductee, 9pm tonight on Channel 4.

Confessions of an Alien Abductee, 9pm, Thursday 13th June, Channel4

Jayne Edwards has an extensive track record in making shows for all the major UK broadcasters and has been with Off The Fence since 2009. She series produced Off The Fence’s successful Stan Lee’s Superhumans and is now heading up the development team to further expand and develop the company’s production slate.

Has anyone been able to work flexibly on this production / within the company?

As Head of Development I am usually office based with the rest of the team.  But with this production, as I had a strong relationship with the contributors we felt it was a good idea for me to go on the road and be an integral part of the production.

There are number of us who worked on Confessions of an Alien Abductee who have children so we found a way to make it work between us. Those of us on location filming have not been able to work particularly flexibly – when a shoot is planned, you have to do it. Having said that, this particular production was made easier for us as it was a UK only shoot.

I was able to make sure that I never spent more than three nights away from home at any one time, and I often drove home between shoots rather than spend another night away from my family. My director also has children, so we understood each other’s position and shared the load.

We were very fortunate with Confessions of an Alien Abductee that we only did one weekend shoot the entire time – our contributors were flexible so we were able to make it work for us, to a certain extent.

Jayne Edwards, Head of Development at Off The Fence, Bristol

Off the Fence is a flexible company generally, it’s very friendly and allows for flexibility for its employees to take time out whether you have young children or a sick parent. I was offered the job as Head of Development when I was six months pregnant – something not many employers would have been prepared to do. After six months maternity leave, I came back to work three days a week. However, I quickly realised that I couldn’t do the job properly in that amount of time, so I went four days a week after eight weeks. Then, I went full time within a year, and I prefer doing that. Off the Fence didn’t enforce anything on me, I decided I wanted to do more, they were very, supportive and accommodating and trusted me to make the right decision to do whatever I felt I needed to do to do my job.

Off the Fence has a number of senior women with children so they are very understanding to your needs – and at the same time they are very good examples of how to manage the balance. They work incredibly hard whilst making it work around their families.

Any interesting ways of making production and childcare work?

I have a good support network, my three year old daughter goes to a great nursery and I have a very tolerant partner, which makes it work. On the days that I’m in the office, I often get into the office mega early so that I can get everything done and pick my daughter up from nursery.

If you choose to work in production then you have to deal with the long hours that involves. It’s not a 9-5 job. You have to set quite strict boundaries as to what you’re prepared to sacrifice, and on a case by case basis decide if a project is exciting enough to spend time away from your family. You have to make sure it’s known that you won’t shy away from projects because you have a child.

Ultimately, it’s your choice to work in a demanding industry. If you don’t feel that you can manage to juggle your career and your children, then don’t work in that industry.

How have you made your career work alongside having a family?

As I said, I have a great support network which helps. In addition, I try not to be away for more than three nights at a time. I come home from work, spend time with my little girl, then I work again when she’s in bed. That works for me.

Juggling my child and my career has made me more productive. I don’t procrastinate anymore – I used to take work home with me at the weekend, but now I get my work done during the week, so the weekends are my own to spend with my family.

Any inspiring stories of this from within your company?

Allison Bean, MD of Off the Fence Productions, has a rule that she will travel anywhere in the world but never for more than 10 days.  Both Allison and Ellen Windemuth (CEO) work very hard – I can speak to them at any time, and we all have the technology to work from home at any time. There is never a time when I can’t communicate with Allison – wherever she is in the world she will always respond.

There’s an even split at Off the Fence of people with and without kids, it’s a friendly company whether you have kids or not, and working in a place like this really helps me to manage my commitments to my job and to my daughter.

Media Parents' next event is our 3rd birthday party on July 17th. Details will be released soon. For networking, jobs and great events please see

June 13, 2013 @ 4:29 pm Posted in News Comments Off

Tech Catch Up June 13th – apply now!


Join our FREE tech catch up on June 13th with Pro Motion Hire and learn about data management and 4K, this is ideal for mums coming back into the workplace or busy PMs. Email us by 5pm on June 12th to get a place.

Promotion Hire's Caroline Bingham. Media Parents' next event is a Technical Catch Up in London on June 13th. Please email to reserve a place.

Duncan Martin, Pro Motion Hire MD writes: “Our event will de-mystify the latest hot topic which is 4K production and also give you a bit of a taster for Data Management. We think that for too long, new technology has been viewed as a scary subject that only very technical minds can approach. We want to break down these ideas and make subjects such as 4K and Data Management accessible to everyone. We know from our own experience and client feedback the main issues and pitfalls that can occur and we have used all this to create training that gives real life practical advice whilst providing a great theoretical foundation to the topic. After the success of our Back To Work seminar and networking event in January we are very excited to be offering this follow up session and look forward to seeing you on the 13th June.”


To book a place on this amazing training course please email NOW! The course takes place on the morning of June 13th in South East London, and everyone is welcome to attend. We already have a great turn out from HoPs and employers, and would like to see freelancers who need to know about data management and kit attending this user-friendly catch up course. The response to the last course we ran was brilliant, you can get an idea of it here:

Pro Mo Hire's Alain took questions from the floor throughout the demonstrations. Here ITN's Bella Barr interjects on the tech spec she is asked to deliver at

This course is completely FREE to Media Parents freelancers and networkers. We ask anyone else attending to pay £15 which is redeemable against a networker sub or a monthly talent sub. Brilliant! To get on the list now please email

June 5, 2013 @ 9:10 pm Posted in News Leave a comment

5 minutes with… Paul Leyshon, Director / Producer


Director / Producer Paul Leyshon writes about his move from S4C to network TV, and some CV tips he got at the Media Parents networking evening in Bristol, sponsored by BBC Bristol and RDF Television West.

Freelancers and employers, including Paul Leyshon, in the crowd at the Media Parents networking in Bristol.

There are times in life when we all need that little bit of parental guidance. That little tightening of the scarf, and the dreaded spit on the hanky and wipe across our chops before jumping on the school bus.

As a Director / Producer with ten years experience working for S4C in Wales, despite being top of the class and one of the big fish in my little pond, I can’t help but feel like the new Kid on his first day at Big school when it comes to applying for network jobs.

Bob Pugh – The ‘Game of Thrones’ actor not fully appreciating director Paul Leyshon's ‘photo bomb’.

For S4C in Wales I’m one of the channel’s main Lifestyle and Reality TV Directors. I’ll go so far as to say I’m probably the main Children’s Director having been UK and Welsh Bafta nominated in the past six years and annually responsible for delivering the most popular shows.

However with the big local companies almost becoming ‘closed shops’ due to recent budget constraints, the freelance landscape is that little bit harder.  In my first two years as a freelancer I worked relying only on my reputation and word of mouth. I now have to ‘chase’ work much more. With a spoon full of sugar to help the ‘pride’ go down it is something I have found pretty difficult up until now.

During the past 18 months I have been sending off my CV to a whole range of companies in England. 200+ jobs applied for through other recognized media websites with little or no luck.

For a reasonable £700 I had my show reel and website up and running and with references and clips from the likes of Alex Jones (The One Show) and Matt Johnson (This Morning) it is money well spent. However, hoping to break into London and Bristol, I still wasn’t getting a sniff of a job. When I did the replies were usually “you’re over qualified”, “you’re a jack of all trades” or “you haven’t worked outside Wales”.

Having recently joined ‘Media Parents’, I’ve received some useful feedback from Amy Walker. And this week I had the opportunity of coming to the Media Parents networking event in BBC Bristol.

I was very fortunate to speak to Jennie Macdiarmid, BBC Talent Manager, Richard Bowron, Exec Producer at Love Productions, and Emma Dowley, Production Executive at RDF West. All three gave great advice on where I was going wrong with the layout of my CV and plenty of hints and tips as to how I should be applying. In addition to this the evening was a good opportunity to chat to other talented freelancers and meet some interesting people.

Here are some of the CV tips I was given at the Media Parents event:

  • “Say at the top what ‘I’ am looking for and want to do. Use present not past tense to say what I want and can bring to the table / what my ambitions are.”
  • “All the content and experience is there – just not dynamic enough in presentation – grab attention in the first few lines”.
  • “Too many credits – better to choose the main ones and stick to 2 rather than three pages.”
  • I was told also it may even be worth having 3 CV’s tailored toward a certain genre / job that I’m going for.

I had reservations about S4C stuff not being seen as major broadcast credit but Richard Bowron quashed that straight away.

So having given away my CV (albeit one that needs changing) to several Execs and been given a number of contacts and email addresses, I came away with a lot more confidence and a clearer idea of what roles I should be applying for and the best way of doing so.

As good a tool as my website is (and I would recommend the use of a website to anyone as an online show reel / biography), I was lazily hoping that Exec Producers would be taking a leisurely summer stroll through each page, browsing away like a holiday maker in ‘departures’ with way too much time on their hands. Not the case of course, and thanks to some advice from Media Parents I now have direct links to my website and youtube show reels straight from my CV.

Despite thinking I was practically perfect in every way, a Mary Poppins style clean up of my CV and approach is what was needed. And lo and behold on writing this I already have my first interview set up  through Media Parents since joining a couple of weeks ago.

I am more positive in my approach now and hopefully I can sell myself a little better in the big bad world of network television without needing an adult telling me to tie my shoe laces and to pull my socks up.

Media Parents' next event is a Technical Catch Up in London on June 13th. Please email to reserve a place.

June 4, 2013 @ 11:41 pm Posted in News Leave a comment