Congratulations to the Back to Work mums who are embarking on the Media Parents Back to Work Scheme at BVE today. Please follow and tweet us @mediaparents to connect with us at the exhibition and to follow the mums’ progress via mentoring and coaching back into the TV workplace. Go mums! STOP PRESS : Happy to report that Hazel Palmer was offered work by an old contact she bumped into when we were at BVE, and that another of our number has an interview today. Fingers crossed!
Alison Willett, Drama Development Exec
Drama has always been one of my passions: theatre, television, film. Watching and making. And then came my children! Three whirlwinds who rushed into my life and turned it upside down. When my first two were born I returned to the world of television drama pretty sharpish. The professional and personal co-habited fairly harmoniously and I loved the contrast and inspiration that each world brought me. However when my third little girl came along the logistics of being a working mother became that much trickier and I decided to take a career break.
Fifteen years earlier, my first foray into television was in the world of arts documentaries, where I worked on the BBC’sArena strand for a number of brilliant years. When an opportunity arose in the BBC’s Fictionlab – a satellite operating within the drama department – I seized the chance and made my move. It was fantastic training on the job. I produced the BBC’s first live drama for over twenty years and immersed myself in the world of small budget/big ambition pieces. After the birth of my first daughter I spread my wings to gain experience in the independent sector. Working as a script editor and a development producer I managed and generated a bold and diverse slate of programmes, working with writers who inspire and ideas that excite.
This is the area that I would like to return to. My aim now is to find a position that allows me to balance my home and professional life. The Back to Work Scheme run by Media Parents offers a unique opportunity to face up to the challenges that a three year break inevitably brings and tackle them head on. The ideas are flowing, I’m ready to return to the coalface and can’t wait to get stuck in!
Ann Hawker, Development/Casting Producer, AP, PD
I have fifteen years experience of television production and I am really keen to put this back to use after a sizeable career break. In the past I have worked as a producer director, for BBC, ITV, Channel 4 and Channel 5 on a range of top end documentaries and drama documentaries.
As a director I was known for my visual flair and sensitive handling of difficult subjects. My past credits include high profile observational documentaries for ITV about bullying, IVF, and the first UK children’s fat camp as well as a Cutting Edge for Channel 4. I have made historical and drama documentaries, including a history of polio and biographies of Catherine Cookson and Princess Margaret for Channel Four. I have also scripted drama documentaries and written for Radio Four drama.
I took nine years out of television. First because of my young children, then I invested in new skills. I completed an M.A. in screenwriting, a postgraduate course in photography, and I now lecture in documentary practice to undergraduate students.
I would love to return to the creative world of television, and put all of my experience back to use. I am keen to work in either development or programme production at AP or producer level. I’m also developing my own ideas and would like to build relationships with production companies who might be interested in housing them. I’m really excited by the prospect of getting back into the cut and thrust of the television world and can’t wait to get started. http://www.mediaparents.co.uk/freelancers/2741/ann-hawker
Diana Hinshelwood, Producer, Children’s
I was a BBC CBeebies TV and Radio Producer, and took voluntary redundancy to go freelance in 2008 as a result of the department’s move to Salford. Initially, I had a 3 month contract to write and produce “Lazytown” for Cbeebies Radio.
I subsequently formed a production company with two colleagues, and we won an option deal from HIT Entertainment. We developed that from 2009 to 2011. In 2012, I re-applied for Cbeebies, and wasn’t short listed for interview. I was told that technology had moved on, and as I hadn’t been in a studio for 5 years, I didn’t have the relevant skills.
I have found work, but not as a TV producer. I’ve done script writing, development, and three radio shows. I’ve also worked for Espresso Education, an on-line educational resource for schools. I am a true 360 producer and am currently developing ideas. I hope to use the course to get back into an industry which I love. http://www.mediaparents.co.uk/freelancers/3211/diana-hinshelwood
Elli Josephs, Music Producer, Edit Producer
I am the mother of two lovely girls, but rewind nearly eight years and I was a busy and experienced Producer specialising primarily in entertainment and factual entertainment.
It all began in 1995 at the then MTV Europe, where I worked my way up from Executive Assistant and Music (celeb) Booker through the ranks of Production to Producer/Director.
After ten years and invaluable experience in everything from studio directing, red carpet producing, working on large scale live events and producing a daily entertainment news show in the hallowed halls of MTV, I decided it was time to become my own boss and go freelance, so I joined Endemol on a contract in 2006 as Producer and by the end of my contract was re-credited as Series Producer. By then I was pregnant with my first child who was born in early 2007 and the second followed with indecent haste 17 months later, so getting back to work at the time was both physically and financially unsustainable.
Its time to go back; I miss the pace, creativity, drive and the interesting and varied people you meet and work with in television. I am open to looking at new opportunities in the world of television, both creative production and areas such as production and talent management. http://www.mediaparents.co.uk/freelancers/7322/elli-josephs
Ginny Bing, Factual Producer Director
I spent many exciting and fulfilling years working as a Producer and Director on a whole range of factual entertainment, features and documentary programmes for the BBC and a range of indies.
My next challenge was combining working in TV with having children. In the early days I did some development work for Liverpool Street Productions – who I had worked for before. Then I produced a one-hour documentary for Five’s ‘History Revealed’ strand: ’Secret D-Day Disaster: Revealed’. Liverpool Street Productions enabled me to work from home during much of the production period which worked really well. Since then I’ve had contracts on ‘Come Dine With Me’ at ITV and worked as a PD for Pioneer on ‘Extreme Homes’ for HGTV. This involved sporadic directing work abroad and in the UK as and when it fitted in with their production schedule over two years, but I’ve never wholly managed to get my career back on track.
I would welcome advice on how best to move forward from here and am really looking forward to the opportunities that the Media Parents Back to Work Scheme can provide.
Graciela Watson, PD / Edit Producer
Like many professional women who took a career break to have children, I have found going back to work a daunting but exciting prospect. The first three years of motherhood were a blur for me, and it has taken me 6 years for me to rebuild my confidence. I currently shoot and edit my own short corporate films but I would love to get back to the primetime shows I worked on previously.
My plan to re-launch my TV career has involved setting up meeting with lots of old connections, attending work shops for CV writing as well as interview techniques, attending networking events, and applying for courses relating to new technology used in the industry. http://www.mediaparents.co.uk/freelancers/3272/graciela-watson
Hazel Palmer, Camera Operator turning DV Director
I have juggled being a single parent with work in TV and video production since I graduated in 2000. I began as a Camera Trainee on dramas but could not take up further job offers in that genre due to childcare issues. As such the majority of my work since has been as a freelancer on a day-to-day basis. I’ve worked as Camera Operator for network TV, multi-camera live events (music, sports, theatre, corporates), single ENG camera for news and ‘behind-the-scenes’ footage, as well as being Director of Photography on several short films and videos. My daughter is now grown up so I am keen to regain some lost threads and return to a full-time career now that I have the time and flexibility to commit 100%.
I would love to make documentaries, so with the rise of Shooting PD roles this is the direction I would like to take now. I am confident in my abilities and commitment to a career in television but would like to gain more confidence in my knowledge and experience through some ‘front-line’ practice. I have gained a variety of skills over the years – multi-camera directing, editing, lighting, sound design, interviewing, storyboarding and organizing shoots. I believe I can make beautiful and original pieces of work. I have many ideas for documentaries and have started work on one by myself that would benefit from further development.
In my efforts to gain full time TV work I’ve found that despite my skills and experience I don’t have the necessary prime time broadcast credits to qualify for roles that I’m interested in. I have applied for several trainee positions only to be told that I am overqualified. I am an experienced cameraman with great understanding and care for all other areas of production and a desire to make good quality TV with interesting and engaging stories. With some guidance I am sure I could be a worthy candidate, and I see this scheme as ideal for me at this time. http://www.mediaparents.co.uk/freelancers/95/hazel-palmer
Melody Bridges, Writer
Although I have worked extensively in factual, undertaking my film degree in New York (2009-10) was the start of moving from factual to drama. I’ve been writing plays for the past 4 years – all the time that my son has been small. I’m lucky enough to have had several plays performed and won an award too. Specifically for my writing I have been mentored by Rikki Beadle-Blair (Team Angelica) and New Writing South. Further advice mentoring, and support is needed to get me into a paid work position in television or film. http://www.mediaparents.co.uk/freelancers/9292/melody-bridges