Media Parents

Monthly Archives: April 2015

media parents CV tear up photos


Thanks to everyone who came along to the Media Parents CV Tear Up, 50 of us had a great night at ENVY, kindly sponsored by Alias Hire. UKTV’s senior commissioner Catherine Catton, Dawn Beresford from Arrow Media and CPL, Peter Grimsdale, DLT’s Michaela Hennessy-Vass, Lucy Eagle from Cactus, Wild Pictures’ Diana Hunter, Esther Johnson from Boundless and Nick Dyne from Fremantle joined the Alias Hire and Media Parents teams to meet freelancers who wanted to improve their CVs, or just make contacts. There is a link to CV tips at the bottom of this article if you want to rework your CV.

Catherine Catton meets Jo Molloy from the Media Parents Back to Work Scheme. Jo has found work at Channel 5.

Boundless HoP Esther Johnson seemed to have an ever-growing queue of freelancers waiting to meet her.

Wild Pictures HoP Diana Hunter meets Kate Boddington from the Media Parents Back to Work Scheme.

Cactus Head of Production Lucy Eagle, and Media Parents' Amy Walker meet freelancers.

Ex-commissioner Peter Grimsdale was on hand to offer scripted and factual advice.

Former commissioner Michaela Hennessy-Vass met freelancers for DLT Media.

Midnight Oil's Producer Ros Attille and MD Gillane Seaborne.

Alias Hire's MD Danny Dawson nailed the elevator pitch on cameras.

Nick Dyne met freelancers on behalf of Fremantle Media.

Arrow Media and CPL Talent Exec Dawn Beresford called for more CVs before she left. There was a light stampede.

With thanks to The Alias Hire Team



Please join for great jobs, networking and events. Please SAVE THE DATE May 20th for our next event and keep an eye on site emails.

April 29, 2015 @ 11:42 pm Posted in News Comments Off

media parents april CV tear up guestlist


On Tuesday April 28th Media Parents is hosting a CV Tear Up, kindly sponsored by Alias Hire. Senior Commissioning Editor Catherine Catton is joined by a host of Execs and HoPs from various indies to meet freelancers, and MD Danny Dawson and Natalie Brady, Head of Training at Alias Hire, will be talking about their new PM course and kit.

Catherine Catton, Senior Commissioning Editor, UKTV

UKTV's Catherine Catton

With over ten years’ experience in TV, including brand development, running channels and commissioning, Catherine is currently Senior Commissioning Editor at UKTV. We are also delighted that Catherine is a mentor on the Media Parents Back to Work Scheme.

In this role, she has been responsible for breakout hits across the UKTV network including returning formats such as Storage Hunters UK, David Attenborough’s Natural Curiosities, My Flatpack Home and Nick Knowles’ Original Features as well as food series such as The Roux Scholarship, Choccywoccydoodah and Hairy Bikers’ Mississippi Adventure.

Catherine has also commissioned a number of films for Yesterday focusing on the 1940s and 1960s, including WAGs of ’66, Cilla’s Unswung Sixties, and the award-winning Arctic Convoys.  In addition, she has commissioned a number of Advertiser Funded Programmes including two series of Find My Past, winner of a Broadcast Digital Award and the UK’s first Factual product placement deal.

Peter Grimsdale, Exec Producer & Writer, Scripted & Factual

Peter Grimsdale, Executive Producer

Peter Grimsdale is a novelist, screenwriter and TV producer.  A former commissioner at BBC TV, Channel 4 and Five, he has worked in all the genres and his credits range from Big Brother to Crimewatch. He won an RTS Best Strand award for C4’s Witness strand.  Subsequently, his work as a freelance Executive Producer has appeared on all the main UK stations as well as the History Channel, NatGeo and Discovery in the USA.  He was also co-creator and writer on ITV’s recent medical drama thriller, Breathless. We are delighted that Peter is also a mentor on the Media Parents Back to Work Scheme.

Diana Hunter, Head of Production, Wild Pictures

Diana Hunter, HoP, Wild Pictures

Diana has been working in television for over 20 years, and has worked all over the world with leading independents and broadcasters in the UK, Europe and the US. Originally from Los Angeles, Diana has been based on both sides of the Atlantic.

Following a Fine Arts degree at Carnegie Mellon University in Pennsylvania and 3 years at The Guildhall School of Music and Drama in London, Diana fell into production quite accidentally discovering a passion by working on social, political and investigative documentaries for strands - Inside Story, Critical Eye, Everyman and Dispatches. She then donned many caps on a diverse range of productions from arts and natural history programmes, reality, entertainment and magazine formats, features, commercials and across science and technology programming on C4’s Equinox strand and series’ - Time Team and Scrapheap Challenge/Junkyard Wars. She was Head of Productions at Outline Productions for 6 years and now as Head of Production at Wild Pictures, immersed in the factual output of the company.

We are delighted that Diana is also a mentor on the Media Parents Back to Work Scheme.

Michaela Hennessy-Vass, Exec Producer, DLT Entertainment

Michaela Hennessy Vass with Media Parents' Amy Walker and Claire Brown at BAFTA

Award winning production and distribution company DLT Entertainment appointed former ITV Comedy Commissioning Editor Michaela Hennessy-Vass to join its London based development team in 2011. We are delighted that Michaela is also mentoring on the Media Parents Back to Work Scheme.

Michaela has extensive and award-winning experience in comedy, drama and more recently children’s programming, which she brings to DLT as she develops new projects for the UK and US based company. Michaela also meets talent for DLT’s factual output.

Throughout her twenty years at ITV (the last eight of which were on the commissioning team), Michaela worked across an impressive roster of programming becoming Comedy Commissioning Editor in 2007 responsible for top rating programmes such as Benidorm, Ladies of Letters and Bad Mother’s Handbook. In 2010 she left ITV to work as Development Consultant with Leopardrama. She produced a 26 part, international co-production live action children’s comedy for Talent Television, for transmission on ITV.

Esther Johnson, Head of Production, Boundless

Esther Johnson, HoP, Boundless

Head of Production for Boundless, Esther has overall production management responsibility across all factual titles – from Daytime Factual: Escape to the Country and Great British Railway Journeys, to Factual Entertainment: The Apprentice and You’re Fired, Features: Grand Designs, and Specialist Factual: Four Rooms.

She joined the company in May 2008, initially as Head of Production for Factual Features at talkbackTHAMES, which included responsibility for the regional production base in Amersham.

Prior to this, Esther was at the BBC, working initially as a Programme Finance Manager and Senior Genre Business Affairs Manager in Factual Commissioning and then as Production Executive working across the BBC’s in-house production activity in Science & History key titles during this time included Horizon, Timewatch, Supervolcano, Industrial Wonders of the World and Jimmy’s Farm).

Esther started her career at the British Film Institute working in research and TV production.

Lucy Eagle, Head of Production, Cactus TV

Lucy Eagle, HoP, Cactus TV

Lucy joined Cactus in January 2015 as Head of Production. Her many years as a freelance Production Manager/Line Producer and most recently Production Executive have given her a wealth of experience across many genres including food series, reality TV, shiny floor shows and a brief foray into sport – making programmes for broadcasters in the UK, America and India. Lucy is across all of the Cactus output.

Gillane Seaborne, Exec Producer, Midnight Oil Productions

Gillane Seaborne, Midnight Oil

Gillane has worked in TV for over 20 years. Specialising in factual entertainment, travel, lifestyle and children’s programming, she’s made shows for all the major networks in the UK and the US. She’s also produced live studio shows, an animated series and run a BBC Learning competition. We are also delighted that Midnight Oil are supporting the Media Parents Back to Work Scheme.

Ros Attille, Producer, Midnight Oil Productions

Ros Attille, Midnight Oil

Ros has worked in television for over twenty years, specializing in studio based live and pre-recorded shows, quiz and game shows and children’s programmes. She has written and produced for a variety of broadcasters and indies, including the BBC, ITV, Disney Junior, Sky, STV, GMTV, Ragdoll, Archie and Lucky Day Productions She has developed, scripted and produced for many iconic children’s brands, including Teletubbies, Rosie and Jim, Totally Doctor Who and Art Attack. During a five year stint at the BBC she produced shows for both CBBC and CBeebies, including Tikkabilla, The Story Makers, CBBC Presentation and Xchange. Ros also specialises in studio quiz shows having produced and devised the format of C5’s Wordplay, revamped and reinvented STV’s Postcode Challenge, and established the format of Sky TV’s The Loop.

Dawn Beresford, Talent Exec, Arrow Media & CPL Productions

Dawn Beresford, Talent Exec

As Talent Executive at Arrow Media and CPL Productions Dawn is responsible for helping grow the companies’ output and scouring the industry for the top production talent.

Prior to this Dawn spent over 3 years as the Creative Executive at Shine TV where she initiated, designed and managed Shine TV’s graduate trainee programme; managed cross genre development for the Factual, Features and Entertainment departments and Exec Produced a series for T4 funded by the Department of Education. As Genre Executive for BBC TVs Factual Commissioning Department, she was an integral member of the team that brought the best in-house and independent sector ideas to the Channel Controllers and Exec Produced ‘Africa Kicks’, a season of documentaries for BBC 3.

Dawn began her career in broadcasting in the BBC’s Youth and Entertainment Features Department working on shows from Rough Guide to the World, to Reportage, to The Sunday Show. She went on to Produce and Direct a number of shows including Desperately Seeking Stardom and to Series Produce Lonely Planet.

Viki Carter, Head of Production, Riverdog

Viki Carter, HoP, Riverdog

Riverdog is a UK-based independent television production company making documentaries as well as factual and factual entertainment formats. The team has been responsible for some of the most popular and successful programmes on TV and we aim to originate and produce the next generation of hit shows for audiences at home and abroad.

A production manager / HoP with over 7 years experience across a range of factual and entertainment programming, Viki is accomplished at managing complex shoots and edits varying from single self shooters to multi camera location and studio shoots with multiple VT and programme edits running concurrently. A proactive problem solver who works collaboratively with the editorial team to ensure the best show possible while of course keeping a firm hand on the budget.

Nick Dyne, Office Manager, Fremantle Media

Nick Dyne, Fremantle Media

Nick joined TalkbackThames in June 2007 and worked his way up to become Office Manager in 2012. Responsible for interviewing and employing office runners and helping them make the next steps into production running, by giving them advice, support and making sure they are making contacts with all of Fremantle’s Productions, and ensuring they have a general understanding of our business. As Office Manager Nick is responsible for the smooth running of the building and ensuring that each of our productions have everything they need to make their shows.

Nick will be passing CVs back to Fremantle from freelancers at the event, and is also about to take his first steps into the freelance world.

Danny Dawson, MD, Alias Hire

Danny Dawson, Alias Hire

Danny Dawson is the Managing Director of Alias Hire, having originally joined in 2009 as Hire Manager. In the time, Danny has been influential in repurposing Alias Hire into one of the industry’s premier video facility companies. Prior to Alias Hire Danny was a production professional operating for 8 x years as a Researcher, Shooting AP and PD on varying titles and formats including live transmission “City Hospital” BBC1, “Who Do You Think You Are?” BBC1, as well as corporate production. Danny entered into the broadcast industry in 1999 first for Hammerhead TV and then to Metro Broadcast where he joined as a runner to running the hire desk within three years.

Danny was elevated to Managing Director in October 2014 and is committed to focusing Alias Hire into exploring new areas of broadcast services, including bespoke training, aerial video and IP Streaming.

Natalie Brady, Head of Training, Alias Hire

Natalie Brady, Alias Hire

Natalie Brady has been working in the media industry for over 20 years. Starting as an assistant at the BBFC in Soho Square. After taking time out to have children she went back to work as a casting agent and in 2005 she joined a training company as a coordinator for Soho Editors.

Since then she has gone from strength to strength helping companies and freelancers get high end training while also securing lots of funding from Creative Skillset to help make training more affordable for everyone. Natalie has facilitated Alias Hire’s training programme (as well as running the office and on most days the company).

Mark Wilson, Hire Manager, Alias Hire

Mark Wilson, Alias Hire

Mark has worked in various areas of the Media industry for 7 years. Graduating from Edge Hill University in 2007 with a degree in Film Studies with Film and Television Production he spent 2 years as a presenter on live radio before moving to London to pursue his goal of being part of the Film and TV World.

Working for Alias Hire has given Mark a fantastic insight into the world of media, liaising with both production and post production clients, building relationships and learning about all of the equipment that goes into creating a show or film. Mark manages a team of booking co-coordinators, technicians and drivers to help deliver and fulfill clients needs and wishes.

He has  a love of art and film, and is often found doing story-boarding and pre-production design in his spare time for friends and colleagues with his creative personality and a love for storytelling. Mark also has a passion for performance, starring in and being the face for Alias’ online videos.

Amy Walker, Director, Media Parents

Amy Walker, with the Back to Work Scheme winners, centre, red specs.

In addition to running Media Parents Amy Walker works as a series producer and talent exec. She has produced factual programmes for all the major UK broadcasters and a few US ones, filming on location across five continents. She is currently very pleased to have produced a series that’s just been nominated for a Scottish RTS award. Amy has seen about a million CVs over the course of her varied career, and is delighted to be able to meet so many talented people in TV through Media Parents.

Please join for great jobs, networking and events. Our next event will be in London on April 28th.

April 27, 2015 @ 5:59 pm Posted in News Comments Off

5 minutes with Graciela Watson, PD & Back to Work Mum


You know what its like when you apply yourself to something and it takes off?  Its like watching a snowball roll down the hill, just getting bigger and bigger.  Well that is what I feel the start of this year has been like writes PD and Back to Work Mum Graciela Watson.

Diana Hinshelwood (2nd from left) and the Media Parents Back to Work Scheme Winners at BVE.

BVE15 in February was the launchpad for Media Parents Back To Work Scheme.  This was an inspiring event for many reasons. There was BVE15 itself - a huge industry event which has all the technology you expect from brand new cameras to new sound recording equipment, flexible lighting kits to editing platforms and impossible to miss were number of Drone cameras flying around.

The advancements made technologically are impressive enough but even more interesting for me was the amazing amount of free seminars.  Anything from tutorials on FCPro X to lighting for 4K and panel discussions, such as  “Pros and cons of self shooting – are we suffering its limitations or benefitting from flexibility and cost savings?”  It was hard work trying to fit in as much as possible but the result of attending BVE15 all three days was that I felt much more up to speed about the industry and more passionate than ever to start making programmes again.

One of the most useful seminars I attended was “How to market yourself on Social Media” by Samantha Baines (Penguin In the Room).  First we had a crash course in twitter use from Media Parents, then we headed straight to hear Samantha. It goes without saying that if you work in media you should have a public profile.  Any potential employer has to be able to find you by simply typing your name into a search engine.  Samantha advocates seeing yourself as a product, taking regular photos of yourself and keeping your profile up to date at all times. Simple, but good advice. Her other tip was to imagine your face on a billboard next to anything you tweet…

Richard Ayoade hosted a session which looked at how to write and pitch comedy ideas which gave a real insight into his personal experiences in TV. At the other end there were talks about  the future of tv involving interactive apps the audience downloads before the show airs giving them more control over content.  This has actually already started happening!

Also and by no means second, I got to meet the other women who have been lucky enough to make it onto the current Back to Work Scheme. It’s always difficult going back to work, whether you’ve been out for a few months or a few years (I’m in that last category) but what’s really reassuring are meeting others who are all in the same place.  It gives you a chance to come together and breath a sigh of relief – “Phew!  It’s not just me – I’m not alone! These women have amazing credits too – we are all going to make it together!”

There are 8 of us on the current scheme and once we’d actually found each other in the vast arena of London’s Excel centre, we immediately started swapping stories, talking through our fears and expectations for the year ahead.  It sounds corny, but it was beautiful to meet up with women who are all embarking on the same journey as myself. Watch out for us breaking back!

Since writing this article Graciela Watson has landed a job at the BBC through For more details of the Media Parents Back to Work Scheme please email

Please join for great jobs, networking and events. Our next event will be in London on April 28th.

April 23, 2015 @ 12:54 pm Posted in News Comments Off

5 minutes with Diana Hinshelwood Children’s TV Producer


I’m thrilled to have won a place on the Media Parent’s Back To Work scheme, writes Children’s TV Producer Diana Hinshelwood.  It’s a great opportunity, being mentored by BBC Children’s Exec Ninder Billing, and also workshadowing producers at another company that works with Media Parents – fingers crossed!

Diana Hinshelwood (3rd from left) and the Media Parents Back to Work Scheme Winners at BVE.

As was BVE ‘15 for the scheme’s launch.  Keeping up with new broadcast technology is a must, and it’s all here at BVE in an impressive array of cameras, editing systems and gadgetry.  Wow!  Just Wow!  While BVE showcases new technology, new content is important too, and I’ve never stopped developing programme ideas.

I’ve won two radio commissions, and, with two ex BBC colleagues, an option agreement for a children’s TV animation.  After developing characters, creating storylines and producing a bible and animatic, we went to sunny Cannes for MIPJnr to pitch our idea. The only way to learn the skill of pitching is to actually do it.  And of course, you need people to pitch to, so our first task was to line up meetings beforehand. Through existing contacts, I arranged meetings with Cookie Jar, Nelvana, Cake and Nine Story amongst others, making notes on all of them.

Diana Hinshelwood at Hong Kong Filmart.

We practised our pitch to each other, which sounded great in the hotel room but when the time came for real, nerves kicked in and my mouth felt dry.  However, everyone was friendly and I realised that the delegates are there to find new shows so we weren’t imposing. It helped to overcome any nerves.

We had an amazing time in Cannes, and we came away with a number of co-production offers, not to mention a meeting on a boat and a reception at the famous Carlton Hotel.  The only sticky moment was when one delegate viewed the animatic in scowly silence. I was about make apologies and leave when he suddenly announced “You’ve got a very original idea here.”   Oh my!  From despair to elation in a moment. Cannes was a valuable experience from which I learnt a lot.  No experience is ever wasted and I’ve used my time out to develop ideas and acquire new skills.

As well as development and pitching, I’ve also gained valuable experience in digital production, and I’m mastering Twitter. These, along with my Back To Work place, mean I’m ready for the next step.  Kidscreen, anyone?

April 9, 2015 @ 2:50 pm Posted in News Comments Off