Media Parents

Monthly Archives: August 2017

5 mins with Edit Producer Emma Sayce at Edinburgh


Thanks to Media Parents Back to Work Scheme and sponsorship from Endemol Shine, I headed for the Edinburgh TV festival feeling daunted at the thought of rubbing shoulders with many of the most important people in the industry, and having to sell myself in a way I hadn’t done for a long time, writes Edit Producer Emma Sayce.

The theme of the festival was set by Jon Snow, who declared, in his MacTaggart lecture, that the UK TV industry is dangerously disconnected from huge chunks of the population. “We must examine ourselves”, he said, “and ask why we missed the story of what is happening in social housing before the Grenfell disaster struck, and why we got both Brexit and the general election so wrong. We are still made up”, he added, “of a ‘London elite’, and we desperately need to welcome into our ranks people from diverse geographical, ethnic and socio-economic backgrounds.”

Along with most of the audience I cried, and cheered, as he spoke. And, as a working mum (let’s not forget, another under-represented group in TV), I felt emboldened by his words, and ready to throw myself into the festival.

Princess Talent Manager Melissa Clay Peters with Emma Sayce

I traipsed up to the ‘speed-dating lounge’ where about 20 top talent managers were seated at single tables, offering 15 minutes of their time to anyone brave enough to sit down with them. I booked in with Melissa Clay Peters from Princess, and Caroline Carter and Julia Bird from the BBC. I ended up having three very relaxed chats with three very helpful women. Melissa was particularly generous, offering up contacts and introductions, and reassuring me that “we talent managers are not put off by big gaps on a CV – the vast majority of us are mums ourselves.”

Amy from Media Parents had set up a meeting via Twitter @mediaparents with Pat Younge, Creative Director of Sugar Films. Pat asked me about my previous experience and future plans, before offering really tailored advice and encouragement. I felt comfortable enough to admit that while I have ambitions to move into Series Producing, and Exec’ing, the ambition that underpins all of that is to find a way of working in the industry I love without making too many sacrifices on the family front. He recommended some reading which you can see in the @mediaparents twitterfeed. Pat’s key tip was to be bold, and to request longer, non-project-specific contracts from the companies I work for regularly. He also cautioned me against a dramatic change of direction (e.g. a move into digital, off the back of my social media work), and said I should build on the solid programme-making experience I have.

Emma Sayce (far right) and fellow Back to Work Winner Josie Besbrode with Sugar Films MD Pat Younge - as seen in @mediaparents twitter feed

The geography of the TV festival (all in one circular venue) meant that, in between meetings, it was easy to bump into people I had worked with/for in the past – Tim Carter, CEO of Twenty Twenty, and Sam Lawrence, MD of Monkey Kingdom (an advocate of flexible working). I also caught up with Anouk Berendsen, Talent Manager at All3Media (an old friend from Granada days) and Anna Bonnadio, BBC Talent Manager, both of whom are very supportive of the Media Parents mission.

BBC Talent Manager Anna Bonnadio (left) with Emma Sayce

I was glad to sit down with Bella Lambourne, Global HR Director, Endemol Shine (my sponsors) for a glass of Bucks Fizz. She told me that they employ many working mums as EPs, SPs and Creative Heads and are trying to make it easier for mums to work as PDs.

Then, there were the ‘sessions’ – an opportunity to listen to, and be inspired by, some of the most brilliant talents in the industry … Charlie Brooker, Sir David Attenborough, Russell T Davies and Simon Chinn, not to mention the Youtube star Vuj who I’d never heard of, but who was fascinating and hilarious! I made a point of going to the key Channel Controller sessions and came out feeling on top of who’s who and what they are looking for.

Emma Sayce with Endemol Shine Global HR Director Bella Lambourne from @mediaparents twitter feed. Emma used social media to generate job opportunities whilst at the festival

I left Edinburgh with contacts made, CVs requested, meetings and introductions offered, and enquiries to answer about availability for specific projects. I have several leads to pursue, which I’m confident will lead to work in the next few months. Incidentally, two of those leads were generated by the tweeting I did during the festival.

I came away feeling that the TV industry is one ready to welcome back working mums, even if, like me, they have had a sizeable chunk of time out. The next test will be the work itself – and whether I can do it while still being the main presence in my children’s lives. I’m hoping that careful decisions about the jobs I take, and the path I follow, combined with a lot of self-discipline, will make that possible.

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August 29, 2017 @ 2:18 pm Posted in News Leave a comment

Media Parents Back to Work Winners at Edinburgh TV Fest


The Media Parents Back to Work Scheme 2017 winners – Emma Sayce, Josie Besbrode, Kate Cheeseman and Nicola Kingscote have been making the most of the Edinburgh TV Festival’s opportunities to network both in person and on social media. Here follows a quick blast through their experiences with a bit of twitter knowhow on the side. Emma Sayce used her mat leave to upskill in social media (you can learn at home, online, for free) and now it’s a useful free tool for both TV companies wanting to increase audiences and for all freelancers wanting to make connections.

Scripted Director Kate Cheeseman, SP Nicola Kingscote, PD Josie Besbrode and Edit Producer Emma Sayce skyping Media Parents Director Amy Walker at Edinburgh TV Festival

Because the Edinburgh TV Festival offers such a great opportunity to meet many programme makers in one place, Kate Cheeseman @kmcheeseman began using twitter to network before the festival began – as soon as she knew she had won her Media Parents Back to Work Scheme place courtesy of Channel4′s Spotlight on Directors 2017 initiative.

Announcing her attendance at the TV Festival c/o the Back to Work Scheme Kate tagged in the handles for both @mediaparents and @EdinburghTVFest in order to be seen beyond her own feed. This can be done using individual addresses or hashtags – anything tagged with #channel4 is immediately posted in the feeds in the lifts at Channel 4′s HQ – at the festival #edTVfest is a useful hashtag to find and follow other TV production people. Having seen the tweets by Kate and @EmmaSayce, tagging in her sponsor, we @mediaparents looked up the active people using #edTVfest. (twitter posts are read from the bottom up).

Who should we spot online tweeting about #edTVfest but @tcmbigcheese – Sugar Films’ MD Pat Younge. As Pat has been supportive of Media Parents Back to Work Scheme in the past we sent a closed tweet (using Pat’s handle @tcmbigcheese at the start of the tweet so that only people following Pat and media parents would see the tweet in their feeds) asking Pat to meet the #backtowork team at the festival. Pat replied with another closed tweet that you can see in our feed above, asking us to DM (direct message you can send if you both follow each other on twitter) so that he could share his contact details privately in order to meet the team.

It worked!

PD Josie Besbrode @Besbrode took the opportunity to thank for the meeting Pat by tagging him in a photo with her fellow #backtowork winner Emma Sayce, and also to publicise a tip from Pat. As did SP Nicola Kingscote:

Nicola’s tweet was retweeted by @mediaparents with an extra tip – and you can see above @NicolaKingscot1′s tweet that several people followed @mediaparents after that interaction – harnessing the networks of the TV Festival, Pat, Media Parents and Nicola to gain a wider audience. Knowledge from the sessions shared by the Back to Work team was also helpful for TV people who couldn’t attend the festival – and it’s worth knowing that twitter and all social media is seen and read by a much greater proportion of people than those who interact with it.

You can read the takeout from the sessions tagged in the @mediaparents feed on Twitter, and our Back to Work Team will be blogging their best bits here over the next week. Below Emma Sayce is using photos to give atmosphere and context to her tips and also opening a tweet using a . in front of @versharma’s handle, to increase its potential audience rather than closing it with the handle at the front.

Tweets are read, liked and retweeted and can spark debate.

We did a shout out to ask people to meet the Back to Work Team which really worked – letting people know where you are physically can lead to useful meet ups.

Letting people know that the Back to Work Team were at the TV Festival’s first night party certainly had results.

Emma Sayce met Bella Lambourne, Endemol Shine’s Global Director of HR. Huge thanks here to Bella for sponsoring the Media Parents Back to Work scheme for everyone of it’s five years, it makes a massive difference to talented people on their way back in. Emma used the opportunity to promote Endemol Shine’s support for flexible working. As did the team when they met Sam Lawrence, MD of Monkey. (Who I didn’t realise was a woman until now).

Good job the Festival organisers publicised their own photo booth…

Thanks for responding ladies…

Well done to the whole team on making the most of this opportunity to network and connect. The Back to Work team will soon be posting their own blogs here, followed by creating their individual back to work plans for use at their mentoring sessions. Please follow them on twitter and here to hear more about their journey.

Congratulations to the Back to Work Winners, wishing you all the greatest success on your way back in

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August 25, 2017 @ 5:32 pm Posted in News Comments Off

media parents back to work winners 2017


Huge thanks to all those talented people who applied for the Media Parents Back to Work Scheme this year, we will be celebrating all applicants with drinks in the autumn. We are also grateful to our sponsors Channel 4, Twofour, Endemol Shine and Warner Bros for supporting this years winners back into work via Edinburgh TV Festival. Meet the winners:

If you are at Edinburgh TV Festival this year please say hi to the Back to Work Winners

Thanks to everyone who has taken time out to meet the team in Edinburgh so far, it’s great to hear they have been making new connections. If you would like to make contact please email via contact page.

Emma Sayce, Edit Producer

Emma Sayce, Media Parents Back to Work Scheme Winner 2017

Prior to taking a career break, Emma spent over 8 years working as a PD, mainly in Science, History and Popular Factual programming, on such series as Child of our Time (BBC One) and Mary Queen of Shops (BBC Two). She went on to work as a Senior Producer and Edit Producer. Her career then had to take a back seat after she had extremely premature twins. She balanced looking after them, and their medical needs, with occasional Edit Producer contracts on series such as The Great Interior Design Challenge (BBC Two) and Inside The Factory (BBC Two). With both children now healthy and at school Emma now wants to return to more regular work via the Media Parents Back to Work Scheme, initially as an Edit Producer, with a view to working her way up to Series and Executive Producer roles. Emma is being sponsored by Endemol Shine.

Josie Besbrode, Producer Director, Factual

Josie Besbrode, Media Parents Back to Work Scheme Winner 2017

Josie is a shooting PD with pre-mat leave credits on BBC One’s The Met, The World According to Kids, Saving Lives at Sea and The Bank for BBC Two. She has worked at The Garden, Raw and Blast! amongst other indies and is returning to work after a one-year mat leave. Josie is being sponsored by Warner Bros and hopes to use the mentoring part of the Media Parents Back to Work Scheme to work towards her ambition of series producing. Josie’s sponsor is Warner Bros.

Kate Cheeseman, Director, Scripted

Kate Cheeseman is a Director in scripted. Kate Cheeseman’s directing work won her an RTS Award and a BAFTA in children’s drama, and saw her directing Grange Hill and Family Affairs. She was selected for the DirectorsUK mentoring scheme, hopefully the Media Parents Back to Work Scheme will help her to find work. Kate is being sponsored by Channel 4 as part of their Spotlight on Directors 2017 initiative.

Nicola Kingscote, Series Producer, Bristol

Nicola Kingscote, Media Parents Back to Work Winner 2017

Nicola Kingscote enjoyed an 18 year career at the BBC as a director and latterly as a Series Producer before taking redundancy. Her career has been primarily based in Bristol and she has worked across many of BBC Bristol’s best known series. The Antiques Roadshow, Fake or Fortune, It’s Not Easy Being Green and James Martin’s Home Comforts are among her credits. Her application for the Media Parents Back to Work Scheme is due to career breaks spent looking after small children and her recent redundancy. She is really looking forward to getting back to Series/Edit Producing and managing teams again. Nicola is being sponsored by TwoFour’s Cardiff office.

Follow their Edinburgh experience and their progress back into work on this blog and on twitter @mediaparents.

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August 22, 2017 @ 3:22 pm Posted in News Comments Off