Media Parents

Monthly Archives: September 2019

Ed TV Fest with returning Casting Producer Joanna Gretton


Edinburgh TV Festival was 72 hours not to be forgotten, with so many broadcasting bosses and talent under one roof, it was going to be a thought-provoking few days writes Media Parents Back to Work Winner, Casting Producer, Joanna Gretton. Joanna was kindly sponsored at Edinburgh by Raw TV.

Returning Casting Producer Joanna Gretton, right, with two of the five Media Parents Back to Work Scheme Winners

My bags were packed, I waved farewell to the kids and embarked on a journey into the unknown – the 44th Edinburgh TV Festival.  I felt excited if not slightly daunted about whether the industry had changed, there were questions that I wondered whether I’d find the answer to. Which production companies be open to part time casting producer job share roles?  Who would I be able to secure meetings with and was I going to make meaningful connections to follow up?

I was instantly reassured. On arrival I had a warm welcome from Sarah Murch, MD of the award winning regional Indie, Blakeway North, a long-time Media Parents supporter. Encouraging me to get in contact with my CV, she said she would be happy to share her London factual contacts book.  It felt like I was moving in the right direction.

Memorable moments were meeting Oscar winner Simon Chinn, producer of ‘Untouchable’, a film about Harvey Weinstein, and Dan Reed Director of ‘Leaving Neverland’.  The first lecture I attended, “Making of a Mega Doc”  was a lively discussion on the impact of Netflix and the competition it had created.

Joanna Gretton (left) with Simon Chinn, Dan Reed and returning PD Laura Martin-Robinson

Dorothy Byrne, Head of News and Current Affairs at CH4 brought the house down delivering her hugely insightful MacTaggart Lecture.  I implore you to watch it back on You Tube.   Speaking out she used the lecture to brandish our politicians for being liars.

Thanks must go to Pat Younge, MD at Sugar Films, who was warm and encouraging.  As a boss he said that Indies now wanted to employ people who had come back after a career break as they were keen to have a ‘safe pair of hands’ on board, someone who could get the job done. I felt reassured that my 15 years of telly experience was going to count and put me back on the career path I once adored.

Another hot bed for discussion was during the Steve Hewlett Debate:  Duty of Care. Many questions were asked about who has responsibility when the cameras stop filming? There was a strong panel line up, including amongst others the reality TV star Jeff Brazier. It was an eye opener to hear his first hand experiences.  The new incoming OFCOM rules proposed to protect vulnerable TV participants meant that it could reduce diversity on screen, saying “A Jade would never be given that opportunity again”. It made me realise that as a programme maker, one should always care deeply about people voices being heard, but raised the question of how does one protect the contributors after the show has TX’d (e.g. on social media). This this was a conversation that did not have a clear answer.

I can honestly say that my first experience of the Festival has certainly given me an insight back into the telly world, thank you to Raw for sponsoring me on this insightful journey via the Media Parents Back to Work Scheme.  For me, it has opened up the world of TV again – there are P/T casting producer job-share roles, I just need to look for them, and having met a jobshare partner via the Media Parents Job Share event there is nothing holding me back. The networking circuit at the Festival also presented me with many opportunities to meet the right people and I will be following up in coming weeks and months. I would also be keen to hear from other potential casting job share partners.

Joanna Gretton in the crowd at Media Parents Job Share Event, sponsored by West Digital

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September 23, 2019 @ 9:55 pm Posted in News Comments Off

Coming Up… Media Parents Back to Work Drinks


We are delighted to announce Media Parents Back to Work Drinks to celebrate our five Media Parents Back to Work Scheme Winners this year. It is a brilliant opportunity to cheer our winners back into work, whilst meeting experienced industry talent and employers. Kindly hosted by ENVY Post Production, the drinks will be sponsored by S+O Media. To sign up to the guestlist please see the link on our watercooler at

Three of the Media Parents Back to Work Team Winners at Ed TV Fest

S+O Media is a west London based television facilities company that has been providing equipment as well as crew to the broadcast industry for over fifteen years.

As co-owners, (Olly Wiggins and Stephanie Keelan), have used their experience in the fields of camera work and production to provide a bespoke service to clients that ensures understanding of the shooting process from beginning to end, and where S+O sits within it.

S+O’s passion for the industry and the technology that drives it, has seen the company grow from a small team to an organisation that employs twenty two staff and many more specialist freelance technicians.

Many S+O crew began their careers in-house at S+O, and due to the extensive training they receive, the company is confident in their ability to deliver on set.

S+O hire to a broad range of high profile media clients working on a variety of programming as well as commercials, promos and branded content. From single camera PSC, multi camera recording, fixed rig and self shooting kits, the company can supply and service all our clients’ needs. S+O specialise in Super 35mm and full frame sensor cameras shooting in formats up to 8K. They also provide sound, lights and grip equipment.

Having raised their own children while working in the industry, Steph and Olly are proud to be able to support Media Parents.

With thanks to ENVY post production for hosting the event.

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September 17, 2019 @ 1:15 pm Posted in News Comments Off

Ed TV Fest with Returning Director Candida Scott Knight


“We need to do much better at keeping women in the work place.” Dorothy Byrne’s words at the Edinburgh TV Festival sum up my experiences exactly, writes Media Parents Back to Work Scheme winner, returning Director Candida Scott Knight.

Returning Scripted Director Candida Scott Knight at Ed TV Fest with Sugar Films MD Pat Younge

After a ten-year break to raise a family and live overseas, over the past two years I’ve been working my way back to directing. As Byrne highlighted in her MacTaggart Lecture, doing better at keeping women in the workplace needs to be inclusive of course, not just when children come along, but “when the menopause does, too.” She made us laugh, but it was serious, calling us to account on many levels, and it was perfectly timed, as an introduction to the festival on this scheme.

Three days of panel discussions, talks and events, during the Fringe, the main themes were, accountability, care, inclusivity and diversity. It was political, funny at times, with plenty of opportunity to meet others and network, even in the queue for the Ladies.

PACT Chief John McVay with the Media Parents Back to Work Scheme Winners at Ed TV Fest

One of the people I talked with was John McVay, CEO of Pact who confirmed “you bring more quality to the party now”, highlighting a problem in the industry that programme makers can be risk-averse. He recommended specific people who aren’t. Pat Younge at Sugar Films, suggested drama reconstruction in docs as a way in.

Louis Theroux discussed duty of care filming those with mental health, along with his “discomfort” at the way Jimmy Saville addressed paedophile rumours. Jerry Springer spoke of how “we’re all the same, we just look different” and need to get rid of this notion of the white middle class running TV. Equal Writes touched on the lack of confidence women can feel, begging the question of whether this is part of the gender equality issue. They asked “do agents need to be braver at signing up more female or BAME talent?” Yes! Saskia Schuster at ITV spoke of her 50:50 writer’s initiative. Talking to her after, it’s great to hear female directors are next up.

Masterclasses, on Capture, with director Ben Chanan and team discussed the extensive research done for this surveillance thriller. Top Boy, discussed mentoring initiatives across the board with half the actors, cast off the street, and if making programmes about drug and gang culture, glamourises it or lets us understand the extent of the problem.

All speakers were exposing something, reiterating Byrne’s “widespread disillusion” that is felt across the industry and beyond. But are people ready to each take responsibility to make the changes needed?

Candida Scott Knight with fellow Media Parents Back to Work Scheme Winner Joanna Gretton at The Farm BBQ Ed TV Fest

Being a part of the festival has reminded me of the talent and many years of experience I have. I felt included and seen and am walking away with a clearer view of the path back into TV, with plenty to follow up on. Perhaps most importantly, I’ve come away with more confidence and the knowing that there are many genuine people in the industry able and willing to support me, and others like me, to get back into doing what we love, and contributing to the industry.

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September 15, 2019 @ 4:26 pm Posted in News Comments Off

Media Parents Back to Work Winner JPM Jess Farrow nee Garland


When I returned to work from maternity leave in February earlier this year, I’d been left with a bitter taste from the industry I’d been in since University, as I’d felt pushed aside whilst unsuccessfully trying to find work at 6 months pregnant writes JPM Jess Farrow (nee Garland). I was ready to make a break from TV and forge a new career in Events.

Congratulation to JPM Jess Farrow who will be mentored by Hat Trick on the Media Parents Back to Work Scheme

I found a nice 3 day-a-week job organising training courses, and eased myself out of the fog and into working life. At first I loved the simplicity of the job, I didn’t have emails on my phone, no one called me on weekends, what bliss! I weighed this up against the fact that the role wasn’t very stimulating and it seemed like a viable trade-off.

I had a break from the job over Easter and saw an old colleague post on Facebook that she was looking for someone to do post paperwork on a couple of Channel 4 docs, the kind of stuff that was my bread and butter as a co-ord. I asked her if this could be done part time and she was thrilled to welcome me on board. I had a lovely 4 weeks’ stint at Flicker Productions and got a little reminder of why had loved TV I the first instance. I tapped into knowledge I had acquired in my career and felt truly valuable. I got to work with lovely people and watch some brilliant documentaries. When I returned to the events role I had the undeniable feeling of total and utter boredom!

I left the events job at the beginning of June and have been trying to pick up my career in TV since then. Post Production seems to be the only area that can offer the flexibility of part time work and even going up to 4 days a week I have been unable to find a JPM role (my last position before going on mat leave was as a JPM).

I am terrified that my career will be dead in the water if all I have achieved in my year back at work is a few short coordinator contracts. This sounds less like a summary and more like a moan but I can promise you I am really good at my job. I have a great CV and lots of references willing to sing my praises, which is why I find it so frustrating to be in this position. I will use the scheme to make contacts and find flexible work and shout from the roof tops about it when I get it!

If you are a TV returner, join Jess Garland and our other Back to Work Scheme Winners at Media Parents Back to Work drinks in September, see our watercooler at for details.

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September 3, 2019 @ 6:27 am Posted in TV Returners Comments Off