Media Parents

Monthly Archives: October 2019

TXing tonight For Sama 9pm Channel 4


For Sama transmits on Channel 4 on Saturday 26th October at 9pm.

Read Back to Work Winner Laura Martin-Robinson’s blog from Edinburgh as she watched the film’s UK premier.

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October 25, 2019 @ 10:20 pm Posted in News Comments Off

5 minutes with PC Clare Lawrence Making a career change into TV


Sometimes life throws a lot of things at you all at once and pushes you into fight or flight mode, making you completely readdress what you want to do writes PC Clare Lawrence. This happened to me last year and, always the fighter, I made the conscious decision to pivot into TV. I have long wanted to work in TV but had told myself that it was too late for me and that I couldn’t afford to begin as a runner with bills to pay and children to feed –  it was time to change the story! Ahead of Media Parents’ Bristol event in November, read about Clare’s success in finding work in Bristol c/o Media Parents.

PC Clare Lawrence has found work through Media Parents

I’d worked as a freelance stills photographer for nine years with a lot of success and prior to that as a self-shooting researcher for a commercial agency, I knew I had a host of transferable skills with which to enter the industry, but no actual TV experience – yet! After working solo for so long, I also missed being part of a creative team and knew this was the right move to make.

Being a complete outsider and knowing no-one in the industry at the time, I did some research and attended a couple of Bristol networking events, feeling very green and like a fish out of water. I attended a Media Parents networking event and after meeting Amy Walker also began working for Media Parents in January 2019. For Media Parents I look after all the Bristol / Cardiff and more recently London positions that are advertised and manage the social media accounts, as well as helping to run the Bristol events. This has given me a perspective into the different routes in TV and communicate with a lot of Talent Managers and freelancers. Amy also helped me to redo my CV and it wasn’t long before I secured my first role as a Production Coordinator for Mustang Films.

Nine months later I have three good Production Coordinator credits under my belt; a presenter-led arts series for BBC World News ‘China’s Greatest Treasures’, BBC2 series ‘In search of Dracula’ presented by Mark Gatiss and a fun Channel 5 series ‘Driving Mum and Dad Crazy’. As I didn’t start as a runner, I have had to learn a lot of the jargon very quickly and there have been a lot of ‘in at the deep-end’ moments, but very quickly I have immersed myself into the roles and people have been surprised when they have learned I am fairly new to TV. Knowing a lot of the technical side of things has definitely helped me along the way and a nuance for how to run a business, having run my own for so long. Like any good PC – enjoying a colour-coded spreadsheet is a definite plus!

It is encouraging that in my mid-30s it is not too late to change career and that being highly motivated and applying yourself will take you anywhere. Attending networking events has been invaluable as has the mentoring I have received from Media Parents Amy Walker and informally from others in the industry. It is also thanks to production companies willing to think outside the box and be open to my transferable skills that I have come so far, so quickly.

As a single Mum of two children, working in production is the right balance of creativity and logistics within a relatively standard working week. I will always be a creative person and pursue photography in my own time; in production I feel part of a bigger picture and look forward to working my way up the production path. I’m excited to be starting a new PC position in October at Outline Productions for BBC2 until the end of Spring, which I found through Media Parents. I met Outline for the first time at a Media Parents networking event in Bristol, which Isa Snow Campbell also attended, so it pays to get out there…

October 18, 2019 @ 7:24 am Posted in Freelancer Profiles, TV Returners Leave a comment

5 minutes with PD Laura Martin-Robinson on World Mental Health Day


The night before Edinburgh TV Festival I found out someone in my family had been evicted from supported accommodation and was sleeping on the street, writes PD Laura Martin-Robinson. They’ve struggled with mental illness for years and it’s happened before – but it’s still terrifying and heartbreaking every time. So on Wednesday at 5am when I whispered goodbye to my sleeping kids and got the plane to Edinburgh for Media Parents Back to Work Scheme, facing the entire TV industry for the first time since I became a mum was the last thing I wanted to do.

Laura Martin-Robinson reflects on returning to work on World Mental Health Day

I arrived at the venue and began with a Media Parents networking session with Amy Walker. As I introduced myself I started crying. I blamed it on crappy mascara. As soon as we finished, Amy sent encouraging messages, and we had been introduced over email to useful delegates so we set about meeting people and engaging with the TV Festival Sessions.

At The Making of a Mega Doc a clip from ‘For Sama’ was shown (For Sama transmits on Channel 4 on Saturday 26th October).  Directed by Waad al-Kateaba, a Syrian woman, bombs are falling around her as she gives birth. Executive producer Nevine Mabro talked about why a war film from the perspective of a woman and mother was ground-breaking.

Next up 1-2-1’s with Donna Taberer, Head of BBC Talent and Clare Sillery, Head of BBC Documentaries organised through the Media Parents Back to Work Scheme. Both were encouraging and had suggestions about next steps. Donna told me about the Screenskills Series producer programme which sounded right up my street.

PACT Chief John McVay with PD Laura Martin-Robinson and two more of the 5 Media Parents Back to Work Winners at Edinburgh TV Festival

Dorothy Byrne was someone I didn’t know much about but by the end of her MacTaggart Lecture I’d fallen in love. She was powerful, commanding and hilarious. Taking on diversity, bastard bosses and political leaders refusing to engage with the press she said. “In evil regimes the first thing they do is arrest or kill the journalists…what’s happening here is they are trying to ignore us”.

Day 2 Duty of Care. Jeff Brazier – Jade Goody’s ex-partner – was a great choice for the panel but it was disappointing there were no casting APs talking about the pressure from the top to ‘cast good characters’.

At the evening drinks I chatted to the talent scheme delegates. I was impressed by how much more representative this new generation of TV felt in comparison to when I started out. 29 out of 30 of the Ones to Watch scheme were women.

Day 3 Edinburgh does the Call Centre was surprisingly moving. Sexual harassment, mental health and industry culture was discussed. Fatima Salaria was honest and brave, talking about the toll work had taken and the importance of female networks.

It had been a tough start to the festival but hearing the voice of these senior women in my industry who’d been through their own crises and still making amazing work I felt braver and stronger.

Laura M-R: "It had been a tough start to the festival but hearing the voice of these senior women in my industry who’d been through their own crises and still making amazing work I felt braver and stronger."

Being a woman, a mother and having other caring responsibilities (as women often do) can take over and stretch women to their limits. And freelance TV culture can be a punishing place to be stretched. We end up losing so many of these female voices, especially at the top.

After the festival Dorothy Byrne tweeted about the messages thanking her for speaking up about women’s issues. I was one of them, Media Parents another. While I know there’s still a long way to go before our industry becomes more equal – I felt like the conversations in Edinburgh were an empowering start.

Laura is kindly being mentored by BBC Commissioning Editor for Documentaries, Emma Loach. Follow her progress here. Huge thanks to Hat Trick who supported Laura’s trip to Edinburgh on the Media Parents Back to Work Scheme this year, and for the support from the TV Foundation, which runs The Edinburgh TV Festival.

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October 10, 2019 @ 9:57 am Posted in News Comments Off

Media Parents B2W Mentor Kim Shillinglaw


Kim Shillinglaw, Director of Factual, Endemol Shine

We are delighted to announce that Kim Shillinglaw will be mentoring returning Casting Producer Joanna Gretton on the Media Parents Back to Work Scheme. Joanna first saw Kim via the Media Parents Back to Work Scheme at Edinburgh TV Festival, we are grateful to Kim and Endemol Shine for their continued support for the scheme. Follow Joanna’s progress on this blog.

Kim Shillinglaw became Director of Factual at Endemol Shine in September 2016. She is the strategic lead for factual programming across the group, and has led the growth of production companies Dragonfly, Dragonfly West, DSP, Tigress and Workerbee, producers of award winning programmes for C4, BBC, ITV, Netflix, Quibi, National Geographic and many others.

Prior to joining Endemol Shine, Kim was Controller of BBC Two and BBC Four responsible for bringing younger audiences and a more contemporary flavour to the channels with shows like the award winning Muslims Like Us, Real Marigold Hotel, Exodus, Hospital, Employable Me, Inside The Factory, American Crime Story and The Super Rich Season as well as other acclaimed shows such as Mum, Wolf Hall, and Charles III.

Previously, Kim was in commissioning for many years. As Head of Commissioning for Science and Natural History she significantly increased the number of hours and her output was acclaimed as ‘a golden age for science on television’, with shows including Stargazing Live, Trust Me I’m A Doctor and The Young Ones, dramas such as the RTS-winning Challenger, the BAFTA-winning Frozen Planet, Wonders of the Solar System and Planet Earth II. She also commissioned the acclaimed Blue Planet II.  Prior to this Kim was an Entertainment Commissioner at CBBC, where she created the first series of multi award winning comedy Horrible Histories, and worked as a programme maker in documentaries and current affairs.

She is a trustee of Raspberry PI and former trustee of Nesta, and has served on committees and panels for DCMS, the Royal Society, BBC, Science Museum and many others.

Joanna Gretton, B2W Casting Producer

Returning Casting Producer Joanna Gretton, leftt, with Media Parents Back to Work Scheme Winner Candida Scott Knight

Joanna has been working with Media Parents for three years, helping other talent find gigs and return to TV so now it’s her time. Prior to working for Media Parents Joanna was a PD and caster on documentaries and cast celebrities for royal obituaries. Thanks to Media Parents’ Flexible Working Event Joanna has met one job share partner and is looking for more potential job shares as she makes her way back into part time work. Raw TV supported Joanna’s Edinburgh Festival trip, and Endemol Shine will support her mentoring.

Huge thanks to Hat Trick and Raw for making the Media Parents Back to Work Scheme possible this year, and for the support from the TV Foundation, which runs The Edinburgh TV Festival.

Contact Joanna Gretton here: Casting Producer Joanna Gretton

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October 9, 2019 @ 9:25 am Posted in Freelancer Profiles, News, TV Returners Comments Off

5 minutes with SP Jonathan Schütz working from home


At Media Parents’ recent Back to Work Drinks, SP / Exec Jonathan Schütz shared that he had recently worked from home on a Nat Geo production. Here he explains how…

SP Jonathan Schütz in the crowd at Media Parents drinks, with event sponsor Steph Keelan from S+O Media front left

Four times a week I haul myself out of bed at stupid-o’clock to get my 3-year-old son up, wash him, give him his banana and get him to nursery, writes SP Jonathan Schütz. And then at 5pm repeat in reverse. So does it make sense to be working somewhere across London, with around 3 hours commute, allowing a maximum 6-hour working day?

I’m an experienced specialist factual series producer and EP, and a series of accidents has led me to making most of my programmes these days in/about/for East and South East Asia. Square that commute with the nursery run!

SP Jonathan Schütz on location in China

Fortunately, over the winter, I had the opportunity to work in a different way. Nat Geo Asia offered me a reversioning job: turn a made-in-China 6 x 30’ series about a holy mountain into an international standard 2 x 1hr. It didn’t hurt that I’ve actually been to that very mountain!

So how to do this in an efficient, affordable way? The answer was black boxes. I bought a load of black boxes. One was a new computer, with a whizzy video card. Another was a server, another a NAS, a network switch, a UPS. And a big new monitor. Set it all up in the spare bedroom, install Resolve (free!) and lo and behold, an edit suite!

Shoots like this then edit at home? Yes please!

With 13TB of material spread across 16,500 clips, and all the labelling in Chinese, it took a month of sorting to get on top of it all. After that, I engaged a script-writer (me) and an offline editor (me), a PM (me), and a Taiwanese AP (not me) to help with translations and communications. And then everything proceeded as normal, just with snail’s-pace approval times as the Chinese production company (and various government departments) also had a say.

This back-bedroom production set-up’s not for the faint-hearted. If anything goes wrong, you’re on your own. So I backed up everything, all the time. Onto the server. Onto local drives. Onto a remote server, and then another remote back-up server. If my house burnt down and the server centre blew up, this project would still be standing.

Jonathan with his other boss

But the joy was that I could set my own hours. Start after nursery drop-off? Easy. Put in an extra hour after bath-and-story-time? No problem. A couple of snatched hours over the weekend? Why not? Mid-day nap with my face on the keyboard? OK, then.

That said, I could do many things in that bedroom, but finishing wasn’t one of them. So that all got done by people who know what they’re doing (thanks, Clear Cut!).

Now the series is waiting for Nat Geo’s legal department to finish doing its stuff. In the not-too-distant future, the world will get to see Laoshan, China’s Holy Mountain. If you spot it, tune in – and see what you can get done in the back room while your offspring snores next door!

October 2, 2019 @ 5:19 pm Posted in News Comments Off