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.
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…