Media Parents

Posts categorised as: How To

3 actions for TV diversity right now

by Amy Walker

Want to actively do something to support diversity in TV? Adeel Amini from The TV Mindset has shared three calls to action that anyone can implement in TV teams, writes Media Parents Director Amy Walker.

The TV Mindset‘s webinar on Racism in TV has been watched by nearly 5,500 people in  a week. You can view it here. Producer Amini says “I’m pleased to say that The TV Mindset is now advising many institutions on their next steps” contact him through the facebook page.

Are you hiring in your own image or comfort zone? Advice I was given early in my hiring career was, two CVs being equal, choose the candidate which brings greater diversity to your team. It grates on everyone to think that a decision is made based on the colour of a person’s skin. Equally, how are we going to improve diversity and inclusion? Networking is a great place to start. If you’re looking for places to advertise jobs to diverse candidates you can choose Media Parents and you can read more about other platforms and resources here.

If Media Parents can help you with crewing or casting, contact us here.

Thanks Adeel for your clear calls to action. For info on mental health support in TV, go here: https://www.facebook.com/groups/thetvmindset/

Join us for Media Parents events, jobs and training at www.mediaparents.co.uk

June 23, 2020 @ 12:16 pm Posted in How To, News, TV Training Leave a comment

how to increase diversity in TV #blacklivesmatter

by Amy Walker

“What is your company doing to to ACT and not just say #BlackLivesMatter on social media?” an African American friend asked in discussion about George Floyd. So here follows a list of companies offering TV diversity training in the UK, platforms you can search or join for greater diversity and a link to donate to BLM causes, writes Media Parents Director Amy Walker. Also take the time to click here to read and sign this BAME TV Taskforce Letter and, if you are a person of colour, join the BAME TV Task Force. Additional resources have been provided by writer Sarah Page and can be found on twitter here.

Credit Emily Rickets @ewr.portfolio

Media Parents Director Amy Walker has won diversity awards for crewing and casting, so if Media Parents can help with the diversity of your teams click here to contact us. If your company is looking for diversity training then read on.

BLM protest Cornwall credit: Chris Yacoubian

The TV Mindset‘s webinar on Racism in TV has been watched by nearly 5,500 people in  a week. You can view it here. Producer Adeel Amini says “I’m pleased to say that The TV Mindset is now advising many institutions on their next steps” contact him through the facebook page. Amini has also created some straightforward calls to action that anyone can implement at work, read more here.

BLM protest London credit: Alison Hunt

Industry training body ScreenSkills diversity training offer can be found here. Media Parents is proud to say that the Media Parents ScreenSkills Return to Work Programme out-performed ScreenSkills diversity targets, and that the Media Parents Back to Work Scheme has 35% diversity in intake over the years.

Trainer Addie Orfila is recommended for industry diversity training, as is Femi Otitoju, who delivers training on unconscious bias. You can take a Harvard unconscious bias / explicit association test by clicking here. Media Parents’ Amy Walker participated in Otitoju’s unconscious bias training thanks to BFI subsidy.

BLM protest Tunbridge Wells credit Emily Ricketts @ewr.portfolio

MAMA Youth‘s inclusion awareness workshops are experience based and tackle issues at the forefront of diversity and inclusion in the workplace. Offered exclusively to corporate and patron partners, these workshops are now open to the wider industry.  Please contact info@mamayouthproject.org.uk for more information. Mama Youth’s alumni talent pool is also a useful diverse talent resource.

BLM protest London credit: Alison Hunt

Creative Access recruits under-represented talent to the UK’s creative industries. In addition to using them to recruit, they have a diversity training offer for companies.

Click any of these hyperlinked organisation names to find out more about their offers in diversity and inclusion: IconicSteps@PrincesTrust@SaraPuttAssoc@CSparkworks@artsemergency@Film_London@DiVA_Creative; @FourCornersE2@thinkbigger_org and @BAFTA offers various training opportunities and schemes. And here is PACT’s diversity website.

BLM protests London credit: Alison Hunt

Simone Pennant’s TV Collective has reported on Channel 4′s recent commitment to be an anti-racist organisation, which you can read about here. You can also follow Channel 4 News Identity strand on facebook here. The TV Collective also organises networking events and promotes job opportunities to the BAME TV community. See also @TriForceEvents@cinesister@BritBlacklist@RaisingFilms@104Films@bbcwritersroom; https://bbcstudios.com/writersacademy@DANC_MANC@illuminatrixLDNhttps://womenbehindthecamera.co.uk/

https://profileperformers.com/ and @ProjectNoirHub, a creative collective for people of colour working to make the creative industries more culturally diverse. Channel 4 also lists a collection of industry talent schemes here: https://careers.channel4.com/4talent/industry-talent-schemes/4stories

BLM protest Cornwall credit: Chris Yacoubian

If you would like to share any other recommended training sources for diversity and inclusion in TV please contact us. You can also click through to this BBC article which links to UK and US charities, including The Stephen Lawrence Trust, promoting equality which you can support. Be the change!

BLM protest London credit: https://www.antoniamaguire.com/

Join us for Media Parents events, jobs and training at www.mediaparents.co.uk

June 19, 2020 @ 9:44 am Posted in How To, News, TV Training Comments Off

locked down with Producer Jonathan Schutz

by Amy Walker

And here we are – at home, writes Media Parents Factual Exec and SP Jonathan Schutz. Working from home. Hmm. Let’s be honest: for most of us, even the least sniff of work has evaporated. Channel 4 has suggested it will be “reaching out” to freelancers. The BBC and Netflix have made donations to the Film & TV Charity, ITV has made a fund available for indies. It’s all very nice, though perhaps not all that useful for those of us who are just about grinding along.

Producer Jonathan Schutz in edit at home

In the meantime, some indies are helping out by rehiring and furloughing recent freelancers so they can avail themselves of Rishi Sunak’s seeming bounty. Many of us however (including those with Personal Service Companies) plummet between the cracks of the Chancellor’s help package. BECTUMartin Lewis and some helpful MPs and journos – are making noise about this, but we still don’t know if that’s going to have any effect.

All the channels, terrestrial and otherwise, will soon be desperate for content – and not just shows about the virus. It’ll be on a budget as commercial broadcasters face a fall in advertising income, and those broadcasters who rely on ad-sales driven production will be hit doubly as sponsors retreat as well. I personally have two 6-hour series in development with interested sponsors who have gone extremely quiet!

But quality production on a budget? That’s good news: my whole business model for Curly Lizard Films is based on it. Frankly, my life – juggling Daddy Duty with Specialist Factual production – has been a bit like lockdown for some years now anyway. I was writing, developing, producing, editing and delivering productions from home long before all this kicked off. Last year’s main Curly Lizard production was a reversion of a very glossy Chinese series for NGC, all made from the spare room.

Some companies are managing to get commissions – you can watch Swan Films MD Joe Evans talking about his latest socially distanced commission with Talented People’s Kimberley Godboldt by clicking here, and your family can take part in Grayson’s Art Club here – but there are a lot more of us still looking for work.

Who are any of us really working for anyway?

So, dear broadcasters and indies – here’s a thought that could get us all busy right now. Pop down to your friendly distributor – online, of course. They have plenty on their shelves from around the world. Or see what you have in your own archive that could be repurposed. Send it over to me, and I’ll script something up and edit it together for you. And should you be up for some history – there are plenty of untouched subjects from all over the world, with archive accessible online. Wouldn’t it be a nice surprise if we suddenly developed a wider world-view while shut away in our houses?

Because when you come down to it, what’s the one thing better than setting up funds and relying on the government’s largesse? Getting productions started again and getting us all back to work. So now: over to you!

https://www.mediaparents.co.uk/freelancers/14396/jonathan-schtz

April 17, 2020 @ 2:46 pm Posted in Freelancer Profiles, How To, News Leave a comment

media parents CV event gallery

by Amy Walker

Huge thanks to ITV Shiver‘s job sharing talent managers Ros Malthouse and Emma Astaire for hosting Media Parents’ October CV event, and to everyone who attended for creating a great buzz on the evening. BBC Scripted Production Exec Jacquie Glanville and Talent Manager Noelle Bartlett met scripted talent, along with Kindle Entertainment‘s Production Exec Keri Atkins. Back to Work Scheme sponsors Raw TV were represented by Nicky Searle and Didem Gormus, Expectation Factual‘s Anna Bonnadio joined us unexpectedly, in addition to Two Four‘s Vanessa Colosi, Fremantle‘s Jenny Spader and of course the Shiver and Media Parents teams met freelancers. RDF West’s Emily Knight was unable to attend due to problems at Paddington but she has sent a PDF of RDF’s CV tips that can be downloaded at the end of this article. Here are some photos and testimonials to give you a flavour of the event if you missed it. Click here for more CV tips from the attending companies.

Thank you to ITV Shiver's Ros Malthouse and Emma Astaire, job sharing talent managers, for hosting the event and meeting freelancers "We really enjoyed meeting lots of new people and have been following up..."

“Thank you for the event last night, it was really useful and I made a couple of good contacts.” Petal Felix

"First of all a big thank you for last night, it was my first Media Parents event and I can honestly say it was the best networking event I’ve ever been to. Well bloody done!" Mark Aldridge, Writer & Producer https://www.mediaparents.co.uk/freelancers/4258/mark-aldridge

Thanks for arranging last night’s CV event. It was a great opportunity and for me to start mingling again. A lot of the work I do these days is solitary, so it was great to put faces to names. It was also good to get so much positive feedback about my CV. Thanks again for this event and I look forward to coming to another one in the future. Justine Sullivan, Celebrity Producer https://www.mediaparents.co.uk/freelancers/10118/justine-sullivan

"Media Parents has completely changed the way I look at my CV. Thank you" Ash Smith https://www.mediaparents.co.uk/freelancers/3309/ashley-smith

Back to Work Scheme Winner Melissa Bishop with TwoFour. https://www.mediaparents.co.uk/freelancers/14397/melissa-bishop

Media Parents Back to Work Scheme Winner, Coordinator Jenny Madalura with Shiver. https://www.mediaparents.co.uk/freelancers/15655/jenny-madalura

"Thank for you, for a very busy and interesting evening last night! Think the collective noun for Freelancers must be a swarm." Shanti Ramakuri, PM https://www.mediaparents.co.uk/freelancers/14771/shanti-ramakuri

Returner Hannah Williams was celebrating her new flexible job at Merman. https://www.mediaparents.co.uk/freelancers/11460/hannah-williams-lovell

Please click here for RDF West TV CV Tips. For information about Media Parents next event please sign up to our email list or see our watercooler at www.mediaparents.co.uk

Click image to join Media Parents www.mediaparents.co.uk for great jobs, training and events.

October 29, 2018 @ 9:58 am Posted in Events, How To, News Leave a comment

When You Actually Want Your Career to go Sideways… Mark Aldridge

by Amy Walker

Sooo, I just finished my first novel writes Exec / Series Producer Mark Aldridge.

Mark Aldridge, left of frame, at Media Parents CV Event

The small group of friends and trusted colleagues who have read it, really rate it. I hold the 292 pages of manuscript in my hands like it’s a new baby. It’s warm, it’s got a nice smell. It’s not exactly cuddly and adorable but it’s much loved all the same. There’s over nine months of development there and … Yeah, that’s enough of the baby similarities I think. Having finished the obligatory tweaking, proofing and editing, I send it over to my agent. Warren’s been reading it as we go along, full of his usual encouragement, but I’m looking forward to his opinion on what I consider to be the finished article… But that feedback will have to wait a couple of weeks.

I’m a father of 8-year-old twins and they were front-of-mind when I took a sideways step with my career. Perhaps inevitably, stepping sideways also means taking a hit with your income. I made a deal with my partner, we agreed I could do the book for a limited period of time, in our case a year. I just made it.

Now, it’s all about finding a job back in TV. I’ve had a steady stream of freelance work that’s fitted in around writing the book, but now it’s finished, I need to get back to the day job. So, the next few weeks are all about re-establishing connections and getting myself back on people’s radars as an Exec / SP in Production or Development.

I’m a story-teller. In the end, isn’t all TV about telling a good yarn? So, if anyone’s reading this who’s on the lookout, I’m combining my EP experience with my writing and looking for development roles, as well as broader EP or SP gigs. The storytelling was front and centre when I developed Channel 4’s ‘Utopia’ and I recently put it into action again working with the ‘Simon’s Cat’ team at Endemol Shine. But I’ve also applied storytelling on a wider scale. With ‘Rooftop Rainforest’, we told a compelling tale that ran right through the backbone of Sky TV. We built a living, breathing rainforest, with over a thousand plants and trees, on top of the Westfield shopping centre. The story encompassed Sky’s rainforest charity, gave the CEO an ideal location to address the great and the good and, of course, delivered two hours of high-end documentary to SkyOne.

Mark Aldridge and the Football Tonight team

So, whilst I wait for the response to putting the TV wheels in motion, I thought I’d note down some lessons I’ve learned over the year.

When You Actually Want Your Career to go Sideways…

If you’re considering a sideways step, be prepared to start near the bottom. You may be a hotshot in your established career, but you’re a noob in the other one. Sure, there will be a ton of transferable skills, but you will be competing with those who are already established.

Before you begin, set yourself a timeline for how long you (and family) are prepared to give it. Real change, change for good, change for the better, takes time. And your new career choice will have consequences for those who around you. They will need to be flexible too.

If you give yourself twelve months, like I did, know that you have a great deal of time there for development. If you stay focussed, you are going to be improving dramatically in that time. For me, the important thing was simply to get going. Then it got better. What was really curious was looking back at those early first steps and seeing how my writing had evolved over the year.

There’s another benefit too, this one’s probably the best one, your year of going sideways will certainly put what you did before into perspective. You’ll be able to see all the plus points and identify some of the negatives from your previous job. That can help guide you going forward. Hell, you’ll probably find what you’ve learned over the year supports your original career and that can only be a good thing.

I’ve set up a site, manwithseveralhats.com, that’s me. Two of the hats have gone sideways from TV production. Consultancy is one. Writing is the other.

So, I’ve got three hats right now. That’s enough. Any more and I’d be spread too thinly. As I say on the website, I’d be a very skinny hat, I’d be a Beret.

www.mediaparents.co.uk/freelancers/4258/mark-aldridge

Click image to join Media Parents www.mediaparents.co.uk for great jobs, training and events.

@ 9:34 am Posted in Freelancer Profiles, How To Leave a comment

Back to Work as a HETV Drama Coordinator by Zenna Barry

by Amy Walker

I’d had a 10 year break from TV writes Coordinator Zenna Barry. I’d worked in factual as a Coordinator but I’d always loved drama and originally wanted to work in film – so after an ex-colleague told me about the Media Parents website, I found that they were looking for coordinators on a ‘HETV Drama Back To Work Scheme’ funded by ScreenSkills which sounded perfect for me.

Zenna Barry was on placement on Tiger Aspect's drama Curfew with Sean Bean

I’d never worked in drama production before and I was advised to get some work experience before applying, which I did. Michaela Eccleston, Head of Production at Red Productions was then kind enough to become my mentor, and throughout the scheme she has been on the end of a text or call whenever I’ve needed guidance and encouragement.  We’ve also had face-to-face meetings at her offices which have really helped me understand drama production and carve out my plan for the future.

Mentor Michaela Eccleston, Red Productions' HOP with mentee Zenna Barry (right)

The scheme kicked off at the end of Feb, with CV and interview training and networking events in London that would re-align my mindset.  Media Parents then set up a 4 week placement on ‘Curfew’ for me – a high end TV drama being shot at Space Studios for Tiger Aspect.  The placement went well – even though it felt quite daunting to be back in the production office again.  But my mind was focussed on learning and so I just got stuck in.  Everyone looked so young and had already been working on the show for a few months and - I’m not going to lie to you – it was a challenging time, juggling childcare and new learning in a genre I haven’t worked in before – but I stayed cheerful throughout and made the most of my time there with the team – who were great with me:)

Zenna Barry with the production team on Tiger Aspect's Curfew

After the placement, reality hit home - it was now time to get a real job!!!  In my past I had been a Coordinator/ PM mainly in factuals and live programming.  But because I didn’t want to take this route again and with the large gap in my CV, my mentor advised me that I would have to go backwards before I could go forwards.  This was sound advice as I felt that I really needed to understand the drama processes before I took on any kind of role of responsibility.

On location for a Curfew night shoot

Media Parents contacted me and suggested I applied for a free Line Producers course run by Addie Orfila for the Indie Training Fund, also funded by ScreenSkills.  What a great week in Media City – with seven other aspiring LPs, learning all about how to PM and Line Producer in drama, it really helped with my knowledge gap.  I made some great contacts on the course which led to two weeks’ work on a children’s drama for the BBC – ‘The 4 O’Clock Club’.  Again a lovely production team – learning on the job, locally filmed, enjoying the catering (!) and loving being back in production!

Line Producer training at Media City

Courtesy of the Media Parents jobs page I then managed to secure 6 weeks work as an Assistant Coordinator on a Sky One comedy drama ‘Brassic’.  With a 4-day handover, I was then left coordinating the show whilst the main coordinator was on holiday for 4 weeks! I loved every minute of it, again working with a great team.  It was a tough job though, with long 12 hour days, which was tough on my family, but I was really starting to find my feet now and felt confident putting all that I had learned since the beginning of the year into practice.

ITV then got in touch and wanted me to interview for a Coordinator’s role on Emmerdale.  The commute would be tricky – Manchester to Leeds everyday – but the role sounded ideal, spending much more time down on set and learning directly from the senior PM,  so I decided to go for it.  After the toughest interview of my life (1.5 hours on Skype with a panel of three from ITV) I was delighted to hear that I got the job – a permanent in-house contract for ITV drama – wow!!  I’m so grateful and now well on my way to becoming a PM in drama which was my dream at the beginning of the year!!  Thanks partly to the negotiating skills I honed on the Media Parents HETV Drama Return to Work Programme the contract at ITV can offer me some flexibility and the work/ life balance that I so desperately crave.  To be there for my family in the evenings and at weekends whilst being part of a creative team – I’m so excited at what the future may bring!!

Thank you Media Parents for everything you have done for me this year – I will always be truly grateful for this scheme that helps parents like me get back into the game.

https://www.mediaparents.co.uk/freelancers/14984/zenna-barry

Click image to join Media Parents www.mediaparents.co.uk for great jobs, training and events.

@ 9:34 am Posted in Freelancer Profiles, How To Leave a comment

How to work flexibly on location in TV Ali McBride & Kate Walker

by Amy Walker

It’s 5 years ago this month that my maternity bubble was burst and I came back to work, writes Series Producer Ali McBride. I was happy in my baby bubble, but also keen to return to telly, and thanks to Media Parents Back to Work Scheme I was given the confidence to do so with gusto.

Series Producer Ali McBride returned to work via Media Parents and wanted to pay it back https://www.mediaparents.co.uk/freelancers/15861/ali-mcbride

Five years in and the plate spinning is working (just) but, sadly it seems, not for everyone. As a consequence I’ve seen many new Mums and Dads flee the industry. So I wanted to see if, in my own small way, I could help other parents find a balance.

When I started working at Crackit North I saw an opportunity. I was Series Producing a new Channel 5 series based at a hospital in Barnsely and we needed to follow the shifts of the staff to capture their working day. To cover certain staff shifts we needed to be flexible with the hours we filmed, so flexible working became an essential part of my hunt for the perfect PD.

Ali McBride and the Media Parents Back to Work Scheme winners waiting for Kevin Spacey's MacTaggart Speech at Ed TV Fest 2013.

I knew of a director looking to return to work after having her first child – Kate Walker - so we discussed the job and she grabbed the offer with both hands. Across three months, Kate and another PD who was also happy with the flexible shifts, followed the staff, gained the trust of the team and filmed some incredible stories.

I know that flexible filming schedules don’t suit every production but I do know that having a flexible PDs team was a real asset to the production. After this experience I’m keen to spread the word that flexible working can work and should be considered more naturally as part of the crewing up process. The challenge now is to see if I can make this role work on my future projects!

https://www.mediaparents.co.uk/freelancers/15861/ali-mcbride

Kate Walker

Kate Walker PD : "The prospect of long hours and the physical demands of shooting full time made me question my career which I had always loved" https://www.mediaparents.co.uk/freelancers/15868/kate-walker

The idea of returning to work as a Shooting Director with a ten-month-old baby was daunting to say the least – the prospect of long hours and the physical demands of shooting full time made me question my career which I had always loved. When Ali contacted me with the opportunity to work part time with flexible hours it sounded too good to be true.

I gave her a diary of the days I was available and the best times I could work, Ali then married this up with when the key characters we wanted to film were on shift and so I began. I worked on average three days per week over the filming period, which included some evenings and weekends – this worked perfectly for me as no additional childcare was needed and I got to spend more time with my baby. I never felt my relationships with the staff I was filming were compromised as many of them also worked part time and had families.  Ali’s strategic approach to filming meant that my time on location was maximised and I always felt like a valued member of the team. It couldn’t have been a more perfect way to return to work.

https://www.mediaparents.co.uk/freelancers/15868/kate-walker

https://www.mediaparents.co.uk/freelancers/15861/ali-mcbride

Kate is available from October 15th and Ali is available from November, both for work in Leeds and the North West. Find them on Media Parents.

Casualty 24/7 Wed Channel 5 @ 9pm. Crackit North Productions.

Our next event is a CV clinic on October 17th at Shiver, please see our site emails for details. Click image to join Media Parents www.mediaparents.co.uk for great jobs, training and events.

October 9, 2018 @ 4:44 pm Posted in Freelancer Profiles, How To, TV Returners Leave a comment

Returning script editor Jaime Caruana how to manage work placements and mentors

by Amy Walker

Having won a place on the Media Parents HETV Drama Return to Work Programme funded by Screen Skills (formerly Creative Skillset). Media Parents acted on my behalf in approaching production companies to find a mentor, Antonia Gordon at Silverprint Pictures, and a work placement.

Returning Script Editor Jaime Caruana : https://www.mediaparents.co.uk/freelancers/7402/jaime-caruana

A fantastic aspect of the HETV Back-to-Work Scheme is the introduction to an industry mentor. This is a person completely separate to the work placement, but the equivalent of a potential boss.

ITV's Antonia Gordon https://www.silverprint-pictures.co.uk/about-us/

I am delighted to have Antonia, a Head of Development at ITV, as my mentor. Someone completely neutral, who works in the same field. Media Parents found a great match for me and the relationship is blossoming.

I feel that I have a mentor who is fully supportive of the back-to-work plan I developed as part of the returners course, as well as contributing heavily towards the plan and pushing me when I need pushing. Antonia’s been great at providing me with new contacts and is always there for moral support, should I have any wobbles. Being another parent, working in the industry, she gives me both inspiration and confidence in what I am doing.

I was introduced, via email, to Sarah Stack, the Head of Development at Kudos, and a meeting in person was soon arranged. It wasn’t clear whether the meeting was just to say “hello” and discuss my start date, or to see if I fitted their mould before they committed. I decided to err on the side of caution and prepped for it like I would an interview. I did my research on the Head of Development, the team and the company. Most importantly, I watched as many Kudos transmissions as I could. I also prepped answers for the standard interview questions.

When we met, it was obvious straight away that this was going to be more of an informal meeting/chat regarding placement dates. Phew! The funding from Screen Skills covered a 4-week, full-time placement. Given my 8 year career break, I felt that launching myself straight into full-time hours would be a huge shock. So, having had negotiating training from Media Parents, I negotiated spreading the 20 days out, part time. The HoD thought this arrangement would be mutually beneficial – Kudos would be able to utilise me for longer and I would get more time across their slate.

Sarah Stack https://www.kudos.co.uk/team

I am writing this blog mid-placement. I spent the Sunday before I started in a complete state of anxiety, where my coping mechanism was to spend the day manically cleaning my house. The anxiety kept me wide awake the night before and put me off eating any breakfast in the morning. This was going to be a huge challenge – dropping the kids off at school breakfast club for 7:30am, catching the earliest train I could and arriving at the offices of Kudos in a calm and relaxed manner!

I had nothing to worry about. They all know why I am there (and if they didn’t, I made a point of telling them when I introduced myself). The first thing the HoD asked me when I arrived: “Was I nervous?” I decided to be honest. Why lie? The HoD is a mum too. She totally gets it.

I spent the first couple of weeks observing, attending meetings and not being afraid to ask questions. By this week (my third), I have made an effort to be proactive and contribute more. The key thing for me is that, by the end of my placement, Kudos feel they have got something out of it as much as I have. To be continued…

https://www.mediaparents.co.uk/freelancers/7402/jaime-caruana


Our next event is a CV clinic on October 17th at Shiver, please see our site emails for details. Click image to join Media Parents www.mediaparents.co.uk for great jobs, training and events.

October 4, 2018 @ 9:10 pm Posted in Freelancer Profiles, How To, TV Returners Comments Off

How to get the most out of Edinburgh TV Festival, Nicola Kingscote SP

by Amy Walker

Ahead of this year’s Media Parents Back to Work Scheme winners being chosen to attend Edinburgh TV Festival, Nicola Kingscote, one of last year’s Media Parents Back to Work Scheme Winners look back at last year’s festival and how to get the most out of it.

Sugar Films' Pat Younge with Nicola Kingscote at Edinburgh TV Festival 2017

As I crawled out of bed at 4am to catch the flight from Bristol to Edinburgh for the TV Festival I reflected on the fact that (weirdly) during my 18 years with the BBC as a director and Series Producer, I had never made it to the event. The day job always took priority. My recent decision to volunteer for redundancy had given me the clear headspace to find the Media Parents Back to Work scheme, and I was thrilled to be sponsored by TwoFour in Cardiff to attend. When I arrived at the EICC the speed meeting sessions were underway, enabling any festival delegate to book a face-to-face slot with a variety of talent managers from broadcasters and indies. It was great to meet with Zoe Rushton from BBC Cardiff, Fintan Maguire, an Exec Producer from Spun Gold (now at Rumpus Media), and with Pat Younge, MD of Sugar Films. All were generous with their advice and time. Pat was very keen for me to add a showreel to my CV, to really emphasise some of the well known series that I have worked on to potential employers.

Media Parents Back to Work Winners 2017 : Scripted Director Kate Cheeseman, SP Nicola Kingscote, PD Josie Besbrode & Edit Producer Emma Sayce

The first panel discussion I attended was “Tantrums and Tabloids – how to survive a production crisis”. In the old days, after transmission, we just worried about the overnight figures. This cleverly dramatised debate revealed what could happen if a contributor is hounded and humiliated on social media. Thought-provoking in terms of our duty of care to contributors, and how we as programme makers need to brief and fully prepare them honestly for what “can” happen if they are targeted on social media. For a BBC lifer, hearing from other channel heads was also fascinating. Ben Frow from Channel 5 (affectionately referred to by his team as Chairman Frow) submitted himself to a filmed “In Therapy” session which he shared with us, so that we would better understand him and what he wants for the channel. (Click here to watch Ben Frow speak at Edinburgh). His unapologetic honesty was so refreshing. In this and other sessions I got a great sense of the varied cultures at other channels and I felt very excited about the future as a freelancer. The Jewel in the festival’s crown however, was Jon Snow’s moving McTaggart Lecture.

Channel 4's Jon Snow photobombs the Media Parents Back to Work Team at Edinburgh TV Fest 2018. Nicola Kingscote second from right

The following day emotions ran high again on a panel discussion  called “I’m A Producer, Get These Celebrities Out of Here” hosted by the TV presenter Anna Richardson, which focused on the difficulties that can occur between the production and onscreen talent. Anna herself recalled agreeing to take a fertility test for a TV series when she was in her early thirties, and the utter shock and devastation she felt when the results revealed that she was infertile. As I flew back to Bristol armed with a notebook full of useful ideas and contacts, I realised that the most memorable and impressive festival moments for me were those when someone bravely risked making themselves vulnerable in front of their peers. Food for thought for anyone returning to work, because every single time, the risk was rewarded with supportive applause. The Scheme really helped my confidence in two ways. I was a parent with 18 years of TV experience who had taken a year out, but had also left the security of the BBC behind at the same time, to become a freelancer. I was moving into a new world and the back to work scheme really helped me with that transition. It demystified the freelance world for me in a way that has been hugely beneficial. The three other women on the scheme have also become great friends and we continue to support each other and remain in contact, often with tips on how to streamline our work lives to have more quality time with our family or just to have a general moan about things! It’s great to have that network with people who are not direct competition with each other, but who totally get what it is like to parent in the TV world.

Nicola Kingscote, Media Parents Back to Work Winner 2017

Click here to view Nicola Kingscote’s profile.

Media Parents Back to Work Scheme 2018 is underway, see our blog for details. Join Media Parents www.mediaparents.co.uk for great jobs, training and events.

July 31, 2018 @ 10:27 am Posted in Events, Freelancer Profiles, How To, TV Returners Leave a comment

how to get back into TV directing by returner Kate Cheeseman

by Amy Walker

It’s nearly a year since I won a place on the Media Parents Back to Work Scheme with a bunch of other lovely talented returners, and what a year! writes Scripted Director Kate Cheeseman who was mentored by Channel 4. Read here about Kate’s journey to directing Call the Midwife. The scheme has helped us all back to work – Nicola Kingscote has Series Produced after a two year break, Josie Besbrode has been working flexibly as a PD, and Emma Sayce job shared prior to her current role. Emma is now “back in” after working sporadic short contracts to keep her hand in since maternity leave four years ago. This year’s Media Parents Back to Work Scheme is open for applications until tomorrow, so spread the word – it works!

Congratulations to the Back to Work Winners from 2017 for returning successfully

When I first tried to return to directing, despite hundreds of letters and applications, it was impossible. I had not worked in TV for some years. However, in the last few years people have woken up to some of the problems, and organisations like Media Parents, Raising Films and Directors UK have been spearheading change.

To help bridge my gap, last year I made my fourth short. It’s a great way of showing what you can do, of meeting people and just keeping up with technology and working practices. I linked up with a great team who were looking for a director and had a brilliant script. The schedule was tight, but we found an equally wonderful cast and crew.

Shortly after the shoot, I won a place on the Media Parents Back to Work Scheme. Showing willing despite not having professional credits for a while won me the place. I was off to Edinburgh TV festival.  It was a great boost as I felt that I’d had so many rejections it was becoming difficult to carry on! It was really encouraging for someone to actually believe in me.

Myself and the other returners all made the most of the festival, going to some great talks and meeting fantastic contacts.  Everyone who is anyone in TV goes!  I emailed lots of the people I wanted to meet before the festival and though I didn’t have a huge response, the few that I did hear from were well worth the effort.  One of those contacts recently helped me get a fantastic agent at ITG.

Media Parents Back to Work Team 2017 at Edinburgh TV Festival

Back in London my Channel Four mentor Chloe Tucker encouraged me to keep going. To some extent getting work is a numbers game.  No meeting is wasted either, even if it ends in a rejection it might lead to something further down the line. Being on the Back to Work scheme I felt I had something to tell people about rather than just asking for work. One of my meetings shortly after Edinburgh was with an executive producer I had known before my break and though she had no work at the time, she suggested I met with the producer on Call the Midwife.

In the autumn, I set about editing my short, What Happened to Evie. Post for shorts is tricky as you usually don’t have much money, so have to wait for people.  In the end I edited the film myself, which I wouldn’t normally recommend but we had such a tight script that it wasn’t too bad.  Finishing the film gave me something to show people and when I finally had the interview with Call the Midwife, I am sure this helped show I could direct actors. I also watched all the seasons of the show again. Several boxes of tissues later I met with the lovely producer and chatted about the programme. A few months later I was offered the finale of the next season. I can’t tell you how happy I felt.

Many of the contacts that I met through the Back to Work Scheme have been really helpful with advice and contacts, so, another plus for the scheme and great ongoing contacts for me. All in all, it’s been an incredible year, kicked off by getting on this fab scheme, and I hope just the start of lots of new journeys.

Congratulations Kate!

https://www.mediaparents.co.uk/freelancers/12997/kate-cheeseman

To apply for the Media Parents Back to Work Scheme 2018, click here.

Media Parents Back to Work Scheme 2018 is open for applications, see our blog for details. Join Media Parents www.mediaparents.co.uk for great jobs, training and events.

July 23, 2018 @ 8:42 am Posted in How To, News, TV Returners 1 Comment