Media Parents

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5 Minutes with Leonie Hodge, Talent Agent

by Amy Walker

I first became hooked on the necessity for talent and the importance of casting when I was a young 22-year-old, studying Television Production at Bournemouth University, writes Media Parents Talent Agent Leonie Hodge. That same year I attended a media industry Lunch Club in London, where legendary casting director Patsy Pollock spoke.

Talent Agent Leonie Hodge

Patsy gave an insightful talk on casting and I never forgot her advice. At the time my passion was documentary’s and after working on a Channel 4 documentary on group sexual violence in South-East London, I left T.V production and retrained as a youth worker/counsellor and set up a charity that worked with young people to tackle attitudes towards sexual violence. After 5 years I merging the charity with Parentline Uk, I moved on to being a Director at The Jimmy Mizen Foundation set up in memory of murdered teenager Jimmy Mizen.

After moving from London to Bath, I moved into the corporate sector working on Diversity and Inclusion initiatives for law firms, trying to move the needle on those recruited from diverse backgrounds. During this time, I have kept my passion for the arts, by supporting my friend Maya Sondhi (Line of Duty, Citizen Khan) to write a script for a play called ‘Sket’ based on teenage interpersonal gender relationships which ran in the Park theatre in Finsbury Park.

Rural Artiste supports casting directors in their code of conduct (the Casting Directors Guild) to:

·  Give due consideration to professional talent from the community or region in which the production is made or set.

·  The Guild and its members shall strive to enable the casting of actors from all backgrounds, regardless of socio-economic status and to engage with producers and directors to create opportunity and access.

· Actors should not be forced to move to London to pursue their careers or give up their ambitions when they assume caring responsibilities.

Indeed, Rural Artiste works to recruit those from a diverse back ground to move the needle on equity of opportunity

We are open for business and can support the following:













As part of our offering, we have links in with local mental health services and offer awareness raising and support to artistes on our books. We can provide DBS checked chaperones.

For further information please contact:

Leonie Hodge

M: 07754758546

Instagram: @ruralartiste

Join us for Media Parents events, jobs and training at

May 4, 2021 @ 6:45 pm Posted in News Comments Off

5 minutes with Offline Editor Daren Tiley

by Amy Walker

Back in September 2020 I put a post out on LinkedIn saying I was available for work and one of my old series producer friends from The One Show, Gareth Collett, got in touch with me about cutting a taster promo for a new series about Matt Baker’s family farm in Durham.

Media Parents Editor Daren Tiley edited the More4 Series from his home edit suite

After 4 days of shooting and 8 days of editing in the Daren Tiley Editing Suite we had produced an amazing 18 minute taster promo to take to the channels to sell!! Both Matt Baker and Gareth Collett were really excited by the cut and I had a hunch we had something very genuine and special which could be made into a possible series. After a couple of weeks I got the phone call from Matt saying Channel 4 really liked the 18 minute taster promo and wanted to commission a 4 part series for More4 !! Great news!! But even better news was they wanted me DT Editing to proceed with the whole post production process to channel delivery if possible!!

Editor Daren Tiley with Presenter Sunita Shroff, Media Parents Director Amy Walker and Scripted Director Peter Chipping at Media Parents YouCanFreeUs Christmas drinks at the RGS

I naturally said yes and the production started straight away in mid October. There were 3 filming blocks of 10 day shoots and after the final block was filmed in early December post production started straight away. There was over 130 hours of rushes to be digitised and transcoded for a second Avid suite at the production companies office Big Circus Media which I helped build for them via installation company Altered Images.

After 12 weeks of Offline editing at DT Editing and 12 weeks of offline editing at Big Circus Media’s production office we finally had all 4 episodes picture locked. Not an easy time as we were all in lockdown and sharing Avid sequences between the 2 locations and having many zoom editing sessions with Matt & Gareth.
I was holding about 20 TB of storage for the series as I usually work with everything at full resolution.
With the looming TX date fast approaching the grade was done and I was to start the online’s of all 4 episodes followed by the audio dub by a fiend of mine who also has his own remote dubbing suite. Once  everything was done it I exported the final master sequences for QC and channel delivery.
An epic journey and many many long hours in the DT Editing suite but at least it has kept me sane during lockdown 3 though plus this time I am getting not only my name credit but also a facilities credit too!!
All episodes are currently Tx’ing on More4 so enjoy all!! Keep watching – the figures have been great!!
I will be available from mid May onwards so give me a buzz if your looking for an editor in the coming months ahead

Watch Matt Baker Our Farm in the Dales now on More4

Join us for Media Parents events, jobs and training at Our next event will be company networking online, see this blog for details.

April 22, 2021 @ 1:39 pm Posted in Freelancer Profiles, News Comments Off

Media Parents Returners Event with Emily Gale

by Amy Walker

Media Parents Director Amy Walker will be in conversation with Emily Gale, Ex Head of Talent at Fremantle, discussing returning to TV on April 1st at midday.

Emily Gale hosting Media Parents x Fremantle Returners Event in 2019

You have great TV experience, so what’s holding you back from returning to TV? Confidence? Contacts? Something else? This confidence boosting online event is an opportunity to put your questions to Emily Gale and Amy Walker, whilst picking up tips on returning.

Sign up here When asked for your Media Parents URL use the code MEDIA PARENTS.

2019 Media Parents Returners event at Fremantle with then Head of Talent Emily Gale, Media Parents Director Amy Walker, and then Talent Coordinator Jenny Spader. Thank you ladies!

Join us for Media Parents events, jobs and training at Our next event will be company networking online, see this blog for details.

March 9, 2021 @ 3:58 pm Posted in News Comments Off

8 tips for producing TV in lockdown from SP Gaby Koppel

by Amy Walker

Media Parents Series Producer Gaby Koppel has made a series of Rip Off Britain during lockdown (to read more click here). Here are Gaby and her team’s tips for producing remotely.

SP Gaby Koppel, bottom left, at a Media Parents zoom session. Our next event, a CV Masterclass is on Friday 26th Feb, email via the contact button above for details

8 tips for producing TV remotely, by Gaby Koppel

  1. The daily Zoom team meeting is the most important moment of the day.  It’s your chance to see everybody, gauge the mood, make sure they are doing OK and do something about it if they aren’t.  If somebody’s not contributing much, maybe they are struggling.
  2. However important the Zoom meeting is, don’t let it drag on too long. Short and sharp is better.
  3. Don’t just talk about work – even if you are busy, find some space in the day to chat, use Whatsapp for some fun not just business.  Part of what helps to lighten the atmosphere in the office are conversations  about what was on telly last night and the all-important office gossip. Try to create some water cooler moments.
  4. It’s toughest for the juniors and newbies, and we needed to work hard to keep their spirits up. When I was new in the industry I learnt by osmosis from overhearing more senior people speaking on the phone or between each other.   You can never replicate that, so make sure that somebody on the team is keeping a careful eye on them.
  5. Home schooling: I could see what a struggle it was for parents with school age children. They’d apologise about have to take time out in the middle of the day, and you could tell from the time stamp on their emails that they were making it up at silly o’clock.  Huge credit to them for their dedication to both family and work.
  6. You can produce remotely at a pinch, but edit producing is a whole other ball game.  It meant that instead of watching a cut with an editor you’d have to wait for them to send over the whole thing when it would have been so much faster to whizz through a cut side by side to make sure all changes had been applied before it was due to go to an exec.  It wasn’t possible to spin through archive quickly, or to riffle through a selection of music options – often they’d be laid in and sent over before you had a chance to say ‘Nah.’  There are technical solutions on stream now but we worked without them for most of the year.  In future I’d say to maximise the gains from a remote edit you need to spend money on any technical solution available from day one.  They say if all else fails, try Zoom on the editor’s phone, though I didn’t have to resort to that myself.
  7. The changing rules of lockdown could feel like standing on quicksand – you are having to react more like a daily production than one which is produced over five months.  When that happens and you are changing key bits of commentary or  even coming up with new films at short notice it’s best if you can enjoy the ride and relish the taste of adrenaline.
  8. And finally, on a personal note you need to get out of the house at least once a day or you will go mad. I started running every morning – something I hadn’t done for years.

Gaby Koppel is available now as Series Producer/ Edit Producer:

Series Producer Gaby Koppel remotely surveys her Pop Up Shop team in Manchester

Join us for Media Parents events, jobs and training at Our latest event is a CV masterclass on Feb 26th

February 24, 2021 @ 12:54 pm Posted in How To, News Comments Off

5 minutes with series producer Gaby Koppel making TV in lockdown

by Amy Walker

It was the moment that I really did take my eye off the ball. Up in the back bedroom of my Hackney home I was supposed to be ‘eyeballing’ the latest series of consumer programme Rip-Off Britain: Holidays, which meant I should have been checking every frame for mistakes and corrections – it’s the final safety net before transmission.  But my focus had wandered and mentally I floated off to the North of England’s glitziest shopping mall, writes Series Producer Gaby Koppel.

Series Producer Gaby Koppel remotely surveys her Pop Up Shop team in Manchester

But this was no fantasy shopping trip – I’d stopped the video on a sequence showing our production team at work on our annual Pop Up Shop at Manchester’s Trafford Centre.  It’s  a chance for presenters and experts to meet the public, and what’s unusual about Pop Up is that the crews are there on screen, so in the wide shots I could see all our producers, film makers and researchers.  By now the clock was ticking – up in Salford our facilities house was on tenterhooks for me to green light delivery, but instead of getting on with the job of checking captions and scripts and blurring, I was thinking ‘Oo there’s Natalie – and is that Steve?’  I let it play on a few more seconds and stopped again, ‘There’s Sherry and Kirk and even from behind I can tell that’s Ian’.

Suddenly reality kicked in, and with a jump I realised my mind wasn’t just wandering because I was tired – it was because I’d missed simply being physically in the room with people.  Being there with them, not on a screen, a phone or an email. This was my first time series producing remotely.

Right at the beginning of lockdown I worked on a quickly assembled daily daytime show for BBC1 One.  Healthcheck UK Live presented by Dr Xand van Tulleken, Michelle Ackerley, Angela Rippon and Mr Motivator scored a huge hit with the viewing public.  A small part of a large team, I was producing series of film inserts remotely instead of my weekly routine of getting on the train at Euston and heading north for three nights a week.  When my kids were younger I’d have leapt at the opportunity to do a TV job from home, but by now they’ve flown the nest I was more concerned about missing out on seeing my Manchester Uni student son.

At first the idea of running a team I’d never met in person while producing TV from our distant bedrooms and kitchens seemed like a ridiculous novelty.  But like TV people all around the country we discovered how adaptable we were.  Of course it was fascinating to see the rails of kids clothes, the geography course-work displays and the type of bedspreads favoured by my colleagues, but it could also feel like working in slow motion – initially all of us racked up huge hours to get the job done.  That’s because we work in a world greased by communication – a nod, a smile, even a joke around the long desk we share can move a production forward without having to send round a group email or schedule in a Zoom meeting.

SP Gaby Koppel, bottom left, at a Media Parents zoom session. Our next event, a CV Masterclass is on Friday 26th Feb, email via the contact button above for details

But it proved to be like learning a complicated yoga move – as time went on we picked up momentum and surprised ourselves by our agility as we learnt how to juggle Zooms, phone calls, Whatsapp messages and emails to get the team dynamics right and move things on. Even when you are 200 miles away you can sense when a one-to-one chat will boost somebody whose motivation is flagging, or when you can straighten out a film that has gone off course by summoning 5 key people to join an ad hoc video conference.

A team spread all over the UK was soon working efficiently. Of course the only people actually leaving home were the film makers, DITs and runners – their jobs made significantly  more laborious by the wiping , the distancing, the masks, the having to film outdoors if you can despite the weather, the constant reference to health and safety advisors, and a maximum travel time of 90 minutes.  Yet some of the results were astonishingly good because we had adapted to the circumstances, and because we were able to call on some top class PDs at short notice.

Julia Somerville and some of Gaby Koppel's Rip Off Britain team

We made a series of cookery films at chef Ellis Barrie’s Anglesey kitchen – with the restaurant shut we had the place to ourselves, and it was roomy enough to keep our distance.  Ground Force veteran Tommy Walsh made over his garden for us,  and Jay Blades worked his magic on an old chair in his airy workshop.  All credit to PDs Anneliese Edwards, Debbie Martin and Josh Newman.

Sometimes it is true that we had to lower our standards both technically and in terms of content – but the audience forgave us as if it was an imperfect hand-knitted sweater that had been made with love. When Gregg Wallace was good enough to film something on his phone for us – I’m sure he would have  had the grace to admit that he was somewhat out of his depth –  we were just grateful to him for being so game. I produced a two part interior design feature where the film maker remained outside the house (high five to PD Charlie Preston) , and we got endless mileage out of the contents of Chris Bavin’s fridge.  To achieve it we were innovating and problem solving every day, because that’s what we do.

By the time we went into production with Rip Off Britain: Holidays in August a lot of the lessons about how to make it work had been learned.  And though it could sometimes still feel like walking through quicksand in oversize wellies, we were beginning to find those magic moments all over again.   With thanks to my fabulous team, click here for some thoughts:

8 tips for producing TV in lockdown from SP Gaby Koppel

There’s been a lot of talk about the world of work being permanently changed by what we’ve learnt during lockdown. Though I personally cannot wait to get back to the office, I have to grudgingly admit that we’ve learned stuff that is transformational, like being able to recruit researchers and producers regardless of where they are based geographically.  I predict that video conferencing is going to be an essential part of our toolkit for the foreseeable future and some of our Zoom interviews have turned out to be high spec enough to use even when we don’t have to.

Those of us who have been lucky enough to work through this year will never forget it. I hope that everybody in the industry will eventually benefit from some of the innovations that have been forced out of us  – the progress may have been painful, but in retrospect it was nothing short of remarkable.

Gaby Koppel is available as Series Producer/ Edit Producer

Join us for Media Parents events, jobs and training at Our latest event is a CV masterclass on Feb 26th

@ 12:51 pm Posted in News Comments Off

5 minutes with Producer Jodie Chillery

by Amy Walker

It was February 2020, and it was Prince Harry’s final engagement. With Lewis Hamilton, HRH was set to open a motor museum before a new life awaited in America. For me it was the shoot that would be the final tick in the box for my development to get its long-awaited greenlight, writes Media Parents Producer Jodie Chillery.

Development Producer Jodie Chillery works on access to Prince Harry.

Two years I’d been working on access to secure a new series that would see me directing shoots at the Isle of Man TT, the Silverstone GrandPrix and Manchester’s Parklife Festival. The positive parley with Prince Harry’s people to allow me to cover this event was definitely going to guarantee 2020 as a career highlight…

…And then it was March 2020.

The green light turned to amber.

The amber light has since dimmed so much it’ll require more than a battery change to resurrect the pitch.

Today, I’m teacher to a 9 year old boy who, for the most part, is more intelligent than I, loves a debate and is very strong willed in working on doing his own thing in his own time.  I don’t have the relevant qualifications, patience, resilience, willpower, skill, experience or desire to be a teacher.

Despite my obvious love for all things filming and TV, I’ve grown to hate You Tube and its inane content with such ferocity that most days I come close to doing a Kirstie Allsopp and threaten to smash any screen that dares to air its jaunty little red and white logo.

If you thought two years for access was a long time, that was a doddle compared to the two and a half hours to complete one 12 X tables worksheet. I cried. He cried. The video wouldn’t play. The printer told us to f*ck off. He demanded 84 counters so he could work out how many times 12 goes into 84. I dutifully cut up and coloured 84 tiny, floaty, bits of paper only for this unintentional confetti to end up under the bed, behind the cupboard and in my underwear. Ultimately I screamed “SEVEN, it’s seven!”

This was not the career highlight I had been hoping for.

Producer Jodie Chillery at the TV day job that's definitely easier than homeschooling!

For respite, we make a regular trip to the pharmacy and paper shop for a shielding neighbour. Over the months, we’ve watched a Barn Owl nest, hunt and hope to spot its owlets fledge. We’ve watched the trilogies of Back to the Future, The Karate Kid and Short Circuit. And when school was briefly open I coached a teacher in basic camera skills and edited his footage for a Remembrance film and their Christmas performance.

Isolation, sickness, death, the darkness of winter, the 12 times table, fronted adverbials and what the Vikings at Lindisfarne ate will all, I‘m sure, make me a better producer, and a more grateful workmate.

It’ll soon be March again. March the 8th precisely (International Women’s Day!), I’m led to believe is when I’ll be available for work. Give me posturing princes, apprehensive police officers and sensitive scripts any day, I’m more than ready to take them on!

If you’re looking for work after homeschooling join us for How to Ace a Job Interview Online.

Join us for Media Parents events, jobs and training at

February 7, 2021 @ 6:52 pm Posted in Freelancer Profiles, News Comments Off

Christmas Quiz December 10th

by Amy Walker

Steve Wynne, MD of  production company Strawberry Blond, winner of Broadcast’s Best Place to Work in TV 2019, is compering a Christmas Quiz on December 10th – so join us! The quiz supports Mental Health Resource charity, and costs £10 per family. It starts at 8pm on December 10th so mobilise your team and sign up below:

Thanks to Steve Wynne for supporting Media Parents over the years!

Join us for Media Parents events, jobs and training at

November 29, 2020 @ 6:20 pm Posted in News Comments Off

5 minutes with Exec Producer Meriel Beale

by Amy Walker

I would love to call on your help, writes Exec Producer Meriel Beale.

I’ve recently become the Anti Bullying and Harassment officer for Bectu Unscripted. I’m putting together an awareness raising campaign for anti bullying week (16th November) and I’m asking for stories of bullying & harassment in the TV industry.

I have already been sent many stories, sadly, but it would be good to have some more.

If you have an experience that you would be happy to share, you can do so anonymously without identifying any parties, via the form below.

Your testimonies will form part of the campaign from Bectu and the Film & TV Charity under the hashtag #UnseenOnScreen, so you should be aware & happy that your anonymous experiences may appear on social media.

The idea is to show how many people are affected by bullying and harassment, and to reinforce that we are stronger together.

This is the first step in the campaign, more will be revealed to try to deal with this industry-wide issue.

I hope this is ok, many thanks for your help.

Meriel Beale (centre)

Join us for Media Parents events, jobs and training at

November 13, 2020 @ 2:22 pm Posted in Events, News Comments Off

5 minutes with PD Kate Dooley

by Amy Walker

Returning PD Kate Dooley writes: Art imitates life imitates art. Having had a baby in February, Kate is now looking for a job share partner as she returns to work. Her latest series Becoming You, narrated by Olivia Colman, TXes tonight, 13th November on Apple TV. Read on…

I’m great in a pub quiz (remember those?). It’s down to years of working on tv shows about anything and everything. Scouring the internet for surprising yet accessible take home facts and stories which can visually delight and emotionally entertain both an exec and a viewer.

When was the first 747 flight? I filmed aboard the pilot 747 plane in Seattle. Which is the only British Town with an exclamation mark? Shot there for Escape to the Country. Why are humans the only mammals with visible eye whites? Edit produced a show on child development.

PD Kate Dooley at work

But this information has never been truly useful until now… On Friday 13th November “Becoming You” will air on Apple TV+ . An epic documentary following children around the globe grow and develop from birth to age 5. Beautifully shot, sweet and informative – even more so for me as I gave birth to my first child just after working on the show.

8 months later and I’m still looking back at my research notes to help guide and inform me, by which I mean not spend hours googling things which tell me I should take my child to A&E immediately. The most useful info for having a baby in the age of covid-19 is understanding why after months of lockdown baby’s first reaction to her grandparents was fierce tears when before lockdown she was all smiles with any old Tom, Dick or Harry.

It turns out babies around 8 months develop the capacity to compare faces to the handful of people they know. If they don’t recognise them their developing emotion of fear kicks in to let them know this person might not be safe. Of course stranger danger is a hugely important development step but it’s very comforting to know her reaction to her grandparents is perfectly normal and can be reversed with time spent together.
This fact is illustrated in the show in a scene with a cute Mexican boy which I edit produced. The children in the series are real life examples from across the world of the amazing steps in development we all go through, but it’s not often that my real life then imitates my job!

I’m now looking to return to work perhaps through a job share and the series has helped me here too by working with a range of inspiring mums.

With ex Channel 4 head and ex BBC controller Jay Hunt as the Apple TV+ commissioner, talented MD of Wall to Wall Leanne Klein to guide us, knowledgable Edit Series Producer Helen Sage and ever hardworking producer Victoria Weaver to help find the amazing characters that were featured. Working on this doc has shown me that it really is possible to have children and keep producing exciting programming and progress my career.

So if you’re interested in job sharing or forming an unbeatable pub quiz team let me know!

PD Kate Dooley

Pub Quiz Answers:
1969 though Pan Am only starting flying them commercially in 1970.
Westward Ho!
Human babies are born with poor eyesight so eye whites help them make eye contact easily. Eye contact triggers the release of the love hormone which helps to bond parent and baby.

Join us for Media Parents events, jobs and training at

@ 2:09 pm Posted in News Comments Off

showcasing artist Ben Fenton

by Amy Walker

If you’re looking for ways to extend the summer, artist Ben Fenton’s coastal works are reasonably priced and will lift a room. Currently exhibiting at the Electric Palace Cinema in Hastings, Ben also sells paintings and commissions direct from his facebook page and website.

“I grew up in Dungeness, and Greatstone, and Rye, and Winchelsea Beach, writes Ben Fenton. I grew up on and beside the Romney Marsh. My father was a fisherman and I was putting to sea with him from the age of four. I grew up with the sound of saltwater dragging shingle away to someplace else. I grew up with the weight of an uninterrupted sky pressing down upon me. I grew up in a land that had been borrowed from the deep. A land that built structures from wood, and stone, and concrete to celebrate it, and to keep from giving it back. I am now returned to the coast of Kent and Sussex and I am painting the souvenirs of my past.”

Artist Ben Fenton, originally from Dungeness, has forged out a successful career in London for more than 12 years, but wanted to return to the Romney Marsh to get away from the distractions of living in the capital and seek new inspiration and challenges for his work. Ben’s stunning paintings can be found in private collections all over Europe and the UK and he continues to exhibit in diverse spaces in London, Kent and East Sussex.

August 30, 2020 @ 6:00 pm Posted in News Comments Off