An opportunity came up a couple years ago to work in Shine Network, the consultancy department of Shine Television, now one of biggest production companies in the world. The department’s role was to support other production companies / broadcasters in different territories around the world making Shine formats. I learnt in depth about world media, how commissioning worked, pitching, programme making, editing, filming. From Australia to Romania, part of my job was to visit sets around the world with the teams making a number of different show like: MasterChef, On Born Every Minute, Biggest Loser and Minute to Win it.
This was a bit of a side step for me, up until then I was a Shooting Assistant Producer, which meant I shot to broadcast, sometimes directed, sometimes shot on my own with talent or contributors. This level of experience was however essential in personal and professional growth by giving me access to production companies around the world, allowing me to learn and network.
In spite of this, I got the production itch and went back to the front line of television making. I’ve just finished a stint on My Big Fat American Gypsy Wedding. After a month of casting using social networking sites, previous series’ contacts and cold calling, we flew out to the US for 3 months. The makeup and structure of the teams for the show was slightly different because of the content, each of the 4 teams, with a constitute of a P/D, AP and a researcher. The teams needed to be flexible and multiskilled.
Most of the crew could shoot, either on a EX3/305 or on an F800, we had to do our own sound, lighting, on the road casting, data wrangling etc.
Gypsy Weddings was by far one of the most challenging but exciting programmes I have done. We filmed in the most remote parts of the US, in places I would never normally have visited. Met a colourful culture, fascinating individuals and worked with an incredibly talented team.
The gypsies were an education and an experience. With a long history, traditions and many different heritages, it was difficult at first to get my head around it all. The unpredictable nature of the gypsies meant that every day was different. But one thing was guaranteed, every party or wedding would result in the police being called and a couple of crew visits to hospital.
I am currently DV-Directing the Celebrity series of MasterChef and about to make another jump to RDF who make programmes like Secret Millionaire and Shipwrecked? The freelance world is varied and each project will have you doing something different, it’s tiring and hard work, but exhilarating and pushes you on every level.
I have been in Television for about 7/8 years now, and had the opportunity to live and work in other countries. My favourite being Ghana and Uganda, shooting documentaries, a side of television I am keen to get back into.
But like most, I started out in a small company as a receptionist, they gave me a boost into the industry, trained me on cameras and enough TV runner credits to go freelance. Since then, I’ve done everything from Antiques, to Food, to Katie Price, I love the variety of television and the travel to places I would never usually go.
Lincoln set me up for the industry wonderfully. I left with a 1st, The Television Student of the Year Award and the Professor Sylvia Harvey Award. However, none of this would have mattered with out a foot in the door, and it was work experience that helped get me that.