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Thursday, 28 February 2013

It all started at The Network...

So here I am, in mid production of possibly one of the best shows of 2013, being trained by a comic genius in the art of sitcom writing and gaining hands on experience of TV show development and production. And it all started at The Network.

When the Network opportunity appeared on my laptop screen, all I could think was fantastic opportunity, although another application to fill out, and probably more rejection. 

But, you've got to be in it to win it. I gave the application my best shot, and...I was put on the waiting list. But - amazingly - someone dropped out and in August I was on the train on my way to Edinburgh.

The Network programme was incredible, workshops, talks and CV clinics. As a budding screenwriter my favourite moments were attending an interview with Charlie Brooker, participating in a drama workshop with BBC Writers Room and working with the cast and crew of Waterloo Road.

All of these opportunities left me inspired to get stuck into the industry.  But how?  Networking, of course!

Like most of us, I enjoy meeting new people and good conversation, and in essence that's what networking is, the only difference is that these conversations might be with people in the industry that could potentially give you (or at least direct you towards someone who can give you) a job.

So that's what I did - I met all sorts of people on my networking journey - a lot of lawyers, but also producers and execs. I was happily batted from one person to another person better able to help me, on several occasions, until I landed in front of a development exec at Kudos. 

He said he'd enquire about getting me in for work experience, and he actually did!

Within a month I was being a runner at Kudos for a week. Before I said goodbye I built those all important relationships. 
Consequently I was invited to do some more work experience with Kudos' sister company Brown Eyed Boy. 

Now this is the part where the magic happens! On my first day, literally minutes after I'd arrived, the position of writer's assistant on Brown Eyed Boy's new sitcom for ITV: Vicious, was being discussed in the office. It was then or never. I bit the bullet and asked the M.D. Gary Reich if he would consider interviewing me, and to my delight he said 'yes'. The interview went wonderfully - Gary really took an interest in me after witnessing my work ethic throughout the work experience period, he was impressed by my CV and we both agreed that this was the perfect position for me right now as an aspiring TV writer! He had also, coincidentally, been on the equivalent GEITF talent scheme when he was just starting out too.

Cherish on set of the recording of Vicious

So, I got the job: working as writer's assistant to Gary Janetti, writer and producer of Family Guy and executive producer of Will and Grace. What a first gig in TV! It was also a plus that the actors starring in the show are none other than legends Ian Mckellen, Derek Jacobi and Frances de la Tour! 

So here I am, in mid production of possibly one of the best shows of 2013, being trained by a comic genius in the art of sitcom writing and gaining hands on experience of TV show development and production. And it all started at The Network!  

My advice to anyone, eager to get into the industry is dare! 

Dare to apply, dare to keep trying, dare to say hello, dare to ask for opportunities. The worst anyone can say is 'no'. God bless you on your journey.
 Cherish : )

Cherish invited The Network team along to watch the  recording...VIPs!

You can read more of alumni's success stories on our website here 

Applications for The Network are open until 21 April 2013, please go to our website for more info and to apply

Friday, 15 February 2013

The Network Reunion. Bigger than any 90s pop band.

As anyone who’s been watching ITV2 on a Thursday Night will testify, reunions are pretty hot right now (the Big Reunion is my not-so-guilty pleasure:  5ive + B*Witched+ Atomic Kitten = 90s pop nostalgia heaven!) So to cheer up the seemly never ending winter, we thought we’d orchestrate a reunion of our own…

Atomic Kitten. Not Network alumni. Didn't get on our guestlist.

So last Tuesday night saw us brave the cold at the Camden Roundhouse, a legendary London venue that usually hosts the hottest music and performance acts  (properly hot acts, mind, not a faded 90’s pop star in sight) but, for one night only, we had the venue set up to welcome the brightest TV talent in the UK: our Network alumni.
Not Atomic Kitten.  On the list!

And what a reunion it turned out to be.  Networkers from the last 3 years came from across the UK (including 3 from Scotland – hello Kirsten, Andrew and Alison!) for an evening of masterclasses, career focus and just generally catching up with old mates and talking telly!
Network alumni. Two of these ladies came down from Scotland for the evening - that's impressive dedication.
We wanted the evening to capture the spirit of The Network in bite sized chunks so we put together a mix of what we do in Edinburgh.  Some fantastic speakers took up our invitation to deliver masterclasses.  The evening kicked off with chat from Sara Geater and Suzy Lamb.  Sara’s CEO of super indie FremantleUK, (you know, the group behind such blockbuster programmes such as The X Factor, Britain’s Got Talent, Celebrity Juice, QI and The Apprentice).  Suzy is Head of Production at Thames, Executive Producer of ITV’s Saturday night smash Take Me Out, and has a career spanning some of the biggest entertainment shows of the past two decades.  Plus she worked with Mister Blobby!  Sara and Suzy gave insight into their jobs, their career paths and spoke honestly about the qualities you need to succeed in TV.  I know everyone in the audience was deeply impressed by their down to earth attitudes and obvious love for what they do.  Inspiring.
Sue, Sara and Suzy from FMUK mingle with Networker Yvette Spedding.

From the world of big budget shiny floor formats to compelling documentary making. C4 factual commissioner extraordinaire David Glover gave an all too brief (i.e. the hour simply whizzed past!) lesson into documentary filmmaking.  David’s an engaging and passionate speaker, and had the audience rapt, as well as illustrating his talk with some fab clips including President Obama and The Plane Crash (one of his commissioned).  Plus he let slip some of his glorious indiscretions (which I won’t repeat - Chatham House rules apply for alumni events, I’m afraid) brilliant stuff.  Thank you to the lovely James Cooper from Square Eyes for hosting the chat.
David Glover (L) and James Cooper

As it was so near to Valentine’s Day, we couldn’t let our alumni go home without a date so our very own Cupid Rhiannon fixed up some speed dating with some of the industry’s best talent managers.  In a fabulous space overlooking the bright lights of Camden Town, a top team had one to ones with Networkers and some fledging relationships were forged – we heard of at least one job interview offer that came as a result of the speed dating!  A HUGE thank you to NBC Universal's Nicky Searle, BBC's Daniell Morrisey & Cecila Lawrence-John, ITVs Vikki Barron & Mairie Mactague, Channel 4's Jasmine Hayer, Cineflix's Jessica Wilson, Fever Media's Ruth Stevenson, and Amy Walker from Media Parents for giving up your evenings and being part of a frenetic but extremely fruitful event. 
BBC's Daniell Morrisey works his CV magic

And of course it wouldn’t be a Network reunion without lots of catching up with old mates – some beautiful friendships were rekindled- ahh!  Big thanks to our fabulous alumni for coming down and making it all happen.  Who needs 90s pop stars- you lot really rock.  

Caroline x

Monday, 4 February 2013

Want to work in TV? Top Tips for your Network application!

We want your application to be the best it can be. So here are quite a few tips to make it stand out. 

  1. We welcome applications from people with an interest in ANY area of TV. 
    The TV industry is very broad and there are literally hundreds of roles you can consider!  We have profiled some of the most popular on our website here -  Want to work in TV? Which Job is for me? and the Creative Skillset website is also useful guide:
  2. You don't need to have had any experience of working in television BUT you will have to demonstrate that you LOVE TV. 
    It’s not enough just to say you like watching TV. Can you prove you have lots of ideas? What have you done that demonstrates your interest? Do you have a YouTube channel?  Do you blog about TV? Has TV changed your life in any way? Remember, we don't want to hear about student projects that you doing as  part of your course, you need to tell us what exciting, creative things you've been doing in your own time.
  3. The TV industry thrives on ideas, so show us that you are capable of coming up with things that haven’t been done before or looking at things from a fresh perspective.

  4. We want to get an idea of who you are so use your own voice and be honest! Please tell us what you think, rather than what you think we want to hear.
  5. Make sure you check your application carefully for spelling and grammar mistakes. If you know spelling and/ or grammar isn't your strong point, do ask someone to check it over for you.  It’s scarily easy to miss your own mistakes!
  6. Make note of the word count and don’t go over it.  You don’t necessarily have to use the maximum number of words, but please do make sure your answers are as complete as possible.
  7. Please make sure you have supplied accurate contact details, including email address and mobile number.
  8. Please use a personal email account (e.g. Hotmail, Gmail, etc.) rather than one supplied by your work/ college as we’d like to keep in touch with you and offer you future opportunities.

When describing your idea for a new programme, consider the following step by step guide

STEP 1:  The Idea

  • What is your idea?
  • Think about what audience it would appeal to. What age are they? When/what time are they likely to watch TV?  
  • Think about what channel your programme is most suited to and why. Is the programme in keeping with the channel brand?
  • What is different about your idea, what makes it unique?
  • Are there any similar shows?        

STEP 2:  How would the show work

  • Think about how the format would work. Is it a series or a one off?
  • What is the content of the show? How many episodes? How long would each programme be? Would it work as a long running format?
  • Would there be talent/presenter in it? What is it about the talent you've chosen that appeals to the audience and the channel?
  • Thinking about your audience, where in the schedule would it sit, what time and what day?

 STEP 3: The Pitch

  • Can you sell the idea in a sentence? 
  • Titles matter. What title will hook this particular audience?
  • What are the strong points about your idea that you should emphasise?
  • Why should your programme be commissioned?
  • How can your idea engage people beyond what they see on TV?  For example, is there scope for interaction through websites, phone lines and social media?:

Applications are considered and places awarded by The Network committee,so this is your chance to get your ideas read by some of the biggest names in the TV industry! Visit to apply today!