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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

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