Masterclass: How to crack it in comedy

18 Nov 2014
Saurabh Kakkar recommends online pitching for those who want to get ahead in comedy. Steve Clarke takes notes.

Jane Austen, JK Rowling and Hilary Mantel would all have made the grade in TV. That's because they are all great storytellers. "If you are not terribly excited about all forms of storytelling, you've got no business being in television at all," stressed Saurabh Kakkar, Head of Comedy Development at Big Talk Productions, speaking at the opening RTS Student Programme Masterclass.

He added: "All storytelling is entertaining an audience... If you have a passion for it, the chances are that you have done something about it.

Masterclass: The hard facts of factual TV

17 Nov 2014
Andrew Mackenzie, the man behind Educating Yorkshire, explains why creatives need to be entrepreneurs, reports Matthew Bell

Andrew Mackenzie speaking to Katy Thoroggood
Andrew Mackenzie speaking to Katy Thoroggood (Credit: Paul Hampartsoumian)
Twofour Group has made some of the most critically acclaimed factual TV of recent years. One of its biggest shows has been Channel 4’s Educating Yorkshire. The company’s Chief Creative Officer, Andrew Mackenzie, is also no stranger to controversy, having commissioned My Big Fat Gypsy Wedding during his time at Channel 4.

How to Survive as a Freelancer

17 Nov 2014
Matthew Bell hears that working as a TV freelancer requires nerves of steel but the rewards can be lucrative

Making television can be a precarious occupation. Jobs are hard to land and rarely last longer than six months. Production staff are constantly looking for new positions and are often out of work. The creative rewards, though, can be immense for freelancers working in such a vibrant industry.

The latest RTS Futures event, "How to survive as a freelancer", assembled an expert group of talent managers and production staff to offer tips on networking, writing CVs, successful interviews and managing money.

Self-shooting guide to stardom

17 Nov 2014
How do researchers and assistant producers go about developing this vital skill? Matthew Bell supplies the answers

Self-shooting is rapidly becoming a key part of the job description for researchers and assistant producers working in television’s factual arena. But with training thin on the ground, how will tomorrow’s TV talent learn to shoot their own material?
Help was provided by a recent RTS Futures event, “Shooting stars: a beginners’ guide to self-shooting”. A panel of self-shooters, chaired by executive producer Matt Bennett, offered advice, while training in basic camera skills was provided by Pro Motion Hire.

Apply now: Young technologists needed

17 Nov 2014
The television industry’s failure to attract young engineers has put it in a critical situation. Sanya Burgess looks at new initiatives to avert disaster

So few engineering graduates are joining the broadcast industry that “we might actually forget how to make television programmes”, warns Simon Broad, Programme Manager at the BBC Academy.

The International Association of Broadcasting Manufacturers (IABM) backs this up by pointing out that 60% of the broadcast engineering workforce are set to retire within the next 10 years.

Trust in the BBC: David Liddiment

17 Nov 2014
Outgoing BBC Trustee David Liddiment explains to Steve Clarke why the Trust, the licence fee and the corporation’s budget all need to be defended

Outgoing BBC Trustee David Liddiment (Credit: Paul Hampartsoumian)
The Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport, Sajid Javid, is convinced the BBC can deliver more efficiency savings. But can these be implemented without affecting existing services? David Liddiment thinks he knows the answer and it is not one likely to please Javid.

Life story: evolution of the TV biopic

17 Nov 2014
There’s a lot of life left in a genre that has frequently delivered critical acclaim on very tight budgets, says Torin Douglas

Jeff Pope knows more than most about TV drama based on real-life stories, but he can't quite believe the success of Cilla. Lauded by critics – not least for Sheridan Smith's "stunning" performance as the young Cilla Black – ITV's three-part biopic was also a ratings triumph.

Averaging 8.3 million viewers and a 31% audience share, it is the most-watched new drama this year on any channel. That is almost twice the audience for Not Like That, Like This - ITV's much-praised film about Tommy Cooper, broadcast in April.

Mulville: Thriving against long odds

17 Nov 2014
Jimmy Mulville has faced down addiction, serious illness and the prospect of financial ruin. Andrew Billen listens to an extraordinary life story

The founder and Managing Director of one of Britain’s most successful, and certainly longest-lived, genuinely independent production companies sometimes tell his children that too much emphasis is put on excellence. “It’s very important to fail,” their millionaire father says to them, “and to recognise failure”.

Perhaps this is why I spend 75 minutes in Jimmy Mulville’s office at Hat Trick, its windows overlooking the murky Regent’s Canal, discussing the crises in his life.

How to cash in on YouTube

17 Nov 2014
YouTube is booming but a viable business model for the platform’s contributors remains elusive, finds Tara Conlan

The Slow Mo Guys
The Slow Mo Guys are one of the budding YouTube acts that are proving successful (Credit: Paul Hampartsoumian)
In October, YouTube hosted Brandcast, a glitzy showcase of some of its biggest talent. Held in London, it featured Jamie Oliver, whose Food Tube channel has more than 1 million subscribers, and Zoella, aka vlogger Zoe Sugg. She started her channel in 2009 and has 6.75 million subscribers at the time of writing.

November 2014

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