Event Report: Update TV skills conference

Event Report: Update TV skills conference

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Mr Selfridge, directed by Bill Anderson (Credit: ITV)

Helping people resume their careers in broadcasting was the focus of RTS London’s Saturday conference at Richmond University, Kensington in late April.

Supported by the BBC Academy and Women in Film and Television UK, “Update TV skills” explained to people who have taken a career break how television has changed and what they need to know to make a successful return.

The day began with a presentation from Rowan de Pomerai, head of flexible delivery at Ooyala, which helps broadcasters and media companies manage the end-to-end digital workflow that is becoming the standard way of organising the production and distribution of TV programmes.

“The move to a digital workflow in broadcast has been very fast over the last few years, and now the core of what we do is simplifying and automating that workflow,” he said. With a plethora of screens and devices to tailor content to, automating as much of that process as possible leaves time for the creative input that remains the basis of good television.

Two drama directors, Claire Winyard (BBC One’s Death in Paradise) and Bill Anderson (ITV’s Mr Selfridge), emphasised that the core skills of storytelling remain as important as ever in their work.

“If you were good at telling stories before you took a break, you’ll be even better now, given all the experiences you’ve had since,” said Winyard.

While both agreed that there are things in the digital world that can help – and it is important to get the right advice on how to use new tools – it remains true that knowing the story better than anyone else on the production is the key to directing.

Deidre Mulcahy, a senior trainer at the BBC Academy, explained how to avoid some of the pitfalls when shooting video with a mobile phone. Again the basic rules of film-making still apply; one just has to be a lot more careful in applying them.

WebMobility Ventures chairman Ken Blakeslee discussed the devices coming on to the market that allow people to shoot 360-degree video (virtual reality) and said it was another example of how much technological change is now consumer driven.

RTS London’s Kristin Mason gave a masterclass in how to write an effective CV, reminding people to tailor their CVs to the job and company they are applying to.

A panel session on returning to work suggested organisations that can offer help, including mediaparents.co.uk and wftv.org.uk

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