Laurie Kirkman who is working as a Development Assistant at Red Production Company. She has worked in production for Hollyoaks and Britain’s Got Talent as well as a freelance script writer for the Royal Exchange Theatre.
Polly Bartlett has worked as a runner on The Crystal Maze, Arrivals, Location Location Location and Secret Life of 5 Year Olds. She is now a researcher for a Channel 4 game show. Polly was one of the founding team members of the Women in Media Conference in 2016.
Tashi Hanlon is a researcher, assistant producer and presenter for Vice’s franchises. Her work includes producing the acclaimed documentary “High Society” exploring the UK drug landscape. She is also involved in the production of Vice’s Noisey and Munchies channels and is now working towards becoming a self shooting assistant producer.
Laura Fitzpatrick gained employment as an assistant editor at The Tab US after writing for The Tab and becoming Editor whilst studying at university. Laura also interned at The Sunday Times.
What was discussed?
The panel was to provide an insight into their experiences of initial employment after graduating, reflecting on what led them to their employment and what they wish they knew when they started.
A key theme that kept reoccurring throughout the panel was how vital work experience is. All of them had done incredibly well at university with some achieving first class honours but the general consensus was the experiences they gained were more valuable in securing employment than the degree awarded.
The panel then went on to discuss how to gain experience and the need to be tenacious. Emails sent out should not only detail wheat you have done but what you can do.You need to think of yourself as a product and highlight your selling points. If you find someone whose output you like, you should contact them, if needs be guessing their email address. Most companies have a certain format so a bit of researching and you should be able to work out what the address should be.
Regarding freelancing, the advice was not to be scared but to embrace it. The feeling of insecurity is something you have to get used to, especially with pitches. Try to work on constantly having new ideas and pitches and if you find a story or you can talk to someone- pitch it!
Stand out advice:
“Say yes to everything. Actual experience is very important.”
“Make yourself available for anything.”
– Polly Bartlett
What I took from the session:
It was really clear that experience is vital and is the key to progressing. Although Laurie Fitzpatrick’s advice from her journalism perspective, I found it really helpful in the context of the panel’s themes on getting experience and contacting people, is adaptable to radio; when emailing a pitch, write the headline, the first 100 words to show your ability and then summarise what you wish to say in the rest of the piece.