Cat Lewis is an award winning producer who runs independent production company Nine Lives Media. She had produced documentaries, children’s programmes and current affairs for various UK and American channels.
What was discussed?
Cat gave us a run down of 10 areas that are needed to be successful.
1. Most new business comes from existing clients
Even if working as an assistant producer, consider your employer as your client, do a good job and make sure you deliver. However, try to ensure you have a wide client base so you don’t solely rely on one and run into trouble if you no longer gain work with them.
2. Be pushy with charm
Be friendly to others as well as assertive. People are more likely to want to help if you give something back.
3. Be resilient
Learn how to handle criticism as you will receive it in your career. Don’t always reflect on the negatives though, analyse the things that went well in order to learn from them too.
4. Learn how to make mistakes on other people’s money
Learn as many skills as you can when undertaking experience or on a job. The skills you have are the product you will be selling to gain employment. Make sure you try to work in the areas and programmes you ultimately wish to work in to develop the specific skills required.
5. People do business with friends
Work on earning people’s trust as this will help you in the future. Build friendships where possible through networking and ensure you are able to talk to people well in order to convince them to work with you.
6. Inventive creativity
Ideas do not come fully formed, they come as nuggets. You need to have the intelligence to be able to create something from nothing. Consider how to create something very, very different and how to introduce your audience to a new world.
7. Strong storytelling
All stories need a narrative arc. Think about the start and how your audience will be introduced and the transition through to the end. Jeopardy will entice people as the uncertainty will draw them in but ensure there are appropriate protocols in place. Everyone influences each other but aim to strive ahead and be the influence by not writing or broadcasting a story retrospectively- what is happening now?
8. Say yes and take creative risk
Open yourself to as many opportunities as possible. By saying no, you will limit yourself and this applies to risk. Without taking risks your output will be stale and not of interest to your audience. Again, consider jeopardy.
9. Put the welfare of contributors and viewers first
Consider the influence your output could have. Is it necessary to the point you want to achieve by including distressing materials? Ensure any contributors are protected and will not be left vulnerable, not only at the time of recording but also after broadcast. Finally, ensure your welfare is considered too. If you feel wholly uncomfortable over a project, you are unlikely to be able to do it or your output justice.
10. Your work can change the world
As much as you need to consider the potential negative impact your production may have, it could also change the world for the better. By creating new worlds, new opportunities and new stories, you open up a whole platform for individual, group or social change.
Stand out advice:
“Ideas are the currency of our business”
What I took from the session
All the tips are extremely useful and I will refer to them regularly. I found it interesting that the final point of the last session I attended echoed the sentiment of the opening speech about the power the work we produce can have to impact our environment.