This week, Whizz Kid’s MD, Lisa Chapman, discusses the need for multi-tasking with all aspects of production – from working with comedians in silly outfits to dealing with HR.
How has your previous roles as a producer and executive producer helped in your role as MD at Whizz Kid?
Whizz Kid is an independent production company so as MD I need to be across everything from forecasts and finance to development and HR. My background is as a producer which also involves being across all aspects of a production and communicating with lots of different people so that ability to multi-task and people manage has really helped.
Is a career in telly something you always wanted to do?
Not at all! I left uni with a degree in Philosophy with vague plans of being a photographer. TV is something I fell into, had an aptitude for and loved (nearly) all of it.
What is your daily schedule like as MD?
It is so varied, there is no routine as such. I might be in development brainstorms, pitches or in the studio. It does involve regular cups of tea and coffee though.
What do you particularly like about working at Whizz Kid Entertainment?
It is a very young and dynamic company. We are always having ideas – sometimes too many to focus on to be honest – but it’s got a great buzz about it and we feel like one big family. It’s also right in the middle of Soho!
What has been your favourite project so far at Whizz Kid?
Most favourite has got to be Let’s Dance for Comic Relief. Working with comedians in silly outfits doing dances, live on national TV… and all for charity!
At Whizz Kid, how are you able to successfully incorporate both digital and online markets, as well as television and live events?
Digital and interactive programming have to go hand in hand with a main TV show as a matter of course but broadcasters tend to choose which projects they want to focus on for digital content. The ad funded side of the digital and on-line space is potentially very lucrative but our own on-line channels are trickier to monetise.
What was your involvement in the making of Whizz Kid’s new and upcoming music series where popular figures in music look back on their careers?
I was part of the team that developed the format and pitched the show initially. I was then involved with the Head of Production in budgeting. Once it was commissioned, I am more of a trouble shooter to the production team and making sure I am there in a support role but also having an editorial input into the guests, set design, script etc.
What key attributes do you look for in a freelancer?
Reliability is key; being late in is never a good start. I also look for honesty about previous roles and levels of experience. It’s much better to be confident about your ability level and over deliver – that way the next time you come back you might get a more senior role. But over egg your experience and bit of more than you can chew may mean you don’t get asked back.
Lots of graduates will be entering the workforce this summer, what advice would you give to people wanting a career in television?
Don’t take no for an answer and be as (politely) pushy as you can be! Get any job you can on any shows or roles you can to start with – it may take a few years to get the job you want – but if you work hard, are persistent and have talent, you can have a very rewarding career.
What shows are you currently watching that you wish Whizz Kid had made?
I love formatted entertainment shows like MasterChef and The Apprentice and I adore The Cube – I wish I’d thought of that!
Lisa Chapman is Managing Director of Whizz Kid Entertainment.