Q&A with Series Producer, Silvia Sacco

Word of Mouth with Series Producer Silvia Sacco

In this edition of Word of Mouth we talk to Producer and Series Producer, Silvia Sacco, about her work on shows including Italy Unpacked, and the BAFTA-nominated Art Of… strand.

What is a typical working day for you as a series producer?
That depends which phase of the production we’re in. At the very beginning, reading a lot and meeting possible directors, and meeting with the commissioners to understand what they expect. In the middle, scripting with the directors, talking to possible contributors, working with the researchers, fixers etc. Then on location (I am on location most of the time) while filming, following by viewings in the edit and also fully editing at least one of the films in the series at the end.

You graduated with a master’s degree in Philosophy & Ethics. What made you want to pursue a career in filmmaking?
Good TV is the best tool to democratise culture! There is no point in studying a lot if you are going to spend the rest of your life keeping it to yourself or communicating it with only a few people from a similar background.

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Word of Mouth with CSC Media’s Scott Pickup

Word of Mouth with CSC Media's Scott Pickup

This week, we chat to CSC Media’s Creative On-Air Manager, Scott Pickup.

What made you want to pursue a career within this industry?
I’ve pretty much known what I wanted to do with my life since around 14 years old, which is handy! I have always loved watching films – going to the cinema and renting videos was always a regular thing growing up. My brother and I used to watch a film on the Friday night and then get up at 6am the next day to watch it again. It sounds crazy now but that passion for all things moving image is what drives me still today.

What would you say was your first big break into the industry?
I tried for an age to get funding for short films and so many different jobs in the media industry. The only stuff I could get was expenses only work on a few feature films, great experiences but in no way a career! One day, I’d just had enough of rejection and decided to make something myself. A script idea for a short came to me pretty much fully formed and I just paid for the production myself. When the next job came up I had something real to show and it helped me get the chance to be a Junior Creative at ITV. That broke me into this world and I’ve been slowly battling my way up through the industry ever since.

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Word of Mouth with The Big RD’s Ryan Dean

Word of Mouth with The Big RD's Ryan Dean

This week, we chat to The Big RD’s head, Ryan Dean, about switching careers to join the world of telly, running his own production company and balancing the creative side with the endless admin.

What made you want to pursue a career within this industry?
I always wanted to be a writer. I started my professional career as a journalist but got tired by the demand to constantly churn out news when sometimes there was none. I moved across into film production as it offered a great opportunity to continue being creative but without the daily grind of writing vapid news stories.

The Big RD was founded quite early on into your career, how did this come about?
I worked as part of the client facing team at my first production company. I was successful at winning contracts but felt sometimes that the production model that company was using was out of date. I felt there was an opportunity to setup a new type of company that could respond to the problems of the day in a more creative and cost effective manner. Within a year we had opened our studio in Shoreditch and a couple of years later we moved across to Covent Garden.

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Word of Mouth with Arise’s Neil Stainsby

Word of Mouth with Arise's Neil Stainsby

This week, we chat to Arise’s Global Executive Studio Director, Neil Stainsby, about dealing with deadlines in New York, setting up studios in Johannesburg and making time to see Norwich City play at home.

How did you get into your first role at the BBC?
After 4 years at art college, I gained a BTEC Diploma in Audio Visual Studies and an HND in Visual Communications. My first job was at a small production company in Norwich, where I worked as a Camera Operator/VT Editor. After a couple of years experience, I got my first break at the BBC as a Regional Station Assistant in Plymouth. A great job which gave me an excellent grounding in live TV news production. Two years later, I trained to become a Studio Director at the BBC in Manchester.

You’ve worked within television and media for over 25 years – what has been your greatest achievement in your career so far?
I’ve been lucky to work on a number of channel launches but the most satisfying for me personally were the launches of Wizja Sport and Arise News.

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Word of Mouth with ON Broadcast’s Jon Collins

Word of Mouth with ON Broadcast's Jon Collins

This week, we chat to ON Broadcast’s Head of Production, Jon Collins, about logistical planning and paperwork to kitting out a trendy London bar with hidden cameras.

What made you want to pursue a career within this industry?
Well, I’d love to say my passion for storytelling got me into it; but in reality I kind of fell into it, whilst trying to pursue a career in live-sound. Looking back now, it was one of the best accidents that could have happened.

How did you get into your role as Head of Production at ON Broadcast?
I spent 6 years working for a small corporate/events agency, which really gave me time to grow and learn my trade. I’m so thankful for that but there was only so far I could go with it. A friend of mine, told me about one of her mates who runs ON, Joe Dyble, and how they were looking to build up a Production department. As soon as I came to the office, I knew that this was what I wanted to be doing.

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60 Seconds With The BBC’s Robert Price

60 Seconds With The BBC's Robert Price

What was your first big break into the industry?
I regularly checked the websites of some of my favourite production companies a few months prior to graduating from university. When I saw Tiger Aspect advertising for a Drama Runner on PB, I knew I had to give it my best shot. One written application and two interviews later, and feeling I’d flunked it, I got a call whilst at my graduation ceremony to tell me I had got the job.

You’ve worked on a lot of great BBC dramas including Sherlock and Merlin – what do you enjoy most about working on location?
Often the production office works from a central location, and supports the production and crew from there. So I find it’s important to get out to location when I can, to speak to the crew to get all the information I need to do my job. It also brings a refreshing change from the four walls of the office, and it’s great to see everything you’re working for coming together.

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60 Seconds With Keo Films’ Ciara Spankie

60 Seconds With Keo Films' Ciara Spankie

How long have you been a production coordinator at Keo Films?
I have worked at Keo for exactly 2 years.

Have you always wanted to pursue a career within the television industry?
I studied Marketing at university, however I always had an interest in media. My first job was a production secretary for a broadcaster in Glasgow and I’ve never looked back since. I love the film and TV industry!

What preparation did you do for your interview at Keo?
It’s always important to do your research – that meant reading up on what Keo’s flagship programmes were, and recent commissions. I spend a lot of my spare time watching documentaries, so I believe it helped I had a passion for this genre of film making Keo are known for.

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Q&A With Runner Of The Year, Jack Whitney

Q&A With Runner Of The Year, Jack Whitney

We talk to BroadcastTECH Runner of the Year winner, Jack Whitney, about his career so far and his aims for the future.

What made you want to pursue a career within post production?
I’ve always wanted to work in sound in some shape or form, and so I decided to move down to London 2 years ago to find a job that involved working in audio. I was really curious to see how the TV & film industry worked, so I applied and got a job as a runner at a post production facility and there I learnt about the many avenues of Post Production. But since being at 5A Studios, I have learnt about the ways in which audio is used in post production, and this has really made me want to pursue a career in audio post.

What do you think made you stand out to be nominated and win Broadcast Tech’s Runner of the Year Award?
I don’t know, maybe it’s because I’ve done quite a lot during the short time I’ve been working in the industry. I’ve been quite hungry for it, and have managed to juggle quite a few other roles whilst maintaining a good standard of running.

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TV & Me with DoP & Director Joe Dyer

TV & Me with DoP & Director Joe Dyer

This week, we chat to veteran DOP and Director, Joe Dyer, on working with music superstars and BAFTA nominated TV shows.

How did your career start?
I started at the BBC and Granada in the north of England working as a freelance camera assistant filling in for staff crews who were unavailable. I assisted cameramen to do interviews, documentaries, and anything we could for the TV companies. I often worked on shooting football matches for news bulletins – sensing when you thought there may be a goal, running the camera with the hope that you were right! The film was then rushed on a bike to the labs and put through video transfer to go on the news still wet! The quality was embarrassing!

You’ve worked with a lot of high profile talent including Annie Lennox, Kylie Minogue and Bryan Adams – how do you work with them effectively, so they can take direction from you?
With directing Annie Lennox, the secret I believe, was always that we were able to get inside each other’s heads and see that we understood the same sensibilities. Annie has very strong views and visual ideas and I found my role was to make these dreams a reality. With artists like Kylie Minogue and Bryan Adams, when working with them as a DOP it was more trying to understand the needs of the director (Kevin Godley) in the case of Bryan Adams and feel the hugeness of the idea and be very, very brave! Art is my background and those times were about art not technology.

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TV & Me with Twofour’s Sue Kenderdine

TV & Me with Twofour’s Sue Kenderdine

This week, we chat to Twofour’s Head of Talent, Sue Kenderdine, on producing multi-media content and working in extreme conditions with members of the royal family.

How did you get your break in TV?
I came to TV quite late after writing speculatively to a small Indie that was expanding, my timing was good and I became PA to the MDs.

Twofour also have offices in Abu Dhabi and Los Angeles as well as London and Plymouth – do you regularly collaborate with them?
Being based in the head office in Devon, I split my time between there and the London office and with Leeanne Vinson, our Talent Exec, we work alongside the other bases to try and ensure the right people are on the right teams’ radar!

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