No Train Without Gain

No Train Without Gain

As the government works hard to promote its Train to Gain initiative, what relevance (if any), does this hold to the TV and Film world? If training is so important why isn’t it regarded so amongst employers? This week I expose the misconceptions and ask: is it worth it?

There are two perceptions among programme-makers which seem to be at odds with reality. The first is that there isn’t much training available, and when it is available, the freelancer bears the cost of it. The second is that if you could get the right training it would give you that essential advantage when applying for the next job.

If you have ever worked within the BBC, you will know that it can be training course heaven (or purgatory, depending on your frame of mind). The corporation provides a vast range of the best television training available to anyone in the world, and often seems to place its employees on arrays of courses as a way of filling time in between production jobs. If you want a lot of training, then try to work at the BBC.

Read More

What’s Up Doc?

What's Up Doc?

If British broadcasters are under more pressure than ever to succumb to commercial pressures, what place does documentary filmmaking hold in the commissioner’s line-up? This week, I look at whether support for documentary filmmaking is about to become a lavish extravagance of the past.

It would be interesting to know how many ProductionBase members initially pursued a career in television because you wanted to make significant documentaries which could be watched by millions. I expect that a sizable number did, regardless of the genre of production each of you have specialised in since starting out. In practice, freelancers can find themselves pigeon-holed by genre; you may have taken that job on a popular satellite shopping channel, but you took it because you were trapped by financial responsibility, not because it fulfilled your creative desires. If this is the drift which takes people away from documentary, then where is the documentary itself drifting? In UK broadcast television, the documentary world has been changing fast, and here is what I see happening.

Read More