PB Live Careers Forum

Our 2nd Live Careers forum attracted a whole range of queries. Thanks to everyone that joined in – here are the responses so far!

The Panel

Paul Crompton

Paul is an experienced factual producer with 20 years’ work in TV. Executive Producer and Co-owner of Barge Pole Productions, Paul’s specialties are popular factual television, observational documentaries, formats, legals, scriptwriting, dramatic reconstruction, pitching and development.

Nicky Searle

Nicky is Talent Executive at NBCUniversal International Television Production, looking after companies as diverse as Carnival Films, Monkey Kingdom and Chocolate Media. Prior to that she managed talent for Optomen Television. She has been in the industry for nearly twenty years working her way up from her first TV role as an unpaid intern at MTV Networks.

Paul Merrick

Paul is an experienced Producer/Director with over 12 years specialising in observational documentaries and factual entertainment, including extensive self-shooting. Creative and highly motivated, he’s dedicated to making great television across all genres and passionate about storytelling.

Joe Mahoney

Joe is Managing Director of ProductionBase. Prior to joining PB, Joe spent a number of years at BBC Worldwide as a senior commissioning editor, before moving on to Channel 4 to become their Head of Commercial Development.

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The Currency Of Ratings

The Currency Of Ratings

This week, Steadfast TV’s Paul Crompton, delves into the black hole of audience ratings.

You’ll have seen those city workers on the train each morning with their blue suits and pink newspapers. They scour the FT to see if they’ve still got an office to go to. Has the gross domestic product of Portugal gone for another siesta? Has Sterling been sushi’d by the Yen? It’s the same for us TV lot, we’re obsessed with overnight figures too. The main difference is that when city workers screw up, the world caves in. When we screw up… it’s worse… AA Gill slags us off.

It’s said that television is democratic. The viewer votes every night with the remote control, singley affecting our careers as they flit from one channel to another. If your latest programme rates well it puts a spring in your step and gives you a strong bargaining tool for the next commission. The overnight ratings are TV currency.

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National Service for Commissioners?

National Service for Commissioners?

A few years ago I was at a party in Soho, hobnobbing with people like Carole Vorderman (she was popular then) and Ross Kemp (he was new) and that Beckham kiss-and-tell woman (remember her?). Earlier I’d been to the Ritz with Sir David Frost to talk about a sports debate show and he told me funny stories about Ali, Nixon and Monty Python. I was a commissioning editor and this wasn’t a bad day’s work for a Salford boy.

Fast forward to last summer and I’m in a pokey Cornish B&B with a broken shower and a room smelling of dead dog. I have no spare socks and I’m rushing out to get a shot on a DV camera from the side of some docks. It’s 6am and I’m lying on the cold, wet floor, my face scrunched into the camera eyepiece. How did it come to this? Where did it all go wrong? If only Vorderman can help me work it out?

It was great being a commissioning editor, I thought it was the best job in the world – meeting talented people and the feeling that you’re in a big supermarket of ideas. Being an an Exec at a small indie in many ways more rewarding because the pressures are different? They’re more real. Responsibilities such as development, securing access, managing a big team, hustling, begging, and running around sockless (BBC Four budgets!) all give the job an exciting edge.

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