More than 170 students attended the first RTS Bristol Futures Festival to discover more about production in the region.
The festival – held at the Watershed, Bristol on 1 November – gave students the opportunity to meet local indies such as RDF West, Silverback Films and Tigress Productions, as well as BBC Bristol Popular Factual, ITV News West Country and post-production houses.
In a buzzing atmosphere and to the backdrop of a DJ, students were encouraged to chat to the experts – from shooting researchers and production journalists to managing directors – and ask for advice on how to break into the industry.
Industry executives gave a series of informative talks. Sas Bonser, talent manager, BBC Natural History Studios and Bristol Documentaries, talked about how to write a concise but interesting CV.
She advised: “Don't make it too wordy, use bullet points and don’t go crazy with the graphic design.” On preparing for meeting or interviews he added: “Always research and watch the content; be armed with examples and always come with an idea.”.
Hugo Pettitt, an RTS West of England Student Awards winner in 2014 and now working as a researcher/assistant producer at BBC Studios/BBC Docs, covered how to make the leap from academia to the industry in his talk.
Pettitt suggested that students should take advantage of workshops at university, make use of all their facilities and equipment and create a taster tape. As well as mastering their area of expertise, they should also aim to be a jack of all trades.
Kate Thomas, a freelance development producer, and Mel Rodrigues, a producer at BBC Studios and BBC News, delivered a double-hander on pitching ideas. The duo covered the elements of a good pitch – “idea, access, talent, treatment and taster” – and passed on their tips for getting ahead: “Research the commissioner and the channel/slot, know your competition and your strengths, and build relationships.”
RTS West of England award-winning editor Glenn Rainton talked about post-production and how his first boss mentored and challenged him. “He said to me, right, what music do you not like – I want you to cut to that and make it emotional and compelling.”
Looking at ob-docs and the benefits of self-shooting, producer/director Bart Corpe (Channel 4’s Hunted and The Murder Detectives) divulged: “People forget you are carrying a camera and that’s a privileged position to be in and great to capture real life.”