The RTS Futures Television Careers Fair featured experts from across the industry who revealed there were plenty of opportunities for men and women in telly.
Voltage Television executive producer Amanda Lyon, who looks after BBC Two hit Inside the Factory: said: “I’ve never felt I’ve missed out on anything by being female.”
She was talking at the “Wonder women” session, which brought together successful female TV executives in conversation with presenter Ria Hebden.
But Lyon added that a gender split in TV persists: women tend to work in producing jobs, men in technical roles: “I am determined that shouldn’t continue. Women are highly technically competent and I would say to women: ‘Get your hands on a camera and shoot.’”
BBC live news and current affairs director Meera Thavasophy argued that progress was being made. “I’ve directed programmes where every technical person has been a woman and no one raises an eyebrow. When I started out that wasn’t the case. These barriers can be broken down.”
The Television Careers Fair attracted 1,300 young people looking for their TV break.
Earlier in the day, the National Film and Television School’s head of digital effects, John Rowe, said there had never been a better time to be a compositor, 3D artist or colourist. Costs were falling and, as a result, more TV productions were using visual effects, which were once the preserve of movies.
Since it started 14 years ago, 90% of graduates from Rowe’s digital effects course have found work in the creative industries. And it is no longer a male preserve, with virtually a 50/50 split among men and women students.
Visualisation supervisor Richard Perry’s big break came on Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire, on which he worked for 15 months to perfect a dragon. Since, he revealed, digital effects “have taken me all over the world for film and TV”.
Digital effects demand technical knowledge and creativity. “You’ve got to have an understanding of art and mathematics,” said Perry. He advised: “Watch lots of films – and pick them to pieces.”
The day’s other sessions were: “Get ready for your TV job”, run by theunitlist.com MD Jude Winstanley; IMG Studios’ “Starting your career in sport TV”; and “How to get a job in continuing drama: BBC Studios needs you!”.
The Television Careers Fair was held at the Business Design Centre, London on 12 February, and sponsored by IMG Studios, the National Film and Television School and Grass Valley. A longer report will appear in the March issue of Television.
All photography by Paul Hampartsoumian