RTS Scotland host speed-networking session for scripted TV

RTS Scotland host speed-networking session for scripted TV

Tuesday, 4th April 2023
Dougray Scott in Crime, made by Buccaneer Media (credit: BritBox)
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Following the huge success of its “The Big Connection” unscripted TV session last October, ScreenSkills, again in partnership with RTS Scotland, hosted another event last month, this time on scripted television.

The “speed-networking” format, where industry professionals visited tables with seven minutes to speak to attendees, was used again at the packed-out event at BBC Studios in Glasgow.

Tony Wood, CEO of Buccaneer Media, spoke about his decision to expand the company to Scotland: “Television is controlled by London and that seemed to me to be a shame. So, on the spur of the moment, I agreed with Screen Scotland to set up a production company here.

“What became clear to me is that the Scottish voice [is] big, bold, original, loud and interconnected. It’s brilliant and I want to explore that.”

Kyrie MacTavish, training manager for the Starz historical drama series Outlander, gave advice to those looking to break into the television industry: “Actually write something. Pitch something. Meet like-minded people – there are a lot of like-minded people in the room today.” 

She added: “I remember I would say, ‘I’ll do anything for free’, and it was hard for me to get a foot in the door. Now, when people say that to me, I understand, because it is difficult to point someone in a direction. You have to come to me and say what you want to do.” 

Alastair Brown, a recent film and TV graduate, was looking to make the “next step” in his career.

He said: “My goal, ultimately, is to write for high-end television, scripted drama and also film.”

Speaking about his experience at the event, he said: “It’s been fantastic. This is a great opportunity, hearing from professionals across the board and finding out who I should be trying to contact.

“Also, meeting like-minded people. At the end of the day, we are all trying to achieve the same thing. I’m glad I came.” 

Kate Efomi, ScreenSkills representative for Scotland, reflecting on the success of the night, said: “It’s wonderful. We have again, as with the unscripted event, had production companies asking to come along and we have had to say there isn’t any space.” 

Getting into location management

Mayflies (credit: BBC)

A few days earlier, ScreenSkills hosted the online seminar ‘Roles in locations management’, also in partnership with RTS Scotland. This was the latest in a series of workshops under the Select Sessions employability training scheme banner.

Attendees heard from a panel of professionals at different stages of their careers. 

Location manager Ashley McKee joined the industry as a teenager. Speaking about the challenges of the job, she stated that it can resemble a ‘traveling circus’ at times, adding: ‘You’re always putting out a fire somewhere. You can be the most organised person ever and there will be something completely out of your control.’

McKee, who recently worked on the BBC Scotland sitcom The Scotts, said: ‘Maybe there is a vehicle parked where you wanted to put your camera truck – it is about how you deal with these situations. You need to remain calm.’ 

Location assistant Steph Ariño (BBC One drama Mayflies), spoke about her motivation: ‘I love my job.… You build relationships with everyone, it’s almost like a family.’

Location manager Gavin Luna (BBC One series Guilt and Shetland) gave some encouragement on getting into the industry: ‘If you’re hard-working, show initiative and have an aptitude for problem-solving, then people will remember you.’

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