Edinburgh TV Festival supported by Screen Scotland

Jason allen

Production Assistant, Diagonal View

The Network 2017

Jason Allen

Before I got on The Network I was working in a charity shop. It was lovely enough, I didn’t exactly have a passion for retail but it was a job. However, my spare time for those past 3 years was filled with making my own amateur videos on YouTube. I reviewed and talked about the TV I not only loved, but could only dream of working on. I wanted to write, I wanted to edit video, and if it meant just learning it myself, then so be it. But really, I just wanted to be as close to where the magic happens as possible.

Between my personal projects and shifting through charity clothes, I was throwing my CV at everything remotely media related, whether I thought I was qualified or not. I had no media studies degree or professional experience, so I was struggling to even find the ladder, never mind get my foot on it. But one of the application caught in my shotgun approach to job seeking was The Network, one of the many entry level schemes and programs I never expected to get a reply from. That is, until I did.

Going through the gauntlet of interviews was wild and terrifying (my first interview was second to last of the day, which did not help my nerves) but I did everything I could to put my passion and willingness to learn forward. Despite the final assessment day being a battle royale atop BT Tower, where 100 entered and only 50 of the most passionate and network-y of the lot made it to Edinburgh, I managed to find my way through. I still have the email that told me I had made it to Edinburgh, like I’d gotten through to the next round of Britain’s Got Talent (little TV joke there).

I could rattle on about how white knuckle thrilling the whole experience was, which it was, but instead I want debunk it’s usefulness. The sessions are tailored to networking, finding that first job, and working your way into the industry. The people you will meet will be industry experts with invaluable expertise. You will learn TV production skills, as I did when I vision mixed and directed for an interview with Charlie Brooker and Annabel Jones. Everything that I did during those few days helped me get where I am today. By the time January rolled around a few months later, I was packing my bags and moving to London, where I would start a job writing and editing online video for a Sky subsidiary.

To get there, I had mentorship, CV advice, interviews with TV companies, and the pedigree that comes with The Network. The interviewer for the job I got had tried to get on The Network years ago, and actually knew it by reputation. Since then I’ve written videos which went on to garner over 100,000 views each, edited video for a variety of content across the company, and even had the opportunity to self shoot and provide voice over for our YouTube content. As Network alumni, I still get invited to networking events, support from the contacts and friends I’ve made along the way, and I even live with two of the Networkers from my year!

So, does The Network work? Absolutely. They didn’t just help me get my foot on the ladder, they gave me the tools and confidence to make the most of the opportunity. No matter who you are, they will lift you up. I cannot recommend the experience enough.