I’m writing this from the production office of a major Netflix drama, where I am currently working on my second job as a real-life, fully-fledged crew member. The thrill of seeing my name on the unit list, or of opening my email to find fresh copies of redrafted scripts, still hasn’t worn off, and I can’t imagine how I would have made it here without The Network.
I was a delegate in 2017 – less than 18 months ago – and it’s fair to say that life hasn’t really been the same since. At the time I was working as a studio manager for a tiny architectural practice, and I had a mad dream to turn my love of TV in to a career, but no real sense of how to go about doing it. I was in my thirties, with a slightly bonkers CV and an odd collection of transferrable skills that I knew would serve me well, but I didn’t know how to convince a busy TV exec to give me a chance.
The best thing that The Network did for me was to provide an opportunity to prove how much I love TV and how valuable I could be to a crew. From the application form to the assessment process, there is so much scope to demonstrate your passion and personality; and that’s before you even get to Edinburgh. The guys at The Network took the time to get to know all of us and to really understand what we could offer. Even if you don’t make it all the way to Edinburgh, the assessment days alone have enough content to make you feel like you’re one step closer already.
Edinburgh itself is an insane whirlwind of masterclasses, lectures, parties and actual, bona fide TV production, and by the end you feel like you already work in TV, which really is half the battle. Knowing your shiny floors from your HETV, or the difference between a director and a producer, is such a powerful antidote to the imposter syndrome that holds many of us back. Being taken seriously by industry leaders is equally potent, but perhaps the most valuable asset that all Networkers leave with is a cohort of peers across the country who are all starting out with the same ambitions and fears, and who will be rooting for you through the rest of your (undoubtedly glittering) career.