Edinburgh TV Festival supported by Screen Scotland

Allanah langstaff

Producer, Freelance

Ones to Watch 2011

Allanah Langstaff

How did you find out about Ones To Watch?

I was told about it when I worked at Maverick TV, but I wasn’t quite at the point of being able to apply. I was then nominated by my Head of Department at STV the following year, and got in!

What’s your best memory from being on the scheme?

For me it was meeting a whole group of people who, for the most part, were like-minded. I hadn’t really had that experience with my peers of people who were interested in the wider business of TV and the changing landscapes of commissioning and international opportunities so that was really exciting for me to have this instant network of peers who I would ‘grow up’ with throughout my career. It was also great to see heads of channels be so unguarded in the private sessions for Ones To Watch – they really opened up to us and didn’t use the usual ‘telly speak’.

Tell us about the most memorable talks/sessions in your year.

Stuart Murphy did a really candid conversation about his experience of working in TV, and everyone really enjoyed being in the room. I also remember Meredith Chambers’ talk on storytelling. It was one of our earliest sessions, that helped me to think differently about how I approach subjects and characterisation in factual TV development.

Did being on Ones To Watch change your career ambitions?

It made me appreciate the long haul of the journey more. At the time I had moved from researcher to AP and I was so desperate to be seen as moving up. Ones To Watch made me appreciate the learning opportunities that came with being where I was in my career. It reminded me that a successful career was one to be nurtured and that I ought to think more tactically about opportunities. It also cemented in my mind that one day, I’d really like to work at a channel to see the other side of the business…I’m still working on that bit!

Did you meet anyone through the scheme, or at the Festival, who’s had a big impact on your life or career?

I’ve kept in touch with some of the people I met on the scheme and that’s been invaluable as we can be sounding boards, especially a now friend who works in Wales – we often talk about being in the ‘regions’ and the challenges of that; and another peer who I am working with on a project that has nothing to do with TV but the scheme brought us into each other’s spheres. Being in Scotland, there aren’t many people who were connected to working up here and I was working with a really incredible exec producer at the time who has helped shape my career. Being a part of the festival however, has really helped me.

Since doing Ones To Watch I’ve also been involved in producing meet the commissioner sessions and, for the past three years, the Ones To Watch live pitch. I also produced the Nicola Sturgeon keynote speech, and last year, Question Time. I’ve found this involvement to be incredible and I look forward to working with the team every year and hope to get more involved each year through wider aspect of the festival. It’s great to be a part of the conversation and feel at the forefront of this challenging yet rewarding industry.