Head of Popular Factual
How did you find out about Ones To Watch?
I found out via Broadcast if I remember correctly.
What’s your best memory from being on the scheme?
Not sure if ‘best’ is the word but certainly the most ‘visceral’ memory was my live pitch in an auditorium at the festival. I was one of three finalists who had the chance to pitch their TV idea to Katy Thorogood who at the time was commissioning for Discovery. It was a great honour to be chosen to pitch and was ultimately a great experience but I have never been so nervous in my life. I still remember the bright lights shinning into my eyes, the perspiration running down my back, the wobble in my voice as I tried to sell my idea to Katy! The fear produced an adrenaline that propelled me through it and I won! These are the kinds of experiences that you can have on the Ones To Watch which make it so special, meeting people you admire, pitching to people you want to impress and making special friendships with your peers.
Tell us about the most memorable talks/sessions in your year.
Two sessions that really stuck out for me were the master classes from John Humphreys and Will & Grace sitcom writers, Max Mutchnick and David Kohan. We had ‘off the record’ private sessions with them which meant that they could be open and honest in a way that was very insightful and revealing. John gave us a very intimate chat about his area of broadcasting, his career and his wealth of experience. Max and David provided the Hollywood sparkle and jazz hands. It felt so privileged to be hearing from very accomplished masters of two different areas of expertise, both with plenty of anecdotes and advice.
Did being on Ones To Watch change your career ambitions?
The OTW experience really boosted my confidence. I was working and based in Dublin at the time, I really wanted to make the move to London but it seemed like such a daunting prospect. Being at the festival and meeting all my fellow OTW’ers made me see that I wasn’t so different from everyone else at my stage in their career and that the big production community in London wasn’t as impenetrable as I once thought. I think whether you are trying to move up the ladder, break into a new area, or conceive a plan for yourself then this scheme is extremely beneficial.
Did you meet anyone through the scheme, or at the Festival, who’s had a big impact on your life or career?
The prize for winning the ‘Pitch Competition’ was to spend a week in London working in development for Target Entertainment. That was a brilliant experience and definitely had a big impact on my career. The kudos of being on the Ones To Watch scheme and winning the Pitch gave me an edge with employers, as well as a new sense of self, that boosted my enthusiasm and prospects and within a few years I became a commissioning editor. There’s no doubt that without my experiences on Ones To Watch I would not have achieved that goal as quickly as I did.