I spent the first two years of university aimlessly floating through assignments, with the impending question ‘but what do you want to do next?’ always in the back of my mind. It wasn’t until I was sat in a documentary lecture nearing the end of the semester, watching ‘Seven Up’ by Paul Almond and Michael Apted, that I realised this is it; this is what I want to do. I had no experience in television – with the exception of a, quite frankly, dreadful short film during a media project – and so consequently, most people around me had deemed my aspiring career in factual TV unattainable. However, after some encouragement from my tutor to remain optimistic, a guest lecturer and former delegate suggested that I apply for The Network. I had never heard of the talent scheme; the premise of guiding those with no experience into the daunting world of TV was, in my eyes, a glimpse of hope and so I told myself that even if I did not hear back, the application would be an achievement nonetheless. Fast forward a few months of interview days, the end of university and a train journey to Edinburgh – and I was on The Network.
I chose to be part of the Development group. The other delegates and I were given a brief for a new factual TV programme from Sky executives, to whom we then had to pitch our ideas live on the penultimate day of the festival. This mammoth task was both thrilling and terrifying (depending on which way you look at it), but as opportunities go, this would arguably only arise once in a lifetime. Achievements like this are not to be taken lightly; knowing I had the confidence in not only my ideas but myself in general, to be able to pitch to a scale this large was the confirmation that I needed. I started the week feeling completely out of my depth, however, on returning home, I was if anything just excited for what was to come.
Following on from the week in Edinburgh, the delegates were put on to The Network at Work scheme, loosely translated as my ‘saving grace’, which, along with the bucketful of contacts we had made at the festival, was essentially how I got to where I am now. The scheme considers you first for an array of job opportunities, most of which I would not have come across, despite meticulously searching online. I continued my journey in TV with a placement in Maverick Productions, working in development, research and production. Then, with the help of those who run The Network, I landed a paid internship with RDF Television, moving myself down to London from Liverpool – a move I had once sworn I would never make. This time last year, I had an ambition without any direction, whereas now I have the beginnings of a career, as well as some lifelong connections and friends – that, to me is pretty priceless.