What made you apply to Factual Fast Track?
I was at a stage where I needed a bit of a re-set and felt it was time to re-evaluate my career, so it came along at the perfect time. Maybe it was because the pandemic gave us all plenty of time to think about what we wanted, and what’s important. I thought about it for ages, tried to talk myself out of it and then finally applied. Because it was going to be a mix of online and face-to-face sessions, I knew it would be very manageable with my other commitments, and the training sessions sounded great. The promise of a production placement with another indie – something that’s guaranteed to get you out of your comfort zone – was both exciting and terrifying, but the prospect of working with and learning from other creative people was really appealing.
What was your biggest takeaway?
For me, there were several big takeaways. One was being reassured that living and working in the Nations & Regions is not – and should never be – a barrier to success. Regional representation has never been more important and my mentors, plus many of the guest speakers and trainers we worked with, helped me recognise that it is a major selling point.
Another was the people – being part of a group of like-minded, brilliant people who are all at similar career stages, and who share a passion for all things tv, is such an asset. Our WhatsApp group is always active, giving us all an immediate support network who are available for advice, sharing of contacts and to have a good laugh with.
Another big takeaway is the expansion of my industry contact network – Factual Fast Track got us up close and personal with some of the most influential people in broadcasting, with access that would be difficult to achieve otherwise. The onus is on each of us to follow up with and nurture those contacts – it’s all about building relationships and Factual Fast Track is a great calling card.
How did the Factual Fast Track programme help with your career?
The Factual Fast Track programme has been a huge help for me in career terms – it has helped me work out what I want to do next, and how I am going to get there. Sometimes it just takes someone outside your immediate network to help you see what you’re capable of. The industry mentors were brilliantly insightful and generous with their time and advice; the career coach was an asset I would never have considered.
Getting a placement with an indie with the fantastic reputation that Firecracker Films has, is amazing and has opened so many doors for me. Seeing how other people and companies work is always useful – and I have really relished that opportunity. Overall, the programme has helped me focus on my next steps career-wise, and has instilled in me a new confidence in myself and my skills and talents.
What advice would you give someone applying for Factual Fast Track Scotland and Northern Ireland?
I would say – don’t listen to the voice in your head that says it’s not for you – and don’t hesitate, because if you don’t grab this opportunity, someone else will and trust me, you’ll regret it when you find out what they’ve learned and the opportunities they’ve had. We should never lose the hunger for learning – this programme will re-energise you and remind you why you’re working in tv. You’ll develop new skills, hone your talents and if you’re lucky enough to get a place, grab it with both hands and enjoy every minute.