rad – Interview

Annie Butcher

Annie was a 2019 trainees for the rad programme – TRC’s traineeship that aims to tackle the lack of diversity in the Scottish TV sector.

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Why Rad?

“I always wanted to tell stories, whether that was writing or journalism, which I then started a career in. I loved journalism, but I found that I worked much better bouncing ideas off other people, rather than writing away by myself. I remember seeing that Blue Planet had 11 million viewers, then plastic legislation was being altered and attitudes were changing because of this TV programme and found it incredible. People talk about what they watch on TV, and it can have mass influence and real societal change.”

“Something that I feel strongly about is seeing a fair representation of all people on TV. Growing up, I remember watching TV with my mum, who is African, and rarely seeing figures that related to that part of our culture. The few times we did it was brilliant but I felt passionate that this gap needed to be addressed. Now is such a great time in TV for me, because I am beginning to see so many things that I can Identify with, and that’s is a really exciting place to be in. I was already looking for work in the industry before rad but was finding it difficult. Rad was a real-life opportunity to work in solid employment for 10 months. Not only was it a stable opportunity that was paid, but also an opportunity for incredible training.”

Working in TV

“I work in development – looking into new ideas for programmes that haven’t been made yet. It’s a really creative space to work in, which I love. I’ve really enjoyed the fact that I’ve had a lot of creative leeway to go with my own creative instinct to come up with stories and ideas.”

“I don’t sit back and just listen, I’m actively involved and those around me encourage this. The team I’m working with at Mentorn is very small, and mainly I work with the Executive Producer. On my first day, in my first few hours in fact, I was sitting with a presenter and her agent brainstorming ideas for programmes. I had the impression that it would be a big boardroom full of people, and I wouldn’t be contributing much, but here I was coming up with ideas with talent – all before lunch time! I recently had the opportunity to pitch to Channel 4 in a meeting with our MD and Executive Producer. I was pinching myself. It was my fourth week in my job, and I just kept thinking ‘how am I here?’”

Learning on the job

“The training with TRC is really thorough – we have industry experts who come in for an intense day of learning each month. I’ve got notebooks filled with notes on compliance, contributors and different research techniques, which has all been really useful when I’m working on something and want to look back at my notes for some guidance. If ever I feel like I don’t know what I’m doing I can always refer to them.
It’s great having the rest of the trainee group there too – we’ve all come from very different backgrounds but are all in the same boat when it comes to this role and starting out as beginners. You never feel like you’re alone.”

Industry ambitions

“I feel like I’m living the dream and I don’t want it to stop. Over the coming months I want to fill in any gaps in my knowledge and make as many contacts in the industry as possible. I really love my job – something which I’ve never ever been able to say before. That’s the dream though, isn’t it?”

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