SuperSizer – Interview

Abigail Keyes

Abigail Keyes joined SuperSizer whilst working on an innovative slate of new and funded ideas with Belfast-based Afro-Mic Productions.

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What made you apply to Supersizer?

The pandemic kicked me into action. We’ve got more commissioners and opportunities at our virtual fingertips than ever before, so now is the time to be developing more ambitious and high value returnable formats that can be produced out of the Nations and Regions.

I wanted to grab each opportunity with everything we’ve got, and SuperSizer seemed like a great opportunity to learn from the pros – and it was!

There aren’t many training courses around that cater purely for development – so much so, that I applied for SuperSizer once before, back when I was a researcher! – and this one is very highly regarded in the industry. This year felt like the perfect time to apply again.

What was your biggest takeaway?

I have two! One is gaining a wonderful support system with the other SuperSizers – 13 brilliant development minds from all over the Nations and Regions. We rarely get the chance to meet other people who also work in development, so I’m grateful to TRC for bringing us together – we’ve got quite the crew of development producers, execs and managing directors. SuperSizer has finished but our Whatsapp group is very much alive!

The second is that I expected SuperSizer to be focussed on literally supersizing our ideas – but the personal development training that made the backbone of the course was incredible. The sessions were varied and brilliant – from off-the-wall brainstorming techniques to how to negotiate affectively – and have stuck with me.

How has SuperSizer helped you with your career?

Off the back of SuperSizer, I focused in on factual entertainment format development – as supersized as possible, obviously! – which led to my new role at Two Rivers Media, where I’m helping build factual entertainment and reality slates, and elbowing my way into as many meetings about international formats as possible.

I’m using the personal development skills I learned on Supersizer every day, and I can already feel how it’s changed the way I am approaching creative brainstorming, pitching and communicating.

The commissioner briefings we had – over 2 weeks of sessions with BBC, Channel 4, Channel 5, ITV, UKTV, Sky etc. – were really insightful, and the commissioners welcomed us to set up meetings and pitch to them. We’ve been building on those relationships post-Supersizer – in fact, we’re pitching to one of the commissioners next week! So watch this space for our first supersized commission.

What advice would you give to someone applying to SuperSizer?

Do it! You’re going to get so much out of it, and the results are far reaching. The training is world-class and you’ll see such a difference in your confidence. Take your time with the application and get feedback on it before you send – make sure your enthusiasm and ambition for going bigger, better and bolder shines through. Good luck!

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SuperSizer is an original training concept by TRC.

SuperSizer is funded by BBC Nations and Regions, Channel 4 and Screen Scotland.