SuperSizer – Interview

Chamoun Issa

After graduating from the National Film and Television School, Chamoun worked as a freelance screenwriter and director. This led to his first assignment in development. When ITV greenlit the project, a biography about Trovill and Dean, he was offered a chance to be an in-house development producer and discovered he loved the role.

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What appealed to you about SuperSizer?

I wanted to help my company become successful. Factual Fiction is a Yorkshire company we started during lockdown. We’ve already produced factual programmes for ITV and Channel 5 and we’re in development of both factual and fiction with Amazon, Warner Bros. ZDFE and Fremantle.

When I was given the opportunity to be a Development Executive at Factual Fiction, I was excited. But also nervous because I didn’t come up through the regular development route or background. I am Lebanese and Syrian; I grew up in the Civil War and fled to Sweden, where I was in a refugee camp; I moved to the UK to study at the National Film and Television School as a Director.

I had different abilities, skills and qualities that you wouldn’t normally have if you come from only a development background. But I also had gaps I needed to fill to become successful in my role. Pitching to commissioners was not something I had done. I didn’t have personal connections to the commissioners, so they seemed unreachable. SuperSizer gave me all those things. It was like a “Super University” for development. It was really great.

Since SuperSizer, I’ve pitched quite a lot to commissioners. I’ll be honest, the first few times I was nervous, but I got used to it, and now find it quite exciting. I’m no longer nervous about the role. It’s not that the role has become easier, the role is still challenging, and these are challenging times, but I’m looking forward to it and looking forward to coming up with ideas. I feel privileged to be in this role, and I now have the tools thanks to SuperSizer.

What did you gain from the programme?

I gained industry knowledge, insight into the broadcasters and contacts with the commissioners. I had an idea about them before, but now my knowledge is more precise: what each commissioner is looking for, what differentiates between them.

I’ve also gained confidence in the role. I had confidence in myself before, but now I have confidence in my role.

And loads of colleagues and friends, so the job isn’t lonely anymore. We’re all still in touch.

How do you think SuperSizer will help your career/your company?

SuperSizer has given me knowledge, confidence and insights.

Because we’re a new company, getting the next commission is very important. SuperSizer has given me the ability to judge a project early on and be able to pitch much more so that we can get even more commissions and become successful.

I enjoy the role and various aspects of it. I’m privileged to have it.

What advice would you give to someone thinking of applying for SuperSizer?

Apply! I cannot recommend it enough. It was so, so, so great. I’ve jokingly said to the other SuperSizers I’m going to change my name and apply again! It was so rewarding, fulfilling, helpful and insightful.

How do you think programmes SuperSizer can benefit the industry as a whole?

I’ve been thinking about what I’d really like to say.

If we want our TV to be more creative, it needs to be more diverse. Those two things are connected.

So we not only need to enable different kinds of people into TV, and that means giving them routes into the industry. But also, once they get access to those routes, we also need to give them the tools to succeed. And SuperSizer is such a tool because it allows people to succeed in the industry. That’s why I think SuperSizer is very, very important.

I’d have been quite nervous and not enjoyed my work and probably not done as a good job if I hadn’t gone to SuperSizer. I like to think I’m intelligent enough and bright enough and hard-working enough to have helped my company achieved success. But what SuperSizer has given me are those tools and enjoyment in my role.

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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.