SuperSizer – Interview

Claire Burgoyne

Below the Radar

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Claire Burgoyne is an experienced producer with a long track record in developing and manging projects. She is currently Head of Development with Below the Radar, one of Northern Ireland’s leading film, television and digital production houses.

What made you apply to SuperSizer?

SuperSizer is well known within the TV community and it’s something that we were aware of as a company. Colleagues in the office knew of previous delegates and how much they had got out of it, so it seemed an unmissable opportunity. Michael Fanning (MD of Below the Radar and former TRC Alumni) also encouraged me to go for it.

This was my third time applying to the programme. When applications opened, I put a lot of thought into the form and just really went for it. I thought “I’m going to get it this time!”.

What was your biggest takeaway?

Firstly, the opportunity to meet other people who also work in development. It’s something that rarely happens. It’s been so valuable being able to connect with colleagues working in the same environment, doing the same job.

Another takeaway was the personal coaching from Colin and Sarah. It was so helpful and resulted in a big confidence boost. Going back to the basics of development: ideas’ generation, brainstorming, how to put together a good pitch. To be able to gain confidence in these areas, and to have other people respond to what you’re saying in the moment, was just fantastic. One benefit of meeting over Zoom was that you can see yourself and see how you behave. Suddenly you’re able to see, “Oh is that what I look like? Is that what I sound like?”. It was very useful.

Getting access to all those commissioning editors was also a major benefit. To get so much time with them was remarkable. They were generous with their insights into their world, i.e. how they like to be pitched to and what they’re looking for. They also described what it’s like to be on the other side of the table and how commissioning can sometimes be quite a lonely role. It was just a major eye-opener and extremely helpful to hear their thoughts.

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

SuperSizer has helped me with every stage of development. From generating ideas, to brainstorming as a team, to where we focus our attention when we do come up with an idea and where to take those early-stage projects.

Meeting other people in the same role as me has also been super helpful. It’s made me realise that everybody goes through the same process: trying to come up with great ideas, pitch them and make an impact. Although everyone has different levels of experience, there’s nothing to stop anyone from pitching a great idea. In the past, I might have been reluctant to go in with an idea to a new commissioning editor I’d never met. Now I feel that I have the confidence to just go for it.

So I think the biggest thing that SuperSizer has helped with is our relationship with commissioning editors. What I’ve learned is that, often, commissioning editors want you to build relationships with them. After all, that’s how you win business. It’s about having regular contact and having a dialogue with them.

The programme made me think more carefully about who we’re pitching to and what sort of ideas we’re developing. It’s made me more strategic and focused, which is a major benefit.

What advice would you give to someone applying to SuperSizer?

Don’t think twice about applying! You’re going to get so much out of it. You’re going to meet some amazing colleagues, you’re going to get expert training, you’re going to see your confidence go up and you’re going to be able to air your concerns freely and develop so many new skills and be reassured about your role. It’s a wonderful refresher and a chance to just supercharge your development process.

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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.