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Meet the delegates: SuperSizer 2019/20

We're very excited about launching the third edition of SuperSizer - our training programme for ambitious TV development executives in the Nations and Regions. Last year's programme resulted in four new commissions (including BBC, Channel 4 and Channel 5) and 100% of participants said SuperSizer had improved their ability as a development executive.

Now, it's time to meet the Class of 2020 - twelve talented creatives from independent production companies throughout the Nations and Regions. 

 

Sophie Ellis

Development Producer - True Vision Yorkshire

The best thing about working in Development is...
Immersing yourself in subjects and chatting to people you normally wouldn’t. It’s a real privilege when people give you their time to reveal things you wouldn’t otherwise know.

My top piece of advice for anyone wanting to work in TV would be…
Don’t be so over-awed by the people higher up that chain that you don’t speak your mind or get stuck in. Be brave. There are very few wrong answers in telly.

The show I wish I’d pitched is…
Flirty Dancing. It’s a simple proposition full of joy and fun. The cleverest kind of no-brainer.

 

Jon Willers

Development Executive/SP - Storyboard Studios (Glasgow)

When I’m stuck in a creative rut I…
do something else. Screenwriter Aaron Sorkin famously takes showers to overcome writer's block. Sometimes he takes eight showers a day. Personally, I prefer making coffee - although I haven't hit the eight cup a day mark...yet.

My top desert island disc would be…
It's got to be "The Sun Always Shines on TV" by A-Ha.

My top piece of advice for anyone wanting to work in TV would be…
Don't ever get distracted from what made you want to to work in telly in the first place. Passion, curiosity and a willingness to learn are the most important things you have. And don't be afraid to pick up the phone!!

Gill Brown

Development Producer - Tern (Glasgow)

The show I wish I’d pitched is…
Hospital. It’s essentially a programme about the bed blocking crisis and administration yet because it is packed with incredible human stories it engages an audience. Plus it was an exceptional piece of access negotiation and a brave decision by the hospital trust.

At school I…
wanted to be a forensic psychologist, make of that what you will!

If I were leading a broadcaster I...
would ban overnight figures and only look at a consolidated figure after a month allowing for word of mouth and everyone to catch on and up.

Alan Gillespie

Head of Development - ShinAwiL (Belfast)

At school I…
spent a lot of time creating ideas and stories when I should have being paying attention.

When I’m stuck in a creative rut I…
make sure I don’t sit at a desk. Development is always happening, whether it’s conversations with pals or watching shows. I think the best time to create is immediately after a pitch or a deadline. Your adrenaline is pumping so your creative mind is sharpened and it allows you to spot ideas and creative approaches that you might not normally see.

Jayne Brierley

Development Executive - Daisybeck Studios (Leeds)

The show I wish I’d pitched is…
The Undateables - just joyous!

The best thing about working in Development is…
the creative process. You learn new things every day, meet lots of brilliant, interesting people and then have the fun of devising brand new TV programmes.

My top piece of advice for anyone wanting to work in TV would be…
watch loads of TV.

Siobhan Smith

Development Executive - Firecracker Scotland (Glasgow)

When I’m stuck in a creative rut I…
Go to a book shop or the library (I love the library). Nothing is more inspiring to me than being surrounded by books.

If I were leading a broadcaster I would…
Place great emphasis on class representation – both on screen and off.

My favourite quote/saying is…
“If you are interested in something, no matter what it is, go at it at full speed ahead. Embrace it with both arms, hug it, love it and above all become passionate about it. Lukewarm is no good.” – Roald Dahl

Paul Windle

Development Executive - MultiStory Media (Manchester)

The show I wish I’d pitched is…
Naked Attraction - I love the way the show has such a gobsmackingly salacious hook, but actually unpacks educational content, human insight and allows you to see true diversity.

At school I…
was told that I watched an unhealthy amount of TV - who's laughing now Mrs Frankland?!

If I were leading a broadcaster I would…
really listen to the stories and voices outside London from the people who live and work there. Even better still, I'd ensure I had a team of effective commissioners based across the length and breadth of the country in a non-tokenistic way, to really ensure that we aren't in a position where London-centric culture and opinions are guessing at what the rest of the country thinks.

Robert Brown

Development Assistant Producer - Raise the Roof Productions (Glasgow)

The show I wish I’d pitched is…
Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives

The best thing about working in Development is...
explaining to people that it is in fact a real job

My favourite quote/saying is…
“Live every week like it's Shark Week.”

Paul O'Donohue

Development Producer - Firecrest Films (Glasgow)

My top piece of advice for anyone wanting to work in TV would be…
Ask for advice, not a job. If you get a gig as a runner, every time you’re asked to do something, write it down. Memorise the schedule. Keep email addresses and stay in touch.

When I’m stuck in a creative rut I…
go to an old mans pub, have a pint and a packet of crisps. This only works if it’s Salt and Vinegar. Cheese and Onion is the devil’s work.

If I were leading a broadcaster I would…
Have a chair made of Solid Gold. Kidding. I would commission a documentary behind the scenes of TV, giving the public an insight into how a project comes from idea to broadcast, with the bumps on the road and relationships between programme makers and their subjects. The most revealing parts of ‘The Brexit Storm’ were bits of personal small talk between the presenter and the politician.

Miriam Ryan

Development Producer - Big Mountain Productions (Newry)

The show I wish I’d pitched is…
The Secret Life of Four Year Olds

The best telly is…
when a programme makes you laugh, cry or shout, and turn to the person next to you on the couch/at the office/on the train and want to share it.

Something people would be surprised to learn about me is…
I once auditioned for a Louis Walsh girl-band....I didn't get very far

 

Louis Bamber

Head of Development/Joint MD - Button Down (York)

When I’m stuck in a creative rut I…
Learn to play a song.

If I were leading a broadcaster I would…
Shake up morning programming.

My favourite quote/saying is...
Think it possible that you may be mistaken

Sophie Scott

Development Producer- Two Rivers Media (Glasgow)

The show I wish I’d pitched is…
Faking It or Gogglebox

My top piece of advice for anyone wanting to work in TV would be…
Try not to doubt yourself too much, be persistent but friendly and never be afraid to ask questions. Being a good tea maker also helps!

The best telly is…
When the nation watches a show together and then everyone talks about it, anything that generates a trending meme on social media gets my vote.

Thanks to this brilliant bunch for letting us pick their creative brains. We'll be working with the group over the next six months, so keep your eyes peeled for more, or find out more about SuperSizer.

About the author

Michelle Conlin

Michelle Conlin

Michelle is Marketing Executive at TRC and leads on events.