ScreenSkills' Series Producer Programme returns for 5th year

The ScreenSkills Series Producer Programme that has developed a strong track record in training new series producers will have a particular focus on developing talent out of London when it opens for applications this month.

The programme is aiming to recruit 25 new delegates in its fifth year, who will join 87 alumni including many who have achieved award-winning success in the television industry. Ten are now working in commissioning.

The prestigious year-long programme, commissioned by the ScreenSkills TV Skills Fund with contributions from the BBC, Channel 4 and Channel 5, is designed to give delegates the knowledge, skills and network to make the move from producer to series producer with confidence and to develop the next generation of showrunners who will become the cornerstones of UK television.

Among Series Producer Programme alumni, 72% are series producing within a year and 85% have a series producer role within two. One in 10 reaches a senior creative role.

ScreenSkills is strongly committed to building a more inclusive workforce and the ambition is to boost substantially the number of out-of-London delegates this year. The numbers from out of London and the South East have averaged 39% across the last four years.

Bella Lambourne, director of human resources and operations at EndemolShine UK and chair of the TV Skills Council that runs the TV Skills Fund, said: “The Series Producer Programme has done a fantastic job in developing new series producers who are making a real difference to the industry. This year, when television is quite rightly thinking about more production in the nations and regions, we wanted to make sure the programme is playing an even bigger role in developing talent out of London.”

This year MultiStory Media, part of ITV Studios, is offering two scholarships, which means they will pay the full fees and a contribution towards travel of two delegates, one based in London and one outside London.

Ana De Moraes, Group Creative Director, MultiStory Media, said: "At MultiStory, we are committed to developing diverse talent and nurturing the best professionals in the industry. The ScreenSkills Series Producer scholarships are a brilliant opportunity to support up-and-coming stars and give them the best possible chance to achieve their potential."

Programme Director Donna Taberer said: “The series producer is a critical role on any production. But it is also an incredibly tough role. I’m thrilled we have the backing from ScreenSkills’ TV Skills Fund and the broadcasters to run this invaluable programme for a fifth year.

“The Series Producer Programme has a great reputation throughout the industry and gets results. We’re a training intervention with diversity at its heart. We’ve always been strongly committed to supporting talent outside London and I’m delighted we will supercharge our commitment to the nations and regions in 2020. I’m grateful that with the support of MultiStory Media we can offer full bursaries for the first time.”

Criteria

The programme is open to new or aspiring series producers who are experienced producers with a minimum of three years’ experience at producer/director level in factual, features, specialist factual, factual entertainment or entertainment TV in the UK.

Application dates

The Series Producer Programme 2020 will be open for applications from 19 November to midday on 7 January. The application will be via the ScreenSkills website at www.screenskills.com/seriesproducer

No applications will be accepted after this time. Selected candidates will be interviewed in February and all informed of results by March when the first block of training will commence. The programme director is available for one-to-one conversations about the programme and process. She can be contacted at TVSP@screenskills.com.

Cost

London delegates £1,500

Out-of-London delegates £1,200

Reduced fees available on request.

Scholarships at ScreenSkills and MultiStory Media discretion. Terms and conditions apply.

Track record

The programme has run for the past four years and the delegates continue in their day jobs while on the programme.

Ten candidates are now working in commissioning including Charlotte Smith, who is Channel Executive at BBC One, Daisy Scalchi, Commissioning Editor, Specialist Factual, BBC, Hayley Reynolds, Assistant Commissioner BBC Storyville, three commissioning editors at Channel 4 in factual or factual entertainment – Becky Cadman, Will Rowson and Harjeet Chhokar, as well as Natalie Rose and Philip McCreery at UKTV

This year’s intake is 35% from a BAME background, 30% from outside London, 73% attended a state school (59% non-selective) and 4% identified as having a disability. Over the four years of the programme, the intake has been 25% from a BAME background, 39% from out of London, 68% female and 8% with a disability.

They work across a broad range of genres including specialist factual, factual, obs docs, docs, fact ent, popular factual, entertainment, reality, children, current affairs, rigs, features and constructed reality.

The programme offers participants:

  • Unrivalled training delivered by industry experts (approximately 14 days)
  • Inspirational masterclasses and behind-the-scenes briefing at broadcasters
  • Speed-dating with commissioners
  • Mentoring by commissioners
  • Continuous one-to-one support, career advice and coaching
  • Bespoke development
  • Discounted/free entry to selected festivals and industry events
  • Networking cohort of supportive colleagues

The training delivered via workshops and masterclasses includes:

  • Developing, pitching and selling innovative new content
  • Storytelling and scripting
  • Leadership essentials – how to recruit and lead diverse teams
  • Budgeting and scheduling
  • Engaging with new audiences, new technologies and new platforms
  • Digital and social media
  • Setting a vision and leading teams with confidence to deliver that vision
  • Resilience
  • Unconscious bias
  • Mental health workshop – supporting your teams
  • Presentation and public speaking
  • Crisis management and media handling
  • Negotiating and influencing
  • Legal and editorial compliance

What programme alumni – and their bosses – say about the programme

Charlotte Smith, Channel Executive, BBC One: “The Series Producer programme was just what I needed to springboard me back to work after my second baby. It gave me great insight, fantastic networking opportunities and an invaluable new peer group.”

Jon Willers, Series Producer, Chalkboard TV: “The Series Producer course has reconfigured my entire approach to making TV. It gave me confidence in my own ability when I needed it most, and a network of contacts that will stay with me for years to come. In short, it has been a career- and life-changing experience.”

Victoria Musguin-Rowe, Development Executive and Series Producer, Stephen: The Murder that Changed a Nation: “Applying for the series producer scheme has been, to date, the single best career decision I have made. In a predominately freelance industry, it has been hugely beneficial to finally receive some formal professional training. Not only do I feel more equipped to series produce, it's also helped instil a new-found confidence in my decision-making.

“The routine sessions with broadcasters have drastically expanded my professional network, helping me move quickly up the career ladder into my desired roles. The one-to-one support from the mentors and the course trainers has been invaluable. They have been a continuous source of professional and emotional guidance since starting the scheme.

“I have also gained an incredibly friendly and supportive new network of fellow SPs, who I have frequently turned to in times of production crisis. I am incredibly grateful for being given the opportunity to be on the scheme.”

Anna Dunkley, Series Producer of Dancing on Ice, ITV, Five Gold Rings, ITV, and My Kitchen Rules, Channel 4: “I’ve met an incredible group of people, expanded my contacts, challenged myself and re-programmed my brain.”

Harjeet Chhokar, Series Producer, Pilgrimage, BBC Two: “Television can be a very insular industry, where you go from job to job and actually you don't get time to take stock of where you want to be. The course has given me confidence that I can develop my career and move up to the role of SP.”

Joseph Campo, former Series Producer, Beauty Queen and Single, Stellify Media for BBC One: “The SPP is a good example of a scheme gone right - a programme that addressed the unique needs of the participants. The bespoke training was invaluable. It’s particularly difficult becoming an SP outside of London. So, it’s great that the scheme looks to train up people from the regions.”

Matt Worthy, Managing Director, Stellify Media: “Being a series producer is not a promotion – it’s a fundamental change in job description. You are the boss: managing both your team and – suddenly - the channel. On-the-job training won’t cut it - and is a risk an employer is unlikely to make. Training is vital - but absent in the sector outside of this incredibly professional and practical year-long course.”

Tom Currie, Executive Producer, Dragonfly: “The Series Producer Programme has been incredibly beneficial and has hugely increased my confidence to take on large scale projects in a senior role. The support offered both by my commissioner mentor and the peer group will last far longer than the 12-month course.” 

Sarah Veevers, former Series Producer, Ambulance, BBC One: "With unparalleled access to commissioning editors, award-winning programme makers and peer-to-peer support, the Series Producer Programme has been career-defining.  I now have the confidence and skills to navigate the complex challenges faced by series producers in an ever-evolving production landscape."

Stuart Froude, former Series Director, Ambulance, BBC One and Series Producer, Reported Missing for the BBC with Blast!: Incredibly useful and a game changer for me.”