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23 April 2018

“You Won’t Regret Applying”: WFTV Members Share Their Experiences of Ones to Watch


Ones to Watch, The Edinburgh International TV Festival’s talent scheme, is a life-changing money-can’t-buy opportunity for rising stars in the TV industry.

The scheme gives some of television’s best and brightest access to four days of inspiring sessions, creative debate, and unrivalled networking opportunities – as well as support and mentoring throughout the year.

This year’s scheme is currently open for applications (the deadline to apply is Friday 27 April), so we thought we’d catch up with a couple of WFTV members who have experienced Ones to Watch first hand – in 2017 – to find out what they gained from it and how it has impacted their careers since.

 

‘Meeting my impressive Ones to Watch comrades was definitely the most memorable part of the whole experience. ‘


Amandeep Bhangu – Presenter-Reporter/Filmmaker, Freelance
@AmandeepReports

Amandeep is an internationally experienced presenter-reporter and documentary filmmaker. A professional nomad – during 10 years with BBC News and four years freelancing, she’s worked in over 30 countries, across six continents and lived in London, the Middle East and India.

Defying naysayers, Amandeep started from the bottom: a London comprehensive to Cambridge University, leaping from BBC producing to reporting, leaving a staff job to fly solo as a global freelancer and free-styling across genres and across roles.

Amandeep specialises in original storytelling, solutions-journalism and always smashing stereotypes. Now she’s experimenting with mobile film-making as a digital creative and hopes to empower those from under-represented communities to share their stories.


Why did you apply to Ones to Watch?

AB: I was at a career cross-roads, confused and curious about my next step. In a nutshell: after working in BBC TV News and Current Affairs for a decade, I’d moved abroad as a freelance reporter for international broadcasters; when I looked into reconnecting with the UK industry I realised the creative landscape had changed and many of my contacts had left TV.

Ones To Watch offered the perfect opportunity to throw myself back in the UK game and make new contacts by attending the Edinburgh TV Festival for the first time, with the amazing bonus of complimentary entry and accommodation.


What was the most useful part of being on the scheme whilst at the festival?

AB: In the action packed week, I’d single out the direct access you are given to the top industry leaders. Our week kicked off with exclusive talks by Aysha Rafaele, Jay Hunt, Peter Salmon and Diederick Santer (and this reporter took advantage of every Q&A!). Later in the week, we had individual Speed Meetings arranged with Commissioners giving bespoke career advice – I was struck by how approachable and encouraging everyone was, especially Dorothy Byrne and Lara Akeju. These were all first time encounters for most of us on the scheme so very rewarding.


What was it like being part of a group of people at a similar stage in their career but from different backgrounds within the industry? And have you all stayed in touch?

AB: Meeting my impressive Ones to Watch comrades was definitely the most memorable part of the whole experience. As the only journalist in the group, I found it refreshing to find out about their varied roles in the wider TV world and different career paths, yet reassuring to discuss similar concerns. Sharing an intense few days of working-hard-and-playing-hard quickly turned my fellow creatives into friends and we’ve hung out since and our Whatsapp group is very active!

I’d also like to mention the Network – the entry-level talent scheme running in parallel – everyone on Ones to Watch is paired up with two Network mentees. As a media trainer I love helping young creatives and it’s inspiring to see my new friends take their first steps in the industry with such promise.


What sort of on-going support have you received since the festival and how has it helped?

AB: The organisers of the talent schemes – Holly Close and Campbell Glennie – continue to be super supportive, from regular alumni events to emailing about opportunities.

A key part of this is arranging for us all to have a mentor for a year. I was lucky to get my first choice – Dorothy Byrne, Head of Channel 4 News and Current Affairs – requested after our Speed Meeting. I’m very grateful she took the time to meet me the very week Channel 4 was breaking their incredible Cambridge Analytica exposé.

I’d also like to give a shout-out to Women in Film and TV for providing every women on Ones to Watch with a year’s free membership. I’ve enjoyed attending their events and, thanks to the WFTV discounted ticket, I’ll be going to the Sheffield Doc Fest for the first time this summer along with several of my Ones to Watch film-makers.


What would you say to someone who is thinking of applying to Ones to Watch?

AB: Do it! No matter which area of TV you work in or your role – you’ll walk away inspired and energised, with new contacts and a new cohort of friends. This is your VIP ticket to the prestigious Edinburgh TV Festival to discover the latest in our ever-changing creative world, and receive the biggest compliment: being called ‘Ones to Watch’ by those at the top of TV.

 

‘The most useful part of being there was being able to network directly with talent managers, executives and commissioners.’

 

Clarissa Maycock – Producer, BBC
@ClarissaDM

Clarissa is a Producer for the BBC. She has worked in various BBC departments on TV, radio and online projects, including BBC Comedy where she worked on shows including The Wrong Mans, Inside No. 9 and Stewart Lee’s Comedy Vehicle. Recently she has worked producing comedy podcasts for the BBC. Clarissa wrote and produced a comedy web series that was selected for screening at the Craft of Comedy UK conference in Llandudno.


Why did you apply to Ones to Watch?

CM: Some of my colleagues had been delegates in the past and recommended it. I wanted to make the next step up in my career and I thought that Ones to Watch would be the perfect opportunity to get a much needed confidence boost and to make great contacts in the industry.


What was the most useful part of being on the scheme whilst at the festival?

CM: Attending the TV Festival was a brilliant experience. The most useful part of being there was being able to network directly with talent managers, executives and commissioners. I found that they had all heard of Ones to Watch and were extremely supportive of the scheme.


What was it like being part of a group of people at a similar stage in their career but from different backgrounds within the industry? And have you all stayed in touch?

CM: There was such a warm and friendly atmosphere among my Ones to Watch group – I felt very lucky to be part of it. Although we were all at a similar stage in our careers, we all had our own unique aims going forward. I had been worried that there might be a competitive and closed off atmosphere, but it wasn’t like that at all. We have a WhatsApp group where we organise meet-ups and will often still run into each other at TV events.


What sort of on-going support have you received since the festival and how has it helped?

CM: I have been assigned a Mentor in the industry, and the Ones to Watch team will often get in touch to let me know about available spaces on talks, events and training that could be useful.


What was the most memorable part of the experience for you?

CM: I took part in a live speed pitch at the TV Festival. Ones to Watch teamed up with Channel 4 to allow delegates to pitch a short film idea to be part of their Random Acts strand. It was a daunting prospect and not something I’ll soon forget, but it was also a great confidence boost to pitch a project at the TV Festival, and I learned a lot about selling an idea in a short space of time.


What is the most significant thing you gained from being on the scheme?

CM: Being on Ones to Watch was a real breakthrough for me as it left me equipped with the contacts and confidence I needed to take a few risks to advance my career. I have also found that becoming a mentor to people at the start of their careers in the TV industry has been very rewarding. I so often find that I still need to take the advice that I give to them!


How has being on Ones to Watch impacted your career so far?

CM: Being on Ones to Watch has meant that I have been able to meet with people and companies that I may not have had an opportunity to beforehand. I have also learnt so much about the wider industry from the specially crafted Ones to Watch sessions at the TV Festival, which included talks from Jay Hunt, Ben Frow and Peter Salmon.


What would you say to someone who is thinking of applying to Ones to Watch?

CM: You won’t regret applying. Not only will attending the TV Festival give you a huge insight into what is coming up in the industry, you will also meet lots of lovely people. In your application just be you, and try to communicate how much you love working in TV. You should definitely own your achievements, but also don’t be afraid to be open about areas you want to improve and things you are finding difficult. The scheme exists to help people – so think about how you want to use what you gain on Ones to Watch to help the next generation entering the industry.

 

The deadline for applying to Ones to Watch is FRIDAY 27 APRIL.
Find out more and apply here.