What is your experience within the television and film industry?
I started out working in local radio at BBC Solent in the newsroom and on a number of phone-in programmes. I’ve worked in TV for 14 years – everything from post-production and production co-ordinating to researching on a variety of science, archaeology and history shows for the BBC. I then specialized in Development and have had ideas commissioned on all the BBC channels, as well as Discovery, TLC, the Travel Channel and the Science Channel among others. During that time, I spent two years working in development in the USA.
I now run a mentoring scheme for Women in Film and Television, teach development and have written a book – Greenlit: Developing Factual / Reality TV Ideas from Concept to Pitch. I’m due to publish another in 2012, Give Me the Money and I’ll Shoot: Finance Your Factual TV/Film Project.
What is TV Mole; what does it aim to do?
It is a free resource for anyone who wants to develop and pitch factual TV programme ideas. It’s constantly updated with factual commissions in the UK, USA and beyond and I post development and pitch training opportunities, as well as funding sources and general industry intelligence. There’s also a very popular section on how to write a TV proposal.
Scene Profiles: Zai Bennett (Controller, BBC Three) & Karl Warner (Commissioning Editor for Entertainment & Executive Producer, BBC)0
Can you tell us a little bit about yourself and what you do?
ZB: I’m the Channel Controller of BBC Three , which means I run the channel and decide what shows to commission for BBC Three on TV as well as BBC Three content online.
KW: I’m a Commissioning Editor for Entertainment programmes at the BBC. I also Exec Produce the programmes I help commission, which range from Michael McIntyre’s Comedy Roadshow on BBC1 to Junior Doctors on BBC3.
How did you get started and what have been your most favourite or proud achievements?
ZB: After finishing University I started my TV career in the post room at Carlton TV in 1996. My proudest achievement so far has been creating a family of successful channels at ITV which were hugely watched, award winning and creatively praised, something I hope to continue at the BBC.
KW: I started as a runner at Endemol when I left University and one of my proudest moments was winning my first commission as a Development Researcher at the BBC. One of my favourite moments was making George Galloway pretend to be a Cat on Celebrity Big Brother!
Who are ‘Brown Paper Dolls’? How and why was it created?
Brown Paper Dolls is made up of three ladies Asha Kamali May, Dana Gills and Jeanette McDuffie. We are a production company, all Chicago, IL natives now living in Los Angeles, that began to work together three years ago on our first project, Milk + Honey. Our goal is to tell and celebrate untold universal stories from unique perspectives. We were all at a point where we were seeking opportunities in our individual careers and felt that it was time to do what we wanted to do individually and tell the stories that we, and our audiences, wanted to see.
Can you tell us a little bit about your projects such as the Milk + Honey series? Any exclusive information on what's next?
We are working on a number of projects. Milk + Honey is our tent-pole project–it is a scripted series we have created for TV & the web. We envision it as content that will live on multiple platforms. As you might know, to take projects from page to screen is a process and we are currently in talks with distribution companies to bring Milk + Honey to screen soon! Brown Paper Dolls has a slate of upcoming projects, including documentaries, films and web series.
Scene Profiles…Aml Ameen, Actor, Artistic Director (ASA Drama School) and Executive Producer (AmeenDream Entertainment)2
Please tell us a little about yourself and what you do?
My name is Aml Ameen (Aml means ‘hope’ in Arabic). I’m British-born and of Caribbean descent; my dad is from St Vincent and my mum is British born Jamaican. I am an actor and have been working professionally for 20 years from the age of 6. People may know me from ‘Kidulthood’ or ‘The Bill’, which I starred in during 2006, or ‘Harry’s Law’ for the American audiences.
I’m also the artistic director of ASA Drama School, which I founded in 2009, and executive producer of AmeenDream Entertainment, my film and TV production company. So far we’ve produced four short films and are now moving into feature films and online TV. That’s me!
Scene Profiles…Laxmi Hariharan, Marketing and Research Director at NBC Universal Networks International0
Please tell us a little bit about yourself; what do you do and how did you get started?
I am currently the Marketing & Research Director at NBC Universal Networks International. I started life as a journalist before starting JAM, India’s first youth magazine. Then I was part of the team that launched MTV India. I also worked in the Far East for a few years before moving to London.
Please tell us a little bit about yourself and what do you do.
My name is Susan Younis and I am a TV producer / Director as well as co-founder of the website Punchbowlblog.com. I have worked in TV since 2003 and launched the site in 2009. I am now based in Lagos, Nigeria where I have set up my own production company. My clients include MTV BASE Africa, Coca Cola, Nickelodeon, Alexander Amosu and more. I am also looking to start directing music videos later this year.
Tell us a little bit about yourself; how are you involved in the television industry and what are some of your achievements?
I’m from London. After studying law at Oxford, I broke into Television by working in script development. I worked in Script Development at BBC Children’s Drama for 3 years before I left to focus on writing. As a writer I have written for shows including Eastenders, Casualty and Holby City. I also wrote for the children’s series The Story of Tracy Beaker. In 2010, I wrote The Future WAGs of Great Britain for Channel 4 and I also wrote the television movie Three Wise Women for Hallmark US, adapted from an idea by the best-selling author Cecelia Ahern. I currently have film and TV projects in development and a commission for Channel 4. In 2008 I was selected by Broadcast Magazine as one of the top writers under 30 working in the industry for its annual Hotshots feature. I am currently based in New York.