Production Hive – leeching off unwary freelancers .

Sites that charge freelancers for the right to apply for jobs get pretty short shrift on here. Rightly so because these companies (the likes of mandy.com and Production Base) are doing little more than sucking money out of the pockets of industry workers while providing precisely zero value along the way, given that almost all the jobs they advertise are also available on free-to-use social media sites.

However at least companies like these – gutter inhabitants that they are – are honest about what they are doing, picking your pocket with upfront fees for the trade they peddle.

Not so a company called “Production Hive” however.

This set-up (run by former Production Base employee, Matt Williams) likes to ply its trade on the back of some very crafty subterfuge, on the back of a lie that freelancers “can register, create a professional profile, upload a CV and reel, and browse, search and apply for jobs for FREE” (its Linkedin page), that it is a “FREE online crewing & networking community for freelancers” (its Facebook page) and that you can “apply to our job listings Film & TV job listings FREE” (its own site)

Not remotely true.

Because what the company doesn’t choose to tell you is that you only get one free-to-apply to job per month, and after that it’s a princely £10 a month to apply for anything else that is advertised on the site (which you only find out when you try to make a second application). And given that pretty much all the jobs on there are free to apply to on the advertising company’s own sites or social media pages, or on other free to use places, paying Production Hive to apply for them is pretty much akin to tearing up crisp fivers and chucking them down the toilet.

I asked Matt Williams why he is claiming his offering is free for freelancers when it clearly isn’t. He had nothing to offer on that front however. It seems he is happy for his site to continue to hide these charges from immediate public view in the hope that he can lure in some unwary freelancers who might assume that if he says that all jobs are free to apply to on his site, that that might actually be true.

It isn’t, so watch out. Production Hive – AVOID!

Researcher, Edit Assistant and Production Assistant Trainees wanted.

Rad Scotland and Rad Cymru Wales have launched in 2022. They are paid eight-month traineeships within a Scottish or Welsh independent television production company which includes full training throughout the placement.

The programmes are aimed at those who are underrepresented in the TV industry: those either with a disability, from Black, Asian or minority ethnic communities or from disadvantaged backgrounds.

There are multiple positions available across three roles: Researcher, Edit Assistant and Production Assistant.

Applications for rad 2022 are now open. The deadline for rad Scotland is 24th March 2022 and the deadline for rad Cymru Wales is 28th March 2022.

Full details of how to apply and FAQs are available here:

Rad Scotland

Rad Cymru Wales

Production Co-ordinator Training Programme.

A new scheme from Screenskills well worth signing up for if you are interested in a Line Producer/Production Manager career route. The course will run between 9th May-16th May 2022 on Zoom and include:

Production co-ordinator training;

6 x 1hr mentoring sessions with industry professionals;

Up to 12 months of paid placements (4 x 3 months) in the following areas:
– Cardiff- Bristol- London- Manchester- Glasgow- Leeds- Belfast.

This training programme is heavily subsidised with a fee of only £200, payable by successful delegates or their employers, with bursaries available for those who require support. Further details about the programme can be found here.

Adam Sparrow. TV Director.

I see the bird has flown.

It is not unusual for a rogue company or two to end up on these pages for failing to pay TV workers. However it really is a much grimmer affair when a freelancer does it to another freelancer, particularly when it is to a relatively new entrant to the industry.

The freelancer in question (the one who is doing the stiffing) is Adam Sparrow, sometime Director for ITV on Good Morning Britain, I’m a Celebrity and Ready to Mingle and also Executive Producer on Cage Warriors via his set up “Treedo Media”.

It seems that, while Adam was happy enough to use someone for their work on his production, he was less happy to actually pay for the services he received, flapping off sharpish and ignoring invoices and emails as he left (and ever since).

Shame that a freelancer would do that to a fellow worker. However it is good to be able to highlight it so that he doesn’t escape totally scot-free.

Caution is the watchword then, for any freelancer approached with offers of work from this Adam Sparrow.

Two articles all industry freelancers should read…

Firstly a blog from freelancer Fanta Jarjussey, explaining why she feels the time has come for her to leave the industry. It’s a sober read, also coming in the same week in which Broadcast highlights the best places to work in the industry.

Jarjussey’s reasons for leaving will strike a chord with many, including “detrimental programming”, racism, and (of course) working hours and conditions.

In contrast, the best companies featured in the Broadcast piece highlight why their places of work have come out top of the survey:

‘We have a relaxed, friendly, energetic and noisy culture that helps build trust and cohesion’ (Multistory Media)

We reach out beyond the established pool of talent to find people outside the London TV bubble – and even outside the industry’ (Blast Films)

‘We don’t clock-watch or call people out if they happen to leave the office early or arrive late. We trust our staff to do their jobs’ (Wildflame Productions)

Serra Erkli. Moishe film.

Freelancers should be aware of a Producer called Serra Erkli, who is currently recruiting workers for a film being shot in Portumna, Ireland in March.

The work is on a film called Moishe and is for a Runner/Driver. It is being advertised at £100 a day but, when freelancers are contacted, that rate is then knocked down to considerably less, one which is lower than the legal minimum.

Serra Erkli has been asked why the minimum wage isn’t being paid for the work but she is unable to say. Caution should be exercised by anyone who is contacted about this production: it may very well add up to less than it first seems.

Too much work, not enough trained workers.

That’s the conclusion Screenskills have come to in their latest report on the state of employment in our industry, which reveals there are acute shortages of suitably skilled workers in various unscripted TV roles.

This may come as a surprise to you if you are are struggling for work but the report concludes that the hardest-to-fill roles are production coordinator, production manager, editor and series producer, although other grades have shortages too.

It’s a report that is well worth reading, albeit the chances of anything changing to improve the situation feel somewhat remote, given the current governmental attacks on the BBC, historically the biggest trainer of them all. There is also something systemically dysfunctional in an industry which requires skilled workers but is based on short term hiring, tight budgets and no incentive for individual companies to make the investment in workers who may well be gone the next day.

Time for some joined-up thinking between broadcasters, producers and trainers.

Rajesh Kalhan. Boy About Town Films. Selfie Control.

An individual called Rajesh Kalhan – also Rajesh Kalan – (Boy About Town Films) recently posted an advert for an unpaid Runner on the Runners Facebook page. We never take adverts for unpaid work on that page as it is a place where professionals congregate for paid work and young entrants to the industry can feel safe from exploitation.

If anyone has taken this work and not been paid for it, please feel free to make contact and we will pursue this chancer for the pay you should have received.

Meanwhile Rajesh Kalhan – freelancers beware.

Senior production roles at Nutopia.

This looks good:

Nutopia partners with Creative Access and National Geographic to launch pioneering new initiative to tackle senior-level diversity in TV

 Award-winning production company Nutopia and Creative Access, the leading diversity social enterprise, are today launching ‘Nutopia Partnerships,’ an ambitious new collaboration to address the under-representation of people from Black, Asian and other ethnic backgrounds at senior levels in the TV industry.

As part of the new landmark programme, Nutopia is offering a unique opportunity, funded by National Geographic, for four experienced individuals to join the team on a multi-part multi year global adventure series.

Less than 10% of senior production roles in the UK TV industry are held by people from Black, Asian and other ethnic backgrounds, according to the Creative Diversity Network*. The Nutopia Partnerships initiative is the first programme of its kind specifically designed to tackle senior-level diversity in the industry and the first to be led by an independent production company. It is part of Nutopia’s ambitious new diversity and inclusion strategy spearheaded by CEO and Founder, Jane Root and supported by Creative Access, who work with over 450 employers across the creative industries to enable them to be more accessible, representative and inclusive through progressive recruitment, training and mentoring.

The Nutopia Partnerships will be an accelerator programme aimed at creating the next generation of creative leaders by offering a training opportunity to traditionally underrepresented groups.

From today candidates from Black, Asian and other ethnic backgrounds, who have already taken on senior roles in TV and film. The positive action programme is designed for both the existing senior production team and the successful applicants to learn new skills and approaches. The successful candidates will receive insight and experience on the making of an episode from start to finish, under the guidance of senior leadership; deepen their leadership, financial and technical skills and have first-hand on location experience in the most challenging situations. They will bring new insights to our senior team, driving the next level of creative aspiration across Nutopia. To find out more and apply go to: creativeaccess.org.uk.

“While we are seeing progress being made to address diversity at entry-level in the TV industry, the lack of diversity at senior levels remains a serious and concerning issue and is a real barrier to the retention and progression of the new, more diverse junior talent coming in to the industry,” says Josie Dobrin, founder and CEO, Creative Access.

“This new, industry-leading collaboration between Nutopia and Creative Access is designed to specifically target this issue. We are very proud to be working with Nutopia, as well as National Geographic to drive meaningful change in diversity at senior levels in the industry,”

“At Nutopia to achieve the next level of creative aspiration we need to invite people in and embed different voices and experiences in our core. We are proud to partner with National Geographic and Creative Access on the Nutopia Partnerships,” says Jane Root, founder and CEO, Nutopia.

“Our aim is to create a lasting legacy within factual television across senior levels. There’s much work to be done, and we will continue to learn as we make progress through our most comprehensive initiative to date.”

Who is eligible to apply?

Candidates applying should be currently working at Line Producer/Producer /Series Producer / Director level or similar and looking to further progress to the next level or make the move into high end factual TV.  The Nutopia Partnerships are designed to give the successful candidates space to bring their creativity into the world of factual adventure.

As a Nutopia Partner they will embark on a 12-month programme that will take them through all the processes of senior leadership in a multi-part global factual series, from development of the episode story, production on location with a large crew and then edit oversight.

In addition, they will also be provided with a curriculum of leadership coaching, a bespoke training plan with focus areas for individual development and a mentor, to give them the skills and experience to make the move into a senior role in the premium factual genre. They will be funded to participate at a rate commensurate with current salary.

The ‘Nutopia Partnerships’ will run over two years. There will be four Nutopia Partners who each join the team for 12 months and we are looking for people to join the 2022 cohort.  

For further information, please contact:

Bibi Hilton, Director of Communications, Creative Access: Bibi@creativeaccess.org.uk. 07989 571 978

Nekisha Mendez, Senior Marketing & PR Manager: Nekisha.mendez@nutopia.com

FURTHER APPLICATION DETAILS

The Nutopia Partnership project will run over two years. There will be four Nutopia Partners in total, completing 1 year each and recruitment is opening from February 10th for year one.

The team particularly want to hear from adaptable and collaborative individuals with the following knowledge, skills, and experience:

  • Demonstrable experience at mid- senior level, Line Producer, Producer, Series Producer
  • The desire to learn more about the whole process of making high-end factual entertainment TV.
  • Proven creative leadership
  • Excellent interpersonal skills, able to maintain key relationships with multiple stakeholders.
  • Confidence to think analytically and make effective decisions in fast changing environments.
  • A commitment to this project for 12 months with an interest in building a career in factual documentary.

To apply

Please upload your CV & covering letter as a single document at Creative Access by 3rd, March 2022.

About Creative Access

Creative Access is anot-for-profit social enterprise, unrivalled in diverse recruitment, training and inclusion. The organisation aims to support talented people from groups that are under-represented in terms of ethnicity, socio-economic background and disability, or facing significant barriers to employment, to not just enter the creative industries, but to thrive when they get in.

About Nutopia

Nutopia is known for creating award-winning, factual series on a global scale, and a new genre of television, the “mega-doc,” which combines epic cinematography with action-driven drama or high-end documentary and A-list talent. The company, which was founded in 2008 by Jane Root, former President of Discovery Channel US and Controller of BBC2, and co-founder of Wall to Wall TV, has become synonymous with creating high-quality, notable content for buyers that include Netflix, Disney+, CNN, National Geographic, BBC, PBS, HBO Max, and A+E Networks. Upcoming projects include Limitless with Chris Hemsworth and Pole to Pole with Will Smith. Nutopia has also produced Welcome to Earth with Will Smith for Disney+, One

Strange Rock for National Geographic, A World of Calm for HBOMax, The Last Czars for Netflix, and Emmy® Award-winning series How We Got To Now and America: The Story Of Us for PBS.