GriersonDocLab In Focus training scheme

The Grierson Trust has opened two documentary training schemes that in partnership with Netflix. Each scheme offers eight successful trainees (aged 18+ and UK-based) intensive training, a paid contract on a Netflix documentary production lasting up to three months, an industry mentorship and more.

The schemes are for Documentary Editing and Production Management.

The Production Management scheme is open to applicants with 3+ years’ experience working in a role with transferable skills, including: excellent communication, project management, event management and problem solving. The training will focus on all the logistical and administrative tasks involved in working in documentary production management.

The Editing training programme seeks candidates who have the technical ability to edit, whether that’s on Avid or another editing software, and who want to step up to the role of Assistant Editor. Though the scheme accepts people with proficiency in other editing software, note that the training will be run on Avid. 

Both schemes especially welcome applications from people currently under-represented in the industry. That includes, but is not limited to, people from ethnic minority backgrounds, disabled people, those from the LGBTQ+ community and people from lower socio-economic backgrounds.

Find out more and apply via the online application forms.

Deadline 8 July at 5pm

Mark Forstater. Matthew Critchfield. Nathan Neuman. Swipe Fever.

Another sorry tale of woe has reached the Watercooler. A film called “Swipe Fever”, produced by the three individuals listed above, where freelancers were taken on in good faith that they would be paid for their work and then discovered that the cupboard was pretty bare when they presented their invoices.

Since shooting in 2020, there has been nothing but a litany of excuses and promises about this investor and that from Mark Forstater. Hard cash however, there has been none.

Freelancers and suppliers may wish to take the above into account when/if they consider entering into any kind of working relationship with any of these three in the future.

Remember the names: Mark Forstater. Matthew Critchfield. Nathan Neuman.

Luke Elkins.

Sites which charge industry jobseekers a fee for freelancers to see job adverts are rightly despised by all right-thinking workers in the business, given that they simply suck money out of the system while adding nothing of value themselves (given that almost all industry jobs are available on free-to-use social media pages). Sites like Production Base, Production Hive and mandy are best avoided on that basis, not least also that many are used by exploitative employers looking for unpaid workers.

It appears however that there are also now others who are trying to make a fast buck, but this time at the expense of employers. An individual called Luke Elkins in this case who, when employers post their jobs on free sites which they know and trust, simply takes them and reposts them on a page which he seeks to monetise.

The net result is that, when employers wish to close their job advert, they find they can’t effectively do that as the job advert stays live on Elkins‘ site (which they have no control over), resulting in numerous unwanted applications coming in, and of course wasting freelancers’ time and effort, who can also readily find the same adverts elsewhere. When asked to remove the adverts by employers, Elkins simply refuses to.

Elkins is by all accounts also a sometime freelancer in the business. Hopefully employers will remember the name and behaviour when he comes around looking for work, which is unlikely to be in a positive way given the continued inconvenience he foists upon them by what he does. He is clearly not the sharpest tool in the box, given that our industry often operates on reputation spread by word of mouth.

And if you are a new entrant to the industry and you want to see all the available jobs, you only need to visit this page, the largest TV job recruitment site in the UK. It’s where Elkins likes to pay his daily visits to fill his Facebook page, but why not get ahead of the queue and go to the original source as and when they’re actually put up by the employers, instead of second hand and hours later!

Studio Cypherpunk. Hashim Shubbar and Ida Thomasdotter.

Where’s the harm? The name of the production in the hands of these two individuals; Hashim AlShubbar (Producer) and Ida Thomasdotter (Director/Writer). Well it seems that the harm comes to those who have been unfortunate enough to become involved in making this particular piece of work via their company Cypherpunk Studio, as all who did (both cast and crew) have been left empty of pocket, having trusted these two to pay their invoices but found, when they were were submitted, that the cupboard was very bare indeed.

Ida, who claims she has an “unavoidable propensity for the melancholic and bleak” is clearly so absorbed by the dark side that she has found herself unable to focus on the bleak and melancholic immediate future of the cast and crew being unable to pay their bills, given her lack of interest in saying when that payment might be. Hashim too is also somewhat diffident about such earthly things, taking umbrage at the idea that it might be part of his duties as “Producer” of this particular project, to meet the crew’s invoices with some cold, hard cash.

Vague promises there have been plenty but actual money: none. Apparently it is AlShubbar and Thomasdotter‘s intention to make more of these shows. Let’s hope not. The intention of the series is (apparently) to “shed light on the dark side of humanity”. They’ve certainly done that, given their failure to treat people with the minimum amount of respect that a paid invoice conveys. Dark and unpleasant indeed.

As such, these two hapless individuals are a couple of names to keep a firm and wary eye on in the future as it would be clearly wise to take a wide berth around them, together or individually. That is if you want to be paid for your work.

Studio Cypherpunk. Hashim Shubbar and Ida Thomasdotter: freelancers, kit suppliers and the rest of the industry – avoid!

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 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.