Screw Work, Let’s Play by @johnsw

I’m chuffed to say that I’m ahead of the game on this book… it’s not yet out, although I’m looking forward to receiving my signed copy as soon as it’s available!

How did I meet John?

In 2007, having taken voluntary redundancy from the University of Manchester, I was trying to work out where next, and came across one of Barbara Sher’s books, which I found very revolutionary! I started to hunt around for something similar in the UK, and came across Scanner Central, run by John Williams, who had been on one of Barbara’s retreats (see a recent blog entry as to how he has made his ‘career path’, or should we say career hop, skip & jump, so successful). To be honest, I’m not sure whether I braved a Scanner’s Night ‘cold’, or whether I had already been chatting to @johnsw on Twitter… ah look, a previous blog entry tells me that it was the pull of a talk on social media that pulled me up to London! I have since been to several events (even made it onto the video here), and look forward to more (and wish I’d blogged about ALL the events I’ve been to..), but here’s one more from the event re: “getting yourself on TV“.

Share photos on  twitter with TwitpicScrew Work, Let’s Play

Since taking that redundancy, I’ve been ‘playing’ with various ideas, and in training as a life coach, realised how much I wanted to recapture that sense of ‘fun’ in whatever work I did, re-injecting life with colour. I have been experimenting with various things to see where I want to take it next, and so far have discovered that I love teaching (especially when I can inspire others to think differently) – especially groups, although I enjoy one-to-one mentoring also, that I can’t stand a 9-5, that I want to work with many different people, on many different projects (all informing each other in sometimes interesting and surprising ways), and that I am a real ‘Digital Resident’ (but that I very much want to find ways to ensure that I am in charge, rather than the digital life taking over!) – really enjoying developing community and communication (hence my PhD, and why I enjoyed being a tour leader so much). For years, as I’ve played around in the online world, I have produced material that others have found helpful, so in April  2009, I decided to rethink my ‘Web Consultancy’ ‘Mydesigna’, and focus it more towards social media (I’m more into structure, content and community, rather than programming or design – although I know what looks good!), creating

Screw Work, Let’s Play

In January 2010, John offered a few places on a 10 week teleseminar course (plus reduced entry to Scanner’s Night), which, despite an already over-heavy workload (which I want less of in the future… hence why I seized the opportunity), I decided to seize. I am looking forward to 5 weeks time, when teaching/marking comes to an end, and I can start to find some space to go back over the material, and consider where I want to develop some more thinking! The first activity we undertook was to determine our wealth dynamics profile (included as part of the course) – apparently I’m a “star”. I’m always fascinated by any kind of personality profiling (and would like to train in administering some!), whilst also determining what we were going to focus upon on this particular course – which I decided would be developing Digital Fingerprint. I plan to be back in the summer with more illustration of how I have developed since this course, but for now, it’s back to that pile of marking!! I’ll let you disappear off to read the blog for more, and order the book (recommended in today’s Sunday Times as one of the six hottest self-help books around – see image above)!

Event Life(style)

Could you be a TV expert? #ScannerCentral

Scanner’s Night!

Could you be a TV expert? Claire Richmond – Ex TV Producer…

Read the official blog from the event, and listen to the podcast…

Here’s my rough notes from the evening, notebook coming into play 🙂

Background of PR. Big Breakfast Work Experience, 3 years, 1 year blagging prizes. Moved to make TV programmes ? Endemol (Changing Rooms/Ready Steady Cook). London TV, BBC.

Aged 42, set up platform to help connect experts with TV programmes, can showcase selves to TV/industry… and journalists to find experts… Can’t get an agent until already known… TV already looking for the next big thing/twist/person…

UK leader in factual programming – watch/entertained, go away knowing something… TV Gold = formatted factual show, can recycle with different content year in year out. Everyone loves it – audiences know what they get, get professionals in. Experts, 3 minutes, breakfast shows, etc. Succinct. Experts – authority, credibility, passion to a show! Cross-section of people – those who challenge us/make us question how we think/entertain us/love to hate.

Meets with producers weekly to help hook up with … long & varied, especially gardening, property, cookery, new business, etc… TV helps raise your profile… Media Profile, sales of books, etc… If you’ve got it, flaunt it…

What makes a good TV expert?

Knowledge & Expertise – know their stuff (related background, almost any subject can works)

Passion (different forms, may not be TV personality)

Attitude (think Gordon Ramsey… engages – like or hate!)

Quirkiness/Uniqueness (bit different, mad & crazy)

Experts with access/projects working on (your clients/your world that TV researcher/producer won’t have access to – things that are everyday in your life, can make a producer excited, e.g. follow something being set up/a journey); friends with someone ‘in the know’ can give good access…

**** Change education from inside***

Entertain, Inspire, Inform… in that order!!!

Never go in saying you have a book to sell – if it’s part of the package it’s OK. Think what makes you special… same as if you’re launching a business/a product. Need that extra something that a researcher thinks will make it work…

Production Company – needs to pitch to a broadcaster, what is going to make a viewer want to watch you…

Top Ten: What Next?

  • Watch, Think, Read, Understand TV (Broadcast Magazine – what is happening/being commissioned, etc.; – all programmes – greenlit)
  • TV Researchers – are scanners – will be looking everywhere for talent, including blogs, TV, etc. Become an authority by writing a book… (could become a consultant on the programme?)
  • Give presentations at consumer fairs, etc. – whatever is related to your expertise – researcher may be there…
  • Google – come as high up as you can be in the searches… Keywords from USP – keep USP succinct
  • Make the news… e.g. via YouTube…
  • Be in the news. Chase up PR to get quoted in articles, get features written about you…  On the radio? Phone in because you never know who’s listening… If they like you, may get you back for something else…
  • Join relevant associations. Let them know that you want to be on the list of TV experts…  **** History and Policy***. University list of experts…
  • If young enough, long hours, no money, join production company as researcher, etc. as Kate Humble did…  The Time is Right/luckiness… e.g. Jamie Oliver – be proactive! Look for the Series Producer for the end credits…  let them know you exist & keep it short! Don’t call – send an email, as they’ll be thinking about something else…
  • The Back Door – expertise, show on TV with relevance… e.g. Come Dine With Me, if come across well, they then think, maybe we can use for something else… what else are they passionate about!
  • Join (discount voucher). Other roles within the show, not just on screen… Alternate weeks sends details of new experts to TV companies. Form of screentested. May not go anywhere, for many reasons, other than your own talent…
  • Hunt on Google for ‘contributors’ for a show… Who do you contact… ? Watch show, find out who its made by, find name of the Exec producer. Everyone’s freelance, so everyone else will probably have gone…

What about pitching your own format for an idea? It’s tricky – hard to have an idea no one had’s before… A lot of production companies (some say accept ideas) want to be the creators/owners of the idea and profit from it, otherwise it gets a bit difficult to say who it belongs to. Tended not to open emails that said “This is my idea”… Tend to have had the idea before, or triggers off an idea for something different… then whose idea is it!

Once get known for e.g. Jamie Oliver, for cooking – then can try out his other ideas such as School Dinners, etc… What IS different – something new setting up. Make it yourself & put it on YouTube (e.g. Make Up Tips, ended up on TV)

How do you entitle the email if you’re trying to attract TV – find someone who knows someone in TV. Getting on TV isn’t easy… thousands of other people with ideas/up against! Who Wants to Be a Millionaire  turned down for YEARS… can all be a question of timing!!! Networking is key.

Specialist factual genre – science, history, factual, etc… that’s different!!!  *** PhD thesis on posters BEFORE a book?*** ***Church and Media Network*** make more of those contacts!

What about regional/foreign accents… local accents are quite in!! Depends on the programme – sometimes it works!!

Posters: September Films: “The Power of the Poster”; “History in Pictures” WW2 memorabilia. More interest in that than doing the cartoon angle.. Series of 6 through images.. tell history through these iconic images… “Your Country Needs You”, “Keep Calm and Carry On” – what else is HUGE…

TV = visual – watch the coaching process – wouldn’t work on TV! People love transformation, has to happen quickly…  30 seconds…

Findadate – Ben – make the news – YouTube, Twitter #findmeadate, then you’ll be on This Morning…

Philip – wants to destroy the school system!! Find some unusual schools – the wackier the better so far as schools are concerned! Makeover – school turnaround (no?), need a result, compare something with something! Need to film in 3-6 months! Over half-hour slots… Kids in Charge – set up a school… Know what’s in the news – can you tie it into everything that going on… …


Scanner? For Sure!

I love this from Barbara Sher: “you wouldn’t ask a bird to pull a plough. It’s not cos it’s an inferior bird, a naughty bird or a lazy bird. It’s just cos it does other stuff and there are animals who do that… it’s their thing, they know how to pull a plough. And there are people who do the things you don’t like to do, and they like to do them, and they’ll do them better than you’ll ever do them on your best day because they get a kick out of it!”

Barbara Sher
First came across Barbara Sher in 2007, when I was trying to decide what I SHOULD do “for the rest of my life”, not sure that’s for me, and coming to terms with the fact that I can do many things, and that my passion for doing them means that I’ll do them well, but there reaches a point where I’m done! I have noted, however, that my interests circulate around learning/research, teaching/academia (post-compulsory), communication, community creation (online, including new media or offline) and contemporary Christianity!
Scanners Night, 8th July
Looking forward to going to a Scanner’s Night in London next Wednesday (organised by John Williams), with San Sharma, a Social Media Consultant.