This year the Media Production Show took place at London’s Olympia venue, its second edition falling in nicely with the start of the summer. Organized across a range of pop-up stalls, camera studios and platforms for the key interviewers, visitors were free to roam from stall to stall, networking, engaging and hearing about new developments in the industry.
With more than 100 speakers across the different panels–from The Missing’s writers and co-creators Harry and Jack Williams to Paul Machliss and his insightful points on editing on-set–the Media Production Show really came into its own in terms of style. Highlights of the show included kit and equipment exhibitions, networking opportunities, and masterclasses which covered everything from colouring, content, distribution forms and post-production. There really was something for everyone. From editors and VFX specialists working on features to camera operators and screenwriters working in television, the atmosphere was one of great optimism.
Day One of the show began on a positive note, kicking off with brothers Jack and Harry Williams’ keynote interview. Having co-written and produced (with no trace of sibling rivalry I might add) the award-winning series The Missing, the two provided continuous nuggets of knowledge for hopefuls just starting out. Their inspiration for writing, they explained, was conducive to constantly working and bouncing ideas off one another. They also talked about location scouting within a production, and that compromising on a location budget is not always necessary (If it’s a good idea, funding will be found). They also touched on the importance of being able to multitask and understand the business and financial decisions involved in launching your own creation into the unknown.
As Jack himself said, business was not something he had planned into the folds of a writing career; but in film–or TV–it’s a must. And what with their recent contract with All3 Media, it’s safe to say they know exactly what they’re talking about.
Next up was the Editing Masterclass, delivered by Paul Machliss, editor of the well-known Scott Pilgrim vs the World and Baby Driver. What followed was the interesting analysis of his process for the latter, and how, given that the film relies on music to set the pace (main character Baby has tinnitus and requires the beat of his I-Pod music to get through his days), it was easier for Paul to carry out the editing on set. This way he could observe the rhythm as he went along. This tied in nicely with talks of current and new software, as he could work on set at the same time the footage was received. Editing, as he tells us in his own words, is like telling a good joke: delivering the punchline depends (in a big way) on excellent timing.
Though a legend in the editing world now, Paul Machliss came from humble beginnings. He kickstarted his career as a runner at a television station in Melbourne, though he said this was punctuated by long periods of boredom and eventually frustration, as those around him were involved in the editing and he lingered on in the background. After moving to London and working on a documentary, however, he got his lucky break. He met Edgar Wright, who invited him to edit his series Spaced, and the rest, as he said with a modest smile, “is history”.
Finally, I sat down to watch what would be my final interview of the day, the New Kings of Content seminar, featuring Alex Morris, Chris Bonney and Richard Chambers, CEOs of Barcroft Media, Cineflix and Zoomin’ TV respectively. This seminar explored new developments in video production, mostly the exploitation of rising opportunities online, and how young producers are commissioned to create short, punchy and true videos for the their young counterparts to enjoy.
Wandering from stall to stall, it became apparent how expanding and growing the media industry really is, particularly for young professionals. There are new developments to explore and exploit every day; whether it’s camera novelties, electronic designs or Youtubers new to the scene, it really is a great time to break into this industry.
Elena Alston is a script editor and content writer living in London. Recently graduated with an MA in creative writing at Brunel University, she specialises in screenplay editing and fantasy fiction, but also writes horror, sci-fi and satire.