Welcome to the first in our Production Profiles series! Each month we will have a Q&A with key industry professionals across a wide range of roles in the TV & film industry.
We we’re thrilled that Ally agreed to be our first profile. Her career has taken her across the world (with a Spice Girl!) and back again (on crutches…) but we’ll let her tell you about that!
What is the best way to start your day… what do you do each morning without fail?
Every morning without fail by 7 am I have made something out of Lego! Not necessarily out of choice…
What is your favourite music to inspire you or create productivity?
Since I became a mother 5 years ago, I have forgotten what my favourite music is…my son insists on the car playlist which ranges from Bruno Mars to Glen Campbell
Being a parent and having such an important job must take up the majority of your time! If you do ever get some spare time, outside of TV what do you do for fun?
I swim & I bake!
What is the most random job you’ve ever had?
Dressing up as a tiger in France for the summer of ’99
What is your favourite place in the world to be and why?
A spa, it doesn’t matter where but I’ll have a gin & tonic in my hand.
What is your biggest achievement personally?
Running the Chicago Marathon when I have decidedly dodgy joints. Admittedly the second year I did it was probably a bit ambitious as what followed involved 2 years of my legs in plaster…
How did your career in TV start?
I trained in theatre stage management and a fellow student friend of mine got offered 2 telly jobs on the same day. She couldn’t do both so I did one of them; it was my first job at the BBC as a 3rd AD in the Entertainment department.
Did you always want this type of career?
Kind of…before I know what they were really like, I quite fancied the idea of being a presenter. Ulcerated vocal chords put an end to that idea when I was 18!
What were your first experiences of working in this industry?
Positive – amazing good fun, especially as I was working in Ents so the output was (mostly) funny. Very much a work hard, play hard ethic in the good old days of TV Centre…meeting an array of interesting people. Negative – dealing with divas, there are loads of them in Ents! Also breaking my leg on location!
What is the most rewarding thing about your job?
Seeing the programmes I have worked on getting on air. I still feel very proud of the output I am involved with.
What are the hardest challenges you’ve faced over the years?
Coast – series 1. I could also name a few people that I’d consider challenging but I’d probably never work again if I did.
What would you consider your main achievements to be?
Coast – series 1! TV is not easy by any stretch so every battle I’ve overcome, be it a fee negotiation with a celebrity chef to a commissioning contract I have finally understood, I consider an achievement.
What are the biggest changes you’ve noticed since starting out?
Budgets are squeezed more than ever and deliveries get tighter.
Looking To The Future
How do you see the industry changing in the coming years?
Production management salaries need to be brought into line with their editorial counterparts, fact!
What would you like to be doing in 10 years?
I’d like to be a Head of Production who can manage to take all their annual leave!
One piece of advice you wish you had been given when starting out?
Not every shoot will involve a trip to Rio with a Spice Girl, a fortnight in Australia or the chance to eat your body weight in cake – those ones are to be relished!
And finally, any words of wisdom for the new generation coming through the industry?
Work hard, be nice. Try everything before you decide what you want to do & you’ll go a long way.
Thank you, Ally! It’s been great getting to know you today and I think anyone starting out in the industry will be grateful for the advice. Work hard, be nice..
Leanne Hewish (c) BiTC Media Limited 2018