News Reel & Blog

Written by Jack Hopkins on 21st June 2018

We’re pleased to be featuring Audrey Cairo in this week’s blog. Audrey was a Senior Consultant at Searchlight for a number of years before training as a Career Coach. She now works with a broad range of people helping them identify out what they want from their careers -  and from life in general.  

She’s a real people person, and became a certified coach in 2016, offering support in both personal and professional development.  One of the main aspects of career coaching that Audrey focuses on is the exploration of what someone actually wants from their job. It’s important to find an equilibrium between careers and lives, and she collaborates with the client to tackle this conundrum by delving in to how people personally feel about employment and how this mindset could be improved.

By offering a confidential space, Audrey works with her clients to explore, dream and discover. From here, both parties collaborate to create an action plan that establishes their personal self-worth and motivation within a working environment. She utilizes the importance of a positive mind-set and how self-awareness is key to progression within personal and professional development. One thing that Audrey encourages in her sessions is the element of choice. Knowing everything is your choice can really help you control the direction you would like to take.

Audrey has also been keeping busy with her private clients. She free-lances as a Life Coach for Spark Inside, facilitating workshops in prisons for young males aged 15 to 25 who want to create a crime-free future. She’s also a huge advocate of changing the perception of mental health, working as a Sanctus Coach within a variety of companies & start ups, creating a safe space for people to talk about mental health within the workplace.

Her roots as a consultant haven’t completely left her either! Audrey can be frequently seen at schemes such as RTS Futures, offering advice to aspiring creatives as they attempt to plan their career routes and build their CVs.

You can find out more about Coaching with Audrey Cairo and how to contact her by going to our website.

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Written by Jack Hopkins on 7th June 2018

Twickenham Studios, one of Britain’s most prestigious film studios has made film history with a impressive move up North! It’s to open an arm in Merseyside’s Littlewoods Building, as Liverpool pushes to become the centre point of British cinema.

The studios have struck a ground-breaking deal to take 8,000 square metres within the building, which is currently under a £50 million refurbishment.

Twickenham Studios is one of Britain's oldest film studios and was the biggest of its kind when it opened its doors in 1913. Since then, the studios have contributed towards a hugely impressive collective of titles. Namely, McMafia, Black Mirror, All The Money in the World, The Italian Job and Baby Driver. They were also involved with the first two Beatles films, A Hard Day's Night and Help! Establishing it a staple of the British film industry.

Maria Walker, the CEO of Twickenham Studios states that “this is a major milestone in our history. When we saw the vision for Littlewoods, we knew we had to be a part of what will be an incredibly special place.” The Littlewoods building has been very versatile over the years, facilitating the manufacture of materials for WW2, and now playing a massive part in the future of British cinema. She continues by explaining how "Liverpool's architecture, accessibility and can-do attitude sees film-makers return to the city time and time again. With the added benefit of our studios, they'll have access to gold-standard interior facilities right on the doorstep of unique exterior locations.”

This is an amazing move for British cinema and its future within a Hollywood orientated world. This new Northern outpost will provide a much needed boost to British cinema, as it looks to build on the amazing creativity of the city of Liverpool, which saw over 1,359 days of filming across 289 projects last year.

Congratulations again to Twickenham Studios for achieving this amazing partnership, which will continue to fuel our much-loved film industry!

 

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Written by Jack Hopkins on 31st May 2018

The Searchlight Team were at Google UK to provide an insight into what makes a great CV, a stand-out cover letter and how to break into the media and entertainment industries.

Our session was part of The Media Trust’s Creativity Works: Multimedia Genius Training, supported by Mayor’s Fund for London and Berkeley Foundation. It’s a ‘free intensive 10-week crash-course of high-impact media masterclasses and employment skills training for media-focused Londoners who are not in employment, education or training.’

We started with an introduction to some of our employment histories as consultants. Cathy has a background within film editing, Amy originally came from a retail background and Victoria was originally a dancer and an actor! Victoria then continued with a deep insight into what should and shouldn’t be in a CV and Amy followed by discussing the structure of a cover letter and how they should be laid out. We then had a Q&A session where attendees had the chance to dispel any myths or concerns they had about recruitment within the media industry.

Following on, we put on a workshop that pulled together all the advice and insights into the job application process we had presented on. Those in attendance had to put together cover letters from example job-ads, with our consultants also on hand to offer CV advice.

We had a really good time at Google UK and we hope those who attended our session did too! We really hope to see you as you progress throughout your media careers and who knows, our paths may cross again down the line!

Many thanks to The Media Trust, The Mayor’s fund and The Berkeley Foundation for everything they do to provide opportunities for young creatives to break into the industry, and for allowing us to play a small part in their inspirational training scheme.

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Written by Jack Hopkins on 23rd May 2018

Searchlight attended the last ever Royal Television Society event to be hosted at the ITV studios, AI in Broadcasting: Added Insights and Creative Help. It was a fascinating event which explored the ways in which Artificial Intelligence could positively effect the media industries, the limitations of it and when and how it’s going to be introduced to the creative environments. Chaired by Andrew McIntosh, the Head of Television Analysis at Enders Analysis, the night consisted of micro-presentations and a Q&A panel session to round off discussions.

Ian Whitfield, the founder of Virtual AI,  kicked off proceedings with a presentation that introduced AI to the audience. He began by explaining that AI is simply the action of teaching a robot to do what humans do and that is the way it should always be - one of the main topics that flowed throughout the evening. He also summarised by explaining how the prices of AI are beginning to drop considerably in this ultra-technological age, compared to the mind-blowing costs during the 60s and 70s.

Doug Clark, Global Solution Leader of Cloud and cognitive, stepped up next and discussed the innovations that IBM are working on. Watson Video enrichment was one of these which allows a robot to translate verbal on-screen material into subtitles, cutting out time and labour. He closed by saying that Vodafone users who speak to someone on their app, are actually speaking to a robot, showing how far AI has come in terms of the humanisation of its output.

Cassian Harrison, the Channel Editor for BBC Four, and George Wright, the Head of Internet Research and Future Services concluded the presentations with an insight to how the BBC are starting to use AI. Harrison wanted to analysis the shift in trends within The UK Top 40 over the last 50 years. This subsequently showed that guitar lead songs transformed into electro, then onto disco and finally into hip-hop, annoying quite a lot of punk-enthusiasts in the process.  Wright concluded that AI should always be controlled by humans, stating quite hilariously that “if your AI isn’t controlled by a human, you’re in trouble!”

The evening was rounded off by an excellent panel session, which explained that AI is a brilliant way to save time, labour and could possibly even improve the experience for the consumer, beyond what a human could do. All of the participants of the evening concluded that AI should exist to allow humans to focus on what they can do best, performing tasks that humans can do but robots can’t.

Thanks to the RTS for orchestrating an amazing evening, to ITV for hosting us for the very last time and to the guest speakers who gave us a deep and entertaining insight into the weird and wonderful world of AI.

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Written by Jack Hopkins on 13th April 2018

MIPTV is the place to be if you’re in the buying, selling, financing and distributing entertainment content market. It takes place in the (usually) sunny Cannes and over the last few days there were some huge announcements and ground-breaking deals made – here are our highlights from this year’s event.

The head of content strategy and planning at Facebook kicked off the week with a digitally charged talk about technology in the entertainment sphere, and the restrictions that surround it in a saturated marketplace. Matthew Henick stated that, “the issue with these golden ages is innovation becomes harder; it reduces creative risk-taking.” With 70% of the consumption of Netflix occurring on a television maybe it’s going to be the quality of content that’s going to make companies stand-out rather than their innovative ways of delivering it?

Robert Rodriguez also rocked up at Cannes to talk about his latest project, The Limit. The Machete, Sin City and From Dusk ‘Til Dawn director is returning with a live-action, short form virtual-reality series. It will premiere  on Surreal, a VR app being launched after for VR headsets later this year in an attempt to attract a younger, millennial audience through their smartphones.

The scripted web-series, Carmilla, won this year’s MIPTV 2018 Brand Content of the Year award.It follows the life of a vlogging student whose roommate goes missing, and is replaced by the mysterious Carmilla. The series has taken the digital world by storm, with over 71m views on YouTube and being  viewed in over 190 countries.

Finally, there was also an insightful talk on the influx of more substantial female characters in scripted drama. The overriding consensus was that it was the rise of women in show running, direction and production that was the main antagonist for the change if roles in television series’, best witnessed in shows like Homeland  and Black Mirror.

We hope everyone had a great time out there, even if it was raining for most of it!

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Written by Jack Hopkins on 15th March 2018

A lot has been said about the changing nature of contemporary workplaces. What with the #MeToo and #TimesUp campaigns coming to the forefront in the last year or so, equality and diversity remains a much-talked about topic.

We pride ourselves on being a diverse and equal company, and our HR Forum next week (in conjunction with Lumina Search) will explore the media landscape, gender equality, the future of the workplace and many more topics. In preparation, we’re going to explore the state of play within workplaces and what companies are doing (or could be doing) to improve the situation.

The places in which we work are always changing. Changing in ways to make our lives easier, more cost effective and in some cases, a bit more trendy. CMS Wire have predicted that “by 2020, 50 percent of the workforce will be comprised of millennials who’ve aged with the evolution of technology.” This digital workspace will build upon the recent influx of remote workers and will adapt through AI, VR and bots that will potentially improve our every-day lives.

In a recent article by The Guardian, Arielle Bernstein states that in TV, it should be “about the insistence that women should get credit for the very real work they do, and acknowledging that women shouldn’t be viewed as “tokens” when they are the best and the brightest.” This very poignant opinion is reflected in advancements that can be seen within the music industry.  Spotify have produced a tool that shows the gender breakdown of a user’s music choices and several big-name music festivals/events have pledged to a 50/50 gender split of their line-ups by 2022. Things are beginning to change, but it’s the speed and nature of change which continues to fuel discussion.

Evidently, there are efforts to bring about a more equal workplace, but the damning news regarding Clare Foy’s pay in The Crown delivers a major dent in recent efforts.It’s emerged that she is earning less than her regal counterpart, Matt Smith. This raises the questions about how much change can realistically occur in the near future if a female actress, who is playing the most famous and iconic figure in the world, is getting paid less than their on-screen husband. Today’s news does show some promise in the future though, with the revelation that the production company, Endemol Shine, have no gender pay gap within their UK operations. Although this shows some progression, it also shines a damming light on those companies where pay gaps still exist.

It’s becoming more evident that there have been improvements to narrow the divide between gender pay and working conditions in certain sectors of the media industries, and not so much in others. We hope that our HR Forum will spark even more discussion on the debate, even if it’s still incomprehensible that we still finding ourselves talking about the divides that still exist in our workplaces.

#HRforum2018

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Written by Jack Hopkins on 6th March 2018

Last night, we were lucky enough to attend an amazing panel session headed by some of the creatives behind the critically acclaimed Netflix series, The Crown.

It was hosted by RTS Futures at The London Transport Museum, with the following giving the audience an amazing insight into how the show was created, from storyboard to screen:

Director – Ben Caron

Production Designer – Martin Childs

Costume Designer – Jane Petrie

Editor – Pia Di Ciaula

VFX Supervisor – Ben Turner

SCRIPT

There was a running theme across all in attendance when they were asked about the early stages of development. They all agreed that they read the script from the position of a fan to establish the immediate excitement that comes from the programme. Di Caula revealed that, much like a lot of Netflix viewers,  she binge reads the entire series over one weekend. After reading the script for the first time, it then comes to putting the script into action, with Caron stating it’s like “breaking something down like German engineering,” establishing where the budget is going to be spread and establishing the truth of the story in the script.  

PRODUCTION

As you can imagine, there is a gargantuan amount of production that goes into something as high-budget as a Netflix series, with each episode costing over £7 million to make. Childs confirmed that there were 398 different locations throughout the first season and in one 20 second clip that was aired to the audience it was established that there were 7 different locations involved, ranging from a cliff’s edge in South Africa to the Thames. Later on in the evening we see a scene which involves a photo-shoot with Princess Margaret, with Caron revealing that it was shot in the same room as the first season of Dragon’s Den.

HISTORY

Being a historical programme, the history had to be refreshed to make it more appealing. The fact that the programme is chronological in nature suggests that the developments in technology, themes and fashion needed to be transformed by degrees. For example, in the second season, the royal wedding in 1947 was an austere affair, so this needed to be shown in the series without damaging the lavish feel of the entire show. All of the panel members watched copious amounts of films about the same era, helping them leave additional fragments of history to give the progression of time more substance.

CHALLENGES

Every member of the panel were apprehensively excited about the show. Turner realises the enormity of a VFX project at the script-reading stage, case and point when he read the script for The Crown and though, “there are bombers in this scene, that’s probably me.” The same can be said about the extensive costume design that Petrie had to manage, with additional clothing and accessories being required at all times to adapt to changes in fashion. The main challenge though seems to come through the conflict between truth and drama. They all agreed that the series didn’t set out to be a documentary, but the extensive team of researchers and designers helped create a historical backbone which allowed the writer, Peter Morgan, to explore the relationships of the characters a lot more intensely.

Many thanks to the panel members and The Royal Television Society for hosting – if you haven’t watched The Crown yet, make sure you do.

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Written by Jack Hopkins on 21st February 2018

It’s the Brit Awards tonight and it’s set to be a scorcher. Stormzy, Foo Fighters and Justin Timberlake are all set to light up the stage amongst a whole array of contemporary talent. The awards ceremony has been around since 1977 and have been established as one of the most prestigious ceremonies in the music calendar.

The ceremony has thrown up some memorable moments in the past. They reignited the feud between Blur and Oasis in 1996 with the Gallagher brothers covering ‘Parklife’ on stage. They created an unlikely conflict between Sharon Osborne and Vic Reeves in 2007 when he appeared to forget what award he was announcing. And even more recently in 2012, cut off Adele when she was making her acceptance speech.

Here’s a few things we’re looking out for tonight:

  • Dua Lipa – The 22 year old is up for 5 awards! Including Best British Female, Single, Album, Video and Breakthrough Act – all after she becomes the youngest female artist to hit 1 billion views on a music video.
  • Loyle Carner – The South London rapper is up for Best British Male Solo Artist & British Breakthrough Act – a week after he pulls out of Radio One Live Lounge because his covers not being deemed “big enough hits,” despite including songs by Kanye West and The Fugees.
  • The XX – The Wandsworth troop are up for Best British Group. Their incredible album ‘I See You’ has gained plaudits everywhere and led the band selling out 5 gigs in 6 days at The 02 Academy, Brixton.
  • Kendrick Lamar – Labelled one of the greatest of all time, Kendrick is up for Best International Male Artist and it’s easy to see why after his critically acclaimed tour across the UK received rave reviews.  
  • Laura Marling – Nominated for British Female Solo Artist, showing how far she’s come since featuring on Mystery Jets’ indie classic, ‘Young Love.’
  • Arcade Fire – Win Butler, fresh from his NBA all-stars victory, is nominated with Arcade Fire for Best International Group.

We hope you have a cracking time watching it tonight!

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Written by Jack Hopkins on 7th February 2018

The Searchlight team were at the Business Design Centre yesterday for the Royal Television Society’s TV Careers Fair!

The atrium was filled to the brim with buzzing and bright undergrads looking to gain an insight into the media and entertainment industries.

Our consultants delivered invaluable feedback from our stall and within the designated CV Clinic, with some of television’s major players offering advice on how to break into the industry.

We all really enjoyed being there and meeting hundreds of budding creatives looking to further their careers in an industry that continues to thrive.

Thanks to the RTS for having us, we had a blast!

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Written by James Cheetham on 23rd September 2015

This infographic came courtesy of our friends at Instant Offices:

http://www.instantoffices.com/en/gb/serviced-office-space/mayfair

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Written by James Cheetham on 29th June 2015

This month we were lucky enough to attend the Broadcast Digital Awards, celebrating the digital efforts made by broadcasters, channels and media companies, the event was presented by Josh Widdecombe and was another great evening hosted by Broadcastnow and MBI Events. 

Taking place on the 24th June, we were there sponsoring the award for The Best Factual Channel which saw Searchlight Executive’s director, Alison Mathers giving out the coveted prize to the Discovery Channel.

Other awards of the evening included Best Social Media & Digital Marketing Campaign, Best App/ Website for Programme, Best Digital Children's Content and Best Platform Innovation to name just a few. You can find the full list of winners below.

The rest of the evening included bumping into a certain Keith Lemon and celebrating IWC Media and Sky 1’s Best Entertainment Programme win for Wild Things by sporting the odd giant furry head.

                                          

WINNERS

Channel of the Year

E4          

Best Entertainment Channel

E4

Best Factual Channel

Discovery Channel

Best Specialist Channel

CBBC

Best App or Website for Programmes

The Singer Takes It All App, Endemol, Chunk and Tectonic Interactive for Channel 4        

Best App or Website for Channel, Strand or Genre

Stand Up Be Counted   

Best Game

Reverse the Odds, Maverick Television and Chunk for Channel 4

Best Original Web Channel

VICE News

Best Platform Innovation

LViS Global Activation Platform v4, Monterosa

Best Scripted Programme

Murdered By My Boyfriend, BBC Current Affairs for BBC Three

Best Popular Factual Programme

The Islamic State, VICE for vicenews.com

Best Sports or Live Event Coverage

The 2015 William Hill World Darts Championship, Sky Sports

Best Multiplatform Project

The Singer Takes It All, Endemol, Chunk and Tectonic Interactive for Channel 4

Best Digital Children’s Content

CBeebies StoryTime App BBC Children's for Cbeebies

Best Content Partnership or AFP

Reverse The Odds for Stand Up To Cancer, Cancer Research and Maverick Television for Channel 4

Best Entertainment Programme

Wild Things, IWC Media, Mad Monk and GME for Sky 1

Best Social Media and Digital Marketing Campaign

Hollyoaks Snapchat Who Killed Fraser?!, Lime Pictures for E4

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Written by James Cheetham on 27th May 2015

                                                      RTS Legends Lunch Jeremy Paxman

As May comes to a close and we all get to grips with the election results, Jeremy Paxman, far from the shy and retiring type, made his thoughts perfectly clear at The Royal Television Society’s Legends Lunch on the 19th May, which we were lucky enough to attend.

Paxman was joined by Alastair Stewart with the two discussing Did Television Come To The Aid of the Party? Media Show presenter Steve Hewlett had the lucky job of trying his best to placate the two as they often bumped heads, in what was an incredibly interesting debate.

Paxman jumped in claiming opinion polls “were for idiots” while Stewart said the opinion polls still made a difference with "the truth of the matter was that there was no other narrative in town so we fell foul of what turned out to be a wrong narrative.”

Paxman pointed out that such a heavy focus was put upon opinion polls by networks due to 2015’s election being “monumentally dull,” going onto say that "there was not really a great narrative, even about the narrative of the economy." Something that Stewart vehemently disagreed with.

Paxman also called out the TV debates, saying they had no impact and simply confirmed prejudices "I think the broadcasters behaved ludicrously about the debates."

And when quizzed about the license fee which they initially tried to skit around, Paxman eventually said that he doesn’t think the current BBC license fee model can last much longer and is becoming harder to justify. Get those Netflix subscriptions at the ready…

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Written by James Cheetham on 2nd April 2014

Along with our website launch last week, we also had the pleasure of heading to the IVCA Awards 2014 where we were one of the evening's sponsors!

As well as having our nifty new logo on show, our Managing Director Cathy Alford was there to present the Recruitment & Induction Award.

The IVCA Awards took place on Friday 28th March and are there to celebrate the Visual Communication sector and have paired with eventia which represents the live event world.

The evening was a celebration of all the leading professionals, agencies and freelancers working in these fields, and we’d like to congratulate all those who participated in each category and all those who won.

A big congratulations to Wordley Productions who won the Gold for the Recruitment & Induction Award for their Nationwide Pride campaign for Nationwide Building Society.

Silver went to Straker Films for their Haircut campaign which was also for Nationwide and finally Bronze to Casual Films for We Mean Energy for TAQA Brantani.

A special Congratulations also goes out to MerchantCantos who won Production Company of the Year!

Look forward to seeing everyone at the 2015 Awards!

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