News Reel & Blog

Written by Jack Hopkins on 1st November 2018

The Searchlight Team welcomed trainees from the Media Trust to our offices at WeWork Aldwych House 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. Rosie has an extensive background in production and events, Suzanne has nearly 10 years experienced in media recruitment, Amy originally came from a retail background and Victoria was originally a dancer and an actor! We then continued with a deep insight into what should and shouldn’t be in a CV, 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 great time 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!

Huge thanks to WeWork for their support during the session, ensuring nobody went hungry with a hefty supply of doughnuts for the trainees!

Lastly, 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.


Written by Jack Hopkins on 31st October 2018

Happy Halloween!

It’s that time of year again where everyone conjures up last-minute costume ideas, eats their bodyweight in sweets and pretends to not be in when the trick or treaters come knocking.  In this week’s Halloween blog we’re going to take a look at 3 poignantly timed releases that have attempted to rejuvenate the horror genre once again. 

The new re-boot of Chilling Adventures of Sabrina on Netflix has been met with mixed reviews. The original show, Sabrina the Teenage Witch, which  debuted in 1996, ushered in a witch sub-culture about alienated youths. But the new series seems to completely ignore this trope and combats the ideas and misconceptions around witchcraft itself. It’s quintessentially American, as it should and would be with the executive producers of Riverdale on board, but when it’s trying to compete with other contemporary horror series’ it seems to miss a trick slightly. That’s not to say it won’t be a good watch though as a huge amount of witch and horror enthusiasts binged it over the weekend.

The absolutely terrifying The Haunting of Hill House (also aired on Netflix) is exactly what you want from a jumpy, terrifying show. It’s a lot more substantial and layered than the usually jump-a-thon though, as the narrative dips in and out of past and present, inviting the audience into a world where a ghost could come out of anywhere at any time. If you haven’t watched it yet, keep your eyes peeled for some of the lingering creepy visitors, as there’s a whole host of haunted hosts just wondered around in the shot.

David Gordon Green’s reboot of John Carpenter’s 1978 cult classic Halloween has also been a breath of fresh air amongst viewers and critics alike. It’s not particularly clever or mysterious, but its traditional no-holds-barred slasher feel is exactly what you want in a room full of unsuspecting viewers. There’s blood, nail-screeching, screaming, it’s got everything – including having an element of comedy intertwined into the script through Danny McBride, exaggerating the historical battle between good and evil even more. It’s an experience that’s better spent shared as its immersive and engaging narrative is so ridiculous that it warrants an outlandish reaction.  

What’s your favourite contemporary horror? How does it hold up compared to previous horrors?


Written by Jack Hopkins on 19th October 2018

MIPCOM 2018 has officially ended, and it’s a return home for many movers and shakers in the television industry after a 4 days of networking sessions, pitches and screenings. Here are our highlights from one of the most pivotal events in the television calendar.

Jamie Oliver stole the show on Day 1 of this year’s MIPCOM. His estimated global TV audience reach of 64 million makes it easy to notice the effect that Jamie Oliver has had on the world of cooking and entertainment in general, whilst installing positive social change in his productions. He stated that he setting up his own production company was a natural next step after having success purely as a presenter and that “to understand that the grade is as valuable as the sound man, the direction, the imagery. That’s beautiful; the craft of TV.”

Colman Domingo from Fear The Walking Dead joined Josh Sapan, president and CEO of AMC Networks, on the main stage on Day 2.  Domingo is in the middle of developing an adaptation of his play Dot  for AMC, telling the story of a woman at the head of a family with Alzheimer’s disease. He stated that “he was hesitant to pitch it to AMC initially, since it felt like a smaller, personal story, but the network has supported the project and his vision.” Showing that the desire to produce personal stories is still as popular as ever, as these are the types of shows that strike a real chord with audiences.

Issa Rae, the creator, producer and star of HBO show Insecure, was the highlight on Day 3 as she was named MIPCOM 2018 personality of the year. She recalled experiences throughout her career where she was told that there wasn’t an audience for the kind of content she wanted to create. Her stance in response to these comments was that “the answer for me was putting something online for my friends to watch”. She also thought there’s been an important change since the 1990s and early 2000s, when network shows were “geared to capture the biggest audiences possible.” This could be seen through shows such as Orange is The New Black and Good Girls that push the limitations of the norm.

It was the return of The Wit’s ‘Fresh TV’ sessions on Day 4, with CEO Virginia Mouseler stating that 22% of new dramas in 2018 have been based on IPs and real events, which is up 10% on 2017. There were 3 future series’ that caught our eye: Strangers (All3Media International) about an accident that turns out to be a murder, Escape From Mafia  (RAI COM) about  a family of Sicilian immigrants in America in the early 20th century, and Butterfly  (Fremantle) about an 11 year-old who was assigned male at birth, but who makes the decision to transition.

MIPCOM 2018 seemed to have been thriving as much as the industry itself, which is great news for everyone involved – we hope everyone had an enjoyably successful Mip!


Written by Jack Hopkins on 20th September 2018

We once again sponsored the “How to freelance” session at this year’s London BAFTA Guru Live at 195 Piccadilly and it was yet another amazing day, as it always is.  

BAFTA Guru live is a 2-day event with industry masterclasses, panels and Q&As for aspiring creatives - the London leg of the festival took place last weekend and was an outstanding success, yet again, with over 100 audience members in attendance at our session.

Searchlight sponsored the packed session “How to be a freelancer” and Cathy Alford, Searchlight’s Managing Director, introduced Sara Putt who provided valuable tips on how to represent yourself effectively and manage a freelance career.

Sara continued by stating that as a freelancer you need to build your brand as an individual company, and that etiquette on social media can play a big part in whether you get a job or not.

Personal relationships and their impact on future placements was also heavily focused on, with personal relationships being labelled as “career currency”.

Sara ended her talk by stating that, wherever you go, you should also try and double your network, getting your name out there ensuring that the work doesn’t stop.

The audience were then invited to partake in a Q&A with both Cathy and Sara.

Our consultants were on hand afterwards to host a CV surgery. Suzanne was there to provide guidance on putting together a great CV and possible career-paths. Whilst Ian, our freelance consultant, helped budding creatives refine and perfect their show-reels which are gospel when it comes to finding work.

Many thanks to BAFTA and the Partnerships team for inviting us back and helping with the organisation of the session and the surgery – it wouldn’t have been such a success without you!

And may thanks to Sara Putt for hosting a brilliantly insightful session!

Thanks for a great day – and if you were there, thanks for coming!  



Written by Jack Hopkins on 7th September 2018

Our spidey-sense is officially tingling. Today’s the day the newest game in the Spider-Man franchise is released. Being brought to PlayStation exclusively, the most recent instalment of our favourite web-slinging vigilante is due to continue the rich vein of form of Spider-man video games. We’re going to look into the longevity of the multi-billion dollar franchise, the ways in which it has advanced its brand across multiple platforms and what’s in stall for the future.

Spiderman first graced our mortal world within a comic in 1962. He’s a fictional character who was created by Stan Lee and is one of the major jewels in Marvel’s crown. Since then, he’s featured across pretty much every medium possible, including a number of movies, television shows, and video game adaptations. The beauty of Spider-Man and other super heroes is the amount of enemies that they comes up against, with the likes of Doctor Octopus and Green Goblin featuring heavily in the storylines, epitomised by the imminent release of a stand-alone Venom movie featuring Tom Hardy.

The films alone have grossed nearly $5 billion worldwide, and in a similar style to James Bond, the regeneration of the character into different variations and opinions of what Peter Parker should resemble helps keep the character and the franchise fresh. Tobey Maguire, Andrew Garfield and Tom Holland have all carried the baton in recent years and have received huge critical acclaim in the process, with many holding the original Spider-man movie and it’s sequel, Spider-Man 2, as two of the best super hero movies of all time as it debunks the dreaded second film flop theory.

The natural progression from films is to video games. Spider-Man games have always done well due to the popularity of the films, but the actual games themselves more than hold their own in the gaming world. Spider-Man (2000) on PlayStation 1 was an incredibly futuristic game which was reflected in its eventual "Platinum" sales award, indicating sales of at least 300,000 copies in the UK. IGN gave it an outstanding review, stating that it provided an “excellent framework on which to base future Spider-Man games.” And it certainly has done that, with the franchise releasing on average a game a year since 2000.  

The new Spider-Man game that’s released today has seemed to have followed suit. Developed by Insomniac Games (the studios behind Ratchet & Clank and Spyro The Dragon), the game has received rave reviews, being rewarded a 9/10 by GameSpot, 9.5/10 by Game Informer and 4.5/5 by GamesRadar.

What have been your favourite video games? Have they been derived from films or have they been originals?


Written by Jack Hopkins on 31st August 2018

The Searchlight Team will be once again sponsoring the ”How To Freelance” session at this year's London BAFTA Guru Live, providing tips on how to represent yourself effectively and managing your freelance career. 

BAFTA Guru Live is a 2-day event with industry masterclasses, panels and Q&As for aspiring creatives - the London leg of the festival will take place in London on 15th & 16th September. 

The ”How To Freelance” session will be hosted by Sara Putt on the 16th, hosting an insightful Q&A session for anyone trying to break into the industry as a freelancer. 

Our Senior Consultants will also be on-hand afterwards to offer advice on sculpting yours CVs and cover letters to give you the best chance of breaking into such an amazing industry. 

We hope to see lots of budding creatives during the sessions - be sure to tell anyone who is interested that The Searchlight Team will be there!


Written by Jack Hopkins on 24th August 2018

We went up to Scotland to see what was going down at The Edinburgh Television Festival. It turns out a lot was going down, with over 2000 delegates in attendance chomping at the bit to hear the latest news and announcements from various industry leaders and to network like they’ve never networked before. 

Searchlight were an Affiliate Sponsor at this year’s festival, sponsoring the Wi-Fi at the event across all 3 days which gave us the opportunity to celebrate creativity, diversity and inspirational talent, and to debate the major issues facing the industry.

Zoe Ball hosted the our first session of the day, and it was full to the rafters. The ‘Meet The Controller’ talk explored the ways in which The BBC are developing and transforming their programming to drive the broadcaster forward. Charlotte Moore, Director of Content, explained how The BBC are always trying to push the boundaries, marking “British content for British people” and building on the fact they had 7 out of the top 10 dramas of last year. She also announced that Peaky Blinders would be moving to BBC1 and that they are working on a Les Miserables series that would be filmed on-site, rather than in a studio.

It’s not just drama that The BBC are focusing on though, with Allison Kirkman, Controller of Factual Commissioning, confirming new documentaries that focus on topics close to home with celebrities like Rio Ferdinand, Chris Packham and Vicky McClure. The Controller of Comedy Commissioning, Shane Allen, also discussed the role that comedy plays in the progression of The BBC, and discussed the new Alan Partridge series and his return to The BBC. There’s certainly exciting times ahead for the broadcaster, as they attempt to adapt to stay competitive in a marketplace that is diluted with content.

Next up was Joanna Lumley, speaking with her long-term colleague Clive Tulloh about her on-screen career. It was a brilliant exploration into what acting was like for a single-mother throughout the 70’s and 80’s, the trials and tribulations of securing a role on a long-running production and how she’s adapted to enter the twilight years of her career.

She’s certainly portrayed a wide array of characters in a variety of different shows. In her early years, she was quite unceremoniously cast as a girlfriend or a sister – never as a leading female character. It was only a matter of time though, as she secured a major part in The Avengers as Purdey, the martial-arts expert spy who could kick her way out of any situation. Absolutely Fabulous was undoubtedly her swansong, portraying the uniquely immortal Patsy, which was a role she actually wanted to contain as she explored other adventures. Recently, these adventures have come in the form of travel shows, one of the highlights being Girl Friday which sees her abandoned on an uninhabited island, having to fend for herself. She ended the session by partaking in a Q&A, revealing that she feels like technology has been the biggest advancement through her career and that Come Dine With Me is her go-to show at the moment.

Last up was Lauren Laverne and the controllers from Sky UK. Zai Bennett, Director of Programmes explained how Sky used to be a mid-level provider of content but now they’re at the forefront of original productions. One of the main recent successes by Sky is their shift towards creating original content, pumping funding into new shows that push the boundaries to make their shows household favorites. After all, this is the most important aspect of progressing as a fee-paying service provider, by giving fee-paying people the content they want to see and creating a long lasting relationship.

When asked about the recent dip in the success of their entertainment programmes, Bennett established that each section of Sky’s output has different timelines. After the re-launch of Sky one in late last year, it will take entertainment programmes to flourish a bit longer than drama and comedy as it’s all about fitting in with the ethos of the channel, and with comedy and drama you know where you stand more than unscripted entertainment. It was also established that pre-watershed comedy just can’t compete with post-watershed, with future shows like The Reluctant Landlord and Curfew reflecting that trend. One word that kept popping up throughout the session was “hooky”, and all of those on the panel believe that you need to be hooked to a show to want to pay for it. It sounds pretty obvious but it’s the ethos that they are using going forward as they try and knock Netflix and Amazon Prime down a peg or two.  

We had a cracking time at the festival, and we hope you did too. Thanks to the organisers, speakers and all the delegates that made it such an insightful day and that there IS a hugely bright future for TV and digital content.

Were you there at the festival? We’d love to hear what your favorite part was!

Written by Jack Hopkins on 26th July 2018

We’re extremely proud to be an Affiliate Sponsor at this year’s Edinburgh Television Festival, one of the most prestigious events in the UK.

Running on 22nd-24th August, the 3-day event brings together all parts of the television and digital world to celebrate creativity, diversity and inspirational talent, and to debate the major issues facing the industry. The Festival draws around 2000 delegates from the major networks and international production companies; from chief executives, controllers and commissioners to producers, directors, marketers, writers, new media companies, distributors and press.

There’s been some huge stars participating in interviews, Q&A’s and talks over the years; including Vicky McClure, RJ Mitte, Gary Linker, Frankie Boyle and Edith Bowman. This year, there will be sessions with the likes of Joanna Lumley, Steve Coogan and Hugh Grant, to name a few.

We’re sponsoring the Wi-Fi at the event across all 3 days, ensuring that you don’t miss a thing with over 70 sessions taking place, ranging from keynote addresses, revealing masterclasses, topical panel debates and exclusive screenings.

Just connect to the network: EdTVFest with the password: searchlight, and you’re on your way!


Written by Jack Hopkins on 11th July 2018

On the day of England’s first semi-final in 28 years, we thought we’d have a look at some our favorite sports films since 1966. Sports films create a romantic relatable storyline, featuring scenarios and situations that the audience have often experienced themselves within a sports arena. Sports films often include idyllic sports stars to blur the line between fiction and reality, ensuring that they stay popular for decades to come as they remain nostalgic.

Slapshot (1977) still holds its own when it comes to categorizing great sports films. One of the originals, Slapshot follows Paul Newman as the player-coach of the Charleston Chiefs as he recruits a trio of violent brothers to strike a spark in his team’s season. Like a lot great sports films, the crisis comes in the form of the team’s liquidation or collapse, allowing the narrative to drive towards an inevitable but equally rewarding finale.

Escape To Victory (1981) is one of the most iconic sports films, recruiting the likes of Pele, Bobby Moore and Osvaldo Ardiles to play alongside Michael Caine and Sylvester Stallone for a team of prisoners against a German team during WW2. It’s the perfect blend or sport and drama without being too cheesy, yes there’s a last minute goal and a lot of jumping around but the entire backdrop of the movie shows that football really is more than just a game. 

Space Jam (1997) was a staple of a lot of childhoods, and like Escape To Victory involves a mega-star in the form of Michael Jordan to drive the narrative forward and appeal to a wider audience. It’s arguably one of the only sports films that could do with a remake, with modern day basketball greats like Lebron James existing as leader of the sport and a face for basketball in the world, who would seamlessly slot into the iconic role should it be remade. 

Remember The Titans (2000) is slightly different as it purely includes actors as sports stars. Denzel Washington plays the part of an African-American football coach in the 1970s. It comments on race relations within American Football and society itself and is a bit more generic in terms of storyline, with team against the odds and up against adversity to beat the ‘baddies’ – never the less, it’s still a cracking watch.

There’s plenty of other sports films out there too, with more contemporary films like Mean Machine, Longest Yard and Invictus all appealing to those crying out for a competitive spectacle. The film world is due another great sports film, perhaps when England win The World Cup on Sunday after winning tonight? We’ll see.


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.


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!



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.


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.


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!


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.



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


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.  


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.


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.


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.


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!


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!


Written by James Cheetham on 23rd September 2015

This infographic came courtesy of our friends at Instant Offices:


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.



Channel of the Year


Best Entertainment Channel


Best Factual Channel

Discovery Channel

Best Specialist Channel


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


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

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


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…


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!