* This is a post that was originally written 31/8/13 and has been reposted here.
This week myself and four other Sunderland residents – a mix of graduates and students – travelled down to Manchester for an evening of TV Mingling thanks to the glam Lou (@wonderofaweazel). The event, TV Mingling is an informal networking evening for all levels of TV industry folk, is a spin-off of the original that has taken place for the last two years in London (I think? Forgive me if my history is not 100%).
I know what you’re thinking: why travel a total of 6 hours there and back for a bit tipple and chats with TV people. My answer: why not. Not knocking the Northeast, we have productions such as Wolfblood, Vera and The Paradise being filmed in the region but Manchester and London are the epicentres for getting into TV and myself and a few people I know are in the process of or have already moved there for work. Speaking for myself I’m unsure on where and how to get in exactly, I feel like I have one foot in and one foot out of my chosen career and going to event such as this one really put my mind at rest about such things.
The event started at 6.30pm with a loose q&a panel later on. Must say the drinks did flow and the networking came easier than expected. I am quite a timid networker, I have my confident days where I can seek out people in a room with no problem but then there are days where I’m quite happy to sip on my drink and try not to be too nervous around all of these new faces. Even though I was having a bit of a timid night on the night there was little chance to saunter off on my own because placed within the guest list were a number of ambassadors from the industry invited by Lou to get us nervous lot talking.
I went, I made some connections and I had a couple of drinks and I must say it was worth making the milage to attend. Everyone was super-friendly and I actually came across a couple of people who had come the Northeast as well which was great – I’m starting to find out that this industry is smaller than I thought in the area so you’re not too far from knowing people when you meet.
Really the evening was good for just getting advice, everyone I spoke to was willing to answer my questions and talk about themselves and how they got where they are. It’s easy to go to conferences and panels about getting into the media (and I’ve been to a fair few in the past year) but it’s hard to really break down that barrier of asking an honest and frank question to that person whose job you’d really like to do someday without feeling like a complete newb. I think the relaxed environment Lou created really helped and basically just made and myself and others feel comfortable enough to do what it says on the tin: mingle.
I’d recommended attending more TV Mingling in future to anyone – and if more of us want to go from the Northeast please let me know and I’m sure we can organise something for travel again. I’m pretty sure that by now I have the in-car games sorted as well as the best fast-food joints mapped from Sunderland to Manchester and know them by heart.
Oh, and thanks to Claire for driving us! I was exhausted on Thursday because we didn’t get into Sunderland until 3am and have only just recovered today but I’d do it again with you lot.