News Reel & Blog

Written by Flora Kimberley on 24th April 2019

It’s official! The Breaking Bad movie has been confirmed with Aaron Paul reprising his role as recovering addict Jessie Pinkman. This is shortly after the series prequel Better Call Saul announced it would conclude after its sixth season. Better Call Saul has become very successful as a stand-alone series, rather than being just another prequel. It is written with its own voice without losing the essence of the original. However, this is not a common thing with spin-offs. Yet,  they can often be really high grossing films with some even growing into franchises.

Sequels are often unworthy, prequels often handled poorly, and with reboots becoming excessive, spin-offs have become a new trend within cinema. Particularly in the fantasy genre, spin-offs allow us a more detailed look into a world, fleshing them out and become more real to us.

The final Star Wars film (within the Skywalker franchise) The Rise of Skywalker has just been given its release date and with Disney+ being released at the end of the year; we should expect to see a lot more Star Wars series. The original Star Wars story already had prequels produced, yet the juggernaut that is Disney came up with a new breed of ‘prequels’ in the Star Wars empire.  The first spin-off from the beloved franchise was Rogue One which depicts a bunch of rebels on a mission to discover the Death Star’s blueprints. The film was very well received as it placed itself within Lucas’ fictitious history.  Yet, the same cannot be said for the second prequel Solo which was slated with the lead actor Alden Ehrenreich having to receive acting coaching on set. The misdemeanour of Solo hasn’t slowed Disney down. For their new streaming channel, they have already commissioned multiple spin-off series surrounding the Lucas universe. This will include Pedro Pascal (who has previously been in Game of Thrones) in a series based on a clan of bounty hunters with Boba Fett, as well as a spy thriller starring Diego Luna’s character Cassian Andor from Rogue One.

Similarly, the nostalgia-filled Harry Potter franchise has also had a fair few spin-offs. First, it was The Cursed Child written by Jack Thorne which became a smash hit on the West End and Broadway. Then Warner Brothers commissioned five new prequel films based on the book Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them. These focus on the Grindelwald era in Harry Potter history. This means that they have a historic setting ranging from the 1920s until 1945. They have the potential to bring in many new narratives from multiple different settings (New York and Paris thus far) to really explore the world in which the story exists. These new films have also had scattering success with a major high and a low. There are even talks of a television show being put in production to learn about the Aurors.

Even TV shows are getting the spin-off treatment with Stranger Things writers (Ross and Matt Duffer) releasing a prequel novel discussing the life of Jim Hopper. Stranger Things has become a phenomenon being one of the most streamed shows in history. Equally, Game of Thrones creator G R.R. Martin has already commissioned five separate spin-off series before the show has even completed its final series. The untitled prequel has been commissioned by HBO and it is said to take place five thousand years before the events of the current series. It is already a star-studded affair with names such as Naomi Watts, John Simm, Miranda Richardson and Jamie Campbell-Bower confirmed to be series regulars. It will supposedly reveal the origins of the White Walkers, the mysteries surrounding the east and explain some of the legends about the Starks.

The prominence of the spin-off has become one of the biggest trends in SVOD, television and cinema. As Jay Roach says “sequels should be earned” and all the franchises have earned their  places in film history.

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Written by Flora Kimberley on 2nd April 2019

With Tim Burton’s Dumbo in cinemas now, the live action remakes of old Disney classics are increasing in popularity. Despite Dumbo’s opening weekend being slightly underwhelming compared to the forecast targets, most of Disney’s remakes have been incredible box office successes. The live action remake of Beauty and the Beast was one of 2017 highest grossing films taking over a £1 billion USD. Disney currently has seventeen remakes in the pipeline for the coming years. They include some cult classics such as The Little Mermaid and Mulan.

There is an argument against the remakes. Many believe that live action remakes are just diluting the original classics in a tried and tested format to make money. This opinion is understandable in the case of Dumbo. The original had almost a silent movie style elegance with an incredible score which had a running time of only 64 minutes. However, the recent updated version now runs for almost double at 124 minutes. The remake adds multiple new characters to add to the plot and emotional depth. Yet, does this debunk the nostalgia associated with the classic?

Guy Richie’s Aladdin is set to hit cinema screens on 24th of May. Aladdin became a cult classic after its release in 1992 due to the charismatic performance by Robin Williams (Genie) and an Oscar winning score written by Alan Menken. Disney famously reinvented animation, creating stylised drawings making each film wholly unique. For example, within the original animation the use of colour helps create a sense of wealth through the deep blues and purples, which is particularly poignant through the sharp electric blue of the genie. Despite Will Smith’s charisma, his appearance as the genie has a slightly pantomime tone. He enters shirtless painted bright blue. It is a big enough challenge for an actor to portray the gravitas of a omniscient being, but the way Smith is costumed lowers the tone immediately. It makes the performance hard to take seriously, especially in comparison to the original performance of Robin Williams.

However, the trailer for the live action (reimagined animation) of The Lion King has received a positive reaction. A remake of the 1994 legendary film, it will be released on the 19th of July (twenty five years after the original). Disney have employed Jon Favreau who is familiar with large scale productions. He has contributed to the Marvel franchise directing the original Iron Man in 2008. Disney haven’t kept a lot of elements from the original apart from the reprisal of James Earl Jones in his role as Mufusa, and Hans Zimmer is returning to create a new score. The new score is an exciting prospect with some big names from the music industry attached as lead roles. Everyone’s favourite; Beyoncé has been cast as Nala. It appears that she will produce the soundtrack taking on the role that Elton John played in the original. She is starring alongside fellow musician Childish Gambino (Donald Glover) as Simba. Glover is most well known for his song America which stormed the charts last year with its controversial music video depicting gun violence in America. The song and video received four Grammys including Best song and Best Music Video. His current notoriety will be a pull for the younger audiences. The rest of the cast includes some other big names including Chiwetel Ejiofor (Scar), Seth Rogan (Pumba) and Eric Andre (Azzizi). The Lion King is set to be a huge summer blockbuster with a projected forecast of £1.9 billion.

The Question is: Are the remakes going to become classics like the originals, or fall flat? With Disney creating the Marvel machine it feels as though remakes and reboots are fuelling the film industry. Yet, is that necessarily a negative? Not necessarily. The industry has had some eccentric directors enter the scene in the past couple of years. For example, directors like Jordan Peele and Barry Jenkins are opposing this with fantastic original story lines and dynamic cinematography. They are also achieving good box office figures with Peele’s Us taking in £70 million in its opening weekend.

Disney has always been an innovator in animation and it will be interesting to see how the reinterpret their own narratives for a new generation of children.

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Written by Flora Kimberley on 5th February 2019

Friends is everyone’s favourite sitcom from its portrayal of career progression through to its depiction of young life where your friends are closer to you then your family. It is one of the most quotable shows ever to grace our television screens having us yell along “we were on a break!”

Incredibly, even though it finished almost fifteen years ago, Friends is still at the top of streaming site Netflix most viewed. It is quite unbelievable that the show still has so much magnitude after so much time. Especially in the crowded market of scripted television content.

The show is loved by all, old and young. However, it seems to be particularly popular in the five to sixteen age demographic, which is particularly interesting as most of these viewers wouldn’t have been alive when Friends ended in 2004!

In recent years the world has become a lot more varied and accepting than in the 90’s, so the shows continued success has surprised some, especially as there is some controversy surrounding the show. Many people have labelled the show as sexist and homophobic with the character Ross being at the heart of the issues. For example, it is important to highlight the episode where Ross and Rachel hire a male nanny. This episode shows how uncomfortable Ross is when a man evades the stereotypical masculine norm, which ends with them dismissing the male nanny as Ross cannot handle it. Ross often displays his discomfort surrounding issues where his masculinity is tested, like when he refused to admit he is wearing a pink shirt and repeatedly calls it “salmon”.

But despite the critics, the success continues. As a wise man once said it’s “like a cow's opinion. It doesn't matter. It's moo.”

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Written by Jack Hopkins on 26th October 2018

It’s almost as if we’re in the midst of another space race. The first came in the form of people taking their first steps on the moon; now corporations and ridiculously rich individuals are racing to get as many people up there as possible in the form of commercial trips.

Richard Branson is one of the main driving forces in establishing an intergalactic commute, stating that “we should be in space within weeks, not months, and then we will be in space with myself in months and not years.” This could just be all hearsay, with the project being pushed back several times, but we’re certainly getting closer nonetheless.

In this week’s blog we’re going to look at films that explore space, what they tell us about the limitations and restrictions of potential space travel and what has changed in the depictions of space over the years. 

Gravity (2013) is a great modern example of an intergalactic masterpiece, combatting the loneliness of space and the real-life problems that are plaguing our atmosphere. It received huge acclaim for the visual effects on show, especially the silent deadly debris that damages their shuttle, which continues to remain a huge problem for new satellites entering our orbit. The killing off a major character before the climax of the film was a risky move, but it opened the door for Sandra Bullock to give a stand-out performance as she fights to get back to earth.

2001: A Space Odyssey (1968), the brainchild of filmmaker Kubrick, follows astronauts as they investigate alien artefacts found on the moon. It pushed the boundaries of special effects at the time and really explored the unknowing nature of space, and the origins of humanity. It’s 50 years old this year, and in some ways we’re not a lot closer to really pinning down the mysteries surrounding outer-space. Films such as Sunshine (2007) and Moon (2009) are two more recent films that portray the psychological strain of space travel, which could be seen as an extension of 2001: A Space Odyssey.

First Man (2018) is the latest venture into the space genre. After the successes of Interstellar (2014) and The Martian (2015), First Man is definitely more of a positive look towards pro-space, looking at one of the most successful but traumatic explorations into space. Although it depicts the 1969 moon-landing, it also explores the idea that we need to deeper explore what we can do to save planet earth before expanding into the unknown, which is one of the ethical disputes surrounding this contemporary space race.

After watching some of these films, and if you could afford it, would you travel into space?

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Written by Jack Hopkins on 6th April 2018

We all recognise Joaquin Phoenix from his earlier roles in Signs and Gladiator, but he’s gradually found his recent calling in quirkier roles that have sculpted his career, in one way or another. From his self-enforced hiatus/retirement after his appearance in 2010’s I’m Still Here, he’s been working on stylish roles that have refined his acting skills, making him as one of the finest (and in demand) actors around.

His return to acting in 2012 in The Master sparked this change of direction for Joaquin. He’s always  been an actor that has chosen quality over quantity, performing in one film a year for most of his career. Her in 2013 and Inherent Vice in 2014 both received critical acclaim and have now elevated him to a point where the roles are coming in thick and fast.

This year’s You Were Never Really Here has sparked a new era for Joaquin. He stars as Joe, an ex-marine turned hitman who goes on a rampage to try and save a local girl from a whole world of trouble. Phoenix delivers an incredibly steely yet relentless performance, adding yet another stylish string to his experienced bow.

Don’t Worry, He Won’t Get Away On Foot (which is coming out later this year) couldn’t be further away from his performance in You Were Never Really Here. The film follows John Callaghan and his life from his accident at the age of 21 to his sobriety which began at the age of 27. 43 year old Phoenix plays the 27 year old in the last stages of his life, so it’ll be interesting how he makes the transition from a relentless killer to a vulnerable alcoholic. Also this year, which could be seen as a metaphor for his rise to an even higher level of acting, Joaquin plays Jesus in Garth Davis’ Mary Magdalene which follows Rooney Mara as Mary (Rooney Mara), on her quest to elevate herself in a male-orientated world.

Joaquin has three more film lined up for release in 2019 which we’re so excited for, further showing how his majestic rise to acting stardom is set to continue.

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Written by Jack Hopkins on 28th March 2018

It was our HR Forum on Thursday, which focused on the changing contemporary workplace and the effect it could have on media companies. We hold the HR Forum every other year with Lumina Search, and it continues to be a well attended event, with delegates arriving from different sectors and industries within the larger media landscape. 

Huge thanks for NBC  Universal  for hosting us this year, as well as our sponsors, Lewis Silkin and Grapevinejobs. Everyone came together for a really insightful day, listening to sessions on the media landscape, gender pay, employee practices and the future of the workplace. We had speakers from A+E Networks, Ofcom, Creative Diversity Network and Twickenham studios as well as our host and sponsor speakers from NBC Universal and Lewis Silkin. We can’t thank our speakers enough as they delivered fascinating talks on issues that are affecting the contemporary workplace.   

 Rob Bell (EVP - International New Media) of NBC Universal kicked off the day’s proceedings with a fantastic insight into the evolving media landscape. Rob highlighted the noticeable boom in popularity for TV drama and how the move from linear to on-demand viewing has acted as a catalyst. He also explained to the audience that, due to the variety of content on offer, it’s no surprise that tech companies like Apple and Facebook are becoming producers of content, in an attempt to profit from the new spectator binge culture.

 Up next, we had our gender equality panel. Chaired by Jacquie Hughes (Director of Content Policy) of Ofcom, our panel was comprised of Laura Farnsworth (Partner) of Lewis Silkin, Deborah Williams (Executive Director) of Creative Diversity Network and Maria Walker (COO) of Twickenham Studios. They discussed their own experiences of equality in the media environment and collaborated with audience members in discussions surrounding the legislations and HR practices that exist in the workplace.

We then had Russell Brimelow (Partner) and Alexander Milner-Smith (Managing Associate), both of Lewis Silkin, discussing the burning agenda within media and the effect the newly released gender pay reports will have on the workplace. Russell explained how the reports continue to show male dominance in the workplace, which explains why it’s a widely discussed topic in the current climate. Alexander concluded with a session about the impending GDPR regulations and how to prepare for them, which was extremely helpful considering the deadline is now under 2 months away.

   Karl Burnett (VP of Human Resources) of A+E Networks followed, and explained how A+E Networks won the 2018 Broadcast Award for Best Places to Work in TV, despite being partially reluctant to enter. Karl pointed towards the staff survey that was internally distributed as a key factor in their success. It showed an extremely high satisfaction amongst employees towards their roles and the workplace itself, and accredited the company’s culture behind the exceptionally high survey results.  

To close proceedings, we had James Davies (Divisional Managing Partner) of Lewis Silkin discuss the future of work. He provided a handful of statistics that were happy reading for the HR professionals that were in attendance, which perfectly closed the day’s talks . He stated that, in the future, the risk of HR Managers’ jobs going was at a minuscule 1%, when in comparison, telemarketer jobs had a 99% chance of going.

It was a great day to discuss, learn, network and eat, with incredible breakfast and lunchtime spreads provided by NBC Universal.   

Endless thanks to our sponsors, speakers and everyone who came along – we hope you enjoyed it as much as we did!

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Written by Jack Hopkins on 1st January 2018

Happy New Year! We hope you had a great night last night and aren’t too hungover today… It’s the start of an exciting new year so we’re going to have a look at some of the upcoming releases that are on our radar.

2017 was a great year for music. Gorillaz and Jamiroquai came back with new albums after a long-ish hiatuses and there’s strong rumours that Arctic Monkeys will return in a similar fashion in 2018. MGMT, Vampire Weekend and Major Lazer have also all got new stuff in the works. Major Lazer seem to be able to churn out hit after hit with the likes of ‘lean on’ and ‘cold water’ so it’s highly unlikely their new work will disappoint.

As well as the very much anticipated returns of Game of Thrones and Westworld, next year is already showing a lot of promise with brand new releases. Bodyguard, a 6-part thriller by the BBC, stars Richard Madden as a war veteran who is tasked with protecting the British home secretary, played by Keeley Hawes. Dogs of Berlin, the Netflix commissioned German drama, will unravel the Berlin underworld with two conflicting lawmen, battling against growing corruption. Both shows are predicted to carry on the rich vein of television that came out in 2017.

2018 is already looking like a top year for films too, especially sequels. The long-awaited follow up to the 2004 hit Incredibles will finally be hitting our screens in the summer. Creed 2 is also in the works, marking a reunion between Sylvester Stallone and Dolph Lundgren 33 years after the hard-hitting Rocky 4. There’s yet another Spiderman movie on the horizon too. The computer animated Spiderman: Into The Spider Verse is a bit different though, focusing on a new hero who has to fill the shoes of Spiderman.

That’s a brief round-up of what we’re looking forward to next year. And as always,  we’re really excited to create and source amazing opportunities for candidates and clients alike.

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Written by Jack Hopkins on 9th November 2017

It’s been emotional leaving little old Camden. We’ve been in Pratt Mews for over a decade but we’ve now packed our bags and left for the big city.

We’ve hauled over 40 boxes of kit from North London to Central London, pushing the limit of a surprisingly spacious Mercedes Sprinter van in the process.

Our brilliant new offices offer incredible work environments, ensuring that our high levels of creativity and workmanship remain a top priority. 

The collaborative working environment at WeWork allows us to network like never before, creating and sourcing amazing opportunities for candidates and clients alike. 

We’re so excited to continue finding perfect roles for perfect candidates in the media and entertainment industries and we hope you are too!

Searchlight can now be found at WeWork Aldwych House, 71-91 Aldwych, London, WC2B 4HN.

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Written by Jack Hopkins on 2nd November 2017

Remember, remember, the 5th of November. Tonight’s the night you attempt to keep your pets indoors and pretend to be amazed by yet another bonfire.  In this entry we’re going to have a look at the traditions of bonfire night and how they continue to be a mainstay in the media. 

Bonfire night is more than just a time to inhale toffee apples and awkwardly wait for misfiring pyrotechnics, the tradition goes back years and is sourced from Guy Fawke’s gunpowder plot to destroy parliament. Many films have played with the idea of a rogue individual retaliating against the system. Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves comes to mind with Kevin Costner portraying the rebel trying to topple the regime, the same can be said about Mel Gibson in Braveheart.

There are many films that focus on fire as a narrative piece, none more so than The Wicker Man. The film itself can’t be called a cinematic masterpiece but its cult following is remarkable. The fiery ending weirdly resembles a modern day gathering at a bonfire, just without all the singing and dancing. Although the film isn’t directly linked to the 5th of November it seems to give an alternative insight into the quirky nature of the night, and the obscure traditions that are associated with it.

One tradition in particular that stands out is fireworks. They can either be a spectacle or a hindrance but they remain to be part and parcel of the night. They can be quite frequently seen in films and television shows but two on-screen moments seem to stick in the mind. The beginning of Lord of The Rings: Fellowship of The Ring and Gandalf’s firework display in Hobbiton was a great way of kicking off the film. Equally, Eddie Murphy’s character in Mulan, shooting a firework at Shanyu in the film’s finale is just as memorable, creating a colourful pyrotechnic masterpiece in the process.

Whatever you get up to we hope you have a safe but explosive bonfire night!

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Written by Jack Hopkins on 31st October 2017

HAPPY HALLOWEEN! It always seems a bit strange to say ‘happy’ at a time when you’re supposed to be scared the most. Particularly with some of the films that have been released this year – the jumpy, gory, grotesque qualities of horror films have been stepped up a notch, making it a defining year for the genre.

One of the stand out movies of the year has to be Andrés Muschietti’s remake of Stephen King’s IT. Not only has it worked incredibly well the release of Stranger Things, but it’s also reimagined some of the horror tropes that have proved to be successful for movies of a bygone era. The images of abandoned gothic houses and creepy shadows, contributed with contemporary gore and special effects has created one hell of a film that will stand the test of time - unlike its predecessor.  

Jordan Peele’s Get Out has had a monumental effect on the genre and has reintroduced the topic of race to proceedings. Reminiscent of George A Romero’s Night of The Living Dead, Peele focuses on race relations as a pivot point in his film, seeing the African-American hero hitting back at white enemies. The psychological nature of the film not only creates an enthralling horror narrative but it also strikes a poignant nerve within the contemporary audience.

One film that perfectly described the era we live in is Jigsaw, the 8th film in the Saw series! The unprecedented gore-fest shows how much horror films have changed come since the implicit gothic flicks of the 1960s. It’s also displays how desensitized audiences have become as we’re always on the look out for something that can top the previous spectacle. This has become even more apparent in the light of the announcement that Silence of The Lambs has been reduced from an age rating of 15, to an 18.      

What’s your favourite horror Film? Would it still have the same impact on audiences today?

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Written by Jack Hopkins on 25th October 2017

Technology is always being pushed beyond unfathomable boundaries within the ever-changing entertainment landscape, adapting to wow audiences across different mediums and platforms. This blog will take a look at the advances within cinema, television and what was revealed at this year’s MIPCOM.  

Developments in motion capture technology have allowed Mark Ruffalo to expand the role of Hulk in Thor: Ragnorak. Unlike previous animated characters, Ruffalo can really personalise his movements on set instead of it all being done externally. Likewise, 4DX cinema technology has been used in recent screenings of Geostorm, portraying the extreme weather conditions through jostling seats, light flashes and gusts of wind. Virtual Reality is already creeping into society at great commercial gain. Recent estimates report that VR could make up to $75 billion a year by 2021. 

Many actors and actresses have made the move across to the small screen, cottoning on to its capacity to reach larger audiences. It’s been reported that 37% of adults now have a smart TV, unshackling them from a restrictive linear schedule. This makes it easier to watch shows in groups, creating a more collective experience. Everyone is looking forward to the new season of Stranger Things and the technology behind it’s creation enables it to be enjoyed by future generations too. The show is shot with revolutionary sensors, pushing the boundaries of 4K to ensure that the show can be adapted to fit with future technological advancements.  

This year’s MIPCOM threw up some amazing announcements and online content was a major talking point. Viacom have launched a new mobile channel in Japan, establishing the first online global Nickelodeon branded TV channel. German news outlet, Ripley, have announced their plans to provide a service that can be directly streamed to social media platforms without the hassle of specialist software. Sky Vision have also taken a step into the streaming world, joining with The RightsXchange to make their content easily accessible for programmers all over the world.

It’s all change in the entertainment world, as it’s always been. What do you think is going to be the next big thing?

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Written by Jack Hopkins on 19th October 2017

It can be hard getting your first break in the entertainment industry. But, with the industry thriving, there are more opportunities than ever before.  In this week’s blog we’re going to explore the state of the entertainment recruitment playing field and how it’s adapting.

There have been significant strides to provide more chances for young creatives to flourish in 2017. Young directors like Michael Pearce, Rungano Nyoni and Francis Lee were all given opportunities to showcase their outstanding work at the BFI Film Festival. The same can be said about women in the theatrical sphere, growing and improving their status as leaders of some of the most successful theatres in the UK and Ireland.

But, there is still a major problem with the amount of women being employed in key roles within the entertainment industry.  Personified by the fact that Kathryn Bigelow was the first female to win a Bafta for Best Director…in 2010! Paul Greengrass, director of The Bourne Supremacy and Greenzone, has been speaking at the BFI Film Festival. He mentions that ‘diversity is a profound challenge and we have to do much better, including addressing our lack of women directors as a matter of urgency.’ Ellie Kendrick, who has recently starred in Game of Thrones, is an ambassador for Creative England’s Shortflix Scheme. They are also striving to give opportunities to underrepresented youngsters who are struggling for their first chance in the industry.   

There has also been a shift in industrial recruitment processes. The BBC, for example, announced in September that they will remove educational information from applications and purely focus on experience. This, they hope, will level the playing field and eradicate the elitist agenda that the BBC are occasionally labelled with. Although this somewhat undermines the importance of education, it does, like some of the above efforts, open the industry up to those that may not get that initial chance.

Things are improving, and the ever-changing entertainment industry means that there are always opportunities in a field we all love!

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Written by Jack Hopkins on 4th October 2017

It’s that time of year again when British people buy into one of Germany’s main exports, Oktoberfest.  It’s a festival that runs at the beginning of October, focusing on beer, beer and more beer. With the widespread success of Oktoberfest in the UK we wanted to look at which German exports have struck a chord with film and television audiences around the world.

Most audiences would have first seen Diane Kruger in Troy, portraying Helen of Troy. Since then, she has gone on to star in films all over the world. Her roles in Inglorious Basterds, Unknown and more recently The Infiltrator, with Bryan Cranston, have boosted her prestige in the UK and we can’t wait to see her in something again soon. The German actress was awarded Best Actress at this year’s Cannes Film Festival for her role in In The Fade, the German entry for the Best Foreign Language Film at the 90th Academy Awards.

Many will remember Downfall for its iconic Hitler scene which has been repeatedly parodied over the years, featuring hilariously edited subtitles and contemporary subject matter. The gritty war drama was also very successful at the box office, winning the BBC Four World Cinema Competition in 2005 and picking up a nomination for the Academy Award for Best Foreign Film in the same year.

One of the most notable German exports in recent years is Deutschland ‘83, a stylish drama that depicts the conflict between West and East Germany in the 1980s. It was broadcasted by Channel 4 in 2016, receiving huge critical claim and viewing figures in the process. The series became the highest rated foreign-language drama in UK TV history with it’s second episode boasting an incredible 2.5 million viewers.  Its suspenseful charm was also recognised at the 2016 Emmys, with the series collecting the acclaimed International Emmy Award.

These are just a few of our favourite German media exports. Alongside Oktoberfest, what are yours?

                                                                                                                                   

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Written by Daniel Kirby on 7th September 2017

katharina feistauer

Searchlight recently caught up with Katharina, who we were able to help secure a placement at Viacom earlier this year. 

As VP of Programming, Katharina is working to drive UK programming strategy and source new content, delivering maximum audience experience across multiple platforms.

What does your typical day look like? 

I spend most of my time meeting with my team and other departments to make sure channel performance is where we need it to be and thinking of new ways to connect to our audience. I also try to spend as much time as possible watching the latest kids' programming, be it our own Nickelodeon content or from other sources.

How have you enjoyed being part of the team?

I'm really enjoying being part of the Nickelodeon team and the Viacom Family. Everyone is extremely knowledgeable and passionate and has been very supportive of a newbie asking lots of questions. 

Do you have any particular highlights from your time so far?

One highlight was definitely attending the Children's Media Conference in Sheffield in my first week. There was face painting and karaoke and a lot of very interesting sessions, a perfect way to familiarise myself with the industry. We also had a Nickelodeon Away Day recently which was a fantastic way to get to know my colleagues!


Written by Daniel Kirby on 30th August 2017

great british bake off return

The Great British Bake Off returned last night for the opening of its eighth series, bringing with it Channel 4’s highest ratings in five years. The show also brought new hosts to our screens in the form of Sandi Toksvig and Noel Fielding, whilst Prue Leith joined Paul Hollywood as a judge. Reviews of the opening episode have been highly positive from critics and viewers alike, and Channel 4 will be hoping this ensures a high viewership across the duration of the season.

In purchasing the show from Love Productions last year, the broadcaster was taking a major risk, and this was further compounded when three of the show’s key names decided against following the show to Channel 4. Judging by the success of this opening episode however, it would appear that buying the show was a savvy move for the broadcaster, as the strong viewing figures and critic reviews point to a show which is likely to become a staple of Channel 4’s portfolio.

Last night’s episode achieved a 30.4% audience share with an average of 6.5 million viewers, a major boost to Channel 4’s typical Tuesday night average of around a million viewers, however this is a significantly lower figure than the average audience figure achieved by the show on ITV last year, at 10.4 million.

After dropping £75 million on securing Bake Off, Channel 4 were naturally hoping for a strong viewership, yet chief creative officer Jay Hunt explained that the show would earn its money back with as little as three million viewers. Speaking at the Edinburgh TV Festival last week she said "if it gets, five, six, seven [million] then I’ll be absolutely delighted."

The programme included over 15 minutes of adverts, and it has been reported that Channel 4 had demanded prices up to double the standard cost of a typical peak time advert, allowing the broadcaster to begin to quickly recoup funds, having also signed sponsorship deals with Dr Oetker and Lyle’s golden syrup.

The show was immediately  followed up by the new series of Celebrity Island with Bear Grylls, which began with a strong 1.9 million viewers, rounding off a highly successful night for the broadcaster.


Written by Daniel Kirby on 10th July 2017

virtual reality bbc taster app

The BBC have recently released a free mobile VR app with the aim of transforming some of their content into virtual reality experiences.

At present the content is limited to just two features, the first of which is a 360 video from Planet Earth 2, in which David Attenborough guides the viewer through a number of the series' incredible locations, also allowing the viewer to choose their own path through the story.

The other feature on offer is a trailer for an upcoming BBC Three documentary, One Deadly Night in America. In this, the viewer is placed on an American street, whilst scenes from the documentary are played out around them.

BBC Three controller Damian Kavanagh will be serving as the editorial lead for BBC Taster and in a statement he explained how he believes his role working on the app will 'help use new technologies to explore new ways to tell stories that will engage [the] audience”

Clearly the app is in its infancy but the reviews for the content have been generally positive so far, and this surely outlines the intent of the corporation to further its involvement in the VR field.

The BBC has previously shown support for the medium, with BBC Earth previously partnering with Oculus to release several VR experiences during January of this year.

The app is available for both Android and Apple devices and will be updated with new experiences over the coming months.


Written by Daniel Kirby on 4th May 2017

rts futures cv panel session

Searchlight were lucky enough to partner in a great RTS Futures event last week, a panel session with the aim of providing CV advice to those looking to make their way into the media industry.

The Royal Television Society is an educational charity which encourages and celebrates work in television and its related fields, and their events regularly feature highly respected individuals who are able to provide an insight into the inner workings of the industry.

Their RTS Futures events are specifically aimed at graduates and those in the early stages of their career, and are set up to give them guidance and advice as they make their way into the television sector.

Our senior consultant Audrey Cairo was the host for this session, and the panel consisted of a number of other industry professionals:

• Alex Lawrence, founder of Clearhead Digital

• Susie Worster, head of creative talent at Shed Media

• Amy Osterley, senior consultant here at Searchlight

• Sasha Breslau, head of acquired series at ITV

• Paul McGettigan, head of comedy entertainment, 12 Yard Productions

rts futures panel session

During the session there was advice given from a TV production point of view from Alex, Paul and Susie which provided useful insight into their opinion on initial applications. Sasha provided the point of view of a hiring manager whilst Amy and Audrey were approaching the discussion from an agency mind-set, and whilst there was a great deal of agreement it was also evident that disparity can arise in how your CV is regarded by those in differing parts of the industry. Overall it was suggested that tailoring your CV and considering exactly where and who it is being sent to is highly beneficial.

A useful aspect of the event was the fact that the audience had the opportunity to ask questions during and after the session, meaning the discussion evolved organically in the direction most useful to those in attendance.

Overall it was a successful and enjoyable evening, and as always we were very happy to participate. By working with the RTS we feel we are supporting a great cause, using our expertise to assist with the work they do whilst also maintaining a valuable understanding of current thinking within the television landscape.

If you would like any more information regarding CV and application tips you can download our brochure on the subject here!


Written by Daniel Kirby on 28th April 2017

bafta guru live 2017

Image courtesy of BAFTA / Johnathan Birch

Next month Searchlight will be supporting the BAFTA Guru Live: a two day festival filled with masterclasses, panel sessions and workshops with the aim of providing expert industry insight to aspiring creatives across film, TV and games.

This will be the second time the event has taken place, after a successful inaugural festival over the May bank holiday weekend last year. That festival saw more than 50 events take place and 2800 tickets sold, with overwhelmingly positive feedback from those involved!

We think this is a great event and in supporting a session at BAFTA Guru Live, we’re doing our bit to support the up-and-coming talent in the industry.

This year’s Guru Live is taking place in two cities - London and Glasgow - and the sessions will cover a variety of topics ranging from 'How to get commissioned' to, 'What it takes to be a games Producer'.

BAFTA Guru Live will also provide an opportunity for more established creatives to participate in networking events, connecting with likeminded people from across the industry through Guru Labs.

Searchlight is sponsoring the session 'How to Freelance', in which our MD Cathy Alford will take part in a Q&A with tips on how to represent yourself effectively and manage a freelance career.

Elsewhere, Searchlight consultants will be participating in a one-to-one CV clinic, and our design specialist Ian McFadyen will be advising on how to put together the ultimate showreel.

The event will be taking place from 6 – 7th May at BAFTA, 195 Piccadilly, W1J9LN.

Check out the full schedule here!


Written by Daniel Kirby on 23rd February 2017

oscars 2017

This year’s Academy Awards ceremony is fast approaching, and the organisers will be glad that the infamous #OscarsSoWhite controversy looks unlikely to arise again this year, after plaguing the event since 2015.

The debate centred primarily around the fact that no actors of colours were nominated either year, but this time around every acting category has recognised a minority actor, including a record six black actors. These include Denzel Washington who received his seventh nomination for “Fences”, and his co-star Viola Davis who has picked up her third nomination.

Diversity at the Oscars has frequently been a contentious issue, including at the ceremony in 1940 when a black actor won the prestigious award for the first time. That year the 12th Academy Awards were held at a banquet in the Coconut Grove at The Ambassador Hotel in Los Angeles, which had a strict no-blacks policy. This made things difficult for Hattie McDaniel who was up for best supporting actress for her part in Gone With the Wind, and indeed the film’s producer David O Selznick had to pull strings in order for her to attend. McDaniel was unable to sit with her fellow actors at the event, but in a segregated area at the back of the room. McDaniel did go on to win the award, and gave an emotional and heartfelt acceptance speech, but it would be another 24 years until the achievement was repeated.

Much of the blame for the previous ‘whitewashing’ of the awards categories was levelled at the demographic of the voting members, leading the Academy to announce several initiatives to diversify its membership, adding 683 new members comprised of 46 percent women and 41 percent people of colour.

The controversy has died down as a result, however there is still scepticism about whether this year represents real change. It has been variously suggested that whilst the crop of nominees is ‘more black’, other marginalised groups remain underrepresented, and others have suggested that one year of increased diversity does not make up for a long history of discrimination. Nevertheless there is a highly positive attitude surrounding  this year’s ceremony and we’re looking forward to a successful and exciting event!


Written by Daniel Kirby on 21st February 2017

the oscars in numbers

Written by Daniel Kirby on 20th February 2017


Written by Daniel Kirby on 6th January 2017

Searchlight had a busy couple of months in the build up to Christmas with our staff appearing at a variety of different events and providing advice and guidance for students and young people. Here’s a brief summary of what we got up to, and let’s hope the next few months provide some opportunities to continue the hard work!

 CATHY AT ERIC - Sunday 6th November

eric festival 2016

Early in November our MD Cathy Alford was a guest speaker at ERIC festival, the inaugural event of an initiative which was launched to educate the future generation on the opportunities available in the creative sector.

Cathy was a guest speaker in a panel aimed at explaining the various options young people have for finding a career in the media industry. She gave advice on how those in attendance could go about gaining the experience required to break into such a difficult industry.

It was a successful event with over fifty companies involved, from Channel 4 to Disney, and we look forward to seeing how the next one goes.

ALISON AT LBS - Tuesday 8th November

london business school

Shortly after Cathy’s appearance at ERIC festival, Searchlight were delighted to be invited to co-host a panel at London Business School, which was aimed at students from across their programmes and in partnership with the LBS Technology & Media Club.

Our senior consultant Alison Mathers was part of a great panel, with whom she discussed the media landscape, typical corporate roles business students could go into, and gave advice for searching for roles in the sector.

Please click here to find some examples that we feel are helpful for anyone looking to explore a career in the media industry!

AMY & AUDREY AT RTS - Tuesday 15th November

 royal television society event

Another event in a busy month saw our senior consultants Amy and Audrey visit BFI Southbank for the Royal Television Society's Student Programme Masterclass.

This was an opportunity for students looking to enter the media industry to meet and learn from a range of industry professionals, and as experienced media recruiters, Amy and Audrey offered to put on an additional one-on-one CV clinic.

They were able to give some excellent advice to the students and overall it was a hugely successful event which Searchlight are proud to have been part of!


Written by Daniel Kirby on 21st October 2016

mipcom 2016

MIPCOM 2016 came to an end yesterday after a hugely popular event. The organisers have reported a turnout of over 14000, including nearly 5000 buyers, up slightly from last year.

The preceding MIPJunior event which took place on the weekend also reported an increased attendance, with 1600 participants. The main MIPCOM event saw 2000 companies exhibiting, and Japan was particularly well-represented as the country of honour. The Prime Minister of the country Shinzo Abe even sent a video address to the delegates.

The 'Personality of the Year' at the event was Shonda Rhimes, creator of Grey's Anatomy and Scandal, who put on an excellent keynote interview. Other big names in Cannes included Kiefer Sutherland and Kyle MacLachlan who were promoting Designated Survivor and Twin Peaks respectively.

By all accounts it was a highly successful and productive few days, with major deals being struck and new partnerships established.


Written by Daniel Kirby on 19th September 2016

emmy awards 2016

The Emmy Awards took place last night in Los Angeles, where Game of Thrones was one of the big winners of the night.

HBO's hugely successful fantasy drama won in three categories, and in doing so it broke the record for the greatest number of Emmy Awards won by any fictional series.

As for British winners, Dame Maggie Smith won yet another award for her role in Downton Abbey, but was not in attendance at the ceremony. Given that she has never attended the awards show, the host on the evening Jimmy Kimmel joked 'We're not mailing this to her. Maggie, if you want this, it will be in the lost and found.' John Oliver also picked up an award for best variety talk series, ahead of fellow Brit James Cordon.

Elsewhere on the night, Tatiana Maslany won the award for best actress in a drama series for her part in the sci fi thriller Orphan Black, whilst Rami Malek took home the mens equivalent for his part in Mr. Robot.

The cast of People vs. OJ Simpson was another show which enjoyed a successful night, with three separate acting awards going to members of the show.

Overall this year's event was praised for the diversity of its nominees, and on the night two of the four directors who won were women, and Alan Yang and Aziz Ansari picked up awards for their comedy series Master of None, prompting Kimmel to suggest 'there's almost too much diversity in this show'.

See below for the main winners! 

---

  • Drama Series: “Game of Thrones”
  • Comedy Series: “Veep”
  • Mini-Series or Movie: “The People v. O. J. Simpson: American Crime Story”
  • TV Movie: “Sherlock: The Abominable Bride (Masterpiece)”
  • Variety Talk Series: “Last Week Tonight With John Oliver”
  • Variety Sketch Series: “Key & Peele”
  • Actor in a Comedy Series: Jeffrey Tambor, “Transparent”
  • Actress in a Comedy Series: Julia Louis-Dreyfus, “Veep”
  • Actor in a Drama Series: Rami Malek, “Mr. Robot”
  • Actress in a Drama Series: Tatiana Maslany, “Orphan Black”
  • Actor in a Mini-Series or Movie: Courtney B. Vance, “The People v. O. J. Simpson: American Crime Story”
  • Actress in a Mini-Series or Movie: Sarah Paulson, “The People v. O. J. Simpson: American Crime Story”
  • Supporting Actor in a Drama: Ben Mendelsohn, “Bloodline”
  • Supporting Actress in a Drama: Maggie Smith, “Downton Abbey”
  • Supporting Actor in a Comedy: Louie Anderson, “Baskets”
  • Supporting Actress in a Comedy: Kate McKinnon, “Saturday Night Live”
---

To see the full list of winners check out the Emmys website here.


Written by Daniel Kirby on 16th September 2016

skepta mercury prize winner
(Image by Batiste Safont)

Grime artist Skepta was announced as this year's winner at the awards evening at the Hammersmith Apollo last night.

In taking the award, Skepta beat out bookmakers' favourite David Bowie, who was expected to win with his final album Blackstar. Other artists vying for the UK's most prestigious music award included Radiohead, The 1975 and Laura Mvula.

Reception to the news has been very positive, with many applauding the fact that Skepta was able to win with an album which he produced and released by himself. Jarvis Cocker, one of those on the judging panel, explained that “we as a jury decided that if David Bowie was looking down on the Hammersmith Apollo tonight if he would want the 2016 prize to go to Skepta”.

The result has also underlined the remarkable resurgence of the grime genre, with Skepta becoming the first grime artist to win the award since Dizzee Rascal picked up the award in 2003 for his album Boy In Da Corner.

Written by Daniel Kirby on 13th September 2016

great british bake off channel 4


After a year of negotiations with Love Productions, the production company behind The Great British Bake Off, the BBC has lost its contract to broadcast the hit show.

The programme will now move to Channel 4, who have signed a three year deal with the production company.

The key issue appears to have been the large fees involved, it is thought that the BBC offered £15m per year to keep the programme on BBC One, which is double the amount they currently pay for the show, but Love Productions wanted at least £25 million.

One BBC executive explained “We made a very strong offer to keep the show, but we are a considerable distance apart on the money.[Our] resources are not infinite.”

This is clearly a major coup for Channel 4, who will now take ownership of the UK's highest rated show. Their first Bake Off broadcast will air as a charity special next year, however negotiations with the show's current presenters are yet to begin.


Written by Daniel Kirby on 5th September 2016

brexit media recruitment

On June 23rd Britain voted to leave the EU, a decision which forged a deep divide between two halves of the country and which has left us mired in political uncertainty. In recruitment terms the effect of Brexit is hard to gauge, given that different industries are likely to face very different challenges over the coming years, but we have attempted to summarise the current fallout from the decision and the predictions for the future.

Within hours of the result being announced, the job site Indeed reported a major increase in searches for jobs outside of the UK, and although these searches have since tailed off, this surely demonstrates a level of unease relating to the uncertain future of the country.

Elsewhere however, there has been generally positive recruitment news following the result, with the recruitment firm Reed explaining that in the three weeks following the vote they saw an 8 percent increase in jobs added to its website compared to the same period last year. CV-Library also announced that their Q2 2016 data showed an 11% increase in job vacancies and a 13.2% increase in candidate applications compared to Q2 2015. Clearly then, UK employers are remaining optimistic despite the Brexit uncertainty, and these figures should go some way towards allaying fears that the result will cause a recruitment slowdown.

Nevertheless there are certainly changes on the way. It seems inevitable that immigration laws are going to be affected given that this was a major issue in the referendum with many people looking for a greater measure of control. What seems likely at this point is that those EU workers who are already residing in the UK will be permitted to remain so, however Theresa May has refused to make any concrete promises on this since taking office. She has announced that she would like to secure permanent residency rights of EU nationals living in the UK, but that this would be dependent on equivalent rights being given to British expatriates living in EU member states. Given that there are currently 3.3 million EU nationals living in the UK and 1.2 million Brits living in EU member states, the issue here is a major one which May’s party will be hoping to resolve as early as possible.

One possibility following the referendum, albeit unlikely, is that the UK could negotiate to maintain freedom of movement, either with the EU or with particular EU countries. In such a case EU nationals from those countries with which an agreement is made would naturally be able to work in the UK without a visa, whilst those workers from all other member states would most likely be required to apply for visas under UK immigration rules.

One of our close associates, the law firm Lewis Silkin LLP have covered this topic in some depth, and have explained that it is unlikely that low-skilled workers will be eligible for UK work visas, and if this is indeed the case, it is entirely possible that we will encounter a shortage of low-skilled workers after the separation of the UK from the EU is completed. Such an event would result in higher costs for affected employers, who would have to offer greater wages to secure their required workforce.

Despite the significance of some of Brexit’s potential consequences, the response from the media industry to the referendum result has been surprisingly upbeat, with many companies expressing their desire to continue with ‘business as usual’, and a general consensus within London is that the capital will remain a highly desirable destination for businesses, even after Britain completes its separation from the EU.

Those in the events industry are particularly confident in this regard. Tracy Halliwell, director of business tourism and major events at London & Partners suggests that ‘London remains one of the best cities in which to build a global business and to hold an international event’, and goes on to state her belief that ‘there will be ample time to develop and effect plans to ensure continuity of business over the coming years.’

Elsewhere Kevin Jackson, chair of the International Live Events Association (ILEA) said that although the uncertainty of the next two years is a concern,  ‘the event industry is a robust industry and a relationship-based industry’ with ‘strong relationships across Europe and around the world.’

In terms of corporate communications, a major concern is of course that companies will look to halt their big PR campaigns due to the current state of uncertainty. However according to Pete Markey, brand communications and marketing director at Aviva, Brexit may in fact ‘provide a challenge and an opportunity for brands and marketers’ and that with ‘consumer trust declining, the need for strong and confident brands is evident more than ever.’ He goes on to suggest that ‘brands will be looking to focus more on the emotional warmth of storytelling and heritage behind their brands to help build and strengthen confidence and trust – those brands that panic and waver will revert to heavy discounting and promotions which could potentially damage brand value.’

Studies have shown that advertisers who increase their advertising spend during a recession are often more profitable in the long term, and so there may be a number of companies looking to take the opportunity to strengthen their brand during the nation’s Brexit unease.

Overall then the media industry outlook appears positive post-Brexit, and we as a company have not noticed any slowdown in recruitment since the result. A calm approach has been adopted by the majority of companies and as a result the industry appears stable at this moment in time.

Helpfully Lewis Silkin have also released some practical suggestions as to what media companies can do in legal terms in order to navigate Brexit successfully.

Firstly they suggest reviewing which of your workforce are EU migrants, if any, and how many UK nationals are stationed elsewhere in the EU, in order to assist them in applications for citizenship, permanent residency, or (if required) an EU workers’ permit.

They also propose that companies could also consider changing their work council agreements to be based in Ireland under Irish law, and given the currency fluctuations, assess arrangements of employees posted abroad and paid in other currencies. As the current position of EU statutory leave may change or even ultimately be reversed, it makes sense to review considerations concerning making offers on holiday pay beyond basic salary.

Finally they recommend carrying on with existing measures to comply with the General Data Protection Regulation, as the UK will not have exited by May 2018 when this comes into effect, and domestic law is also unlikely to change.


Written by Daniel Kirby on 22nd August 2016

bbc3 youth audience

The closure of BBC3 in February has led to an 18% decrease in number of 16-34 year old viewers of the BBC's broadcast TV channels, according to the TV marketing body Thinkbox.

They suggest that commercial TV companies have benefited from the channel's closure, with channels such as ITV2 and E4 experiencing subsequent audience rises.

The BBC however, has suggested that the move online has been a success, and BBC3 controller Damian Kavanagh has previously suggested that the channel would aim to take more creative risks. This appears to have worked in the channel's favour with their thriller Thirteen, which was seen as potentially featuring excessively dark subject matter before going on to become the most popular show on iPlayer this year.

Colin Watkins, head of communications at the BBC has defended the channel, taking to twitter earlier today to dispute the statistics, arguing that data has been misrepresented to meet a story.

Nevertheless it would appear that there has been a drop in their youth audience, and Matt Hill, research and planning director at Thinkbox has addressed this, suggesting that 'the importance of TV channels on TV sets cannot be overlooked, they remain the first port of call for the majority of people of all ages'


Written by Daniel Kirby on 9th August 2016

rio olympics uk audience figures

Last night the Rio Olympics saw its largest UK audience figures so far, as Tom Daley and Dan Goodfellow earned bronze medals in the 10m synchronised diving.

BBC1 saw a five-minute peak audience of nearly 8 million, whilst elsewhere the viewing figures for the men's group gymanstics final were not far behind. As the British team faltered, missing out on a medal position, the event pulled in a peak of 7.2 million.

The games as a whole has proved massively popular for the BBC, with the BBC Sport website achieving a record 15.2 million global browsers on Monday, more than half a million more than the previous record which was set when England took on Wales during Euro 2016.

Written by Daniel Kirby on 31st July 2016

vr headset siggraph

This year's Siggraph conference is now over, and we've taken a look at some of the big stories from the event.

Siggraph is the most significant animation and interactive conference worldwide, covering a whole host of topics over four days. On the exhibition floor, legions of companies from engineering, graphics, motion picture and video game industries set up shop, and with over 14,000 people in attendance at this years event, they had an impressive audience.

The event offers a first look at new projects and technologies,  breakdowns of the effects used in major blockbuster movies and a range of interactive exhibits. Interestingly the event also sees many research papers presented, as the event  is also seen as a highly prestigious forum for the publication of computer graphics research.

As with recent Siggraph conferences, virtual reality featured heavily this year, with a range of immersive demonstrations on offer on the exhibition floor, especially in the 'VR Village' as you would probably expect.

One of the most well received of these was the 'Synesthesia Suit', which aims to give the wearer highly realistic sensations whilst they are in virtual reality environments. This is achieved through the use of dozens of vibrating actuators, which the producers of the suit call 'vibro-tactile sensations'.

Elsewhere at the event there was a remarkable ‘real-time’ demonstration, which saw British company Ninja Theory, in collaboration with several other companies, present their performance capture technology which will be used on their upcoming game ‘Hellblade: Senua’s Sacrifice’. Using their technology they were able to shoot and edit scenes for their game to release quality in just a matter of minutes, a process which would otherwise have taken many weeks to achieve.

Overall the event was a major success and a hugely enjoyable experience according to those who were fortunate enough to attend.  There was a highly positive atmosphere at the conference as the industry experiences an unprecedented number of jobs and rapid technological developments, and it will be interesting to see how announcements and demos from the event begin to make their way into the public eye over coming months.


Written by Daniel Kirby on 25th July 2016

robot wars premiere bbc2

Robot Wars returned to BBC2 last night, achieving an impressive 2 million viewers, a figure greater than that achieved by the series finale of Top Gear.

The episode was followed by the first episode of Dragons' Den, which achievd 2.9 million viewers and rounded off a successful night for the channel.

With both series having just commenced, BBC2 looks to have secured a winning combination for Sunday nights.


Written by Daniel Kirby on 14th July 2016

RTS Futures Summer Party 2016

Yesterday evening Searchlight were able to attend a great event put on by the Royal Television Society. The event was held at Kings Place, which looks out on Regents Canal, and centred around a talk featuring several renowned producers and directors working in the television industry.

The host was Toby Earle, who writes for the Evening Standard as well as working as a journalist and broadcaster at London Live, and the speakers were as follows:

Emeka Onono. Series producer and director

Soleta Rogan.  MD, Rogan Productions

Daisy Scalchi.  Senior development producer

Nic Stacey. Writer, producer and director

The key topic of the discussion was quite simple, Toby simply went around the panel asking each speaker to describe a mistake that they had made in their career and what they had learned from it. This turned out to be a brilliant choice of topic for a talk, as the resulting stories were both informative and amusing, and also allowed the budding producers and directors in the audience the chance to see that these highly successful individuals are not infallible. It immediately made them relatable to those of us in the audience and we were glad to get such an insight into the tough world of TV production.

Overall it was a great night and we're looking forward to the next one!


Written by Daniel Kirby on 12th July 2016

In an annual research report published by Ofcom yesterday, it was announced that viewing of paid-for video-on-demand services such as Amazon and Netflix has more than tripled in just two years.

On the other hand, overall daily viewing of live TV has dropped by nearly half an hour per person in the past five years, with the most siginificant drop occurring among those ages between 16 and 24 years old, for whom live TV viewing figures fell by more than a quarter.

Ofcom have explained that this has resulted in a 'widening gap' between the viewing practices of younger and older viewers, with those over 65 seeing almost no change in their viewing habits. Currently traditional live TV accounts for only 36% of total viewing activity for 16-24 year olds, whilst for over-65s this figure is 83%.

Elsewhere in the report it was announced that BBC, ITV, and Channels 4 and 5 have seen their share of audiences fall, dropping to 70.7% of TV viewing last year - down from 77.2% 10 years ago.


Written by Daniel Kirby on 4th July 2016

Chris Evans has quit Top Gear just one day after the conclusion of the first series.

The series was fraught with controversy and criticism, with Evans facing allegations of bullying and misconduct, and more recently reports that co-presenter Matt LeBlanc had threatened to leave the show if Chris Evans did not step down.


chris evans quits top gear


The show also saw a significant drop in ratings compared to the previous series, and the BBC will no doubt be hoping that refreshing the presenters will help restore a balance to the flagging show.

Current reports suggest that the remaining presenters will be returning for the next series, which is due to begin filming in September.



Written by Daniel Kirby on 30th June 2016

Today we're happy to announce the launch of our new mobile app, which will allow you to complete your job hunting needs whilst on the move.

The app gives you access to our full list of jobs, which you can search through according to sector, salary and location.

You can also save your own specific parameters, and when a new role comes in which matches your requirements, you'll receive a push notification enabling you to be the first to see and apply for the role!

Unfortunately applying directly for roles is only possible on android at this time due to iOS restrictions, however those on iPhones have the option to email jobs to themselves in order to complete the application on desktop.

We know that life can be busy, and it's not always possible to dedicate time to job hunting, but we hope that this app will give you that extra level of convenience to make finding your dream media job that little bit easier!

To download the app just click on your app store link below!

                                                      


Written by Daniel Kirby on 20th June 2016

The highly anticipated sequel to Finding Nemo was released in the US on Friday and took over £93.3m, which makes it the most successful animated film launch in US box office history. 


The film has also had the second most successful opening weekend of the year so far, with only Captain America: Civil War seeing greater success.

After a thirteen year wait, Ellen DeGeneres returned to provide the voicing for the titular character, along with director Andrew Stanton, and despite the long gap it appears interest in the story has remained high.

Finding Dory is set to be released in UK cinemas on July 29th.


Written by Daniel Kirby on 8th June 2016

itv referendum debate

Last night's ITV referendum debate between David Cameron and Nigel Farage acheived an average of 4 million viewers, meaning it is currently the most viewed current affairs show of 2016.

Taking place in front of a live studio audience at 9pm, the debate involved Cameron and Farage receiving questions from the audience on a variety of Brexit-related issues.

The show reached a peak of 4.6 million viewers, and achieved a 20% share of all TV viewers between 9pm and 10pm, demonstrating the growing popularity of the referendum issue.

Media coverage of the referendum is set to continue with two BBC Question Time specials and a live debate at Wembley on June 21st.


Written by Daniel Kirby on 31st May 2016

The new series of Top Gear commenced on Saturday with an average of 4.4 million viewers, more than 2 million down on the average viewing figures of the last series and also well below the figure of 5 million which Chris Evans hoped to achieve.

Nevertheless the show did secure the majority audience of its 8pm with a 23% share, and the viewing figures do not include those who watch the show on catch up. Evans himself was upbeat about the debut when posting on twitter after the episode.


top gear chris evans tweet

In terms of critical reception, many were critical of Chris Evans' performance as host whilst others complained about a lack of originality with the show following the same format as previous seasons, however elsewhere there was praise for Matt LeBlanc and the more conservative approach of this new season.


Written by Daniel Kirby on 23rd May 2016

tilt brush virtual reality

Virtual reality continues to feature frequently in headlines, along with the promise that this 'next big thing' is about to make its way into the mainstream. This, of course, has been the case for several years, but with a recent flurry of activity surrounding the technology it would appear that VR may well be on the verge of its breakthrough.

The latest notable contribution to the virtual reality platform is Google's new Tilt Brush app, a fascinating tool which allows anyone with a VR lens and their console (digital paint brush) to paint in a 3D virtual canvas.

Tilt Brush has had very positive reviews, with many suggesting that it represents 'the first great VR app', and critics have suggested that it gives a better demonstration of the potential of the technology than other apps.

Suggestions for how the app could be used in the future include allowing architects to create virtual models of their designs to send to clients, whilst other futuristic possibilites are already being used, such as virtual reality therapy, a form of pyschotherapy which uses the technology to treat patients with extreme anxiety issues, with a reportedly high level of success.

Elewhere Audi have adopted the technology to create a virtual showroom which allows their prospective customers to view a custom model of their desired car by viewing a 3D model of the car via a VR headset.

Clearly the potential for this technology is huge, and the media industry in particular looks likely to benefit from the new platform. We're expecting to see work opportunities open up as the technology finds its feet, and are looking forward to what the future of VR has in store.


Written by Daniel Kirby on 19th May 2016

radio presenters

RAJAR, the official body responsible for measuring radio audience figures in the UK released their latest figures today.

Nick Grimshaw's Radio 1 show has seen its lowest audience figures since he took over from Chris Moyles in 2012 with an average weekly reach of 5.4 million over the first quarter of the year.

Chris Moyles himself has also seen a major dip in his London audience for his breakfast show on Radio X.

Radio 2 however has seen an increase in its audience figures, and remains by far the most popular station in the country with an impressive 15.5 million listeners. The RAJAR figures also show all-time highs for Jeremy Vine, Dermot O'Leary and Ken Bruce.

Chris Evans has also seen an increase in his listening figures as his highly anticiated Top Gear debut approaches.

Elsewhere The Archers has recorded a drop in its audience, despite a well-publicised domestic abuse storyline that has revived interest in the Radio 4 show.


Written by Daniel Kirby on 18th May 2016

The Cannes film festival has been underway for a week, and here are our highlights of the event so far.


Studio Ghibli make a return after two years

Studio Ghibli have released a trailer for their new film The Red Turtle. They are co-producing the film with the French studio Wild Bunch and the film will be the first release from the acclaimed studio since When Marnie Was There in 2014. The film looks very interesting, you can check out the trailer here.

red turtle studio ghibli


Scorsese secures a major deal for his long-delayed film The Irishman

Starring Leonardo DiCaprio, Robert De Niro and Al Pacino, the gangster film had been in process for several years, however Scorsese's deal with STX Entertainment will allow production to finally commence on the film later this year.

the irishman cannes

The BFG premieres to wide acclaim

Steven Spielberg's live action adaptation of the famous Roald Dahl novel recently premiered at the festival, and was extremely well-received. In particular Mark Rylance, who plays the big friendly giant himself, was praised by critics for his perfomance, marking a continuation in the run of success for the British actor who earlier this year won an Oscar for his part in the excellent film Bridge of Spies. Watch the trailer here.

bfg cannes


Written by Daniel Kirby on 12th May 2016

white paper bbc meaning

A big topic in the media lately has been the government review into the BBC, headed by culture secretary John Whittingdale.

Today the proposals have been revealed, and they come with a variety of implications for the broadcaster and its viewers. Here is a summary of the key points:

---

The licence fee will increase

Whittingdale annunce that the cost of a licence fee should increase in line with inflation for five years beginning in 2017. However there will be more flexible payment options for lower-income families.

You will have to pay to watch content on iPlayer

The paper explained that 'viewing habits [are] shift[ing] away from linear television' and suggested that those who watch content after it was originally broadcast should contribute to the cost.

Complaints will now be dealt with by Ofcom

The government has proposed that Ofcom become the external regulator of the BBC, as opposed to the BBC Trust which previously existed for this purpose. It has also been announced that a new 'unitary board' will be established, which will consist of around a dozen members, at least half of which will be appointed by the BBC.

The focus of BBC's content must change 

The paper announced that the broadcaster must focus on 'innovative and high quality' programming, rather than ratings, and should focus more on under-served audiences such as ethnic minority viewers.

Highest earners will be named

It will now be required for all BBC employees who earn more than £450,000 per year to be named, however their specific salaries will not be revealed, instead they will be shown in 'broad bands'.

---

In the build up to the release of this paper, it was suggested that more intrusive moves were planned, such as a possible plan to stop the BBC from competing with other broadcasters for prime-time viewers, however such plans were ultimately not included, no doubt to the great relief of BBC supporters.


Written by Daniel Kirby on 9th May 2016

bafta awards 2016 bbc government threat

The BAFTA Television Awards recently took place in an event that turned out to have an unusually political edge, with the government coming under fire for their proposed changes to the BBC.

Wolf Hall director Peter Kominsky received the first award of the evening and used the opportunity to suggest that the BBC is 'under threat', before going on to accuse the government of trying to 'eviscerate' the BBC and Channel 4.

kosminsky baftas speech


Later on, when Mark Rylance won the award for best leading actor, also for Wolf Hall, he too joined in the condemnation whilst also praising the 'incredible variety of popular culture' in the UK.

The political speeches were in response to government plans to publish a white paper which will outline the future set up and function of the BBC, including a proposal to replace the majority of the BBC board with government appointees.

In Kosminsky's speech he suggested that these plans would turn the BBC into a state broadcaster like 'those bastions of democracy Russia and North Korea'.

Elsewhere on the evening, Peter Kay saw success after winning two awards for his comedy Car Share, whilst Suranne Jones received the award for best leading actress for her part in hit BBC drama Doctor Foster.

You can find the full list of winners below.

-------

  • Leading actor - Mark Rylance, Wolf Hall
  • Leading actress - Suranne Jones, Doctor Foster
  • Supporting actor - Tom Courtenay, Unforgotten
  • Supporting actress - Chanel Cresswell, This Is England '90
  • Entertainment performance - Leigh Francis, Celebrity Juice
  • Female performance in a comedy programme - Michaela Coel, Chewing Gum
  • Male performance in a comedy - Peter Kay, Peter Kay's Car Share
  • Single drama - Don't Take My Baby
  • Mini-series - This Is England '90
  • Drama series - Wolf Hall
  • Soap and continuing drama - Eastenders
  • International - Transparent
  • Factual series - The Murder Detectives
  • Specialist factual - Britain's Forgotten Slave Owners
  • Single Documentary - My Son The Jihadi
  • Features - The Great British Bake Off
  • Reality and constructed factual - First Dates
  • Current affairs - Outbreak: The Truth About Ebola (This World)
  • News coverage - Channel 4 News: Paris Massacre
  • Sport - The Ashes
  • Live event - Big Blue Live
  • Entertainment programme - Strictly Come Dancing
  • Comedy and comedy entertainment programme - Have I Got News For You
  • Scripted comedy - Peter Kay's Car Share
  • Radio Times audience award - Poldark
  • Special Award in honour of Alan Clarke - Lenny Henry

Written by Daniel Kirby on 6th May 2016

line of duty bbc switch


The BBC has confirmed that Line of Duty will be moving to BBC1 for its fourth series which will air next year.

The hugely popular show has also had a fifth series commissioned, following the conclusion of the third series last Thursday, with the final episode pulling in a remarkable 5.6 million viewers over its 90-minute finale.

BBC's Controller of TV Channels and iPlayer Charlotte Moore said "Jed Mercurio's explosive thriller will find a new home on BBC1 for two more series and create room for new drama to flourish on BBC2."

The third series of Line of Duty has achieved the highest recorded ratings for a BBC2 drama and the fourth series, which is set to begin filming in August, will no doubt be met with a great deal of excitement!


Written by Daniel Kirby on 20th April 2016

elba ridley guerrilla tv series

Luther actor Idris Elba is to star in a new political drama written by 12 Years a Slave creator John Ridley. 

The new six-part series is being billed as a love story and will follow a couple as they attempt to liberate a a political prisoner and form an underground cell in 1970s London. Sky Atlantic has partnered with US network Showtime with the two companies bringing the show to UK and US TV respectively.

Elba said, “It's been a long-time desire of mine to collaborate with Mr Ridley and his work here is nothing short of a masterclass in character building and storytelling. TV is in for a treat.”

Elba has prolific of late, notably providing voice acting for recent releases Zootropolis and The Jungle Book.

The drama will begin production later this summer and is expected to air next year.


Written by Daniel Kirby on 19th April 2016

game of thrones season 6 debut uk

Season 6 of the hugely popular series will return on April 24th on HBO in the US, and will be simulcast on Sky Atlantic in the UK at 2am on the Monday morning.

Anticipation for the show has been building rapidly, with one UK company already announcing that they will be giving their staff a half day holiday on the Monday to allow them to catch up on sleep should they choose to stay up and watch the debut.

Part of the excitement stems from the fact that there is no source text to give away what will be covered in this season, with author George R.R. Martin still in the process of writing the sixth novel of his fantasy saga, from which the series is adapted.

After half a decade we're still hooked on the show and are anticipating an action packed sixth season!

Written by Daniel Kirby on 18th April 2016

The second episode of Britain's Got Talent brought in an impressive audeince of 10.3 million, making it the top rated show of the year so far.

This is welcome news for ITV, especially after the series opener drew in just 8.8 million, down significantly from a viewership of over 11 million in 2015.

Elsewhere on TV, Michael McIntyre's Big Show had a successful debut of 4.8 million, and whilst the show received a mixed reaction, McIntyre himself was praised by many for his performance as the host.



Written by Daniel Kirby on 14th April 2016

cannes film festival 2016

The list of films which will be competing for the Palme d'Or has been announced, here's the run down.

The line up features two British directors, namely Ken Loach and Andrea Arnold, the latter of whom is one of three female directors in the competition. The festival has frequently been criticised for its lack of women film-makers, and landed in hot water last year after reports that some of the female attendees were barred from the red carpet for not wearing high heels.

There are also some interesting films screening out of competition, including Steven Spielberg's live action adaptation of The BFG, and 'The Nice Guys' a 70's crime film starring Russel Crowe and Ryan Gosling.

In Competition:

Toni Erdmann, Maren Ade

Julieta, Pedro Almodóvar

American Honey, Andrea Arnold

Personal Shopper, Olivier Assayas

La Fille Inconnue, Jean-Pierre Dardenne & Luc Dardenne

Juste La Fin Du Monde, Xavier Dolan

Ma Loute, Bruno Dumont

Paterson, Jim Jarmusch

Rester Vertical, Alain Guiraudie

Aquarius, Kleber Mendonça Filho

Mal De Pierres, Nicole Garcia

I, Daniel Blake, Ken Loach

Ma’ Rosa, Brillante Mendoza

Bacalaureat, Cristian Mungiu

Loving, Jeff Nichols

The Handmaiden (Agassi), Park Chan-Wook

The Last Face, Sean Penn

Sieranevada, Cristi Puiu

Elle, Paul Verhoeven

The Neon Demon, Nicolas Winding Refn


Written by Daniel Kirby on 12th April 2016

prince's trust met police

Our senior consultant and career coach Audrey Cairo recently put on a workshop for a Prince's Trust Programme, which is being run by the Metropolitan Police in Camden.

 The 'Trust Team Programme' is a 12 week personal development course for unemployed 16-25 year olds, designed to provide an opportunity to gain new skills to help with the search for employment.

 Camden Police are delivering the programme from Kentish Town police station, where they also hoped to provide an opportunity to break down barriers between young people and the police.

 Audrey's workshop 'What's Next' was a half day of activities which covering a mix of job-finding tips along with some coaching.

 This included answers to questions like: 'What makes a good CV and cover letter?' and 'What to do (and to avoid) in an interview?'

They also looked at how to they could make the most of the transferrable skills they gained during their community project and work placements on the course.

We're proud of Audrey for the great work she put in for the programme, and are hoping that the advice she gave will go on to make a difference!


Written by James Cheetham on 8th April 2016

BBC'S The Voice comes to an end this weekend, leaving a prime time void which acting entertainment chief Alan Tyler has described as 'a big opportunity.' 

The BBC has had several Saturday night flops recently, including celebrity gymnastics show 'Tumble' and the gameshow 'Prized Apart', and the company is currently looking towards the US for inspiration to guide their next choice.

Tyler suggested that comedy series in the UK tend to follow established formulae such as interviews and panel shows, and that perhaps they 'are missing something more akin to the thing that Fallon and James Cordon have done', referring to the show 'Carpool Karaoke' which has become a major hit in the US.

Clearly the beeb are open to taking a different approach to their next generation of Saturday night entertainment and with shows such as Britain's Got Talent entering its tenth series, perhaps a fresh approach is what's needed.


Written by Daniel Kirby on 7th April 2016

This year's MipTV saw over 11,000 attendees from 100 different countries, and provided a platform for a variety of deals to be made within the TV and digital content industries. 

Several interesting drama series held their premieres at the event this year whilst others had their international rights sold and are now set to make their way to foreign shores.

Amongst those moving abroad are Kudos' 'Capital', a British series heading to Australasia and the US, and Spanish drama series 'Locked Up', a women's prison survival thriller which saw its UK rights bought by Channel 4's VOD service Walter Presents.

One series which saw its world premiere was 'Roots', a historical drama miniseries based on a 1976 novel and following the journey of a family fighting slavery, whilst drama series 'The Collection' also had a popular premiere at the event.


Written by Daniel Kirby on 5th April 2016

The three part miniseries Capital, which is produced by Kudos for the BBC, has been licensed by Pivot in the US, Shaw in Canada and BBC Worldwide in Australia and New Zealand.  

The series stars Toby Jones and follows the intertwining lives of a group of Londoners on a single suburban street. The residents of the street receive a threatening postcard in their mail, and are forced to work together to find out who is behind the message and what it is that they want.

Jens Richter, CEO of FremantleMedia Intl. announced that “’Capital’ is a powerful, intelligent and character-driven drama created by one of the most prolific production companies in the world. These impressive deals are a testament to the series’ ability to capture modern society in a way that’s current and universally relevant to a global audience.”

The drama has been critically well-received in the UK, and the buyers will be hoping it finds success in its new international destinations.


Written by Daniel Kirby on 30th March 2016

idris elba bafta tv awards 2016

Leading actor

Idris Elba, Luther

Stephen Graham, This is England '90

Mark Rylance, Wolf Hall

Ben Whishaw, London Spy

Leading actress

Claire Foy, Wolf Hall

Suranne Jones, Doctor Foster

Ruth Madeley, Don't Take My Baby

Sheridan Smith, The C-Word

Supporting actor

Tom Courtenay, Unforgotten

Anton Lesser, Wolf Hall

Ian McKellen, The Dresser

Cyril Nri, Cucumber

Supporting actress

Chanel Cresswell, This is England '90

Michelle Gomez, Doctor Who

Lesley Manville, River

Eleanor Worthington-Cox, The Enfield Haunting

Entertainment performance

Leigh Francis, Celebrity Juice

Stephen Fry, QI

Graham Norton, The Graham Norton Show

Romesh Ranganathan, Asian Provocateur

Male performance in a comedy programme

Hugh Bonneville, W1A

Toby Jones, Detectorists

Peter Kay, Peter Kay's Car Share

Javone Prince, The Javone Prince Show

Female performance in a comedy programme

Michaela Coel, Chewing Gum

Sian Gibson, Peter Kay's Car Share

Miranda Hart, Miranda

Sharon Horgan, Catastrophe

Drama series

Humans

The Last Panthers

No Offence

Wolf Hall

Single drama

The C-Word

Cyberbully

Don't Take My Baby

The Go-Between

Mini-series

Doctor Foster

The Enfield Haunting

London Spy

This is England '90

Soap and continuing drama

Coronation Street

EastEnders

Emmerdale

Holby City

International

The Good Wife

Narcos

Spiral

Transparent

Entertainment programme

Adele at the BBC

Britain's Got Talent

Strictly Come Dancing

TFI Friday Anniversary Special

Comedy and comedy entertainment programme

Charlie Brooker's Election Wipe

Have I Got News For You

QI

Would I Lie to You

Scripted comedy

Chewing Gum

Peep Show

People Just Do Nothing

Peter Kay's Car Share

Features

Back in Time for Dinner

The Great British Bake Off

Kevin McCloud: Escape to the Wild

Travel Man

Radio Times Audience Award

Doctor Foster

The Great British Bake Off

Humans

Making a Murderer

Peter Kay's Car Share

Poldark

Current affairs

Children of the Gaza War

Escape from Isis (Dispatches)

Jihad: A British Story

Outbreak: The Truth about Ebola

Single documentary

Bitter Lake

Life After Suicide

Louis Theroux: Transgender Kids

My Son the Jihadi

Factual series

The Detectives

Great Ormond Street

The Murder Detectives

The Tribe

Reality and constructed factual

First Dates

Gogglebox

I'm a Celebrity... Get Me Out of Here!

The Secret Life of 5 Year Olds

Specialist factual

Britain's Forgotten Slave Owners

Grayson Perry's Dream House

The Hunt

Rudolf Nureyev: Dance to Freedom

News coverage

BBC News at Six: Paris Attacks Special

Channel 4 News: Paris Massacre

ITV News at Ten: Refugee Crisis

Sky News: From Turkey to Greece

Sport

The Ashes (Sky Sports)

The Grand National (Channel 4)

MOTD Live: FA Cup Final (BBC One)

Six Nations: Final Day (BBC One)

Live event

Big Blue Live (BBC One)

The Sound of Music Live! (ITV)

Stargazing Live: Brit in Space, Tim Peake Special (BBC Two)

The Vote (More4)


Written by Daniel Kirby on 29th March 2016

bear gryll's the island 2016 ratings

The third series of The Island began yesterday evening, however it would appear that viewers are not tiring of the show, as it pulled in a remarkable 2.6 million viewers in its 9pm slot. Channel 4 will be hoping that the show holds its strong audience throughout the series as it did across a dozen episodes in series 2.

The show has changed its format slightly from last year, whereas previously the men and women's team of survivors were on separate islands, this time they're on opposite sides of the same one, yet unaware that this is the case. It will be interesting to see how this develops as the series progresses.

Elsewhere on TV Rowan Atkinson's Maigret, a film adaptation of a 1955 Belgian detective novel, earned an impressive 5.8 million viewers despite receving generally negative critic reviews for its lack of pace and action. Nevertheless Atkinson will have the opportunity to expand upon his character with Maigret's Dead Man which is to be shown later this year.


Written by Daniel Kirby on 24th March 2016

formula one sky deal media recruitment news

From 2019 Formula One will no longer be shown on terrestrial TV, after Sky Sports announced that it has agreed on an exclusive contract.

Sky has announced that race highlights and the British Grand Prix will be shown on a 'free to air' basis, however the news will be a major disappointment to a huge number of UK fans. Sunday's Australian Grand Prix brought in a viewership of nearly three million, an audience base which Sky will be hoping to draw to its Sky Sports package.

Barney Francis, managing director of Sky Sports explained how the move would 'take Sky's partnership with F1 to the next level', suggesting that the company will work to 'progress, develop and enhance coverage of the championship.'


Written by Daniel Kirby on 23rd March 2016

emmerdale rts award winners 2016 best soap

The Royal Television Society Programme Awards took place last night, and there turned out to be a few interesting surprises. 

In a shock victory, Emmerdale won the award for best soap and continuing drama, ahead of rivals Coronation Street and Eastenders.

A touching moment occurred when Sir Lenny Henry was awarded a fellowship of the Royal Television Society alongside a judges award which he received for his work raising awareness of diversity within the industry.

Big winners of the night included the comedy series Catastrophe and drama The Lost Honour of Christoper Jeffries, taking home two awards apiece.

The full list of winners can be found on the RTS website.


Written by Daniel Kirby on 21st March 2016

Sky has set up a production unit designed to exploit the fledgling technology, and has committed to producing a variety of videos across multiple genres, including sport and film. 

Their first videos was an F1 experience putting the viewer on board the Williams Martini Racing FWS8 car from a recent Formula 1 testing in Barcelona. 

You can watch the video here


Written by Daniel Kirby on 16th March 2016

Edtalks searchlight media recruitment blog

Searchlight attended the EdTalks event last night around the theme of inspiration  courtesy of the Edinburgh International Television Festival & UKTV.

Hosted by Tim Lovejoy, highlights from the panel included:

  • June Sarpong: Discussing her business, WIE, an innovative women's leadership network which launched in NY and is now in the UK too.
  • Simon Stephens, playwright who answered the age old question of “where do you get your ideas from” which combined researched experience, theatrical experience and the move BIG.
  • Karen Blackett OBE, Chairwoman of MediaCom who discussed Authenticity and Diversity in Advertising and how incredibly important it is to be attuned to culture.
  • David Glover, Head of Specialist Factual for Channel 4 who discussed ‘The Power of TV’ and the amazing story of Jonny Benjamin’s campaign #FindMike

 Huge thanks to EITF & UKTV for inviting us to such a fantastic event!


Written by Daniel Kirby on 7th March 2016

media recruitment blog - endemol shine group

Endemol Beyond boss Georg Ramme has announced that he is stepping down as global MD, and is set to be replaced by their current head of TV in Germany – Michael Kollatschny.

This comes after several upper management changes including Endemol Shine president Tim Hincks’ imminent departure and Peter Salmon’s upcoming arrival as chief creative officer, and it will be interesting to see what impact these changes have on the company direction.


Written by Daniel Kirby on 2nd March 2016



The UK's biggest commercial broadcaster announced its sixth consecutive year of double digit profit growth and demonstrated that it is truly a global production business with over half of its revenue now coming from outside of the UK.

Chief executive Adam Crozier said: "ITV delivered another strong year as we continue to grow and strengthen the business in the UK and internationally.' He also gave a indicated a positive outlook for the year ahead, announcing 'a strong programme slate for 2016, with 50 hours more drama as well as major rugby and football tournaments.'

Written by Daniel Kirby on 29th February 2016

Being a freelancer and having a limited company is not just about tax status,  you are also expected to operate as a company and an employer.  Insurance is essential.
 
Most of our clients require freelancers to be covered by adequate employer’s liability insurance, public liability insurance and professional indemnity insurance (for a sum insured of not less than £1,000,000 for each and every event) and any other suitable policies of insurance during an assignment.   Employer’s liability insurance may not be required where the consultant is the majority shareholder and employee of the contractor, but public liability and professional indemnity are regarded as ‘must haves’.
 
 
What it’s for..
 
Public liability will protect your legal liability where you accidentally cause damage or loss to third party property or injury to a third party. BECTU the broadcast union offer public liability insurance at discounted rate to members
 
Employers liability is arranged to protect employers against claims for injury or illness brought by employees. Employers' liability (compulsory insurance) act 1998 requires that employers maintain cover to a minimum of £5,000,000 in respect of such claims. 
 
Professional indemnity provides financial protection for your company and is designed to meet the cost of defending claims made against you, including damages that may become payable. Claims can occur where a client suffers a financial loss as a result of alleged mistakes or omissions on your part. You may even be sued by a client who is merely dissatisfied, but has no valid claim, leading to substantial legal costs and time away from contracts.
 
Where to get advice If you are a member of BECTU, it’s worth contacting them for advice and favourable rates.  State you are a BECTU member and they will connect you to the right person.  (It’s a friendly team of four people).  There is also information on their website.  https://www.bectu.org.uk/benefits-services/pli   (You do not have to be a BECTU member and most insurers will also offer this. )
 
BECTU do not currently offer professional indemnity insurance, but their insurance brokers Hencilla Canworth can arrange professional indemnity insurance via Mark Hill Insurance, Hiscox Insurance, Markel and others. 
They can be reached on 0208 686 5050,  ask about freelancer insurance for professional indemnity.
 
Regulation insurers are regulated by the FCA so insurers will not offer you a quote for insurance which is inappropriate to your needs.  They will ask you about your occupation in order to decide what insurances are appropriate for you.  It’s not unusual to be sent a lengthy questionnaire, but please be reassured - it is also likely that only small sections will actually be mandatory and need to be filled in.  -So don’t be put off, but maybe read before you print.


Written by Daniel Kirby on 25th February 2016

UMG proved one of the big winners at last night's BRIT Awards, seeing their artists pick up a total of five trophies and finding particular success with their male acts. Justin Bieber, Jack Garratt and James Bay won awards for International Male Solo Artist, Critics' Choice and British Male Solo Artist respectively. 

XL Recordings saw Adele take home a record-equalling four awards in one evening, and with Bjork picking up the trophy for International Female Solo Artist a total of five awards ended up going to independently-signed artists.

WMG and Sony were less prolific, winning one apiece.


Written by Daniel Kirby on 18th January 2016

After nearly eight years of success at the broadcaster, Director of Television Peter Fincham has made the decision to step down from the post, and will be succeeded by Kevin Lygo who is currently Managing Director of ITV studios.

Fincham explained:  “This is a personal decision that I have been thinking about for a good while. By the time I leave at Easter I will have been a channel controller at the BBC and ITV, amazing as it seems, for eleven years.  Quite simply, it’s time to do something different.”

He also suggested that he may consider a return to the indie sector, having achieved great success at TalkBack Productions during his twenty year stint there.

His successor Lygo has previously worked as Director of Television at Channel 4, and will face the difficult task of counteracting the decline in viewing figures for ITV’s core channels, however the company will be hoping that its recently acquisition of The Voice will help spark a revival.

Julian Bellamy, Current Managing Director of ITV in the UK, will be Lygo’s natural replacement, spurring ITV’s Chief Executive Adam Crozier to announce his thanks that the availability of ‘creative talent’ at the company has allowed for ‘a seamless succession plan’. The company will likely need to utilise its talent over the coming months as Fincham’s departure has come immediately after news that company Chairman Archie Norman, who was responsible for recruiting Crozier is also set to step down. Clearly ITV are undergoing significant changes, and it will be interesting what kind of effect this shake up will have on the network.


Written by Daniel Kirby on 15th December 2015

Channel 5 has recently secured the deal with Twentieth Century Fox Television after beating off competition from major broadcasters including Sky1. The deal has been described as ‘a major coup’ by Ben Frow, Channel 5’s Director of Programmes, who also suggested that it will ‘create one of the television events of 2016’.

It is certainly a major acquisition for the channel, who have made a series of high-profile deals since merging with Viacom last year, and clearly testifies to the broadcaster’s stated ambition to ‘deliver a diverse slate of brilliant, must-see programming’.

The original series ran from 1993 until 2002, making it one of the longest-running sci-fi shows in history, and after many years of online rumours of the show’s return, the arrival of the series looks likely to attract a substantial number of loyal  fans.

The series will consist of six hour long episodes and is set to air early next year.


Written by Daniel Kirby on 14th October 2015

As the world premiere of Spectre in London draws ever nearer, discussion surrounding the film has increased, and the key topic seems to be the character of the spy himself.

The James Bond series has been steaming along for over half a century, during which time there has been little change to the long established formula – and the series has become so deeply ingrained in our culture that even the release of the latest Bond song will make national news, as with the release of Sam Smith’s single – Writings’ on the Wall.

However, there has been some criticism of this song, which matches closely with the critique of the film series, which is that the recent iterations of the Bond movie (and the lyrics of Smith’s song) appear to be attempting to bring a greater sense of vulnerability in the character.

“How do I live? How do I breathe? When you’re not here I’m suffocating.”

These are the opening lyrics of the chorus, and for some they have set off a few small alarm bells, especially considering the fact that Smith wrote the song after reading the script. The concern is that this tone of fragility must reflect issues that are covered in the film, and any such issues represent a betrayal of some of the core values of the Bond heritage.

The most notable critique of the recent films has come from Anthony Horowitz, the author of the next James Bond novel Trigger Mortis, who lambasted Skyfall  in a recent interview. He explained that "Bond is weak in it. He has doubts. That's not Bond”, and continued by voicing his concern over a certain aspect of the trailer for the upcoming Spectre  which suggests that the film is going to deal with Bond's troubled family history. "Don’t tell me, I don’t want to know. I don’t want to know about his doubts, his insecurities or weaknesses. I just want to see him act, kill, win."

This isn’t the first instance of a ‘weaker’ Bond however, as the issue had in fact already arisen by the end of the 1960’s, when George Lazenby shed a tear upon the death of Diana Rigg’s character during one take in On Her Majesty’s Secret Service. Lazenby, who had completed the majority of his scenes in just one take, was immediately asked to re-do the scene by director Peter Hunt, who explained simply ‘James Bond doesn’t cry.’

Clearly then, this is a familiar issue for the Bond franchise, and one which will surely continue to be explored over the comings months. Despite the criticism, Daniel Craig’s Bond films have been some of the most well-received of the series, and the hype is greater than ever. Spectre is to be released on October 26th, and many will be waiting to see in which direction 007 is headed.

  >>


Written by James Cheetham on 22nd July 2015

You're being interviewed for your dream job and the dreaded thing has happened, you've been hit by a competency based question that you didn't prepare for...well you can't say we didn't warn you! 

Interview tips can initially appear to dictate the obvious, but when you have that checklist in front of you before heading in, it makes it much easier to structure your answers and prepare yourself.  

So while you may think interviews are old hat to you, it's always better to be safe than sorry when preparing!

We've compiled our interview tips together here in a downloadable PDF ready for when that dream job surfaces and you're in need of getting mentally dressed to impress. Preparation is key! 

DOWNLOAD HERE

  >>


Written by James Cheetham on 1st May 2015

                                                                                  

While the big discussion of recent years has been that of On-Demand services such as Netflix tackling the Home Entertainment market, the digital streaming of music and its effects on the music industry are now overtaking the blogs and twitter feeds of the net.

Spotify has been the big name when discussing the digital streaming of music, and it has been highlighted many times by aspiring (and already aspired) musicians, that the current revenue sharing system is not in the artists favour.

Portishead’s Geoff Barrow recently caused a twitter furor when he tweeted the (approximate) little amount he’d made off of 34,000,000 streams of Portishead's music, placing the blame on Spotify, Apple and YouTube. (He says £1700.)

Enter Jay Z and his TIDAL music streaming service (originally built by Scandinavian company Aspiro) which is allegedly here to save artists and claim their money back.

However, the current approach TIDAL have taken to ruling the music streaming industry haven’t been too successful, at least taking the backlash on the internet into account.

Complaints about Jay-Z’s launch event say it came across as a stage filled with millionaire mainstream chart toppers moaning about not making enough money.

Surely he should have filled the event with new artists and broached the fact that new artists will benefit from us forking out a little extra for TIDAL, which in the UK is more expensive than the premium Spotify subscription. (TIDAL is twice as much coming in at £19.99 in the UK.)

There was also the announcement that TIDAL’s CEO has left after two weeks of the re-launch and rumours that there are redundancies, although they have said this is not accurate by releasing a statement to Business Insider: “We’re streamlining the company and refocusing our resources to ensure the platform continues to grow, and listeners can make a connection to their favorite artists. No one else is doing this.” Sounds like redundancies to us…

Further news released this week has seen the TIDAL app drop from being in the Top 20 app chart to being outside of the Top 700...so as things look, Spotify will stay on top.

But with complaints about the payment of royalties hitting Spotify across the board, we're starting to see a call to arms to rectify the situation as Digital starts to overtake consumers listening and purchasing habits.

What do you think? Are we jumping on the TIDAL bashing bandwagon and ignoring its real benefits? Or will you be keeping your Spotify account for those Friday office playlists?

  >>


Written by James Cheetham on 2nd October 2014

With Summer Blockbuster season at an end and the usual bombardment of CGI and Motion Capture films coming to a close, we thought we'd look at the top ten VFX milestones in cinema.

1. TRIP TO THE MOON(1902)

                                                               

Directed by George Melies, this French silent film was one of the first forages into VFX as it depicted a group of astronauts journeying to the moon and being set upon by a race of underground lunar creatures.  

2. THE LOST WORLD(1925)

                                                                 

An adaptation of Arthur Conan Doyle's celebrated novel, it featured Willis O'Brien's pioneering stop motion animation which led to the iconic animation in King Kong and was the inspiration to stop motion legend, Ray Harryhausen.  

3. METROPOLIS(1927)

                                                                  

One of the most influential Science Fiction films of all time, this German expressionist film used new special effects methods such as the use of miniatures (a method still utilised by directors such as Peter Jackson) and mirrors to give the impresion the actors were occupying the miniature sets, a process which became known as  the Schüfftan process.

4. JASON & THE ARGONAUTS(1963)

                                                                  

Another film that utilised stop motion animation, and possibly one of the most famous alongisde Clash of The Titans, this epic fantasy had its special effects in the confident hands of Ray Harryhausen, one of its most iconic scenes being the skeleton sword fight. 

5. 2001: A SPACE ODYSSEY(1968)

                                                                   

A Stanley Kubrick classic, this film pioneered the use of front projection (now replaced with green screen) which produced the backgrounds such as the desert terrain and the surface of the moon, a technique which also utilised the use of mirrors and reflections with the camera, a progression of the VFX used in Metropolis back in the 1920s. 

6. TRON(1982)

                                                                 

A box office failure on release, and now a cult classic, TRON was one of the first films to use extensive computer animation, although because of this they were omitted from a special effects nomination; the Oscars judging panel claimed they'd 'cheated' by using computers. 

7. TERMINATOR 2 (1991)

                                                               

A huge success at the box office and the winner of Best Special Effects at the Oscars, James Cameron's Terminator sequel used a mix of painstakingly detailed models and computer animation to create the T1000 antagonist and his liquid metal morphing.

8. TOY STORY(1995)

                                                               

An obvious entry, Toy Story was the first feature length computer animated film, a classic Pixar movie which paved the way for what has become the staple for family films.  

9. LORD OF THE RINGS - The Two Towers(2002)

                                                                

The dawn of VFX motion capture and Andy Serkis' break through role, the mixture of Serki's Golum portrayal  and the VFX motion capture team at Weta Digital paved the way for the motion capture you see in the majority of large scale blockbusters released today. 

10. AVATAR(2009)

                                                                 

Taking the motion capture and green screen methods used throughout the 00s, Avatar took it to the next level and created an entire new world, motion captured each creature and character and was filmed entirely in 3D. And while it could be argued the plot was fairly standard, the VFX used through out took the industry a step forward.

So there you have it, our personal VFX milestones, but more importantly, what are yours?

Any changes or omissions you would make?

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Written by James Cheetham on 18th August 2014

                                                           

Over the years I have sat through hundreds of showreels, which has given me a pretty good idea of what makes a great reel. So with the risk that ‘I am teaching my grandmother to suck eggs’, here are my top five tips for a tip-top reel (try saying that after a few drinks!):

1) Best foot forward

Try to grab the viewer’s attention by putting your best material at the start of your reel. Don’t forget that yours is not the only reel that the client is viewing.

The use of montages at the start is very effective and gives the viewer a taste of things to come.

2) Size is important

Again, don’t forget your potential client has a stack of reels to look through. Keep your reel as short and sweet as possible – leave them wanting more!

A good rule of thumb for motion graphics designers is to keep your reel to about 1.5 minutes in length.

Editors showing off their skills through a montage of clips should aim for a reel 3-4 minutes in length.

3) Show your very best work only

This will help you to achieve (2), but be careful not to repeat your favourite work.

4) Music

Most clients watch reels on mute, so don’t rely too much on cutting your work to the music. Try using an instrumental piece and obviously keep away from death metal and anything in the charts, (you should be doing that anyway.)

5) Video quality

Try and only use work with the best quality compression. Also, aim to balance your reel’s online playback and download efficiency with its visual quality – learn to get the best out of your video compression. 

In addition, here is a wish list for when you get time in your busy schedule (i.e. never):

a) Logo at start

Brand yourself

b) Demonstrate your Versatility

I’m being greedy here, but having separate reels to show different styles can be very useful:

Editors – a longform and a shortform reel.

Motion graphics designers – a visual effects and a compositing reel and a graphics reel.

c) Personalised Website

‘Vimeo’ can be very useful for demonstrating individual jobs, but sending a client to your own personalised website shows that you are a professional who is serious!

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Written by James Cheetham on 2nd July 2014

                     

Today saw the announcement that the BBC’s Sherlock will be returning to our screens with another 3 episode run and a Christmas special!

The bad news….not until 2015. The special will begin filming in January 2015, and the next series will shoot later that year. So does that mean we wont see new Sherlock until Christmas 2015…?

Just a tiny wait then…

It’s hardly the usual route that a ratings magnet goes down, and while the busy schedules of the cast and crew is an obvious factor for this, is it something other show runners should be considering?

Sherlock became a hit instantly, and continued to propel its ratings upward with the second and third series’, despite a big lag in time between them. Regardless, it only seemed to add to the social media frenzy that took a hold and the added time meant plenty of others who missed the original broadcasts could easily catch up on the small episode runs.

Sites such as twitter, tumblr and buzzfeed are inundated with posts and gifs of fans blasting their fandom opinions and Sherlock references across the web.

While it’s clear the talented actors, show runners and script writers are the reason behind such a passionate fan following, could other TV programmes take note and lead fans down the rabbit hole, and then keep them waiting for longer than the standardised TV seasonal schedule?

While not exactly in need of creating more buzz, can you imagine the fan reaction to a Game of Thrones finale if the audience found out they actually had two years until the next Westeros on-slaught? Might get some more to actually pick up the books at least…

The repeated yearly series of programmes is something that American television follows more rigidly than the UK, and they also steer clear of the Sherlock format of hour and half long episodes in sets of 3 (now to be 4.) It’s another one of Sherlock’s TV defying formats that isn’t reflected elsewhere, and again, would other programmes benefit from this set up?

Do you think certain television shows could benefit from a longer pause between series and therefore strum up a much larger buzz once returned to screens? Or does Sherlock’s announcement at its 2015 (possibly 2016) return just fill you with impatient Sherlock rage?

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Written by James Cheetham on 20th June 2014

                                        

Big news for digital marketeers and advertisers as a recent report from FreeWheel highlighted that 17% of the UK’s digital ad views came via tablets.

This doesn’t come as a huge surprise seeing as the 1st Quarter of 2014 saw numerous reports of tablet usage rising in the UK, and the ensuing relationship between tablets and TV consumption increasing.

According to Ipsos OTX, their poll in February had the UK’s population and their interaction with the digital landscape and TV consumption via tablets out trumping other European countries and the US.

And it’s not just the young tech-savvy members of the public either, Ofcom found that there’s been a new drive of over 65’s using the web, especially on tablets, with their annual survey reporting that in 2013, 17% of people 65 and over had used tablets for web browsing.

So with a large percentage of the population tapping away on their tablet of choice, it’s no wonder the percentage of digital ad views is rising as we're shazaming/ flappy birding/ googling away.

eMarketeer has predicted that in 2014, 41.1% of the UK will be tablet owners, increasing to 57.8% in 2018.

The day of the tablet is here !

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Written by James Cheetham on 30th May 2014

The latest Searchlight Newsletter is in and in it we've covered this year's Cannes Film Festival and the British talent represented! 

To see the whole newsletter click here

                      

Timothy Spall with his Best Actor Award. 

Image courtesy of Guardian. Photograph by Julian Warnand/EPA

Many say that Cannes is the epicentre of the Film industry, as Filmmakers, Screenwriters, Producers and the stars of the films descend upon the French Riviera to show off their latest productions. And if Cannes is the epicentre, then British film talent is having a good 2014.

Focusing upon the highest prize, the Palme d’Or, a couple of this year’s nominees came from our isles with a range of Brit talent populating the credits.

Ken Loach’s latest film Jimmy's Hall follows the story of Jimmy Gralton, the Irish political activist and his deportation to the United States in the 1930s. As a familiar face at Cannes, Loach previously won the Palme d’Or in 2006 for his feature The Wind That Shakes the Barley.

Mike Leigh also returned to Cannes this year with Mr Turner, starring our own Timothy Spall and his portrayal of the 19th Century painter J.M.W Turner, which won Spall the Best Actor award.

The film that scored the Palme d'Or however was Turkish drama, Winter Sleep, directed by Nuri Bilge Ceylan, which follows a family who open a hotel in the mountains which soon becomes a shelter. Winter Sleep stars Turkish actor Haluk Bilginer, who surprisingly has Eastenders down on his resume along with a range of British theatre productions.

Cronenberg’s most recent A Map to the Stars was also up for the prize, and while it’s an American production, British Twilight poster boy Robert Pattinson has a starring role as he continues to try and elude his Glittery Vampire past. This could be the year he achieves this as he continues to gather positive reviews for his performance in Australian drama The Rover.

Speaking of poster boys, Doctor Who’s very own Matt Smith seems to have taken a different route from the time-space continuum by starring in Ryan Gosling’s directorial debut Lost River, which is a step away from his quiff and bowtie-d alter ego. Unfortunately Lost River seems to have been tagged as this year’s big Cannes flop.

Further British talent can be found in the festival with the Nicole Kidman vehicle Grace of Monaco starring Tim Roth and Sir Derek Jacobi and the Gay Pride drama set in the 80’s Pride, whose cast is headed up by Dominic West, Imelda Staunton and Bill Nighy.

May the British invasion continue!

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