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Tuesday, 15 May 2012

RIP Fast Track – hello Ones to Watch!

Fast Track is 18 years old this year, so what better way is there to celebrate its coming of age than … killing it off?

Bear with me.  There is method in this.

Fast Track has had a brilliant track record of identifying the best and the brightest talent in the industry.  Conrad Green, Andrew Zein, Claire Zolkwer – all hugely successful people who came through the Fast Track ranks.  

BUT, although any Fast Tracker will tell you how amazing their experience was,  not everyone who’s been in the industry 3-5 years had heard of it, so  there were plenty of potential applicants who weren’t switched on to it.  
Frankly, Fast Track never quite got the level of brand recognition that it deserves.  The name didn’t quite sell it well enough and, despite everyone’s best efforts, people still got it mixed up with The Network, which is a very different beast.  (Everyone knows The Network- the bright fresh young things who are desperate to get their first jobs in TV… sadly for Fast trackers, people often thought of them in the same way, which could be a bit, frustrating, on occasion).

So, we decided to go back to basics, think about what we were offering, and see how we could brand it more effectively. 
Over a few cups of coffee (and a decent amount of chocolate), we isolated the key elements of the scheme:

•    Identifying industry talent
•    Rewarding them with access to exclusive opportunities and sessions at the TV      

•    Celebrating them by giving them recognition within the industry
•    Fair and accessible process anyone can put themselves forward for a place 

The people we selected for Fast Track are the people we considered the industry leaders of the future –the ones to watch in the industry. So… why not call the scheme that?  Ones to Watch it is.

We’ve made a few other tweaks to make Ones to Watch the most exciting and career- enhancing package in the industry.

•    Judges from our Executive Committee will make the final selection of the 30 delegates - so those selected on to the scheme have been endorsed by people working at the highest level in TV.
•    The 30 will be profiled in the MGEITF programme – so they will be showcased to over 2000 industry leaders who come to Edinburgh.
And this is in addition to all the excellent benefits that Fast Track offered already – exclusive sessions, free accommodation, access to MGEITF and all the social events you can squeeze in over 4 days.   

We’re really excited by Ones to Watch.  We’re open for applications now, so let us know if you are One to Watch by applying or, if you know someone who is a One to Watch, please give us their email address so we can encourage them to apply.


Wednesday, 9 May 2012


There’s so much to announce this week that  I’m going to keep my part brief, and let the talent do the talking.

While there’s plenty more still to come, this week we’ve announced  a slew of speakers and sessions covering a whole range of issues, as well as master classes covering some of the most exciting shows around.

Opening Session
1. This year’s Festival kicks off with a special TV Festival Celebrity Juice, hosted by the indomitable Keith Lemon and featuring bang tidy team captains Holly Willoughby and Emma Bunton joined by some of our industry’s most recognisable executives.  Expect inhibitions lost and positions compromised in a rollicking hour of competition and fun!

Richard Dunn memorial interview
2. This year’s Richard Dunn memorial interview will feature prolific broadcaster, satirist, screenwriter and journalist Charlie Brooker speaking live to award-winning Times columnist Caitlin Moran. The Screenwipe star will discuss his experiences as a writer, producer and showrunner, as well as talking about his latest productions and the world of television criticism.

Interviewing Charlie Brooker
3. Meanwhile Welsh TV actress and writer Ruth Jones will be talking to Boyd Hilton about being an actor, writer and co-founding her own production company in their session, Ruth Jones: bethsyddyneich pen gwallgof? ( Welsh for, “What’s in your mad head?”

4. BBC Director-General 2.0 will ask the experts what key decisions face the incoming Director-General, as Mark Thompson departs the post. How will the BBC enter the next phase of its history? How might the BBC continue to evolve under his (or her) stewardship?

5. We’re Stealing Your Stuff: The Piracy Problem will be dissecting how the web is changing ownership business models.  In a world where television can be instantly and infinitely copied and shared, what can TV creatives do to make sure they make money and retain creative control over their output? 

6. The Festival will also tackle the profound implications of Scottish Independence on the broadcasting landscape.  Leading political and cultural figures will examine the practicalities and effects of dismantling the BBC, the introduction of legal production quotas and competitive tax breaks and the political battleground that is EastEnders.

7. And of course the Festival will be exploring the impacts of the forthcoming Communications Bill Green Paper on EPG positioning, charter renewal, media plurality and more...

Master classes to include:

Modern Family Master class

8. Modern Family, featuring Emmy award winning writer and producer Steve Levitan, the co-creator of the multi award winning show.

9. The Educating Essex Masterclass will feature Series Director David Clews, Channel 4 Commissioner Mark Raphael and the indisputable stars of the show, Head Teacher Vic Goddard and his Deputy Stephen Drew talking about the breakout Autumn hit.

10. The Horrible Histories creative team will tell delegates how they bring the past to life with brilliant sketches, songs and cartoons to inform and entertain millions of children and grown-ups alike..

Horrible Histories Master class

11. The Festival will also feature a Masterclass on one of this year’s most talked about series, BBC One drama Sherlock, with appearances from show creators Steven Moffat and Mark Gatiss, and producer Sue Vertue.

12. Hatufim to Homeland: The Anatomy of a hit Drama will feature conversation with Gideon Raff and Avi Nir, the Israeli creators of the series Prisoners of War (Hatufim), and those who brought the series to life in the US as Homeland.

13. The First Ten Minutes will examine hit dramas Scott and Bailey and Call the Midwife with the creative teams behind them.

14. Budding broadcast entrepreneurs will also have the opportunity to face the formidable TV dragons – Evan Davis will host Dragons’ Den at the Festival, with Duncan Bannatyne and guests inviting entrepreneurs, inventors and ideas people to pitch for real money with TV related business ventures.

Pitch for real money at MGEITF 2012!

15. And finally, hot on the heels of the biggest international event of the year, the Festival’s BBC Olympic session will bring together core members of the production team, from both sides of the camera, to relay the good, the bad and the ugly moments of delivering the greatest show on Earth.

Don’t forget, special rates are available for BAFTA and PACT members, groups of as little as three, the under 26s, freelancers and more.   And everybody is eligible for the limited number of early bird tickets now on sale!
I can’t wait to see you there in August!