Film London Equal Access Network Masterclass - Demystifying Commissioning

Latest 3 Jul 2024

News Story

60 EAN members engaged in last month’s virtual masterclass, titled ‘Demystifying Commissioning,’ chaired by Film London's Skills Team’s Kadijha Kamara.

We were delighted to be joined by Muslim Alim (BBC Commissioning Editor for Daytime & Early Peak), Chloe Tucker (Freelance Creative Producer, former ITV and Channel 4 Commissioner), and UKTV’s Commissioning Exec for Comedy & Entertainment, Jason Dawson, who all shared valuable insight into how a project gets greenlit!

All speakers came from various career paths before embarking on their commissioning journeys. This encouraged members that there was no strict rule on how one should get into this department.

Before Muslim commissioned hits such as Clive Myrie’s Italian Road Trip and Homes Under the Hammer, he began his career as a Researcher in TV Entertainment, prior to producing music programmes and features for BBC Radio 1.

Chloe, who had a 10-year career in commissioning (Unsaid Stories, Tell Me Everything), had previously script edited Channel 4’s Teen Drama slate, which included Mad Fat Diary and Fresh Meat.

Meanwhile, Jason’s previous career in comedy production for Avalon Television (The Russel Howard Hour) informed his career as Commissioning Exec. He shared with members how production helped him to understand the processes of making those types of shows: "It means that when I’m pitching ideas internally, I’ve already interrogated whether the production company can make the programme I’m trying to sell".

As EAN members asked the guests if they were mentored, Chloe advised "what’s great about this industry is that most people are willing to chat to others. We've all had to find an entry point. So if you can find people working in an Assistant Commissioner role, you could reach out and see if they'll talk to you about their journey."

Members were encouraged to read up on trends to stay in the know of what’s being commissioned. As shared by Muslim, "Films are becoming TV shows, TV shows are becoming podcasts, it's becoming a circular economy. So there's lots of opportunities outside of TV. Don't just think about TV…The number one thing I say to people is control your own narrative."

The Skills Team’s Luke Costen, Nick Peter Yee and Azariah Jade, whose connections to our lovely guests, would also like to thank them for their time and generosity in demystifying this below-the-line area of the industry.