Edinburgh International TV Festival 2016

We had the utmost pleasure of attending The Edinburgh International Television Festival that took place August 24-26. Our Creative Consultant Heather Iliffe traveled to Scotland to represent the Blueberry family for a three-day marathon that didn’t disappoint.

The content on offer was top notch – from many informative ‘Meet The Controller’ talks including BBC, ITV, UKTV and Sky to compelling sessions such as ‘Winning in Broadcast Means Success in Digital’ which explored what the future of entertainment looks like for traditional media, how broadcasters are adapting in a world of infinite consumer choice and what they’re doing to attract the ‘heads down generation’ glued to their devices all the time.

‘Taskmaster’ with Greg Davies and Alex Horne, a concept made for Dave Channel, was literally laugh-out-loud hilarious – five TV professionals stepped up to battle it out with a series of funny tasks devised by the comedy duo.

Whizz Kid-produced ‘LipSync Battle’ made for Spike was also a huge hit – Heather never thought she would witness the heads of some of our clients like Knickerbockerglory dancing around on stage in spandex leotards with Mel B and Professor Green!

A very inspirational and uplifting panel was ‘The Superhumans Struggle for Equality’ reflecting on whether there’s been a shift in the portrayal of disability on screen, whether attitudes are changing towards disabled talent and the extent to which opportunities are opening up.

Presented by paralympian Ade Adepitan and with special guest actor RJ Mitte of Breaking Bad fame, the session dealt with how accurately television is representing the experiences, lives and perspectives of disabled people in the UK and what more needs to be done.

The main attraction was of course the ‘MacTaggart’ lecture, brought to us this year by Shane Smith, CEO of Vice. It was extremely passionate, opinionated and controversial and proved a huge talking point at the ITV drinks reception afterwards. You can now watch it in its entirety here.

Heather couldn’t help indulging her inner TV geek by attending the ‘Sci-fi Double Bill of Red Dwarf’ with writer, director and co-creator, Doug Naylor and stars Craig Charles and Robert Llewellyn interviewed by SFX magazine’s editor after the exclusive screening of the first episode of the new series.

Another highlight was the exclusive masterclass with Gale Anne Hurd, the critically acclaimed producer of hit zombie drama ‘The Walking Dead’. Special guest was one of the show’s stars Michael Cudlitz, who plays Abraham Ford in the hit series, plus Alexandra Marinescu, FOX’s senior vice president of marketing & Jason Simms, SVP of global acquisitions at Fox which discussed how they helped to make this show a global phenomenon that breaks all the rules we know about TV hits.

All in all Heather found the festival insightful, eye-opening and motivational. She met loads of influential people in the industry, made a lot of contacts and she’s truly excited for how we are going to move forward in the industry as a whole and within Blueberry.

Alistair Moncur – Motion Graphic Designer / Animator

Who is Alistair Moncur?

Inquisitive, calm, friendly and extremely passionate about my craft, I’m a London-based animator and motion graphic designer. I’ve studied Design for Interaction and Moving Image at London College of Communication and ever since graduating with a First Class Hons, I’ve been working on a variety of projects using my broad range of skills.

How did your career path develop?

With each high and low I try to learn from them one way or another. A story that springs to mind happened shortly after graduating as I began exploring many avenues, one of which found me in a busy kitchen in the heart of a Soho restaurant. The hours were long and hard, the heat was exhausting and after a week I quickly learnt I wasn’t to be a chef.

Yet the experience lingers in the back of my mind when I need an extra kick of energy or finding calm and composure in the heat of the moment (and sometimes when I’m cooking at home). The week after that, I began working at Nexus Productions and I felt back at home creating graphics. The kitchen experience has since become a spring board for my work as I’ve moved from job to job. I’m a focused individual who’s comfortable putting in the hours to be rewarded by the final product at the end.

What do you consider your greatest achievement/s so far?

This is a tricky one. From the beginning of my career I’ve been fortunate enough to have worked on some fantastic projects. Having my work featured on ITV was a major highlight. I always enjoy using Cinema 4D and I was able to combine those skills into this lovely project.

Another great achievement was a 2D character animation I recently completed with Maynard Design – a 2 minute video demonstrating a concept proposal the company had designed, which was surprisingly seamless as the team and I got along really well.

Any projects you are most proud of and why?

Creating a short documentary for Honda has to be one of my proudest moments. We worked gruelling hours to meet a tight deadline. In this tiny studio we produced a collection of wonderful shots and animations to showcase these beautifully designed concept vehicles. I worked alongside the director and although producing stop motion was a step away from my usual animation, that didn’t seem to phase me. The response for the video was lovely to see, as it was picked up by a number of major design blogs upon its release.

Another proud project was Serosity, an experimental video I created over the course of a few days as I explored the intriguing properties of ferrofluid. I filmed and edited the video and turned it around in a couple of days, which went on to gain over 200,000 views on Vimeo.

Finally curating and directing HellfireBeats should be mentioned. I constructed the film in Cinema 4D. After speaking to the client, I discovered a story of the producer first learning his craft on this MPC which began his career. I used the construction of this to become the ident for his future videos.

Share your biggest lessons in life and work

Curious, challenging and cheeky – a little life motto I loosely go by after hearing it at a lecture six years ago. I’m always intrigued by the new, the next project and the big idea. It allows me to fully engage myself into every piece I work on. I like to challenge and push myself further. I know that by believing in myself and my capabilities I will manage to successfully reach the goal of the project. Finally, I find it’s important to never forget enjoying what you do. I enjoy the animations I make, the teams I meet, the companies I travel to and the clients I please. With all the hard work, I try to smile along the way.

View Alistair’s full portfolio

Carl Ward – Editor / Motion Graphic Designer

Who is Carl Ward?

I’m a fast and efficient editor with an innate flair for storytelling and motion graphic design. Always searching for new challenges to nurture my professional growth, I’m experienced in long form and online but I’ve also excelled in other disciplines both in an offline and short form capacity, as well as doing some grading work.

How did your career path develop?

A year or so after leaving university I managed to get a job as a runner at a television studios back in Kent (of Art Attack fame). As far as running gigs go, it wasn’t so bad. Besides looking after the onsite clients I also got to work on a number of shows, so I have had some sort of experience in just about all sides of production. I even once doubled on as security during a particularly heated episode of Trisha Goddard (cringe!). I met a lot of people there and I owe a large debt to one of the productions onsite, The Foundation (and one of their producers in particular), since they gave me the fantastic chance to assist on their edits.

I freelanced a little amongst other jobs (too many to mention) but edit work was hard to come by so I thought I would try to get a job in London and I ended up taking a small step back to start running at a prestigious post house. This was rather short-lived due to my dislike of the working practices and the cost of the commute making it impossible to afford. I got a job as a QC operator (which paid far better) at the Discovery Channel, before finally getting a full time staff job as an editor. Having spent around 6 years in the edit team I finally jumped ship to the freelance world around 2 months ago.

Any projects you are most proud of and why?

Ivory Wars with Laurens De Groot – the content was interesting and tackled an important issue. It was rewarding due to the very tight deadline and budget we had to work with and I basically got to cover the whole editing process, offline and online as well as some of the GFX creation.

What do you consider your greatest achievement so far?

Probably buying our first house just under 2 years ago. I come from pretty humble beginnings, so to manage to afford a house in the borough of London took a lot of scrimping and saving. It is a do-er upper but I am embracing the DIY wholeheartedly.

Share your biggest lessons in life and work

Know when to bite your tongue, grit your teeth and pick your battles wisely. But most of all, try and be nice. When you go freelance you really notice how much easier life is when everybody is trying to help you out.

View Carl’s full portfolio

Sean Ash – Editor / Director

Originally from Nottingham, Sean moved to London after graduating from Bournemouth University where he was one of the first graduates of the highly respected Media production Degree and had his graduate film selected by the college for inclusion in the BP student film expo.

Sean made his first film aged 15 at Nottingham’s ‘New Cinema Workshop’, which was also frequented by director Shane Meadows. His early love of cinema was cemented by many an afternoon spent in the ABC cinema in his home town, where he was lucky to have access to unlimited free entry through his uncle, the projectionist.

One of the features of his University course was working on the films of others in various roles and Sean soon became the go-to guy for editing in his year, and rekindled his first love in the filmmaking process: putting pictures together in the edit suite.

Road to success: ups and downs

They say whatever doesn’t kill you makes you stronger and I feel that the worst that any edit job can throw at me (no clapperboard, timecode or live sound on multi-cam shoots, to name a few) pales into insignificance when compared to a year of extreme sciatica. I was unable to walk without severe pain, had an operation to correct the problem, and lost 30% of the muscle mass in my right leg due to not using it to bear weight. Fortunately it was ok when sitting down, so I’m proud of never missing any jobs during this time, despite it taking quite a lot longer then normal to hobble to the edit suite during this period.

Another tough time which springs to mind is when I was threatened with strangulation by a slightly unreasonable producer at a Middle Eastern broadcasting company that shall remain nameless. Suffice to say I have yet to come across another suite where it was felt necessary to put a sign on the wall saying “Please do not shout or throw tapes at the editor”, which is unbelievable but 100% true. I stuck it out there for 7 months, becoming one of the department’s longest serving members in the process!

Greatest achievements so far

I worked with singer/songwriter David Gray over a number of years, starting when he used my photographs taken during his American tour on the album cover for ‘Sell Sell Sell” (my first trip abroad), and then making a no budget video for the hit single “Please Forgive Me” which was playing on MTV 10 times a day at the time.

Editing can be a solitary occupation at times, so the best feedback I ever got was when 15,000 people went crazy as I mixed the concert visuals I had made live behind the band during their biggest gig to date. Seeing the visuals, lights and music come together so well in the finale of a great concert and getting a direct reaction when mixing it live is a moment I’ll always remember. Eliciting a cheer from such a crowd when armed only with a flight case filled with 12 different Betacam tapes, 4 decks, a mixer, and a setlist marked up with a complicated system of synching cues was a great feeling. It’s the closest I’ll get to being a rock star, whilst lacking the requisite skill of playing an instrument.

Another highlight was when I made a film for Mui Mui with Lyndsay Lohan for the photographers Mert and Marcus. Having been commissioned to film the campaign shoot in order to deliver stills grabbed from the footage, it seemed a pity not to put it all together into a finished film. So I made the film anyway for free, even if only for my own satisfaction. This showcasing of my skills went down extremely well with everyone concerned and led to working on films for the photographers for many years on major fashion campaigns (Gucci, Chanel, YSl, Calvin Klein, Valentino, American Vogue).

I made a music video for the band Orbital for their album “The Altogether” that commissioned a video for every track in order to release the album as a DVD version with a 5.1 surround sound mix. When they had a premiere evening of all the videos made, their long standing live sound guy was actually moved to tears by my film, which is hard to beat for a reaction. It also went down very well with the band as mentioned by Paul Hartnol in an interview about the album on their official website.

Projects Im most proud of:

Always trying to improve and develop my aesthetic, I’m usually most proud of my latest work, which would be the “Chelsea Girls” fashion film for Document Journal magazine. I’m also proud to have developed a distinctive style, over the years, which runs as an identifiable constant throughout many different projects.

Biggest lessons in life and work:

In work, it’d probably be that editing trailers for pornographic films is not as much fun as it sounds. In life, appreciate what you have – family, friends and health are all that matters in the end. You can never spend too much time looking at Old Master paintings and there is no such thing as a metal frisby.

View Sean’s full portfolio