Media careers: The producer and presenter

rachaelRachael Fulton is a producer and presenter at STV Glasgow. She produces Jak and Edie’s Scottish Kitchen, presents See What You Missed and also works researcher and assistant producer on the channels’ Riverside Show.

You sound really busy! What does your job involve?

Jak and Eddie is a half-hour cookery programme filmed as-live in the STV Glasgow studios, starring celeb chef Jaqueline O’Donnell and Glasgow’s answer to Paul Hollywood, baker Eddie Boyle. After the pilot episode that ran on STV Channel 3, I developed Jak and Eddie into a regular cooking programme celebrating the best of seasonal Scottish produce. Producing the show involves planning and scripting, arranging menus, liaising with presenters, set dressing, discussing talking points and themes for the show, setting up locations and shoots for features and managing a team of runners. Throughout the filming I sit in the gallery and make sure everything goes smoothly, and once the shows are edited I must comply them to make sure they adhere to Ofcom guidelines and are suitable for broadcast. The show airs weekly on STV Glasgow and has also had an eight-week run on STV Channel 3.

As presenter, I host a weekly compilation show in the studio. There’s less work involved for that – I mainly make my hair look nice and read the autocue!

As researcher/assistant producer on Riverside Show I also book the sofa guests, arrange VT locations and shoots, organise a rota of chefs, book bands and research features for our other programmes, People’s History Show, and Scotland City Safari.

Recently I co-produced a video series with our video journalist Ian and managed to win a Mind Media Award, joint with Channel 4’s 24 Hours in A and E. We beat This Morning, BBC One and BBC Three.

Did you always want to work in TV?

I’ve always been very open-minded about which area of journalism or the creative industries I work in, but I absolutely adore being in television. Particularly working on a daily live TV show – everything is so fast-paced, exciting and you meet hundreds of fascinating people. Being on camera was never something I envisioned for myself, as telling stories is my strong point. I imagined I would end up a video journalist, but I slipped towards producing instead.

How did you get into this line of work?

I studied for a master’s in multimedia journalism, interned at Source (YAY!) and then got a job at STV as a features writer. When the new channel launched I was hired to work for them, and the rest is history.

What does your job involve day to day?

In the morning I’ll have a large coffee, then we have a production meeting where we discuss the content of The Riverside Show, who is filming what and who our sofa guests are. The rest of my day will be forward planning sofa guests and video features.

On a Jak and Eddie day, we film four episodes back to back. I sit in the gallery, instruct the runners and presenters what to do in studio and then feast on the food that’s made by Jak and Eddie.

In the evening I’m responsible for all of the guests, band and chef in the Riverside Show green room. I brief the guests on their questions, assist the floor manager and manage the work experience candidates.

What’s your educational background?

I have an undergraduate degree in Spanish from Glasgow Uni and a postgraduate in multimedia journalism from Glasgow Caledonian.

What skills and qualities are important to your role?

Being a people person is key. You have to be chatty, friendly, assertive  and switched on.  You need to have great organisational skills and be good at working to extremely tight deadlines. Sometimes a chef or sofa guest will cancel last minute and you have five minutes of air time to fill, so you need to be good at thinking outside the box. Dedication, tenacity and good writing skills are also a great help, and most companies will tell you to have VJ experience too.

What’s your ultimate career aim?

To be happy and working hard in an excellent job, one in which I’m valued and creatively fulfilled. I’ll be writing wherever I am, whether that’s for TV, magazines or elsewhere. In the mean time I want to have as much creative fun as I can and make a little money while I do.

What’s the best part of your job?

There are so many wonderful facets to being a producer. I love watching a TV show that I’ve planned, structured and written go to air, knowing that I’ve been responsible for all the individual parts of it.  Researching and arranging shoots is also great, as you get to indirectly tell stories through the talent of the video journalists. There’s so much of it to love.

And the most challenging?

The most challenging part is probably maintaining the energy levels to do everything that’s asked of you. Sometimes you run yourself into the ground just by doing too much, as it’s easy to get completely addicted to your job.

What’s your advice for anyone wanting to get into TV?

Work hard and offer to help people wherever you can. Get as much work experience as possible with reputable companies and make sure you remember everyone’s names. It’s also a good idea if they remember yours, so keep in touch via Twitter or email with people in places like STV, BBC, etc if you do placements there.

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