Report – Mentor Me, Mentor You
- Resilience & Gentle Persistence: There’s one yes out of twenty no’s.
- Lead with your voice – it’s better to know the writer’s voice for effective feedback & advice
- Learn the rules but don’t be bound by them – Each show is written on differently, down to the script font.
- Download this resource: https://www.thechildrensmediaconference.com/wp-content/uploads/2022/06/Mentor-Me-Mentor-You_Toolkit.pdf
Host Ciaran Murtagh started CMC’s session on mentoring by asking the panel for their experiences of mentoring.
- Mariama Ives-Moiba completed formal mentoring schemes as a mentee and now manages the relationship via an informal, annual email. Mariama’s found the most success by being friendly and willing to learn.
- Tim Compton mentors when he reads a script and thinks, ‘Let’s try you out’, and several relationships evolved to more roles higher up.
- Becky Overton has had a variety of mentoring experiences, including official schemes, alongside her role as head writer. She has unofficially helped mentees with genre and career transitions. Becky has been most successful with mentoring when she’s managed expectations at the beginning of the relationship.
Ciaran asked the panel about the advantages of mentoring. Mariama had just gotten in the door herself and found that to be a great position from which to help another person enter the industry. She sometimes removes the mentor label when she’s approaching a busy industry member because it releases the pressure on the mentor.
Mentoring has helped Becky find new voices and build her contacts, which makes it easy to put her next project together because she’s already done the work. Tim has never regretted taking a risk on somebody and has benefited from adding to the evolution of someone’s talent. Becky has used mentoring throughout her career as an effective way to teach what she is learning herself.
Research is an essential component to a successful mentorship. Mariama explained how her research demonstrated what she was interested in. Tim’s advice and feedback has been more effective when he knows the writer’s voice early through their favourite script; it’s less effective to receive three scripts from one person to choose from.
Mentorship Do’s & Don’ts:
- Don’t take the no’s personally.
- Do find a sensible window to ask again.
- Do be flexible.
- Don’t over promise your time.
Audience insights from the Q&A:
- Mentoring helps reduce the industry’s isolation and the shame of rejection. It also helps build emotional resilience for writers.
- Building a robust drafting process into the production schedule is a way to set new writers up for success.
- As a writer, seek out a script editor; it will give you so much insight into your work, which helps when you’re sending it out.
The Black Sheep
Head of Kids & Family Programming
Author and Scriptwriter