Making television is a complicated, complex craft – it’s an industry where you are forever learning. Producing a television show is like working out a massively difficult puzzle – a puzzle that ebbs and flows as you make it. And just when you think you’ve cracked it – you discover that it’s also cryptic.
That’s why so many people stay in the industry for so long – each project is a different beast and with it come a whole set of fresh challenges for you to work out how to tame, manage and make better than before.
It’s also a job where you have the privilege of being able to get peaks into other people’s worlds and lives – without having to be a tourist.
It’s pretty hard to get bored making telly. Easy to get: frustrated, tired, stressed out but bored? Get yourself on to a new gig.
I have a friend who works in advertising – she looks younger than she is and, for a while there, each year she got progressively younger on her Facebook profile. She was terrified of people finding out her real age as she believed that would be held against her.
Is the same to be said of television? Some would argue yes – so why is age deemed so uncool?
As a producer you know that your challenge is to make each new show as cutting edge as possible – you don’t need to be twelve to be able to do that. You just watch what the audience you’re making your shows for watch – and go from there. It ain’t rocket science.
I recently made a show with a late-twenties person. The image and the ego preceded him. He is bright, has the right look and connections. He charmed the pants off everyone and smooth operated his way in to the job. On paper, he’s perfect.
Yet, over the proceeding weeks it became obvious that the ability – or the experience – weren’t in a match for the ego (which was soaring off on his own voyage of self-discovery).
Yet, if his inexperience had been countered by a humbleness and a yearn to learn – he may have got the second gig.
I am sure this guy will go far but it was just a basic lesson of how valuable experience is. And in lieu of experience – how valuable humility is.
I wonder if, with an extra decade or two under his belt, he’ll look back and see the error of his ways.
Testament to the fact that, in this youth-obsessed age in which we live, sometimes experience does come with a whole lot of benefits.
And that youth, dear sweet revered youth, is also capable of biting you directly on the arse.
*At which point it suddenly hits her. There’s money to be made out of stupid. And off she goes to research tattoo removal*
Age triumphs again.