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Freelancers' Fair 2016

SAVE THE DATE: BECTU's 2016 Freelancers' Fair will happen on Friday 27 May at the Royal Institute, Albemarle St, London. (Five minutes walk from Green Park tube station). The programme is being worked and details will be released in April.

What was the line up in 2015? 

This info from the 2015 programme remains here to give you an idea of the range of opportunities on offer. 

Marketing Your Project: the programme makers view

9.45 – 11am

You have a great proposal but with thousands of projects searching for finance and an audience, how can you make sure your project stands out?  No matter how good your concept, the marketing of your project is critical. Join our panel of experts to find out from the programme makers’ perspective what makes for successful promotion. Our panel will include Christopher Hird (Dartmouth Films), Sarah Mosses (Together Films), Lily Murray (independent producer/director), Jonathan Pearson (director), and Sasha C Damjanovski (writer/producer/director & mentor).   

Close Up On Cameras 

9.45 – 11am

High, middle and low end cameras demoed, discussed and compared by top directors of photography, Ole Bratt Birkeland and Kate Reid.

Both Ole and Kate have a wealth of experience to share in discussing the characteristics and suitability of low, mid and high end cameras for different genres and types of production. We have plans to consider the Sony As 7, Canon EOS-C300 and the Arri Alexa.

What future now for the BBC?    

11.15 – 12.30                                                

The BBC is never far from the headlines and, post-election, the process of Charter renewal is underway. What future for the licence fee? What future for ‘BBC Studios ‘, the new BBC Productions. What informs the BBC’s treatment of freelancers and how can both sides work together to improve the situation? Join Danny Cohen, the BBC’s director of television and Gerry Morrissey, general secretary BECTU, to debate these issues and more. Chris Curtis, editor of Broadcast, will chair the discussion.

Low Budget,  High Ethics

11.15 – 12.30

Producer Stephen Follows chairs a panel of directors/producers working on micro/low budget production. The session will examine four films from conception to distribution looking at how they were funded, produced and marketed. We’ll consider the challenges for filmmakers keen to deliver quality work without compromising on pay and conditions for cast and crew. Our speakers will include Amir Amirani (director, We Are Many), Jon Drever (producer/director, Superbob), Tristian Goligher (producer, The Goob) and Polly Perkins (producer, Still Loved).

Accountancy Question Time with Steven Sykes


They say tax doesn’t have to be taxing! Well help is at hand. Boost your understanding by joining Steven Sykes, MD of media accountancy specialists Blue Skies Partnership, to get top accountancy tips for freelancers including advice on that perennial dilemma: sole trader v limited company status. Steven’s colleagues at Blue Skies will also be available on the day for 1-to-1 appointments. Visit the Blue Skies stand in the exhibition to book.  

Digital Storytelling with the BBC Academy

1.45pm – 3pm

New platforms and diverse approaches to content distribution are presenting new challenges for storytelling in our digital era. But what are the differences between digital and linear storytelling and what opportunities exist both for the new and established film-maker? This session is brought to the Freelancers’ Fair by Patrick Lavelle of the BBC Academy.

The Class Ceiling: Class Bias on Screen & Behind the Scenes

2.15 – 3.30pm

Newly published research from Creative Skillset points to several barriers to entry to film and TV. Is there a 'class ceiling' ? Are all classes and backgrounds equally represented in the ranks of film and programme makers? If not, why not? And why does it matter? Join us to debate the issues with filmmaker Ken Loach, screenwriter Jimmy McGovern and Prof Keith Randle from the University of Hertfordshire. Dan Wilks from Creative Skillset will introduce the session. 

Pitch Perfect - Meet the Commissioners

3.45 – 5.00pm

Take advantage of this rare opportunity to gain inside knowledge directly from commissioners and development producers working across a variety of genres. Find out how to navigate the process, what’s informing the commissioning decisions that bring some of our favourite TV shows to the screen, and get those all-important tips on how to deliver the perfect pitch. Confirmed speakers include Peter Davey (ITV), Rob Holloway (Discovery), Jane Merkin (BBC), Tom Porter (C4) and Paul Woolf (Maverick TV).

Diamond Visas: Could Talent Plus Overseas Travel Be Your Passport to Success?

4.00- 5.00pm

With British creative talent such as Steve McQueen (12 Years a Slave), Amma Asante (Belle) and Eddie Redmayne (The Theory of Everything), making it big across the pond, join us to look at how getting your international documentation in order and making that trip could lead to that all-important breakthrough.  Our panel will includes US immigration lawyer, Joe Adams, film and TV drama director, Alex Kalymnios,and actor and writer Sherill Turner. The session will feature a ‘foreword’ by Angela Marie Hutchinson, president and founder of not-for-profit organisation, Breaking into Hollywood.

Other opportunities on the day 

Exhibition and Technical Area

More than 20 of the industry's support and training organisations will be part of the Freelancers' Fair. The full exhibitor list is set out in the panel on this page. This includes Visual Impact which will be supplying a range of kit in the technical area. Do be sure to visit the exhibition to find out more about the support available to you.

Special thanks are due to our returning sponsors: Blue Skies Partnership, Creative Skillset, Hencilla Canworth, ProductionBase and Thompson Solicitors. 


David Thomas Media will deliver two workshops to small groups. Both workshops last 2.5 hours and will be oversubscribed so please one book one if you want to make the commitment to the full session. 

09.30-12.00 - Freelance Toolkit - aimed at those new to self-employment or more established, this session wil tackle financial control, getting paid on time and will offer advice on good organisation and record-keeping .This session is a cut-down version of a whole-day workshop which has been awarded the Skillset Tick.

13.30 - 16.00 - Make Networking Work for You - this workshop is for anyone who finds networking difficult or is not clear what to do. Learn how to leave the right impression and understand why face-to-face networking is as important as anything you do online. 


Beverley Hills, CV and careers advisor will be offering a limited number of appointments. If you book in time to select one, make this known at registration so that we can see if we can provide you with an appointment which fits in with your plans for the day. 

Media Parents will also be providing 1-to-1 opportunities to discuss your 'back to work'strategy; the advice will be available to parents and to those without children. The only requirement is that you have at least three years' experience in the industry. Visit Media Parents in the exhibition to book. 

Media accountancy specialists, Blue Skies Partnership, will also be on hand to deliver some 1-to-1 advice on tax. Visit Blue Skies in the exhibition to book. 

Notes on the programme:

1.      Check the full line-up before booking. Please note that two sessions run in two of the time slots. Most sessions last 75 minutes. All sessions allow for Q&A. Please do not book sessions which clash.

2.      The event exhibition (exhibitors are listed on the BECTU website) and the technical area run throughout the day. Please make time to visit both. Colleagues are devoting their day to you.

3.      We aim to provide a free sandwich lunch for all visitors who book in advance; the catering order was placed on 21 May and reflects the number of visitors we expect; lunch will be available from approximately 12.30. Join us too for networking drinks and a raffle to close the day.

BECTU members can attend for free. Non-members pay a small fee*.

Page info updated 31 January 2016.

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