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Meet the head of product innovation

dock10's Richard Wormwell reveals how he moved into the TV industry after starting out in desktop publishing, and why working with leading edge technology definitely brings its challenges

Richard Wormwell, head of production innovation, dock10
Talk us through an average day in your role

There’s no such thing as an average day! One day I could be at a trade show looking at the latest tech, the next in client meetings discussing new programme formats and demoing virtual studio technology. The following day I could be working alongside my development team helping with the creative design of a new set or looking at software developments and planning the R&D.

It’s why I enjoy my role at dock10. I’m involved in so many different projects and get to work alongside all the different areas of our business. I also get to spend time with our clients and suppliers so we have a really good oversight not only of our business but the industry as a whole. 

Working in broadcast innovation can be very challenging though. We’re always trying to push the boundaries of what’s possible, normally on limited budgets and short timeframes. But it’s a marathon not a sprint. As long as we keep innovating, building the technologies and developing the skills with our operational teams then dock10 will continue to be the UK’s leading television studio.  

How did you get started in the media industry?

My first job in the industry was as a technical operator at Bloomberg Television. It gave me a really good insight into broadcast production. It was a hands-on job with shift rotations around all the different galleries – sound, lighting and main production control. It was a great place to cut my teeth and build up the all-important hours in TV galleries. From there I mainly focused on multi-camera studio directing and worked for all the major UK broadcasters over the following 10 or so years. 

What training did you have before entering the industry?

I left school after my GCSE’s. I struggle with dyslexia so didn’t do very well. But I’d always been interested in design, photography and technology, and managed to get work for a graphics reproduction company in Leeds; so my background was in desktop publishing before my TV career started. I’ve always found it easier working with pictures rather than words. In my early 20s I realised that if I wanted to progress then I needed to gain a more formal qualification so decided to go to university and read Media Telecommunications, an engineering degree at the University of Teeside. It was there I first had the opportunity to work in a small TV studio. From my first lesson in the studios and galleries I knew that’s what I wanted to do for the rest of my career. 

Why do you enjoy working in the industry?

When I was directing, I used to love the fast-paced and slightly adrenaline-fuelled pressure that came with live broadcast. Now I tend to be involved a lot more in the build-up to those moments and although I still occasionally direct programmes it’s quite nice not to be on the front line so much! I now enjoy using the knowledge and expertise I’ve gained over the last 20 years or so to push the boundaries of what’s possible. Production companies and programme makers always want their shows to stand out from the crowd; I get to look and play with some of the best technical innovations in the industry. So, when a client comes to dock10 with the spark of an idea for a show I get involved to see how we can deliver it in a more visually interesting way. It’s not always easy; working with leading edge technology definitely brings its challenges but I’ve got a great team of developers, artists, producers and engineers so we’re always up for the challenge. 

What piece of advice would you offer someone looking to explore a role similar to yours?

It’s OK to make mistakes. People who do things make mistakes and go on to learn from them. People who don’t do anything fail to learn and ultimately fail to progress. So, say yes to everything! Broadcast is a relationship industry. Meet as many people as you can, get as much experience as you can and learn as much as you can. You never know who you’re going to meet on the next production or who is noticing you. If you’re dedicated, show commitment and do a good job of what is asked, then you’ll enjoy a long happy career.