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Meet the… production specialist

Martin Vorley, UK product specialist at farmerswife, discusses his entry into the TV industry as a runner, before to moving into post production, and why he’d advise anyone looking to get a job in TV to “think outside the box”.

Talk us through an average day in your role.

The core of my role is problem-solving, but each day can have its different problems. One day I could be in London with a client helping them work out how best to take their current workflow and implement it into farmerswife and Cirkus. The next day I could be working from home testing a bug that a client has reported, to see how long it’s been present and then if a fix for the bug has worked.

farmerswife and Cirkus have thousands of features. Part of my role is knowing which feature is best for a client and their workflow so that farmerswife and Cirkus do what they need it to. I am always learning and improving my knowledge of them throughout each day.

How did you get started in the media Industry?

I started as a runner and production assistant mainly on police shows. This could involve fetching tapes from a shoot location, watching through hours of footage to log material ready for edits, helping to set up cameras in the police cars, and then sorting through camera kits for the shoots.

I was fortunate enough to come into the industry at the change-over from shooting footage on tape to shooting digitally. This massively helped develop my knowledge of workflows as I assisted the transition to tape-less workflows for the productions I was working on.

Eventually, I moved on to working in post, and ended up being the post producer for the very series I started working on, which was a satisfying rounding of events.  As a post producer I was using farmerswife every day, which has led me to my current role.

What training did you have before entering the industry?

I had no real idea what I wanted to do at university and so decided to go for something I enjoyed. I chose to study a degree in Television Production and Screen Media, and once I had that degree I felt I should pursue a career in the TV industry. I set about finding any way I could to get in. Ultimately my persistence paid off and has led to where I am today. However back then I had no idea what a post producer was, let alone what one did!

So much of my “training” has been on-the-job, learning as I go, being inquisitive, and taking in what I can from what is happening around me.

Why do you enjoy working in the industry?

From a young age I was obsessed with watching TV, so I don’t think it’s a coincidence that I ended up working in the industry. Working in TV allowed me to see how it was all made and what went into getting the programmes on our screens. The more I found out, the more I enjoyed it. Being a post producer allowed me to be logical, organised, and technical whilst managing the delivery of some of the TV shows that I grew up watching.

Now, working for farmerswife I can keep in touch with that industry through the various clients we have in production and post production. This allows me to share my experiences and knowledge of the products I used whilst post producing, but without the same pressures of working as a post producer.

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

Whilst you will sometimes need to be persistent and repetitive to nail down some of the bugs that are reported, you must sometimes think outside the box. On the surface it may seem like everyone has similar workflows, but looking deeper every workflow will have its quirks. Often those quirks will be the one thing the client needs your product for. If you can develop a passion for finding those quirks, and solving those problems, this could be the job for you.