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‘We should not move back to the way things were just because we can’

New Production Guild of Great Britain CEO Lyndsay Duthie talks to TVBEurope about how the production industry can recover from the impact of coronavirus, and what advice she'd offer someone starting out in the industry right now

On Monday 10th August, Lyndsay Duthie takes up her new role as CEO of the Production Guild of Great Britain (PGGB). She joins the organisation at a tough time for the production industry following the impact of the coronavirus shutdown. But, as production slowly begins again, Duthie tells TVBEurope she is “raring to go” in her new role.

The PGGB supports production and accounts personnel in the UK film and Television industry. It has over a 1,000 individual members – including producers, production management, production accountants, location managers, post production supervisors, directors, VFX producers, and studio executives.

Duthie is taking over from Alison Small who has moved to Netflix to take up the role of UK production training manager. She says believes the role of CEO is to represent the Guild’s members and ensure their voice is heard, as well as continuing the work of the board in making sure that the PGGB is recognised both nationally and globally by film and television industries and the UK government as best in class. “Most importantly, at this particular moment in time, to keep members working in a productive and sustainable industry. I expect to hit the ground running, much to do, raring to go,” she adds.

“The impact of the coronavirus has highlighted the importance of the PGGB tenfold, as we work together to solve how to get production rolling again safely,” Duthie continues. “These are uncertain times and our members need support to navigate this new world from all aspects including new technology to enable remote working.”

Going into a new role during a global pandemic won’t be easy and Duthie admits dealing with the fallout from the shutdown will certainly take much of her initial focus. “I am also really interested in finding the opportunities in a situation we would never have wished to be in,” she says. “What are the innovations we can bring, how can tech support this, how do we embrace the challenges and make UK production leaders in this new way of working and contribute to new knowledge? When this pandemic is over, and I pray that is soon, we should not be too hasty to move back to the way things were just because we can. There have been some wins in remote working, proving that jobs we believed impossible to do remotely is not necessarily the case, that is an interesting game changer.”

The Guild promotes what some might describe as the “less sexy” roles of production, such as financial controllers, production accountants and location scouts. How does Duthie think the industry can attract new talent to those types of roles? “Production accounting is an area that has been highlighted as a skills shortage. I have previously worked with the Production Guild (while at University of Hertfordshire) on an initiative to encourage students (particularly those interested in producing, production management) to consider this role and undertake specialist training with intern placements with PGGB member companies.

“Accountants or location scouts can be trained and that is exactly what PGGB have done really well in the past – and must keep on delivering. This is open to all from early/mid/late career. Our industry urgently needs qualified and experienced accounting and locations staff!”

Finally, if Duthie could offer one piece of advice to someone starting out in the industry right now, what would it be? “Think about how you can stand out from the crowd and what differentiates you,” she says. “With so many platforms available to populate with content make use of them to showcase your work and potential. Keep your mind open. It is great to have a goal but other roles that you may not have previously known about in film and television could be the career path for you.¬† And of course‚Ķtenacity, tenacity, tenacity!”