Published: 12 September 2017
For any budding filmmaker, receiving recognition from the Royal Television Society is not only acknowledgement of the quality of your work but can also lead you to a career within the industry.
Once again 2020 saw the University of Sunderland’s staff and students celebrating with wins across the board at the Royal Television Society’s North East and Border Awards. Talented filmmakers from the University walked away with seven top prizes at the red-carpet event, at the Hilton Newcastle Gateshead.
Back in 2017 Natacha Richardson and Ellie King won in the Comedy and Entertainment category for their film The Family Food Fight. Their show pitted an ordinary family against each other as they each battled to make the best meal, decided by a panel of three judges. The hilarious results, combined with a strong emphasis on healthy eating throughout the show, ensured that the show was a massive hit with audiences and the panel at the RTS Awards. Here, Natacha and Ellie share the secrets to their success and how you can be the next University of Sunderland student to step onto the stage to collect your award.
Make sure you pick an area you’re passionate about
Making an award-winning film is no easy task and requires commitment and dedication. It’s important then, to pick an area you’re genuinely passionate about, something which Natacha and Ellie made sure of. "Ellie and I absolutely love food programmes. I know the Food Network schedule like the back of my hand,” says Director Natacha. “So we mixed our favourite bits from all of our favourite shows together and came out with the Family Food Fight because they’re all formats that work.”
Make sure you work well as a team
Being part of a team where every member works efficiently and isn’t afraid to bounce ideas off each other comfortably is absolutely crucial to making a quality film, especially when dealing with tight deadlines. Natacha and Ellie’s strong relationship and ability to work as a team kept them strong through the more challenging times of the project. “We work great as a team. I couldn’t imagine doing it with anyone else,” adds Editor Ellie. “We work so well together but we’ll also tell each other if we don’t think the other’s idea would be that beneficial. There were some tense moments in the editing room where one of us would come in late and annoy the other, but that was as bad as it got."
Make sure you develop your skills and pay attention to lecturers
The lecturers at Sunderland are highly-trained with a wealth of experience in the industry, and their influence and insight was hugely beneficial to Natacha and Ellie’s project. “The quality of the teaching is second to none. We learned from people in the industry who know what they’re talking about so that definitely helped push us towards a more successful show,” Natacha adds.
Spend extra time with facilities and equipment to perfect your project
Here at Sunderland, you’ll have access to a TV studio, a wealth of equipment and editing and recording suites to turn your project into a quality piece of work. For the Family Food Fight, the team took full advantage of the fantastic facilities offered at Sunderland and believe that the time spent adding finishing touches to their work was key to winning the RTS. Natasha says: “The facilities are awesome! I don’t think we could have done anything on the scale we did without the equipment we were loaned from the University, so that’s what made it possible.”
Turn your ideas into reality
For Natacha and Ellie, turning their passion into an award-winning film has proved to be a hugely rewarding and engaging experience. This, they say, would not have been possible without the support they received from the University. Natacha has one final tip for anyone looking to make an award-winning programme. “If you’re a person that is super creative and likes coming up with ideas and making them into something extraordinary, Sunderland is the place for you. You’ll have the talent, the help and the equipment behind you, so it’s a really good place to study at.”