New voices on stage: what makes an entertaining panel?

New voices on stage: what makes an entertaining panel?

Industry events are a great platform to raise your corporate profile among key audiences and tell your story in your own words. So, what does it take to get up on stage and be part of the conversation? Adam Webb, Senior Content Manager at IBC tells us what makes a great panel discussion.



Most of us have been there, at an event, watching a panel discussion, interview or keynote and just wishing it would end. But what makes a panel engaging, informative or entertaining? And what makes you regret the time and money you’ve invested to attend?

Turning failure on its head

A good panel shouldn’t be a glorified sales pitch – the audience can see straight through that and instantly disengages. In my experience, having also overseen the programme at the Edinburgh International TV Festival, delegates don’t want to sit through an hour of self-satisfied smugness where people just talk about their successes and achievements. Of course, the reason they’re on the panel is because they are a leader in their field and have achieved success, but it’s vital to drill down further into their story.

Each panel topic will come with a different set of questions. But for a TV show masterclass for example, it’s important to also delve into areas around failure; was there a moment they felt out of their depth? What would they have done differently? How do they deal with negative reviews? Exploring questions around overcoming failure provides a much more rewarding experience for anyone watching.

Keeping it diverse

At IBC, we critique every speaker to make sure they justify their place on a panel debate, masterclass or case study. Will they offer an opinion that hasn’t been heard before? Are they going to be open enough to offer real insight? It’s vital that anyone watching will leave feeling satisfied they’re getting ROI. We’re also keen to make sure the line-up is fresh, forward facing and diverse.

Rightly so it’s becoming increasingly difficult to justify male only panels, often those events that end up with 5 men on stage lead to an awkward apology from an embarrassed chair, which is met with a ripple of raised eyebrows from members of the audience. We’ve made it our mission to aim for a 50/50 male/female split this year. We’re currently on target with Lindsay Pattison, Chief Transformation Officer, GroupM and WPP Global, Jette Nygaard-Andersen, EVP, CEO of MTG International Entertainment and Lisa Tobin, Executive Producer, Audio at The New York Times, just some of the women joining a brilliant line-up.

Fresh faces

Setting quotas is just part of the solution when aiming for more diversity on stage. If you’re the type of person that recoils in horror at the thought of getting up in front of an audience, you might be just the kind of person people would relish hearing from. For too long conferences and events have played it lazily safe by recruiting the same seasoned speakers. Go to any number of events on the same theme and you’re likely to see the same old faces on stage.

Getting involved in an event like IBC is a great way to speak directly to an audience, giving you the opportunity to tell your story in your own words or offer insight and knowledge in an area of expertise. The more people that put themselves up for these experiences and are brave enough to offer honest insight, the more diverse stories are heard from the widest possible pool of voices – and the less yawns from the audience.

The IBC Conference 2018 is taking place in Amsterdam, 13th – 17th September 

The Press Room: Andy Fry, Freelance

This month, we speak to veteran TV journalist Andy Fry ahead of MIPTV to hear what everyone’s talking about in the build up to market.

What are you writing about at the moment?

At the moment I’m mainly writing about subjects related to MIPTV in Cannes. But, being freelance means I have to spread my net quite widely so I’ve also been doing stuff in areas like travel, sponsorship and sports marketing. There’s much more of a sense these days that you need to be writing reports, moderating, consulting and so on to make a living.

What are the headlines everyone’s talking about at the moment?

The issue of female representation on screen is a big story right now. There’s lots of interesting looking dramas that have strong female characters, though still some work to be done with getting women into writing and directing roles. Drama, as always, is also a big talking point – especially with the launch of the new Cannes Series event which will showcase great non-English drama from around the world. Broadcast has also got me doing an interesting piece about entertainment programming based on a round table discussion – definitely a feeling there that drama is being paid too much attention by the trade media and critics.

What is your biggest frustration as a journalist?

The two extremes; 1) organisations that don’t engage at all because they don’t think they need the media. Generally in my experience that leads to problems for them in the long run. 2) Organisations that micromanage the process – questions up front, lots of PR execs involved, requests to see copy, questions about who else is being interviewed. It takes forever and makes you dread dealing with them again in future. But, don’t get me wrong good PRs are amazingly useful.

What are you watching at the moment?

Save Me on Sky, which is really good. I love Lennie James and hope he goes on to win some awards. I’m juggling it with Born To Kill (C4 drama last year) and just finished Peaky Blinders series 4, which was brilliantly back on form after a slightly wayward series 3. Jack Thorne’s Kiri was thought-provoking and for a lighter mood I am watching The Durrells with my wife, which immediately gets me looking at travel websites. I occasionally get sucked into First Dates by my wife and daughters. My son and I tore through the exceptional Silicon Valley and are now bonding over Mr Robot.

Champions of Diversity: Franklin Rae support the Diversify TV Excellence Awards at MIPCOM

Champions of Diversity: Franklin Rae support the Diversify TV Excellence Awards at MIPCOM

At Franklin Rae, we’re passionate about championing and promoting diversity in all forms across the international TV industry. The issue is very close to our hearts. And we’re thrilled to be official partners for the inaugural Diversify TV Excellence Awards at MIPCOM in Cannes this October.

Created by Diversify TV, a pressure group co-founded by Scorpion TV Managing Director, David Cornwall; All3Media International’s Nick Smith; Little Black Book CEO, Bunmi Akintonwa; and Reed MIDEM’s Liliane Da Cruz; the Diversify TV Awards aim to recognise productions that celebrate diversity, equality and inclusion on the small screen.

And who better than Sir Lenny Henry to lend his support. An instrumental voice in raising awareness around the lack of diverse representation on and off screen. He has long been at the forefront of campaigns to make British broadcasters address issues of diversity, and this year Sir Lenny Henry will deliver a keynote address at MIPCOM to coincide with the inaugural awards.

Categories for Diversify TV Awards include scripted and non-scripted content: representation for race and ethnicity, representation of LBGTQ and representation of disability. With entries officially open to producers and production companies across the international TV industry, we’re urging others to take part! The deadline for entries is Friday 6 October at midnight BST and there’s more information available here.

With the launch announcement covered in Worldscreen and Video Age International we’re proud to be associated with Diversify TV Excellence Awards and such a powerful initiative.

See you at MIPCOM!

MIPCOM 2016 – A Bientot Cannes!

MIPCOM 2016 – A Bientot Cannes!

De Lorean car

No idea why Doc Brown’s De Lorean was on the Croisette – but was hugely excited by its appearance. Yes that is a real Flux Capacitor.

Franklin Rae has recently returned from MIPCOM, the international market for TV programmes held in sunny Cannes, and what a great market it was.  Arigatou Gozaimasu (Thank You Very Much) to  Japan which held the position of Country of Honour, they piqued our interest and opened our eyes to the array of content and formats it produces. In general though the market was balanced, it seemed to be more international and less dominated by the big US or UK producers and distributors – just as an international market should be.

MIP Junior had a record attendance of 1600, there was a greater focus on original factual content for kids, than there has been in previous years – that’s not to say it dominated, animations still lead,  but it was good to see it acknowledged.  The challenge for the kids industry is that the audience are all digital natives, so reaching them safely across all digital platforms is critical – an issue recognised by Sony who announced their investment into pre-school SVOD platform Hopster, which is already in 100 countries including the US.

Recent MIPs have been led by Drama, from big, sumptuous dramas like Kosem and Versailles, to high quality gritty co-productions like The Last Panthers. This year, with a couple of notable exceptions like Taboo distributed Sonar, saw a return to formats. I can’t say I’m able to spot the next global success but survival with a twist is still popular with Families Gone Wild from Naked Ent, and Welcome to the Wild from Keshet standing out. There were a couple of formats which focused on conflict resolution through eye contact – is it the new hot thing? I’m not convinced a staring contest is the answer but

Marty McFly's driving permit in De Lorean car

Marty McFly’s driving permit. Really.

time will tell.

As always, the market was fast, frantic and fun. We made new friends and caught up with old ones – and saw the future of programming. A bientot Cannes.

By Sophie Naylor, Managing Director at Franklin Rae.

#makegood? If anyone can… ADCAN can

#makegood? If anyone can… ADCAN can

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Last week saw the great and good of the creative industry converge at The Mill for the the third installment of the ADCAN Awards – an annual competition, which champions unsigned creative talent by giving them access to industry leaders, and provides charities and social enterprises with original content to help promote their cause.

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Unlike other awards ceremonies, should the camera have cut to the nominees as the Grand Prix was announced, hoping to catch flashes of disappointment across the faces of those not taking the top prize, it would be rather missing the point and would probably not be the case, for the ADCAN Awards is all about supporting and nurturing young talent all in the name of incredible causes, as the Hashtag (which on the night was trending on Twitter) states #makegood.

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ADCAN Founders Dan, Deborah and Brydon

Founded by creative and production veterans, Brydon Gerus, Dan Heighes and Deborah Casswell to provide a platform for new talent they felt was missing in the industry. Leading production companies Rattling Stick, Partizan and Nexus, not only judged the work but continued to champion talent with industry speed dating sessions and workshops.

The filmmakers were given four briefs, provided by four incredible causes to choose from. To give the evening extra significance representatives from the charities introduced the films made for their cause. Hearing Nordoff Robbins, Streetbank, The Girlhood and CALM talk was not only inspiring but made the work of the filmmakers all the more impressive. Each of the shortlisted films had managed to get to the heart of the charity’s work and I for one am not ashamed to admit that my eyes failed to remain dry throughout the screenings.

It was laughter however that won on the night for Klaas Diersmann and his film (T)HUGS for CALM, The Campaign Against Living Miserably – a charity which aims to challenge perceptions of masculinity in light of the growing number of male suicides. Capturing the need for young men to feel comfortable to talk about their problems and doing so in an accessible way won Klass the Grand Prix for best film and the biggest laugh in the room on the night.

Klass also won the innaugral Peoples Choice Award. Designed to allow supporters of the ADCAN Awards to have their say, guests on the night were encouraged to cast their votes and as a result discussion continued into the night on which film was deserving of this new award, meaning the work remained very much centre of attention, how very ADCAN!

2016 ADCAN Awards Winners

Our involvement with ADCAN from its inception meant there was a lot of pride in the advances the event has made, we work with some of the very best talent in industry and so it feels very natural to help play a part in ushering in the next generation.

There was a barnstorming finish to the evening as Chaka Sobhani, CCO of ad agency Leo Burnett gave a keynote address, telling all of the assembled talent that above all else, just go out and ‘make things’. The ADCAN Awards are doing just that as they continue to #makegood.

Check out the 2016 winners’ videos here

By Mike Goward, Account Executive at Franklin Rae

Screen Nation Awards

Saturday night saw a raft of singers, actors, comedians, presenters, producers, directors and journalists come together under one roof for the 2016 Screen Nation Awards, to celebrate the fantastic BAME talent in our industry.

IMG_0071Following the recent #Oscarssowhite debate and the on-going conversation surrounding diversity in the industry, I had a feeling that diversity was going to be a hot topic throughout the night. As it happened Star Wars star, John Boyega made a fantastic speech after he claimed the ‘Best Male Performance in Film’ award. The actor made a few observations around the lack of roles for ethnically diverse actors on screen and said “to complain about what is going on is not going to benefit us, be the change you want to be”. He then went on to say “be the change and continue and focus.” His wise words (which went on to receive quite a bit of backlash in the press) were then followed by an emotional tribute to his manager Femi Oguns who has changed his life. The budding actor has gone from sitting in his house in Peckham to becoming a Stormtrooper! How amazing is that? So it was a beautiful moment in which everyone in the room stood to applause the Star Wars star.

It was also great to see Malachi Kirby, the actor who plays Kunta Kinte in the remake of Roots win the ‘Young Rising Star’ award. I was also rooting for Idris Elba to win an award for Mandela, My Dad & Me, which we helped to launch, but he and his team of producers won the ‘Favourite International Movie’ award instead for Beasts of No Nation, one of the best films I’ve seen for a long IMG_0074time to be honest.

Oris Erhuero picked up two awards on the night and made yet another emotional speech after collecting his award for ‘Favourite Male on Screen Personality’ for his latest film The Cursed Ones. He too touched on his life story of being born in London, then moving to New York to focus on his career. Determination at its finest. It was also great to see BBC doc, Britain’s Forgotten Slave Owners receive the recognition it deserves and win the ‘Diversity in Factual Production’ award. It definitely is a must watch.

Overall it was an inspiring event, not just for the great BAME talent who are doing great things on and off screen, but also the next generation of young talent who are looking to follow suit and break in to the industry. There is so much more to be done when it comes to celebrating BAME talent on and off screen, and more importantly encouraging them to flourish and providing more opportunities to do so. But we must give Screen Nation the credit they are due for shining a light on some of the best talent in the industry.

“Screen Nation Awards” – Jonny Yapi, Junior Account Executive at Franklin Rae