Scots duo recognised at TV freelancing awards

TWO Glasgow-based freelancers have been chosen among just nine winners and runners-up in an inaugural awards ceremony recognising the best of freelance talent in the TV, film and TV commercials sector.

The awards are being hosted tonight by ProductionBase, which is an online network for freelancers in the sector.

While Maureen Somerville was one of the runners-up, Sandy McCracken was chosen ‘Runner of the year’.

The 26 year-old has worked in various roles in the production and development of animated children’s television series.

But this year, he moved out of children’s TV to work across more mainstream TV and he has worked as a runner on shows such as Antiques Road Trip, Make Me Happy and In It To Win It. He has a BA Hons in Animation with Design and Electronic Media from the University of Dundee.

Says Bob Brear, producer-director on the Antiques Road Trip: “He would often use his own initiative and judgment in difficult situations and often would second guess my needs as PD. Whenever anything changed in the way we filmed the series Sandy would be keen to be up to speed so he could anticipate any potential problems.”

Somerville finished one of the finalists in the Beyond the Call of Duty category. Remarkably, the 64 year-old first assistant director/producer has worked in the industry for just over three years.

After taking early retirement from the civil service, she enrolled on various TV and IT courses and now regularly freelances for Bad Pony Media in Glasgow. She has worked on a pilot for TV as well as corporate show-reels, music videos, commercials and short films.

Says Bad Pony Media’s Frank McGowan: “Maureen is a clear example of why women over a ‘certain age’ should not be discriminated against in key production roles in the industry, as she knocks spots off many ‘younger’ freelancers.”

There were only three categories up for grabs – as well as Runner of the Year and Beyond the Call of Duty, there was Outstanding Freelancer of the Year – with each title having one winner and two runners-up.

The panel of judges included Duncan Gray (commissioning editor for entertainment, Sky1, Sky2, Sky3) Lucy Ansbro (executive producer, Phil McIntyre Television), Benetta Adamson (producer/director), Jane Martinson (editor, Media Guardian) and Mahoney.

Says Joe Mahoney, managing director of ProductionBase: “With some 57 per cent of the independent production community made up of freelancers, we felt it was time to create an awards that would celebrate their achievements.

“Freelancers across the country have been nominated and it has been tough to select winners as there has been a tremendous amount of talented freelancers to choose from. We feel that the candidates we have selected have really shown a desire to be the best in their field. I’m pleased that we are able to give something back to those who have worked so hard by honouring their achievements.”