Terri's career takes the right directionThursday 2 October 2014
Offering Beyoncé a cup of tea and revealing the result of a gripping TV whodunit via Snapchat is all in a days’ work for Liverpool Hope University graduate Terri Doran.
In just a few years since leaving Liverpool Hope, Terri has risen through the ranks in the media world. After starting with one week’s work experience as a Music Researcher for MTV programme Living on the Edge at Lime Pictures, she is now Digital Co-ordinator for Lime Digital, the company that makes Hollyoaks and The Only Way is Essex. Lime Digital is based in Childwall, in the same neighbourhood as Liverpool Hope.
Terri, from the small town of Banbridge in County Down, Ireland, studied Media Studies (now Media and Communication). She chose Liverpool Hope because she “absolutely fell in love” with the campus and the media production facilities on offer.
“I started my course thinking that I wanted to be a Director or Producer,” says Terri. “However, the good thing about Liverpool Hope is that you are given an insight to everything you need to get a full picture of the industry – radio, TV, film and multimedia. There is also a real focus on creating your own content - I produced and presented documentaries (including one on Liverpool as a ‘little Ireland’) and made short films and animations.
“These are all great for your portfolio when you go for a job – they show that you can use your own initiative to produce top quality content using topics and platforms that inspire you. I absolutely loved my course and all of the lecturers were really encouraging.
“I also ended up presenting my own show, The Blarney Show, on what was then Radio Hope. I did this with my friend and we would research, produce and present. We brought in bands for live sessions and also began using social media to take requests.”
Terri’s involvement in the media outside of Liverpool Hope started after a visit to the university careers service. After registering with them and discussing career options, the team passed on information about work experience opportunities. One of them just happened to be work experience as a Music Researcher on MTV/Lime Pictures programme Living on the Edge.
Terri was given the brief to find pieces of music - some of which hadn’t even been released yet – to suit different scenes in the programme working within the MTV Music blanket. “I got the chance to listen to Lady Gaga’s Bad Romance a month before it was released. When I heard it on the radio later, I was able to say, ‘I knew that was going to be a hit!’
“Whilst I was nervous, I found that the course gave me great knowledge and I felt it had really prepared me for this role – I knew the technical terms that were being used and I knew about different softwares that the team were using, which I think helped me come across really well.”
Terri certainly made an impression. She was invited to apply for a ten week paid position as a Music Researcher, while also gaining experience as a Production Runner after her degree finished. The more experience she gained, the more she realised that her strengths were in production rather than direction: “I found that this was the place where I thrived and the area where I wanted to step up and take on more responsibilities.”
Terri made the decision to stay in Liverpool where she freelanced in various production roles with Lime Pictures and Conker Media alongside another part time job. She worked on Hollyoaks, Britannia High and the MOBO Awards as a Production Runner. When the MTV European Music Awards came to Liverpool, the Director of Living on the Edge recommended Terri for the job of Production Runner, where she was responsible for looking after Katy Perry, the Stereophonics - and Beyoncé. “I remember asking Beyoncé and her team if they would like a cup of tea – she said no, and just asked for water. I was shaking as I carried the drinks back! It was very surreal!”
After MTV, Terri secured a role on the Hollyoaks Music Show and its spinoff, The Playlist. During series one and two she was fully trained in all aspects of production and was then given the role of Production Co-ordinator for the third series.
“I was co-ordinating the production team, runners, and liaising with artists and their managers to make sure that everything went smoothly for the show and they had everything they needed. Making everyone happy was a reward in itself. One of my favourite requests was from Paolo Nutini who asked for a TV to watch the Celtic game. The Music Show was a big job and a challenge for me at times, but I felt prepared because of my previous experiences and the foundations that my degree provided me with.”
Terri then secured a full time as a Digital Co-ordinator job with Conker Media - which became Lime Pictures. She now has an oversight of all digital production output by Lime. She organises shoots, liaises with artists, and is often the first point of contact for the rest of the business.
Lime Digital produces all the online content for Hollyoaks and The Only Way is Essex. Terri says, “The Lime Digital team are all so talented and amazing to work with. As a team, we recently created a profile on Snapchat (HelloHollyoaks) and we were the first ever Soap/Drama to do this. We used Snapchat to reveal the culprit in a gripping whodunit storyline - 228,730 followers were able to find out who the killer was before the show aired.”
Terri is also part of the team that has been nominated for two 2014 Royal Television Society awards. One is for the Snapchat ‘whodunit’ reveal and one for the ‘This is Abuse’ campaign. Terri Production Managed a series of TV, digital ads and extended online Hollyoaks scenes. “We teamed up with the Home Office who helped fund the campaign. The Partnership worked really well, and we raised a lot of awareness surrounding the issues of domestic violence.”
What advice would Terri give to Liverpool Hope students looking to develop a career in the media industry?
“Don’t start your degree thinking that you just want to do one specific role. Keep your options open and try everything – take advantage of all of the different options available on your course, and start creating your own content. Try and do as much work experience as you can and grab every opportunity with both hands. The media world can be difficult to get into, so always make a good impression (a smile and being friendly goes a long way too). It is great to show a can do attitude, and being able to work as part of a team is also essential.
“The academic staff at Liverpool Hope had real faith in me, and the careers team were fantastic – make sure that you use all of the resources available to you whilst you are here! I loved my time at Liverpool Hope. I met friends for life and learned how to cope in the big wide world.”
Terri will be returning to Liverpool Hope on October 22nd as part of the Channel 4 4Talent Day which is open to 16-25 year olds. The day involves workshops and master classes focusing on creating content for cross platform, news, factual broadcast and drama. Applications close on October 13th. More details.