Next Gen Talent | Robbie Michael | Development Trainee at Leopard Pictures

Robbie Michael, Development Trainee at Leopard Pictures

Next Gen Talent celebrates exciting new talent within the Argonon Group. From interns to production secretaries, we’re highlighting some of the newest, up and coming members of the team!

This month we spoke to Robbie Michael, who joined Leopard Pictures in September 2021 as a Development Trainee under PACT’s Indie Diversity Scheme. In March, Robbie’s contract was extended for another six months – we spoke to him about everything from day-to-day responsibilities at Leopard Pictures, to how he landed himself the role!

Have you enjoyed your time as a Development Trainee so far?

Yeah, I’ve absolutely loved it! I think when I went into the job, I didn’t expect to be doing as much as I’ve done so far. When I started the scheme, I thought I’d maybe be making tea and coffee and doing general admin work, but I’ve been involved in the development meeting, and they listen to my ideas. So yeah, it’s been a great experience.

How did you first find out about the scheme?

I’ll be honest, I was on my lunch break scrolling on Twitter and I follow this ‘jobs and careers’ page for jobs in the media. And I saw ‘PACT Indie Diversity Scheme’, so I clicked on it and realised the deadline was later that night, so I hastily put together a decent enough application (which thankfully I did because I guess the rest is history!). 

Have you always been interested in working in the television industry?

Yeah, I’ve always wanted to work in TV, I just didn’t think it was ever really possible. I think because my degree was in journalism, I’d always thought I wanted to go down that route. But scripted TV has always been a hobby of mine and I’ve always wanted to help create comedy and drama.

And it’s also something that I thought you had to live in London or Manchester to do. I didn’t think it would be possible to do it from Liverpool, and that was kind of the main reason I applied for the scheme and the job; because it was a Liverpool based trainee scheme, which is just so hard to come by. But yeah, I’ve always wanted to work in TV, I just literally did not think it was possible.

What’s been your favourite part of the role so far?

I love development meetings, purely because it’s a chance to get updates on what’s going on with the development slate and I’ve even been able to pitch my ideas – none have gone through yet, but you never know in the future. That’s something I’ve really enjoyed. I also just generally enjoy being in the office as well. It’s actually my first ever office job and it’s in a great location in Liverpool.

What are some of your day-to-day responsibilities?

The best thing about the job is that it’s different every single week. One day I might be reading a book and doing chapter breakdowns, trying to see if it’s worth adapting. The next day I’ll be doing expenses or helping come up with writer and actor suggestions. One day I’ll be sorting rotas out. That’s the best thing about the job, it’s never the same, it’s always different. 

What sort of things do you hope to gain from your trainee scheme?

Just experience really. I really do enjoy working for the company and to be honest, I’d quite like to be here for as long as possible because I just love the team, I love the shows that we have on the development slate and what we’re planning on doing.

But the best thing is the experience and learning from the people who I work with and making sure that if it comes to an end where I do need to move on, I’ll have the right experience and the right tools to be able to find something afterwards.

What would you say your dream role in future is?

I just want to work in comedy. I’d love to be working for an indie, producing shows, helping to develop them, approaching talent, or maybe even working for a commissioner. Working for someone like Channel 4 or BBC as a commissioner would be great because they’re the channels that I think produce the best comedy. But I’m not set on a career just yet because I think in TV you never know where you’re going to go with the next job – I’d just love to continue to work in comedy – it’s where my heart is.

“Robbie has attended all development meetings and learned about the process of developing ideas, treatments, and scripts. He has fully participated in group discussions and has a particular interest in comedy and an eye for spotting emerging talent. We extended Robbie for 6 months longer than the scheme to give him the best traineeship we could. Robbie has been an invaluable help in the Liverpool office. His traineeship will complete in September then we will encourage him to seek production experience on a comedy within the crew.” – Kristian Smith, CCO, Leopard Pictures