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 Mariana Soares Goldsmith, who joined Studio Leo in October 2021 as a Development Trainee under PACT’s Indie Diversity Scheme. In March, Mariana’s contract was extended, and she was promoted to Junior Researcher on the Development Team – we spoke to her about everything from why she applied for the scheme to her day-to-day responsibilities at Studio Leo!
Did you enjoy your time during the PACT Indie Diversity Scheme?
I did! I graduated from university at the height of the pandemic, and I didn’t know anyone who was working in the [television] industry. I was living outside London, so it was also quite difficult for me to find a job that I would be able to go to every day. And most of my friends from university were international students, so when COVID happened, they all went back to their countries. So I didn’t have a network. I didn’t know anyone. I didn’t know what or how I was going to get into the industry.
It was nice to have people in the PACT scheme who were in the same boat as me, in a way. And it was great to see the diversity of people at PACT, it was very nice to be a part of it!
How did you originally find out about the scheme?
I mean, I’m not going to lie, I was applying for so many things! And there were only a handful of things to apply for during COVID anyway. I think I must have come across it online, and I chose to apply for Studio Leo because I remember:
- Claire [Collinson-Jones]. CCJ. She’s CCO, which was really nice. I wanted someone who was a woman in the higher-up position – I thought that was good.
- And I wanted to work in factual because I’m not into scripted or drama.
Also, my background has a lot to do with photo documentary, that kind of thing, so that’s why I applied for Studio Leo.
Is the TV industry something you’ve always wanted to work in?
Yeah, I went to Goldsmiths University of London, and I did media communication, which was quite broad, which was good. But my practical was focused on photography and moving image, and I’ve always wanted to work in TV because I think it’s quite a universal language. I think you can do a lot with TV. It’s not just entertainment, there’s a broad range of things that you can watch, do, or produce, which I always found very interesting. So, I’ve always known I wanted to work with audio, visual or moving image.
So yes, I’ve always known I wanted to work in the industry, I just didn’t exactly know how to get my foot in the door!
What’s been your favourite part about your role at Studio Leo so far?
To be honest with you, because I’m quite new and it’s quite a small company I get to do a lot of different things, which is great. I get to work closely with my team, which is Jon and Tara, they’re my mentors. They’re great. They’ve been in the industry for a long time and I almost get that one-to-one experience with them. Working with them in development is interesting, and I love how something like a newspaper article can become this enormous thing. Something as simple as a statistic in the Daily Mail saying eight out of 10 people are in debt can plant a seed and become this huge tree. It’s so interesting to see how that develops, what the stages are and what you have to do as part of the process. The whole creative side of development is really interesting to me.
And what are some of your day-to-day responsibilities?
It changes every day! When I started at Studio Leo, they were doing the reboot of Cash in the Attic, so I was helping with a lot of the casting. Then I went back to development because we had a phase where we had to come up with ideas for Commissioners. So I was doing a lot of research, a lot of brainstorming with them; a lot of being a sponge and taking everything in as much as I could.
Now we’re doing a pilot and I’m working quite closely with the director, going on location with him, booming, dealing with the equipment. Before working at Studio Leo, I did do photography assisting, so it’s nice to be able to put a bit of that knowledge into the job that I’m doing now.
What was the main thing you hoped to gain from taking part in the scheme?
Well, I wanted to meet people in the industry and learn what the industry was like in the UK. I also got to learn about lots of different roles within the industry which was helpful because, for example, before I got into TV I thought I wanted to be a producer. And then there was a lesson as part of the PACT scheme with a producer. She was a Series Producer and she showed us what she would do in her day-to-day. It was spreadsheets, budgeting, money here, money there, we have an issue, we don’t have enough money, for example. It was just so overwhelming hearing about it and knowing my personality and who I am, I would probably be bored by the end of the job, so I decided it wasn’t for me – I’m terrible at maths! So it was nice to get a glimpse of what it’s like to work in different roles without having to go through the whole process.
And where do you see yourself in the future? What would your dream role be?
It’s going to sound really cliche, but in the future, I see myself just being a storyteller, because I think that’s what it’s all about. It’s about telling stories that will have an impact and it’s about learning how to do that very, very well.