An Interview with Steve Evanson
Steve Evanson, Multi-Award Winning Series Producer and International Trainer for "Masterclass: The Essence of Production"
Q1: How did you get into this industry?
Steve: I got into the industry in 1994 by making educational TV for the Open University in the UK. I was a University Lecturer in Engineering with a passion to tell stories about the great ideas and theories of science. I was fortunate to land a producers job making programmes about science for broadcast on the BBC where I was trained to make high quality mainstream Television and Radio. I went onto to produce many successful factual shows for the BBC, and in 2004 I was a leader on the team who had a huge hit with the series ‘Coast’. The Coast format is now a global brand with ‘Coast Australia’ ‘Coast New Zealand’ already firmly established and more spin-off’s in the pipeline. Now as well as being a Series Editor on new productions I love to pass on my 20 years of experience in the BBC to a new generation of filmmakers.
Q2: What are some of the key elements in production? What are some of the keys to success?
Steve: For me the key elements of Production are, Teamwork, Resilience (you have to be tough!), Research, Storytelling and Planning. I’d say my keys to being successful in Production are …
Be a great team player. No-one can have all the skills to make the best programme, Production relies on collaboration, give the best of yourself and learn to get the best out of those you work with, respect and nurture the talents of others and it will help you all to shine.
Enjoy and embrace new ideas, we should be learning every day, challenging ourselves and others to try new things and not to be afraid of failure.
Know your audience, listen to what they want but also don’t be afraid to surprise them, show them things they never knew were possible and they’ll love you.
Q3: What was the most satisfying moment of your career and why?
Steve: The most satisfying moment of my career was getting the overnight viewing figures for the second episode of ‘Coast’, they were the highest numbers for a factual show on the channel that year … suddenly the phone was buzzing with messages. It was so satisfying because it had been over a year of hard work creating a new kind of multi-presenter format, many felt it wouldn’t work, but our amazing team delighted the audience. We felt vindicated and celebrated in style!
Q4: What's your favourite quote you can't live without?
Steve: My favourite TV quote is ‘There’s always something new to learn’ … each day in Production we learn something new about a story, ourselves, or our team mates. Discoveries and learning new skills are what make the job endlessly fascinating. The Singapore Media Academy is the ideal place to help you learn techniques and skills to keep your productions fresh. The other thing I can’t live without during production is a good cup of tea!
Q5: What advise would you give for people who are aspiring to go into media industry?
Steve: Watch a lot of TV of different genres, factual, drama etc. Deconstruct what makes the shows work or not.
Lookout for stories you are passionate about, research them and imagine how you would tell that story in different ways, practice your storytelling.
Learn from the best people, there’s an old saying ‘Everybody steals ideas, the trick is to steal from the best people'.
Be tenacious, prepare for hard work, try and learn from rejections, ask for feedback on your work and be ready to embrace the comments and learn from them.
Get out there and shoot films, it doesn’t have to be with expensive cameras, try using your smartphone and editing your own very short films (e.g 60 seconds long), so have work to show people in the industry. Post your videos and invite comments, show them to your friends ask them to honest with their feedback. Start small and think big.
And get some great training to help you!
About Steve Evanson
A multi-award winning series Producer, Steve Evanson has been at the heart of invention and creative programming for some of the most successful BBC TV shows in the UK. His series get re-commissioned, attract large audiences and widespread media attention and he makes TV that gets talked about and generates repeat business.
He is also in demand as a professional broadcast trainer, running courses for the BBC Academy on TV research and factual and long form storytelling.
His most successful BBC series, Coast, presented epic journeys around the coastlines of the UK, Europe and North America using expert presenters and pioneering aerial shots. It was described as “Absolute Gold,” by the UK’s professional magazine Broadcast and has now been sold as a global brand. In addition Steve has also masterminded popular series featuring science and archaeology.
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