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2020 winner – Chris Sanders

Written by Admin

I’ll begin by saying how overwhelmingly grateful and honoured I am to have this opportunity – it still doesn’t feel very real to me at the moment. 2020 is going to be a great year, and I’m really looking forward to documenting all that I learn in these blog posts. Here’s hoping they make for some interesting reading!

So, here’s a little bit about me. When I left university in 2016, I was dead set on entering the world of TV. Understanding what an incredibly difficult industry ours is to break into, I aimed at playing a numbers game, so I sent my CV off to near enough every production company in London, each with a tailor-made cover letter. Twice.
I won’t lie, the calls didn’t come in thick and fast. But, eventually, after months of perseverance, I struck gold with Zig Zag Productions.
I was already a fan of Zig Zag’s documentaries, so needless to say, I was made up when the call came through that they’d be giving me two weeks of work experience. Non-scripted TV has always been the area I’ve loved the most, so this suited me down to the ground.

From that moment on, I began climbing my way up the ladder in a very traditional way. I made a good impression during my fortnight of work experience and was lucky enough to be asked back as a runner and receptionist.

This was invaluable for me, as it allowed me to understand how the world of TV works from top to bottom, while giving me the freedom to get involved with the huge variety of different projects Zig Zag were working on at the time. I’d ask the development team non-stop for research, was a constant presence in post lending a hand in any way I could to assist the Head of Archives, and was always keen to head out filming with production teams who, luckily for me, taught me how to shoot.

The more I have learned, the more I am certain that I am where I’m meant to be, and I’m very grateful to Zig Zag for all the opportunities that have allowed me, nearly 3 years later, to work up to the position of Senior Researcher.

Now, for what 2020 holds…There are so many incredible opportunities suddenly open to me through the David Lyle Foundation that it’s difficult to know where to begin. From the international conferences at NATPE and Realscreen, one-to-one sessions with industry leaders, plus the chance to have the guidance and support of a mentor for the whole year, the scope and variety of what’s on offer is amazing to me. One of my main ambitions for the coming year is to make the leap from researcher to AP, and this will provide the perfect springboard, I hope, to do just that.

Growing up my parents worked very low-income jobs they always hated – a fact I was always keenly aware of. The greatest words of wisdom my dad ever gave me were to make sure I work hard and find a job I love, and fortunately I have been afforded the opportunity to do just that.
On a final note, Danny Fenton, our CEO at Zig Zag suggested I apply for this scholarship. I was totally unaware when I applied, but Danny was a very close friend of David Lyle’s, and was mentored by him for many years. I feel very proud to have a role in this legacy.

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