Proximity is Power: Getting and keeping the Gatekeepers on side

Room: Darwin D06
Time: Sunday 2:00pm


with Rhona Foulis, Victoria Morris, Zak Abby, and Amanda Farley
moderated by Lisa McMullin

Proximity is Power: Getting and keeping the Gatekeepers on side image

As much as we would all love to be best friends with our favorite director, producer, or agent, these high-powered executives have hired teams to perform triage for their time. But a good gatekeeper does more than that. They assess not only whether you are professional and talented enough but whether you are an appropriate candidate to advance through their gates.

With a Gatekeeper firmly on side half your work is already done.  The door is ajar, the call will be taken, the meeting is practically in the diary! Time to stop looking at Gatekeepers as barriers to be outmanoeuvred, but rather as allies to assist, advise and help guide you on your journey into the inner sanctum.

In this session, Victoria Morris (Development Assistant at Artists Studio), Rhona Foulis (Executive Assistant to Frank Spotnitz) and Zak Abby (Development Assistant at Bandit TV) will discuss…

  • The most and least effective ways to impress a gatekeeper.
  • Nurturing the long pitch to build an effective relationship that lasts.
  • What NOT to do when the gatekeeper says “No.”
  • How to earn the welcoming (rather than the frosty) “Hello” on your umpteenth follow up call.
  • How to recognise the polite pass, accept it with grace and still leave the door open for future enquiries.
  • Simple techniques for getting the meeting you are trying for.

In the end, writing well is only one talent necessary for a successful career. If you want to stand above the crowd, your professionalism towards other professionals will be your best tool. This session will teach you that gatekeepers don’t just maintain the schedule of their bosses, but the integrity of the industry as a whole.

Appearing in this session

Amanda Farley

Amanda Farley – Assistant Script Editor | BBC Writersroom

Amanda organises the yearly BBC TV Writers’ Festival and is Assistant Producer on the Writersroom Comedy Room scheme.
Amanda Farley
Lisa McMullin

Lisa McMullin – Screenwriter

Credits include EastEnders, Doctors

Lisa writes continuing drama series for television and also writes Big Finish audio dramas, including Doctor Who, Torchwood, and Time War.
Lisa McMullin
Rhona Foulis

Rhona Foulis – Executive Assistant

Credits include: Salmon, The Man in the High Castle

Rhona is Executive Assistant to Frank Spotnitz and Jamie Hall at Big Light Productions, a TV drama production company.
Rhona Foulis
Victoria Morris

Victoria Morris – Development Assistant - Artists Studio

We’re always on the look-out from for interesting, provocative and character-led television drama.
Victoria Morris
Zak Abby

Zak Abby – Development Team Assistant | Bandit Television

Zak is also the assistant to the Emmy and BAFTA Award winning producer Phillippa Giles.
Zak Abby