In this episode, I catch up with supervising producer Katie Horbury, originally hailing from the UK she now calls LA home and her career in television has seen her work on huge formats such as Big Brother, Love Island and I’m a Celebrity Get Me Out of Here across multiple international markets. I chat to Katie about the challenges of starting out, why she values the balance of working in the field and in the edit and how her passion and determination has led her to where she is now.Support the show
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Hayley: Hi I’m Hayley Dunn, and this is Beyond Reality, the podcast that explores the world of television production, by chatting to the people behind the TV shows you love. In this episode, I catch up with supervising producer Katie Horbury, originally hailing from the UK, she now calls LA home, and her career in television has seen her work on huge formats such as Big Brother, Love Island and I’m a Celebrity get me out of here! Across multiple international markets. I chat to Katie about the challenges of starting out, how she values the balance of working in the field and the edit, and how her passion and determination has lead her to where she is now.
Katie: I was from this tiny town, where no-one thought, including me, that I would actually be able to do it. If anyone tells you you can’t, ergh, it’s irrelevant… you can.
Hayley: Hi Katie
Katie: Hi Hayley
Hayley: Joining me from LA?
Katie: From Vegas, at the moment, Vegas hotel room, in lock down. Full quarantine for 2 weeks. So yeah, I’m going a bit crazy.
Hayley: How are you filling your time in lock down?
Katie: We’re allowed to the gym for 45 minutes, and the pool for an hour. So like life is just literally waiting for the 1 hour at the pool, and then obviously it’s like the fastest hour ever!
Katie: As soon as I get there, I’m looking at the time every 2 minutes so that it’s doesn’t like creep up on me. It’s awful.
Hayley: It’s such a weird weird world these days
Katie: I know right, it’s so so crazy
Hayley: When I wanted to do this second series I wanted to have more of a focus on people that have experience outside of Australia and you’ve obviously worked in the UK, you’ve worked in Australia and now you’re also working in the US so, I guess you’ve kind of done it all.
Katie: Ha, I’m trying, yeah, I’m trying.
Hayley: Well, I don’t actually know a lot about your story of starting out in television, so I guess what I like to ask people is, did you always want to work in TV?
Katie: I think I just wanted to do something big, haha, I guess it’s middle child syndrome – I needed to be seen so…when Big Brother started in the UK, I was in high school, and I was obsessed. I just thought it was the best thing ever I was so addicted to it. So like back then yeah I would have definitely wanted to work on it, but I just never really thought I could, y’know I was in this little little town in the north of England. I didn’t even know you could study the media until I got to college and then it became an actual possibility. But yeah, I always wanted to do something. I even applied for the police and all kinds of random stuff, I thought about going in the Navy once, so weird.
Hayley: Where did you say you grew up?
Katie: So, like in a tiny little town called Pontefract, in the north of England. West Yorkshire.
Hayley: And was TV kind of non-existent there?
Katie: I mean like the most exciting thing in life in Pontefract was when the local news filmed at Pontefract castle – which is basically ruins like 3 bricks and some grass. They filmed a big festival there and the local news came, and I remember sitting at home and we could see my brothers head, like tiny tiny dot in the corner, we were all screaming like Mark was on TV, this is amazing! That was like the biggest thing that ever happened in Pontefract. So yeah, my TV career certainly wasn’t gonna take off from home.
Hayley: So, you said you had interest in the police, joining the Navy, at what point did you actually think of television as a realistic career option?
Katie: Yeah I’m glad that’s the one that worked out, out of those. At high school we studied media and we watched an episode of faulty towers and studied it. I didn’t know you could even study that so, I just loved it. I loved everything about it. The way we were talking about it, I thought like everyone would want to work in TV. Just assumed that’s what everyone wanted to do. Then I went to college I realised I could take media studies as a subject, and they had a whole fake studio, going to an open day at college and finding out you can actually study this stuff I was just like so happy! I just knew then that’s what I wanted to do.
Hayley: So you went to university and what did you actually study?
Katie: Yeah so after college I had a year out, and then I went to university and studied Media and Communication and I specialised in Film and TV. So I wrote my dissertation about Lost. It was the best degree ever! Everyone else is writing about molecules and science and stuff and I was like, ‘In the opening scene of Lost, haha’. It was awesome.
Hayley: What did you cover in that dissertation on Lost?
Katie: Oh it was like ridiculous, you take like a screenshot, and just like why did they use green in the right hand corner? Why did they use yellow in the left corner. It’s like, so detailed. But I was just arguing that blockbuster TV series we’re gonna take over. My whole thing was studying whether TV was gonna become as good as the movies, but then as I was writing it things kept happening – Lost came out and 24 came out, all those shows that became what a Netflix series is now I guess. So they couldn’t possibly not give me a good grade because all these things kept happening that proved it. So I was on to a winner, it was great.
Hayley: You’re like a trailblazer! You were all over this stuff.
Hayley: When you were studying, were you more interested in drama or reality TV or what kind of area of television or film were you interested in?
Katie: Well, I think everyone has a snobbery that the dream is to work in film, work in the movies, but I think deep down I just wanted to work on trashy TV stuff, haha.
Hayley: There is that kind of attitude with some people that film is the be all and end all but reality TV is just so much fun.
Katie: Yep, definitely, I just think the pace of it. Y’know you work on a movie and you just shoot the same scene over and over for 3 days and you’ll just be like going out of your mind, whereas in that amount of time we’ve made 3 episodes. Reality TV is funny, it’s the funny moments all the time constantly that, and the team that you work with, and the ever-changing industry, always going from job to job to job, and I just love the whole vibe of being freelance.
Hayley: Yeah and while you were at uni were you doing any internships or work experience in the industry?
Katie: Yeah I mean we did a 3 year degree and the most valuable thing that came out of it was 2 weeks work experience on X Factor. So obviously I could have done it without being at university. We were really lucky that part of our course was that we had to do work experience, and then X Factor we’re touring around the country doing auditions in all the big cities. I was in Birmingham and me and a few friends got jobs on it. We literally were standing outside the door letting people in and out, for most of the time, haha. But still just being in that environment at that age, so young and X Factor was like the biggest show in the UK so like I thought work experience on X Factor I’ve made it. I’m never gonna have to look for work again, haha, all the works gonna come flooding to me, which wasn’t the case but, at the time I was like this is amazing!
Hayley: I love that, I think yeah even that first moment on work experience when you work in television it’s just like wow, the scale of things.
Katie: Yeah y’know just being in that environment, the pace, the producers, seeing everyone running around with cameras, getting interviews, it was just, the whole atmosphere around it and the energy of just about being in that environment. I was quite happy standing on the door just watching everyone. We got to sit in some of the auditions as well, so for that to be my first experience in TV. I thought I was gonna have to crawl my way up from some unknown show y’know? And I thought that would be where I’d get in the end? So for that to be my first experience was amazing. Absolutely loved it, I just knew, it was so motivational because I just knew. Watching those people run around and grabbing interviews. The good singers coming out, the bad singers coming out crying, that whole thing just seeing how the show is put together, I just knew I wanted to be one of those people doing that.
Hayley: Once you finished uni, what happened next?
Katie: Well ha that’s the funny thing so I leave uni thinking OKAY I got a first in my degree, then no-one asked me about it ever, but then because I’d done X factor work experience and I did Big Brother as well while I was at uni, so I left thinking oh I’ll write to as many people as I can at ITV or whatever and I’m sure I’ll get a job soon. Like honestly a year later, I’m like still at my mums, I was working in a petrol station, a 2 minute walk away form my mums house and I honestly used to stand looking out the window thinking I’m gonna grow old and die in this petrol station. Haha, this is not what my life was gonna be. It’s not what I thought, I’d gone from X Factor to petrol. It was really stressful yeah. But then eventually y’know you persevere and you persevere. I knew I had to get to London. That was my thing. I couldn’t be in a small town, even if I didn’t work in TV, it was still my goal to get there. Then a friend from uni ended up working on a show, and she got me on it for 4 weeks, 5 weeks contract, but obviously to move to London you need a house, a 6 month lease and all that, so my mum was freaking cos I was like I’m doing it, I’m just gonna go and wing it. My mum was like you can’t possibly, how can you do that, it’s a 6 month lease, you need a job, but your not gonna get a job that’s 6 months so, how are you gonna get a lease, she was just worried for me obviously and I was like see yaa, I’m going. Haha.
Hayley: That’s the thing though like I mean, television is so hard to break in to and it’s all about timing and connections and you know, being in the right place at the right time, and for you it sounds like you finished uni where you were studying in Birmingham and then you went back home, while you were trying to find work but you’re not in a place where there’s opportunities so you need to be where there’s opportunities so it’s a catch 22. You don’t have the opportunities so you don’t have the money to get a place in one of the most expensive cities in the world.
Katie: Completely. It was so difficult. I once had a call from a company, was back at my mums, earning minimum wage and then I get a call saying ahh do you want to come in for a chat? We got your CV or whatever come in for a chat. Yeah great. So I’d book a train, a hotel, I’d end up spending over 100 pounds to go there, then I’d go for the chat and the person would kind of just assume I was in London so they were like oh we don’t have any jobs at the minute but I just wanted to meet you – haha! And I’d be like ahh, Okay great! I mean it’s still worthwhile because obviously then if jobs come up they put you forward for the job, but at the time I was just like oooor come on! Argh it’s relentless. I think the finance of starting out is definitely one of the biggest struggles. For sure.
Hayley: I guess for you as well, like you said you finished first in your course, you know you come out of uni with this amazing media degree, you’ve got a little bit of work experience under your sleeve, and then it’s just like OKAY, when do I start? And it’s not really like that for like most people really.
Katie; Yeah like you said, t’s a difficult industry to get in to, I was embarrassed to tell people in Pontefract that I wanted to work in TV because it was just to ridiculous to anyone at home. Or if I told them they’d be like oh great, but I know they were thinking yeah good luck, like no chance, haha!
Katie: But I will say for all the doubter and as many people who said oh you don’t know anyone that works in TV, I was like, well then I’ll go and meet some people who work in TV. I never had the attitude that I couldn’t get there. Until after a year of sending emails and I started to think OKAY maybe I can’t. I was always just so determined and as soon as I had studied it and met people and knew people that worked in TV it felt more achievable. And you’re right it is timing and it is difficult but then as soon as you get 1 step closer or 1 thing happens, you start getting really creative about how your gonna contact people and what you’re gonna say, an how your gonna like connect yourself to people. Like I used to go through the credits of the shows I want to work on and I’d work out peoples email addresses from the credits and email them and stuff. I had this massive document and, you only need 1 person to consider you. You can send hundreds and hundreds but y’know eventually someone will need you. Someone will get sick, or someone will not turn up to a shoot. Y’know that’s how you’ll get in. I feel, that’s how most of the time.
Katie: Unless your mums an exec or something. Most of the time I thin the way you get in if you don’t have much experience is when a production’s in need and you’re there at the right time in the right place.
Hayley: How many emails do you think you would have sent, in that first year out of un?
Katie: Oh honestly I just had this massive list of contacts, and I just added and added and added to it. Any time I had an idea of how I would work out someone else’s email address, then someone else’s and someone else’s, every month or so I’d just send hiiiii, I’m still available, haha, still here for any assistant needs, I’m dying to get in the industry so if you wanna hire me I’ll have a smile on my face, like, I was just like pleeeease, hundreds like literally.
Hayley: Yeah I’ve been there and I know how soul destroying when you know all you want to do it just get your foot in the door, and you’re either getting no responses or your getting ‘yes we’ll keep you in mind kind of responses. Spending a ear doing that, did you ever lose your passion or question whether, y’know TV was the right way to go?
Katie: I think I started to, towards the end of the year I started to think about what if this doesn’t happen? That’s when I realised, I still want to move to London, I still want to get out of Pontefract and still wanted to do something, but I did start considering alternative routes or alternative things but I didn’t know what else I wanted to do. I knew I wanted to travel, I knew I wanted to see the world, which is another reason to work in TV because it’s an industry I could do that in. Yeah I did it’s hard like, it is hard. To this day it’s an industry where you think you’re never gonna work again and the next minute you’re like on top of the world. And then you’ll know like every job you have is 5 or 6 weeks long, and then you have down time in the middle. You don’t spend money in the down time, your sending out resumes. Sending out emails trying ot get the next job and then the next job comes up and it’s lie can you start tomorrow? And you’re like argh I wish I enjoyed those 2 weeks more that I just had off. Wish I went out more and spent more money. Just so unpredictable, it really messes with you.
Hayley: Yeah totally. And so how did you land that first job in television?
Katie: So, it was like a casting job for – do you have Come Dine With Me in Australia?
Hayley: We’ve had it in the past yeah
Katie: Yeah so that was huge in the UK so ITV tried to make another version of that called Houseguest, and it was like, you had 5 contestants and every night someone had to sleep over in a stranger house. It was really odd like y’know scoring for a dinner party and all that, so they needed someone to help casting and go on one of their shoots. It was a friend I went to uni with who just put me forward for it, and then they just called me and I was doing it. Yeah it was really odd, I didn’t have an interview or anything. They just booked me on the one shoot and then they booked me for a whole episode casting and going on the shoot. Yeah and that was it, I was in London forever.
Hayley: So you finally get that call, you had a job, and 5 week contract and you just packed up your life and moved to London and hope for the best?
Katie: Pretty much. I had friends there that I stayed with luckily, and yeah then the next job came up and the next job came up, it is that once your in your in kind of thing but there was still big gaps in between jobs and all that. It was always a struggle those first few years. Your paid pittance anyway when your starting out, and then London’s obviously well expensive so, I live with friends but it was always like you were living pay check to pay check y’know? So, you have to really really want it. But I was so motivated by every day I had on set, because t’s an environment I hadn’t been in really, like you learn about it at university, you learn at college but it’s just not the rea thing so, once I started and was actually spending time on shoots watching the producers dealing with the contestants and stuff, I was just so motivated by it every day, feeling like your leaning so much y’know, constantly.
Hayley: Yeah and what was, you said it was casting and you were out on set for that first job on Houseguest, do you remember what the actual role was?
Katie: It was like assistant, like a runner. So I was literally going to the supermarket, buying snacks for the crew, water, labelling tapes, haha, it was so minor but they just need an extra pair of hands there sometimes like holding people behind doors while they’re interviewing people and helping with lights, all the dd jobs. It’s like when you start out though, your in the perfect position. If you’re a runner, you’re in the thick of everything that’s going on. So you’re looking after presenters, your looking after guests, you obviously have n control at all over the content, but you see it so you just learn so much. Once you become a researcher and an assistant producer, you’re not quite so involved in every single aspect of the show. At the time it feels like you just want to move up and just want to be doing more but it’s the best time of your life. You can work on a show, if there’s 10 runners on a big studio show, you just have the best time because you’ve got no responsibility. Even though you feel like you’ve got the responsibility of the world on your shoulders, because you’re a runner and you just want to make a good impression and move up and go somewhere quickly but I look back now like man wish I enjoyed those times a bit more.
Katie: It’s just so much fun when you’ve got a good group of you.
Hayley: I lived in London, when I was living there I was working as a commercial producer but I knew that reality TV I what I wanted to work in. And I had 1 contact who I’d actually et travelling, and she hooked me up with 2 days running, so I did 1 day on Alan Carr’s New Year Special,
Katie: Haha, brilliant
Hayley: Which was hilarious because during the record I was tasked with being the on camera bar person, and so I was meant to be pouring drinks for all the celebrities on stage and, at the time I didn’t really know who they were because they were all British celebrities and this was years ago, and one of them was James Cordon. Who’s obviously huge now. I just remember there was an ad break and I had to pour a beer and for some reason, I went to pour it and it foamed up, and the whole thing was just head, and I just remember you only have a coupe of minutes in the ad break to get these drinks poured and on the stage, and it was so embarrassing and we delivered this drink and it was just head o the show, but I was just like oh my god I’m dying. But I loved doing that, that was kind of my first ever day on set. And then the other thing I did which was much more low key, it was X Factor auditions but it was the pre judges just with a producer. I just remember I had this great producer, my job was just to operate the camera and write down notes from the producer, but she was so great at just including me and gong what’s your opinion on them and what do you think? Shall we put them through? I just had the best time.
Katie: That’s so nice when you have a nice producer like that, I had a bit of a mixed bag but yeah. Some did that and some didn’t. But yeah no it’s great experience that isn’t it? You feel like you’re in the judging seat like you’re gonna be the next Simon Cowell.
Hayley: haha I was like god don’t let me sing
Katie: No no, no no! We’re behind the camera for a reason.
Hayley: So you had that first job and you said other jobs came up but it wasn’t exactly back to back so, what were the next couple of years like, what sort of roles were you doing?
Katie: At first I was doing a lot of casting researcher jobs, where you’d cast a show, go on the shoot, I didn’t really want to do casting though I just found it so repetitive, like you’re doing phone interviews and it’s really cool when you get your people selected and you know you’ve got a good mix of people and yu go on the shoot and stuff but, the few weeks of hard core phoning through what could be hundreds and hundreds of people and you feel like you’re in a call centre. I’m so thankful for it an dit got me in the industry, and I learnt so much from that whole process, so I totally appreciate the casting side of the industry and the people who do that, but I just wanted to produce. I wanted to be more involved in the story and the editorial, than the casting. And then I got to assistant producer, while my background was casting and I was trying to move over to just assistant producing that’s not in the casting realm. I’d known that there’s an assistant producer job, that’s based in the gallery on Big Brother, and I just always wanted to do it, and I’d write to them all the time and stuff. I finally got an interview, and I didn’t get the job. My, one of my best friends who you know, hi Matthew Edmondson, I met him after the interview and he’d just had an interview as well for the same show and they’d called and offered him the job and I didn’t get it and I was so upset. I just thought ahh that was my chance, to get out of casting and to move into producing. That was the perfect gig. And then 2 weeks later someone dropped out and they called back and offered me the job. And I feel like that changed everything. It changed my path, it changed, everything that’s on my CV since then is off the back of that show. As well as just earning how to produce. I always say this, I’m so thankful to be able to work on that show and I moved up to producer on Big Brother as well, and in that producer role, you produce in the gallery, you produce story and you produce in the edit. Which is quite unheard of really. Especially in America like people only tend to do one job here, mostly, so to get that experience of seeing every single part of how the whole show is put together, form y’know so early in my career, it was the best grounding I could have asked for. It was the best show to learn on and everything I’ve done since then, always comes back to how that worked. Everything I learnt there, I’m so thankful for. And I got to be the voice of Big Brother so I was like insanely happy, haha. I’m Big Brother this is wild, haha!
Hayley: Why do you think you loved working on Big Brother so much?
Katie: I think it’s just the pace of it. Firstly it was just a lovely team, always, and it was just always a really nice vibe, I looked forward to going to work, even though I was there for an eternity. I’d come home and watch the show and I’d wake up looking forward to going back there, which is obviously rare, but then yeah if you’re story producing, you’re watching and deciding what stories you like, and want to put in the show. You’re doing paper edits, talking to the editors about how to cut it, and you’re back watching. It’s just a really good, creative bubble to be in. It really gets your juices flowing y’know, you’re on the ball all the time, and it’s just, it’s so rewarding. To then see the show you made 24 hours before, it’s just so rewarding that whole process I think.
Hayley: Big Brother is just one of those formats, it’s one of the biggest formats in the world, like everyone knows Big Brother, so to get a job on that, to sort of land that dream job is amazing.
Katie: yep, for sure. Definitely, and I think as well, just because I watched it in high school, y’know like any new show that comes out now I think oh yeah I’d like to work on that, but because I watched it and loved it as a child almost, a teenager, that’s what makes it such an achievement for me because back then you just never thought you would be there y’know, never thought you would be Big Brother but you dreamt of it so I think if there’s ever a show that comes back and makes a rerun or whatever I’m dying t work on that stuff cos it feels like more of an achievement if it’s something I watched when I was younger.
Hayley: Totally, when you do a show that you had grown up watching, and you loved. And then you get to work on it just like how did I get here? Like how is this real life?
Katie: Yeah, and I just thought it would take a lot longer, I’ve been so lucky and had so many opportunities have come up, so many things have come off the back of one show to the next to the next, I think I thought that it would be a much tougher process I guess.
Hayley: And was assistant producer on Big Brother in the gallery, was that your first kind of assistant producer job in the field?
Katie: eer yeah I think, yeah it was apart from casting, I worked on The Only way is Essex doing the same thing, which was wild, because Big brother would be the whole summer and I think I went on to an Only Way is Essex shoot and kind of go back and forth y’know.
Hayley: What was that like?
Katie: I mean yeah it’s fun, it’s just quite the experience isn’t it? Again it was just a totally brand new way of making television. The constructed reality thing emerged in the UK with that show. It’s, haha, having os many limitations of filming Big Brother the way we did, just being able to say what you want out of a scene and being able to Produce it to the extent that you are, t’ great because it just allow you to have so much control and be so creative. The hardest thing on Big Brother is editing it, if people don’t speak in a way that you can edit them. So difficult because you can’t produce them, you can’t say. can you say that again, or can you put the question in the answer or all that you just don’t od that so, it can be really really tricky then to start piecing it together in a way that works on TV. Whereas then you get on a show like TOWIE and you’re like, haha, can you say that differently? It’s just like, it makes the editing side of it so much easier.
Hayley: So how many seasons of Big Brother did you do?
Katie: eerm, quickly checks resume, haha, we’d have the main show for the summer and then the celebrity series right on the end. And then a celebrity one in January as well. So I definitely did 2 Years of that which is 6, I think I could have done 7. Another celebrity one as well. Yeah a lot.
Hayley: A lot.
Katie: It’s a lot in our world
Hayley: Yeah, but it says something I think when people keep going back to it.
Kate: Yeah, 100%. Like the show me and you worked on is my biggest one of those, the Australian I’m a Celebrity get me out of Here, I’ve gone back to that same place 3 times and it’s just has such a feel about it, like you live in this location that’s like going back to the 70s you’re in this tiny…
Hayley: Yeah, school camp.
Katie: School camp, it feels like school camp which is my favourite thing about it, you live in these little cabin and travel 5 minutes to work every day and everyone just is in the same bubble. You don’t see anyone really from the outside world. But you have this whole community feel. And you go back the next year and there’s all these people here that you recognise, it’s like a big reunion, it feels like a family, it feels like you’re part f a family literally. And that’s rare because I think one of the struggles of working in TV – it’s like the pro’s and con’s of being freelance – you move around so much and y’know we’re TV people, we want to move around, we want to learn more stuff, we want to do every show, just want to experience everything, but at the same time you become best friends with someone for 6 weeks and then you’ll go off in different directions and might never speak to each other again ever. Or you might work on the same show again in 3 years’ time and you’ll be best friends again, but just because of the nature of the industry, like, if you make a friend in TV and they’re a friend for life then it’s really really strong because so many people come and go in and out of your life,
Katie: And it’s fine y’know it’s just not like a normal job where you work in the same place every day and you had a good friend there, you would see them every day and it’s really nice. Whereas we lose that after the 7 weeks and it’s always really hard to say goodbye. Like constantly al the time.
Hayley: It’s true like especially on away jobs as well because you are living with these people, working with these people, and then often you all live in different parts of the world, or the country or whatever it might be. You see them every day and then you’re just like, when am I gonna see you again?
Katie: Although I live in London and can be friends with someone, and then leave London and we’ll en dup on the same shows. I see more of them when we don’t live in the same city because we end up on the same shows. Cos loads of like Australian shows and Love Island and I’m a Celeb, all of these shows now, the worlds getting smaller and smaller isn’t it? We can all live in different countries and work on the same shows. They’ll bring the whole team back together. It’s kind of a small world reality TV I think. I moved to LA and there’s so many people there on shows now that I’ve worked with on other shows that film in England as well. It feels like a really small world. Because there’s such a value to shooting abroad that you don’t necessarily have to live in the country that makes the show you’re working on. Which is such a great great experience to have to be able to move around like that.
Hayley: Yeah and before we move on, you’ve spent a lot of time working on Big Brother, and you were a part of one of the most iconic scenes ever in Big Brother history I think, can you explain just the David’s Dead scenario?
Katie: Haha, I’ll give it a go! So I mean, bit of a touchy subject but David Bowie died, and obviously at the time we had his ex-wife Angie Bowie in the house, so big Brother obviously has to tell her that he’s passed away. And she’s obviously really upset, it’s really sad, but then another housemate Tiffany is in the kitchen. Angie goes in and she obviously just wants to tell somebody. Like, she’s upset. So Angie tells Tiffany – David’s dead. And Tiffany looks so shocked so shocked. Tiffany thinks she’s talking about David Guest, who is also a housemate at the time, who just happens to be in bed because he’s sick. So he’s in bed with the duvet over his head. So Tffany runs out and tells everyone in the house that David’s dead. Then they go and check on David who’s in bed. They pull the duvet down and David Guest kind of wakes up and they’re like, what is wrong with you he’s not dead he’s not dead. And anyway this whole like, it was 5 hours long of like this comedy of errors. I highly recommend Youtube’ing if you haven’t seen it because, it was just like, that could only happen in Big Brother. There’s no other setup in the world, no other TV show where things could happen in that way, that made it spread like it did, it’s just so crazy. So shocking. And just, you can see how it happened, and her reaction is so huge that everyone believes her.
Hayley: I felt so sorry for David Bowie’s ex-wife. Like the poor woman she just got this awful news, and then she ends up being the victim
Katie: And then go for her, like how can you say he’s dead? But he is dead! For ages no one knew what the confusion was, it took so long – and the moment where she’s like – not David Guest. Hahahaha! And it’s like, oohhhh, well why would you say that anyway and it just goes round and round and round. Oh man honestly it was like, hectic, hectic day!
Hayley: That’s a great example of the format, you couldn’t make that happen. That just happened.
Katie: Exactly, no-one expected that. No-one came into work that day thinking that was gonna happen. At all. Like, they just thought, if anything oh we have to give someone bad news, not ideal, she’s gonna feel sad and it’s probably not gonna be much of a big day. How wrong were we. Hahaha. To this day, I’m asked about it all the time yeah. But that’s just Big Brother gold isn’t it, Big Brother at it’s best. That whole show. There was a compilation show the other day of all the really old series, all the best things they did and it’s just such, it just made me realise how much of a clever, such a clever team and such a clever show, all like tasks that they used to come up with and all the content that used to get created by certain tasks and games they put in that, just like hilarious. I just like it when it’s funny. I don’t even particularity like all the drama, in Big Brother that much, I just thought it was at it’s absolute best when it was funny! Some characters and episodes were just funny from start to finish. Although bless him RIP David Guest then did pass away. I mean that was, pretty horrible. He then did pass away a few months later and at the time Tiffany was selling David’s Dead T-shirts as merchandise.
Hayley: Oh noo.
Katie: I know!!! So yeah I think the sales of those t-shirts stopped.
Hayley: That just took a really dark turn. So in the UK, an assistant producer is essentially the equivalent to what we call an associate producer in Australia is that right?
Katie: Yeah that’s right ye.
Hayley: And how did you make that transition from an assistant producer to producer.
Katie: Well, a couple of shows, so I, Big Brother promoted me, a lot of assistant producers there go on to be producers, obviously it’s perfect, they need new producers so it’s the perfect route to be promoted and I was lucky enough to be recognised as one of the good assistant producers and got promoted. I also, on The Only way is Essex I went and sat in the edit because, as an assistant producer, I knew I wanted to be a producer obviously, but eerm, I always just had this, I always really wanted to understand the edit and how the edit worked before I became a producer. Obviously, I just thought I need to understand where it’s going to be a god producer in the field. On location y’know? And so I used to go and shadow, like my friends would be edit producing The Only way is Essex and I’d go and watch her, through the night, we’d do the overnight shift and I’d just go in for the whole night and watch them put scenes together to learn. And then I ended up, they ended up hiring me for shifts as a producer off the back of that. It was just really lovely and t was someone I worked on Big Brother with who ended up letting me go and shadow in the first place and then offering me shifts out of it. And then yeah off the back of that I then went back to Big Brother as a producer and then yeah that was it.
Hayley: Yeah cool, I feel like there’s so many different terms and ways of saying things so the UK calls it an edit producer, Australia we call it a post producer, and the US, is it right that they call it a story producer?
Katie: Ye, usually yeah, I’m still confused by this, like I’ve been here a year and a half and ye so I had a good friend here who helped me, changed my whole CV which is now called a resume, and like we went through and every time I had written post producer or edit producer, we’d made it story producer, but then like some shows don’t call it that. I’m still baffled. I think the general rule yeah story producer here in America, works in post, generally. But sometimes they’re on location too so haha. And then in England that would be a PD essentially, a producer/director, who goes on location and then goes into the edit.
Hayley: Right, so basically you got experience in post and became a producer, so you could do post and also the field.
Katie: Yep, yeah yeah, Big Brother was so good because you did all 3, one minute you’re based in the edit, the next shift you’d be based in the gallery, the next day you’re based as a story producer. So yeah, I was so lucky in that I could have gone any direction I wanted. And I just wanted to make sure I nailed the edit side and the post side before I did more field stuff. Just to make sure I was like, y’know really good ha I just wanted to be efficient, I wanted to know exactly what I needed, and have the confidence to know when I’d got what I needed. Y’know not spending hours and hours and hours asking unnecessary questions. If you understand exactly what the edit needs, you’re just gonna get it so much faster. You appreciate – time is of the essence
Hayley: Yeah, I definitely think that doing post and doing field, I think if you can do both, like doing the field helps me in post and doing post helps me in field. Like I think they really go together and actually knowing the whole process, definitely helps you be better at your job.
Katie: 100% Feel like that should be a bit of a qualification you should have to have, you should have to have done a few weeks in the edit even if it’s just a few weeks just to see the detail and the intricacy of it, like if you’ve never been n an edit suite and you’ve never seen what goes in to actually putting this together, how 95% of the stuff doesn’t work, like, until you’ve seen that, even if you’ve only watched it for a couple of weeks, it’s basically impossibly to be a great field producer I think without seeing an edit, at all.
Hayley: And for you, are you more inclined in a way, like do you see yourself more as a field producer or a post producer or do you like to do both?
Katie: I think, ye, naturally I’m an edit person, I watch something and I put it together in my head and I’m not even necessarily consciously thinking about how I would put it together, it just, it’s kind of like that’s how I organise things in my brain. I think, I can watch something happening and I’m just kind of paper editing it in my head already, it just happens naturally, but I still love the field, I love doing all that stuff and by having an understanding of the edit, it makes me enjoy the field more because if I’m editing my own stuff, I love it. I’d rather do both. But I really find it hard to hand over stuff. So if I can only do 1 then I just want to do the edit, because if I’m doing field and I’m producing, then I’m not in the edit, like, it’s not my vision. I’m organising it in my head in a certain way, so I’m asking certain questions, I know how I want it to unfold, but if I give that to someone else they might have a different vision and not have everything they need for that vision because it wasn’t my vision. Does that make sense?
Hayley: Yeah, ye ye ye.
Katie: If I’m field producing for someone else to edit, that’s when it’s like OKAY I need to over everything 100 times over and back again because I’m so worried that they’re not gonna have what they need. So it’s like I make sure I’ve got everything 4 times, haha.
Hayley: Yeah yeah, that’s something that I found with Australian survivor, so on the last 2 seasons I did, I was post producing as well, and I knew my episodes while I was in the field, so it’s the best when you know what episode you have and what you’re gonna work with. You kind of already figure it out and get excited about it especially when it’s gonna be a great episode it’s like yes, I get to work with these rushes.
Katie: Yeah, can you imagine being on a shoot like that and not being able to be part of putting it together in the edit? That’s really sad to me, id be so disappointed. That’s my favourite day when the shoot comes to an end and you’re going into the edit, like, I’m looking forward to going to work, I’m looking forward to seeing it on the screen, and just lie putting that whole jigsaw piece together. It’s such a great process when you can do both.
Hayley: It’s such a jigsaw puzzle.
Katie: Haha, yeah t you like doing jigsaw puzzles and you’re creative like that and like working things out and solving problems, then it’s a really good job yeah.
Hayley: And you obviously had experience in Australia so how did that come about?
Katie: Yeah so I knew lovely Olly Nash who is an executive producer on the UK version of I’m a Celebrity Get me out of Here! And he also then went and helped set up the whole of the Australian version of the show, he can probably give you a better description of that than me but, he knows that show inside out, like it’s obviously, I think it’s on it’s 20th season now in the UK, it’s been the biggest show in the UK for years and years, so I knew him from that and then, like I was saying the way you get through the door is when someone is in need, or someone drops out, so, one of the post producers on the Australian version hurt her back I think, so they were in need of a producer to fly out kind of in a day! Eerm, Olly thought of me which I’m very very thankful for, and emailed me, it was a few days after Christmas and it was like 2 days after I was on the plane to South Africa. Watching videos about like snake venom and, ha, what to d t you get bitten by a snake, like what have I done? Haha!
Hayley: The warning you get before you work on I’m a celeb, that’s based in South Africa, are pretty full on, the stories you get told.
Katie: Y’know what one day I was in London, 2 days later I was on my way to a jungle, and I’m not joking those videos, argh, it is terrifying. I was terrified. I just hadn’t even really, I hadn’t even registered in my head anything about South Africa, it happened so quickly, I was quickly having to pack, get shots for this, all these diseases, and like quickly packing up my life, and then on a plane 2 days later or something. So, it was crazy! So I hadn’t even registered like the change of environment that I was going to or, I hadn’t really thought about it. And then I’m watching this video and the security mans going – if you see a snake, stop, don’t panic, don’t breath heavily, don’t look panicked, haha it’s like don’t do anything that you’re obviously gonna do immediately, don’t shake, don’t breath, hahahaa. And then it’s like step back slowly, oh but make sure you don’t stand on the babies that might be behind you I was like aahh ahhhhh! I was like, this is, I’m just gonna be a nervous wreck for 6 weeks which I pretty much was to be honest, haha!
Hayley: I just remember the instruction you get is basically you need to check under your bed every night before you go to sleep, and I was in one of those rooms with 4 single beds
Katie: Ohh no
Hayley: So every single night, well day cos I was on night shift so I’d go tot sleep during the day, I would check under my bed with a torch. Al the 4 beds, I was so diligent cos I was like I do not want to be that person that has the snake that crawls into bed with them at night.
Katie: Which did happen
Hayley: Which happened!!! Obviously, we’ve all heard that story. But I was like, if I’m laying on the ground with my face looking for this snake, I’m like I’m gonna get bitten on the face, if there’s ne in there.
Katie: YES. This is my fear. I’m like, I used to try and get other people to check mine for me because that was it, all I could see, all I could visualise is I life up the sheet, put my head down and the snake is there like biting my nose of something, like, this is terrifying. This is not the glamorous industry I thought I was getting in to. I didn’t think I would be on my hands and knees checking for snakes. I thought I was gonna be on a red carpet.
Hayley: It’s a beautiful place though, I don’t think I’ve ever worked anywhere as incredible as South Africa.
Katie How lucky, how lucky are we to work in this industry where you get to go to places like that for free. Well actually you’re paid. You’re paid to do that like, it’s just incredible. I can’t remember the last time paid for a holiday because every location show I do I just stay for an extra week or 2 on the end. I never plan a holiday because I just tag them onto the end of my jobs which is like, probably my favourite thing about the industry.
Hayley: Yeah! You worked in Australia before I’m a Celeb
Katie: I did yeah so years and years ago, I came to Australia, I did like the year out, travelling thing, came to Australia and I worked on hi-5, which was amazing. And Mastechef and My Kitchen Rules.
Hayley: So how did you come out to Australia and work then? Was it, y’know did you just get a visa?
Katie: Yeah I did like the working holiday visa, did the same route everyone does, I went to Thailand, Cambodia, Vietnam, Singapore, Australia, New Zealand, Fiji, Hawaii and then travelled in America and back home, so, it’s another thing I love about TV, I, like a lot of my friends wanted to travel but were worried what would happen to their jobs and their experience and like having a gap on their CV and stuff like that, whereas we can do our jobs anywhere, and it actually looks great on our CV if you’ve gone to another country so. I remember working in Sydney in restaurants and, I was always really honest, I was like I’m trying to get a job in TV so I just want a waitressing gig until I can get a job in TV. Without fail every single time they were like yeah, OKAY yeah you come and work for us as a waitress and if you ever get a TV job, just not thinking for a second that I will, and then 2 weeks later I’ll be like sorry going to work on hi-5 and they’re like, really? Someone literally said to me like, how realistic is that though? And I was like well we’ll see. Haha. We’ll see wont we cos obviously you don’t think it’s very realistic. So it was a nice moment when I could go in and be like ‘I’m leaving in a week’.
Hayley: How long were you working in Australia for?
Katie: So my visa was a year, so I think I worked for about 9 months of it and travelled, I did the east coast and Perth and y’know all that traveller backpacker stuff
Hayley: Yeah, did you notice anything different bout working in the Australian industry, and that can be from your experience working on an Australian producing in south Africa?
Katie: Yeah I dunno, I mean there’s a lot of funny terminology like when I first came to South Africa on the show you and me did together, on I’m a celeb like, it’s just such a small thing but like just the lingo, certain, same in America there’s so many things they’ll say here that you just kind of have to get used to, y’know once you say the wrong thing once you remember it forever.
Hayley: Yeah. Was there slang that you had to get used to?
Katie It’s just funny like, we say gallery, do you say control room?
Hayley: Control room yeah
Katie: That’s a gallery to us in the UK, and then, I think it’s a control room in the US. There’s a lot of that. Especially here.
Hayley: So, you said that you spent a lot of time travelling, where were some of the places you went and what are some of the shows you travelled with?
Katie: So the first abroad shoot I did I think was The Only way is Essex and went to Ibiza, that’s the first time I realised if you work abroad you’re mostly gonna be in a room, haha, with no windows. We were setting up the following days shoots, so we weren’t necessarily on the shoots all the time, so we were in this huge basement of a hotel, and I was like wow, being in Ibiza and not being able to be in Ibiza, is worse, that not being in Ibiza. So that was like oh OKAY, this being on location thing, like work really gets in the way of being on location, and I got really lucky like, there was like I’m a Celeb, Love Island we filmed in Fiji, Paradise Hotel I got to go to Mexico which was pretty cool, I’d never been there before and I’m a big fan of guacamole so, haha, having that on tap was like, a big draw, not to mention the margarites.
Hayley: Can you just run through some od the shows that you’ve worked on?
Katie: Yeah like I guess the shows in the UK that you would have heard of in Australia I’ve done a lot of, as you know Big Brother, The Only way is Essex, I’m a Celebirty get me out of Here! X Factor, Ex on the Beach do you have that show?
Hayley: Did you d the UK version of Ex on the Beach?
Katie: Yeah, yeah
Hayley: I love Ex on the Beach. That like guilty pleasure.
Katie: Then since I came, I came to America and I worked on Paradise Hotel was the first thing I did in Mexico, I did a Christmas show called Wrap Battle
Hayley: Which is wrap W.R.A.P?
Katie: Yes, not to be mistaken for the cool kind of rap that I thought when I first got the email about the show, hahaha. It’s like a gift-wrapping competition. It was hilarious. It was literally one of the best shows I’ve ever done. So funny. Cos all the cast were so competitive that they all turned on each other.
Hayley: That sounds like such a fun show, it just sounds ridiculous.
Katie: It’s ridiculous, It was like Carson Kressley who is like, just one of the funniest people alive, I think, it was so like flamboyant and like ridiculous, it was just ridiculous, they finally had to gift wrap a car and they turned them into like pineapples and reindeers and stuff, and it was July and t was like 45 degrees. Haha, we’ve got all this fake snow and everyone’s just sweating. I was like this is classic TV isn’t it, like putting blue lipstick on people to make them look cold when their actually boiling. Haha. That’s an exadduration we didn’t do that but it’s funny, it was so hpt and were trying to make people dress in coats and scarves and stuff.
Hayley: So you’d been working in the UK, you’d done shows abroad, what made you decide to move to the US?
Katie: I mean I think growing up watching stuff like saved by the bell, hahaha, like seriously, I think I watched so much American TV that like I just always wanted to live here. I don’t even know why. Like I just always did. I even remember when I first got to high school I was so disappointed cos it was nothing like high school on TV, because all I’d ever seen was American shows like high school. I didn’t even have a locker and I was so upset because all remember was everyone hanging out by the lockers in Saved by the Bell, haha. So I was just disappointed. That’s a really weird answer to that question. So I always wanted to live here and then so when I went traveling I think really I thought I was gonna end up in LA and never leave, but obviously immigration have different ideas. So I definitely left on the day I was supposed to leave, tried to get a visa, met with various attorney’s and stuff, tried to do what could but, back then it was just too difficult so I kind of just forgot about it. And then, went back to the UK, I worked on Come Dine with me again with a friend Grivas, and me and him went on location and we both talked about how we both want to live n L.A, always wanted to go, always wanted to do that, like it had always been boh of our dreams to live here, but, I told him my experience of trying ot get a visa and how difficult it is, and that was it and then I didn’t see him again for a few years and then, he got in touch a few years later saying he’d found an immigration lawyer that was able to get him a visa, and it just like relit the fire for me, so I met him, we talked through it all and that was it, I was applying for it, it was like a no brainer. I just never even thought twice about it, I just knew I wanted to do it. But that process is, not small, I mean it literally took me, I think over a year…to get out here from deciding I wanted to move, to working at everything you need, to getting your visa sorted, all that like took so long so, it’s no easy task that’s for sure. That’s probably why I wanted to move here so much in the end, because it seemed so unachievable for so long, that when the opportunity actually came, I was definitely taking it.
Hayley: Yeah, it seems like you get an idea in your mind and then, you just, you know you want to do it and no matter how many sort f obstacles or how many people tell you it’s impossible, that kind of fuels you even more
Katie: I think like, we’re all like that aren’t we? I think the best thing I ever had was people telling me I can’t do it. The reason I’m here today is because people told me I can’t do it, I won’t do it, that just like, oh ohhh yes I can. I probably wouldn’t have cared so much if everyone I told I want to work in TV went oh yeah, cool, I might not be here. Haha. It’s also, it’s one thing to get here but to stay here, you have to love it. You have to love it every day I think. Something about it every day.
Hayley: yeah so you’re actually working in America on a visa, and then, what happens next, are you wanting to stay in the US?
Katie: Yeah well that visa expires in March, so I’m in the process now of applying for another one which will be another 3 years. And then after 3 years if I want to stay forever then I’ll apply for a green card hopefully. But yeah, we’ll see.
Hayley: And for you I mean your partner obviously works in television Ryan so, you’ve gotta organise it for both of you, and make that work. And he’s South African so I guess there’s like a lot of complications in that?
Katie: There’s a lot of moving parts, so we’re in Vegas now about to start Love Island, I’m a producer, he’s a director, good job we’re not going for the same jobs here cos that would probably be like really awkward, but yeah we’re lucky we both work on the same kind of shows, so it’s obviously great when we can both do the same show. It works out really well and we can share contacts. Then Covid hit and the industry shut down so that doesn’t help. But yeah we’re so lucky Love Island came to America when it did, because there’s not a lot of people here who have worked on the show already, and how they make the show here is based on how they made it back in the UK so, we’re really really lucky. Really lucky that that’s the case.
Hayley: So when did you arrive in the US? When did you move over to LA?
Katie: eeer, so March last year, so I’ve been here like 18 months
Hayley: What was your first job that you landed in the US and how did you land it?
So the first job I got was Paradise Hotel, which again, like you say like how many times right place at the right time, I happened to ump into someone I work on Big Brother with back in the UK just before I left, she said oh I know a couple of people who live out there, like, let me know when you get there? So obviously as soon as I landed I was like I’m here, can you send then my CV? And it jus happened that they were crewing Paradise Hotel at the time which is one of the very few shows that they were making in the same way that we make Big Brother and Love Island in the UK, all those shows. It was made in the same way that not a lot of show in America are, so it was kind of the perfect bridge. So 5 weeks later I was on my way to Mexico, having just arrived in L.A. Yeah it’s just, it’s really odd. I felt like I was just home, I was on a show just like I would have been if I was in England. I was getting to meet all these American’s, and classically half of that team came from American Big Brother, so I was like wow, this is a small world. Y’know. Everything works the same as it did back home. So it was the perfect place to get me in. Get me started. Definitely the perfect start yeah.
Hayley: And is there any kind of, I guess, I dunno any kind of confusing situations or like, y’know miscommunications because of the accents or because of just a different way of doing things between the US and the UK?
Katie: I mean it’s just the sense of humour, like, y’know like obviously the British sense of humour is irony, it’s like, self-deprecating, laughing at ourselves, crude, so I think my sense f humour, just my general being sarcastic, I never experienced people question if I’m being serious or not. Like everyone always knows if I’m joking, until I came to America, and then I can say something so ridiculous that I think it so obviously a joke, and like I’ll get these looks like, did you really just say that? And then I’m like, no I’m joking! And they’ll be like ohh haha, funny, like as soon as they know it’s a joke they find it funny but like, does that make sense?
Hayley: Yeah I know exactly what you mean, cause I know your sense of humour!
Hayley: What is your favourite part of working in reality TV?
Katie: I think, every single shift there’s a sense of accomplishment. Say Australian I’m a Celebrity get me out of Here! I’m a post producer so I come in, sit in the control room, watch the dinner game or an in camp challenge, I watch it, make sure we’ve got all the shots we need for the edit, I write down all my notes on everything that’s happening. Time codes. Then go into the edit, and me and the editor will spend the whole night putting that scene together. We’ll screen it to the network and 2-3am, and then the show’s broadcast at 10am I think, so every single day, you’ve achieved something, and it’s on TV. It’s just such a sense f achievement. Y’know, every single shift you’ll create something that you’re proud of, I think, hopefully anyway. Not always.
Hayley: Totally and I think there is something really satisfying about working in on a format that is 24 hour turn around, or 7 day turn around, because you just get that instant gratification, seeing it straight away. Getting it out the door.
Katie: Yeah when they’re really successful and there’s a buzz about the show, the people at home are talking about it, they want to know what really happened, asking you for the inside gossip. When you think something’s funny, and you put it in the show and your friend texts you saying that thing was really funny, you’re like yes. It’s really rewarding. Especially in days like today. TV and entertainment, I think it’s so important. People need it to escape. The shows we make, the entertainment, it’s escapism. It’s something for people to come home form work and sit and enjoy, then talk about the next day at work. It really bonds people. And it’s easy, it’s not too challenging on your mind – it’s entertainment. That’s what I grew up on, family entertainment. Going to school every day talking about what you saw on TV last night. It’s part of my culture, it’s how I grew up so I really love being part of that from this side as well as watching it.
Hayley: Yeah and what do you think is the worst part of being in reality TV? What’s your least favourite part?
Y’know what I bet, I put money on, I’m sure every single person you ask this says the same thing, it’s obviously the hours.
Hayley: Yep. I don’t think I’ve had anyone who’s said anything else.
Katie: Y’know it still is rewarding though, you get home from a crazy shift, I think I’ve done like 24 hours before, and I know there are people that have done more than that, and it’s insane. There is still a sense of achievement in that when you get to the end of it but it’s kind of unsustainable. You need balance and the best thing about those location shows is you’re around your friends all the time, we work hard play hard, and I love that. I don’t want to not be a hard worker. It’s in me to be a hard worker. I love those shifts when you don’t even look at the time. It’s so crazy you’re just all day long, in the zone, making the show, you want it to be the best it can be. I’m never gonna be the person that’s out the door the second my shift ends, I’m gonna be out the door when I’m comfortable that I’ve done everything I can to make the show the best it can be, so yeah the hours are probably partly my fault, maybe I could leave earlier than I do sometimes, but yeah it can be a bit relentless. That last couple of weeks everyone hits a wall. When you first get there you’re so up for it, like now, I’m in quarantine right now, and I cannot wait to work an 18 hour day or something, haha. I want to be exhausted. But it does, if you’re working crazy long days, 6 days a week, you get to week 6 and you’re kinda like, you’re at your end. It is also just the way these shows work and how they get done. So, I think there is a balance that needs to be found. I don’t want to work an 8 hour day.
Hayley: Yeah definitely, I know it’s like we work these crazy hours but if you love it, you just do it. You definitely need to take breaks when you can.
Katie: Ye well that’s also the thing isn’t it, we’re so lucky that we’re in an industry that yes you can work work work, and it will be crazy and full on, and at the end of it, like wherever you are, how many people get to spend 2 weeks in the Yasawa Islands in Fiji like, after they finish a job. That’s amazing. So yeah y’know pro’s and cons.
Hayley: How long have you been working in television now?
Katie: Overall I think it’s about 11 years, argh, makes me feel so old.
Hayley: And you’re now a supervising producer
Katie: Yeah, sometimes I’ll just do producer jobs, sometimes supervising, depends on the show. I like to know the show inside out before I step up to Supervising on it.
Hayley: And what is essentially a supervising producer?
Katie: As a post producer I’ll kinda be allocated certain scenes and I’ll work with an editor to cut the scenes. As a supervising producer, I’m then across all of the scenes of the show, so I’m distributing everything that I want to put in the show to various different editors, watching a rough cut when they’ve got a rough cut down, making changes, making sure y’know everything’s in there that we want, and then it’s much more about having an overview of the whole episode. Instead of just your scene. It’s how the whole episodes working together. How the stories are flowing together. Does everything fit? Have you got enough comedy vs heart, emotional stories vs fun, and lots of movement, just keeping the whole look and the whole vibe of the show looking and feeling the best it can. The right mix.
Hayley: You might not have an answer to this question, but, I always think it’s funny that when we work in realty TV we end up doing so many different random things that wouldn’t fall within a normal job description. Like, what is the weirdest thing you’ve ever done in television?
Katie: The weirdest thing? I mean I worked at the BAFTAs in the UK a lot, you’re allocated a person who’s presenting an award to look after, so I had to look after Ray Winstone who was amazing, so lovely, so fun, like the best person I could have got, who happens to be friends with Leonardo DiCaprio who also turned up, and Martin Scorsese cos they were nominated for an award, so I end up stood talking in this conversation and Ray Winstone is pretending that he knows me just cos he’s that lovely and being nice. Pretending I’m there as his guest. So that Leonard Dicaprio actually paid me, like at least just acknowledged that I was there instead of just completely ignoring me. Which was lovely. So that was certainly a pinch yourself moment. Cos Titanic was obviously a big movie back in high school and I’ve followed his career ever since so, he won the BAFTA and then the OSCAR for The Revenant so it was kind of a big deal so
Hayley: That’s amazing, what were you doing at he BAFTAs?
Katie: Chaperoning the people who are there presenting an aware, so it’s our responsibility, if someone’s presenting an award, to make sure that they’re backstage on time when they’re needed. You basically only get them there with a 4/5 minute window before they go out on stage, and it’s abt of a route to take all the way round the theatre so if something happens, y’know they’ll bump into their actor friends or they’ll need to go to the toilet, you always like, ahh 5 minutes to get them there – it’s quite intense.
Katie: A lot of responsibly. I always think of that moment at the Brit awards wen Harry Styles was on the toilet and I’m like that’s always my biggest fear, like someone who’s supposed to be presenting an award and is my responsibility, is in the toilet when they’re called out on stage.
Hayley: It’s so hard to say anything. Because they’re like these big time celebrities and you have to make sure you’re not offending them, you’re being polite but at the same time it’s like you have a job, and you’ve got comms on and someone’s screaming in your ear
Katie: Any other person, like any other time, like, you were in the toilet and someone’s going where’s Hayley? I’d be like Hayley we need you, that same thing happened to me with Justine Timberlake and I’m like, wait, I have to shout in the door to Justine Timberlake that he needs to hurry up, like, I just don’t know how to do that. I was like, ahhh, umm, Justin, eerm, haha.
Hayley: Justine Timberlake was on the toilet and you had to tell him to hurry it up.
Katie: Yeah, literally. And his like giant 30 stone bouncer was stood outside, I was like can you just ask him to hurry up, he’s like no no you do it. I was like oh come on! He’s got the trouser snake out in there I don’t want to shout him. Hahaha.
Hayley: That was actually, that’s always my worst fear when I’ve got comm’s on is like you go to the bathroom and then you hear our name being called, and our like I’m not gonna answer! Like I’m not, I’m not gonna say hello from the toilet. But then you hear your name and someone repeats it, like, oh god oh god
Katie: That is just the epitome of – we work with a gun to our heads isn’t it? We can’t even pee. Just don’t have time, sorry, can’t pee, no. Not for like another 5 hours.
Hayley: I can’t believe you looked after Justine Timberlake.
Katie: Yeah I know
Hayley: And, what advice would you give someone starting out in Television?
Katie: Well firstly I always always say like, if anyone tells you you can’t, ergh, it’s irrelevant. You can. Like, I was from this tiny town, where no-one thought, including me, that for a second I would actually be able to do it. But the second you get out into the world, every reason someone has for why you wont be able to do it, just turn it on its head. If someone said to me oh to work in TV you have to know people who work in TV. So then go meet some people that work in TV. Work out where they’re gonna be, put yourself in that environment. You’re dad doesn’t have to be an exec to get into TV. If you really really want to do it, and you listen to things like these podcasts and it motivates you and inspires you to want to be in that environment and in that world, then you will find creative ways to get yourself there. Just get yourself in the environment. Talk to people. Don’t be afraid to tell people it’s what you want to do. Cos someone will know someone. Someone will help you, at some point.
Hayley: Definitely. That’s what you have to do. You have to talk about what you wanna do because you never know. People know someone who knows someone else, and it can always lead somewhere, cos it is an industry cos you do have to know people. So yeah like you said if you want it, you have to work for it, and you have to find a way to get to know people in Television.
Katie: But at the same time as well like, a lot of my jobs I didn’t get through knowing someone on that show. Like I got in to TV that way, which has kind of, y’know when you haven’t got any TV shows on your CV obviously you’re gonna need a way in, but, after I got that first job, so many of my jobs came from me emailing a stranger in the industry and them seeing a show that they recognise, but so many jobs have come through people that I didn’t know. So, it is a small world and yes people will recommend you, you can go back to the same show over and over and there is definitely a circle, but also, you can also get jobs speculatively. Just do that. Message anyone you want to work for, anyone who’s in a position you wanna be, tell them that, talk to them, ask for their advice, people will want to help if they like you. And people will like you. Just be in that environment y’know. Put yourself in that environment and be a nice person.
Hayley: Yeah and what would be your advice for anyone that isn’t from America and wants to work in the US?
Katie: Y’know I think, the US is kind of it’s own entity a bit, whereas I think most shows that are name in the UK, even if there isn’t an Australian version, they’ll be shown in Australia, we all see the same stuff, whereas America have a lot of shows that are just kind of exclusive to America I have found. Less so now with like Hulu and Netflix and stuff, things are generally being sold worldwide but I think if you can get on those big format shows, if America is where you want to be, try and do as many recognisable formats as you can. Things like Big Brother that regardless of where you are, people will know it. So, even if they don’t have their own version they’ll know it. Like the shows that are on Netflix, Love Island came to the states because it’s s huge in England and Australia, and so everyone I worked on Paradise Hotel with watched UK Love Island on Netflix. So the world is getting smaller, it’s happening more. If reality TV is what you wanna do yeah just try and get on big formats that are really recognisable.
Hayley: Yeah I think that’s really good advice for working oversees, whatever market you want to work in, work on shows that are gonna be recognised in whatever country you wanna work.
Katie: Yeah and Facebook y’know, there are people that moved here who I worked with years ago and I saw on Facebook that they’re living here, keep in touch with people, or, that’s the best thing about Facebook I think, you might not speak to someone for 6 years, but then the second you’re both in LA you’re like we should meet up! Just cos your in the same place, haha. That’s what happens everywhere, you can live in the same place as someone and not see them for years, and then you’re both in the same country abroad and you feel it’s your duty to meet up. So keep your circle big, keep connecting with anyone you work with, who inspires you, anyone who is doing what you wanna do, and I guarantee 20% of then will be living in LA in a few years and they’ll want to help you. Cos, there is also a realy lovely comradery around here of people that have gone through the struggle, who understand it.
Hayley:And for you, I mean you talked about growing up in a small town where television wasn’t ever a possibility, what does your family think now, now that you’ve, y’know made it?
Katie: I think they wish I worked less so I could Skype more, eerm, they’re just so proud of me y’know. So lovely. They just always wanted me to do whatever made me happy and that’s like, I know that every time I get another job on another show they’re really proud of me and I love it when they’re watching. And I’m able to fll them in n what was really going on or behind the scenes stuff y’know. My mum and my step-dad have always watched Big Brother and my dads always watched I’m a Celebrity get me out of here! It’s really nice to be part of something that big when your family and friends are watching at home. It’s really rewarding. Cos you don’t get to see your family and friends workplaces much, that’s always just a part of your life they don’t see, and it’s such a huge huge part of my life, it’s my whole life so, it’s nice that they’re involved in that in some way, that they watch what I make y’know because that’s so rare.
Hayley: That’s true, I never thought about it that way like, that you don’t really see into other peoples’ work places, but it’s actually true, like you could share a little bit of your life with them
Katie: Totally, yeah. It’s also really useful for me as a producer to have someone else take on it, cos we se 24 hours and then we put it into an hour, and try our best to portray everything as it’s happening properly and stuff, but it is really useful to be talking to viewers about it. And people who will just tell you what they think. Cos sometimes your so in it that it’s really difficult to see it objectively. When lived in London I lived in a big house of 7 people and we were all really good friends, so we watched the show together and it was like the best focus group to be bale to see how good a job we were doing, waiting and hoping they’d laugh at certain bits and stuff.
Hayley: Yeah, alright Katie I want to do the quick fire questions, are you ready?
Katie – I think so, haha
Hayley: Your time starts now.
Q. What is your favourite reality television show to watch?
A. Love Island
Q. What was the last TV show you watched?
A. Ohh my goodness, Entourage, hahaha
Q. Who is the most famous person you’ve met though working in TV
A. Leonardo DiCaprio
Q. What is your dream show to work on, that you haven’t already worked on?
A. Ahhhh – that Oscars.
Q. What’s the best location you’ve been to for work?
Q. What cancelled TV show needs to make a come back?
A. Oh that’s funny I was gonna say Supermarket Sweep but it did – eerm, oh I know what is it called? Fun house! Fun house. 100% Fun House!
Hayley: What’s fun house?
Katie: Well, the clues in the title Hayley,
Q. Have you ever been on Television?
A. Ha, we used to have to seat fill, at that BAFTA’s. I was in the audience and my mum was like found you on TV, found you on TV, I managed to pause at the exact moment, and I looked so miserable, had such a resting bitch face – I was like oh brilliant.
Q. If you could be on any reality TV show what would you be on?
A. Ohh shipwrecked. Feel like I should say something more credible though like Survivor or like, y’know something more challenging but I feel like Shipwrecked is about as challenged as I’d want to be on TV.
Q. And if you could have dinner with any celebrity dead or alive, who would it be?
A. Eeeer, Prince Harry. He’s a legend isn’t he?
Hayley: Have you ever met Prince Harry?
Katie: No. never. I don’t know if we’d get on I’m very northern, haha.
Hayley: Thank you so much, that was so much fun.
Katie: No thank you, thanks for having me it’s been really fun.
Hayley: I’ll let you get back to your very Las Vegas apartment. Every hotel is Las Vegas I think looks the same!
Katie: Oh beige!
Kate: It’s just torture though cos you can see Vegas out the window, but we can’t do party.
Hayley: Well, enjoy the rest of your quarantining,
Katie: Haha, see you soon!
Hayley: Bye. Thanks so much for listening. If you’re enjoying this series, I would love if you could share it on your social media and help others find this show. Don’t forget to subscribe to get the latest eps directly to your podcast feed.