Success Stories

Nathan Blades

BBC - Entertainment Development

''My days now are filled with dreaming up Saturday night game shows''

"Prior to working at the MAMA Youth Project, I was having a messy breakup with the journalism industry. Since 6th Form I've told myself that I'd be an incredible culture feature writer, and based my education and career decisions around reaching that goal.

I got my Linguistics degree, my National Council for the Training of Journalists (NCTJ) diploma and an eventual job with the Daily Star in their online department; each stage interspersed with months of unemployment.

Eventually it came to light that my left-leaning nature (and palpable dislike for the soul-destroying work I was given) ran counter to the Daily Star's sensibilities, and I parted ways from them.

I resolved that if I was to work in media again, I'd want to be happy to put my name on the work I produced. However, finding that work was slow. Opportunities to simply work in retail slowly presented themselves, but so was the opportunity to repeatedly slam my own head in a car door.

Then, on an off-chance, my local job centre invited a handful of wayward youths to look into MYP, presented in seminar-form by Lendon Lumsden. The demo reel contained the kind of minority targeted, cultured-but-not-pretentious content I longed to make, and so I threw myself into the application process.

Working as a researcher actually fell well within my skill set as a journalist - compiling in-depth research on unfamiliar topics, completing projects to deadline and shamelessly cold-calling people for information. Despite my professed desire to work in the Arts & Events section of the show, they put me in Comedy as "a challenge". A challenge not necessarily appreciated; but we learn to deal with the hand we're dealt.

On the whole, the experience of working at MYP was a series of challenges; mostly scheduling and editorial, some manufactured as a way to keep us on our toes. As with any creative industry, you learn to both have a constant stream of well-developed ideas and the ability to withstand those ideas being challenged or rejected.

Being fortunate enough to be recommended for a BBC placement by MYP in June this year, I was assigned a researcher position with the Entertainment Development team at White City. Since all I really want out of a job (aside from steady pay) is to create things, it was an incredible fit for me. The placement was for only a month, but I was enough of a help for them to offer me a three-month contract following it.

My days now are filled with dreaming up Saturday night game shows, falling down research rabbit holes of unusual topics, and talking to the BBC Arts Council about the direction of their youth-targeted content.

My advice to people working as researchers at MYP are to have a ton of ideas and truly believe in them. Defend them when questioned, do anything you can to get your vision across. But if an idea does end up untenable, learn to keep your mourning for it short". - September 2015