How It Started
What was your first ever job?
My first ever job was working as a researcher for a TV company called Whereits.at. We had a live studio in the Trocadero in London, which focused on showcasing unknown talent in a series of live shows.
What brought you to SPS?
Whereits.at closed and I was suddenly in the position of having to move home to Yorkshire and work for my father at his chemical company. I had felt such a rush of excitement working in live production and really wanted to continue down that path. I decided I wanted to work for Sky, as I loved the programming and was desperate to be a part of what they were doing. I found out who ran the Graphics department (Suzanne King) and contacted her repeatedly looking for work. I was contacting her so much that it got to the point where she politely asked me not to contact her anymore as they were not looking to hire at that time. A few months later, I saw an advert for a Graphics Operator at Sky and emailed Suzanne. She responded five minutes later saying she had my CV next to her and was in the process of emailing me. That was 19 years ago, and I have never looked back.
How has your role evolved over the years?
Well, it’s changed a lot. I started as a Junior Graphics Operator and I am now a Team Leader for Graphics & Autocue.
What were your biggest professional challenges and how did you overcome them?
I would say my biggest challenge came when I was working at Whereits.at. It was realising that my heart was not into researching. I just knew that I wanted to be part of the live programming and so I needed to figure out how to make the transition over to live. They were beginning to talk about having live graphics on screen and so I saw an opening. From that I would say my greatest achievement was getting the live graphics up and running.
How It’s Going
What does your day to day work life look like?
Every day is different. That is the nature of working in Sports and News, and I wouldn’t have it any other way. There are new challenges each day and I am lucky in my current role that I get to have a mix of management and operational work. Most recently, the operational roles I have worked on were the US Presidential Election 2020, The Masters and Sky VIP’s BIG Harry Potter Quiz. Each one of those projects was working across different pieces of kit with very different requirements for what I had to deliver.
What’s been your SPS career highlight and why?
There have been a few over the years. The many Sky Sports News house style rebrands that I worked on are definitely up there. They were really gruelling technical and creative projects, which is absolutely the kind of work that makes me tick. As mentioned before, the US Election was incredible to work on, and the team behind that were next level. Working on the Masters is also up there, as I’m a huge fan of golf and working on the Masters was on my bucket list. Historically the graphics were always done at Augusta by a US operator but because of the pandemic it was all done from Sky, which gave us an amazing opportunity.
What can you see yourself doing next?
To be honest, I am really happy where I am now. SPS is an amazing department to be part of and Sky is so innovative that there is always something new to learn. My big dream is to work in the US, which I have wanted to do since I was a child, so if an opportunity were to present itself over there, I would consider it.
How It Can Be Done
What are your top 3 tips for becoming a Graphics Team Leader?
- Have great attention to detail.
- Communicate well.
- Be confident.
What would you tell your 16-year-old self?
One thing I found when I was at school was that there was little to no knowledge about roles like this. Once you leave school you discover how many other things there are that you can do and hopefully you will find something that you are passionate about. So, I would tell myself to make sure I found a career doing something that I loved. The saying ‘do what you love, and you will never work a day in your life’ sums it up for me really.