Story producer Florence Watson on the Leaders of Tomorrow Programme

Story producer Florence Watson on the Leaders of Tomorrow Programme

A recent promotion has given Florence Watson a major boost as she enters the Leaders of Tomorrow Programme. After starting on The Baby, co-produced by global content company SISTER and Proverbial Pictures , in August 2020 as a script editor, she is now story producer on the Sky/HBO comedy-horror series and it was the series’ co-creator and show runner Sian Robins Grace, who nominated Florence for the new ScreenSkills programme.

“It seemed perfect for me, and at the perfect time in my career,” Florence says.

She is one of the 19-strong cohort who have been selected for the recently launched programme. It lasts three years and is focused on providing comprehensive and tailored support to mid-level professionals working in High-end TV to give them the tools to progress to senior level, decision-making roles in the future.

Florence grew up in Liverpool and, at 21, started a course in film and television production at Norwich University of the Arts. She is now based in London, having moved to the capital at the beginning of 2020 to become script editor on Neal Street Productions’ Call the Midwife, before Covid put the show on pause.

She was particularly keen on the mentoring aspect of the programme, having previously been mentored by Anne Mensah, Vice President Original Series at Netflix and member of the ScreenSkills board. Florence has taken her advice to heart. “One of the things that she instilled in me is that you shape your own career and you shouldn't be swept by the tide. You have autonomy in your career; you have choices and you should use them.

“I want  to step up to producer within the next three to five years but still want to work with scripts, so I want to be paired with a mentor who is producing but makes time for the creative side as well.

“It's important to me to work with someone from a marginalised community as well – either a woman, a person of colour or someone who is queer, like me. Someone who has experienced being marginalised and who would understand if I had any problems in that area.”

Florence is keen to learn mentoring skills herself, to pass on what she learns on the programme. “It's important for me to advocate for people and that's something I do as a script editor for my team.”

Diversity is also an important driver of Florence's career plan. “The stories I want to tell and the projects I want to work with are stories that aren't necessarily given a lot of air time or aren't represented well. I like complicated, messy people.

“And I want to be part of processes that build teams and crews that aren't all middle-class, white and well connected. It's important we see ourselves in this industry, and one of the things that has struck me working on The Baby is that diversity is so important.”

Florence is looking forward to undertaking ScreenSkills training, such as leadership and management training, as well as confidence training. “I think I would benefit from that, particularly as a woman, as sometimes our voices aren't heard,” she says.

She's also keen to take training in things beyond her own area of the industry. “Some of the more technical stuff, how the camerawork is done, how a budget is put together, how crews are sourced, and so on. There is so much on offer that I'm going to be spoilt for choice.

“I know what I currently enjoy is working with creative people, but other departments help them achieve their creative vision and I want to learn about them too.”

The Leaders of Tomorrow Programme will, she believes, open up opportunities for its participants. “After three years I would want to create my own space in this industry, and I think the programme will facilitate that.”

Florence adds that she is looking forward to connecting with other people on the programme. “I'm really excited about meeting the other people as we all come from different areas of the industry, and it will be really useful to us to help each other.”

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