Jun 18 , 2020

Workshop: Story toolkit for factual television producers with John Joe Bardsley

  • When: 18th Jun 2020, 17:00-18:00
  • Organised by: ScreenSkills
  • Location: Online
  • Price: Free
  • Age: 18+

Story, narrative, drama, jeopardy, stakes, reversals, wins, character: all words that form part of the lexicon of any modern factual production house making narrative based programmes. But what do they mean in a practical sense to you in your TV career? In this introduction to storytelling in factual television you will get an overview of the basic tools and skills needed at each step of the production process. It’s hoped that by seeing your work through the prism of narrative, you’ll become better at delivering dramatic character led programmes that audiences won’t be able to resist.

Areas to be covered in this session include:

  • what is story? A basic introduction to storytelling and drama
  • pre-production: Finding your heros/casting. Research. Writing your script. Thinking about top lines and logs lines. Meeting the contributors. Re-writing your script
  • production: Working with contributors. Casting on the fly. Working with/adapting your script. Maintaining access both to contributors and their inner selves. Set-ups and pay-offs
  • post-production: Dealing with vast rushes. Writing/re-writing the edit. Story beats. Set-ups and pay-off

This online training is designed for entry level through to APs/Junior PDs and Junior Edit Producers, plus anyone wanting to gain a greater understanding of narrative in factual television.


John Joe Bardsley works as series producer and producer/director across a range of factual programming, but his preferred medium are documentaries and testimony driven films. After graduating from the University of Westminster undergraduate film and television course, he worked in advertising and then sports, before establishing himself within British/US factual television. Starting out directing single documentary films (The Man with No Past, The Boy Who Can Never Grow Old) he has since worked on many hit rating series, including My Big Fat Gypsy Weddings, Drugs Inc, The Island with Bear Grylls and Hunted as both a producer/director/series producer.

This event is supported by the ScreenSkills Television Skills Fund which invests in training for the freelance television workforce thanks to contributions from the BBC, Channel 4 and Channel 5.

It is part of a ScreenSkills programme managed by the Indie Training Fund to support freelancers to upskill and stay connected, helping keep the industry resilient in these difficult times.

This session will take place online via Zoom. Click ‘get ticket’ to reserve your place: you must login or register before you are able to get a ticket for this event. A booking confirmation with a joining link to the session will be sent to you via email.

If you are no longer able to use your ticket, we ask you to please contact support@screenskills.com so that we can release your place. Our sessions are often oversubscribed, so we’d like to give other freelancers the opportunity to fill available spots. Thank you for your consideration.