An insightful interview with the beautiful and talented Australian TV producer, Courtney Dickson!
Please introduce yourself to the readers:
My name is Courtney Dickson and I’m an Australian TV Producer working in the TV industry. My passion lies in producing in the field, as I love being outdoors and traveling to different locations and getting to meet some unique people along the way. I love working in the entertainment industry and hearing people comment about shows I have worked on, as it gives me such a sense of achievement knowing people enjoy the programming I have been lucky enough to create.
When did you first get into Producing?
I started in the industry about 12 years ago as a production assistant and worked my way up to being a Producer. I have worked as an Associate, Field, Segment and Story Producer over the last 4 years.
Who were your influences in this industry?
One of my Series Producers Anne-Maree Sparkman inspired me the most throughout my career. She pushed me harder than anyone and had the highest of standards, so everything I produced in the field or edit suite I knew would have to be some of my best work. Anne-Maree taught me to be a stronger and more resourceful producer in the field and gave me my first shot at the reality genre, which I have found I really enjoy.
What inspired you to get into this type of work?
I have always loved television and creating stories, and I think it had always been in the back of my mind. I used to help my friends with their media projects in high school and loved being in the edit suite giving them a hand. After finishing university and trying my hand at a few different industries, I found I wasn’t really enjoying my career choice, but in a serendipitous moment I met a locations manager who I got talking to and I thought his job sounded interesting. I asked him to take me along on a TVC shoot and I instantly fell in love with working with a crew on set and decided to pursue the TV industry.
What kind of training have you done?
Traditionally people assume I have a journalism or media degree, but I actually acquired a Bachelor of Science (Biological Science) Degree where I majored in Microbiology and Genetics. Studying science has trained me to be very methodical and analytical and to always ask questions. I always think ahead and to try and work out any potential issues we may face when filming because I don’t like to make mistakes when they can be avoided with a bit of problem solving in advance. Having learnt everything on the job I have also taken it upon myself to attended conferences such as the National Association of Broadcasters Show, which keeps me up to date with the industry and technology associated with it.
What kind of projects are you working on right now?
At the moment I’m still in negotiations with potential new projects but I am looking at working on a new travel and lifestyle show for a cable network.
What would be your ideal project to work on?
Having worked on more than 300 episodes of a travel and lifestyle show, this genre comes naturally to me. Therefore my ideal project would be a high-end travel program covering unique and exotic international locations allowing me to make the world a little smaller for the audience. Armchair travel can be inspiring to people, and knowing that a story I have covered may give someone the courage or drive to visit somewhere new, is pretty special.
Who would you most like to collaborate with?
I would love to work with Discovery or National Geographic as I find some of their programs simply fascinating. I’m very curious by nature, so being involved with a show that would allow me to learn something new would be ideal.
What would your advice be to aspiring Producers?
My advice would be to learn to be flexible and to think outside the square. As much as you can prepare for a shoot, most often something will come up and all your plans may go out the window. You need to always keep calm and think of a solution. I always advise new producers to make sure they work well with their crew, collaborate with them, ask your cameraman for ideas as they are there to make the pictures stand out so their advice is usually invaluable. At the end of the day, the final decision is always yours, but you’re all on set as a team and everyone will have a different idea, so coming together will always help you when things can become difficult.