posted on Jan. 16: Humanities students network with TV managers


[img_inline align=”right” src=””]It's a fact of life in the entertainment industry – no schmooze, you lose.

So, humanities students jumped at the chance to do some networking earlier this month when Kit Redmond and Michelle van Beusekom, managers of independent production at the Women's Television Network, visited campus to talk about career opportunities for women in the media.

The world of television today, says Redmond, has radically changed from when she began her career 20 years ago with the CBC. While computers were a rarity then, knowledge of information and digital technology is a must for any media job seeker these days. The digital revolution has opened doors for women in traditionally male-dominated technical areas. While large muscles used to be a job requirement for camera operators who had to deal with staggeringly heavy equipment, compact digital cameras are now the norm.

Women are still under-represented in this area according to Redmond, however, who is delighted that programs such as Multimedia at McMaster will soon be producing techno-savvy graduates who retain the traditional writing, research and critical thinking skills.

The visit was also a chance to celebrate the network's collaboration with McMaster professors Kathy Garay and Madeleine Jeay on the series Mystic Women of the Middle Ages, which is currently airing on WTN.

While the network receives more than 400 proposals for new programming each year, only about 10 projects actually get the go-ahead, so competition is fierce.

Explaining why mystic women made the grade (despite some raised eyebrows from the marketing people who feared – incorrectly – that female medieval mystics would be a tough sell to advertisers), Van Beusekom says the project attracted many at WTN. “We were enthusiastic about a series on remarkable women whose stories are unknown, about the way that the life of one individual could provide a wider window on life in medieval times. It was also important for us, knowing that McMaster was involved. Kathy and Madeleine provided the sound academic base, while producer Dave Wesley (of Red Canoe) could make it appeal to people who live in the 60-channel universe.”

Mystic Women of the Middle Ages is airing on WTN on Mondays and Thursdays.

Photo: Kit Redmond, Michelle van Beusekom and Kathy Garay.