How To Be A … Music TV Producer

rihanna florence muse


kevWorking as a Music TV Producer for Rockfeedback was easily the most fun, exciting and exhausting job I ever had in television. What could be better than traipsing the world filming your heroes and being occasionally paid for it?

But, Kevin Molloy is much more than a music TV producer. He’s Head of Production, Europe at LoveLive, the biggest live music production company in the world. He’s also one of the nicest people in Television. Let’s find out how he got there.

How did you get your big break?
Straight out of university I was working in a bar, whilst running a live music night, and trying to be a singer songwriter. The night was going well, but the day job left a lot to be desired, and the idea of being a musician as a career was definitely going nowhere. I applied for an internship at the Cartoon Network – got it – and you became my boss for a year! [yes, he means me! – Rebecca.] It sorted me out with a bunch of creative skills and ideas, and a handhold on the TV industry. It didn’t take me long to reapply everything I’d learned back into music, which has always been my passion – but I’d have never worked in music TV without that first job in kids TV…

What did you do at work last Wednesday morning?
I got up early (worst thing about shoot days is that it’s normally an early start as well as a late finish), and we went a filmed an interview piece with Jess Glynne, for a series on Spotify called “The Drop”. She’s great – a really forceful character with an incredible voice.

What is the biggest thing happening next week?
We don’t have any shoots on next week, but plenty of post production in the edit suites. Biggest thing outside of that is that the BBC are holding a briefing on re-engaging with music – which would be exciting. It’d be good to see something other than Jools on TV, even better if we get to make it!

Who are the biggest artists you’ve worked with?
Lots of big pop stars: Madonna, Rihanna, Adele, Florence + the Machine, etc – and a whole host of others too: Robert Plant, Muse, U2. It all depends what “big” means, though. I get just as excited filming a band nobody has ever heard of as filming any of the above…

Weirdest experience?
I was directing a Nick Cave show out in L.A. – and was incredibly excited about it – to the point of only just containing the inner fanboy (if in fact I managed). Nick came into the OB (outside broadcast) truck to check our camera angles – it was the first time I’d said hello, as he’d only just arrived at the venue. As it was a live broadcast, we had his album artwork up on the screens with a message to our audience to “stay tuned” as the stream would be starting shortly. This is the album artwork. And the woman on the cover is his wife. Nick clocked the picture, and leant conspiratorially down to my shoulder, and then demanded: “what I want you to do, right, is to zoom in and out on my wife’s *censored* repeatedly, ok?”. What did I say? “Of course, Mr Cave”. He left the OB whilst I was setting it up. Always take an artist’s requests seriously. Still, weirdest first greeting words I’ll probably ever receive.

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If you weren’t head of TV at Love Live, what would you dream job be?
I’d probably set up a company that did everything we do at LoveLive, and to make sure I had exactly the same job at it with really similar people around me. Outside of that I really don’t know. Everything I’ve done I’ve found a way to enjoy, I think the most important thing is t be happy with what you do, followed by making sure you work with good people. After that make sure that if you’re not creative at work you’re creative outside of it. Everything else follows in one way or another. I’ve always really enjoyed making really good systems up, so maybe I’d be a software engineer, and start up music nights on the side again.

How do you mainly find crew/staff to work with you?
We have a steady stream of people who email us asking about opportunities, and whilst it’s never a bad thing, it’s not the main way we find people. A lot of it comes from the extended “trusted network”: good crew are always happy to recommend other good people if they aren’t free for a job, and over time you build a really large and diverse group of people that work well together. Whenever we crew up for a big job we make sure we put the word out on sites like Mandy.com, but our biggest source of great people has been the new(ish) facebook groups that have been set up, with silly names like Nice People Who Work In Telly.  The best one for new starters is probably this one for runners.

What can a job applicant do to get noticed?
It sounds silly – but a well designed CV, and a well written email, that’s basically all it takes in the digital realm (i.e. not face-to-face). It’s amazing how many people send copy-and-paste applications, mis-spell the company name or the person they’re emailing’s name, or just don’t write anything meaningful down. Don’t go overboard, but make sure the person on the other end of your email gets to know you at least a little. Why is the company you’re applying to interesting to you? How did you hear about them? What excited you, and what can you bring? And if you can, a little bit of who you are coming through is no bad thing… imagine receiving 100 emails, none of which convey any personality. You’d pick the 101st one, where they told you who their favourite band was, and that whilst they despised camping they’d be prepared to undergo it to see them, or something…

Your Career high
Every time an artist is into the thing we made about them. There’s nothing that compares to it. You’re in this job to enhance what they do: to add to it and extend it. When you get that right, your head and heart really get to telling you about it.

Your Career low
I once got my entire crew (about 20 people) into the VIP area at a Primavera festival in Barcelona, where they had free food, free booze, an awesome view of the main stage. This was when we were first starting out, and those things were even more important to us than they are now (I mean: travel, music and free booze what else is there to life?). So anyway, I thought it’d be a good idea to start a table race. This is because the tables happened to be beer barrels. I got the guys from Vice to join in. Nobody thought it was a good idea, but I can be very convincing. For 10 glorious seconds, as the barrels rolled down the hill and VIPs dashed to either side, it was indeed an amazing idea. Then we got kicked out and banned for the rest of the festival. Most of the crew still haven’t forgiven me.

Your favourite TV
Loads of drama: Utopia, House of Cards, etc. And a lot of sci-fi: the reboot of Battlestar Galactica is about the best thing ever made for TV.

Your Favourite Record
Solid Air by John Martyn.

A couple of your Online Bookmarks
XKCD – super geeky online webcomic – http://www.xkcd.com/
feed.ly – I still get my news and blogs by RSS…

Last thing you searched for on Google?
Scottish Distilleries. I’m in Scotland for a wedding.

Can you give us your 3 golden tips for getting into TV Production?
Work hard. Skill up. Enjoy yourself.

Follow Kevin on twitter
Read more about LoveLive.
Any questions for Kev? Put them in the comments.