Screen Skills Ireland & IADT Announce the Graduation of the Postgraduate Diploma in Series Production 2021

Friday, November 12th, 2021

Screen Skills Ireland in partnership with IADT (The National Film School) is proud to announce the graduation of the inaugural Postgraduate Diploma in Series Production, class of 2021. Funded by Springboard+, this one-year programme was designed in collaboration with seasoned executive producer and programme chair Colin Pauser-Cowman to demystify the building blocks of the Series Producer role, specifically in non-scripted and TV factual and entertainment genres. 15 students joined the programme when it launched in October 2020, each eager to take the senior step up to Series Producer in the TV and media sector.

Over the course of the programme, students gained access to an enviable array of highly experienced Irish and UK industry professionals who joined as guest tutors, speakers, and mentors, including award-winning series and executive producers, as well as commissioners from Virgin Media Television and RTÉ. Each speaker provided guidance on best practice in key skills for the Series Producer role, including legal practices, pitching, scheduling, studio scripting, leading creative teams, press and publicity, and HR business practices.

This expert tuition was accompanied by industry-focused training on the areas required to lead creative television projects. This comprised six tailored modules that took a deep dive into online & marketing; creative proposal development; producers as leaders; production practices; edit producing; and multi-camera studio production.

Participant and producer Eve Donohoe said of her experience on the programme, “For me the course was life changing. For years I’ve had lots of ideas that I thought I should develop further, but I lacked the confidence and direction. The course gave me both those things. I took the grain of an idea I’d had a year ago and I turned it into a sellable TV format. I am so proud of myself!”

All 15 students have now successfully graduated from the programme and are prepared to take the next step in their careers with confidence. Each graduate represents the future of leadership in the ever-changing television and digital content sector in Ireland. More of their testimonials about the programme can be found below.

Speaking about the programme, Colin Pauser-Cowman (Programme Chair) said, “When Screen Skills Ireland, IADT (The National Film School) and I sat down to plot out this program, I wanted to put together a post grad that would be the one I wished had existed when I was looking to step up in the industry many years ago. We are delighted to have achieved this, and I am so proud of my first 15 students. They were such an extraordinary group of dedicated visionaries, who, despite their combined years in the sector, were ever-hungry for learning and ever-ready to take on every challenge. I can’t extend enough thanks to our guest speakers, tutors, and mentors for dedicating their time and expertise in nurturing the students learning experience and supporting this course. The industry is in safe hands with our brilliant graduates.”

Gareth Lee, Screen Skills Ireland Manager, added, “We would like to extend a huge congratulations to these 15 talented individuals on their graduation from the Postgraduate Diploma in Series Production. Through the access this programme provided to top industry professionals and the programme’s delivery of industry-focused skills development, these graduates are now ready to take up roles as Series Producers in the demanding but exciting world of TV and media. We look forward to seeing all that they achieve.” 

Rónán Ó Muirthile, Head of the National Film School at IADT, said, “I would like to congratulate the graduating class on a very successful year. It was hard given the pressures of being in lockdown but they came through it. I am grateful to Screen Ireland for their very real support and Colin Pauser-Cowman for his dedication to the programme and the group.”

Selection of Graduate Testimonials

I am delighted I did the PgDip in Series Producing at IADT. From start to finish the course was very well thought through and gave us access to top industry professionals to help us develop the skills required to take our careers to the next level.

The modules were highly relevant and the guest lecturers had great industry insights.   I found modules like Creative Leadership with Linda Green, former BBC Development Exec, a really inspiring and imaginative course that enabled me to develop skills in sharing a vision to lead a team of creatives.

Having Q & A sessions with commissioning editors like Suzanne Kelly, Teresa Smith and Anthony Nilan as well as Philip Cooper, the head of the BAI, were also great opportunities to get industry insights into the common pitfalls with proposal writing and pitching. Learning what sets apart a good idea from a great idea will be very useful when developing and submitting future proposals.

Practical workshops in Writing Voiceover with Gary Flood, Media Law with Andrea Martin and Studio Directing with David Donnaghy and Niamh Breathanach were invaluable for upskilling in areas that I had experience but lacked confidence.  I’ll approach these feeling equipped and more empowered in future.

Being mentored by top CEO’s and Executive Producers was also really helpful in guiding us through our many group and individual assignments.  Debbie Thornton mentored me through the process of developing a Factual Series and enabled me to see new ways of working that would make the idea achievable within the budget.

There were so many great things about this course and so many great people attached to it, I would like to thank everyone, but especially Colin Cowman, the Program Chair.  Colin did a fantastic job in developing this course. He went above and beyond in the time and energy he gave to the program and to helping us all to succeed, we are all very grateful.

I continued to study with IADT to make the PgDip into an MA and am now lecturing under graduated in TV and Film Production alongside making my own documentary. I would recommend this course to any Producers/ Directors wanting to take the next step in their career under the guidance of the industries best.

Thanks again Colin for all you did for us all,

Katie Giles

“This course provides an invaluable step into every corner of a series producer’s world – from developing an idea, through the process of creating a pitch for a network, budgeting, casting, managing a team of people to seeing the project come to fruition. Industry leaders from across the globe give unparalleled insight as to how the job works; what to do and more importantly, what not to do.

Crucially, the course allows you to develop content for real – using industry standard facilities in all stages of production. Carefully composed by the course supervisor, it allows you the flexibility to work around your career – which allows the lessons you learn on the course to inform decisions you make on real productions.”

Rob O’Connor

Without trying to sound overly dramatic, for me the course was life changing. For years I’ve had lots of ideas that I thought I should develop further, but I lacked the confidence and direction.  The course gave me both those things.  I took the grain of an idea I’d had a year ago and I turned it into a sellable TV format.  I am so proud of myself!  I’d never have done that without Colin’s guidance and enthusiasm.  One of my favourite parts of the course was developing and producing a live studio based program from scratch with two of my classmates.  It was a steep learning curvebut I think we all really enjoyed the challenge and got so much out of it.  Because of Covid for a lot of us the course was a really important social outlet.  I looked forward to every session.  I also made lifelong friends during the course, and some really great contacts.  One of whom I’m now developing a TV show with.  I can’t say enough good things about the postgrad. If anyone is hesitating, don’t. It’s the push you need to get your ideas up and running!

Eve Donohue

It was a privilege to have been selected to join my fellow classmates in the Post Grad in Series Production at IADT (2020 – 21) and to be led by our trusty Head Lecturer, Colin Cowman.

The structure of the course provided a comprehensive overview of what is required of those in the role of Series Producer for non-scripted TV, while also delving into the granular details and intricacies of the industry.

The delivery of modules by seasoned industry professionals, and the exceptional level of guest lecturers, gave extraordinary insight into the real world of television production in the UK and Ireland.

Colin’s passion for the industry, and the craft of producing series for TV, really translated into positive learning outcomes and longterm career skill building.

I would highly recommend this course for others looking to further their management and leadership skills and to advance to an executive level in the world of non-scripted tv production. 

Eimear Marron

This Post Grad in Series Production encompassed the macro view of commissioning, right down to the micro details of budget and execution of a studio production. Creating concepts, pitching and market awareness were an invaluable part of the learning, as well as meeting countless execs and commissioners.

One of the significant strengths of this program was that we were taught by people with many years of relevant experience, from our program chair, Colin Pauser Cowman, to Linda Green and Andrea Martin, to name just a few of the tutors who gave so generously of their time and knowledge and seemed almost parental in their desire to see us flourish!

The other great strength was the class group itself – the vast and varied industry experience of participants within the group meant we could learn from each other and form friendships and professional relationships that will last beyond graduation.

This diploma was a fast-track to insight. There were so many light-bulb moments that brought opportunities in the industry into sharp focus, and helped me to understand the different places that my own career experience can take me, now and in the future. I’m so glad that I put the time into this course and so grateful to all those who made it happen.

Bláthnaid de Róiste

This course is ideal for anyone who wants the confidence to efficiently transition to a senior leadership role within the television industry. The course is designed, delivered, & structured for people who are working professionals, filled with infectious energy from the tutors & supportive learning environment from your peers. Unprecedented access to commissioners, creatives and industry leaders.

Derek Nagle

I’d like to send a very sincere thanks to Colin. Colin, you poured your heart and soul into the writing, co-ordination and delivery of this course. The standard of everything you did far-exceeded all of our expectations and the confidence I now feel in my own ability to develop an idea and see it through to completion is testament to the care and consideration you put into every member of the class. I really appreciate what you’ve achieved for us all in such a short space of time.

Julie Flavin

IADT / SSI – Post Grad in Series Production – 2020/21

Guest Lecturers/Speakers

Colin Pauser-Cowman – Executive Producer/ Program Developer / Program Chair
Anthony Nilan – Commissioner for Entertainment – Virgin Media TV
Philip Kampff – CEO and Executive Producer – Vision Independent Productions
Bianca Joseph –Talent Manager – BBC Studios
Darren Smith – CEO and Executive Producer – Kite Entertainment
Teresa Smith – Executive Producer – Popular Factual – RTÉ
Suzanne Kelly – Group Head of Young Peoples and RTÉ Jnr
Phillip Cooper – BAI Sound & Vision
Sara McNamara –BAI Sound & Vision
Dr Ruth Moran – Research Methods and Online Professor
Larry Bass – CEO and Executive Producer – ShinAwill Productions
Sharon Casey Ledwidge – Head of Brand Solutions – Virgin Media TV
Sinead Harrington – Senior TV PR Executive – RTÉ
Suzie Griffin – Social Media Activation Lead – RTÉ
Kieran Doherty/ Matthew Woolsey – CEO – Stellify Media – UK
Garry Chippington – Head of Entertainment – STV Productions UK
Warren Myler – Executive Producer – Waka TV
Marion Cullen –Executive Producer – Waka TV
Nigel J Hetherington – CEO Past Preservers UK
Rowena Neville – Communications Consultant / Diversity and Inclusion
Aoife Rice – Talent Agent – United Agents UK
Linda Green – Former BBC Development Executive and CEO of Leading Creative Talent UK.
Martin Pauser Cowman – HR Manager – Google 
Donna Higgins – Experienced PM and Head of Production
Andrea Martin – Media Lawyer
Gary Flood – Experienced Producer / Edit Producer and Writer.
Pete Killane – Experienced Shooting PD
David Donnaghy – Leading Studio Director 
Niamh Breathanach – Leading Studio Director
Mark Bayley – Studio Manager VMTV
Brendan Courtney – Presenter
Sonya Lennon – Presenter
Bill Hughes – CEO, Executive Producer – Mind the Gap Films
Debbie Thornton – CEO, Executive Producer – Animo TV
Joseph Campo – Series Producer/Director and Development Executive (BBC, Netflix)
Ailbhe Meagher – Experienced Series Producer
Ciaran Gallagher – Experienced Series Producer