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NBC Universal President and former Ravensbourne student, Toby Gorman, has taken time out of his packed schedule working with the likes of Dwayne Johnson to share his wisdom with our BA (Hons) Digital Television Production students.
Toby is President of Universal Television Alternative Studios at NBC, one of the biggest television networks in the US. Speaking from his home in Los Angeles, Toby outlined his career that has spanned more than two decades. He has worked on numerous non-scripted shows on both sides of the Atlantic and spoke to our students exclusively.
Non-scripted TV covers a wide range of programmes including reality, talent and game shows. Toby’s production credits include Celebrity Love Island, American Idol, Match Game, Celebrity Family Feud and many more. One of his most recent smash hits is the game show The Titan Games, available on Netflix in the UK, which features Dwayne ‘The Rock’ Johnson – now ‘DJ’ to Toby – as its host. Both Toby and Dwayne are executive producers.
“He’s the nicest man and he’s exactly who you want him to be,” Toby said on working with his famous colleague. “There’s no one else like him.”
Toby graduated from Ravensbourne in 2000 and started his professional life at ITV, here in the UK. He has spent the bulk of his career freelancing as a producer/director before landing his corporate role in LA.
Speaking on how his time at Ravensbourne helped set him up for his future success, he said: “I think the biggest thing I took out of it, which absolutely helped me, was just understanding how each element of a programme is made. We would touch all of it. I really got to know how to edit, how a show is made in post-production.
“I was always interested in producing and directing. I was not interested in lighting at the time, but learning that really helped me communicate with the staff on a shoot later in the workplace. It helped me understand everything.”
He shared many insightful tips and advice on how to survive and thrive as a freelancer moving from job to job during the early stages of a career in television.
“What I managed to get right when I came out of college is that I was willing to start at the very bottom,” he said. “I was ‘Head of Stationery’ at ITV as a 21 year old, giving out pens! Coming out of college that felt bad, but I was willing to do it to get a foot in. I remember some of my fellows weren’t willing, they were like ‘no, I’m a director!’
“Be hungry, be willing to start at the bottom, that’s how it goes. I wasn’t there long before people realised I could operate a camera, that I could edit. I had a meteoric rise because of what Ravensbourne gave me and I really believe that.”
Toby Gorman spoke to Ravensbourne students online on Monday 7 June 2021. The interview can be viewed now on YouTube.
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