3rd May 2022
Jack Dinsley's passion for broadcasting has led him to work on TV shows including Newsround, Blue Peter and Say Yes To The Dress. It's all about dreaming big and working hard, he says.
So, I've just finished my first week working as the casting runner for a TV show, and I can't quite explain how happy and blessed I feel. But I bet you're asking; how exactly did I get here? Let's take you back to the beginning.
When I was at high school I used to write a weekly column for my local newspaper. I just enjoyed writing and seeing my by-line every Wednesday in The Blackpool Gazette.
When I started studying Media Studies for my A-Levels, I discovered I had a love for creating things for broadcast. Coming from a small town in the North West, I didn't think someone like me would ever have a chance in the media — especially broadcasting. Then there was my stammer, something I thought would ultimately hold me back from a career in the industry. But when I started a BA Hons Journalism course at university, things got interesting.
Then there was my stammer, something I thought would ultimately hold me back from a career in the industry.
In my second year, we had an event where industry representatives came to the university, and we got to pitch to them. One of my pitches was about the lack of stammering awareness in broadcast media, which I made to employers including ITV Daytime and BBC's Newsround. I presented findings from my research that neither Loose Women nor Newsround had featured stammering on their programmes for a certain amount of time, and I wished for that to change. At the end of the day, I received a week's placement at Loose Women and a day's shadowing at Newsround!
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Following my day at Newsround in 2019, I landed a week's placement at the long-running show that October. Funnily enough, whilst on placement it was International Stammering Awareness Day, and I was able to successfully pitch the topic to the team to cover. It was featured across their social media platforms and I went on to have a very successful placement.
A month later I was offered my first ever TV job as a freelance runner. I'll never forget receiving the offer whilst on a train journey up to university. I was kept on as a freelance runner until March 2020 and then we entered the first lockdown. After completing my degree at home, I successfully graduated with a 2:1 and then got placements at True North Productions, gaining work experience on Teen Mom UK, Say Yes To The Dress and BBC's Newsnight. Then I landed my first post-degree job back at the BBC in their education section as a runner for Teacher Talks.
You've got to work hard and dream big to achieve these things.
Then came my most exciting contract yet: as the Unit Runner for Children's BBC (CBBC). I had watched CBBC as a child, wishing I could work there — and at the age of 20 that wish came true. I got to work on so many fantastic shows including Saturday Mash-Up, Blue Peter, Justin's House, Class Dismissed, The Dengineers and Britain's Best Young Artist, with the likes of Ricky Wilson, Vick Hope, Lindsey Russell and Dr Alex George. It really was such a fantastic time, and what started as a three-week contract turned into three months. Now in 2022, I have my first ever casting job and I'm having such a fabulous time with the team.
I wouldn't say I've been lucky because I have worked very hard for all these opportunities. What's the saying, the harder you work, the luckier you are? I've never let my stammer define me. There are times when my colleagues don't realise that I stammer until I tell them, and then they start to pick up on little things I do. I will forever struggle to say words beginning with 'D' — especially introducing myself to people: "Jack Dinsley".
There are so many things I want to achieve in the industry. Here are a few of them:
- I would love to be a presenter one day. I feel like I have the personality and comedic timing to appear on TV or radio. If given the opportunity I know I would be great at that, especially with my public speaking and radio appearances through my Be Kind campaign.
- I always enjoyed English at school, as well as reading books and writing my own stories. I would love one day to get into scriptwriting and who knows, I may get my wish of getting a drama/documentary on BBC Three or Disney+.
- Finally, I would love to direct. I feel like if I am passionate about a topic or story, I know I can create an incredible vision and would love to see it in front of the camera.
I know some of these seem incredibly unlikely but so was thinking I would work at the BBC, in Children's TV, and that I'd have a casting job. You've got to work hard and dream big to achieve these things.
STAMMA's fantastic campaign 'No Diversity Without Disfluency' is vital because they are right, there needs to be more people on and off screen that stammer. Quite a few people have been in awe that I'm actively working in the industry with a stammer. But as I say, I don't let it define me, I let my work and energy define me.
My journey has only just begun and I'm so excited to see where I'll end up.
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