Scoring my dream job in global storytelling… by Natalie Tempel-Merzougui
We caught up with our former CA intern, Natalie Tempel-Merzougui, who is currently working as a Researcher at the BBC, on all things applications, career ambitions, and life working at the heart of TV.
Achieveing a first-class degree in Business from the University of Westminster and a masters in Social Anthropology and Development from SOAS University in 2017, Natalie has always had an interest in global current affairs and documentaries. In 2015, she had the opportunity to assist with and credit on a feature-length wildlife documentary distributed to the National Geographic Channel, sparking the beginning of her journey to a career in factual television.
As a bright-eyed graduate, Natalie landed her first role as a Researcher for Yellow Media Entertainment and then found her dream role at the BBC through Creative Access.
Typically, a day in the life of a BBC Researcher Natalie tells us, involves a split between desk-based research, speaking on the phone to sources and potential contributors, and meeting with execs to update them on her progress.
However, the part of her role she most enjoys is everything and anything to do with content.
‘I get completely absorbed by the story and I really enjoy speaking to people in different parts of the world as well as working with more senior members to learn from their expertise.’
With great responsibility comes (some) challenges! When asked about the harder parts of her role, Natalie says juggling the workload can be difficult as she often works across numerous stories with changing priorities, whilst also developing new story ideas.
No media-related degree? No problem. There are always transferable skills in any subject you study. Natalie has a masters in Social Anthropology of Development at SOAS, which she says has ‘provided very useful skills such as report writing, as well as being able to critically evaluate sources and information’.
Natalie has come leaps and bounds since starting her internship over one year ago, and she now has the opportunity to pitch her own stories and allocate some time in her workday to developing them.
We asked Natalie how she has felt supported by Creative Access during her internship.
Throughout this experience, the Creative Access team has always been there for me, to offer advice and also fight your corner when need be.
Finally, Natalie’s advice to any budding TV-researcher is to keep applying for roles in the programme or company that makes films you want to work on. She believes that ‘once you are in, even if it is not the role you want, you can push to get where you want to be.’
When it comes to transitioning into other areas of documentary filmmaking, such as Editorial, Natalie recommends that ‘pitching story ideas is by far the best way to move up’. She offered these final words of wisdom…
Always stay focused on your goal, if that goal changes it is okay but is important that when an exec asks what your aspirations are, you have a clear answer.
Taking her own advice, since finishing the year-long traineeship scheme with the BBC Natalie successfully landed a 3 months role as a Researcher with BBC Africa Eye, a new investigative documentary unit.
Check out some of the documentaries Natalie has worked on, such as Episode 4 of ‘Africa on Wheels’ on BBC2 and BBC World and News Channel’s ‘Our World’. Keep up the good work, Natalie!