Why it sucks to watch TV with a media producer
Name: Birna Ósk Hansdóttir
Occupation: I am the CEO and the general manager of 101 Productions, which is a production company producing mostly television series, some ads, as well. And we also run a radio station and a podcast studio.
How long have you worked here and how do you like it?
I’ve been here since 2019, but prior to that I was the head of production for RÚV. I’ve been working in media basically all my life. This is just a small startup company, while RÚV is this big old national broadcaster, so regulations and everything are much, much bigger there. But the work is not that different. When I decided to quit at RÚV I wanted to make some changes, and then actually I didn’t make as many changes as I was thinking about, because I’ve ended up doing similar things. I’m the head of production as well here, producing television series, the same as I did at the RÚV.
What’s an insider secret of being in television and radio production?
You can produce almost anything. A lot of times in television there is much more production than you think. You can produce things that look natural. It’s not a bad thing. It’s just that the production is sometimes much bigger than people think. Maybe I have lost perspective from the other side, because I always see these things when I’m watching television. Like Love Island, for example. I really like it, I enjoy the show, but I’m thinking, okay, how many cameras are there? And I can now see, okay this is a produced bit, because I can see they have a crane camera. I think this is just my perspective. It’s not any fun watching television with me, because I’m always thinking in production. My husband also works in television, so our children are brought up knowing how they produced each show.
How would you describe your life off the job?
I lived abroad for many years. My husband was a professional handball player, so we lived in Germany, we lived in Spain. I am a handballer’s wife, so that has put a mark on my life. We have two children. I think we’re a typical Icelandic family: both working, children in school, we have a dog, two cats. I have a pretty normal life.
Considering you’ve travelled a lot, what’s your dream holiday destination?
Travelling for me, it’s just like, I’m so done with it. But Iceland is the place. I haven’t travelled around Iceland that much. I need to see more of my own country. I want to begin with that.
What’s the last production of any kind of media that left a big impression on you?
That’s difficult. Well, I can say the Nordic noir genre, that’s really impressive. For example, Exit, the Norwegian one. It was really impressive. The characters, they’re brilliant, both hating them and loving them at the same time. I always love Söngvakeppnin at RÚV. I used to take part in producing that and watching it getting bigger and bigger every year is wonderful to see.
Does the quality of a production affect your appreciation of a show?
In some cases, yeah. I have to admit I have not worked in scripted shows, so that’s not my area. But it changes my perspective with non-scripted at least, because I’m always watching it from the producer’s perspective. I’m looking for things or I can see, you know, what they should have done better. But it’s always easy to say when you’re just watching. I’m not saying I could do it better, but it’s easier to say.
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