Cov alumni returns with behind the scenes from The X Factor

Peter Ogden, a Coventry University graduate and successful TV producer, returned to the University with some helpful advice and a dream come true: to work in television. Invited to the University as part of the Coventry Conversations programme, Odgen talked about his journey within the television industry since he graduated with a BA in Culture, Communication and Media in 2000.

The beginning of his career was far from easy: ‘Everyone told me it’s hard’, Odgen said. However, his determination and passion for working in television made him move to London, where he managed to get unpaid work experience on the TV show Restaurants from Hell. After having to work undercover in a fast-food for a while, he finally managed to break into the television business as a producer for ITV1’s show, This Morning. Other popular shows then followed, including Big Brother and I’m a Celebrity – Get Me Out of Here! At the moment, Odgen is a producer on the hit show The X Factor, where he has had the chance to work closely with both the judges and the contestants. Talking about Simon Cowell, he said: “Simon is a perfectionist. He’s really good, which is almost annoying to say.” Writes Rares Stoica…

But what exactly does it take for one to become a successful person in television? Well, according to Odgen, persistence is key, especially in the process of applying for a job. Therefore, he suggested, it is important to get in touch with the people in the industry and take any opportunity to get involved in different projects. Technical skills such as shooting and editing videos are important, but he insisted that a lot of producing for TV is about people skills. Moreover, a great attention to detail makes a difference: “You have to know how to tell a story”, Odgen explained, “and the details in a 30-second video, for instance, can tell the audience a great deal of information. Everything tells a story.”

When asked what the x factor of The X Factor was, Odgen said, “I think it’s emotion. You feel something for every contestant.” Indeed, with an audience of almost 20 million viewers in last year’s final, the producers of the show must have done something right. As for Peter’s ten-year journey in television, things couldn’t get any better: “You do a job which eventually leads you where you want to be. And that’s where I am now.”

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