Copyright Luca Massaro

Industry Spotlight: Liam Tootill

Industry Spotlight is the name of a new series of weekly interviews dedicated to sharing the inspirational stories of key individuals within the entertainment industries.

I am kicking off the series with a young lad I had the pleasure of connecting with around a year ago. When I first spoke to him he explained how he graduated from University and was in the process of working with RWD magazine. He was also interested in working with SBTV (The UK’s most popular youth broadcaster) and expanding on his journalism background.

A year later I caught up with Liam Tootill to hear his story…

Who are you and what do you do?

My name is Liam and I’m the Managing Director at SB.TV and also contribute to i-D magazine and website as a music journalist. My role at SB.TV is quite a mixed bag. I started off just blogging for the website and offering Jamal Edwards (Founder & CEO) a few creative ideas, before becoming far more involved on a day to day basis: developing content, helping expand the brand, producing and directing videos, conducting a few interviews, speaking at an international youth summit in Oman, booking acts to perform on the channel, as well as carrying out regular admin duties.

In August last year I covered the inaugural World Basketball Festival in New York for i-D magazine, in association with Nike, Air Jordan and Converse, and have interviewed numerous stars for the website, including N.E.R.D, Labrinth, Magnetic Man, A-Trak, Bashy, Morning Parade, Maverick Sabre, amongst others. I also got featured as a young writer on i-D online.

How did you get into the Entertainment industry?

As most people will probably tell you, it’s a bloody long journey and definitely doesn’t happen over night. Sometimes I still don’t feel fully integrated into the industry, although I’m far nearer than I was this time last year! I spent a ten month period hassling Hattie Collins (Editor of RWD) via email, asking if you could help me out with some work experience in the RWD office. Eventually I made contact and got an opportunity to spend some time in the RWD offices.

I first met Jamal (SB) in March 2009 doing some university research and loved his Smokeybarz youtube channel. Even in those days it had a couple of million views and I just saw potential. When I graduated (Autumn ’09) I just tried to continue building my relationship with SB, hoping that I could impress him with my enthusiasm, and commitment to invest time, energy and ideas into developing the SB.TV brand.

Was this how you had planned things to go or are you capitalising on opportunities and simply rolling with it?

It’s funny. You can’t really plan how things are going to go in this industry. I tried to plan as best I could but a lot of the time you find yourself just riding some random wave that you can’t really control and don’t know when it will end. You definitely need to be prepared to roll with it and to capitalise on opportunity, but don’t think it’s all a smooth ride. Because it’s bloody not. On the flipside is unwanted stress, minimal sleep and a shit load of hard work. That said, it’s amazing and they are minor sacrifices, in relative terms, for the job satisfaction you receive on a daily.

We’re in a new era where anyone can create opportunities for themselves. Do you agree?

Certainly. Thing is. I think it’s a bit half and half. You have to create opportunities for yourself but then other people have to be impressed by what you’re offering. It is a really great time to be involved with the creative industries though, as their are so many people on their grind. Opportunities really are everywhere. You just have to want it.

Would you rather have 100,000 twitter followers to market to or an extra £10,000?

I could do a lot of marketing with £10,000. I’d probably take that. It would all get invested into some of the big projects we’re currently brewing up at SB.TV HQ.

What one thing can you not live without?

Music. And football. Shit. That’s two things.

Name three people who have inspired you in your life.

– My old man. His advise and support have been constant since I was a kid.
– My music teacher from secondary school, Mr Wood.
– Last summer I interviewed former President of Def Jam, Mr Kevin Liles, and he had so many inspiring stories about working in the music biz.

If you were a superhero, who would you be?

Lyle Norg aka Invisible Kid

If you wasn’t in Entertainment, what would you be doing?

Either on the dole or doing some lame data-input temp job. I really wouldn’t like to know.

With so many talkers and gamers out there claiming to be experts and influencers. Do you consider yourself a smooth talker, a real talker or a don’t talk to me i’m not a talker?

I’m loquacious. This is sometimes a strength. Sometimes a weakness. That said, I’m a people’s person and I do love to talk. I’m sociable enough, so as long as you’re not a grade A weirdo from weirdville, let’s chat.

What does the future have in store for you?

Well, death. Standard. And then, before that hopefully a good career during which I’ll be healthy, wealthy and happy.

And finally, if you could give one piece of advice to young creative minds, what would it be?

Be now, or you will be never.

Liam Tootill – Managing Director SBTV Global LTD

Follow Liam on Twitter and keep close eye on this young lad as I expect the same enthusiasm that got him to where he is, will take him to great heights in the near future.

If you want to suggest somebody who you believe needs a spotlight shone on their head, drop me a line via the contact page.

If this content inspired you, fill out your details and join me on my journey