Ceyda Uzun is a fresh new freelance face on the Wireless team. As a production and casting assistant, Ceyda is learning huge amounts about audio production, when she’s not busy winning awards for radio presenting, of course…
How did you get started in audio drama casting and studio assistance?
I was a teenage film reporter and guested on a few radio shows, whereby I met a producer who needed a one day runner on their production at Audible. From there I found a love for audio and tried my hand at various assistance jobs, making many mistakes along the way! I was introduced to Wireless where I’ve now been freelancing for the last couple of years alongside studio work at Audible. It’s an industry I never exactly planned to get into but found myself sticking with alongside presenting, as I’ve learned so much about the world of audio and made many valuable connections along the way.
You’re clearly very busy and seriously multi-talented, with many irons in the fire! Do you prefer radio presenting and producing, entertainment reporting, casting and studio assistance or research?
The dreaded question! Ever since 9 years old I wanted to be a Blue Peter Presenter. I imagined this alter ego fearless version of myself that people look up to in the same way I found confidence through them. For similar reasons now I reckon producing and presenting my own audio content is the way I can feel most authentically myself. I enjoy exploring different topics around youth culture, well being and development as well as entertainment. I do plan to stick at production work part time for the foreseeable future also! I think the great thing about gen-z is that there isn’t the same pressure to pigeonhole or have a job for life, rather an industry I can follow the flow with and so far, I’m quite enjoying the wave.
What has been your greatest professional challenge to date, and how did you overcome it?
Rather than a particular job itself the greatest challenge would be adapting to freelancing and dealing with things financially. Reality hits quite fast that you’re not going to have a consistent pay check or always enough projects to know exactly how much you’ll make for quite a while. I still have to work for free on particular things and only managed to get as busy as I am through the sheer stress of having to make this industry work for me long term, somehow. Persistence as a key skill is what I’m learning to develop, as well as shamelessly promoting and putting myself out there. I had to accept that success in the industry isn’t being the next big presenter but creating that space and opportunity for myself directly; by reaching out to brands and pitching my ideas in ways far from what my teenage self would have imagined. I’ve come to appreciate the positives in the unknown and surrendering to not always having control. As long as you keep at it, opportunity will always be somewhere around the corner.
What has been your most exciting professional achievement or moment so far?
I’d say the most exciting moments have been out in the field reporting. I got to interview at the Baftas at 18 and nothing quite reached that high until last month, where I got to present and walk the parade at Pride. Events like this are definitely a great source of adrenaline and fun to add into the presenting mix. I also had my first written piece published online through ITV this year which was a great moment. I did English and creative writing at university which I found pairs quite nicely in the world of storytelling. I’m considering writing more in the future.
What advice would you give to someone who wanted to gain experience in radio or audio drama production?
Perhaps consider starting in community radio. You’ll meet talented people everywhere. I was scared at first to be around so many presenters that I thought I’d compare myself or my journey to, but once you get over that you realise that the same people you think are competition are your gateway to success. Its these people you will build opportunities with, network through and always motivate you to keep going. If it’s in production, don’t just wait for job openings but reach out to any and every place that interests you and ask for advice/to shadow, or even to be a runner. Ninety nine percent of any work I’ve received has been through me actively seeking it, but also be prepared for 99.9 percent rejections.
Have you heard any great audio drama recently that you would like to share with our readers?
In terms of my personal listening I’m currently more of an audio book/podcast person! I quite enjoyed Derren Brown’s Bootcamp For The Brain which invites the listener to take part in brain challenges. Anything psychological or spiritual always grabs my attention. On the flip side of things my favourite fiction genres are fantasy/dystopian/romance. I’ve just downloaded The Island of Missing Trees which is a story of identity, love and belonging, based around the division of my home country Cyprus- so I’m very excited to get into that.
What are you working on at the moment?
Alongside my radio show Empress Hour and finishing off my TV production internship, I’ve currently just been confirmed to host a new getting into the industry-based podcast for a brand I’m very excited to work with.
What do you plan to do in the future, with the wealth of skills you’re building?
I plan to continue to produce and present various podcast/radio content, as well as establishing myself further on social media. I’ll be continuously working on my demo and getting ideas out there, so hit me up if you want to collaborate!
What are you most proud of in your career so far?
Casting wise I always take pride in having assisted in ensemble casting on Audibles The Sandman- Acts 2&3 alongside David Beck. We’ve done several audio dramas now but this one was by far the biggest challenge, with the size of the cast and a lot of contract-heavy lingo I had to learn. It was chaotic but a brilliant project to work on and I learned a lot about the industry through it. Presenting wise it would have to be my Riverside Radio show Empress Hour, that allows me to interview the most incredible creatives and professionals every week. I’ve shed so many tears and laughter on the show, I’ve also made incredible friends and memories. It’s not just a presenting job but a strong community I’m proud to have built and the foundation of how I introduce myself now. Winning best newcomer at the Riverside Radio awards last year was also the icing on the cake for me!
Where can we enjoy your work?
You can check out Empress Hour Mondays at 7pm on Riverside Radio/ on Spotify or Apple Podcasts. Our content is quite diverse and so will have something for everyone! The heart of the show is around inspirational guests and content.
Feel free to follow me on Instagram and tiktok- now that I’ve had literally one clip go viral, I call myself a Tiktokker. (Ceydauzunx for both) If you’re interested in getting to know more about the show or being involved do reach out to me on email@example.com
Or if you’d like to work together or ask me any questions both in presenting or production my email is Ceyda.firstname.lastname@example.org