Professional Experience Presentation

•May 18, 2011 • Leave a Comment

Professional Experience Presentation

 At the beginning of the module, I was wondering what type of professional experience I would undertake. I had already had experience in the professional media industry so I was cautious to choose to do something I would benefit from. In the past I have done runner work for ITV’s “Jeremy Kyle show”, an actor for ITV’s “Confessions Of A Salesman,” a background actor for Channel 4 and a group of independent films. As you can see these are mostly in front of the camera or working for a TV station. After completing the short film module, I realised that I wanted to work either for my own business or independently, and this module was the ideal opportunity to put my foot in the water with that.

My original idea was to produce a short film from scratch with members of my short film module group. I even wrote a few drafts of a script in preparation for the project, but it soon became apparent that most of the group had arranged other projects and that there would not be enough time to complete a short film at high standards.

An old friend of mine who works for the Young Carers Centre mentioned to me months before the short film module about a project being set up by the Coventry Council’s Carers Centre. Their plan was to create a DVD to show the options available for people going into care. I decided that creating that DVD would be a great opportunity for me to gain experience working independently for a client. Just as I would have to if I had my own production company (which the future aim.) I had never made a corporate video before; my concentration was always on narrative films, so I was going into this project with little knowledge of corporate production. I decided that the best way to deal with this was to conduct it like I would for a narrative film.

I met with my friend to discuss the project and how would I be involved. I gave him my contact details so that the carers centre could contact me if they wanted me to produce the DVD. To my delight, I was contacted and a meeting was arranged for me to meet members of the carer’s team and to learn about the project.

From day 1, I knew I would need to assemble a team of film-makers to produce this DVD. I chose Dale Driver as my editor, someone I had worked with before, who was not a student but looking to expand his portfolio, Tim March as cameraman, and Steve Ringrose as cinematographer. I was very careful on who I involved, because I wanted my team to be as professional as possible. I briefed the team on how serious the topic of the DVD was and that will would be filming on locations that dealt with disabled people.

From the very first meeting with the carers to the weeks of production, acting like a professional media producer was very important to me. I knew that the council need a few DVD’s produced, so if I impressed, there could be an opportunity for me to be involved on later projects. Because of the nature of the DVD we were producing, I ensured that everything was planned to the last detail. From shooting schedules to equipment list. I wanted to impress the carer’s team enough so they would put my name forward to other departments needing a DVD.

After the short film module, the group that was involved decided to create a media production company. When starting off this company we would need to find ways to make money to purchase film equipment. We had group meetings, and decided that for the first year or so we would produce corporate videos for businesses and possibly the odd wedding video. I treated the carer’s project as a dummy run, to see if I could work in this environment, and if I would enjoy it.

I learnt a lot during the production. Mostly how to handle situations a professional media producer would face. Things like deadlines, time management, dealing with different types of people and meeting new people. At first I found it difficult to work with the mentally disabled people. The project called for me to conduct interviews that involved these people, and naturally they couldn’t take direction as easy as a normal person. Another issue I faced was that the people working for the council were sometimes over keen to direct the filming. Sometimes insisting on ideas I knew wouldn’t work. As they were the client I was unsure if I should take control or film what they wanted me to film. In the end I found a balance of discussing why I didn’t think a particular idea would work, and we got around the issue. The project was also very good practice to working to a brief. The DVD had to be 30 minutes long and had to include the five different options of care.

Now the project is over, I will take away a great deal of professionalism from this project. At no point producing this DVD did I feel like I was a student. I was a professional media producer. I took influence from the professionals I had seen when I was working in the industry before, and based my attitude on them.

At the start of the project I wasn’t confidence in myself to sometimes speak up when I should have. Now however, I have seen that as a media producer I have to, and can do it with ease. Because of weeks of pre-production planning and meetings, little things went wrong. I always had a back up in case something did.  I feel that this project has turned me from a student to a professional. By that I don’t mean I am suddenly Steven Spielberg, but I feel I am now capable of managing a project in the professional world.

Professional Experience Presentation

•May 18, 2011 • Leave a Comment

Professional Experience Presentation

 At the beginning of the module, I was wondering what type of professional experience I would undertake. I had already had experience in the professional media industry so I was cautious to choose to do something I would benefit from. In the past I have done runner work for ITV’s “Jeremy Kyle show”, an actor for ITV’s “Confessions Of A Salesman,” a background actor for Channel 4 and a group of independent films. As you can see these are mostly in front of the camera or working for a TV station. After completing the short film module, I realised that I wanted to work either for my own business or independently, and this module was the ideal opportunity to put my foot in the water with that.

My original idea was to produce a short film from scratch with members of my short film module group. I even wrote a few drafts of a script in preparation for the project, but it soon became apparent that most of the group had arranged other projects and that there would not be enough time to complete a short film at high standards.

An old friend of mine who works for the Young Carers Centre mentioned to me months before the short film module about a project being set up by the Coventry Council’s Carers Centre. Their plan was to create a DVD to show the options available for people going into care. I decided that creating that DVD would be a great opportunity for me to gain experience working independently for a client. Just as I would have to if I had my own production company (which the future aim.) I had never made a corporate video before; my concentration was always on narrative films, so I was going into this project with little knowledge of corporate production. I decided that the best way to deal with this was to conduct it like I would for a narrative film.

I met with my friend to discuss the project and how would I be involved. I gave him my contact details so that the carers centre could contact me if they wanted me to produce the DVD. To my delight, I was contacted and a meeting was arranged for me to meet members of the carer’s team and to learn about the project.

From day 1, I knew I would need to assemble a team of film-makers to produce this DVD. I chose Dale Driver as my editor, someone I had worked with before, who was not a student but looking to expand his portfolio, Tim March as cameraman, and Steve Ringrose as cinematographer. I was very careful on who I involved, because I wanted my team to be as professional as possible. I briefed the team on how serious the topic of the DVD was and that will would be filming on locations that dealt with disabled people.

From the very first meeting with the carers to the weeks of production, acting like a professional media producer was very important to me. I knew that the council need a few DVD’s produced, so if I impressed, there could be an opportunity for me to be involved on later projects. Because of the nature of the DVD we were producing, I ensured that everything was planned to the last detail. From shooting schedules to equipment list. I wanted to impress the carer’s team enough so they would put my name forward to other departments needing a DVD.

After the short film module, the group that was involved decided to create a media production company. When starting off this company we would need to find ways to make money to purchase film equipment. We had group meetings, and decided that for the first year or so we would produce corporate videos for businesses and possibly the odd wedding video. I treated the carer’s project as a dummy run, to see if I could work in this environment, and if I would enjoy it.

I learnt a lot during the production. Mostly how to handle situations a professional media producer would face. Things like deadlines, time management, dealing with different types of people and meeting new people. At first I found it difficult to work with the mentally disabled people. The project called for me to conduct interviews that involved these people, and naturally they couldn’t take direction as easy as a normal person. Another issue I faced was that the people working for the council were sometimes over keen to direct the filming. Sometimes insisting on ideas I knew wouldn’t work. As they were the client I was unsure if I should take control or film what they wanted me to film. In the end I found a balance of discussing why I didn’t think a particular idea would work, and we got around the issue. The project was also very good practice to working to a brief. The DVD had to be 30 minutes long and had to include the five different options of care.

Now the project is over, I will take away a great deal of professionalism from this project. At no point producing this DVD did I feel like I was a student. I was a professional media producer. I took influence from the professionals I had seen when I was working in the industry before, and based my attitude on them.

At the start of the project I wasn’t confidence in myself to sometimes speak up when I should have. Now however, I have seen that as a media producer I have to, and can do it with ease. Because of weeks of pre-production planning and meetings, little things went wrong. I always had a back up in case something did.  I feel that this project has turned me from a student to a professional. By that I don’t mean I am suddenly Steven Spielberg, but I feel I am now capable of managing a project in the professional world.

Professional Experience Diary – Day 12 -20

•May 18, 2011 • Leave a Comment

Days 12 to 20 were spent on post production. I spent many hours a week with Dale (my editor) editing the DVD. As Dale wasn’t there for most of the shoot, i felt it was important that i was there, to help shape the DVD. Editing the footage and the sound was a lengthy process, but i need to make sure the message of each story filmed got across. After a rough cut was produced, i graded the footage. It didn’t need much grading, just a little touch up here and there. As agreed in the early meetings with the council, the rough cut will be shown to Mandy and the team, there they can have the chance to say any changes they want. After that, we will work on the final cut and then produce the final DVD. The screening of the rough cut will be on this Friday.

2 days extra shooting.

•May 18, 2011 • Leave a Comment

It was arranged by Mandy that two more days filming was needed to interview more people. On the first day we went to Poppy Court to interview the manager of the care home. As before it was myself, Steve and Tim on the shoot and we worked in the same way as before, professionally, but pushed for time. However, i believe this is the best shot interview of the DVD. Remembering the mistakes i made with framing on earlier interviews, i was keen to get this one right. Lizzie from the council conducted the interview and it went smoothly. Lizzie took direction well, i would repeat the exact same questions on each take. This makes it much easier for the editor. From Poppy Court we went to the Civic 1 building to film two managers who were to say an introduction piece. This was the hardest scene to shoot. The reason was the two managers, did not want to be filmed (even though they agreed to it) and made it quite clear that they didn’t want to be filmed. They hadn’t bothered to learn what they had to say so had to read it from cue cards. I explained that this wouldn’t look natural but they insisted, after all it was these managers that were funding the DVD. We shot, but as i explained it came out un-natural and unusable. Mandy was at the shoot and when i showed her the footage she wanted it cut. A re-shoot with different managers is arranged for a later date.

The second day started out filming at the young carers centre filming cutaways for a voice over, then back to the Civic 1 building to film the intro and the outro to the DVD. The intro was done by two managers who were a lot better on camera than the couple before. After completing the introduction, i quickly looked at the rushes. I wasn’t happy with the framing so i called them back to quickly re-shoot. We were shooting on a Canon 5D without the option of a monitor, this in hindsight was a mistake. We could have filmed on a JVC with a monitor, it would have suited the DVD more.

There is still a few more scenes to film after the module deadline, but most of it is complete. I am glad i learnt my lessons from the previous shoot, and corrected them during this one.

Professional Experience Diary – Day 5 – 10

•May 18, 2011 • Leave a Comment

Days 5 to 10 of the council job was the main shoot. Mandy (the director of the project) had drafted up a shooting schedule and arranged the interviews for the week. Every day consisted of two locations, which generally meant, two interviews or two different stories.

The first day, we shot at LIFE PATH TRUST and interviewed the manager there. Life path trust, is a company that employs disabled people to give them a role in society. We arrived and started setting up lighting and camera equipment straight away because are time was limited. We also dressed the room to make the interview backdrop more informative about life path trust and generally more interesting. After the interview, we shot cut-aways of the factory to show how people can work there.

The second day consisted of two different locations. The first was at a modern care home called Ribbon Court. There we conducted two interviews with staff then into a resident’s home to film a short interview with someone in care. Mandy acted as interviewer. The first two interviews went smoothly, though looking back at the footage now, i wish i got a better shot. I forgot the rule of allowing space for the words, for example the subject is framed on the right side if facing and speaking to the left. It’s not bad, and it doesn’t distract, but as a film-maker it could be better. Mandy wanted to be filmed talking to a resident of the care home as an informal interview. Knowing the resident is disabled, i was a bit concerned about invading her home, with a crew full of people. Remembering a lesson learnt in my documentary module, we only sent in people who needed to be there so not to distract the person being interviewed. In this case it was Tim.

From Ribbon Court we moved on to film the story of Susan. A lady living in care, whom was helped out by her family. So it was like a family care home. The room Mandy wanted to shoot in, was a film-makers problem room. It was dark, very reflective, and suffered strongly from echo. To make things harder, Mandy wanted the shot as four people talking around the table. We didn’t have enough tie mics for this so we used the rifle mic. Time was limited and everything was a rush. I’m not making excuses but the shoot, did not come out good. I had feelings that it wouldn’t when shooting, and i should have been more vocal to Mandy about why it would not work. Apart from the shots not looking attractive, nothing was structured so the conversation comes across as everyone talking over each other. As soon as i watched the rushes i explained to Mandy that this scene should be either re-shot or cut. It is still unsure if this scene will make the final DVD.

Day 3 was in one location. It was in the bungalow of Brenda and Terry, a couple who had has a son who needed care. Their son (David) now lives in his own bungalow. It was a simple set up of an interview and the shoot went without any problem. We popped to David’s bungalow on the way home to get some cutaways.

Day 4 was a nice sunny day so as our first location had a nice garden, i decided to shoot outside. The interview was with a carer and conducted by Lizzie from the council. I wanted to shoot outside as it broke up the DVD. Every interview had been indoors at this point, so i wanted a visual change. This did create a few new problems however. The garden was near a main road so every now and then they’d be a loud noise that was picked up on the tie mics. Also there were lack of power leads, so lighting was all done by natural light, which looked nice enough but we had to be careful of shadows. On this day though, Dale the editor was present, so it was good for him to see how we were filming everything so he could understand it more when it came to editing. The second location was back to life path trust to film more about other options they provide.

The 5th day, was in the editing room, going though the rushes. Noting what takes we useable and what was not. I sat with Dale as he went through the footage and explained what was needed where, and the message needed to be put across. During this day Mandy arranged two more days of shooting. Mostly with professionals talking about their role with helping with care.

The shoot went relatively smoothly, so there’s not a great deal to write about. It was all down to planning and preparation. We knew where we going to be and what we were filming before the day of filming, this meant we were able to get in and set up and film quickly, sticking to a tight schedule. Like i’ve mentioned, there were a few issues i would improve on, mostly been more vocal about what i think will work on film, and dealing with sometimes awkward people. It has been a brilliant learning curve though, and all the way through the shoot i was a professional media producer.

Rolls Royce Job

•May 18, 2011 • Leave a Comment

For extra experience, myself (with Blue Ridge Film Group members) took on a job given to us to film a training video for Rolls Royce. It was a 5 day shoot including a recce. The job was to film a team of Rolls Royce employes strip down a jet engine that is used to power turbines. The trainer and man overseeing the project was Tom, he would present the video, and explain each section of the engine and how to do the job.

This was an important job. Coventry University has been involved in producing videos for Rolls Royce for a few years now, and only a group of selected students get the chance to take on the job. So with that in mind, there was a little bit of pressure to live up to expectations, so i  treated this job professionally from day 1.

On the first day, myself, along with Tim and Steve Ringrose, took a trip to Rolls Royce to meet Tom talk about the project, and also to do a recce. The room we were filming in was a workshop so there were potential filming issues, not to mention health and safety hazards. The first thing i noticed was the lighting in the room. It was kind of dark but changed as the natural light changed. This could have been an issue, so we were careful to monitor the light and white balance often when shooting. The second issue was the sound. As it was a workshop, the room itself had large echo and there were external noises coming from a boiler tank and people mowing the grass. We decided to use tie mics as this would reduce background noise, rather than a rifle mic which picks up more room sound.

Filming took four days and went smoothly. The only issue we had was on the morning of the first day, when we didn’t record notes. Realising this was a mistake, notes of timeline codes and sound clips  were taken. This was a major learning curve as it would have been near impossible to edit the video if we hadn’t taken notes. The engine was far too technical for us simple film-makers to keep track of, so we were lost on what part of the engine was getting worked on straight away. It was important if we didn’t understand what was happening that we stopped and asked Tom, who was always willing to help us out.

The Rolls Royce job was another great experience with working for a client and being a professional media producer. Rolls Royce were impressed with our work and have asked us back to carry on more filming for the company. I’ve learnt that this is how work comes in, decent word of mouth. Hopefully the next project for Rolls Royce will be as successful as this one.

Learning development

•May 17, 2011 • Leave a Comment

Over the period of the professional experience module, I feel like I’ve come on leaps and bounds as a media producer to how I was before. Though I had experience in the media, it was always working for a company or someone else, and never for myself. This is something I wanted to experience in the module.

The Blue Ridge Film Group was in its early stages at the start of the module, and we didn’t know what direction we wanted to go in. At the time of writing this, we still aren’t 100% sure, but saying that, we have learnt enough over the module to make a final decision.

Working for the council gave me the opportunity to deal with contracts as a media producer. As i got paid for my work, i was very keen to have any agreement in a contract. I felt this was good practice as dealing with contracts is something i will have to do in my future. I was strict with the contract also. At first, the contract was brought to me, i read it and disagreed with an an agreement. I ask for a re-write, and it was not till i was 100% happy with it, did i put the pen to paper. But the contract was only one part of the organisation i had learnt. I had to set up meetings, screenings, and dates for the shoots. All this was new to me, and i learnt how planning is the difference between a successful and unsuccessful shoot.

Another main point i learnt from the council job was how to deal with different types of people. I had to direct people who had never taken direction, so at times that was difficult. As the weeks went on, i found myself more confident to instruct people and how to handle the difficult people.

During the week at Rolls Royce, i learnt something that is extremely important. To log EVERY shot. On the Monday morning we didn’t do this and it will create such a hassle for the editor. After we got the hang of using the time code on the cameras and logging the shoots properly, it was easy and make the job of piecing the film together much easier.

My learning development over the module has been made up, of lots of little things. I feel that the module has shaped me as a media producer and that i am much better off from the experience.