Near the end, ready for the next chapters

30 Nov

Hi Mediadreamerz

It has been a little quiet regarding media work with the fast approach to Christmas, I do have one more media job next week which I am looking forward to and then its a case of waiting for 2015 and starting planned projects, and see what the future holds too.

Although I had fun on Wednesday travelling in the rain for a chat with members of the BBC Drama Village production team and finding out what is happening in the realm of production next year. As soon as I walked through the door to the building to the reception area the security team saw me and I was greeted with ‘Hello Stranger, longtime no see’. Something I never bargained for, nor expected as the last time I saw them was in January/ February, it was nice that they remembered me.

Once in they asked me what I had been up to and I started talking about productions and how I’d applied for a role on one the the BBC Birmingham productions and how I was unsuccessful, and then I got a bit of a surprise; at that exact moment a member of the drama production team walked by heard what I’d said and asked what area of work I am in, with production and after I told him he said he would get my details from the production team ready for next year. Big surprise there and as they say its all word of mouth and not what you know, but who.

I then met Steve and his colleague Kate and after finding a free office chatted about productions, opportunities, current experiences and recent projects I have worked on, where I see myself in the near distant future, why media/ drama and what the status of production is currently at. Steve and Kate explained a bit about their backgrounds and how they/ BBC Birmingham functions with regard to crew and other projects individuals move to work on so they get additional experiences and progress forward. Although production has ended this year, production resumes second week on January and then they will be scouting crew for new productions and will be selecting people to help out, hopefully I will be one of those individuals.

Until then it is one more media job to complete and then final preparations for Christmas (strange I started in October, but at least I only have a few things left to sort then its all done).

So next week busy but exhausting,

Nunquam Deditioneum

All ‘Adrift in Soho’

21 Nov

Hi Mediadreamzers

I can now sit and share with you what I have been up to for the past three weeks, which involved traveling back and forth a lot. Why you may ask, and the answer is from working on a film not as a runner but as a 3rd Camera Assistant. It felt strange not being a runner as that is what my role has been on most shoots so it was nice to be working on a film with more responsibilities. The film ‘Adrift in Soho’ is a novel by Colin Wilson and the plot focuses on Five individuals from different backgrounds are brought together by chance to take one last look at a world that is about to collapse in front of their eyes.

During my first week it was a case of getting to know the crew and familiarising myself with the equipment, how to fill in camera reports for each days collected shots. Most of the filming ended late at night but I never noticed how fast time went until I looked at my watch.

The second week was something an interesting week; I was crew and I was asked at one point about an extra when we were filming in a bar for nearly 12 hours, so I was taken away by the costume department and dressed in 1950s clothes and was given a beret and a drink of flat ‘alcohol’. It felt strange that when I was not needed on set I was working and I sort of felt like I was out of my comfort zone, but was great fun.

The third and final week was pretty much the same thing going to a lot more locations and filming everything within a 12-13 hour days. Granted it was exhausting and I ended getting back to my accommodation near to 10-11pm it was so worth it. I did notice when I was helping out each day I was greeted by hugs and kisses from the camera team, the sparks and from the director too. I was just said when everything ended each week so quickly, I just hope that I get to work with everyone again the future. I am looking forward to the next film I am working on in Derby. I have also found a way of adding film credits to media productions I have worked on onto my IMDB page and it worked.

I think before I do anything else will be to catch up on some sleep before I start my next project.

Nunquam Deditioneum

Adrift in the Midlands

5 Nov

Hi Mediadreamzers

I have been all over the place this week and boy do I love it. I am working on three films at present; one called ‘Adrift in Soho’, which is on the IMDB website, feel free to check it out, and 2 in Derby with LightFilms; ‘RatCatcher’ and a film that has now been christened with a new name that many of you may remember was called ‘Meat’.

In between this I attend a lecture today delivered by a very good friend of mine; Terry Bamber, who always knows how to entertain and capture the attention of an audition.

Yesterday and Monday and until 20th Nov I am a camera assistant on ‘Adrift in Soho’, and I must say it is one of a few films to date where I have been focusing on one area of production and moved up the ladder of important roles. I have been working a mixture of 10-14 hours and although it is exhausting it is so worth it; learning skills about the camera, clapping and recording information on the scenes being shot and learning how to fill in continuity camera forms. One thing I am enjoying is learning new skills one of which is filling in continuity reports for the shots captured on camera using the clapper board notes for cameras used. Different but I think I got the hang of it, I am looking forward to the next few days doing more work.

In between that I am getting audition dates ready for ‘Meat’ and getting a few things in motion for ‘RatCatcher’ for next year. I have for the past couple of weeks emailing actors who fit the bill and inviting them to an audition and formulating ideas for other things to do. I am learning on the job for a general assistant/ Line Producer and gosh its fun.

I decided to have a day off and what better way to send it is going to a lecture in the East Midlands to attend the opening of the new Media School. Apart form being directed to the wrong building at first I managed to get to the Bede Island Building and the lecture was enjoyable from start to finish. It was good to have a catch up with Terry and also see his friend who was helping with the day, Paul Sacks. After the lecture I and a group of students who attended headed to the media school to see the new facilities, and then this was followed by a drink and chat at Trinity house which was not only refurbished but full of food and drink. I got to meet a lot of interesting people and it was good to catch up with my Terry and Paul and hopefully next year I will see them both and have lots more media work.

For now I am going to relax and catch up on some me time after long days of filming, more to follow.

Nunquam Deditioneum

Buzzing from Birmingham BBC

21 Oct

Hi Mediadreamzers

I have just got back having had to put up with a 45mins delay on getting back, despite that the amount of travel I do these days I should invest in a Bradshaw book going on the trains back and forth. My latest venture was to Birmingham, to the Mailbox for a course titled ‘Get Your Next Job in TV Drama’, I must say thank you to my friend William Gallagher for passing on the course details and letting me know about it. Once inside the Mailbox I was greeted by a large number in the entrance, some I struck up a conversation with before heading into the delegated area for the course introduction and the numerous courses.

Once at the venue, tea and coffee was on tap and individuals began talking to people, I got chatting to had recently come back from Milan, was a producer of daytime TV, mainly cooking programmes and was looking to get into Drama. Everyone took seats and were greeted by a panel of well distinguished individuals who have worked in the industry for many years. The host of the panel was Marvarine Cole who is now a presenter on QVC but was previously a presenter on BBC, ITV and SKY NEWS, who operated a Q&A to the individuals who either work for independent companies and BBC, and mentioning how Drama is really making its presence known in Birmingham. When the hour’s panel had finished we all separated to attend our chosen workshops, for me the first was ‘Moving on from a Runner’, this was delivered by a guy called Andy, who now works as a 1st AD, previously a 2nd, 3rd and runner. The beginning of the session was Andy presenting his background in media and why he chose to go down the route of media, and all of us saying what career we are working towards. Andy even shared stories of individuals making mistakes and that ending their media careers, something that many of us made notes on the dangers and factors to be aware of.

 

During the lunch break I and those who attend were networking as much as we all could before the next selection of workshops started. I came prepared with a so many business cards that I was handing them out like sweets, and many remarked on the design I ‘d gone for- Paul Smith stripes. Soon it was time to attend the next selection of workshops and I opted for Script Supervisor, where a lady called Lisa who shared her experiences and how she got her break in TV, and how from there on she has worked on a multitude of productions ranging from ‘Death in Paradise’, ‘Midsomer Murders’ (a programme I love watching on repeat), ‘Hustle’ to ‘Minder’ ‘Father Brown’ and many more. We were shown a series of examples and templates of the documents a Script Supervisor uses when preparing for a TV series, and I must say it is A LOT of paperwork. One topic that Lisa made us all aware of was continuity where the script matches what is on presented on the screen from start to finish. To emphasis this we were all shown a series of clips from films where there mistakes; I have never stared at a TV screen so hard in my life in order to see and discover flaws, something I will be doing in the future. Soon that session ended and it was time for another break and more chatting before going onto the third and final class- Networking face to face and online and addressing the fears and myths; one exercise involved the room being split into two and one side saying why networking is bad and why is is good and answering simple questions, studying pictures and just giving our overall opinions on networking as a whole. From the set up of the room this was a masterclass that practically everyone wanted to attend and get as much insight into the best methods, approaches and results gained at the end.

 

The final part of the day was a closing Q&A session titled ‘Making great Drama in the Midlands’, delivered by Jamie Glazebrook who is the Executive Producer on the second series of ‘Peaky Blinders’. The questions were asked by the Marvarine who opened the event it felt appropriate that she should close it, with a combination of clips from the series and a preview of the next episode. It was then time for us to let our hair down and have drinks and continue to network, something I did for a short time as I had to dash to catch my train. I came away with a lot of useful advice, tips and information which I will be acting in the next couple of days. I was glad to have had a chance to speak to the guest panel of media representatives all except Will who had to leave during the lunch break because of a media meeting.

 

My next event all being well will be the 5th November and I am looking forward to the fact I will be catching up with a media friend/ contact I have known for 4 years. That combined with media activities in between.

 

Nunquam Deditioneum

Productive with Pinewood & PROCAM

16 Oct

Hi Mediadreamzers

I now sit and write about the past couple of weeks, much of which has been filled with great excitement. The first is an event I had the privilege of attending at Pinewood Studios; a friend of mine put on a one man comedy show at Pinewood Studios last Friday and I and about 150 other people were blown away by the humour. I now make this my 6th visit to Pinewood and as I keep saying it is like my 2nd home, it is always nice to head down to the greatest place in the world. Once there I was directed to the John Barry Theatre and as soon as I entered I was greeting by an enormous room and suddenly one of my Facebook friends saw me and called me over, and it was great catching up with other people I know in the industry. The show was amazing, which was mirrored by the fact that it was a sell out! It was so funny that my cheeks were hurting at the end of the hour and half and my sides ached from pain of laughter. There was a scene that was re-enacted by my friend Terry and a SFX guy I know called Alex involved trick wire, a pair of glasses and a fake treadmill, and the was funny, especially the reaction from the other people in the gym. Soon the time went by and it was time for us to leave John Barry’s theatre, not before ¬†One thing that did knock me for 6 was some of the people that attended came up to me after the show and said ‘Hi’ something I did not expect, but it made my day, or in this case evening. The rest of the night and the early hours of Saturday morning was spent at a restaurant called ‘Palm Suite’, not only was the food great (if your ever down at Pinewood go for the Piri Piri Chicken, it does not disappoint), but the company was bloody marvellous, especially when a friend I met and know on Facebook bought his dog in just as the restaurant were closing and there were all a handful of us left; Shelby, a very affectionate dog and very photogenic/ affectionate dog. Eventually it was time to leave as the owners of the suite needed to go home. Great event, wonderful night, brilliant people.

Following the event, I then packed my case again to travel to Manchester for 2 days working shadowing with a company that hires  camera and sound equipment. I traveled up the day before ready for the 2 days arranged, and after a 45mins walk I found the location, and after meeting the crew in the warehouse on the Tuesday I spent the 1st part of the day working with a guy called Jake who showed me how to set up a camera that is commonly used in the industry, checking equipment back in from production companies that were returning equipment from shoots. I was then rotated to another area of the warehouse with a guy called Rich. I learnt a lot from Rich and I learnt that there are no stupid questions as I had so many about camera, sound, their system checking in and out, usage of equipment and anything else that sprung to mind. First day a lot was covered and the first ended quickly, then 2nd day was just was fast and I surprised remembered a majority of what I had been taught and I was trusted enough to set up lighting panels for testing and how to check and set up a monitor. Sadly I had to leave to catch my train and during the 2hr 30mins train journey, I reflected on everything I had learned and hoping that everything I have learned helps me progress further forward and hoping to put what I have learned to good use. Maybe my next opportunity will let me show of my training and experience.

 

Nunquam Deditioneum

Run Runner Run, Runner Run Run Run

25 Sep
The Poster

The Poster

Well I have certainly been doing a lot of that over the past couple of days and in between that went for an interview to a very special place in my heart; pinewood Studios for an interview for a role on a film. Here is a clue 007. Unfortunately I did not get the role I had been put forward for but at least it is a step further than last time when I applied for a production role on ‘Skyfall’. My motto ‘Never Surrender, Never Retreat’ applies here and for everything else I have been unsuccessful with, but still it is nice to visit the place I like to call my second home.

Despite the unsuccessful outcome, I am having a blast working with a production company in Derby called LightFilms on a really cool (Well I think it is) trailer for an upcoming feature to be shot in 2015. I have completed a lot of tasks so far and have managed to get results at the end of them.

The advice I will give those starting out in the industry is have contingencies places encase something unexpected happens or falls through. The work has entailed researching places that meet the necessary requirements of the director and SFX team for filming, sourcing props suitable for the characters and the background, liaising and hunting down costumes and accessories for the characters, getting call sheets finalised, calling lots and lots and LOTS of people (the phone doesn’t stop ringing, which is good).

In my case it was running around from four regions to get everything done before the day ended; finalising a location in one area, calling and collecting an essential prop from another, calling another person in another area and finally getting a prop personalised.

All of this work I have found has also caused me to have moments I consider fluxes, especially when finding props as half the things the production team will need I would assume were so far away, like down in London or Manchester but no by chance I found everything on the doorstep, more convenient I say.

I pressed on and although I had to deal with an evasive obstacle, I overcame it and got the outcome that I wanted, and everything else afterwards fell into place. Although there was nearly another a solution was found and all was right with the world, and this was near the end of the day.

I only wish that was going to be on set at the weekend for filming of the trailer, but alas I won’t be free, but I am hoping that I have done a good job with the call sheet and getting all info out the to cast and crew and hopefully will see the trailer in a few weeks after it has been shot. To date I am loving every single minute of my time I am spending with lightFilms. More info to follow shortly or at a later time, who know.

 

Nunquam Deditioneum

How productive a week can be

11 Sep

Well, what a whirl-wind week it has been for media work and activities.

I spent Monday in a production meeting bringing the producer and director up to speed on everything I have done and what is remaining left to be completed. This was everything to sourcing locations to finding a generator, to contacting the actors, liaising with a company that hires out equipment to a million other tasks to see to and others to add to my list. God I love this business!

Tuesday was devoted to more media work, both pre-production work on the two productions I am working on, and co-presenting a radio show with another person who has more experience than me, and I will say two hours does go by really fast when your having fun, and the fun continued for me having my very first fitness class and although I was the newbie in the group no prisoners were taken so I did everything at the same intensity as everyone else and afterwards my legs felt like jelly.

Wednesday was spent at my local news station learning the art of data wrangling ( taking footage captured and adding them to the system and catalogued on editing software). I met the tech manager, Paul Magor, who allowed me to spend the day with three techno guys, before being invited to watch the news output in the gallery at lunchtime. Afterwards I was taken to the archive department to see how everything is added to the system and retrieved years down the line and the methods used to record footage. It amazes me to see that really big chunky tapes were used then it was CDs to small tapes to memory cards, how technology has certainly evolved. One thing that really surprised me I was invited to a meeting with the days news producer, the director, techno guy and editors for the days output and the East Midlands presenters for news, sports and weather. The surprise was seeing Anne Davis one of the presenters who I know really well, and after the meeting when I was in one of the editing suites Anne came to find me for a catch up chat and to see how I was and of course vice versa.

Before the news feed went out for the evening which I went into the gallery to see Paul took me to the Inside Out team, who invited me to come back in on Thursday to send the day with them to learn how they data wrangle footage they capture, log, duplicate, and using prelude software (excessive notes were taken so I did not forget anything).

Friday would have been a day working on a production in Leicester but they did not need me, however, I was asked to send a copy of my CV for future work with the production company as they are always looking for crew to work with them on productions.

And now I must resume my media work with Light Films, as there is a lot to do. One final note to fore-warn everyone that a month from today I will be writing to my hearts delight about a visit I will be making to the home of hammer horror, carry on and James Bond. Keep you eyes peeled

 

Nunquam Deditioneum- Never Surrender, Never Retreat

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