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I feel it is my ‘Line of Duty’ to attend

16 May

Hi Mediadreamzers

I hope that if you are in the UK you have been making the most of the sunshine and hot weather; we’re actually getting a Summer. I certainly felt the Summer sun yesterday when I was heading to another Royal Television Society event, on as the title of my latest post was about the BBC Drama ‘Line of Duty’. Despite the trains being delayed, I made it to Millbank Tower out in Pimlico in plenty of time. Before heading the the venue I saw that MI6 was across the the water. Well, you can’t walk past MI6 and not take a picture; though I wonder if they got a picture of me over the bridge taking a photo, who knows.

 

           

 

 

Once inside Millbank Tower got chatting to a few people before the event started and the it was a very popular event, and luckily the air conditioning was on. The guests on the panel were the Creator, writer, director, Executive Producer Jed, the Executive Producer Simon, Script Executive Priscilla and one of the lead actors Adrian Dunbar. The cherry on the sundae was that the discussion was chaired by, wait for it, Anne Robinson. Yes THAT Anne Robinson; Watchdog and Weakest Link presenter, and I admit when I saw Anne I was very surprised. The event was a mixture of questions directed to each of the guests and in between this there were a series of clips played in between, chosen by each person who said that certain clips were their favourite scenes and shots and why that was the case. There were discussions on the next series and it hopefully being set for 3 more series.

        

 

 

For me it was interesting to hear that the series is filmed in Birmingham and not London; when you watch programs like this, it is a cliche that they are filmed in the capital, so it made a nice change. It was also interesting to hear about the time it takes to film so many minutes of scene and the process/ approach the actors use to their characters and that the rehearse of scenes and episodes would consist of anywhere to 8-12 hours that is some dedication. I confess I have yet to watch a whole series but I will eventually get there, looking forward to the story lines and issues explored.

After the sessions was opened up to the audience to ask questions it was time for everyone to head to the bar, as with all events like this they always end at the bar or a bar. Just as I wondered to one part of the room I ran into Anne Robinson and I thought you can’t end the day without a photo and I was glad that Anne was o.k with this. I apologise on the way I look in this photo; I look awful in photos, and this is why I very rarely posted pictures of me on my blog, saving everyone from the nightmares.

 I guess in this photo I’m the weakest link.

On my train journey home I thought was gonna have a boring journey back but it was a fun trip out of London as their was an enthusiastic train conductor named Marc getting the whole train to sing Happy Birthday to a passenger, whose Birthday was gonna be the next day, so today (Wednesday).

I have seen a few more upcoming events that I am hoping to go to provided I am not working so hopefully more to share in the next few weeks. Still keeping my skills and work as a Production Assistant sharp and up to date.

Nunquam Deditioneum

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New Year Begins-BAFTA Birmingham

31 Jan

Hi fellow Mediadreamzers

Forgive the lack of posts for the first month of the year; not much happens in January with pre-production. Which could be interpreted as a good thing as individuals can plan to go on holiday and/ find out what is coming up. I do have productions lined up for the upcoming months to keep me busy, one of which was a meeting in Birmingham Drama Village I met last year. Some of the production team I saw mentioned upcoming opportunities which I am hoping and looking forward to getting involved in, in addition to upcoming features.

Until these begin, it is networking events. My first one started off with a BAFTA Masterclass with a well renowned Cinematographer- Haris Zambarloukos. From my research, the man has worked on a great number of films, the latest being ‘Cinderella’. I admit within the research I was not sure what Cinematography was all about, and now I understand the time consuming and enormous task on such individual must do.

It was a good thing we had a huge lecture theatre as so many people attend the lecture. It of course involved questions from a BAFTA speaker, with a series of case clips from films Haris had worked on; ‘Enduring Love’, ‘Thor’ and ‘Locke’ all great films. Soon the session ended and it was everyone networking and I was glad to meet Haris after the session and seeing some people I have worked with on productions from last year, so it was good to catch up.

I know we are well into the New Year, but I have made about 4 resolutions one of which is to get experience as an assistant director and researcher which I am determined to achieve. I maybe heading to another event about Script Supervising, will know more next week, until I have plans in motion and people to contact.

Until then….
Nunquam Deditioneum

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

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

Beyond the call of duty… in more ways than one

7 Mar

To those that follow me and those that stumble onto my blog, hello.

I haven’t had the chance to write anything for the past couple of days because I have been all over the place. I have been working on two short indie feature films; one was filmed in a cabin out in Derby and I admit if someone wanted to do a remake of ‘Friday the 13th’ in Britain, then thats the best place to go. I was the boom operator on that shoot and I laughed at one point, and you may too at this; there was a car scene where audio had to be recorded of the person in the car, so I had to go into the back of the car and hide myself. I was in the car for 40mins before the crew realised that I was still there; they had all forgotten me. Of course we laughed about it.

The next film I was involved in was being shot at Newstead Abbey and I must say what a beautiful place. Although in my first day of helping the crew DIY one of the houses I couldn’t find any parking, I did eventually. The shot was for 6 days and the first 3 days devoted to cleaning and painting a house for key scenes. When filming commenced on the fourth day I was one of the runners to be selected to go down to the lake to shot some really cool scenes. We were there for 5 hours and whilst there I learned from some of the professional canoeists who were helping with the scenes that Roger Moore once lived in the area. One thing that shocked me was the number of properties around Newstead Abbey. I also thought it was cool that I saw a Fox when on site. It was a great experience and I can’t wait to see the trailer for the film.

Following that I went to a school to help a production crew film a corporate film for school supplies that are tested out by children. One thing that made me sad was the fact that the day went by so fast. I laughed during the day when the director wanted to borrow my hoodie for the actress playing a teacher. Whilst I was taking off my hoodie I jokingly said that they could have my long sleeve top (which was cream with red strips). Everyone looked at each other and the look signalled a yes please.
So it is the second production I have worked on where a production has had the shirt/ top off my back. It was a great day and I have more still come ranging from networking events to upcoming film project. When there is more more will be revolted.

I just have to say that I have loved working with the different production crews and hope to work with them again, soon.

A series of unexpected events

22 Oct

I had a surprise phone call last night inviting me to an interview at a production company in Leeds. My initial thought was to drive up to, but because there had been an accident on the route I was going to take I decided on the train. I had my route planned only to find out when I got to the ticket office that my tickets would not be valid. So I went via a different course, and had the greatest pleasure telling some guy who was smoking that this was a non-smoking station. ‘Oh, I didn’t know that’, to which I said ‘Well, there is a sign next to you saying no smoking’. I sometimes worry about the intellect of some people.

I have also come to the conclusion that CrossCountry are the worst rail line ever; there trains are irregular, the prices are ridiculous and whenever I and others travel on them you feel like a sardine. I think that these fat cats that hike the prices up on essentials should spent a day, or even better a month surviving on a minimum wage and see what others struggle.

Made it to Leeds o.k and found the studio without any problems, worked to my advantage as I arrived earlier than my scheduled time. Once I had been buzzed in I walked up the stairs and saw the whole of fame for programmes that have been made in the north of England. I met Dan and the other ADs working in the office, and after showing Dan my CV and answering and asking all the questions I could think of my interview was over (I have learned that if an interview last between 20-30 mins) then that is a good sign.

As I had finished earlier than expected, I caught a East Coast train and they are by far the best train service; the staff are friendly, the carriages are clean, bright, spacious and there is plenty of space to put your luggage.

All I can do is wait and see if I am successful.

Runner Run, Run, Run

27 Feb

I am glad I have a moment to take a pew to write my latest media activity. I have spent the last two and half days in Birmingham working with a brilliant production team, on a well-known daytime drama. I cannot give too much away as that would be spoiling, but I can tell you what my experience was like. I was at the office for 7.30am to be on set for 8.30am and I admit working a 12hr shift really does take it out of you. Everyone was really welcoming to me during my first day work shadowing on a drama, and as many people have said drama is totally different to any other type of programme/ genre out there, and boy they were not wrong there. Everyone asked me the usual questions; where had I come from, was I at uni, what were my career ambitions, what other projects had I worked on etc.

The first day was over quick than you could say thats a wrap, and once I got back to my hotel room all I did was watch TV and eat cereal (I know its not the best gourmet meal, but I did not have the energy to eat something hot).

My second day was being out and about with the crew on four locations and it was cold. I felt sorry for the crew and actors out there, so I gave them some spare hand warmers to help ward off the coldness they all felt. I got talking to some of the extras and other members of the crew, who were praising me for my tea/ coffee/ snack providing skills, and just like yesterday it ended so fast. Once back at base, and packed away everyone thanked me for helping out; I got a hug from the director and 1st AD both wanted me to stay longer on the filming. The director and 1st AD both suggested to me that I find out if I could come back in the foreseeable future, to help out again, or on another production in Birmingham, in order to get more experience. So I did just that and now I await to see what happens. One thing I will remember from the final day was when I  was saying good-bye to the director, he wished me luck in my ventures and said that everything I was doing was right, and to keep going no matter what, so I won’t surrender and will persevere on.

My next opportunity is helping out on a music video for two days, I’ve never helped out on anything like that so lets see how that goes.

As a final note I want to say that the team I worked with were totally awesome and made me feel really welcome and it will be an experience I definitely won’t forget too quickly, you guys were the best.

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