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How to save a life

26 Jun

Hey Mediadreamzers

I know I have used words from a song for my latest post, but it basically summons up what I have been doing for the past 3-4 days. With work I was offered the chance to go on a First Aid At Work course, and naturally I opted to go on the course. Tip to those wanting to pursue a career in media or for self-learning as it is great to have on your CV and it helps to have as a life skill.

On the first day, there were a mixture of others, people in media, teachers, network rail workers and people who work in construction. In total there were 18 of us. The first day all basic stuff; what is in a first aid box, role of a first aider etc before moving onto videos assessments and basic treatments. The second day was kicking up a gear to slings, dressings, mind-map presentations on various conditions and treatments before spending the afternoon role playing. After being split into groups; first aiders and casualties and acting scenarios and I admit there were moments where. We all ended up laughing as everyone who were casualties were over the top dramatics with screaming and whaling in pain. Final assessment of the day was a car accident with numerous casualties, bystanders and one in the group going into mass hysteria/shock.

Unfortunately the final day of the course that person came in with a lost voice. Apart from summarising everything from the past 2 days it was recovery position and CPR before being split again and demonstrating what treatment used to help an accident and the symptoms of a casualty. One thing that was hard and I mean really hard was learning something called the ‘Roll Technique’; this is something used when a casualty has a suspected back/ spinal injury and you and 5 other people have to turn them to the right or left. The hard part is co-ordinating everyone tasks to help turn the casualty, then it was kicked up a gear, others from the other group started to try to distract us, deliberately but my god we did it.

Out of the 18 of us there only 17 passed; there was a guy from TNT there who did not understand the majority of the tasks both written and practical, so after a word or two the guy left where he chooses to return and do it again, I don’t know. One thing that I have thought about and decided to do is look into getting trained using a de-fibrillation machine too. So I am Fire and First Aid trained, hopefully more to learn soon.

Just going off on topic onto another I maybe involved in an upcoming production, it’s early to say too much at present but will hopefully will officially confirm all in my next post.

Nunquam Deditioneum

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All Fired up

7 Jun

Hey Mediadreamerz

It has been a while since I have sat in front of my mac to say what I have been up to in the great sphere of media. I am fast approaching my second month of my three month probation with SIS, and it was on Friday that was really busy for me.

Instead of spending the whole day in the office I had decided to sign up to the Fire Marshall training course. Why, for numerous reasons; wanting to learn something new, if and when I am in a work area in and outside of the office and there is a fire, so I know what to do if there is a fire in my home and is also something to add to my CV for future job applications. Tip; good for anyone to have as an extra skill and good for when you go for job interviews.
When I first got to the venue I thought it was only going to be women, then three men joined the group and I must say 5 hours do go by really fast. It was videos, discussions and then heading out into the carpark to use the different extinguishers. Word to the wise- When using the CO2 never touch the base or the funnel as your hand(s) will freeze to it and you’ll get frostbite.

So now I am qualified as a Fire Marshall, I just need to wait for my certificate to arrive, which lasts for three years. Next on the agenda is three day First Aid Course, which is probably gonna be in about 3-4 weeks. plus when the three months are officially completed I can work with the editors, camera-crew, AP, producers, sound mixers and anywhere else with the company.

Next thing is running/ jogging Race For life, or as I brand it R4L on Sunday, wish me luck and hope that I finish at a decent time.

Nunquam Deditioneum

The outcome

31 Mar

Hey Mediadreamzers

 

Forgive the late response regarding what I said in my last post on my interviews, I did not want to jinx the outcome of either one, now I feel can share.

As promised I said I would let you know the outcome of my interviews.

The first interview for the assistant producers role was with Psychic Today and with it only taking me an hour and 10 mins to get my interview I used the extra 40mins I had to read my notes and ready myself for the type of question I could potentially be asked. I met my interviewer, Joanne, and the questions commenced; ranging from what makes a good producer, what did you think to the shows structure and style of Psychic Today, what could be done differently/ what are my thoughts on the shows I watched. I answered all questions with so much detail that I made poor Joanne use so much paper, I even added ideas and suggestions for the channel and the website. I was then told a little more about the role, my responsibilities, the hours and where that could lead to. Interview lasted 30mins and I was informed that I would hear something soon.

Result- I was offered one of the assistant producer roles, and a training date, but because of the position being freelance based and other factors coming to light I had to decline the opportunity.

 

The Second interview was with a non-production based company called SIS(not to get confused with the Secret Service), which stands for Satellite Information Services; the company has contracts with BBC, ITN and SKY NEWS & SPORTS. The interview was for a media assistant position, and is a permanent position. One thing I arrived 50mins early and read through the meticulous notes I had made about SIS as it had been advised that I do my research (planned to read up on the company anyway). I also looked at competencies/ situations and planned answers to potential questions I could be asked, so I am not surprised like a deer in the headlights. Once in the building I met Richard and Rory where I was taken to a conference room and the interview commenced. Rory asked the questions, there were four pages of questions and situations that I have demonstrated certain skills in, whilst Richard took notes of everything I said (I was asked other questions like what do I do in my spare time, what takes priority in my life, if I could do something spontaneous what would I do; I said have a party in the style of James Bond. I then asked my questions before being given a tour of the various buildings on site, where I met the sound mixers, graphics, producers, production managers, editors and all people in media. The total time I spent at SIS was an hour 35mins interview and the remaining time taking the tour.

Result- I received a phone call on Friday 13th of all days I hear you cry and the day I learned of the outcome. The conversation began with SIS thanking me for attending my interview and that they enjoyed meeting me, in the back my my mind I could hear the cliche sentence in my head and the word unsuccessful. However, it was not to be; because Richard and Rory enjoyed meeting me I have been invited back to Milton Keynes for a second interview.

At first I did not know the criteria for the second one, then I learned to read up more information on the company, and read up on my competencies as the interview is going to be mainly scenarios and situations I could be asked. So I spent two days before my interview reading and researching everything I could find. You may think me over-prepared but it meant that I didn’t forget anything. Well, I went for the interview this time with Richard and a lady from HR and it was roughly the same questions as before giving examples of my competencies and any questions I had. What I felt was 5 mins was in fact a 35 mins interview, and before I left I was informed that a decision would be made either tomorrow, or near to the end of the week.

Result- Tuesday I received the phone call saying that SIS wish to offer me the job. That certainly knocked me for 6 as it was an enormous surprise. As I mentioned it is a non-production job, but it gives the opportunity of using my degree, learning technical and broadcasting skills with the chance of career progression. Plus the bonus with the opportunity is it is stepping stone in the right directions and I am not too far away from the capital for future work as a researcher/ assistant director, and of course there is the potential to progress further, or work at Pinewood in the future. So I was immensely surprised and happy, and I have accepted the offer which I start on 8th April thinking it best to let Easter come and go.

The next step I am taking is to sort out accommodation in the area, researching the areas and what I am looking for, registering with estate agents and then going to viewings. If I am lucky enough to find a property before I start then that will be a bonus in my favour, but I guess its a case of wait and see.

As I mentioned this is a non-production role, but that will not stop me from continuing to work in productions if and when I can, certainly refusing to give up that dream. So most of what you see from now on will be what I am doing and learning from SIS and any upcoming opportunities.

In between all this I am planning and organising fundraising activities for Race For Life (R4L is what I call it). At least it gives me something to focus on. The good news with that is I have to quote Harry Potter ‘Exceeded Expectation’ on my fundraising target and will continue until the race, please feel free to checkout my just giving page http://www.justgiving.com/kathrynsmith7.

I will still share what I am doing and learning and progressing with SIS, and the future.

 

Nunquam Deditionem

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

Cosmopolitan Carnival Creativity

24 Aug

Hi Mediadreamz readers

What a day I have had, luckily not stuck on a checkout but something much more interesting. A few weeks back I was contacted by a company, through a recommendation, to help film an event happening in Leicester this weekend. The event is as you see above the Cosmopolitan Carnival and the purpose of the event is and was to Celebrate Leicester’s culturally diverse city through every imaginable art form. Everything from dancing of all forms to graffiti art, to music to singing and I along with a friend of mine, Raj, who I have worked with before on episodes of ‘Dickinson’s Real Deal’ were given the role of filming the setting up of the events, the reactions of people, the performances throughout the day and the closing aftermath of the events on the day.

 

                                    cosmopolitan

 

Prior to the event starting all the people involved we all met at Red Hot World Buffet where everyone had a complimentary lunch before getting ready to work. After getting the cameras Raj and I started filming, though the first half hour the cameras died so whilst they were charging we improvised (I used a spare Flip camera that I bought with me, and Raj used his phone). When all cameras had died it was a case of taking shifts to monitor the charging and guarding the tripods in half hourly intervals, in order to get some incredible footage. The main stage was mainly musical acts and the high st was dedicated to a mixture of dancing everything from tribal to zumba that encouraged other people to get involved too. I also thought the people on stilts was very creative. I made a couple of trips to st. Martin’s sq to listen to the random musical acts too, as well as getting people’s reactions. Personally my favourite bit was the dancing Chinese dragon, it was certainly something the children who came to the event found really interesting).

Areas were designated for the following
– Jubilee Square MAIN STAGE- MUSIC
– High Street DANCE ZONE
– St Martin’s Sq PERFORMANCE AREA-MUSIC

and not forgetting the Silver Arcade ARTS HUB & WORKSHOP DISPLAYS

Soon time grew closer to the fact that the dancing had finished and that everything was to end at Jubilee Sq with a few final acts before it all ended with a film projection on the wall of BBC Radio Leicester, so of the members of staff I met during the days events, and the footage was very interesting and cleverly constructed. And as usual the day went by so fast, this one of the disadvantages I have when involved in media work, that when I am enjoying something so much time just goes by, that is why it is so precious to any and all productions.

I am also having fun working on the feature film I mentioned before, which I resume work on in the next few days.

Trains, Strangers and a whole lotta networking

13 Mar

Hi fellow mediadreamz readers and those who follow me (to the many that do, thank you, it means a lot).

I have a great day heading to Birmingham for an event at the Library of Birmingham. As the event started at 11am I caught an early train, as I had no idea where I was going, funny thing me doing that as I ended up running into a customer I serve at Tesco and we had a good old catch-up as well as meeting a friend and colleague of his named Chrissy. Before going to find the venue I did my good deed for the day; took a lady to the Mailbox as she didn’t know where it was so I had a lot of time to spare. I then helped a guy find Queensway in Birmingham (if all fails in the TV/ Film industry, I can be a tour guide).

Got the the library in plenty of time and saw a lot of familiar faces and people which I had a great catch-up with. Spent the first hour meeting people and handing out loads of business cards before going to an induction session opened by a guy by the name of James and after being introduced to the guest speakers for the days events. Before everything started it was lunch and networking, though that was a let down of the day, a few trays of finger food and hardly anyone got anything to try. During the lunch break I got to talk to the guests who were attending, and it was during this time that I got a marriage proposal. How and why you may ask, explanation; two guys were looking for where the food was, only thing available was spicy asian cheese tarts, I noticed a tray of satay chicken and mentioned this. I was praised for my observation skills and one of the guys said ‘will you marry me, I won’t take no for an answer’. (Though I later learned both of these guys were both guest speakers and are writers in drama and comedy, guess which genre my proposal came from). It remained our private joke throughout the day.

First session I went to dealt ‘Skills for Success-Keeping your edge in a competitive changing environment’ with Creative Skills set talking about traineeships, opportunities and funding available for training up and down the UK. Second session ‘Film Finance Workshop’ was a Creative England talk where we were informed of film funding and grands to finance productions in and outside of Birmingham. The Third and final session ‘Getting and sustaining a career in the media’. It was here that I received a big shock seeing the two guys who had spoken to me who I later learned were William Gallagher who is famous for radio Doctor Who, ITV’s ‘Crossroads’ and a wide range of other drama programmes. The other guy was Keith R Lindsay, the man who proposed, who is known for working on ‘Birds of a feather’, ‘The green green grass’ which was co-written with John O’Sullivan a legend in himself. Another writer on the panel was Claire Bennett, a drama writer who has worked on ‘Doctors’ and ‘Holby City’. Out of all of these sessions this was my favourite, as it was relaxed and free flowing whereas the other two were regimental. Plus we could speak freely in the session and it was more humorous talking from all panel speakers.

Eventually the day came to an end and after hearing a summary of the day and about coming to future summit events. Then it was time to leave before heading home, and once on the train i met to people who started talking to me (I wonder if I have a face that invites people to talk to me, is there anyone else who had a face like that?) When we started talking one of the ladies told me her son works as a Art Director, and I immediately handed her my business card and it was my last one, which made to journey home even more sweeter.

So a productive day and I have projects in the pipeline and more to come soon, very soon

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