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Taking Pride by storm in Media

13 Jul

Hey Mediadreamzers

 

When Summer arrives, make the most of being out and about, and I did just that. Headed to London yesterday to attend the Royal Television Society event that addressed the issue of LBGT portrayed in TV soap storylines. Made it to London without any delays; it’s S’s-Law and I’m sure you will agree with me that when you are traveling to events, something usually happens; delays, cancellations, stormy weather the list goes on. Either way, made it to the Hospital Club and was early, so waited until the event was open to attendees. Found a seat in the gallery room and others started arriving and there was a group of 3 who sat next to me and we got chatting and I learned that they worked for ITV & BBC. So for me, that was a good surprise and we all chatted on what areas of media we work in, how we found out about the event and what our passions are.

 

Soon the speakers on the events panel arrived and took their seats on stage. The speakers were, wait for it, Oliver Kent- Head of Continuity in Drama series, BBC Studios, Pete Lawson Writer on EastEnders, Bryan Kirkwood- Executive Producer Hollyoaks, Iain MacLeod- Series Producer Emmerdale, and some of the actors from the soaps; Daniel Brocklebank- Corrie, Annie Wallace & Krupa Pattani -Hollyoaks. The panel was chaired by June Sarpong MBE- who is known for being a presenter on ‘Loose Women’, and also a panelist on Sky’s The Pledge program.

The topics discussed and questions asked, combined with a series of clips depicting LGBT storylines made the event as a whole really interesting and also a huge eye opener, with the actors, characters, and impact, they have on society as a whole. One story that was shared was Daniel mentioning an encounter he had with a lady in a supermarket saying very hurtful things, to which he gave a response that totally shut this woman up.  Other issues that were discussed were the Ofcom complaints, watershed time showings, relationships, cultural communities and the about individuals in the series and in real life coming out to their parents and loved ones and the psychological effect and the fear they have, especially with family traditions, religion, and social acceptance. Other areas that haven’t or have been touched on briefly were discussed and how there is still time in the future to create and develop those ideas for television audiences to see.

     

 

              

 

The floor was then open up to questions from the audience, followed by thank yous to the guest speakers, June and the CEO of the Royal Television Society Theresa Wise. Then, of course, the networking started and people started walking up to the guest speakers saying how much they enjoyed the discussion and topics/ opinions they felt about the series, storylines and their perceptions on certain issues. I admit for me it was really cool getting to speak to Annie, Krupa and Bryan and I asked him a question about one of the characters in Hollyoaks and his response was ‘I’m glad you didn’t ask that question on the mic’ as that character is still being developed. Also speaking the Emmerdale and EastEnders Producers was great too, meeting the people behind these soaps is one of those moments in life where you think ‘I never thought this would happen to me, meeting you’. I say that because although I work in this industry I sometimes think that there is a line or a barrier I am one side and those well known and established are on the other side and there is a ‘Do Not Cross this line’ sign in the middle. But every once in awhile it is nice to step over even if it is for a minute, an evening or a day to talk to individuals and say who you are.

Soon the numbers started to diminish as people left and I decided to head back out of London, had a fun evening and I learned a clever lesson when traveling to Euston station if you are going somewhere don’t get a tube train going the opposite direction. my trick getting on the wrong compass bound tube and ending up in Kensington. No matter, a simple walking over to the other side fixed everything.

 

I have also heard back from a director I worked with last year who mentioned a production that is being filmed in September, so I am hoping I am free to help out even if it is for a few days. He has also put in a requested for baked treats, moral booster for the cast and crew, well it helps when filming in the sticks and it’s cold and people have been working long days. September will soon be here.

 

Nunquam Deditioneum

 

 

 

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RTS London Night

26 Jan

Hey Mediadreamzers

Belated Happy New Year, it has been what feels like an eternity since I last posted on my blog. I kept wondering when I would be sitting on my laptop sharing my latest news, and now I am happy to say I can.

I had a fabtastic night in London where I had been at ITV Studios, my second visit there, and it really was fabtastic. I was attending an event organized by the Royal Television Society looking at Prosthetics and CGI used in TV/ Film productions.

 

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I admit I got to ITV a lot earlier than I thought I was gonna initially arrive, though when I got there and checked in at reception the lady at the desk ask me if I was Lily. I guess Lily was someone who was to feature on a TV program or there for some media related broadcasting. Got chatting to a few people also at the event, passing on advice and tips to them, before sitting down with teas and coffees to hear from individuals who work within this field of the industry. The panel was chaired by Muki Kuhlan-Digital Executive Producer who has been involved in shows like The Voice UK creating VR experiences. Muki’s company has been responsible for running a digital production company; Muki-international, creating social content, videos, apps, websites, animation, gfx, streaming, record labels.

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The guest speakers on the panel were Neill Gorton, Graeme Harper, Will Cohen and Gary Negus. Once Muki had introduced and welcomed everyone the event followed this sequence going from left to right each person was introduced a a showreel/ series of clips were shown of the different medias and projects ech person has worked on, then followed by each person talking about how they started in the industry, what its like working with prosthetics and CGI, actors, production, their views on the impact these elements have in media and how it has changed over the years.

Neill is the the Director of Millennium FX and Gorton Studios, a visiting professor at University of Bolton. Neill has worked on a wide variety of TV and Films here are some just to name a few Doctor Who, Being Human, Silent Witness, Little Britain, Saving Private Ryan, Gladiator, From Hell and many more.

Graeme started in the industry as an actor working on memorable shows and well known film; he worked on Doctor Who in the 1970s; was awesome to hear that he has worked with the likes of Jon Pertwee and Tom Baker before becoming a director/ producer and working on shows like Hollyoaks, The Bill, Casualty, House of Elliott.

Will is head of CGI company and it was funny but not in a way that Will has collaborated with Neill and Graeme in these productions; I guess it is who not what you know and learning about what it is typically like to work on a project or an idea, being round a table and throwing ideas and suggestions on what a director or producer wants to show.

Gary is the VP sales at Sohonet, I admit I have never heard of this company that provides high speed connectivity, telecommunications, workflow methods; accessing work from one computer from another in different locations. Primarily working in post production field enabling work to be shared to be a group of people whether your in the same or another country.

The floor was opened up for questions and after that people started leaving in groups and I like some other people stayed to chat to the speakers. It was great chatting to Graeme and Neill and before saying bye to each of them I passed on one of my business cards whether I will hear from them in the future I don’t know. Neill said a lot of helpful tips and advice about getting into special effects, the best ways to get noticed and to avoid the as he called it Robin letter. I also got chatting to someone else who was there and I learned that she was originally from my home county! How cool is that.

Getting back wasn’t as bad as I thought it would be it wasn’t late and there were no train delays which is never good when it is late at night, and whilst waiting on the train I decided to take a selfie.

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Looking forward to my next event with RTS which is going to be in March. But my next media activity is 15th Feb where I will be sharing a potential idea with media enthusiasts on creating a media platform. I’ve also been hearing about upcoming projects and waiting to see when they are going to be starting.

 

Nunquam Deditioneum

Ladies and Gentleman, day in the Capital, and a talk-show host

11 Jun

Hey Mediadreamzers

One thing I have never done before, and that is go into London on a Sunday. Granted its not breaking world headline news but it makes the weekend a whole lot more interesting and I guess it gets one through to Monday smiling about the day.

The morning was pretty slow before heading in to meet one of my friends for a catch up and just hanging out, but mainly for something really cool planned for the evening. Surprisingly London was not only busy for a Sunday but also bloody hot. Oh my we actually had what we call Summer, so everyone hopefully up and down the UK made the most of it.

Afternoon was going to Madam Tussaud’s, and I admit it was the first time I have been there; tried going years ago and I remember the queue stretching for three streets. It was a a lot cooler in M.T than outside. I admit it was nice to be papped with ‘celebrities’, seeing Star Wars and a bunch of other things housed inside. Following that it was a quick look round Baker Street Sherlock Holmes Museum before getting the tube all the way out to Waterloo and yes Abba song, of course. You may ask/ wonder why we were heading all the way out to Waterloo for 6pm, and the answer to that question L’s and G’s is to go to the ITV Studios; to be in the audience for one of the shows filmed there.

Here is the clue for the show it is on BBC One on Friday nights at about 10.35pm. And the seats we had in the audience were brilliant, you know when you go out and you find there is always someone in front of you who is taller than you and you can’t see well luckily that didn’t happen.
Before filming kicked off we were all entertained my a stand up comedian and by the time he had to come off the set my face was hurting from laughing. And then of course the host arrived, await for it, Graham Norton.

Following his entrance were Jeff Goldblum who many know him from Jurassic Park, The Grand Budapest Hotel and Independence Day and of course the follow up Independence Day two. Which Jeff discussed with fellow co-actor and another guest on the couch Liam Hemsworth. Yes the guy from the Hunger Games trilogy and completing the line up for the first part of the show was Dwayne ‘The Rock’ Johnson talking about his upcoming movie ‘Central Intelligence’.

The first part of each of the actors talking about there upcoming films, fun and funny banter and stories, Dwayne creating an app alarm clock system, looking at photos of what each of the actors looked like at certain stages in their lives, looking at clips for the films and laughing at various points.

My phone got its 15 seconds of fame, well rather 20 minutes but whose counting, well I wasn’t much.

Another guest on the show was who is representing the UK at the Rio Olympics. Go team GB. Finally we were all granted a performance from Tom Odell performing his latest song ‘Magnetised’, and it was an awesome song.

The show wrapped and it went like clock-work, afterwards James and I got access to the Green Room one of the places where guests, celebs and Graham Norton head to for drinks and food. But before that we both got pictures taken with Jeff Goldblum and I must say he is a very friendly very approachable person. Just a shame that the person taking the photo made it blurry, I guess I should have thought to use my actual camera. At least I got a picture with a legend.

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I even got to say hi to Liam after the show. Though before leaving James and I needed to sign release form as we had appeared on camera and of course ITV/ Graham Norton show did not want to get sued by us, not that I would but there are people out there that do.

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After filming it was a visit, like VIP visit to the Green Room, but before that I had the honour of meeting Jeff and getting a photo with him was the highlight to end the day (just a shame the guy taking the photo on my phone made it really blurry; note to self I should have used my normal camera). Headed into the Green Room, spoke to a few people and Graham came in and spoke to a few people. It got a bit hot at one point so my friend and I headed outside where some of the people who work for ITV and on the show were chatting. I had a blast today and I owe my friend a big thank you for such an awesome Sunday, normally I am pretty boring on that day so it was nice to shake it up a bit.

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Made it back home just after midnight and prepped myself for getting up to go on a defibrillator training course as part of what I already know. Hopefully, I will still be awake later that morning given the fact I went to bed at 1am and got up at 5am.

 

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More opportunities in the next couple of weeks so I am hoping the weather holds up for these.

 

Nunquam Deditioneum

Valuation of the day; what a Real Deal

29 Jan

I am sad that my placement with Creative England has come to an end, though I can say that I have enjoyed it. It was nice of Stephen and Elizabeth to take me for a leaving lunch, and it was the first time I got to try Falafel (I know of all the things to have off the menu, but as I had never tried it I thought why not).

As the saying goes when one door closes, another opens and this was certainly the case. Despite the door being open for a day I got the chance to work with a production company surprisingly they were filming a daytime episode in my home town. I thought at first that this was a twilight zone moment as I live in a town which has nothing to really offer, nor anything exciting. This was part of a programme made by RDF Television, and the clue is in the title. I made it to the location in plenty of time and met 6 other runners who had traveled from places like Manchester, York etc, and from what I could gather from everyone many of them were/ are novices to the role. We met the production assistants Jo and Emily, who gave us the tour of the place and we were all allocated our roles. I was assigned the front and inner part of the conference hall, where I was detailing with refreshments, answering questions and letting participants into the conference area in small amounts. The day went by so fast, and after we’d all had lunch at the various intervals, I and everyone rotated roles and mine was with one of the podium’s and that was a treat meeting one of the dealers and she was really sweet. The afternoon was one where I was problem solving for not only the other runners on an crisis, and with the actual crew RDF on a minor issue that I solved using my initiative. Eventually the day overall came to a quick end (or it rather felt like that) and it was a case of thanking Jo for letting me help out and if there are future productions in the Midlands to give me a buzz and I will be there like a shot. So it was a great opportunity under the hammer, well I am sold on this and fingers crossed they ask me back. At one point in the day, I got a chance to interact with the production crew, one of which was an electrician who had worked on ‘Doctors’, and other projects. Great day, great day.

Trains, Trams and Fast Track

21 Nov

Well, it wasn’t fast trains, or a barrel of laughs for me this morning. What a nightmare it was getting back from Manchester with the flooding, delays, signalling problems and everything else that has been going on. Despite that I had a great day yesterday at MediaCity UK at the very first BBC Fast Train Track workshop day. It was basically a day where those who have worked in the industry for two years, or had a least three well established credits on their CV could attend various masterclasses, seminars, workshops and LIVE interactive sessions in all things media that ranged from TV to Film, Radio to pitching, Screenwriting to editing and much much more. As it was a day that started at 9am and ended at 7pm, I went for three classes and the networking event for afters, and because it being a trek from the East midlands it was afternoon classes all around. Once I’d made it to manchester, drop my case at the hotel and jumped on the MetroLink it was easy sailing to the North. The first class of the day was ‘How to Crack Careers’, which of course the title answers for itself what it is about. The session consisted of a chair woman who introduced the speakers of the day, one of which I know through another one of my media contacts up North. It was interesting learning how each person had got into this industry through various routes, means and connections and all the advice they passed on to us was so helpful that everyone was scribbling away so hard on their pads of paper that I thought they were going to start a fire. Though that wouldn’t have lasted long as it was pouring with rain, and as everyone always says to me ‘It always rains up North’.

 

Before my next session I decided to kill some time in the careers corner, where I and so many other people wondered round the different tables/ stalls of all media training companies, ITV, unions, Creative England and loads more. I was drawn to the ITV tables, as the had loads of give aways not just the typical pens and paper but also ‘TEXT SANTA’ Christmas hats, key-rings, and stuffed animal toys that unfortunately I and no-one else could take away though it would have been so cool to walk away with a toy kangaroo, or dragon. I got a surprise when I saw a familiar face at the Creative England table, Nicky, who I had seen only a week ago at a previous event and it was great to have a catch up before going to the next session on my agenda….

This was Drama Management, mainly learning about the work and roles of Line Producer/ Production Managers. Now I know how much work my friend Terry has to put in on a daily basis with TV and Films he works on, but I guess its all part and parcel of the game. One thing I will not forget immediately about the area we had our session in is the flamboyantly striking chairs,  that immediately made me think that Paul Smith had designed them, maybe he did? After whizzing through so much in an hour it was a quick dash to the next building for the final session; Cutting Edge look into Current Affairs. meeting the people behind the numerous programmes, only to name a few ‘Dispatches, Panorama, BBC 3 docs and loads more. Although most of the discussion centred on trust issues because of the news night programme about Jimmy Savile, everything that each spokesperson said was brilliant and the questions that followed and all the advice that was given.

Of course the overall highlight of the evening was the networking, and the drinks and trust me there was lots and lots of it, I would say enough to sink a battleship. After a few words from the boss of BBC North, Peter Salmon who thanked everyone for attending, the speakers and awarded a person who had pitched an idea to a panel of BBC Execs a cheques for 5K, all I can say is well one to that person and hope her idea develops and is a success. I even got the opportunity to shake hands with Peter Salmon and other people as well as hand out a few business cards. As I was completely shattered from the travel and the whole day I just got on the MLink and just went back to the hotel and chilled from the day. Next mission on the cards is to get home, forward copies of my CV to my new found friends and doing everything else I couldn’t do before I left (despite being hindered by the rain I made it back annoyed but ok). I just hope there are more and future events I can go to as I have so much fun going to these gatherings, and hope that my next activity is just as good. There is something in the pipeline but I don’t want to say yet, no spoilers yet folks, not until I have all confirmed.

Keeping reading and enjoy x

I am a shadow

6 Sep

Well, I call myself this because I was dressed all in black today. The reason for this was I spent the day at ITV Studios. It was a case of getting up at the crack of dawn to get to Manchester as CrossCountry Trains where I live are rubbish (change will never come). And of course of all the days I need to be somewhere on time, there has to be a trespasser on the train tracks. At times I think the UK should adopt the attitude of the USA; Trespassers will be shot. Beside this I made it, and I couldn’t have gotten lost as the building I was heading to had Granada TV in big red letters outside, that I called reception to make sure I was heading to the right building, as ITV are moving to MediaCIty.

After signing in I met Lesley, a production runner who is with 3SixtyMedia, and from there I was taken to the production office to meet the rest of the team. I also got to meet the person I have been corresponding with over the past couple of weeks to arrange to come to ITV. Lesley then gave me a tour of the site, once I introduced to more people and shown the different departments, and I will admit the site is enormous that I did lose my bearings a few times, though luckily Lesley kept pointing me in the right direction. One area I was shown was where they film Corrie, and I was treated a visit to the ‘Rovers Return’, no pints I was working. Along with making notes, tidying the galleries, helping source supplies it was a great and busy day. One thing I didn’t think would happen was seeing a few famous faces; William Roache, Mikey North and Ben Price.

 

I just couldn’t get over how fast the day had gone and soon it was time to go, so it was a case of heading to Manchester Piccadilly and it took a heck of a journey to get back to the Midlands. So more opportunities to talk about really soon, I hope.

Trains, Trams and MediaCity

29 Jul

My feet are throbbing from yesterday, but it was so worth it, considering the day I have had being in Manchester. After getting to Manchester Piccadilly, and jumping in a taxi my destination was MediaCity. Turning a corner and seeing the BBC sign, was the highlight of the day, and seeing the cool new buildings. After meeting Jane I was given a tour of one of the buildings and looking out of the window I got a great view of what was and will be on the Salford site. I think the pics speak for themselves, on the size and view.

My visit to MediaCity even involved a tour of the Lowry shopping centre, where I had lunch with Jane and her assistant, so I know where the nearest cinema and designer clothes shops are too. Back on site I got a tour of other buildings and in the entertainment block I encountered the boss of BBC North, Peter Salmon! All I thought at the time was OMG! As people say ‘save the best for last’ mine was meeting one of the people in the recruitment team, who will be contacting me in the next couple of weeks to go back to Manchester to have a meeting with her.

My visit went by so quickly, that I was sad when I had to leave, and I thought I’d leave in style, by going on the tram. I had never been on a tram before, and it reminded me of a rickety rollercaster. Because I had an hour to kill before leaving Manchester I just toured the train station, found a sushi bar (YO SUSHI) and chowed down to some on the train out. I only hope my call back to Manchester will be soon, and something positive comes out of it.

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