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Milton Keynes & Me 50 Years in an evening

7 Sep

Hey Mediadreamzers

God it has been practically years since I lasted posted. I have been waiting and waiting for my next media related event to happen, and now it has.

Some of you many have seen on BBC 4 a few weeks back the film titled Milton Keynes and Me by Director Richard Macer. I admit I was kicking myself for missing it when it was on TV, but had a second chance to see it when a screening of it was arranged, followed by a Q &A session with the Director himself.

For those of you haven’t seen Milton Keynes and Me the story is told and see through the eyes of Richard Macer who grew up in MK and left when he was 18 to go to University. With it being 50 years in 2017 that MK was created, Richard returned to his hometown to look back into to how MK was created and established as a New-town place, the Fred Roche Foundation which was responsible for the planning and constructing and houses, shopping centre and sculptures depicting the creativity and uniqueness of MK. And yes that includes reference to the cow sculptures created by Canadian Liz Leyh. It was cool that Richard was able to track Liz down and ask her what she thought 50 years on from when they were placed in MK.

The beginning of the film looked at the memories of MK through the eyes of his mum and dad and how MK was the UK’s equivalent to the American Dream when it came to the housing crisis that hit London in the 1950’s and 60’s. One other aspect of MK that was shown and talked about was when people think of MK besides the cows that they comment on the number of roundabouts and there is one thing I discovered whilst watching the film and that is that there is a roundabout appreciation society, something I never knew existed until that night. Following on from that there the society has given certain named roundabouts and one of the roundabouts in Fox Milne is known and named as a bonking roundabout because it was a roundabout where people used to make love and have rendezvous. One thing that is being added to Fox Milne roundabout soon is a sculpture, commemorating 50 years.

I also discovered that years ago a commercial was created advertising MK as a New-town haven and what was memorable about the commercial was that there was a boy carrying a red balloon and how everyone at the end had balloons and let them go. I admit when I saw the red balloon at first my mind immediately ran to thinking of Stephen King IT. It also got my thinking whether to not it would be possible or a good idea to make an updated commercial on what MK has for people to see. There was a generation aspect to the film where Richard headed to his old school where he talked to the current students at Stantonbury Campus. I did not know that there was something called ‘Day 10’ where students spent to entire day focusing on one subject. Would be interesting if schools today could bring that back, might make a difference.

Granted there was some negative moments in the film, that was probably down to when it was shot (Jan/ Feb) when it isn’t exactly scorching like Ibiza. But you need somewhat of a place in a film to make it work.

At the end there was the Q&A with Richard with the help of his friend and many people got to share their views, saying whether they liked it, hate it, what they thought would have been nice to have included. One thing that was somewhat annoying was that a member of the council was there and I felt that he was using it as a self promotional platform on what he could do to make things better or changes to bring about if we/ people get in touch with their local Councillors. At the eventual end I got the chance to meet and speak to Richard and share my thoughts on the film itself.

It is nice to be back on the grid of sharing, and the good news is that there will be a follow up as tonight I am off to a red carpet premiere at the Vue, Leicester Square. So I am getting all dressed up and hopefully get the chance to meet the actors and catch up with some of my media friends.

My work as a Gallery Production Assistant is going very well, and my next series of freelance opportunities are happening in the next few weeks that I am looking forward to.

Nunquam Deditioneum.

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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

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

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