Professional Experience – My Creative Work and Teamwork

Teamwork

Over the course of professional experience,  have had to work with various teams, of different sizes and all involving different types of characters. What I have learnt though is how to actually work in these various teams, and how my role in the team effects myself, my team and the project as a whole.

In the projects, I took on various roles that I would like to do in the future. I like the idea of management in the media industry, and by taking on the producer and assistant-director roles, I was able to gain an insight in how it is to manage different people. Overall I think I did really well. I’ve had previous experience of management in my current part time job and I have also had to work with difficult colleagues in the past. This was the case on some of the projects I worked on, but I just had to be very straight and tell them what I needed to do. I found that by being honest, it definitely helps and gets the point across much clearer and easier.

The various different team sizes also gave me the opportunity to be managed on a broader scale. I had to keep alert and aware of what was happening both on and off set. My communication skills also improved between people I have never worked with before and I took this opportunity to see how others work. There are times that I didn’t like what people were doing and when giving my opinion, I was “sent packing” as such, even though I knew what the best option was. I dont think it was a case of me not speaking up, because I did, it was more of a case of  people not liking what it was I said. Perhaps I challenged their motifs or ethics and stood on their toes, but I wouldn’t want it any other way. If i was in their position, I would certainly want to be told if there was a different solution to what it was I was doing. It would then give you another option for you to think about in the future.

Overall, I feel that i have progressed as a team-member. Although I feel I was a fantastic team player before the module, it has giving me the opportunity to develop my thoughts, increase my management potential and work well with new individuals.

Creative Work

Over the course of the module, I have been able to bring out my creativity in a number of ways. I have always seen myself as a script writer, and by working on the TV studio tutorials, It gave me some valuable experience at writing both to a strict set of rules but also writing comedy. I was also able to think of new and intelligent ways to use a camera and by completing storyboards to get my vision into the minds of others.

The work that I have produced is below. Some of the work that I completed cannot be shown currently due to agreements, but will be listed as soon as I am able to.

TV Studio Tutorials

Brighton Promotional Video

Duplex Promotional Video (Rough Cut)

Professional Experience #4 – PKB present; Duplex

For this professional experience opportunity, I will be working for the PKB (Pot Kettle Black) production group, making a promotional and a music video for an upcoming musical duo known as ‘Duplex’.

Opportunity: PKB Productions present; Duplex

Dates: Wednesday 1st February – Friday 25th May

Day 1 – Monday 26th March

Today was all about getting the main part of the promotional video shot that we are making for Duplex. They are a new and upcoming music duo from the Midlands and the duo consists of Jasraj Sahota and Columb Finn. The opportunity to be a part of this came up from a friend of mine, Govie Singh. He asked me to get involved as he says he needs a reliable person on his team, and I was appreciative that he thought of me for this role. We had an early start in the Universities music facilities. We used this as a background set with the drums and keyboard as it gave a bit more to the scenery and it was a good accompaniment to the subject we were filming.

The shoot started at at 10:00 and it took about 25 minutes to set the room up how we wanted. The first problem we encountered was the lighting. The room has it’s own spotlighting, but it didn’t really “warm” the video up much and it looked dull on screen. The real problem arose though when we added dedo light, it cast way too many shadows and it just looked really poor. To combat this, we had to cover the spot lights above and just use the dedo’s as much as possible. The shoot was basic, and it was asking both artists various questions about their music and the industry. There was roughly 40 questions, and it was a mixture of close-ups and joint shots. This is where the next problem arose, after 10 minutes filming, we took a quick look back at the footage and during the audio, there was a very high pitch tone. This wasn’t heard during filming by our sound tech and after several attempts at sourcing the issue, it turned out to by the connection on the rifle mic being loose. To counter this I had to hold the mic with the xlr cable at an awkward angle by lieing on the floor, not ideal, but it worked.

The shoot was wrapped up quite quickly and we discussed what shots we wanted to get tomorrow when we film inside the duo’s studio.

Today should of gone a lot smoother then it did. There was a lot of messing around with the lights and audio which I didn’t really envision. It shows that you need to make sure your equipment is working 100 % before going on a shoot. Overall the team worked well and efficiently and the Duplex duo were very willing and open on the shoot. I am looking forward to the next few shoots and the journey that we would be embarking on together in the future and I am pleased with the work produced so far.

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Professional Experience #3 – Fresh@CU

For this professional experience opportunity, I will be working for the Fresh@CU production house, making several videos for different 3rd party companies, such as the City Council and Rolls Royce.

Opportunity: Fresh@CU

Dates: Tuesday 10th April – Friday 4th May

Day 1 – Tuesday 10th April

For my experience with the Fresh@CU production house, I will be working in a team of 6 completing a tutorial video again for Rolls Royce. For this video we had to show the people at Rolls Royce the top 10 things to think about when making a video. They will use this to show to their staff members who will be making videos to put on their intranet pages.

To begin the day, we had a group meeting with the production company to decide who was taking on what rolls, what we wanted to achieve with the video and the completion time. My role was to simply script the 10 minute video and help produce the final piece. After our initial meeting, we got together to talk through the top 10 things we wanted to include in the video.

A lot of my ideas were put forward to the final video, such as camera stabilisation, editing and keeping the video interesting. For once, the meetings were held in very high spirit and everybody had a chance to air their ideas which I think can only help to make a better piece. I think we could of used 20 or so different ideas, but the ones above really were the best ones to include in the video.

Once we had our ideas, we needed a “spin” on the video. Did we literally just want to show these different tips in a generic manner, or did we want to do something different? Personally I struggled to find a solution, however, one member of the group came up with the QVC/shopping channel idea which immediately made sparks fly. I was already thinking of cheesy puns to add in the video but I was immediately brought down to earth by our producer. She wanted the video to be more “serious” especially working with such a high profile client, which made me think of the previous “experience”. We decided to wait until we met with the production house leaders to decide on how the script would run. Once we met them, they liked the idea of the shopping channel and they said that we could use a mixture of cheesy puns during the video, but overall keep it a serious piece.

From this point, I had a clear idea of how I needed to script the video. I got to work straight away. First I looked at various QVC videos on Youtube to see how the presenter “sells” the product. This is where I thought of actually selling a generic video camera during the piece, but then include the 10 points during the “selling” stages. The rest of the group liked that idea and therefore we went along with it. Below are a few screens of the the script that I came up with.

From this point, the production group was heading off into their separate directions. 2 of the members went to work on locations and set design and the producer was looking at potential actors. With the draft of my script complete, I went upstairs to the production house to ask Spencer to take a look over it and to suggest improvements. Unfortunately, he wasn’t available so I had to email him a copy. At this point, most of the working day was complete and was at this point told to go home and recharge the batteries.

Looking at back at todays event’s, some things went really well and some didn’t. It was nice to see a project start at completely nothing during a pre-production meeting at 10 o’clock, and by 5 o’clock it had real purpose and “legs”. Some members of the group however didn’t pull enough weight in my opinion or didn’t show much of a ‘pro-activeness’. I had already heard things about these members from other groups who have worked with them in the past, and I wasn’t really looking forward to working with them myself but there are going to be times where your not going to like your colleagues in life. It turns out they weren’t reliable during the day, and if it wasn’t for 3/4 of us, the project wouldn’t have expanded and moved forward as much as it did. I now understand how reliability is key when working on a group project, one loose cog can spoil everything and it is a crucial part of being a professional. Getting more experience of scripting is also only helping my writing skills and all the way through my professional experience opportunities, I feel like I am becoming better in this role, which is what I set out to achieve.

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Professional Experience #2 – TV Studio

For this professional experience opportunity, I will be working with a group of students, spending 6 days in the TV studio at University working on a set of tutorial videos that will be used in the future to show the how different pieces of equipment works.

Opportunity: The TV Studio Tutorials

Dates: Tuesday 27th March – Friday 13th April

Day 1 – Tuesday 27th March

Today was our pre-production day. We met up at 10 o’clock in the TV studio and worked on the various bits and pieces we needed to make a successful set of tutorial video’s. The first discussion of the day was the particular roles we wanted to do. I asked to be either the director or producer of the videos and as a group we decided it was best that both myself and Tom co-direct whilst I would take on the role of producer and script writer as-well. I really wanted to get my hands stuck right into this and was happy to take on more then 1 role. The next item on the agenda was which pieces from the TV studio we wanted to capture. I put forward that it was the main things that we wanted to look at, which were, the autocue, the vision mixer, the camera’s, studio sound, gallery sound, VTs and talkback. We decided as a group that perhaps the VTs and camera’s weren’t needed as they were very simple to pick up on and don’t need a whole video devoted to them. We also grouped both the sound options together to leave us with;

  • The Autocue
  • Sound
  • Talkback
  • Vision Mixer

The next stage was to discuss how we were going to film these videos and the style. Several members of the group put forward their ideas, such as Celebrity Masks, a 70s theme base on tomorrows world, a simple horror, or just basic videos on how to use the equipment. I argued that just making these video’s simply was a very boring and safe option. We then discussed what we could do with the 70s theme, such as having an actor in old style clothes, using puns that reflect the modern day and the grading the films in the way TV looks. I was liking the idea more and more, and as a group we decided this was our best option. I set the group a few tasks for the rest of the day so that we would be ready for our shoot. Tom was put in charge of finding an actor, and Scott and Sophie were put in charge of props’s. I took the time to have a look around the studio and just re-jog my memory on the equipment. I felt confident already, but it was a good opportunity just to clarify my own knowledge. Once the group got back, we decided on which date was the best to film. The only day the studio was available was this Thursday so we had to get cracking. We confirmed the actor’s availability and the props we would use and we were all set, that was until I reminded people about the scripts. I noted that it was a very short time frame for me to write 4 tutorial scripts and get them to the actor for him to look over within 24 hours, but it was the best we could do in the short time frame.

Overall I’m really happy with what we produced in a day. It was good to see a group finally working well together and have thoughtful and proper discussions giving both positive and negatives to everything that was brought up in the meeting. Tomorrow is going to be a long day for me.

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Professional Experience #1 – Brighton

For this professional experience opportunity, I will be spending 3 days in Brighton and London working on another student’s final project, Charlotte Smith, who is currently studying Fashion photography at Southampton Solant university. She has asked me to film her promotional video/advert that she is making, in association with Topman, and also show her how to edit using final cut pro.

Opportunity: Brighton Advertisement/Promotional campaign

Dates: Thursday 5th April – Saturday 7th April

Day 1 – Thursday 5th April

The day didn’t start off well, I was expecting to receive my LCD monitor for my DSLR rig back from the repair shop, but it didn’t turn up. That put a dampener on the start of the day as it would be a useful tool on the actual shoot tomorrow. I left for Brighton at 09:00 hoping to get there for about 11:30 to start discussing what shot’s we were looking to get and what order we wanted to shoot in, however, traffic was an absolute nightmare, and I didn’t eventually make it till 13:30. I met up with Victoria and Charlotte in the town centre. We went around the various locations that Charlotte picked out and looked at what angles we wanted to get the footage from and what the general area looked like. The main problem that I could see is that there was a lot of people around and it could be a little dangerous getting the footage that we wanted.

We went down towards Brighton beach to see what the surrounding area was like and unfortunately, It wasn’t up to scratch. The area looked dirty and the background wasn’t the most appealing. We looked around for a suitable area to film the final part of the video, and we ended up driving to Worthing Pier. It was much better. We headed back to the hotel to work on what time’s we were planning on shooting during the day and a small story-board to. Overall, a very satisfying day on the pre-production side of things. It was important to run into any potential problems and mistakes early today to try and rectify them before we go on the shoot tomorrow.

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#creativact – The Work of My Peers (For Assessment)

Throughout the Creative Activism course, the group has been hard at work at various different media objects to take a stand or to make an impact in the world. Here are some of my favorites and why.

For James Root’s empathy documentary, he decided to take on the challenge of having no communication for 24 hours. What I like about this piece is that he self reflects on himself. He finds out that his days are “un-constructive” and that he talks a lot of “shit”. He also reminds himself of how life was without simple communication tools such as Facebook and Twitter. He uses a mixture of a webcam style video, but adds in lots of other shots and cuts which emphasise the point he is trying to make. That is something that I didn’t do enough of in my documentary and I applaud James for that. People do tend to enjoy the webcam style videos, and you only have to look at some of the top subscribers on Youtube to find that these types of video lead the way. James documentary would fit well in that category. On the empathy side of things, obviously, there are people in the world who can’t communicate in these way. Some people are deaf, blind, don’t have the Internet/phones or have no voice and with James putting himself in there shoes, he is able to grasp what the reality is like for those people. He get’s that point across well in the video. Out of all the documentaries produced, it is my favorite.

Week 1′s challenge was one of my favorite’s to complete and to look at other people’s ideas. The image above, by Sarah Wildash stood out for me. The image is very thought provoking and can mean a number of things which is what the aim of the task was to do. Firstly, it’s the simplicity that stands out. It’s a girl, with a plaster over her mouth which immediately signals to me that this image is about women being made to kept quiet. Then as you see the red splatter that indicates blood in my first thought. Then as you try and link both thoughts, you get a new thought of perhaps domestic abuse. I really like how innocent the girl looks, then with the plaster over the top it gives the real impact.

Emma’s documentary took on a subject very close to my heart. She decided to be bed-bound for 24 hours. This had an impact on me because my family is going through the same process with my granddad who, due to illness has been in bed for just under a year now. Lot’s of people in the world are in the exact same position, so this documentary could have impact on all those people as well. Although not filmed brilliantly, she gets the point across really well. It does make you think what you would do if you couldn’t visit your favorite places again. It’s a strange feeling and one I have put myself in numerous times as I think about my once ‘ever so active Grandad.

The final piece that I enjoyed is Helena’s provoking image piece. What strikes me about this image is that how simple it is. The empty bottles inspire an alcohol culture and the mascot in the background show’s to be drunk and collapsed on the floor which provokes my thoughts. By using the mascot, it makes me feel that the image is trying to talk about the young drinking culture. The mascot immediately signals a sign of children. The image itself is produced well which make’s it stand out even more.

Overall, I think everyone can be pleased with the work, time and effort they have put in by making these artefacts. Although they may not make a massive impact in the world, they have certainly made impact in the local environment and especially with me.

‘Whodunit’ – Evaluation (For Assessment)

So this is our final edit of the film, ‘Whodunit?’

After last week’s crit, we made a few adjustments to the film which are definitely for the better. We took all the feedback on board and used that to decide where to focus our attention in the edit suite.

I think it’s important to talk about the project as a whole to begin with. Our problems early in this module have been well documented. We took on board what turned out to be a very problematic project. The original idea, ‘Assembly’ involved a strong talking point with the story being about a mother giving a bomb to her unsuspecting son who takes it into his school. As a group we decided to be a bit controversial and a bit different, too many student projects involve 3 things, sex, guns and comedy and we wanted to go beyond those limitations. It was getting increasingly hard to finalise a script for the film, and we didn’t have a solid ending which is vitally important to make the film make sense. We had numerous knock-backs with actors, especially children as lots of agents didn’t want their clients working in a terrorism plot-line and as we needed a school to film in, CRB checks would have been needed and it would take too long for them to be completed for us to make the film in time. After numerous production meetings, we decided to shelve the idea which turned out to be the right thing to do. I found that it’s important to have a 2nd option ready to go which we did not. We started from scratch with about 20 days to go and it was tough getting everything sorted. It was of testament to the group that we got all the logistics completed, and everybody knuckled down to work.

So with the new film in place, the filming process was very simple. I’ve never been on a shoot where something major has happened and led to problems for the rest of the shoot but this was different. We worked efficiently and when a problem did arise such as the lamp bulb running out, we had a couple of spares available just in case. The lighting on a few shots was a bit off too, but we used all our skills and knowledge to make the scenes match and look authentic.

I had reservations at the start of the project of working with my close friends. I thought that we would be too kind to each other through the process and wouldn’t speak our mind when needed. However, my reservations was completely unjust. Even when things looked bleak or members wasn’t pulling their weight, we all spoke our mind and just took it on the chin which was good. It stopped there from being a negative cloud hanging above our heads.

Here is my evaluation of my groups members;

  • Tori – Did a good job throughout the project. She made sure the actors were prepared for the shoot and kept in contact with all members at crucial stages of the production. She participated well in group discussions. She also gave good feedback on different aspects such as the script and actors.
  • Sean – As editor/dop, he worked tirelessly on both the rough edit and the final edit. He participated well in group discussions and also gave good feedback on different aspects such as the script and actors. He marked down all the footage to make his job at the end of the project easier to complete. He worked in conjunction with Gov (the other DOP) really well, and gave me some advice on the scenes. He also did a rough storyboard.
  • Gov – As chief DOP he completed a shooting schedule and storyboard to make his job easier. He participated well in group discussions and also gave good feedback on different aspects such as the script and actors. He filled in the group blog and was in contact with the rest of the group.
  • Tik – As camera op, he worked intuitively with the camera and the equipment which made the production day run smoothly. Didn’t make too much of a contribution to begin with, but when the new project was announced, he gave good feedback on the new idea.

So onto the film itself. Am I happy with it? Yeah, definitely. You can see a major difference in the films we shot in the first year. This a lot more refined, shot better and by using actors, it gives the film that professional feel. I love how the cast interacts with each other, then move around the set in unison which is nice and after going through the script 20 or so times on the day, for them to keep the timing of each section exactly the same, it was testament to their professionalism. I really love the last 10 seconds of the film, the reveal shot looks great and by cutting to a reaction shot, then back again, it gives the audience a sense of what is being felt by the police officers. It also gives them time to realise what has been said.

If I was to do this again, I would make a few changes. I think it looks a too bit dark, although that was we wanted the film to feel like. You can’t really see the supporting actor in the background. I would record the audio completely separately too, it took a long time for us to sort the audio out in the film and to get it in sync.

Overall, I personally feel I have worked really hard in this project. I love to make films and it’s what I want to do as a career. By taking this project on in the professional manor, it’s given me an insight into what life may be like when I graduate. My communication and management skills have improved tremendously and I have learnt that hard work does pay off.