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Hello, My name is Dean Atkinson, and this is my presentation on my professional experience work that I have completed over the year and how it has improved me as a professional.
For my 20 days professional experience, I took the opportunity to take up a series of self-managed projects that were offered to me either via the University or by my own contacts.
These opportunities consisted of:
- Making a promotional video for a student’s final project in association with Topman.
- Making a series of tutorial video’s set in the University TV Studio.
- Making a promotional video for an upcoming music duo; Duplex
- Working with the Fresh@CU Production house on a series of videos in association with Rolls Royce and The Coventry City Council.
All these opportunities gave me a mixture of roles to take on, and a varied amount of work to complete. These were all different experiences in which I was able to both utilize and challenge my skill set whilst also working under different environments and relationships.
At the start of the module, I was very excited that I had the opportunity to work out there in the real world. Broadcast media is what I want to do in my chosen career patch and my original idea, as I alluded to on my proposal, was to work on several placements for large media organizations such as the BBC, ITV, Sky and Endemol as this is what I want to do as my chosen career path. Unfortunately, these didn’t come about very easy, and when I applied for the roles, I had learnt that they were either taken, not available or they wasn’t giving out any work experience roles until later in the year. This could have been a simple case of ‘it’s who you know, not what you know’. I also was interested in working abroad in California, which was being organized by the 3rd years and the lecturers at University. I thought this would be a perfect way to see how I cope working in a different environment and a different culture as this was also something I was keen to do once I graduate. Again, problems occurred with this project due to funding which meant I was able to participate.
All this meant I had to rethink my strategy for my professional experience and look at self-managed projects or opportunities elsewhere to work in a professional manor.
For my first two experiences I co-produced and camera operated for a student’s final project. The project was to make a promotional video for the clothing brand Topman. The second project was all about making a promotional and music video for a duo called Duplex. What these roles allowed me to do was to become more familiar with a DSLR camera, whilst also working with new colleagues and subjects to make a successful piece. I was allowed to give my opinion on what type of shots were needed and I was also able to manage crew members and the project as a whole. Both projects were all about putting my knowledge into practice.
For the Fresh@CU production house, I was able to work in conjunction with 2 major companies in Rolls Royce and The City Council. For both companies, I was involved in making promotional and tutorial video’s which had to be to an industry standard whilst also working to strict briefs and deadlines. These projects allowed me to get some experience in script writing and the various edits that go along with it. I also got more confidence in using another camera, the Sony Z1 and was able to self manage myself on all the projects.
The final experience that I took upon was based in the University’s TV studio. I was part of a crew of 6 making various tutorial videos’, which will be used for new and existing students. This role gave me free reign over it’s what needed to be done, and I was involved in all stages of the videos, ranging from scripting, producing, sound and camera operating and finally editing. What this allowed me to do was get a glimpse in how a project is run from start to finish, and the various stages it goes through until it’s completion. I was able to take a management role in its production and made sure that my crew and myself both worked in a professional manner.
What I found though from working on these projects is that I was able to build up a more diverse set of skills in different areas, which I may not have been able to do had I been on just a work placement. Generally on a traditional placement, you are stuck in one particular role so by going full circle on my original idea, It has definitely turned out for the better. By undertaking these projects, I have also managed to add a good amount of work to my show-reel as well as my CV, which will only help in the future. What also worked well is the practicality of the projects. As most of them were locally based, it meant I was able to spend a lot of time working on the projects between my University work and my job, which I may have had to think twice about when looking at a work placement.
To say I wasn’t disappointed in not gaining a work placement with a broadcaster would be an understatement. It would have been a great experience learning how a typical broadcaster works in a professional environment and to see the types of skills that I need to thrive in that industry. I would have also been able to build up a working relationship with potential employees. Building a potential network with these employees’ would of also helped and the contacts I no doubt would have gained in these roles would have been a fantastic addition to my skills and knowledge of the industry. Saying this, lots of broadcast work, especially in the news segment of the industry is becoming more and more freelance, so by not working with the broadcaster’s in their establishments, it has enabled me to see what it is like from the outside looking in.
All of the experiences I undertook involved me taking on management, scripting and camera operating roles. These are the roles in which I wanted to improve before the module began. I was able to improve my skills in these by taking on the producer, assistant director and lead writer in the TV studio tutorial video’s, producer and writer for the Fresh@CU production house and assistant producer for the Topman promotional video. I was also able to gain more experience at using different types of camera during all the projects that I was involved in. All the roles were demanding in their own ways, but I thrived in the situations especially in the management positions. I have built up skills in man-management and communication over the past 4 years in both my media work and retail, and by utilizing these in my professional experience, it both helped me and the group’s I was working with.
The journey for my professional experience could be described as quite tedious. I perhaps left it too late to decide what I wanted to do and this perhaps prevented me from getting the roles that I wanted. I have learnt that you have to be pro-active in this industry and thing’s don’t tend to just happen, but you need to make them happen. I knew where it is I wanted to go, but I left little time to organize.
It’s clear to see that my expectations at the start of the module haven’t been met by my experience. I knew all along that I wanted a career in broadcast, and by only really undertaking one role available in the TV studio I wasn’t able to fully meet those expectations. Once I received the initial rejections from the broadcasters I contacted, I should of looked elsewhere for opportunities such as the University TV and radio stations, local radio or smaller broadcasters.
If I look back at the roles I undertook, it is clear to see I got a good mixture of work under different environments. I worked in the fashion industry, the music industry, the promotional and marketing industries and the training video industry. All this has greatly enhanced and informed me of my future in the media world. All though the projects all had their plus points such as working in association with brands such as Topman and Rolls Royce, it is not something that I want to make a career out of. Broadcast is still my priority, and by undertaking roles in the freelance side of media it has only encouraged those thoughts.
Now, after completing my 20 days of experience, I need to consider what I need to look at in the future. Looking back at the experiences that I have undertook, there are still a few skills that I need to address. I still need to greatly improve my camera techniques and skills up to a professional standard, and to do this I have to be persistent in the roles that I am undertaking. To also compete in my chosen field, I also need to enhance my knowledge of the broadcasting world, and to do this I have applied for a number of trainee and placement positions working in this environment in the summer. There are still lots of things to learn, and by putting all my professional practice into play; I can only improve as a media professional.
Looking back, I feel it was perhaps a mistake not to try harder in getting a traditional placement. I’ve grown up wanting a career in a typical broadcast environment and this was a good opportunity to test the water. I would of also liked to work on a project that I was really passionate about. I only got the opportunity once whilst working in the TV studio to do this and although I was interested in the projects I was involved with, they wasn’t what I was interested in. Then again, I have learnt that you may have to work on things that you don’t really have an interest in during your career and it’s about being professional in these roles to make sure you gain future work.
The module as a whole has both challenged and greatly enhanced my own work ethics and has enabled me to become a more complete media practitioner. It has improved my skill set immensely which I am sure will give me a boost come my final year and in my career. Once more, It has enabled me to get some real hands on experiences in real life situations which is definitely going to be a plus point when it comes to applying for roles come graduation. It’s important that I still look to gain more professional experience in the future, as it will only help myself when I am looking to obtain a job and carve a career in the media industry.