Good evening folks.
It’s time for another blog. Writing is just so therapeutic you know? At least it is for me; it’s right up there with baking and mopping floors.
I’m back from my Channel 4 placement which was very, very insightful – it made me realise that I really don’t want to go into TV! Everyone there was great though, it was like a giant family and I felt incredibly welcomed. It was such a chilled out atmosphere as well; when someone tells you that they’re a ‘pop bitch’ you know you’re in a special place!
Having been given an introduction/briefing on pretty much every department the online team appealed to me the most. They choose what photographs go up on site, they write features, music news, go out and do interviews, update Facebook, Tumbler, Twitter, 4music’s YouTube channel. Collectively, they control all the content on the 4music site, and there’s only four of them. What I liked most was the amount of creative license their jobs allow, particularly since they launched the 4music YouTube channel.
What was really great about the work experience too was finding out how everyone had got their jobs at Box TV – nearly everyone had a different story. What put me off TV production actually had a lot to do with that. Having a Masters in Broadcast Journalism means nothing if you want to get into production, at least not in London or at Channel 4… it’s all about working your way up. One of the first things one of the guest speakers at the 4Talent Day said to us was – we don’t care about qualifications, we look for people who are creative, hard-working and have the ability to get along well with others. A couple of people I spoke to at Box started out as runners, on minimum wage, barely able to live. They did that for a couple of years which led to freelance work and then the jobs they have now. I didn’t spend 10 grand on a Masters to earn pittance working 12 hours a day, being somebody’s slave for 2 years in the hope that something better might come along.
You need no qualifications to be a runner or to work in TV Production – it’s not journalism – which makes me glad that that’s not what I want to do, otherwise I’d have wasted a hell of a lot of my time and money.
Although my placement was through Channel 4, Box TV actually makes 7 music channels, including Magic, Heat, Kerrang and Kiss and I did a couple of jobs for Heat TV while I was there which was interesting! It was actually harder than it sounded – coming up with funny comments to go along with music videos, as Heat TV is very text heavy. Nicki Minaj was a piece of pie (it’s Nicki Minaj …) but a couple of the other, more generic shall we say, music videos were more difficult. Carly Rae Jepson’s new vid is so droll.
On the second day I went and acted as a production assistant for the day on a shoot with JLS. It sounds exciting and glamorous, but unsurprisingly being on a shoot is the complete opposite. Luckily the studio we were in was the smaller one, so it was fairly warm, but I was told normally it’s freezing. Being a prod assistant you basically help put equipment together, keep the place tidy (that means being on bin bag duty), cable bashing*, and going out and getting everyone coffees. If you’re lucky like me, you also get a hug off of one of JLS – oh the highlight of my week! (he actually smelt very good, not that he wouldn’t, but I love a bit of man fragrance)
*cable bashing: hold the cables coming out of the camera so that the director/camera operator doesn’t trip over them when he’s moving the camera back and forth across the tracks.
To be fair it’s pretty cool, it’s gets you out of the office for a day and you get to see what celebs are really like (Aston really is that small), plus the catering was amazing. On my last day I went prop shopping, also the job of a production assistant, which involved wandering around soho looking for a Christmas tree, cup and saucer, geek glasses and a cigar. Had I not been ill this would have been a fun job – exploring London ‘n’ all – but I struggled to really enjoy it. Having coughing fits in public, trying not to bash fast-moving Londoners with a Christmas tree whilst simultaneously fishing Strepsils out of your bag isn’t one of my favourite things to do. By this point I’d had a continuous headache for 9 days running, which no amount of pain killers could eliminate. God knows how I survived that week – actually I do know, a shit load of lemsip, paracetamol, cough medicine, cough sweets, fruit juice and Berocca. I’m paying for it now.. I’ve spent the last 2 and a half days in bed.
Only I could get the flu a few days before my placement…
Enough wallowing though. It was all made better by the fact that I had Martha. Martha Nansera looked after me that week; she effectively could have been my mum. Unlike my BBC placement where I was left alone and forgotten a lot of the time without any structure to my days (shame the editor left a couple of weeks before my placement – Lozza luck strikes again) Martha always made sure I had something to do and was always checking up on me to see I was OK. I never felt lost amongst the office, I always felt like I had a presence, that was one of the nicest things about being there. I’d be very happy if I end up in an office like Box TV in London.
But now I’m back in St Austell. And what can I say – I hate it.
Despite seemingly making my mind up about going travelling, the fact that I feel as though I’ve done this all backwards (deciding to do a Masters and then go travelling) is very frustrating. I make contacts through work experience but don’t feel as though I can follow them through because for the next few months I’m planning to save and then piss off to Australia.
I’m constantly doubting my choices, which isn’t helped by having a mother who says every other day ‘there’s a job going for a BJ 2 days a week at BBC *insert faraway place*’ knowing that I can’t do that and live at home, which would mean I’d have to move there, which would mean getting a second job while I was there, which would mean never having any money, which would mean not going travelling. Then Dad saying to me ‘forget the travelling’ despite the fact that he’s been completely behind the idea up until now, and then saying ‘well if this job is what you really want to do’ – when did I ever say that?
No-one listens to me… I’M GOING TRAVELLING. At this moment in time that’s what I REALLY WANT TO DO.
*sigh* it makes me want to shoot myself in the face, for about half an hour, until I write my problems down and gradually the anger, frustration and tension lessens.
I can’t help but acknowledge the fact that if I didn’t want to travel my life would be a lot simpler. But then if you could get a job by just applying for one rather than having to do loads of work experience, building up contacts and working random freelance shifts for however many months first; my life would be a lot simpler.
It would be as simple as going away, then applying for jobs when I get back.
But getting a job these days just isn’t that simple, unless you’re like a dear friend of mine and have the willpower, dedication, tenacity, brains and stamina of Superman. Superman was even a journalist.. ha. I like that.
Unfortunately I don’t have all of those things. I have an inferiority complex. And so I’m right back where I started…
Or am I? Not sure why I’m ending on a cryptic note, but that’s what’s happened. Perhaps because it fulfills the ‘be optimistic’ promise I made to myself. Either that or I’ve temporarily adopted the writing style of a novelist.
- JLS Pull Prank On Olly Murs For Channel 4 (contactmusic.com)