Tag Archives: bournemouth university

“Don’t say the ‘W’ word. Don’t even THINK it. No. No you’re thinking it!!! STOP!”

So my month working on a new BBC comedy drama is almost over. In fact, Monday is my last day. But as I was told four weeks ago, don’t say “Wrap” until it’s a wrap.

Anyway, in case you’re wondering why I haven’t been able to update you on this sooner, it’s because I have been working 13 to 14 hour days, 6 days a week. The rest of my time I spend desperately catching up on sleep and driving to more locations. But do you know what? It has gone by so quickly I honestly can’t believe it happened. I mean, did I dream the whole thing?

I think, maybe, I might seriously miss the crazy when it’s over…. is that wrong?

The stress, the excitement, the pain, the people, the tea making, the wellies, the sunburn, the blisters, the free food, the banter, the practical jokes, the back massages, the portaloos (not as much), the satisfaction of seeing hard work come together… I am going to miss all of this.

Really, REALLY, wish I didn’t have to go back to uni.

At the same time, there are a few things I WON’T miss.

  1. Stroppy Make Up Ladies (“Where are the biscuits? No biscuits? Why? WHY are you doing this??? I can’t work without biscuits. We should have biscuits! GET ME BISCUITS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!”)
  2. Good Old British Weather (oh no, it wouldn’t matter if Hurricane Irene came to town, we’d still need to get that “quick” close up of so and so giving a melancholy expression in the forest, with sfx mist for extra atmospheric effect).
  3. The Supporting Artistes/Extras (Me: “Erm excuse me, I just saw you stuff a load of coffee sachets into your handbag?” … “Yes we know he is famous. No you cannot get an autograph.”… “Please stay here, you’ll be seen in the next take.” 5mins later… 1st AD: “Where’s that extra gone? Where the fuck is he ‘A’? I need that extra ‘A’! Find me that extra!”).

Don’t get me started on the tantrums…

Over every little thing – in particular FOOD.

If it’s not on time, if there’s no egg and cress sandwiches, if we’re out of the special chocolate biscuits, if the tea isn’t Tetley, if the Starbucks coffee you ran back with for 15 minutes isn’t hot enough, if they don’t eat full fat mayo… Do not be fooled. This may seem like unimportant nonsensical rubbish, but each one of the above can cause World War 3 on a film set.

Gotta love the rest of it though. And I miss the crew already. You won’t find a closer, more dedicated team of people than on a film set – you can laugh with them, shout at them, moan with them, eat with them, help each other, hate each other, love each other all in one day. You’re like a massive family but completely functional and completely insane.

I’m getting nostalgic already and it’s not even over. Not just yet.¬†Won’t be calling it a Wrap officially until Monday evening.

Then there’s the Wrap Party ūüėČ

Love ‘A’ xxx

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It’s going to be so full on I’m going to die …I can’t wait.

This is the story of how a 1st year uni student got a job on a major new British sitcom, for one of the country’s leading production companies.

It all began many months ago when I went to a ‘Networking Gathering’ (see this post here for more on that) where I bumped into a 3rd year student ‘E’ who I’d previously met and admired at uni. We exchanged our first business cards with an excited squeak, and a couple of months later she asked me to be an unpaid runner on her graduation film. Obviously, I accepted.

A couple of months after that, the Production Manager of ‘E’s’ film gave me a call. Let’s call him ‘H’. He offered me more running work on another graduate film, also unpaid. None of my friends bothered with these running jobs, as they were unpaid and a hassle and I suppose they just hadn’t bothered to get to know the 3rd years as I had. I was hoping that getting to know them would pay off in the long run, and if I did them a favour running on their films, they’d be more likely when return this favour when I needed work experience and they all had industry jobs etc.

A couple of months later, and guess what happens?

‘H’ messages me on Facebook, asking if I’m free for running work. I wasn’t, but I wanted to know what the job was before I turned it down. Thank God I did – ‘H’ was a Production Assistant on a new British sitcom, to be aired on BBC One this coming December.¬†

I dropped all my plans for the evening and was on it like a tramp on chips. There was NO WAY I was missing out on this opportunity. The producer of the show rang me on receiving my super-pimped CV and asked if I could get to London before 5pm the next day for an interview. I couldn’t, but I said I could. And then proceeded to book a very expensive train ticket and pray that the gamble would pay off.

The interview was an interesting experience. First, I was introduced to the Line Producer and was quizzed on my experience and enthusiasm, and was then quickly introduced to the 1st AD. His parting comment was that I “said all the right things” and then he walked off with a wink. I kind of thought I was in.

THEN DISASTER struck. I was introduced to another member of the team, and she frankly told me I was too timid and nice for the job. Apparently, I wouldn’t be able to cope with the high-pressure and hostility of such a creative environment. I’m not gonna lie, readers, I was pooping myself at the thought of screwing up/making someone angry/breaking down in tears/being a wimp. But I couldn’t let her think that.

Love the caption on this SO much...

So that evening, after a worried phone call to ‘P’, I sent a text to the doubtful AD in question, expressing how much I was prepared to fight for the job, and left it to fate. There was nothing more I could do.

Monday came around. I knew I would find out today. After a stressful day without any phone signal, an email came through. I didn’t dare open my eyes to read it at first – but when I did I saw those beautiful, sweet, incredible words:

“we would like to offer you the position of…”

Never have I run so fast, right across Bournemouth town centre, through the car park and into my car where I proceeded to SCREEEEAAAM as loudly as I could.

Not even the rush hour traffic could take that cheesy grin off my face. I start on Sunday; wish me luck ūüėČ

Love ‘A’

xxxxx

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There’ll be a lot of pressure. But you’re a girl, so you just run along and make us some tea!

…. So how’s an audience of 6000 people for pressure? And how’s being a girl surrounded by 20 other male crew members?

And how do you suppose I coped? JUST AS WELL AS ANYONE ELSE.

Sorry for the rant and straight to the better news: I got to film these guys at the weekend:

The Wanted - wanted by every girl who's reached puberty

I have landed myself a new job for the summer, working for a production company based in Dorset, who specialise in live events. Cool right? ūüôā

HELL YEH. Only problem is, I’m not getting paid. And I recently quit my 2 waitressing jobs… So I’m a little worried about my bills this month.

BUT, I spent a whole weekend in Gloucester, building an 18-foot high LED screen upon which 6000 people watched the footage from MY camera LIVE during The Wanted’s gig.

(PLUS I had all the free food I could ask for!)

As ever with these kind of jobs, I noticed a distinctly different attitude towards me, as one of the only TWO women in the 20+ crew. ¬†I’m sorry to ramble on about this sexist stuff (I more than anyone am tired of it!) but PLEASE, there wasn’t even a crew toilet for ladies, only for men. I wasn’t allowed to carry things or use the electric drill, and before The Wanted arrived on set I was given a talk about (and I quote):

“Not getting excited and girly when the band arrive.”

OMG the rage! This from a guy who was given his director/vision mixer job by his rich daddy, only a few years older than me, and possibly the least professional ape I’ve worked with in my brief career so far. Harsh words? Honey this is me being kind!

Just because I’m a girl it does not mean

  1. That I will crumble into an unprofessional, rowdy teenager at the sight of a few singers with bulging biceps.
  2. That you need to tell me to make sure I go to the bathroom before filming starts (I’m not a 2-year old).
  3. That I cannot do manual labour/carry things/use a goddamn screwdriver and YES my talents go beyond making f**king tea!
  4. That you should treat me any differently from any other crew member.

The thing is, in this situation all a girl can do is smile sweetly and do as she’s told. Then as soon as you can you prove them wrong by lifting those heavy crates, you bring out your amazing skills with the power drill, you get down and dirty and work your ass off. You let your make up smudge and your nails break and you forget about your hair.

At the same time you talk to everyone and keep the morale up. You offer to make tea when you, and everyone else, is in need of it. And every time a job needs doing you say “I can do it!” and you show them that you can.

Basically, you need to be …

The Super Camera Woman

All in all though, it was an awesome weekend and I’m looking forward to my next live event!

Mainly for the free food.

 

 

 

Love ‘A’ x

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“Let me know when your personal life is falling apart: then it’s time for a pay rise!”

Quote taken from one of my favourite (Guilty Pleasure) Chick Flicks,

The Devil Wears Prada.

This quote, without a word of exageration, makes me want to cry with fear and hopelessness. ¬†Simply because it is so true. And even more so, because I don’t want to work in Fashion, where many women struggle with the scary balance between their work and personal lives. But I want to work in the TV & Film Industry, where men still rule the roost (admit it, they do). I know I’m going to struggle, constantly having to choose between career and relationships, as often preached in Hollywood films and TV Dramas aplenty, because, apparently, you can’t have the best of both worlds.

I’ve witnessed this first-hand over the past couple of weeks. I threw myself head-first into producing two projects at Uni: a live TV show, and a short documentary. I then scored a runner position on a graduate film, working with the most talented students Bournemouth Uni has to offer, followed swiftly after by an offer for more freelance work for clients such as Honda, Swiftcover and even Channel Four.

So, basically, March has been the best month of my career so far! Which is brilliant, and I’m so incredibly proud of myself – and bloody excited too!!

BUT (why is there always a But?) Рthis Month has also seen my family/personal life descend into chaos. With my Dad deciding to move to Cambridge, my brother being hospitalized with septicemia, my boyfriend disappearing into a dark and dingy animation suite, my social life coming to a halt, and my best friend betraying me so that I almost lose my home. Not great, I hear you summarise.

However, I’m not one to let things get me down for long. If life was easy, there’d be no point in it, and if I’m going to have an amazing career and an amazing personal life I should be prepared to work extremely hard to get both. The easy road would be to just settle down and have kids; the boring, traditional route. Or I could become a career-crazed bitch and end up alone. Neither one of these is acceptable.

The long, hard  and steep road it is then Рto a fulfilling life balanced equally between career and relationships.

I refuse to believe Happy Endings are just for films: another favourite quote of mine is this…

“You have to be the Heroine of your own life.”

And that’s your slice of cheesy goodness for today ūüėČ

Love ‘A’ x

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“My name is ‘A.’ I study TV Production at Bournemouth Uni. And I am OBSESSED with cameras and films and editing and the Oscars and coffee and TV and and and — So Give Me A Job! PLEASE!”

How not to introduce yourself at a business lunch/gathering.

So. I was invited to a buffet lunch called “Media People Get-together.” To me this translated in my head as “OMG you’re cool enough to be invited to hang out with professionals now holy-shit-that’s-so-awesome!!!” I could swap business cards, and talk movies, and get freelance work, and stalk industry people, and just totally feel like a grown-up.

And then I realised. I HAVE NO BUSINESS CARDS.

The result of this realisation? Logging onto Vistaprint.com, designing a sexy little rectangle of informative cardboard, and ordering 250 of them for a total of £21.99. Score!

The cards arrived, and I strutted off to the lunch feeling like… well like a 19 year old playing ¬†grown-up (mainly due to the zit outbreak that had just¬†occurred -_- ). But I wasn’t gonna let that stop me. I had timed my arrival very carefully: the lunch started at 12.30 but I didn’t want to be early in case I was the only/first one there (just awkward), but I didn’t want to be late (unprofessional). So how did I solve this impossible conundrum?? I strolled in at 12.34 ūüôā

[Btw, yes, it is worrying needlessly about every aspect of my day that achieves such great results in my early career. It is also why my doctor gives me expensive pills for stress-induced migraines. I’m gonna fit right in in Hollywood ‚̧ ]

I was then presented with a series of career-defining challenges:

  1. How to eat gracefully and network at the same time?
  2. What do you do when you’ve met someone before but don’t remember their name??
  3. How do I actually give you one of my bleeding business cards without coming across as what I truly am (insane and desperate media-loving freak) ???

Question 1: Chill. Enjoy the food – in fact I found it’s a great conversation starter. Obviously don’t talk with your mouth open or dribble down your¬†blouse; just be normal (it is possible). And if they do that really annoying thing where they ask a question just as you’ve put a fork-full of noodles and sweet&sour chicken into your mouth…. Smile, chew quickly and use this moment to come up with a totally kick-ass response that’ll have them begging you to come work for them.

Question 2: My method was to assume they’re way to important to remember my name, and just go straight on up saying, “Hi, I’m ‘A!’ We met on that shoot when I worked in that hell-hole! How are ya?” Now this doesn’t usually lead to them telling you their name in return, but it makes them feel special and so you automatically get brownie points. What you shouldn’t do?

“OMG Hi! I remember you! You were at that lecture with Sandy Lieberson!! This is such a cool coincidence!”

Yeah. Now they know that I stalked them. Genius.

Question 3: ANYWAY POSSIBLE. DO NOT – I repeat – DO NOT let ANYONE leave that lunch without one of your cards! Geez. I mean, talk about missed-opportunity?! My tactics for business card swapping are pretty shameless; as the interesting conversation about their next idea for a feature film draws to a close, just say, “Well I’d be happy to help, here’s my card! Let me know if you need an extra pair of hands!” You gotta bite the bullet and be confident that yes, actually, I am cool enough to have one of these babies. (I learnt this as the lunch progressed. My original card-swapping bid was “Hey! I just bought my first business cards – especially for today! Here, you want one? Isn’t it pretty?”)

The best advice I can give though, is be yourself, be confident and sell, sell, SELL yourself. Another good idea is to send an email to every contact you collected, quickly remind them who you are, that is was great to meet them, maybe throw in a quick joke or something you ‘bonded’ over (hopefully) to make it more personal, and just casually add that you’re free for any work they can offer.

Yeah, so hope this helps you if you have any media get-togethers in the future!

And, uh, I have about 234 business cards left, so if you’d like one let me know!¬†I’ll send it for free. Just comment with your name, telephone, address and email. (Note: you will be stalked)

Love ‘A’ x

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