Tag Archives: uni

Chalke Valley 2018

After sleeping on something other than the stony ground of a field (which is a convoluted way of saying a bed [which is a needlessly long explanation for it {sorry}])  I finally feel human enough to write about my week at Chalke Valley History Festival 2018.

And what a week it was! Having taken on a more senior role this year as Assistant Project Manager/Data Wrangler, the experience was very different to that of last year. I’ll go into more details in a future post about my role,  but overall it was a challenge which I learnt a great deal from.

Overall though it was a fantastic week. The team this year was half the size (16 compared with 30) but were all really driven and keen to learn. We managed to put out as as much if not more content than last year and still at the quality Bournemouth Uni is renowned for and it was amazing seeing how quickly their skills developed over the week. It was also good getting to know them all as I’ll be joining them in September to complete my final year at Bournemouth.

I made a moth-friend

One highlight was seeing Bryan Begg’s wife Diana and close friend Paul again to go to his memorial talk along with James and Georgia who were my production managers last year. Bryan was a long-time patron of the festival and at CVHF 2017 I edited the last interview he ever did before passing away earlier this year. Paul orchestrated a surprise of flowers for Diana which we gave her and it was a special moment.

Another was going to see Rob Wilkins give a talk about Terry Pratchett. I owe my love of reading to Terry who has been my favourite author from a young age and it was touching to hear such personal accounts of his life from Rob. It was amazing to learn that Terry lived in Broad Chalke, just a few miles from the festival site.

It’s been a whirlwind week with so many memories, hopefully I’ll be able to make it to CVHF 2019 and make even more!


Job Interviews

So over the past few weeks, we’ve been preparing for a simulated job application to put all the skills gained from our Work in the Media Industries module to the test, which I talked about in a previous post. On Wednesday we finally got to run through the actual interviews.

I was one of the two people chosen for the interview stage. We were applying for an assistant cameraman role at a company called ‘Pink Pig Productions’. I had been sure to tailor my CV to illustrate my camera skills, and made sure to brush up on the job description before the interview. It was an interesting experience, even though it was a role-play I was surprisingly nervous. The actual interview went well, I managed to answer all the questions well and even surprised the interviewers with some knowledge about the company (which admittedly I memorised whilst waiting outside). The exercise was useful, but in a way the second part was even more so.

The second part was conducting interviews. Josh and I ran them, and had drawn up a series of questions and subsequent criteria to mark the candidates on. It was actually quite fun interviewing people, and sitting on the other side of the table I realised with much greater clarity that interviewers are just people.

The whole experience was very educational, I definitely feel more confident in my interview abilities as a result of it.


Clients and Audience

So today we started a new unit called Clients and Audience which, apart from the initial 6 hours of lectures I had to endure, looks to be one of the most interesting yet. As production groups, we are twinned with a real organisation who give us a brief from which we have to create content – and my group was paired with the RSPB (Royal Society for the Protection of Birds). Growing up in South Africa, I have always loved nature, having seen some of the most vibrant creatures firsthand (I had more than a dozen pets at once over there). As such, I’m relieved that we have an organisation I can relate to and get excited about, it will make working for them hopefully all the more fun.

I have chosen to undertake the role of Production Manager for this unit, which is another challenge I’m excited to undertake. Whilst having some experience in leadership roles, this will be the first time I organise a media team, so I’m keen to see what I can learn about it. A part of me wishes I had taken a more practical role like Creative Director but, as I’m beginning to realise, university is all about pushing yourself out of the comfort zone to learn new things. We meet the client on Monday, so I’ll have to draft some research up before then.

Work in the Media Industries

As part of our ‘Work in the Media Industries’ unit, we were required to design a job spec and person profile around an imaginary entry-level media job of our choice. It was a good exercise in helping me get in the mind of employers and see what sort of things they are looking for.  It was also somewhat terrifying.

We had to apply to one group’s job spec and received CV’s for our role from another. In the seminar today we went through the CV’s we’d received, scanning through them to see how well they fit the criteria we had set out and shortlisting the best. Although untrained and potentially not as thorough as the HR departments within the industry, I realised a number of harsh truths about the application process:

  1. Your CV will be skimmed – HR has to go through 1000’s of CV’s and can’t afford to do much more than skim them for the criteria.
  2. Meet the job spec in your CV  – If you aren’t meeting any of the criteria within the first few lines, your chance of getting through declines quite sharply.
  3. Conciseness is key – If I got bored after reading 5 CV’s, how do you think someone in HR feels after 500? Don’t waste their time with indulgent paragraphs of info, stick to the 1-page rule as best you can, spilling into 2 if you think it absolutely necessary.
  4. Back up your statements with clear evidence – Picture it, a generic “I’m a strong team-player who works well with others” line, being read for the 100th time by HR. As I read through some of these lines in the CV’s I found myself saying ‘So what?’ more than I’d like. Avoid the ‘So What’ Effect by giving hard evidence to back up your points.
  5. You NEED outside experience – A degree is no longer a guarantee of employment. Having outside experience in the industry, even just weekend and runner jobs, will make you stand out above the beyond the rest.

Number 5 is something that has rung particularly true with me. I had a great First Year in terms of social life and ‘getting the grades’, but to be honest it was a bit of a passenger year. I realise now that I need to get out there and start making stuff, getting some real experience under my belt and building up a portfolio to give me the best chance of making it in this industry. It’s an exciting time, but also pretty scary. I’ve got a couple of projects in the pipelines and I look forward to sharing them with you on here.