Graduation, Interviews and building my portfolio

Graduation, Interviews and building my portfolio

Today was the day I finally finished my education... well, BA anyway! :-p and in the week leading up to the day where, what with all the gowns and bright colours, I felt like I had finally been accepted into Hogwarts and spent a few hours hoping that at some random point someone will present us all with the sorting hat. Sadly, all that happened was a series of photos, free mulled wine and watching each step across the stage very carefully just in case I was that one person who landed flat on their face at their own graduation ceremony.

Now that part is over, I have more interviews ahead for production internships and I'm sitting here at work waiting for my editing software to download at a measly 27KBps so that I can go to my first trial shift for a film production internship for an independent music magazine and website. It's pretty exciting, if only I wouldn't have to wait 15 hours and 27 minutes before I can start playing around with Avid again!

On top of this, I have started working on small productions with my good friend and fellow London Met film graduate, Mr L; starting with a short suspense sequence in the cellar of the pub where we work. Totally Guerilla stylie using sources such as the Guerilla Film Makers Handbook and Guerilla film making websites for inspiration into how to succeed and to finally make the portfolios to do us proud and get us our dream jobs... even if it will take us a while to get there.

We have recently decided between ourselves that we will endeavour to create one short a week (depending on work schedules), taking it in turns each week to write/film and to put them online through Youtube, twitter and facebook as a demonstration of what we can do in an hour; to sharpen our skills beyond what we learnt at university and, most importantly, to keep us sane while we pour pints and try our hardest to get a new job!

We're now at 8 hours and 47 minutes... Hopefully I can get editing soon!

Job hunting and that first interview

Job hunting and that first interview

I appear to have been a little bit preoccupied over the past few weeks. Crazy shifts, assisting Mr Photographer and job hunting seem to have dominated my life and I completely forgot that not only do I have a blog but these distractions are all the things I should be blogging about!

Recently I have been working in a typical bar job to make sure the rent is paid and I can generally have a bit of a life, albeit a frugal one. However, I have been put in the position of closing the pub so I get home around 3:00am and having to wake up again at 8:00 to get back to the pub where more often than not I have to stay on a 'few' hours because there's never enough staff. On top of this, a new system has been introduced where no matter what shift you're working you'll only get a 20 minute break. All of this has been the final smack round the face that I need to start pulling my finger out and really start applying myself to this whole job hunting thing.
As I don't have the internet at home, the downside to this is that I now spend even more time at the pub; using free wifi and drinking a disgusting amount of free tea and coffee. But... I had my first interview within a week of solid hunting and getting various people to have a look at and help me tweak my CV.

My first problem with being, in my eyes, completely unemployable was my CV. I have the problem of not knowing how to 'sell myself' to employers and as a result my CV was very generic with no personalised cover letter and would eventually only lead to more retail based jobs. Thanks to my Mum who previously worked for recruitment consultants Kelly's Services and my friend Miss C who's also a recent graduate and recently uploaded job hunting tips on her blog, my CV has finally started to take shape and instead of receiving either no reply or emailed rejections from employers and recruitment sites, people have finally started to call me!

One of the most important parts of the job hunting process is not to slack off, look every single day and in more than one location. When I first started to job hunt i was silly enough to think that I would be noticed through things like Reed and Guardian Jobs. These are obviously great websites but what with little experience and no employment history outside of retail there was absolutely nothing to make me stand out from the crowd when applying through these sites. I was just another CV. Recently I have been having more luck with InternWise which is now by far my favourite recruitment site. Not only does it focus on more than just the corporate 9-5 positions, it advertises positions for most industries paid/unpaid (including film! YAY!) and is extremely user friendly. It was also through this that I was able to battle through the issue of my cover letter. It is through InternWise that I have been able to receive more positive feedback from potential employers.

When it came to the interview itself I was so nervous it's a little bit ridiculous. I have always been pretty shy so when it came around to not only having an interview for a grown up job but also an assessment I really did not know what to do. I did find that the assessment was the easiest of the two. I was able to ignore my shyness and let the stronger aspects of my personality come out, some of which I didn't even know was there! My confidence and competitive nature came out which, for the first tie in a while, made me able to finally stand out a little more and become more than just a CV or an extra body in a room; I was a personality and I knew what I wanted. However, it was the interview itself where I think I fell down. I had two in the end, one after the other, during the first interview I was a little more shy than I had shown previously, probably because it was just little ol' me and one other person in a massive echoey room. However, once the questions started pouring I felt myself feeling stronger, more confident and unable to shut up. The interviewer left me after that feeling extremely positive until the second interview where I felt I was stuck in the middle of a good cop/bad cop scenario. Even though I was a little more confident in this interview, the interviewer this time round was much more negative and I felt myself either swerving around or smacking through her negativity. I always had an answer/response ready but it was obvious that some the things I said she either didn't expect or didn't want to hear. I did start todeflate when all the questions she asked were exactly the same as in the previous interview and I started to feel like a  well used CD on repeat. I felt a huge wave of relief sweep over me when I was finally allowed to get in the lift to the lobby and out.

I think two interviews in a row is a little intense for a first experience and I certainly have no naive expectations on getting the job but this is the first step. I know what's coming now and now that I have had one interview there should be more coming, I just need to keep looking!

Possibly the busiest day of my life

Possibly the busiest day of my life

As I write this I am only just starting to recover from yesterday. I've only just managed to get over the cold that clung to my bones throughout the whole day and have finally managed to make my hair look normal and not like a bird's nest.

Yesterday I was finally shown what (hopefully) the next year of my life shall be; battling against wind and rain as an assistant to a freelance photographer. :-)

My day began around 10am, a horrendous time considering I only got home from work around 3 that morning, struggling to get to St Paul's in time. St Paul's, as we all know, is on the Central Line, a joy I have not had to experience for nearly a year. The interchange at Bank usually involves me being shoved to the side by big burly business men or being basically trodden on because it seems to me that the majority of London commuters appear to think that because I'm small, I'm simply not there (an idea that has even gone so far as having my head used as an arm rest at rush hour!). This time, however, I was relatively unscathed due to the tripod in my massive bag which gave any one who tried to treat me like yesterday's newspaper a pretty nasty and painful surprise. Hooray for heavy equipment!

At St Paul's station I was greeted by Mr Photographer and his Huge Bag of Far Too Much Equipment and we both made our way to the Cathedral itself where outside a colourful display of tents and banners was struggling to stand its ground in both the metaphorical sense and the literal as more than one tent was blown away during the 4 hours we were there.

After being stopped from making their stand outside the London Stock Exchange, the Occupy London SX group have been camping outside St Paul's Cathedral since Saturday, (my views on the protest undisclosed as that is not what my Blog is about!) but this was the first time I was able to make my way there. Mr Photographer and I found ourselves in the middle of a media battle, struggling for a piece of the action ourselves as the various news crews, photographers and journalists swarmed the protest and appeared to dominate the scene. However, we succeeded in meeting some truly inspirational people and conducted around 12 interviews, quite a few of which were a struggle for me as a Human Light Stand. The umbrella I was holding for the flash was determined to make me do a Mary Poppins impersonation.

I knew from the beginning of the shoot that this particular project was for an art piece but my one criticism as I'm sure even an amateur is allowed one, is that it seemed too one sided. There was too much focus on the protesters and I would have been interested to ask the tourists, bankers and even the police their views on the situation. Art or not, I think there should always be at least two angles. That's just me though. :-)

After packing up most of the equipment, I was given the chance to have a go myself. Time was scarce so I only managed a few and as you can see I still have a lot to work on. My first attempt was, quite frankly, something I should already know by now as I spent years at uni getting it right but at some point, everyone forgets the basics. Exposure!

Completely forgetting I was in manual I just began snapping away and the result is slightly hilarious!

St Paul's starts to blend in to the SKY!!

It was quickly fixed though!

For more professional photos of the protest and various other projects, Mr Photographer has assured me they will hopefully be here at some point

Following this, Mr Photographer and I hastily made our way to Mornington Crescent, quick lunch in hand that was very quickly forgotten. When we arrived at the Koko, we discovered we were to photograph two bands that were performing there that night and that we had to have everything done before their sound check, including finding a very last minute location!

The bands themselves introduced to me the two different people most photographers encounter; people who are up for anything and are relaxed around you, and the grumpy ones ho aren't enthusiastic about anything. At all. Mr Photographer found this relatively easy to deal with and just by watching him I think I no have a vague idea on how to handle a situation like that which is helpful because as most of my friends would tell you, I have a pretty short temper!

Finally the time came for me to leave Mr Photographer and rush off to meet my good friend C at the BBC. This was an opportunity for me to not only warm up after a day of being outside but also to sit in the audience for the live filming of Up for Hire that was airing that night. C and I are always up for a debate and tonight's show involved one we were both extremely passionate about, the value of degrees. I was shocked to see how most of the audience and guests of the show were very anti university but i do understand that it's not every one's choice. Unfortunately some people feel that their degree was a waste of time because now they cannot get a job despite it but as one of the Twitter updates on the screen said 'University is a pursuit of knowledge and not a pursuit for money' and this is something I completely agree with. Despite having my media related degree (Film and Broadcast Production) slated on national television and coined a 'Micky Mouse Degree' my hard work and dedication to the industry is not going to stop until I have reached my goal. Today is a fine example of this, I stood outside in the harshest of weathers all day for something I am passionate about and was lucky enough to get paid for it. I will constantly knock on studio doors, email camera people and write scripts because when I finally do make it I will be able to prove to myself and those who snub media related degrees that all those years of studying and hard work were well worth it. Not only will I have an education but also the practical skills that I love and have been developing over the years will secure me the position I have been trying so hard to reach.

My advice for media graduates is to do just as I am doing. Don't just sit there fading into the background moaning that you can't get a job. Do something about it! Use the skills you learned at uni to constantly annoy the right people until they pay attention. That's what I'm doing.

BBC related Geekery we couldn't say not to :-)

Blog number one, hopefully the first of many

Blog number one, hopefully the first of many

I was hoping as my first blog this would be a little bit interesting. I planned on venturing into the outside world with my camera to take some lovely pictures to show you what I can achieve with my lovely little 500DSLR. Sadly, what with awful weather and laziness that did not happen. Maybe next time.

However, I didn't spend this, one of few, days off lying around on the internet, doing nothing (all day), I spent several hours applying for graduate schemes and work placements that I found through Twitter. When it came time to distract myself from a series of eventual rejections which I am gradually becoming used to, I decided to concentrate on my script writing.

In June this year, I was lucky enough to be invited to help out on a production of Christopher Marlowe's 'Doctor Faustus' and now find myself in the process of writing a stage version of Oscar Wilde's 'The Picture of Dorian Gray'. Yes, yes, it's been done to death, I know. I want to do it differently. After several attempts to start writing, put it down and forget it exists for several weeks, I am finally making some progress. Today I decided that the whole play will be acted out on one main stage, as minimalist as possible so that any necessary stage changes can be achieved by simply moving one item. This main stage will be a combination of Dorian's drawing room and Basil's studio, some elaborate decorations/details combined with some more modest furnishings. An easel and painting materials would be the key aspects of Basil's personality on stage and smaller details like ornaments, fine scarves, jewellery and vases of floers provide more of an indication into Dorian's selfish vanity.

 Now, I am trying to decide what to do about the portrait itself. I'm thinking one of the most effective ways of revealing it would be to have it constantly onstage but facing away from the audience until the very last moment. But then again, there would be nothing to compare the grotesque portaryal of Dorian's soul to. As I'm writing this possibly 7th attempt at a first draft I am keeping this idea in mind until I decide to start again and have at least two paintings available but any feedback you may have would be welcome. I'm hoping to maybe post an extract or two by the end of the week. If I change my mind and start again, it probably won't happen :-)