Friday, 17 December 2010

And One More Thing

As pointed out by her, I forgot in my last blog post to mention my friend, Fee.

So here she is:

Thursday, 16 December 2010

Working for Bob

Yes. I know. It has been almost four months since I last posted.

Four months.

I dont think I even have an excuse.

But, as seems to be the way, I will get you a little up to date on what has happened in my life since then...

I got an interview here:

I didn't get it.

I then got an interview at the BBC for this:

I got it. I know - FINALLY.

Then I quit.

Because I got a job with this guy:

And so that brings me up to date with where I am now; working a six month paid internship with Nickelodeon. As a result, I no longer live in didcot and instead live above this pub in Hackney:

Glamorous I know. Well, a paid internship it may be, but it'll be a while before I'm living in a plush flat in West London!

So, I should probably begin with how I got the internship. It's all as a result of The Network, which I spoke about in my last post, all that time ago. As part of the scheme you can apply for The Network At Work, which is a series of paid six month internships with various companies. After a preliminary interview, I got matched with two companies, CBBC and Nickelodeon, both for which I had to attend a second interview. Well, it turns out I didnt even have to go the the CBBC  interivew, because shortly after my one with Nick, I got the offer.

Two months later and I am assisting a fantastic production team in what can only be described as the nicest company in the world. Within my first few days we embarked on a huge shoot which took place at MTV studios, and lasted for six weeks. The programme we made is called 'Jamie and Anna's Big Weekend'. During the shoot I did a number of things, I assisted the Floor Manager, helped out in the office, and looked after celebrities. I'm not going to lie, it was amazing! And I still pinch myself everyday, espeically when I look back at how hard things were when I was looking for a job.

Perhaps one of the most exciting parts of this internship is that in January I will be joining the marketing team, to spend three months there. Marketing is something I never thought of doing, but it looks very exciting and I cant wait to be given the great opportunity of trying out something new.

So, after months of turmoil at University, and more months living at home unemployed, I am now finally on the bottom step of that big, intimidating ladder and I have at least three toes through the door. And I have to say, that it is all thanks to the amazing opportunity that was The Network. In fact, applications for next year are soon to open, so please I urge you if you are reading this and trying to get into the TV industry, apply now!!

I will definitely try to update my blog more often, to talk about how the rest of the internship goes and where I will go afterwards. But for now I will say...


Wednesday, 1 September 2010

The Network 2010

This weekend I was lucky enough to attend The Network as part of the MediaGuardian Edinburgh International TV Festival. It was four days of networking, wine consuming and skills learning. I was hoping to blog each night while I was there, but there was no internet where I was staying, so here I will let you all know what went on up in the chilly hills of Edinburgh in one blog post.

Thursday 26th August - Who the hell is Harry and the complications if Scottish Money.

Caught a train at 6.08am in the morning. A time of the morning I am only used to seeing when going to bed, not getting out of it. My dad dropped me off, still in pjs, and I sat cold and half asleep on the platform, cushion in hand, waiting for the train that would take me to bonny Scotland. Well, to Oxford, where I'd catch a train to Birmingham, where I would then get on a train to Edinburgh.

I had prepared for my 6 1/2 hour journey. I had a cushion. I had my laptop and several DVDs. I was sorted. What I had not accounted for was sitting next to a couple who clearly thought I couldn't hear them through my headphones and proceeded to discuss matters that I really had no desire to hear. I could only feel uncomfortable as they sat discussing his ex-wife, who repeatedly rang him to accuse him of not buying their chilren new school coats, while she, the new girlfriend pleaded with him to not talk to her on their weekend away. Oh joy.

But I arrived in Edinburgh, where I got a taxi to Napier University to meet my fellow Networkers. It was on route to Napier that I was to learn my first new thing of the weekend: Scottish money looks nothing like our money - yet it is the same. I withdrew cash from a cash machine only to stand looking with bewilderment at the notes I had received. I then spent the taxi ride there pondering whether this money was the same as ours, or did it have a different value? Can I spend English and Scottish money at the same time? It was all too much for someone who had been up since 4am, and who is also a little stupid.

On arriving and collecting my sexy network 'bag' filled with what can only be described as crap, I was led to my CV Clinic with Daniell Morrisey, Talent Business Manager at the BBC. In nicer words, Daniell told me my CV was basically a bit rubbish, but gave me good advise on how to change that. Good start!

After this I spent some time wondering around like a lost sheep when I found a Steward who directed me to 'Presenter Experience.' I was faced with a room of new people and I suddenly felt like I was back in Freshers Week, awkwardly talking to strangers hoping they would be my friend. It was at this point I found out the second thing I learnt while in Edinburgh; Arthur's Seat is not called Harry's Chair. Needless to say everyone laughed at me, but at least it broke the ice. Me and my new 'friends' were told told by Ewan, a CBBC Producer, that we had to prepare a two minute piece to present in a studio next door. I decided that I would play it safe and recite my favourite Road Dahl poem, A Hand in the Bird. It's a little cheeky and with a few actions, it went down rather well. Joel from Blue Peter, who was watching, even asked if I was 'a professional'. Now, he didnt specify what kind of professional, but I took it as a compliment none the less.

Once this was over, we had an introductory lecture from Director of BBC Children's and Chairman of the Network, Joe Godwin, followed by dinner and collection of our keys. We stayed in Pollock halls at Edinburgh University, which were pretty nice by the standards of halls. But we didnt have long, no sooner had I got myself in the room, I was out of it again, off to our pub quiz with Al Murray.

Now I'm not really a fan of Al Murray, but our own exclusive 'Compete for the Meat' pub quiz was quite a fun way to start off the weekend. With rounds such as 'The Career of Shane Richie' and 'Lookalikes that don't look like who they are supposed to look like' wine and beer flowed, crisps were eaten, (sometimes competitively), and chanting occured.

After the quiz we had a drinks reception where we could chat to all the people we'd met today. I mostly used this time to avoid speaking to important people who scared me and drink more free wine. A few of us headed out into Edinburgh, to mingle with the Festival crowd at E4's Udder Belly, where there were far less intimidating important people.

Friday 27th August - Trying not to throw up Haggis on Charlie Brooker.

After breakfast, which was of course a fry up, we headed back to Napier to take part in our morning workshops, which we had selected before attending. I attended workshops with Karl Warner, Commissioning Editor at the BBC who is responsible for The Inbetweeners, Russell Howard's Good News and Undercover Princes, Chris Shaw, Controller for Five, and James Kirkland, owner of Holler digital strategy agency. All were informative and enjoyable and I left having learnt a lot of new things from some quite important people.

We also had a session with Shamless, Clocking Off and State of Play writer Paul Abbott. I wasnt interested in Script Writing, but he was still an interesting person to listen to, if not a little abstract, with lots of talk of 'telling stories from within you'.

After lunch we met our weekend workshop leaders and found out what we would be doing. There were five possible workshops to be placed in and I had been placed in 'Behind the Scenes' where we were going to learn how to produce a live show, which would be presented to all Networkers on Sunday. Paul Bennett, Head of Resources at ITV and Sid Cole, Executive Producer of CBBC were looking after us and teaching us everything we needed to know. I was very excited.

We then attended the 'highlight' of the TV festival. The MacTaggart lecture, which this year was going to be given by Mark Thompson, Director General of the BBC. What I had anticipated to be a fiery reaction to the previous years attack on the BBC by James Murdoch was actually rather boring. He didn't even wear a tie. Pfft.

This was followed by a reception in the National Scottish Museum, with yet more free wine and Canapes. This is where I discovered the third thing from my visit to Edinburgh; Haggis is disgusting. They were offering it out in little canape versions, but it did not make it taste any better. I haven't ever eaten brains, but it tasted as I would imagine brains to taste. Unfortunately for me I had decided to try this culinary monstrosity whilst in mid conversation with Charlie Brooker. I had no choice but to eat it all. He'd already taken the piss out of me for apologising when I introduced myself, I wasnt about to spit up half eaten animal brains on him. Oh and by the way, the fourth thing I learnt; Charlie Brooker is exactly the same in real life as he is on TV. I didn't do a lot of networking that night. I find the whole thing futile. What am I supposed to say to a forty something man whos half pissed? 'Excuse me, hi, yeah, so, I 'd quite like to do what you do, can you give me a job please? Oops, sorry, I seem to have thrown up Haggis all over you, terribly sorry....'

Saturday 28th August - Being told I had 'moves' by a member of Flawless.

Saturday was mostly about preparing for Sunday's live show, learning the skills we needed to do it and allocating ourself roles. We learnt how to use proper camera, which was certainly a lot different to the hand held things I'd dealt with before. It was really cool, but I certainly wasn't confident enough to put myself forward for the role of camera operator. Instead I went for Assistant Producer, which I got, along with another fellow networker. It was an important role and I was very excited. We spent most of the day running around after the other groups finding out what they were up to and reporting back to the crew to try and work out the logistics of turning that into a live show. Some groups, like the Sky group, were brilliantly helpful. Sky Anchor Martin Stanford and Producer James Weeks knew exactly what we needed to know to organise the show and gave us detailed information on the news reports that the Networkers were producing, and how they wanted it to play out on the day. Other groups however, not so helpful. On approaching Joe Mace, former TV presenter and producer at ITV, I left not having a clue what they were planning on doing. I was to find out that this was normal when dealing with Joe.

After a day of reheasals and running around we were invited to a special EastEnders masterclass. Which you regular readers will know was just about the most exciting thing that could possibly happen to me. It was a discussion about the 25th Anniversary Live Show that went out in February this year, with the writers and then director, and actors Charlie Clements (Bradley Branning) and Scott Maslen (Jack Branning). They showed us clips of things going wrong and even sneak previews of future story lines. Basically the best hour of my life. Ever. After, Scott and Charlie had to rush off for a plane...did that stop me? Did it heck. I chased after Scott like the crazed EastEnders fan that I am. His agent told me he had no time for a photo, at which point I must have looked like I was about to cry because he changed his mind, came back and posed with me. A small personal victory.

Once I had gotten over the delight of my photo with Scott, it was back to a short production meeting for tomorrows show and then a late arrival at The Channel of the Yeatr Awards with Jack Whitehall. The awards were ok, only saw two of them being giving out, including Channel 4 for Best Channel. The first time BBC 1 hasn't won in forever. Well done Channel 4 I say! Sat with my fellow AP and Sid, who ate an apple through the whole thing and name dropped people he'd worked with. I literally love him.

Saturday night was without a doubt the highlight of the weekend. We had, for the first time, been permitted an invite into the exclusive MGEITF closing party at The George Hotel. And it. Was. Brilliant. We stopped off at what was the poshest Wetherspoons I have ever seen, got totally drunk on £6 wine and made our way to the place where TV dreams are made.

There were important people. There were celebrities. There was dancing. There was even a band madeup of important people. The Head of ITV was on keyboard. No jokes. That and that fact that they played only songs by The Rolling Stones pretty much meant they were the coolest band I have ever seen. With plenty of wine down me I lost all inhibitions, and approached every famous person I saw. I chatted to Matt Edmondson about his dislike of Children's TV presenter Barney Harwood, I told Krishnan Guru Murthy that he was the god of news, and I hugged Richard Bacon having told him it was 'an honour and a privilege' to meet him. (a little inside joke for the listeners of his old 5Live show...). I also got told I had 'moves' by a dancer from Flawless, runners up of Britain's Got Talent. He's even added me on Facebook. I'm moving up in the world. I danced with Producers and Directors and Presenters until 3.30am, the whole time feeling confused as to why on earth people had let me in to this party.

Sunday 29th August - "I especially enjoyed running around like a mental."

Unsurprsingly, I woke up with a hangover. I swayed my way to breakfast, with the full intention of easting museli and tucked in to a full fry up. I was nervous about the show anyway, but now had the added nerves of trying not throw up on Charlie Brooker. Again. We arrived and went through a full rehearsal, as us AP's ran about making sure eveyone was ok, writing cue cards for presenter of the show Joe Godwin and making sure people got their VTs in on time. At 11.45 it all kicked off. The Audience arrived. The 'Talent' arrived. I ran around making sure everyone was where they needed to be and didn't stop for air. I loved it. Every bit of it. And the show went brilliantly. Joe was happy, Martin Stanford was happy, I was happy. I even managed to hold back the sick.

After the live show we had a Q&A session with some broadcasters, inclusing Krishnan Guru Murthy who I had embarrassed myself infront of the night before. But, we had been asked by the technical guys if we could go ahead and film it, as we had done such a good job of the live show. I took on one of the cameras and loved it. Didnt get to hear any of the advise the peole on the stage were saying, just the whispers of the director in my 'cans' instructing me to get certain shots. It was a brilliant experience though.

And that was it. The Network 2010 was over. I said goodbye to the people I had met, who I will hopefully stay in touch with for a long time yet, and made sure Joe Godwin also knew had much I had enjoyed it, informing him my favourite part was 'running around like a mental.' Great.

Most importantly, I left with the enthusiasm and determination to succeed in TV I desperately needed after leaving University unemployed. Its going to be hard, but thanks to The Network I just might pull it off.

Thursday, 19 August 2010


I decided to get off my sofa this weekend and went for a visit to The Creative County to see T. We had quite an active weekend in all; walking in the rain at the quaint Baggeridge Park, cycling 5 miles to a crooked house, which as you can see from my picture is indeed, very crooked, and even had a go at Sailing at Himley Park. I say sailing. We sort of drifted if anything.

Not dissimilar to how I'm going through life at the moment; drifting along hoping the wind might catch soon, or that I'll come across something exciting in the water, like a job.

I had an interview last week for a position as a receptionist at production company in London. It went well I thought, I answered the usual questions well; 'where do you see yourself in five years', 'why do you want to work in television' etc., but alas I didn't get it. I'm not too upset by it though, and besides, the reception area looked quite cold, I probably would have hated it anyway.

Apart from that, job prospects are looking thin on the ground. My temping agency aren't doing much. The lady who represents me seems to keep forgetting who I am every time I call and consequently keeps giving potential work away to other people. Apparently though, assuming that she remembers me, there is a job going at a toy company near to where I live. The job title is advertised as 'sales administration' but I've done enough temping to know that that really means answering phone calls from Mummy Perfect complaining that her brat child's Timmy doll isn't peeing like it should be.

Today, thousands of students across the country are in panic, as A Level results are in, but Universities cut places. In my current situation I feel like telling them all its ok, that university isn't all its cracked up to be and that after three years hard work you'll just end up sat on your sofa in your pyjama shorts, eating chocolate brownies and blogging about how hard it is to find work. I know deep down that's not true at all, and that I don't regret a single moment at Uni, but I cant help but feel a little disheartened by the whole thing. Its like my nice framed degree certificate is looking at me, confused as to why its on my wall, and shouldn't it be somewhere else? Like on the desk of some accountant or lawyer?

On the plus side I went to the first recruitment meeting for the First Light Digital Documenters project and I have to say I am quite excited about it. The people are lovely, and the entire project sounds like a lot of fun. As production assistant I'll be getting to grips of lots of things as my team go about planning and producing short documentaries on various 'mygames' programmes happening in Birmingham. Although its unpaid, I'm going to learn lots of skills and it'll look all nice and shiny and job-friendly on my CV. I'll hopefully blog about my progress with the project as it goes along.

There is also The Network next week in Edinburgh which I am very excited about. My timetable looks good and I'll even be taking part in an EastEnders workshop where I'll meet Max and Jack Branning. Which, considering my sofa lifestyle at the moment, is just about the most exciting news I have ever had. Again, I'll hopefully blog about it while I'm there, let you all know what I've been up to and if you insist I will try and get some pictures of me with some celebrities. God, the things I do for you.

Wednesday, 4 August 2010

Daytime Television

A lot has happened since my last post.

I moved home to Didcot...

I've got some letters after my name...

And I've been on holiday...


And so, after a rather exciting month filled with friends, sun, beaches, very hot tents, and some rather unfetching hats, here I am. On my sofa. In my pyjamas. Watching Homes Under the Hammer on TV.

So as you may have gathered I am still unemployed. Unemployed life was rather exciting when eating spaghetti on the roof of a lamia in Puglia, or watching The Specials under the stars in Benicassim. But now that I'm at home, unemployed life is rather dull. I spend most of my days watching property programmes and convincing myself that property developing is actually the best way to make money and that I should therefore stop applying for jobs immediately and buy a run down house instead.

This of course is ridiculous, and in between watching Tim Vincent show people how they can escape to the country and walking my dog, I have been attempting to 'sort my life out'.

I have applied to a few of jobs; an unpaid position as a Production Assistant for a project called Digital Documenters, a 6 week trainee scheme with the BBC, a position as a receptionist for a production company in London. I've even applied to write columns for a creative website. A lot of these I am still waiting to here from. The good news however, is that I got the first one.

It is exciting to get some good news for a change. And although the project is unpaid, it'll be excellent experience, and they offer a range of training which will no doubt be of use. It's also a project that combines my two passions, media and young people. First Light, who the project is run by, are a charity dedicated to giving young people the chance to gain media and digital experience. I love this, and am really excited about the project. Even if it is in Birmingham.

There is of course The Network to look forward to in a couple of weeks as well. I booked my train tickets the other day. A shocking £75. And it's over 6 hours long. And I have to leave at 6am. So, I will be nice and relaxed and refreshed when I get there then.

Despite my unemployed graduate status I'm remaining positive. I've signed up with a temp agency so I can work here and there to earn some money, and I'm simply making steps towards getting a foot in the door, as they say. Right now I'd be happy with a toe through the cat-flap.

Wednesday, 16 June 2010


Packing is horrible.

There are many different methods to packing. Some, like T, blitz it in a few hours, beginning only on the day that they will be moving out. My method is quite possibly the polar opposite of said approach. I pack slowly. Really. Slowly. I started a week ago and have been packing bit by bit everyday since. I don't know why I do it this way. Maybe, subconsciously, I actually enjoy it, and that by doing it day by day I am therefore prolonging the activity. Or perhaps its because I'm a lazy sod who cant be arsed, does 5 minutes worth and then gives up. I'll let you decide that one blog readers.

On this occasion packing has been particularly slow, because I am moving it home to a considerable smaller room. If you can call it a room. So instead of chucking everything in bags, I am going through it all. Sorting it. Throwing away things I don't need.

And that brings me to my second problem. I have some sort of disability where I cannot throw things away. Tickets stubs. Pretty boxes that for the last three years I've not yet found a use for, but one day I just might, even my notes. Yes you heard me readers. I am not a note burner. I was not one of those who left there last exam and celebrated like a pagan over the flames of my notes. I keep them. God knows why. I have them all, from first year. I am a hoarder. Oh god. I'm my nan.

It's two days until I leave University. Forever. Sounds dramatic doesn't it? The feeling of indifference is still there - but I know that there is a torrent of emotion that will spill everywhere the minute I'm on the M6 heading south. I had a lovely weekend with everyone. Pangaea was great. This is the huge end of term festival where the entire Union is opened up with beaches, bands, orchestras, games, you name it its there. Everyone parties until 7am and then walks home to continue the celebrations there. I left at 5am. I don't remember wanting to leave at 5am. I have memories of my friends telling me I probably should and sort of just, going. Like a hypnotised drunken mess. It wasn't until I was on the bus that I remembered I had no keys. So I spent three hours passed out in my friend M's bed until someone could let me in. Excellent. Following that was Parklife. Another festival, but in Platt Fields Park in Fallowfield. Equally as good, but with cider at £4 a bottle there wasn't a chance of me getting as drunk as I was at Pangaea. I'm a student. I'm frugal.

This has been followed by the summer school I'm working on. 100 14 years olds for three days. Delightful. Although this year I am supervisor, which in some respects means taking on more responsibility, but in other respects means choosing the best group to hang around with, or the best workshop to sit in on. (Most of the time this is the ones that involve food in some form). It's fun, but hard work and tiring. Story of my life.

Right best get on. My things aren't going to hoard themselves you know.

Thursday, 10 June 2010

A Feeling of Indifference.

I finished my exams two weeks ago. Thats right, TWO weeks ago. You would have thought, dear blog readers, that on finishing my exams and therefore ending my three year long relationship with university, that the first thing I would do is blog about it.

Well, apparently not. It is only now, on a rare day off, that I realise I haven't blogged about the 'end'. After some pondering over why on earth I didn't leap at my laptop the minute I drunkenly came in the evening of my last exam, I realised that blogging has very much been a tool of procrastination and distraction since I began earlier this year. Now though, I have nothing to procrastinate and distract me from, and it would appear my blog has been the victim of this freedom.

Finishing exams, and University, has left me with a feeling of indifference. Similar to how I felt when I finished my dissertation, I am neither joyous nor sad. I predict however, that the sadness will hit once I have moved home to that place I am so fond of, Didcot. The next week is quite hectic, with end of term parties and then a summer school that I'm supervising, so I have begun the process of packing now, and already this has begun to make me feel slightly melancholy. All the things I have procured over the last three years, silly memorabilia that at one point was probably part of some hilarious in-joke between myself and my housemates, but that is now just a bit of crap.

A part of me is relieved. Living with 9 people is hard, as is the mess that comes with it. I wont necessarily miss the mice, the mysterious puddles of water that appear on the bathroom floor, or the left over takeaways that one particular housemate seems intent on leaving outside my bedroom door. And while a part of me longs for fresh food, cleanliness and quiet, I know that the minute I have all that, I will miss all this.

I wont go on too much, or I really am in danger of getting emotional, and I think I'll save the memories and dedications for another time, perhaps after the madness that will be this weekend.

On a different note, I had my first interview last week. It was for the position of production junior at a small production company based in Manchester. Having not had a 'proper' interview before, it is safe to say I was more nervous about this than my exams. I went along, and after a very short interview, was home half an hour later. Immediately I thought it was so short because they didn't like me. I didn't get the job, so maybe I was right. Who knows.

But, all is not bad news. I found out last week that I have made it onto coveted scheme, The Network. This is a five day placement involving workshops, master classes and activities for those wanting to make it in television, at the Media Guardian Edinburgh International Television Festival. Thousands of people applied and only 100 got on, so as you can imagine I am very happy!

So, as university comes to an end, I am plunged into a hiatus of uncertainty. But for now, I have an amazing summer ahead, with Italy, Benicassim, and now Edinburgh to look forward to, some amazing people to spend time with and some doors to open and explore. Bring it on world, I have my lashmina on and I'm ready to PARTY.