My name in ink

When I was six and being ‘groomed for stardom’ by a weekend stage school the only ambition myself (and my mother) had was for my name to be up in lights on Shaftsbury Avenue.  Thirteen years later I have seen my name in super shiny ink and I couldn’t be happier.

On Saturday morning a bubble wrapped package lay in the hallway of my student house. On seeing the Channel 4 logo I realised the package was for me and spent the next ten minutes joyfully trying to work out how to actually hack my way through to the gloriously bright magazine inside.

It came as quite a surprise to me when I discovered that, despite not winning, I could still make an appearance in the winter issue of 4Talent magazine. I entered the wrong category, without preparing a proper portfolio or giving myself enough time to post hard copies off to Birmingham based 4 Talent Central. (Ironically I usually live in Birmingham for university but was in Kent working for the BBC when I discovered about the awards and it’s nearing deadline for entry.)

Reading through the magazine has given me inspiration for the future- not only because of the advice and professional insight provided by the contributors but also due to the fact that the age cut off for entering the awards is thirty. This means I have eleven years to get myself together!

Without realising, my first foray into journalism came on my16th birthday when I decided to make a documentary on the ‘chav culture’ of a local nightclub titled ‘Ikon or Pikon.’ When I showed this, and other videos to my year eleven form tutor he insisted I show them to the head of media studies and consider the subject itself for A level. I declined the option to study the subject however; I wanted to create media- not study it.

When it came to choosing University I decided to do a subject I could actually stick at for three years and enjoy. I went into uni thinking I wanted to be a theatre director. As I sat in a student union bar full of student drama fanatics I yearned to be in the meeting next door, where my friend was applying for a radio show. A few days later I found the studio and blagged myself a specialist music show. A few months later I was on the committee and in a few days time I will stand for Station Manager.

At first, trawling through online work experience applications and email rejections I imagined I’d never find a placement to set me on a broadcasting career path. I was of the opinion that to get work experience you had to have already had experience and the whole system was an impenetrable system. Now I realise you have to make your own. My way of doing this (again without realising it) was through writing and contributing to blogs and radio.

One of the great things about being a student is the freedom of having an interest free overdraft! I worked for BBC Blast, BBC Radio Kent, Myspace Radio and 4Talent over the summer and found myself owing a lot of money to the bank. The good thing about education is I have a while to pay it back, and as far as I am concerned, the more experience I get, the more likely I’ll be able to once I have graduated.

Recently my University held a ‘Breaking into Broadcasting’ event that I unfortunately missed. My friend, however, didn’t. “It was all scaremongering” my friend said, “They basically said there’s 100,000 British media students and 60,000 broadcasting jobs.” (both of us, not studying media, are not included in that 100,000.) Suddenly I was glad I’d passed up the opportunity to stay at home and write.

These days broadcasting has become increasingly focused on the ‘360’ of television, radio and online. I realise that it’s been three years since my debut documentary and now may be a good time to return to the moving image.

Since getting a Macbook with a built in camera and getting involved in the Internet Zombie Movie (which was referenced in the current issue of 4Talent magazine.) I’ve developed a keen interest in the way that You Tube works. How do you get subscribers for starters, and then how can you become a You Tube Partner and actually make earnings from your home made efforts?

This process I am aware, will not be as simple as creating a blog: I have no budget. My three year old camera makes a horrible whirring sound when I press record and all I really have is my Macbook, but something tells me I can do it…

Well I made it into 4Talent magazine didn’t I?

 

You are cordially invited…

Today there was a letter to me stuffed in my mailbox. It was my 4Talent awards invite! I’m very much looking forward to seeing Iain Woods again, especially after I missed his set at Gigbeth. What I really would like to do however, is do vox pop interviews on the red carpet so on my to do list is emailing the organisers. It’s like festivals- I won’t feel right unless I’m working. It’s not like I won!

Yesterday saw the screening of Bryony Makes a Zombie Movie on BBC Three. In my opinion the documentary did not show the full extent of the project. I guess its main focus was Bryony, aka Paperlilies and therefore it was never going to show much of the other contributors however I felt it took the mickey out of members of the forum with constant talk of ‘flame wars’ and the like. Rather than ask the members of the forum about arguments and such, Hat Trick instead spoke to some bloke from The Sun! Comments from the forum were read in silly accents and don’t even get me started on the voiceover guy….

I, thankfully, was spared ridicule, but at the end of the film a few people were thanked in the credits…about five people. Many people from the forums as well as myself and the other actors made films and allowed ourselves to be filmed for the documentary. We signed release forums, filmed video blogs to deadlines and took up time to help Hat Trick get a bigger picture (that they chose, in the final documentary) to ignore. I felt that certainly more people deserved credit than was given. At the end of the film also there is the impression that the film will carry on being made. Currently on the forums it seems this is not the case, hence my ‘public facebook status disappointment.’

Basically everyone I met on set, particularly Bryony, were lovely and it seems a shame that things won’t be the same now.

Frank.