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GAP YEAR | VOLUNTEER ABROAD | WORK EXPERIENCE OVERSEAS

 

Volunteers' Stories

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CARMEN BUTCHER
British

TV and TV Production Work Experience Internship in Perth, Australia

         

To sum up the 4 weeks I have spent at the TV station, I have thoroughly enjoyed receiving hands on experience. I feel that where in the UK you would not be used for anything more than making the tea, at the TV station you are granted the freedom to be creative; to think and research interesting briefs and then to be allowed to go and shoot them at various locations. The pace of life may not be as busy as UK media offices, but it is a perfect opportunity to ease yourself into the industry, without it being too daunting. It have also gained the initiative to work that much harder and to gain more experience within the industry further on in my travels.

Week ONE:

Start the week off by briefing and planning a comedy spoof. Ideas are passed around and the subject turns to that of ‘Australian Idol’- The presenters seem to be very dead pan in their work, the singers very over the top and the conversation tends to base around the fact that they take themselves very seriously. The first day is spent by writing a script, which goes very smoothly.

The second day we spend by rehearsing and using the studio to shoot the production. A lot of fun is had by all, by using karaoke machines and acting out the spoof. It takes the day to shoot the piece. We are informed that the segments we have shot will be used in one of their programmes ‘School’s out’ which is targeted at young people, who will hopefully also be tempted by work experience after watching it.

As the piece is finished by Wednesday, I spend Thursday going out on a shoot with Loretta, who is at the TV station to work as a camera woman. We shoot several locations within Perth city in order to use the footage for an advertisement for the TV station Perth; we have been told that the TV’s icon will be appearing in and out of the shots.

Friday is spent finishing the city shoot. I feel in the first week I have had plenty of practical experience, which I wasn’t expecting to receive within the first week. I am now familiar with being in front of the camera, as well as familiarising myself behind it.

Week TWO:

This week we are mainly concentrating on a ‘Market Survey’ in order to help in the application process for gaining a new television license. We help study the questionnaires and some members of the team are sent out to hand them to the public and film this. I take many of the questionnaires back to friends at the hostel, who look over them to discuss what type of television programmes they enjoy, which ones they do not, and also whether they were of community television or not. The planning of the questionnaires and preparation for the application of a new television license takes up most of the week.

However, I do spend one day researching a local Australian artist in preparation for an interview we are going to be holding with her about her art. After researching her work, I think of interview questions to ask her about her art and why she enjoys it. I also contact her to arrange the interview for a segmented piece we can use. A few of the crew members are arranging a shoot at the ‘Swan festival of lights’ and I help them research and call people to interview.

This week I feel I have gained experience in research, planning interview questions, and also the foundation of television and programming from studying the questionnaires drawn up. This week has not been as practical as the last week but I feel I have learnt a good theoretical base in regards to research of the media and also what makes a good interview question.

Week THREE: I have been prepared for this week to be a little crazy within the office- the TV station are applying for a new television license to take over the former ‘ACCESS 31’. If successful, they plan on calling it ‘NEW VISIONS 31’ and will be community based. In order to apply for the TV license, the office need to send out several requests for people who are in general contact with the TV station for their support in the application process. My week is therefore spent doing administration. First, we must type up the letter that we will send to supporters asking for their help. We then go through a list of contacts who we need to send the information to, and email them on a group basis.

However, by the middle of the week, we don’t seem to have received many responses, so tackle it in a more personal matter. We create thorough lists with full contact details of each person we need to contact, and go through the list one by one. We also call each person to alert them of the email we are sending through so that we receive a prompt response from them. Within the new emails, we send out a more personal email so the process ends up taking quite a while up until the end of the week. After approaching each person separately, we receive a much heavier response.

Again, the week hasn’t been as practical, but I have learnt a lot about TV application process, as well as using Microsoft Excel and Word to a great extent.

Week FOUR: My final week at the TV station has proved to be more practical again than the previous two. I start the week off by being shown the editing suite that the TV station uses. The program that the TV station uses is adobe Premiere, and we are shown how to create a new file for specific edits, and we are able to play around with an episode in order to practice how to do it. This proves very interesting and useful, and has created quite an interest with editing for me.

We then look into briefs for projects that we are able to do, and one of the girls suggests looking at the art of street performance within Perth, as it is a very vibrant and cultural city. A day is spent thinking of questions to ask them, and also researching the history of the busker.

We go out to shoot and end up speaking to a street performer; however the weather is looking quite rainy which doesn’t make for good performing conditions. We decide to go back another day and make our way to a community center that Claudia is at to film a dance and interview a few elderly members about the dancing and music in order to keep up with the community feel of the channel. I interview them on camera.

We spend my final day going out and interviewing the buskers on camera so I gain some presenting experience as well as the rest of the practical experience I have received. I thoroughly enjoy this and also learn a few tricks of the trade via some tips given to me by Claudia, a regular presenter at the TV station.

After some time back in the UK:

I completed a month's TV work experience in Perth, organised and arranged by yourselves. In the UK, I had struggled to obtain media work experience other than the odd week here and there, and was looking for a way to get some sound media experience whilst travelling, as I had always wanted to travel after University and thought your program was an excellent way to combine the two. 

The stay arranged by yourselves was great; the accommodation was nice, I had contacts in Perth in case I ran into trouble, and made loads of new friends.  I then went on to travel all of Australia (and a week in New Zealand! ) for an additional 6 months (although I had originally planned to go home waaay earlier than that!). I came back to the UK from my travels in May and in September I was offered a 6 month contract with MTV as their creative intern, and upon nearing the end of my contract, have now been offered a year contract at the BBC as production co ordinator. 

I just wanted to say a massive thank you for my experience, both work and culturally, in Australia. I would hugely recommend this to anyone, especially those who want to break into media via an alternative path. Even for those who do not want to obtain a career in the media, my employer said she was impressed with the month I did in Australia, because it showed I had the initiative to get out there and do something productive, and it was something that stood out amongst the hundreds of CVs she received!

I really hope you continue with your programs across the world, and that people benefit from them as much as I did. It really is something I will never forget. Thanks a million.

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