The next Ladders event for those focusing on Film & TV was on the 14th March. The group went around creative offices based in Gateshead and Newcastle area to receive tips and advice from industry professionals. At Gateshead International Business Centre, Marc Runkee talked to the group about advertisements- focusing on how to build appeal for a product with industry tricks and the importance of storyboards. He showed an example of an advertisement he worked on for an incredibly expensive bottle of rum and amazed the group with admittance a lot of the appearance shown was fabricated via various software programmes. He discussed production on simple but professional terms, telling the team about pre and post production work, identifying camera movements and types of shots used.
The group then received a presentation from Yvette Embleton, Educational Outreach Officer of the National Youth Film Academy. Yvette has worked for Granada Studios and CITV, contributing to shows such as Jeremy Kyle, Countdown, Horrid Henry and Mr Bean. In 2017, she won a Children’s Short Film Category BAFTA, thanks to her work with Share a Story. Furthermore, she developed the UK’s first TV promo to contain only British sign language. She aims to locate, nurture and promote young people who wish to work in the film and tv industry with the NYFA. Her contact and a potential work opportunity was given to the programme members and will probably prove beneficial to furthering their creative careers.
Craig Hawkes and Chloe Rodham gave the group an informative talk on how to respond to commissions in the creative and professional sense. They demonstrated sample briefs and showed storyboards and their own advertisements to the Ladders group. This clearly showed how work can progress from idea to final product. Once the group was fairly filled with ideas and inspiration, the two gave them a task to create their own commission in groups. The team got stuck into brainstorming, researching and creating treatments, shot lists and storyboards. The groups then pitched these ideas to the rest of the Ladders team. It was fascinating to watch their skill sets develop.
The following Ladders session took place on the 20th March at the BBC Studios in Newcastle. Here, the Film & TV team were given a tour of the grounds by Peter and Deborah. The tour began with the BBC tape room, which is where the group received information on the importance of storage and learnt about the progress of technology in records to the film industry. The BBC keep every tape to track work and because you never know when to return to the footage. The tour continued to the radio station room which contained a green screen that the team got to experiment with. The group were then shown the virtual, Hetty Feather and Sunday Politics sets. The team got to touch some of the props and learned that things look bigger on TV due to a combined effect of good lighting and high ceilings. The Look North set was arguably the most impressive and is the BBC’s 3rd biggest set. The group got to take turns having their picture taken in the hard news seat which will perhaps be a memorable moment for them all. We learnt that there is a button under the desk that changes the text on the screens the reporters read off and this is done carefully by foot, which means Colin Briggs usually reads the news without shoes on. Another fun fact is that the lights in the studio are from the 80’s and they give off so much heat that you can’t stay in the room too long. Who knew, eh!
The Ladders group then moved onto the gallery, AKA behind the scenes where the team make sure things are running well. It was here that the Film & TV crew were informed on the various jobs that the crew do- they learned insider information about roles such as producer, technical manager, director, graphics manager, news transmission assistant, sound technicians, sound engineers, technical support, the online team and journalists. We were told that the journalists have a particularly busy job as they must keep the team updated on the current news stories and news is constantly updating. This was interesting to me as I am studying journalism and hope to achieve a job directly related to the subject in the future. I know a few of the group are also interested in journalism, so no doubt this information will have been helpful to them too.
The Ladders team then reached the final room of the BBC Studio Tour – the radio studio that has been converted into an interactive room. The group’s radio show was entertaining, working off a script they did a piece akin to Scooby Doo that the tour guides pinned as the “best in a while” and “very dramatic”. I even got involved in the radio show, stepping my feet in a tray of pebbles for the sound effects of people getting out of the car. Chloe, the Ladders mentor, was then nominated to be the weather reporter in the fake news show. The weather reporter has arguably the hardest job on TV news as they sometimes need to act as a buffer and as a result, never know how long they will be. The way to get around having lots of spare time to report the weather is to entertain with filler talk loosely regarding the weather conditions.
The next session with the film and tv group was at Sunderland University. The group were incredibly busy working with Adobe After Effects. They were giving their green screen footage from their last visit to Sunderland University a backdrop to make it seem like more of a news show. There wasn’t much I could help with on this day as everyone was working so hard and software is not my strong point; I was proud of the Ladders team for committing themselves to something new and arguably not so fun. Making the news productions look more professional will result in great pieces of work to add to their portfolio and show future employers.