First day of Year 2...AAAGGGHH!

I was expecting to find it difficult to get myself in 'learning' gear again after such a long summer holiday. I wasn't expecting such a shock to the system.

Possessing the wrong timetable didn't get me off to a good start. At 6 minutes past 9 I became suspicious that my 9 a.m lecture didn't in fact exist and when I took a long hard look at the timetable posted up in M5 I quickly discovered it looked nothing like the one in my hand. Scrap that.

10 a.m  Making It In The Media 2

Making It In The Media turned out to be one of my favourite modules last year and it started out as my worst so the fact that the introduction lecture to the follow on module filled me with dread does not necessarily mean that all is lost. But part of me does wonder.

We are expected to come up with a financial package for a factual or drama production. You know the whole works, location costs, crew costs, actors, accommodation, travel, post-production, insurance. Then we have to say where we plan to get this money to finance our film. We have to schedule: an overview schedule and a shooting schedule. (When I did my work experience this summer I kept looking at the call sheet and pitying the poor man who had to write it up every day) We also have to research commissioning guidelines and know which commissioner we would have behind us and why. We have to know our demographic. Not just 'BBC 2 audience' but what that audience is like as a stereotype.

We have to do a cashflow.

I had to go home and look up what the word 'cashflow' actually meant. I have not been blessed with a business mind.

I will say this after sweating and panicking for a while and feeling rather down, later on today I went to my office and calmly went through the 'Learning Materials' on Blackboard. I figured if I could just get my head round some of what Graham had been talking about I would figure it out. I started looking up the BBC Commissioning Guidelines.  I have not yet attempted to wade through it but things started to make more sense. Basically I have to pretend I am producing a financial package for the BBC for a production I want to do. That makes it more real to me.

Of course there is the tinsy winsy other problem of not having any original ideas at the moment. I have a big pile of old idea and scraps of ideas sitting in folders positioned around my room, but I need something fresh. Something new. What? WHAT?!

That niggled me all day and followed me into the next module seminar:

1 pm Production Contexts

One of the first things that Warren said was that "TV is not the Director's medium." That threw me a little. I want to direct. I'm not sure he's totally right and if he is then maybe that's why so much TV Drama is rubbish but I am willing to be drawn into a conversation on that one.

His next quote was as follows: "If you want to work for the BBC they will break you down and build you up as a BBC employee."


I already knew this and I had been thinking about it a lot recently. I loved working on The Paradise but it did show me the perfectly crafted "BBC System" which I can't help thinking must choke passion out of production more often then not. Some recent examples of this would be the new "Upstairs, Downstairs," "Parade's End" and, sadly, "The Paradise" as much as I learnt from it I was not enthralled by the first episode.

Anyway, back to the module, as far as I could gather we are supposed to be writing an essay on audience behaviour in some form or another.

"Issues such as convergence, audience behaviour, participatory culture, economics, policy and 
genre will be explored in order to anchor media practice in a variety of current critical contexts 
that impact the media industries."

I haven't looked up the words convergence or participatory culture yet but I am sure I will enjoy them when I do...

Where I am currently on this subject: As long as the audience don't talk through my film, I'm happy.

We were given a task for next week which got me thinking though. We have a few questions to ask ourselves:

  • How much TV do you watch in a day?
  • How much of that content is watched on an actual Television?
  • What other devices do you watch content on?
  • What else are you doing that is media orientated while watching TV?
  • How much of your day is taken up with social media?
  • What kind of social media is it?
  • What media do you pay for?
The day ended at around 4.30pm with Paul Baldwin, Lucy Jolly, Ben Young, Matt Dennis and Graham Waite filing solemnly into CL2.52, lining up in a neat row and informing us reverently of what is to come. 

To quote Amy Pond: "I properly, properly scared..."