Media is a very competitive area, so having work experience on your CV can really benefit. Nothing beats hands on experience, so this module was the greatest opportunity that I had so far to enhance and develop all my theoretical and practical skills. The most important part is that I managed to know myself better, to discover what roles are more suitable for me and to prepare myself for what will follow.
As I wanted to take advantage as much as I could of the opportunities offered by the University, I decided that the best thing to do is to experience more than one role. Being a sound operator, camera operator and producer, not only that helped me enhance my technical skills, but also put me in the position to adapt to different environments and different people, as teamwork and adaptability are one of the strongest points in my field. In such context, were the media industry is constantly growing, by producing more and more content for the consumer, it is necessary to have a broader base of knowledge. In addition, this is way I choose to involve myself in different projects both traditional and self-managed, because it is essential to learn about and understand all aspects of media production to improve the prospects of a graduate’s career in what is a fast – moving industry. When you look at all the potential careers you can identify in the entertainment industry, it’s pretty easy to feel a bit overwhelmed by the number of choices. So, the first thing to do is to assess your character traits, your skill sets, your education and your desires and plot those against your long-term career goals.
When I proposed myself such a wide range of placements, I did thought that I might encounter some inconvenient that might interfere with my plans, such as time management, practical adaptability or financial problems. Indeed, this was the case and I had to give up some events such as Paris fashion week and Coventry Cathedral. But as we all know, the media continues to be based most on people’s relations and contacts, aspect which continues a flow movement in this industry; so I start thinking at possible people that I might know and that can help me find another placement that will be most suitable for me. Fortunately, it was just a matter of days until I have found something right for me, the role as a camera operator for a local TV station from my original country: Neptun TV.
Another aspect that I wish to mention, is that things do not go every time as we plan, so we need to learn how to deal with the problems, which occur, and how to cope with stressful situation. In these cases, the concept of transferable skills begins to represent one of the most valuable aspects that an employee takes in consideration when hiring someone. Luckily, during University I expanded my knowledge and I discovered and developed some of the skills required in this industry, whether technical or social, such as: self- awareness, action planning, teamwork, communication, creativity, manually operating equipment. Most of these skills proved to be transferable, thing that helped me carry my tasks more easily and effectively in different circumstances and under different roles. I realised the importance of working in a team, due to all the different skills that we possess, because we are as strongest as our weakest link. I learned how to cope with every member of my crew, no matter of our roles, because we all depend of each other, and if someone fails in their attempt we all fail.
By measuring all the pros and cons from the different positions I took part during my professional experience, I started to think beyond the University projects and look even further at how this professional experience may influence or not my future career. First of all, I had the opportunity to compare different roles, thing that made me realise that I want to aim as high as possible. I have just realised how difficult this process can be, and how many skills I still have to develop in order to have a successful career.
Being a producer, camera and sound operator helped me understand how important is to start from the bottom, to go through all the different stages of production, in order to be able to make a clear idea on how the media industry works and what is the best career for me. During this process I realised that I would like to handle more the creative side of a production, I would really enjoy taking care of all the aspects from the development of the script, to locations, casting and composition of shots. I am not arguing that I do not enjoy working directly with the equipment, but I incline to develop my creative, communication skills and attention to detail as much as possible. When I get involved into a project, I always tend to express my opinions and thoughts about it, and sometimes insist on it. My plans change in light of what I have experienced, because I realised that I would like to be more in charge with the overall aspect of production, because in this way I can have more freedom of expression.
One of the main advantages that I had during this experience, was the possibility of learning in advance how to operate new equipment that was available to me only for these particular projects, such as the H4N sound recorder, the 744T sound mixer and Canon 5D camera. In addition, I enhanced both video and sound operating skills, which will prove to be useful not only for these particular jobs, but also for a potential director role as an example. This helped me develop my artistic vision, and also gave me a different perspective upon the commitment and passion that are essential for a film. Moreover, it gave an extensive understanding of the entire filming process, the crucial link between the production, technical and creative teams. Also, I realised that I need to be rational, and to learn how to think clearly under pressure. Hence, I started to be more self- confident regarding the work that I am doing.
By applying these skills I managed to evaluate myself, and to analyse my strengths and my weaknesses. My major concern was my lack of practice, and this is why I felt insecure or I panicked easily in some situations. This was mainly because I had some trouble learning the technical settings, especially in the case of the 5D, because I did not have a previous opportunity to play with the functions, to learn their role and to accommodate with them. An example of such kind, is when I had trouble focusing details while closing- up. At the beginning I was a little bit clumsy and my hands weren’t stabilising the camera very well, because I was not comfortable with the camera, and I had to focus on certain settings and buttons.
Another gap that I have, which sometimes interferes in the success of a task is related to my communication skills. I do not encounter this problem very often, but not being a native of this language seems to represent a problem in some occasions. Sometimes I feel that I cannot express my thoughts, as I would wish, and that the real message is not intercepted. This is why I consider important being part of a team, because I have the chance to be permanently surrounded by people who communicate effectively and I have the chance to observe and learn from them. Now that I had the chance to reflect on my weakest points, I will focus my attention on improving them in my future projects.
All in all, this professional experience helped me get an inside view on the media world, and upon the necessary skills that this industry requires. During this period not all things went as we planned, we encountered difficulties in the process of production and we had to find ad hoc solutions. As an example, during the first night of filming in Iceland, we could not record the sound due to some technical difficulties on the set. Hence, I coped with the situation and I made myself useful by undertaking tasks that weren’t part of my original role such as lightning and operating with the equipment, and we managed to overcome this situation. I was satisfied of my overall experience, taking in consideration all the challenges that I have encountered, but I am also aware that I need to work more on the gaps that I have such as technical practice, communication skills and adaptability. This experience made me realise that goals allow you to control the direction of change in your favour.