Friday, 28 February 2014


Today I attended a session from the BBC Roadshow in Peckham. The event was run by Daniel Riches who is a Digital Engagement Manager and is currently trying to bring new media opportunities to us! He had Don Kong leading the session who is the BBC Trainees manager, along with two of his current Production Trainees, Brian and Rachel. Don, who coordinates entry level talent programmes said he likes to 'keep our output relevant to the audience', making sure it is diverse and not dominated by white middle class people who are stuck believing the best only come from 'Oxbridge'.

I wasn't sure what to expect from this event as I hadn't read much on it, I just knew it was on the BBC and that was good enough for me. When I arrived and saw Don there I was immediately glad I had come as we had previously spoken on Twitter and he gave me some great advice, so I was looking forward to what else he had to say. Ultimately the main topic was how to tackle the up and coming applications that are opening which was really enlightening as I don't know about you, but it appears I have been doing it all wrong!

Don began by explaining the different opportunities that will be available such as Production Talent Pool, where they will take on 100 people and the BBC basically act as an agency, having you on their books for when their shows need runners and they can select who they want from their list. However, this can range from a days work to six months work, it all depends on what is being shot at the time and of course, the location you are based. Then we have the Production Trainee Scheme where 12 lucky people are trained in TV and Radio and are put on three productions over a year, they have a mentor and are expected to relocate for one of the productions. Both PTP and PTS are open to all ages but the Production Apprenticeship is only for those aged between 18 and 23 without a degree. On the PA 15 young people will be there for a year getting fixed placements but with this you get the added bonus of working towards a Creative and Digital Media NVQ - But remember there is hard work involved in this! All three are paid and aimed at those with less than twelve months consecutive paid experience in production. 

Before you apply to any role at the BBC you have to create a Careers Hub profile - this is basically your online CV that they can look at once you are a part of the BBC... It doesn't even play a part in your application so don't worry about repeating yourself during you application and don't spend too much time on this when it isn't the main focus, well not yet!

The recruitment process goes:
  1. Online Application  
  2. Verbal Reasoning Test  
  3. Assessment Day and Interview
Online Application
This usually involves a question on 'Tell us why you'd be the ideal candidate?'. You need to really convey your passion for the industry here and what have you got to prove it? Give examples. Blog? Own a YouTube channel? Any experience? Don't make the same mistake of describing how resourceful or dedicated you are unless you can prove it. Use less adjectives, more verbs! 
Then follows a question usually based on your organisation and planning skills, where again you need to give a really detailed example of something you were involved in that needed a lot of attention to detail. What did you do? How? Demonstrate your abilities and skills. If in doubt use STAR - Situation, Task, Action, Result. This is a vital technique in interviews too. I have spoken about this before on my other blog: Interview 101 If you want to know more (or just Google as Google is your friend!).
Finally there will be a question based on the BBC and possibly what are they doing that could be improved? Now, I was not aware of this but it is apparently code for 'pitch us a program idea'. This can be TV or Radio and you should base it on your own experience, your background, people in your life, make it personal...Make it you. Don't be afraid to critique them either.

It should follow this guide:
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OR the other idea type question is based around what the BBC could do better to represent undeserved audiences, and this one can but doesn't necessarily involve a program pitch - it could be more general stuff like having more disabled people in their programmes, more women in panel shows, or less stereotyping of gay people, for example.

They will then cut roughly a third of the applications and send everyone else the 'Verbal Reasoning Test' this means you are one step closer to the goal. However, Brian and Rachel said this was one of the most intense exams of their lives. Lasting 45 minutes and each section has a time limit. Apparently nobody scores highly but those with the highest are taken through to the next stage. However, speed and focus are the key so their advice was practice, practice, practice. You only get one shot at this.
The Assessment day is done 16 people at a time. You have a morning of working as a team on program ideas exploring creativeness, media and audience awareness. Followed by an afternoon of lone interviews. Do your research on the BBC, what programs influence you? Break them down and analyse them. Make sure you are on top from from the moment you walk in the building - you never know who is watching!

Rachel and Brian gave us a lot of personal advice from the experiences they have had so far and it turns out Rachel, currently researching on 'The One Show', was one of us this time last year. She left uni with a film degree but went into teaching and Media played no role in her life. She found this #BBCGetIn event 8 years later taking all of Dons advice and is now on the scheme. Inspiring. Brian appears to have a gained a variety of work whilst being at the BBC, being continuity editor on 'Eastenders' and is about to head over to Radio2. His main point he put across seemed to be based on being nice. It isn't hard and it pays off... You get remembered and recommended. Any issues? Leave them at home. It's common sense but is constantly forgotten. Plus you never know who will be above you one day, you don't want to miss out on any opportunities because of a childish moment. He also had a great analogy: The Media industry is a small playground that everyone wants to play in. You have to climb high over the wall to get there, but once you are in, you're in. Something like that anyway! It was good!

I really enjoyed this event and it has definitely helped me and inspired me to go on and not give up! I hope it encourages you too. Thanks to everyone who put it on, you all had great advice, I imagine a lot of people will be thankful. I definitely recommend that you go to one of these events if you want to break into the industry. Don't depend on purely on the BBC apply everywhere there are a lot of Indie companies out there too. Good luck!

Applications open-close: PTP 3-17th   PTS 3-17th   PA 3-31st
Don't leave it until the last minute! I know I won't.

Monday, 10 February 2014

Celeb Hunter - 2 Chairs 1 Camera.

2 chairs 1 camera... I have definitely heard a phrase similar to this before. Hmm. Can't think... Anyway, when I heard about this show I was quite intrigued as I really enjoy listening to Chris Stark on The Scott Mills show on BBC Radio One. I found his surprise interview with Mila Kunis so entertaining and when it exploded like wild fire, he became quite a phenomenon... His Voice overs words - not mine! 

Okay, so the basis of the show is that Chris is trying to create his own chat show but it's filmed in the style of a documentary where he is recording the process before it got picked up by Channel 4. He doesn't appear to be using his resources he undoubtedly has from R1, but I guess because the BBC aren't producing it he can't mention that he's from a huge radio show already. Chris and his mates are going around in their spare time, with two camping chairs from his parents shed in Watford and essentially locating themselves wherever a celeb may be. Creating an 'ultimate' list of top celebs and to interview then trying to approach them in regards to sitting down for five minutes on his chairs and conduct an interview. Sounds super easy.. I don't think!

He manages to talk to quite a few people - Sandra Bullock, Daniel Radcliffe and Verne Troyer but handles it rather badly, he doesn't even ask Sandra to be on the show, just mentions he's making one and then doesn't have a card to give Daniel, the biggest gent. Obviously Chris is winging it and it shows! But, it is bloody funny. He just has this dopey characteristic and his own mother apparently called him 'delirious' but so far it's paying off - well kind of!

He meets Rachel Stevens from good ol' S Club 7 in a bridal show and manages to persuade her to come down to his local for an interview. He waits quite some time before she arrives and sets up is his two garden chairs next to a bar table with open crisp packets on top and wires everywhere. "dodgy" was Chris' own words and he's not wrong! He waited ages but prepared no actual questions. He spoke about fisting a cow and told her she was the fittest in the band...Awkward! My favourite part was that the entire time he just sat there phone in hand and continues to do this through the rest of his interviews! 

He strikes lucky and gets Ricky Hatton to come down to what I assume is a football club for his interview. Somehow he pulls this off, it's all very casual and Ricky is just the ultimate lad. Sitting with a Bud in his garden chair talking really intimately with Chris about his biography and how it's difficult for him to talk about feelings and such, but being down to earth he admits it's not just him but men in general. Then after a really successful chat they play a round of darts. However he warns Chris if he beats him he will 'knock him the fuck out'. Brilliant.

He also manages to get into where Emma Thompson and Colin Farrell are holding interviews all day promoting their new film 'Saving Mr Banks'. He over hears in the waiting room that Emma just had a whole interview in French, so decides he will open his interview this way too.. Except he doesn't speak French.. Recipe for disaster or a brilliant ice breaker? Well it pans out for him in terms of the audience finding it ridiculously funny but not much gets answered. He speaks what little French he knows, including: 'Where is the bank? Where is the toilet? I am 11 years old. Do you want to sleep...' And Emma handles them with such class! Telling him exactly where the bank is, telling him to be wary of the toilet as she had some asparagus earlier and telling him that being 11 he is far too young for her! Colin Farrell follows suit and what starts to look like an uncomfortable encounter quickly changes into what seems like mates hanging out. Chris is hungover, though he is telling this to a recovered alcoholic, he tells Colin about his beery night out and how he feels under-dressed to be talking to Colin who looks the bees knees! I agree Chris, maybe add this to your improvement list! 

Finally, he manages to get hold of Verne Troyer and brings him to his local arcade to muck about before they get serious, and boy do they get serious! Verne is small even in dwarf measurements and he is amazing, more so because of this. He turns up on his scooter and they play multiple machines and splash out Chris' changed up £20 - a fantastic idea in my opinion. They then get down to business and get out the garden chairs. Speaking again, quite intimately about Vernes life as a dwarf and touch a little on girls and how Verne isn't the biggest relationship or rather "drama" fan, giving Chris the advice to make sure he gets to know the girl first. It was lovely, though I do wish it finished on a high as there was a sense of pity for Verne and he doesn't need that - but still, brilliant.

I have to say, I really enjoyed this show. I, myself am about to embark on some training to be a researcher where you find people to interview and come up with some bright new way to interview them, and in all honesty, I feel like Chris has inspired me a little and given me a real sense of excitement! I liked that at the end of the day, he did make it with some friends with no idea that it would go anywhere, but he aimed high regardless. He obviously does have more chance getting these people from working on Radio One, than say I would, but it came across like some eager polite guy maybe making a Youtube video, it didn't come across terribly professional but that is what made it great to watch. He was just himself.

Camera work/ Editing - 8.5
Presenting - 8.7
Interview Technique - ...Unique

I felt the camera work and how it was edited was great, cutting back to Chris whilst the interview airs and having him recapping the somewhat strange things he just said. The presenting of the show was down to earth and just plain natural. When you think of Chris Stark you think of his typical awkward smile and two thumbs up but that is him and it's nice that is doesn't change. His interview technique did improve as the show progressed; with Rachel he had prepared nil and it showed, he rambled and embarrassed himself, which was amazing for us but not so much for him. By the end of the show he actually managed to pull off two great interviews, managing a little promotion for Ricky too. More importantly, he got an even bigger fan in me!

Definitely recommend this show, I love the mix of documentary and home made chat show, I would love to interview Chris. If he gets his own show then it would not be the same, he definitely needs to stop comparing himself to Graham Norton! Awesome watch. 

Friday, 7 February 2014

Mr Peabody and Sherman

I have to say I was really surprised by this film! I took my little one to see this at the weekend and he got really into it. Getting upset when he though Mr Peabody had died and happy when Penny was being nice to Sherman, such a cute kid! And do you know whose an even bigger kid? Me! I did not expect it to be as entertained as I was but I do believe a lot of it went over the children in the Theatres' head! I absolutely love it when a children's film caters to the grown ups watching too!

The animation takes a journey through many different eras, though is centered on our own and the fact Mr Peabody is at risk of losing his adopted son Sherman. Adopting him after a literal montage of his successes, as he believed he could raise him giving him a life he missed out on - regardless of being a dog! Sherman starts school and is clearly ahead of his class due to the information he has collected exploring with Mr Peabody in the 'WABAC' machine! However, he is disliked by Penny who is jealous that he appears to be smarter than her so she bullies him and calls him a 'dog' like his father. This leads to a fight and ultimately Mrs Grunion, a social worker, trying to remove Sherman from Mr Peabody's care and because of this Mr Peabody tries to force Penny and Sherman into a friendship. 

In a bid to impress Penny, Sherman shows her the 'WABAC' against his fathers wishes. Together they travel through time and visit Egypt during King Tuts rein but this quickly spirals out of control and soon he has to go back and get Mr Peabody to save them all. They visit Leonardo Da Vinc, get caught up in the French revolution and end up mixing the past with the present. Endangering everyone's future, they need to fix the past.

A real adventure and it brings you right along with it. Mr Peabody's clever puns mixed with Sherman's dopey self, you don't even need a child with you to enjoy this film. Following the footsteps of Shrek it has the combination so everyone can enjoy it. Though, a lot of the content won't be fully understood by children as it is historically focused but it could teach them a thing or two, it definitely taught me a few bits, but we should hope they don't confuse the facts with the fiction!

It featured some quite big names: Ty Burrell, Patrick Warburton, Stanley Tucci, Allison Janney and some brilliant child actors - Max Charles and Ariel Winter. Often when I recognise a voice, I find it hard to immerse properly into the movie as I am too busy focusing on the voice than the animation but not this time. With quite an all star cast behind it, Rob Minkoff has brought another great film to life. He directed 'The Lion King' and my guilty pleasure 'The Haunted Mansion' though it isn't highly rated... I believe this is in the race for his best work, thanks to the brilliant writers! 

Story Line - 9.2
Voices - 7.8
Animation - 8.4

I definitely recommend this film to families and anyone in all honesty. I heard a lot of adults having a giggle in the cinema but do feel some of the jokes wont be acknowledged by children who haven't learned it all yet. It is very entertaining and brings you on a little emotional roller coaster!

That Awkward Moment

I have seen some really harsh reviews of this film. I saw it last week, and in all honesty it was quite obvious what it was about and my only reason for going was because I quite liked the look of the cast and wouldn't mind staring at them for a couple of hours.. Fair enough right? Maybe not.. Well anyway, I've been reading up on this film and it is quite broadly disliked; people wondering who the target audience is and why it was even made. My response to that is calm down! Really ripping the film apart! It was no award winning movie but it was a laugh, had its ups and down, cheesy moments but wasn't terrible...

It's based on three guys, I'd say mid-twenties, all exploring the single life. Mikey (Michael B. Jordan) is going through a divorce after his wife cheated on him  but he isn't exactly moving on, just maybe backwards. The other two are trying to avoid any sort of relationship in honour of helping Mikey move on, typically this instantly leads to them both falling for someone. Daniel (Miles Teller) begins seeing his extremely pretty wing-woman Chelsea, albeit its a secret relationship, he is ready to shove away his single lifestyle for her. Jason (Zac Efron) meets Ellie (Imogen Poots) in a bar where she is being hit on by someone else, they go into a rather strange monologue about how buying a drink for someone is essentially a marriage proposal and an unhappy life together... Skipping ahead, Jason inevitably messes things up and then has to claw his way back in to her life, just as everything was going so awkwardly well. 

Basically it is a story of their journey as three best friends trying to stick together when they are all struggling through their unknown. It is not your everyday romcom but more of a 'Bromance'. Which was probably its best selling point to be honest. Their friendship triangle is quite funny, watching them try and support Mikey when he is going through his break up by throwing his Ben&Jerrys out of the window and giving him a 'boner pill' before the night out. Seeing how they ridicule one and other like we are all known to do, we all know the best friendships are the ones where we can laugh at ourselves and more importantly - each other.

When Tom Gormican wrote the film, he says he was trying to portray three friends who all need to 'lean on each other and support each other' which they do for the most part, but I think what the film lacks is actual relatable situations. Jason mistakes Ellie for a prostitute because he recently read an article on 'women of the night' which she had a copy of, along with 'hooker heels' and a wad of cash on her side, so as you do after a one night stand, you run away in case she wants payment! Then there's that awkward moment when your girlfriend jumps on you at her family's Thanks Giving party and you get naughty in the shower just as your best friend walks in followed by your other best friend. Casual. It's just these aren't normal situations, even if they are supposedly "awkward". 

Gormican said it took 24 days to film the entire movie, which is impressive except there isn't many different sets or variety. The three boys were quite comical and the acting wasn't bad.. The highlight for me was Miles Teller, he is naturally funny and really suits his character, though I think he may be falling into a bit of a typecast hole as he is very much this kind of ladish ballsy guy in every recent role we have seen him in. Michael has his moments but Zac was rather disappointing in my opinion, aside from being beautiful topless he lacked emotion, many ups and downs for Jason but his expression just hardly varied. Plus that awful monologue popped back up at the end and was poorly written and pointless in the first place! Comedies often critique poorly anyway but this was alright, my favourite was Mikey's reoccurring line!

Story Line 6.0
Acting - 6.4
Comedy - 6.2

I wouldn't recommend going to the cinema for this one, it is more of a night in with a friend and the DVD kind of film! Give it a watch and let me know what you think.