So, Days 1 and 2 have been and gone, and I’m half way through Day 3. That went fast. I’ve been assigned a week at North One productions, located in Islington, London. I arrived at 10am to be greeted by a locked glass door. I tried to open it as the woman in reception laughed at me from the other side. Clearly I was the new work experience kid. A woman then dashed past me, scanned her keycard on the door and ran up the stairs to her office. Those first 60 seconds immediately introduced me to a world of keycards, keyfobs, keychains and glass doors. I think the idea behind the glass doors is that the public can see that this is a TV studio, but then aren’t allowed near it at all without a keycard. Sets up an ‘exclusive’ image. Very clever.
Anyway, I’ve been assigned to the ‘Library’ department. Here, the media that’s just been shot on a range of projects across the country are bought back to this office, uploaded onto computers, authored onto DVD, then stored in a huge media library. The first half of Day 1 was a bit slow as people arrived to start the week, the computers were turned on after the weekend, and certain people (me) needed to be shown around, given a keycard and introduced to other workers. But after lunch, I was quickly given lots of jobs to do – designing DVD prints, burning media to discs, checking audio/visual syncs and documenting DVD’s into the library. I’ve become friendly with the workers very quickly, and it think it definitely helps to have an open mind and a good sense of humour. There’s a lot of ‘waiting time’ where discs will be copying or data will be transferring, so everyone stops for a few minutes every so often and enjoys a good laugh over a coffee. It’s very relaxed, inclusive and welcoming. At the moment, we’re working on the Morecambe and Wise Christmas Show. Pretty cool!
I have found that the operations are carried out in a much more calm and informal manner than expected. Everyone has a common goal – to make a good product, so everyone gets stuck in and helps each other out. Also, because there’s such a rigid workflow in the media industry, everyone who works here knows exactly what they’re doing; when to do it; how to do it. This means that you literally won’t be asked to do much unless you ask someone if you can help them. Sometimes they will ask you to give them a hand in what they’re doing, sometimes they’ll ask you to do a job somewhere else in the building, and sometimes they’ll appreciate it if you just leave them to it. Either way, it’s good to be ready for anything they throw at you.
It sort of works like a factory here. One department will ‘ingest’ the media into the network, the next department will make sure the clips work, the next department will edit, the next department will author the media and the final department will distribute – all in one building. It sounds like everything’s separated from each other, but people go between each department all the time. I’ve found that the best thing to do is to ask people wandering by if they’d like help – you end up doing jobs throughout the whole building instead of just the department you’re assigned to, so it really increases the amount of experience that you get.