364MC: 10 Professional Contacts For My Future

This contact list has been a real testament to my time as a media professional. Throughout my last three years at university it has been my privilege to work and be taught by so many different and charismatic people. I have made many different connections through being at Coventry University and have met some very interesting people along the way. I look back on my time in this degree as the starting point of my career, it is the time to make connections to not only gain a better chance at success but to truly be able to take this entire practice seriously and professionally as so many forget to do.

These ten professionals I have isolated are all different when grouped together, but apart they have all played a different role in helping me to reach my decision of wanting to pursue a career within the television industry. I have been in contact with them all and have gained a small group of contacts that I feel would be able to help me to get where I want to be. I am about to embark on one of the biggest steps in my professional life and this list is the key to me gaining the opportunities and possible job offers in the near future.

Here is the list of ten media professionals that I deem to be appropriate in being able to help, guide and propel myself into a career within the media; specifically television within the not too distant future.

Ruth Peters-Train: Production Manager

The contact that I have had the most time with and who I have had the most contact with in regards to this professional module is a television production manager, Ruth Peters-Train. Having met her through a neighbour in my hometown, I have been able to meet with her and have a informal discussion about my future and my career; how I should approach everything and what the key points are to gaining the job that I desire. She has been a true help and has been an inspiration to me. Ruth has not only got the job that I want to see myself in ten years time, but she also is working on a TV show that has to be one of my favourites and one of my own inspiring forms of television; Eastenders. She is basically like a rockstar to me, she has done a lot of the jobs that I find to be so exciting and interesting. Ruth definitely has the ability to become a decent contact for me within the business, she not only has had a string of successful roles in the TV industry; but she also runs a number of other businesses outside of her chosen career as a hobby.

A career that spans more than twenty years, Ruth has had the most experience within TV than any of my other contacts. Providing me with a ton of advice, Ruth has been able to give me advice on how to proceed into a career in television as well as assisting me in gaining a true sense of why I want to be in TV and where I see myself in ten years time. As a production manager, Ruth has had a great sense of how television works and what it takes to really make it in this industry. My interview with Ruth allowed me to become more aware of how to portray myself to my future employers as well as focusing on how to present my work that I have done as part of my degree.

Through determination and a lot of handwork, Ruth explained to me that it is truly about focus and love in a job that isn’t always what it seems. Staying grounded and understanding that a lot of hard work is required within the television industry is one of the vital pieces of advice that Ruth gave me.

The full interview with Ruth Peters-Train can be found here – https://joshuafarmeryear3.wordpress.com/2014/04/30/361mc-ruth/

John Dalzeil: Radio & TV Presenter 

In the second year module of finding professional experience, I failed to gain some work with John and his radio team. John is the lead presenter and one of the producers of the local radio station Free radio. He and his small team are known for bringing the radio station to the top of the ratings chart with local listeners since he took over the role a few years back. Having been in contact with him about work experience, I was directed to Tom the producer who was able to help me with gaining some information about the roles that they have there for students as well as possible job opportunities in the future.

The link to Free Radio’s Facebook page – https://www.facebook.com/wearefreeradio?fref=ts

Failing to get into the Free radio station in time for the work experience programme allowed me to begin to contact the production team on a regular basis. I have plans to apply again for possible work experience with the radio station in order to gain some effective knowledge on how radio works and what a producers main role in this particular form can be. I want to be able to do some radio with my career and find it to be a possible route to take as well as television.

TV and Radio are relatively close together in the industry and becoming far more adaptable and open to working in either fields is something that John advised me on. Discussing options of further work in his company and his plans for setting up a production company allows me to know that my persistence with him and his producer co-worker is not in vein. I keep these contacts close, especially through my time at Coventry University as it allows me to be able to find work and further contacts locally. I am hoping for some work to come my way in any form from them, soon.

Nick McKieren: Cinema/Film Manager – 

A cinema owner in Manchester that I have visited a number of times. Through a fellow student who studies media. Nick allowed me to work in his cinema for a few days over the summer last year, becoming able to see not only how a cinema works in the media business; but how important it is to get work produced and seen, making it visible to the public. It opened my eyes to see how the various platforms for films are so different in style and technique, I gained a lot of knowledge of how a cinema functions; as well learning a great deal of promotion techniques and how the major film companies and brands market their films. Promotion is key in learning how to brand yourself. I began to design plans for a website following this experience as it was the beginning of becoming an entity of producing media. Nick also presented the idea to me of having more than one focus on work, for example like a movie that is being presented and ready for release, there are a number of promotional tactics that can be used.

Nick has since sold his cinema and has moved entirely into managing his own small film company, which is due to be set up officially in summer 2014. I have reached out to him for any possible help that he may need with promoting his company and look forward to working with him professionally again.

Jason Martin: Gaffer/Film – 

A relatively new contact that I have been speaking to in regards to work experience opportunities. I was introduced to Jason through Lauren Thatcher, a fellow contact on this list. Lauren and I shadowed Jason through a number of his jobs in the summer of 2012, seeing how important networking is and how Jason’s main role is to keep up to date with everything going on in regards to his roles and other opportunities. He maintains a high status among various networks. Jason and a gaffers main role is key lighting; working alongside the cinematographer, but with Jason and his extended roles within a production I was given the chance to work with fellow runners and producers, with also meetings with the assistant directors. Jason has provided me with plenty of advice through email since not being able to find time to follow him on his other jobs during my time at university.  Experiencing a set on a large scale is something that has also been a priority as I enter the professional TV and film industry.

Alexander Holland: Viner & Director – 

Meeting Alexander and working with him for a few weeks in 2013 was a privilege and a huge learning curve for myself and my outlook on my professional media practice. I worked with him as a part of his production team during development for his final media production project, ‘Everything Is Fines’. The short film (that is yet to be officially released) was a huge part of his professional career and his entire media production degree. Since then Alexander has gone onto work further into the social media aspect of media production, with a Vine account.

Working as the production assistant, sound mixer and runner at the same time; there was a lot to do and a lot to learn in a short space of time. Alexander ensured that I was comfortable and knew what I was doing throughout the shoot of the film, as well as maintaining a professional outlook on how I could offer more to the production. I learnt a lot about becoming more suitable for various roles, by learning how to become capable at something very quickly and efficiently.

“Joshua got involved with my short film and took the position of runner, but during the shoot due to crew complications Joshua stepped in filling many roles. He showed great initiative and a fantastic work ethic, being both keen and willing to do any task given to him.” – Alexander Holland, Alexanderdholland@gmail.com.

Alexanders profession from student into media professional has seemingly gone smooth. He has worked on a number of film based projects whilst developing his status on the social media app Vine. A way in which to share videos, much like YouTube. I have continued confidence in my ability to make this final project something special and speaking to Alexander has made me focus on the outcome of what I am expecting. The multi media platform for myself is also something that he too is developing, with his Vine account it allows him to not only expand his skills set through the app; but also come to find a great deal of people who are professional and doing the same. I have had similar experiences. Vine is a good way to produce a following and Alexander has done it.

The trailer for the short film – ‘Everything Is Fines’ – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PulMRlS9xAM

Alexander’s Vine account – https://vine.co/u/953351596736204800

Lauren Thatcher: Photographer – 

Meeting Lauren has been one of the most rewarding experiences throughout my time doing this media production degree, especially within this professional practice portfolio module. Having worked with her countless times in regards to photography throughout these past three years, a friendship has formed. Lauren studies Photography at the university and has found working with me rewarding as well, through me being able to help her in her video productions of work and also through promotions of working together in various media forms.

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I have extended this contact for the future as we both go separate ways into the career. We plan on working together in the next couple of weeks for an exhibition that involves her work in photography that will require some video pieces to coincide with the work, I am being told that the plan is to focus on exposure through the elements of the entire media business. Maximising the market and it’s potentials for the exhibition that is coming soon. We have worked together on PicBod exhibition, Fancy Love? TV show that I directed, countless photography sessions as well as much more.

Harley Walker: YouTuber –

Since beginning the final media production project ‘YouTube: Social Video Blogging’, I have been able to develop contacts with fellow YouTubers, other video bloggers. The chance to develop contacts within the social media site that I am basing my work around is key to being able to work effectively together with others who either do something completely different to what I may be doing, or something that could be a collaborative piece of work done together. YouTube is all about video sharing.

Harley is a new YouTuber who started to vlog a little after the development of my project for YouTube. Having decided to do something outside of his normal lifestyle he had grown accustom to, Harley set himself the challenge of having a prosperous YouTube channel to coincide with his work at school. Seeing his videos and getting to know what kind of approach that he is taking allowed me to be able to get in contact with him and develop a friendship of sorts in order to be able to work together in the future. Harley belongs to a number of YouTube partnerships (other channels) that are all collaborative with other YouTubers, he is also an up and coming media student himself. Working with Harley has only recently become a possibility, due to our work loads with other projects and University; the idea is to create a collaborative video in the near future. We have spoke about developing something together and working together frequently, but only recently has the talk turned into an actual opportunity.

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His growing channel and his developments in his following is similar to mine, with his channel beginning to see more views and more subscribers every day; Harley has credited his persistence to getting to where he is now in his YouTube career. Being able to help Harley has also been something that has worked for the both of us in positive ways; by explaining to him all about my final media project and how I have developed a multi media platform for my work and my YouTube videos, he has begun to work towards building a brand and building a better profile for himself and his work. I can say that being able to get to know a fellow YouTuber and someone who has also started around the same time as me has helped the both of us to gain a perspective of YouTube and how it works. We often give each other tips about videos and have shared thoughts on each others work continuously.

Myself and Harley often share videos that we have come to find on YouTube, discussing the videos that have been popular recently and what we would do to change them and how we would do them ourselves. It’s a good way to find ideas, gain a sense of what topics are trending and also what others may think of the videos that you have planned.

Having Harley Walker as a contact for the future development of my career is nothing but positive. We are working together to help make each other better and we are hoping to be able to actually work together in the future, when the time is right. We have been sharing ideas on ways to collaborate and also how we could work together outside of YouTube also. The videos that we have been discussing are ones that either are typically seen on YouTube, but also we have discussed the idea of doing a response video LIVE for YouTube. Something that hasn’t really been done before. Harley does frequent LIVE discussion videos for his followers on all social media, through you now (something I have only just been introduced to). http://www.younow.com is a website for broadcasting live, anywhere and at anytime. He is helping me to become better at developing ideas and seeing that not everything will work, by changing particular things in a video can give it an entirely different feel and scope. I have only positive things to say about my contact with Harley and thank him for his help during this process of YouTube vlogging, it hasn’t been an easy road.

Here is the first video from Harley’s channel that I found when searching for fresh ideas – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ky5wH-HnmLQ

This is the video that I produced following discussion with Harley on his idea on this topic – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7H7ry4AuF1I

Karen Arrand: Tutor & Media Producer –

The most helpful and positive influence through my degree is Karen Arrand, a lecturer and former television and radio producer. A contact that I plan on maintaing from my time at Coventry University. Karen has offered me great advice throughout my time as a student and have always gone to her with any production issues or questions about TV or Radio. I am to keep in contact with her in regards to working in TV, as well as having her as a contact for my work that she has helped me with; YouTube. Finding someone who understands and gets the vision of everything that you do is generally a good feeling. Karen is also the main supporting factor for my project ‘YouTube: Social Video Blogging’, telling me to follow my gut and do the work that would make me the happiest and proudest, the work that would show of my talents and production abilities.

Jeff Pan: New York City Connection & Employer – 

Looking into doing something more than just moving home following the end of University, I have organised and been hired in a job in New York City. Working with Jeff Pan and his company BNAIP (British North American Internship Program) in gaining a position to work there has been a challenge, but something that is going to prove to be a once in a lifetime opportunity for not only me personally, but career wise; it’ll do wonders for my CV. Gaining the job was fairly simple, with the interview process taking a few weeks in order for them to find the right people for each specific role. I applied through the website and was in frequent contact with Jeff as well as other former employees who assisted with the application and any questions that were needing to be answered.

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For six months I will be in the US, working and experiencing the American culture; which is something that I have always wanted to do when I come out of full time education. Finding this specific role though is something that is going to be life changing, with the normal job working with Jeff and his associates at the BNAIP offices, the program includes an internship with the chosen company that is closet to the degree of the applicants. Jeff has explained to me that the company will offer myself and the other workers the chance to gain an internship with a company which works in the category of the degree that each of us will have; meaning a media internship is on the cards for me in none other than New York City itself.

Deciding to do this program has not been an easy thing to decide, but by finally having it all sorted; the journey into the unknown is something that excites me as a media professional. This is where the real work begins, my career starts the moment I arrive in the US. I aim to get the most out of this experience, with the opportunity for me to gain more work in the US following the internship with the company that Jeff finds me most suited.

Whilst in the US, I will also be focusing on continuing to develop my YouTube channel out there; for my UK subscribers but also for the US subscribers who may not know of me and my channel yet. Broadcasting my work to different markets and audiences is always a challenge, but with being in America for six months; there is the opportunity to work with people who aren’t available when not in the US as well as professionals who are also doing something similar to mine. Building a brand in a new country is going to be my main focus, creating new and exciting content that incorporates the country I will be living in, whilst still maintaining the YouTube channel for the UK.

David Rourke – Film Extra Co-ordinator 

The longest contact that I have had (since 2006), David is a family friend who has worked in the film industry for a number of years.  Having gone through him to find out about a number of films in production close to my hometown, I have been a part of a number of films as an extra and find it to be a good way in which to observe a set and how everything works. I did this more so towards the middle of my school years as part of a hobby, but also to gain more knowledge on what path to go down within the media industry. I plan to get back into this field of work for a short time when I return back to the UK. David is an open door into the film extra roles, he is also a key figure for me to gain a perspective of having film be an option for myself and career.

Son Of Rambow (The first motion picture I was an extra in) – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gnVt0tqT7YQ

I see all of these contacts as having a beneficial service towards myself and my media production career. I have made sure that there is not only a variety, but a selection of contacts that have a diverse and eclectic skills set that are sure to benefit me in the long haul. I am looking to be able to gain work experience from many of these contacts, seeing as though many pf them have either provided me with it already or expressed interest in me and my work; I plan on using this group of professionals to the best of my ability as well as theirs. The future is bright.

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