On Film and Television Contribution to Training, Employment and Creativity

Introduction

This essay will focus on some aspects of media broadcasting, from production to delivery, their creative aspirations, and how to get technical knowledge to work in a television studio or on location that will help to contribute using their talents in the ever changing industry, either as a freelancer or a permanent staff member of the team.

It’s worth mentioning that, there are other cultures out there that we have to recognize, and the international broadcast companies have policies that do not necessarily support the idea to “invade” other nations, but rather to influence them in such a way that allow people to have diversity, to erase the differences that exists among cultures and ideally to create an open flow of information to the public.

Broadcast services are continuously evolving, and it’s no longer possible to provide a very
uniform pattern, but rather an attempt to escape the traditional boundaries of broadcasting. There are, however, major implications of technological convergence in different mass media that addresses the potential roles “around what does, and does not, constitute television broadcasting increasingly complicated and challenging” (OECD. 2013, p. 12).

Film and television can be an exciting and a very good industry to be part of, and some companies can still make some sort of contribution towards both training and employment. They have the opportunity to help more workers enter the constantly changing broadcasting market. This is particularly true in the case of companies like the BBC and ITV, where they had (and still have) trainees across various departments. In TV production, broadcasters have to ensure that their staff can specialise in practical training and enjoy hands-on experience in using the broadcast technology equipment and be the key source of professional support in the media industry.

For example, with a policy of helping employees with on the job training in a technologically complex world, BBC and ITV often provide structured apprenticeship programs to get them qualified in order to start in this career. “Training with the BBC was very engineering orientated, and ITV was’t. It was a hands on, relevant, maybe contribute to the style of work you’re going to do”, says Mr. Owen, the visiting speaker at BU. He has been working in the television industry using a camera for about 40+ years. “It was a very wealthy industry at the time”, affirms Mr. Owen, Head of Cameras at ITV London.

A few years ago, at a seminar that gathered experts and commentators at City University London to discuss how the broadcasters of some countries perform, BBC was named one of the ten most influential state-funded broadcasters, with BBC World Service that produces content for foreign audiences which promotes national values around the world (Public Media Alliance 2013).

Though the broadcasting sector became increasingly competitive over the last few years’ governments around the globe have implemented adequate policies to actively intervene. There are also other aspects that the competition concerns and in many cases the public interest criteria has been taken into consideration in regards to economic and non-economic objectives (OECD 2013, p.10).

Permanent or Fixed Term Contract Jobs & Freelance Work

What happens at the end of your long quest- to get into the doors of production companies? Mr. Ian Sutherland, film editor, is of the opinion that, the hardest part is to gain people’s trust, and to get the employers to see your vision. You probably even need to start with a resume, possibly a cover letter, and obviously, to ensure you get to the interview stage. But, how do people break into the TV industry?

Our visiting speaker, James Harrison, Sound Designer, Sound Effects Editor, after one-year master’s course at BU moved to London and was trying to find a job. He was lucky enough to start as a runner position, making tea, toasties and coffee for people and, and it was good fun, he says. It’s just a little toe in the door really. From that base, he was sending out CV’s, and was using the knowledge to find all the mails and emails of production companies. He was sending out letters every week, permanently basically, and following up with a phone call. Is very important to do. Went through a lot of interviews, some of which were rubbish, some were quite good, got lots of knock backs, but you do get the job eventually. He was a runner for about 4 months, then he worked for the company Color Film Services.

Mr. Owen accepts that there’s a lot of work for those already professional in the industry. The difficulty is breaking into it and, that’s why staff situations like theirs will provide training up to the point where program makers know you and you know the programs. It becomes a whole lot easier 2, 3, 4 years later down the road to enter the freelance market because by that time many people will know you. “Because of the large volume of work coming in it’s very good training. A Staff situation is easy to get in and it gives a very good base”, says Mr. Owen.

Danny Stack, an Irish scriptwriter, who started in this business as a runner at an early age, thinks that “just by being nice, or normal, with people in this profession many doors will open to you. There are media agencies throughout London that can offer you temporary jobs”. Mr. Stack got a job at Channel 4 and, he points out, that Channel 4 service will commission their films, but they don’t produce films.

Mr. Stack contacted production companies just using common sense in people and a little bit of a hassle. It’s all about being polite and to have passion for the job. He chose not to go to university, but used his own common sense and desire to be better than anybody else. He had many opportunities to work in the film industry by just having a hobby email with sander bird. He wrote them, any chance at all, just give me a shout. Being online is very useful, and he strongly believes that nothing is impossible.

About taking the freelancing path, Mr. Owen is of the opinion that, “in Freelance you will have much more variety and more money as well at the end of the day, but, it’s a tricky one”. However, the question is, how do you find your way of getting into a competitive industry sector, that is tougher than ever, and what can new graduates do to enhance their chances of getting hired in broadcasting?

Because it is a competitive industry, people starting out will always feel like they’re trying to get a foothold in their search for jobs, and “they really must have that hell of a lot of now sense, and be very persistent”, is of the opinion Mr. Eron Sheean, director, writer, and cinematographer. The core thing he himself has done is to find people to collaborate well with, and then be able to form teams with.

Jobs and Opportunities in Broadcasting | ITV

The primary target of ITV is about 60% money, and everything else comes from freelance work. They “have to have staff who either know the programs, know the equipment, or know the studios very well”. Apparently, these tend to be people who have been trained with ITV, but then have gone freelance and a few years later become very successful in the freelance broadcasting industry.

ITV seems that is a good starting point for those interested to further developing their career skills and getting employed as camera operators, from either a postgraduate or a freelancer position. Because much of that production work is in London, to be trained at London Studios you’ll have to live in London area. Just good enough, but what London Studios are looking for in potential new trainees?

News Based and ITV Insight Apprenticeships
ITV is a very news starter orientated broadcaster. They are the only company, certainly in Britain, that have news apprenticeships, noted Mr. Owen. On the initial viewing of the Apprenticeship Programme webpage it’s very easy to find that ITV offers “different apprenticeships at different ITV sites each year” (ITV.com 2017). There is a brief list of learning objectives on their ITV.com website, as well these “programmes last for 12 months or longer, it depends on the qualification”, states the source.

Mr. Owen advice would be that, if you want to work on news based programs, ITV would be a very good place to start. They have even single camera shot news. Apart from news based apprenticeships they also offer schemes like ITV Insight, open to about 30 people a year. “These are two major ITV initiatives and are delivered from a unit based in Leeds, but all the applications go through the ITV jobs website. London Studios have their own training programmes”, indicates the visiting speaker at BU.

Work Experience

“Work experience is the first layer of recruitment”, and Mr. Owen is of the opinion that, “it’s your chance to show them your application”, by application, he means, how much you want to do the job, and not necessarily a written application. It is also an opportunity for them to show you what the job entails. There are aspects of the job that “don’t please everybody or, because broadcasting is a 7 days a week industry, a lot of people don’t like it. There are limitations, only a part of it stick to office hours”.

The Film and Creative Media Workforce

Film has the power to manifest itself in an expressive way and this sets it apart from the mechanical recording that, like any ordinary object, has no meaning for us and we don’t have any interest in it. Arnheim is of the opinion that, art must be expressive for it to serve a definite purpose. In other words, to serve a definite purpose a film must prove to be creative, and to reach its expressive potential that “helps us to understand the true nature of things and what they have in common” (Thomson-Jones 2008, p. 10).

In order to expand the possibilities of what can be done within a medium the big part of the creative process is done in post-production. And in the editing suite is where the magic takes place, and where all the pieces “the expressive potential of individual shots and the expressive potential of their combination” (Thomson-Jones 2008, p. 11) are assembled together to indicate that the artistic possibilities are limitless.

Mr. Ian Sutherland is of the opinion that for an editor, if the television companies like the workflow they’ll probably come back and be asked to undertake more work. It is important to be flexible and accept new challenges, even if at the moment they don’t make any sense. “Sometimes they’ll will work, and sometimes they’ll not, and will have to be put back. The attitude of an editor is important for a producer”, he says. To take notice of a fact that like any other discipline that requires creative involvement, sometimes it will work and sometimes it will not. Sometimes you will get surprised and will find out that is interesting. Sometimes it can be chaotic, but sometimes it can be fun”.

Sometimes you have to take a break for a change and later come back to that work with a fresh eye from a different perspective. Mr. Sutherland suggests that, “the job of an editor is to make it good enough, to be in an idealistic notion”. He is of the opinion that, “what is good now is not good, maybe, in 5 years from now. Film is about an emotional response. It’s a never finished process”. It’s a highly collaborative approach, where “you can work and sometimes question the integrity of the project”.

Obviously, mass broadcasting affects how people look and interact with each other, and how they view the social, cultural, economic, religious and political factors, nationaly and internationaly, and perhaps, contributes to the integration of key aspects of human society. This is a visual interpretation of stories for the viewer to the point that through images most of us will be able “to learn to understand and comprehend the world and ourselves” (Petrie 1992, p. 3) in relation to the rest of the world.

In this sense, the film making is considered a wonderful form of art, because of the tendency to manifest its unique expressive potential in a very articulated way, using their exclusive medium in the creative process to expand the storytelling possibilities of the visual language. For a great conclusion is that, the creative editing is “an essential component of the film medium” (Thomson-Jones 2008, p. 11), that is in opposition of executing mechanical recording, and it helps to change the way we approach different levels of aesthetics, art, truth, and, more generally, the subjective perception of time and space, myth and reality. “Structures must exist” (Petrie 1992, p. 4) which make it possible for images to communicate in ways that make sense the message to the television and other media audiences.

“Who, exactly, does edit the film,” Dmytryk wrote: “Usually, no single person, exactly”. He points out that, the director of a film has the leading influence on the editing, then the producer, and the cutter can have the greatest influence, because he sets the “tone” by holding together all the components and “making the first complete assembly” (Dmytryk, 2013, p.7).

Mr. Eron Sheean, the visiting speaker, who was drawn into animation, particularly stop motion explains it further that, to be a director you need to understand what everyone’s role is, you don’t need to be able to do it, but, he strongly believes, you need to be able to appreciate what responsibilities everyone has in the film crew, and then having to work with them to have realistic expectations. It’s all about what you can get out of them at the time. He found that with sculpture, “if you don’t get the form right, if you don’t get the structure right, all the details you put on it, everything else just looks wrong. It doesn’t make a good sculpture. Take what resources you have and find ways to put them through your system, whatever your taste is, whenever you want” to translate something, and use that to make something you need.

In the film industry, the filmmaker can be cast as director, writer, producer, star, or whatever necessary to create a film that is considered a product of individual or group activity and uses medium in order to deliver a statement, message, symptom, or artifact in an attempt to reach an intended audience. The source of a film is a collaborative approach, in the sense of trying to find sources for inspiration, with its informal exchange of ideas and sharing of a creative medium, and methods to develop the individual talent. And the filmmaker who is focused on what’s on the stage to construct a concrete “world” will follow the same path as the interpretation of characters, and is, in fact, the interpreter that aims at particular effects such as “to reveal perceptions, thoughts, feelings, decisions, communicative goals, and so on” (Bordwell 1996 p.158) and drawn to find images that resonate.

But this transition from the corporate world into everyday creativity isn’t easy. How do you navigate into doing something that is creatively interesting to you as well as get financed in this day of age, which is more restrictive than ever, and Mr. Sheean thinks, it has a lot to do with the death of the DVD market. For this reason, sites like Netflix and Amason are revolutionary in a sense, and maybe encouraging.

Trying to write on your own is a very difficult thing to do, is of the opinion Mr. Sheean, “because it’s a long and kind of lonely process. But when you collaborate with others, for instance, another screenwriter or even a director for that matter”, Mr. Sheean thinks that, “something really wonderful happens – if you get along with them, where you can just sort out so many problems so quickly by just saying what if you do this, and what about that”. Mr. Sheean finds that, it’s hardly your voice as a writer, but rather it’s what you personally bring to it, your taste, your ability for creativity, and from a script writing point of view, it’s alright “to make things look a little fatter that they need to be”.

Mr. Jesse Crosby, producer and SEO at Monkey Kingdom, finds that original content is a major area of investment for both Netflix and Amazon, and the availability and price of this content it often forms the focus of their own marketing communications programme. He pointed out some changes for competitive advantages given the changing of market dynamics, scale, international appeal, familiarity, digital pull and licensing exploitation. In this case, with 15 years experience of productions, Mr. Crosby emphasises different aspects of creativity trying to illustrate the challenges that the sector faces:

  • Given the uncertainties involved in TV production, broadcasters may prefer to deal with larger companies and/or well-known producers to deliver a programme to the desired creative, budget and timing needs.

  • However, access to talent remains key and, through persistence, strong ideas will find a way of prevailing.

While it’s true that, writers are not able to make us see, hear, touch, smell, or taste the relative impenetrability of things they evoke, however, they can profit from its animating virtues in order to reach the level of immediate concreteness of language in the artistic media. Arnheim goes further to realize how vital is, for instance, to combine the words of the text and, in another manner, the sounds of the music to create the unity of the whole, even though, they are asserted to maintain a sense of separateness (Arnheim 1957, p.207).

Conclussions

For those who seek employment after the completion of their college career, Mr. Matt Gallagher is drawing a conclusion with regards to the process of employment, he notes that, “good manners will get you everywhere. If you can show politeness and manners it will get you anywhere. You attitude counts enormously. Be proactive, and do as much research as you can”.

Speaking of TV production as a whole, the capacity of a film medium is very much able to
make the audience to question everything, including the nature of our own existence,
everything we see and experience. Consequently, through the medium of cinema artists are
looking for ways to create their own unique appearance and style that can be rendered visible,
especially with regard to social transformation, culture and core values. In the contemporary society the power of the image plays an increasingly important role in the actual construction of realities in the cultural and the social contexts that helps “to recognize the complexities of identity, including processes of transformation and change” (Petrie 1992, p.3).

The cultural and social context affect all aspects of life through their creative participation of contributors from the media industry. Through recognising and accepting the role of media within our social experiences, where the image of reality can be manipulated, but also give the viewer a sort of freedom “to look, to question and to reassess the nature of the world around them” (Petrie, 1992, p. 3) they keep expanding the possibilities of making visible contextualized realities that aim “to reassure rather than confront” (Petrie 1992, p. 4).