Post-expeirence SWOT analysis

Having completed my professional experiece module, I feel it’s appropriate to take stock of what I’ve learnt and gained from the placements and carry out a secondary SWOT analysis.

 

Strengths

Highly proficient with equipment such as H4N and equivalent audio recorders

Creative approach to problem solving

Understand the importance of clear communication prior to and as soon as problems and issues arise

Wider network of professional directors, producers, production sound recordists

Sufficient credits to my name to apply for prestigious professional networks such as Association of Motion Picture Sound

Greater awareness and attention for detail on set for problematic extraneous sound

Ability to recognise potential problems before they arise and confidence to voice concerns in advance to ensure smoother production process

Weaknesses

Lack of access to highest quality equipment

Unfamiliar and untrained with more advance sound mixers

Occasionally frustrated by natural delays to film production (Acknowledged and improving)

Opportunities

Join AMPS and network with more established industry professionals

Advertise myself in local media networks

Stay in contact with key members of my existing professional network

Threats

Lack of equipment makes it difficult to freelance

Risk of not being able to take work in assistant positions because of lack of training on kit

Best jobs and placements might require more/wider experience

Risk Assessment Forms

One of the biggest challenges I found over this module was the use and importance of risk assessment forms.

As I mentioned in a previous post, this whole professional experience has brought me from a very much amatuer, student state of mind to a more mature and professional attitude and approach to my work. Risk Assessments have been a perfect example of this. From my past student work I have generally taken a “common sense” approach (as I liked to think of it…) where by I did a visual check of the location and made sense to avoid them. However, this module has taught me that the importance to get things like that documented and on file. Risk assessments also make you think more deeply about your projects prior to undertaking them, allowing you to make a note of any potential problems and avoid them before you get on set, improving your professional safety record and making your on set time more efficient as less time is spent worrying or handling health and safety issues.

Unfortunately, I have only learn these lessons from not successfully handling risk assessments on the projects I was  apart of this year. However I have completely learnt what errors I made and how I will correct my attitudes and behaviour for future projects to be more professional. I have spoken to Steve regarding these issues and have also contacted him with my risk assessment forms.

masqerade

calm before

time and time before

General feedback on my scripts portfolio and link to outward facing website

Over the year I have been seeking feedback on my script as it’s developed. I have had responses from scriptwriting lecturer Clifton Stewart, former radio producer Karen Arrand, script editor Brian Southwood, coursemate Thomas Longstaff and independent producer Kaushy Patel as well as the five actors who read the script and were part of the production.

Generally the feedback was extremely positive and has given me a great confidence boost from the start of the year. I knew that comedy was a difficult genre to tackle as a first script but it was very pleasing for me to be told that Karen, Clifton, Brian and my actress Maddie Baylis all told me they found the script funny, which was the most important thing for me as the writer.

Sheep started life as a film script and I am very keen to try and turn it back from radio to being the high octane laugh-a-minute audio-visual joy-ride I always envisaged. Kaushy, producer at a local indy film production company, has expressed an interest in the idea saying it is an interesting concept and my peer Thomas Longstaff has said he believes the script has great cinematic potential and would be very keen to be a part of a team that attempts to tackle Sheep as a film project

I found the assistance, advice, criticism and feedback from all these sources. I know I’m not a world class legendary writer at the this stage, but the response to my work has been enough to encourage me and make me think writing is a profession worth pursuing

 

My website, with examples of my script work can be found at http://danhooper1993.wix.com/danchooper

Trailer for Sheep

For my trailer for 361mc, I have chosen to do a short clip from my final cut rather than a “traditional” trailer that would be made for film. My reasoning and justification for this is that the BBC radio often don’t have trailers as such but rather a selection of clips taken directly from the overall cut and they serve as trailers and advertisements.  This is true for both comedies and traditional dramas on the BBC websites.

Some programmes do have trailers and, like The Mitchell and Webb sound, have animated visuals to go with the voice over. As I am not an animator and didn’t have stills or video from the recording days, I have chosen to go with the clip method. I feel this is still a legitimate and professional way to trail and advertise my product.

What’s next and what do I need to improve on?

The main thing that this academic year has taught me is that life won’t stop when university does. I’m running on the sand on the moment, but I need to start planning what to do once I hit the water.

The end goal is to write scripts above all else.  Radio, film, theatre, television, all formats excite and interest me and I would love to try and work in as many fields and formats as possible. In an ideal world I’d also be involved in the production as a director or producer but these are distant secondary and tertiary goals. The main thing above all else is my passion for writing and belief that I am a good writer with interesting and original ideas.

So, where do I go once I’ve finished my university education.

As I’ve mentioned in previous blogs, I am in currently in very early stages of talks with a local production company about the prospect of getting my FMP script read and made into a short film. I understand the idea of going from a read to production is a large leap and I’m not getting ahead of myself and planning for the premiere, but that’s what I need to aim for to try and see my ideas become scripts and my scripts become films/radio dramas/stage plays etc. This is proving to be an important learning curve me for as I’m starting to put the things I learnt about pitching into practise and start out on my way to becoming a professional writer.

I also discussed in my CV blog about the need to look away from independant script writing and to consider plying my skills as a writer either at a production company or other established artistic business. I spoke about the process of developing my cv for that type of position.

The main thing I need to improve on to approach a career in either form is handling nerves and self-confidence. I have frequently in the past suffered from a lack of self-esteem and self-confidence, but as I approach the end of my academic career I  feel like I am becoming calmer in that regard. I had heard “don’t be nervous, just do it” type of advice millions of times but now I am at a point where I understand and accept that if I don’t put myself out there, then I will never achieve anything and will simply write rubbish in my bedroom that nobody reads. I am much more confident and am prepared to step out and put the work in to get my work scene and look for every opportunity to seek feedback and look at any interaction with other artists and writers and media professionals as a chance to learn and take advice and improve myself both in terms of writing skill, professional conduct and understanding over the industry and environment I exist in as an artist.

I also need to expand my portfolio of scripts. One thing I am keen to do is branch into other genres and mediums. I already have a horror film script I am working on and will continue to pursue my interests in comedy and action genres as well. Having now written for both film and radio, I must now expand on my experience in these areas and will research theatre script-writing as well. As I said, my passion is writing and any platform or vehicle for me to do that is a welcome one.

I feel I am equipped to leave university and step into a professional world of writing. I do not expect it to be an easy or smooth journey to the career I dream for, but I’m passionate enough to go after it and relish the challenge and experiences ahead of me. I’ve identified what my strengths are , what my weaknesses are and what areas I need to build on and improve. I know what area of media production I want to be a part of, what field I have the skill to be a part of and what I need to go to reach industry standard and how to achieve my professional goals.

CV and targets for future employment

As well as looking at a potential future as a freelance, independant scriptwriter, I have been thinking about trying to find employment as a creative writer for an established company, agency or studio. One such job I found was for four23 who posted this advert (position no longer available). Reading the job description I decided it sounded like a position I was a) had the skills for and b) would enjoy. I recognised that the advert wanted 3+ years experience in a similar role but felt there’s no harm in applying. Job adverts are for the ideal candidate and so even if I don’t match every criteria, there’s nothing to lose from sending in an application. So I revised my cv for the job and sent it in.

CV 1

Despite having no expectation of getting the position, I still feel the process was beneficial because it got me more experience and practise in going through the job searching process. One of the crucial things it taught me was the importance of investing time into each job application and tailor each cv and covering letter to that specific opening. This shows employers that you are showing attention to their company and position and are not just copy-and-pasting the same cv to a million different job openings. While that is something of an ego rub for the employer, but also shows you to be a engaged and passionate potential employee who is interested in and understand the company you want to be a part of. Little things like that can stand out you out from others who might not show the same levels of engagement.

Another aspect I didn’t expect to encounter was the nerves! The nerves I felt from putting myself out for judgement by a complete stranger. It’s this kind of thing that will only be conquered overtime as I gain more experience. As I get used to applying for “real” career positions, I will become more comfortable with and aware of my skills and strengths and better able to advertise them and make myself a more attractive prospect as an employee.

I will continue to look for job positions in similar kind of vein as the one I have discussed in this blog and keep working to improve and refine my CV.

Professional networks

Over the course of this academic year I have started to look at professional and creative networks I can become a part of. Creative networks are a good idea because they allow you to connect with like minded people who are at a similar level of experience to you or above. Networks give me an opportunity to discuss ideas, projects and expand and open up my personal network. By talking to someone in the network, I can be introduced to people I don’t know yet who can fill gaps in my own skillset or the skillset of my existing network.

I’ve joined groups that are based both in Coventry and London,  as well as both being virtual communities and physical meetups. Virtual groups I have joined are Pat The Bull Films run by Kaushy Patel. Pat The Bull Films is a Video Production Company based in the West Midlands. They have a number of Films (Shorts & Features) that are going into production in the near future. As the page is regularly updated it is a live and useful source of potential new work and contacts in my current local area. I have recently contacted Kausy regarding getting Sheep read and possibly made into a short film. 

The physical groups I’ve joined are the Coventry Writer’s Group, Coventry Bound Film-making, The Dalston Screenwriting Club and  “Write a novel or screenplay in a year”. These are groups which provide me with the chance to join active writers and film makers, some who are currently looking to produce and develop film projects. This kind of dynamic environment is exactly what I feel I need as it will give me motivation, support and assistance developing my script ideas. The DSC and WNSIAY are more long term network as I am to link up with them once I move home to London after University. The WNSIAY is more useful for new projects, getting them moved from simple ideas in my head to actual physical written work, keeping me on a steady track of progress and a group of peers to work with and alongside.

Overall, I see these as exciting opportunities to expand my network of contacts and seek new professional experiences.