Bob Knopfler - Cop at http://www.bobcomic.mattgrover.me.uk/
This is what happens when you're out of work, at home and bored.
Feel free to post any comments back here, ideas, suggestions (no I'm not gonna stop, at least not for another 12 pages i think).
I've updated the template/layout on both my main blogs, mainly as Blogger told me there was a new layouts option available, so I got sucked in to that, have just spent best part of an hour dropping some of the previous sidebar stuff back in, only for my Flickr thing not to work, need to figure that out.
There's now a feed of the recent Mattereviews posts over there ------->
and on the MR blog itself, there's the recent comments, which currently consist of myself replying to Mike. Cheers Mike, at least I know one person looks at these things occasionally and I'm not just typing to myself!!
Labels: COMMENT ON MY DAMN BLOGS
I either got into TV at the wrong time or trying to be slightly more positive about things, the right time. I digress...
As I'm looking for work at the mo, and this may sound a little "out-theree", I've been browsing the various jobs sites (productionbase and the like) and applying for the various jobs I find. What I have noticed, and I'll get to the specific instance that's prompted this post in a sec, is that the whole "multi-skilling" thing is really hitting hard now.
Of course this isn't a new thing, but I think the big big push started around the time I did, around that time is when the BBC announced it's Creative Desktop initiative which got all the editors up in arms, and I think things have really snowballed since then.
I'm currently at Researcher going on AP level, now at a very basic level a researcher is a contributor and fact finder, obviously that's not how it works in today's industry which thankfully means I've had a lot of very good experience in other areas, some which would normally be attributed to an AP's role, some to a co-ordinator and a fair bit of technical.
But it seems that in today's industry's climate, increasingly the roles within the production team are becoming blurred and the jobs that are advertised, especially at Researcher level are more DoEverythingForResearcherMoneyOrJustUnder roles. This especially with the surge in digital startups delivering their content solely via web pages and thus working to negligible budgets.
When I took stock of my options just over two years ago when I started, I decided to go the editorial route in TV for a number of reasons, one of the main ones being that; looking at the career path, I could set myself a target of AP (Assistant/Associate Producer) which would give me the most well rounded job role, i.e.; writing, shooting and editing, based on the Creative Desktop model and where people were speculating the industry was heading.
Now I find myself in a position where at least half the researcher jobs I look at involve a broader job role than my initial AP target! And when you look at AP ads from the same places (if they've posted them), they're practically the same job.
So... where does that leave me? Essentially I could get what I want, probably sooner than I'd expected, from my job role, doing a bit of everything, getting the broadest experience, but at what cost?
The post that prompted me to write this I saw this morning on one of the various job sites, advertising for an Assistant Producer. I thought I'd have a look, see if it was something I could feasibly apply for, and while reading the post i got to a line which read "Must be an experienced director...", hold on they must've copy-pasted the wrong job ad in, so I scroll up to check and no, they're advertising for an Assistant Producer (Director). Now AP's have been required to be able to shoot for some time now, but to specifically state 'Director' in the job title is a new one on me at least.
In factual at least, as far as I'm aware the next step up from AP would be to P/D (Producer/Director), but now it seems that job is being eroded into the AP role, at least that's what this particular ad would imply. And this is not for some random internet startup.
Now obviously I've been aware of the whole "multi-skilling" thing from day one, but today I'm mulling it over (again), is this a good thing or a bad thing?
Good:- Get a wide and varied job role, encompassing many skills, building on many talents
Bad:- Slower career progression? With more AP and PD roles being given Researcher titles?
Money and this is quite a significant thing to think about.. (I'll use random numbers here to illustrate as rates vary (and we don't live in the 80's anymore) and I'm not gonna go look up the pact figures this morning at least)
Researcher: £500/wk +
Assistant Producer: £750/wk +
Production Co-Ordinator: £450/wk +
Producer/Director: £900/wk +
Camera operator: £750/wk (3 days) +
Offline Editor: £1000/wk
Total: £4,350/wk (approx)
That'd be pretty good for an AP (Director) wage wouldn't it? Or in some of the cases I've applied for, a Researcher wage. And I forgot sound (classic TV mistake
It's an interesting time for TV people, this kicked off with the introduction of satellite and digital, and a shitload of smaller and niche channels with substantially lower advertising revenue and thus production budgets, but now those budgets are shrinking even more with the greater diversity of niche programming available online, and although I'd love to be earning four grand a week as a researcher, I also, simply and like everyone else out there, need work.
So was this a good time or a bad time for me to get into TV? A bit of both I think, but then that's just the way it is, cest la vie and all that. If I'm gonna stick with this route (as opposed to a technical one, which is an option), I just need to be the best damned multi-skilled worker I can be.
After all, it's quality not quantity ;)
NB: Note that I didn't mention the company or where the AP(D) ad was, any industrious people could probably find it, but my intention was not to criticise the company who placed the ad, merely talk about my observations of the industry as a whole.
Got a picture (taken by Greg) uploaded to Threadless, just need to get pics of the others now!
Click on the pic and check out the t-shirts cos they rule!
Well well, I'm out of work so what does that mean? Apart from looking for more work that is?
It means days out, in this case to a work related trade show, namely Broadcast Live 2007, and to a work related shop at Panavision. WooHoo, I know how to live it up!
So.. Broadcast was ok, a bit small, but I had a good look around, picked up the usual assortment of shite leaflets and stuff.
(Got some free mints this time!), the obligatory paper bag that you collect at the main entrance split quite badly so that got binned, however, fortunately I had acquired one of those shite little bags like you get from JD Sports from the people on eht TV-Bay stand, this bag was suitably adequate for carrying the show shite to Greenford and back.
I had a butchers at the new Panasonic AG-HPX500 camera, totally P2 and HD at 1080i/p in DVCProHD (100Mbit), had a good chat with the sales guy, explained I wasn't totally sold on P2 yet, and mentioned a couple of things, one being XDCam HD which launched him into his big pitch, but still he was pretty cool and we had a good chat... he quoted me just over £10,000 for the camera body+ viewfinder + 4x 16GB P2 cards, I thanked him and went about my merry way.
Actually that's not a bad price, bear in mind you'd have to stick around another £6,000 on there for the lens and then consider the post side of things, eg how you're gonna transfer your footage from the P2 cards (there are several options for this and could potentially add another few thousand to the bill), plus then you've got to add, Tripod, bag, any extra batteries and charger, camera plate, and probably a couple of other bits. It'd be nice, but I don't think I'll be looking for £20k's worth of financing just yet.
I am more sold on P2 now, he's done his job, and there's some major moves going on with the production on P2, the BBC have invested heavily in it, it's being used more and more in the indie sector, and could actually give Sony a run... of course Sony is releasing it's ExpressCard based cameras soon, so it could go anywhere... probably Sony.
So after Broadcast Live (at Earls Court incidentally) it was off to Greenford and the Panavision Store!!
With my trusty tube map and made my way to the Central line and realised that I'd forgotton to bring the Google Map I'd printed off to tell me where Panavision actually was. Damn.
A little bit of trying to visualise the map from memory and heading in what turned out to be the completly wrong direction, I had a Maccy D's (6 nugget meal, thanks), utilised the power of the internet on my phone and found a map, retracked, orientated and BOSH I was on my way to the store.
A long trek around Greenford, which is a scummy place, I came across my goal. Panavision.
A little faffing about and trying to figure out where to go I decided to go and ask at the main desk, she made me sign in and then directed me through the door, past the coffee bar and it's on the right. Yes it is, past the coffee bar and GOOD GOD it's actually IN Panavision, like in the workshop, COOL!
The shop is actually quite small, much like you'd expect a gift shop to be, but it served my purposes, I managed to purchase the workbelt, belt 'buddies' and lens cloth that I wanted (items that didn't really justify trekking all the way to Greenford in Middlesex for but I wanted to go!!) and made my way out, feeling suitiably cooler for seeing the inside of Panvision UK, the various production slates that adorn the shop's walls and the many large B&W set pictures that adorn reception and the corridors.
(In my slight concern about not being allowed to take pictures, not wanting to look like a cock taking pictures and just my general crapness, I only managed to get a couple of 1200x1600 blurs, which I'm not gonna post.)
Now I have a cool carrier bag and my trousers will not be pulled down by my kit.
So finally to round the day off, I've been playing Dr Cockknockers' Brain Training DS on the train, slipped over on Trafalgar Street in Brighton, yes slipped over, which annoyingly I think that's the 3rd time this year!!! (In various locations), This time resulting in ripped jeans and a bloody knee. I recovered quickly tho, kept it cool.
And now I'm gonna be sad and watch the Panasonic P2 DVD I picked up at the show.
Just to let all in the iEther know that I've made a few updates to my site, mainly the addition of the Kit List page, which will itself continue to grow as I learn more stuff, buy more stuff and remember the stuff I've forgotten that I already own/know!
As I think everyone knows, the accepted method for opening a Kit-Kat is to slide your thumb down the groove beween the fingers, thus tearing the foil and allowing you to snap off and gain access to one of said fingers.
Why is it then that Nestle have seen fit to, at least on the two finger versions, wrap the foil the other way around so that the ends are over the groove, therefore negating the need to "tear the groove" and creating a small sliver of foil of, by habit, you do open up a can of thumb on it's silver ass.
Do they think they're making our lives easier by doing this? Why do they feel that we'd benefit from not having to tear the foil? Are there people out there who so desperately want to get at the chocolate fingers that an extra second or so could be potentially life threatening??
Please, everyone, I urge you to write to your local MP and help to rectify this abhorrent behaviour before I get started on Smarties tubes!