Thursday, 21 April 2011

Advanced academic media training workshop

As a practice for my viva, and future activities, I registered on the OU's advanced academic media training workshop, having taken the initial workshop over a year ago here. I'd realised at the Bottom Line studio that a one-minute piece to camera with all the lights focussed on you is almost parallalisingly scary so I needed to improve. If you're logged on to the OU system, you can read about the training here.

In the morning we covered a two-minute interview with questions we'd anticipated and given the interviewer beforehand. Then we spoke "down the line". This means that you have a tiny earpiece, face the camera and respond to the questions you hear in your earpiece in an otherwise empty studio. The advantage of this set up is that if a news channel wants an Open University expert quickly, the OU expert can immediately work in this studio to answer questions from someone in another part of the UK, or Europe or anywhere in the world, without having to be in their studio.

Then we went out in the fresh spring air to produce our pieces to camera en situ. Mine was in a car park, and why a car park? Because I was talking about engagement, and some of the best engagement happens in unexpected places like car parks. It was only a one minute piece, and I'm prepared it, and learned it by heart, so took only three takes.
  1. The first got chucked because I said 'good morning' and shouldn't, but it gave me time to learn to take a couple of steps before talking
  2. The second got chucked because the last line was lame
  3. When I get the link for the best take, I'll post it on this blog.
We also took the opportunity to put together a piece for an OU mathematics openings course where one of us explained what maths could do for understanding patterns in the world, like those in fern leaves, and the fun of learning together (I became a film extra).

After lunch, we practised auto cues, discovering its disadvantages and the consequence need to 'perform' , act up a bit and to read quickly. Then we planned a story board for a piece of media with a running order and shooting script. This was discussion and a bit theoretical but gave me ideas for something to do in my new research job, (the one I started part-time, temporary last week,) and the advice from our excellent trainer, Janet Summer, improved and extended our conception of how to tackle such a media piece. Also look out for:

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