You know that weekly email you get from your school, with information about events and semi-useful things, but you can never be bothered to read it? Occasionally it can pay off to take the time to filter through those links and snippets of information, since your school only has your best interests at heart, and every so often you find something interesting…
Channel 4’s pop-up event in Doncaster last Wednesday was one of them, with the application link appearing in the School of Arts’ weekly email over a month ago when the majority of us were still working hard to be good students, and checking our emails every other day. It’s quite fortunate that the university was thoughtful enough to make students aware of this event since promo was non-existent unless you were actively searching for it. Normally this would warn you not to expect much from the event, but not this time.
Over the past few months 4Talent have collaborated with My Kinda Future hosting pop-up events across the country with workshops in the fields of film production, journalism, and marketing to encourage and inspire people across the country to get involved in the media industry. The Channel 4 team was made up of people from all ranges of the media industry, giving people the opportunity to ask about different routes they could go down, be it acting, producing, advertising or finance. Film producers Libby Durdy and Bekki Wray-Rogers from Duck Soup Films – based locally in Leeds – offered their expertise to those who attended, advising aspiring writers to write “as much as you can and hope someone notices,” and aspiring directors to “do everything to the best of your ability to be noticed – even if that’s making cups of tea.” With an impressive career of This Is England (90, 86 and 88), Four Lions and Utopia between them, in addition to starting their own production company last year, it’s safe to say that they know a thing or two about the industry.
The groups people were divided into were as equally diverse as the Channel 4 team. While some were amateur film-makers curious about turning their hobby into a full-time occupation, others already worked in the media industry and wanted to find out more about how to move sectors. The challenge across all three occupational groups was to create something in just two hours that promoted and covered the 2020 Paralympic Games. Marketing would pitch a promo plan covering TV advertisement, online presence, out-of-home promotion and logo; TV production were to create a short film relating the Games to everyday life; journalism were tasked with covering the build-up to the event, asking locals how they had reacted to the 2016 Paralympics in Rio and if they were looking forward to 2020. The presentations would be judged by the experts from Channel 4, who would choose two winning groups from each workshop to present their ideas to everyone attending the event. The ultimate winners from each group won the chance to present again in London, competing against groups from other pop-up events this year. Intense, but a lot of fun.
Before everyone’s competitive sides were unleashed, members of the Channel 4 team rotated around the three different workshops to talk about the inner workings of each field, and how Channel 4 worked as a company in these areas. For those attending with little to no experience in the field they were working in for the day, it was very useful information and helped with the challenge later in the afternoon. Channel 4 also set aside an hour for a networking lunch after Duck Soup’s Q&A panel, to create a more relaxed environment for asking questions and getting to know people in the media industry, as well as those attending the event.
Events like these go beyond looking good on a CV, since the experience provides you with the opportunity to receive feedback on your work from professionals, gives you the chance to ask an array of questions, and allows you to exchange contact details with people in the industry. Although places are limited to 3,000 per year, Channel 4 offer a range of opportunities to students interested in a career in the media industry through work experience and their 4Crew and investigative journalist programmes, and it’s still worth applying for places on the 2017 pop-up events. So keep an eye on those emails.
(Image: Channel 4)