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Ian F. Hunt

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Professional Development – Final Year Evaluation Essay

Professional Development

Professional Development

My career direction has changed from when I first started at University, originally I was certain that it was a career in website design that I was working towards. However that has changed following a growing interest in filmmaking particularly factual filmmaking, which includes documentary and this has been my main interest certainly in the final years of the course.

This final year has thrown a few surprises at me it has been a roller coaster ride of highs and lows. The low point being the failure of the Specialist Project and the high point the surprisingly good result from the Investigative Studies project. I’m still disappointed that the Specialist Project produced such a poor result when so much effort had gone into both its production and its documentation. I was determined not to repeat this failure in subsequent projects. To this end I abandoned any idea I had of using the Specialist Project as a platform for the Extended Major Project. Fortunately while considering alternatives I was contacted by ‘RELAYS’ who wanted to work with me again and in partnership with sportBU to create a number of videos for their ‘Free Your Fitness’ project.

The challenge and scope of this project appealed immediately to me because of my having no experience of filming sports activities to date this would be an opportunity to gain these skills and also having the opportunity to film so many different sports in such a short period of time could only add to my skills and experience of filming. I was particularly interested in the live action element as there would be little if any opportunity to stage what would be shown on screen this I also saw as an opportunity to expand my filmmaking skills. What the live action element meant to me would be that I would have to position myself and my camera into the right place and be prepared to make the shot, there would be no time to worry about the details I just had to be ready. I teamed up with Aleksandra again for this project as we work well together with each of us complimenting the other when filming so that at the end of a filming session between us we always have a good range of video clips to work from. This also has the benefit of allowing each of us to concentrate on what we do best, which for me is generally the establishing shots, the mid to long shots and for this project following the action with the camera.

I’ve moved away from the rigid processes I previously used for my filming, the in depth pre-production would not have worked for this project as we had little control of the actual sports and subjects themselves, again this experience could only positively add to my skillset for the future. I had several ideas for the look and feel of some of the videos, for example my research had produced a range of styles, which I tried to incorporate in my own videos.

One example taken from my research the Guinness advert ‘Surfer’, which is about a group of surfers waiting in anticipation of catching the perfect wave, it’s shot in black and white and features images of horses incorporated into the surf, inspired by a painting of Neptune’s Horses by Walter Crane 1893.

Guinness_Surfer_advert_stillThe ‘Surfer’ by Guinness is a critically acclaimed advertising campaign that was launched in 1998 by Diageo in the United Kingdom. The cornerstone of the campaign was the 60 second TV commercial that is centered around a Polynesian surfer who successfully took on a gigantic wave. [Buter 2013]

I recreated some of this imagery in my own Surfer video by concentrating my visuals on the anticipation of the group of new surfers about to go into the water to surf for the first time. I can use some of techniques I developed making this film and some of these concepts in future productions, building upon what has gone before to create something new.

When looking back I can see how the early videos I produced were just not that exciting, which I put down to a combination of the subject itself not being that exciting and that my methods were flawed by not understanding who the audience would be. As the project progressed I looked beyond what was being filmed and thought more about who the audience would be and that’s why at the end of the project there is over thirty five edits from filming just six sports. Each of these edits was created to reach a different audience and reflected upon my new understanding of creating for an audience. I created edits for a sports audience and then edits for an audience not specifically looking for sports videos but just to be entertained. I particularly enjoyed filming the track cycling and surfing as both of these allowed me to use the GoPro to create a POV, which when combined with other footage gives the final video a completeness that would not have existed otherwise. It became a challenge to make the videos appear exciting and to overcome the poor conditions and low participant numbers. Our efforts were rewarded, the videos we produced exceeded the client’s requirements, who thanked us for our efforts and used our content in all their current presentations and also plan to use our videos ongoing for future presentations to the projects stakeholders ‘Sport England’ and the ‘Lottery Fund’.

What this all leads to for us is better understanding of what works when working towards meeting a clients requirements and creating content that they are both happy to use and which satisfy their needs. This is valuable experience that I can take into the commercial world and have confidence that I can produce content to a professional standard.

The work produced for the Extended Major Project opened up several possibilities for presenting my work to future employers or to others interested in engaging me to work on their projects. The creation of a YouTube Channel and dedicated website promotes my work to a worldwide audience.

I have created my own website which I will use to present a portfolio of work, which I feel is essential for my chosen career path. For the showreel itself I’ve taken video clips from my archive of work, which includes several taken from my most recent work produced for the EMP. Only my best work has been included in my showreel but I also wanted the showreel to include as much variety as possible to promote my camera skills. I have also decided to include my Photography work in my portfolio website as this is very much an area that interests me and would welcome work in this as well as filmmaking. I also believe that I should produce a selection of video showreels much as you would create a selection of targeted CV’s for each job. I feel that a potential client who may be looking for someone with specific video skills in for example Sports would expect to see a showreel that included sports footage.

However I fully realise that a web presence may not work effectively on just its own and other methods must be employed to promote my work to potential employers but it is an essential tool for showcasing my abilities.

While my existing web presence has been quite effective, I feel that the best way to reach out to potential employers must be through networking and using contacts that I have developed to secure future work. I also feel that it is important to attend Trade Shows and Exhibitions including Film Festivals and be prepared to promote myself to a potential captive audience. To that end I plan to form a company and create marketing materials that would promote my skills and services. Fortunately I have experience of both starting and the running of a company and have many of the basic requirements for doing this already in place. These include a company name; a business Bank account, public liability insurance (which is required by law), an accountant and most importantly a place to work out from complete with the tools ready to start work immediately or certainly at short notice. My target initially is to find work with an existing professional, to gain experience working alongside someone or an organisation that already services a client’s requirements in the commercial world. I plan to work on a freelance basis as my research shows me that this is the preferred option that potential employers are looking for when engaging an individual to work on their projects. For preference I would initially seek work as a camera operator but be prepared to work my way up and be adaptable.

In a commercial context I see my work being of most interest to Corporate and Promotional video producers, as I personally prefer producing factual based video to anything else, I still have a particular interest in producing documentaries. However I can also see myself in the mass market of producing wedding videos, but with a unique selling point, instead of just videoing the actual service and celebrations to go beyond this by making use of narrative in the production of the final piece, in effect create a short film about a wedding. There appears to be a gap in the current Wedding Video market where this type of service is not currently being offered, as my research has only identified a very small number of companies offering this service and the majority of these are in America who always seems to lead the way in these types of business ideas. I would think this service may only be of interest to only a small number of potential customers but at the same time these customers are most probably affluent and therefore willing and most probably prepared to spend considerably more on this service than the typical customer would be prepared to spend on a wedding video.

In addition to the idea of forming my own company I have a real interest in continuing my education by studying for an MA. My educational interests are centered on the production of films for an audience; my idea will expand upon this by looking at methods of creating audience participation and interaction. Geographically I’m limited to Universities in the South West but I have identified three courses which I am interested in and have submitted applications to these institutions. Each of these courses I feel would enhance my filmmaking skills and knowledge but importantly offer the opportunity for future personal development through researching concepts and directing me along pathways I may not have previously considered. I fully expect that by taking this route my career aims may shift again towards a path that I have yet to foresee but which I hope would be personally satisfying and interesting.

The EMP unit has been particularly beneficial in assisting me to decide my Professional career choices. I now know that my current key interests and skills are in the production of video content from behind the lens of a camera. I plan at this time to pursue a career in video production either by freelancing for a video production company or by starting my own independent company. Although I expect that the best option would be to do both, as companies would expect a freelancer to have setup their own company in order to operate as a separate entity. Alternatively I am considering continuing my education by studying for an MA to gain additional and marketable skills.

I had some thought of pursuing a career in teaching and to that effect submitted my application for a PGCE and registered my interest with the Governments DFE. However after talking to a number of teachers and further research I am somewhat undecided as to whether to pursue this option any further at this time or to at least delay any decision on this in the short term and possibly look at this as an option again in 2014.

Bibliography

Buter, L. (2013) Guinness – Surfer 1998 TV commercial, [Online], Available from: http://adsreviewedtoday.com/2013/03/02/guinness-surfer-1998-tv-commercial/ [Accessed 14 May 2013]

 Appendices

Youtube Channel Screenshot 1

Professional Development - YouTube Channel 2

Professional Development - YouTube Channel 3

Professional Development - YouTube Channel 1

Portfolio Website Screenshot

Professional Development - Portfolio Website Screenshot

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Professional Development – Reflective Writing Exercise – Specialist Project

Reflective Writing Exercise

Reflective Writing Exercise – Specialist Project

Profectional Project - Specialist Project Reflective Writing Exercise

The Specialist Project, the first unit for my final year at University was going to be the springboard for my Extended Major Project and was key to the whole year. I spent the summer break researching ideas for creating a documentary, identifying three possibilities, which included expanding upon the documentary, which I had created in partnership with Dorset County Council. I had visions of creating my own version of the BBC’s and The Open University’s series of TV programs ‘Coast’. However during the initial briefing for this unit it was made plain that this would not be an option.

I finally decided on producing a documentary in partnership with the Universities BA Acting course working with a friend Ben who was a third year student on this course just starting rehearsals for William Shakespeare’s ‘Much Ado About Nothing’, which seemed perfect for my project.

But this project did not go as planned. I completed the filming, recording interviews with Ben and filming the rehearsals for the production but it all went wrong in post-production. The elements just did not seem to fit together, the footage from the early rehearsals were good in isolation but not when combined with the footage of the interviews. The same was true with the footage taken of the full dress rehearsals. Each in isolation seemed to work well and so that is the direction I took the project. My mistake was not to renegotiate the Learning Agreement, which stated I was producing a documentary while in fact I had produced some good standalone short films of a stage play and its rehearsals, a film for a dance sequence and an interview with a cast member. All of which would have been fine but they were not put together to create a documentary. In retrospect I can now see how I could combine these elements together with some additional interview footage to create a documentary but unfortunately this too late to save the failure of this unit.

On reflection I feel I lost sight of the main goal of this unit concentrating instead on the filming processes, the quality of the footage and completely missing the real objective of the unit. Which was to produce a documentary chronicling the progress of a acting student in his final year, recording his thoughts while preparing for this play and his ambitions for the future while showing this in the context of the rehearsals and production of a stage play.

However I was pleased by the quality of the work that I produced, the experimentation I undertook by filming with mobile devices and the workflow and methods I used in post-production. But it was a wake up call and I made sure that I did not repeat these mistakes in the Extended Major Project by keeping sight of the final objective and producing work that satisfied the outcomes of the Learning Agreement and at the same time also satisfied the clients requirements, which is essential when working outside University for a commercial client and their brief.

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Professional Development Questionnaire

Professional Development Questionnaire

Professional Development QuestionnaireProfessional Development Questionnaire

  1. My previous work experience has been a mix of being employed and freelance, I would say given the choice I would always pick the freelance option. Being freelance allows you greater control of your career and the freedom to choose and plan your working day. The negative is that you have no guarantees and it can sometimes be lonely working for yourself. You have to be driven to work for yourself, stand on your own two feet, keep your skills up to date and go out and win business.
  2. In preference I have chosen to work on producing video content for my projects. This is an interest that I plan to turn into a career by forming my own video production company. I am also considering further postgraduate education to enhance my skills to the next level.
  3. From a vocational context I can see myself working on a freelance basis with a video production company either as part of a team as a camera operator or as the filmmaker for a small production, for example a short documentary. My skills are centered on capturing visuals hence the ideal role of camera operator but I can also edit footage, therefore I ideally placed to be a filmmaker on a small production.
  4. I have already worked on external projects while on the course creating videos for clients. Working either in a freelance role or as an intern initially to enhance my commercial skills while reviewing online sources to enhance my skills.
  5. I have put in place a number of websites including a portfolio website to market my skillset online. I plan to use specialist websites and job boards to promote my skills and CV. I also plan to network using my contacts to promote my video services.
  6. I have extensive experience of working in a commercial environment and proven communication skills gained at all levels with clients in the UK and Overseas. My video production skills are relatively new but my business skills are advanced hopefully this will be enough to move my business forward.
  7. The skills I need to acquire going forward would be mainly gaining hands on experience of creating video content in a commercial environment.
  8. I’ve created a portfolio website, which includes a showreel of my camera work and a basic Bio. I plan to add to this by creating content specifically for the type of work or service that I wish to attract/promote. I will duplicate much of this in DVD format for inclusion with my CV for instances when direct application are required.
  9. Initially the online portfolio will be a reference for interested parties to view and assess for their requirement’s most probably in response to a direct application I have made for work through submitting my CV. However long-term I would hope that the portfolio website will attract potential customers to contact me directly to engage my services. Acting as means of advertising and promoting my skills to an International audience.

After Graduation

Short-term goals 0-12 months

In the short term I will develop my business plan and put into motion the elements needed to start a new video production business while at the same time actively market my CV and skills to companies seeking the services of a camera operator on a freelance basis.

  • Form a company specifically for video production
  • Create a online presence for the company
  • Create marketing materials to promote the company and its services
  • Network for work in video production

Medium Term Goals 12 – 24 months

During this time I fully expect to have to undertake other work to fund the formation and initial costs of starting the business. However expect that in the medium to long term I should have the business operational and have gained experience working commercially as a camera operator or filmmaker.

  • Promote the company to the next level
  • Use networks to create more business
  • Add to skills, make sure that they are current and up to date, if indicated look for industry specific training.

Long Term Goals over 24 months

I will expect to have a good track record of creating video content, of winning business and clients directly, without going through a third party. At the same time have formed good relationships with respected companies gaining repeat business and recommendations for other work.

  • Expand the business in size and scope
  • Employing people on a freelance basis to create teams of experts and a pool of knowledge and skills.
  • Subcontracting work overflow to business associates to create additional revenue.

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Prof Development – Showreels

showreels

Vimeo Version

[vimeo vimeo.com/64885707]

YouTube Version

[youtube youtube.com/watch?v=PkmZLy9oua0&w=560&h=315?rel=0]

I’ve been researching showreels on YouTube and in Google search results. The conclusion I have come to is that like a CV you really need to put together a selection of showreels to showcase your skills and target a specific role or company – very much like a CV and covering letter.

Showreel Guidelines (Obtained from a variety of online sources)

  1. showreel-clapper

    Make the first 10 seconds of the showreel count – unlike other films don’t build up to a climax you need to make an impact in the opening of the showreel.

  2. Keep it short under 2 minutes
  3. Only show your best work
  4. Don’t put your contact details in the credits – put these on the DVD sleeve (Not sure why but this is what my research recommends)
  5. It should include supporting work – Personal Statement, links to websites, storyboard sketches, it’s best to put this all on the disk as documents can  get separated/lost at the receiving end.
  6. Think about presentation (make it eye catching)

The showreel I edited together (above) is to showcase my camera work if I was targetting a photography role then I would put forward a selection of my photographs and most probably create a slideshow.

Online Information sources

  • Computer Arts – Showreels a Dummys Guide click here

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Prof Development – Online Portfolio

online portfolio

What should be included in an Online Portfolio

I’ve begun the process of creating an online portfolio to showcase my work to potential employers, the aim to only upload the best of my work separately from my Blog.online portfolio

Uniquely and from the outset I decided that the portfolio website must be designed to be compatible with mobile devices, for example the iPhone and iPad. For this reason I have not used Flash in any part of the design instead using HTML 5 particularly for the Photo Gallery and Video Gallery plugins.

My portfolio is still in development but decisions on Menu and some content has been decided although some photographs and videos are currently just place holders for photos and videos soon to be uploaded.

One of the most difficult issues is the fine line between providing information for potential employers to be able to assess your suitability for their role and the means to contact you and personal privacy. For example I will be uploading a copy of my CV to the site but I will password protect it and also block Search Engines from indexing it.

Updated 30/04/2013

I’ve redesigned the WordPress Theme and added the showreel video to the Home Page.

portfolio2