I recently produced and directed a series of Spoken Word pieces for BBC Three. The videos cover a range of topics from debt to sexual harassment.
The first piece by Nicole Murphy debuted on BBC Three’s Facebook page and generated 400k views, 6.5k shares, and over 10k reactions. I think this shows that spoken word can be a powerful vehicle for messages on event the most serious topics.
The production was very small and extremely fast turnaround but that made it all the more fun to do. We shot 12 films in two days with the edit for the lot taking two weeks in total. Not bad at all.
You can also see two pieces by Birmingham poet and rapper Casey Bailey on Facebook and on the BBC Three website.
This week we’ve had some lovely promotion for Step Inside My Head (aka My Mental Health In VR).
First we had a film made by BBC marketing to explain what we did and how which features me flapping my arms around in a green room. It’s a great overview of what we were hoping to achieve.
And today we also had a double page spread in the i newspaper focusing on Katy’s story and how we tried to get inside her head and present it to audiences. There is genuine interest in how VR can help with mental health issues and I’m a firm believer in its power to provide new perspectives.
This week I got involved in assessing the new batch of BBC Production Apprentices hoping to start their career in media with the beeb. It was a fascinating couple of days, seeing a range of people hoping to get their first step on the ladder.
I saw some great talent and some real potential over the tasks we observed, but one thing has been nagging me since we wrapped up. The basic mistakes we saw over and again during the process of interviews and group assessments.
Here’s a quick list of 7 things I think are essentials that sadly, a lot of hopeful candidates lacked but needn’t have.
- Research. The volume of candidates that hadn’t looked up the channel/team they were aiming for was staggering. Do your homework!
- Smiling. Not appearing approachable is a problem when you’ll be working in teams and with the public. The very least you can do is smile.
- Passion. I get it, you want to appear ‘professional’, but the people who shone were the people who were enthusiastic and excited about working in TV.
- Engagement. Research alone isn’t always enough. Immersion and engagement with the content, subjects, and practices is really important.
- Experience. You’re not expected to have professional experience. But doing anything you can off your own back is key. Keep it simple and share it.
- Teamwork. In group assessments, you really have to be a team player and show it. That means building on others’ ideas, not just showing why you are great.
- Expectation. You’re starting at the bottom. That means being useful and flexible. You’re not Scorsese yet.
I don’t think any of the above is unachievable for someone at the start of their careers. You can forgive a lack of technical knowledge or high-level hands on experience – that’s expected – but the points above are basic errors that ultimately cost people places on these sought after schemes and may scupper a career in media altogether.
The good news is, they’re super easy to fix.
I made a little film for BBC Three about women in film. It’s a mini video essay exploring female representation in movies in light of Wonder Woman’s success around the world.
It certainly stoked some debate as the comment demonstrate and has hit over 250k views which is nice. If anything, it’s highlighted the need for conversation around women’s ability and right to a fair shot in jobs traditionally dominated by men. Filmmaker is not a gendered role.
You can watch and share the video on Facebook here.
I recently did a talk at Digital Digbeth Day as part of Digital Cities, a week-long conference of events hosted by the BBC.
I spoke about the work I’ve been doing in my new role at BBC Three to develop new video formats for social platforms and shared the success we’ve had as a channel in the 12 months since launching as an online-only proposition. All in all, it’s looking very positive for youth broadcasting in the digital era, and levels of engagement are at a peak.
If you couldn’t make it, my main point was that we are constantly iterating when we develop content for young audiences. Platforms, change, habits change, and people’s interests change. But the things that remain constant are the drivers of what makes people recognise something that is a) good and b) they want to share. That’s psychology. And it’s very important to the way we work up new concepts and engage with our audience, not just broadcast at them.