ScreenHI Content Producers tell us how it is at the Fringe!
Wed 1 Aug 2012
ScreenHI teamed up with partners, Dabster Productions to create 3 production roles within their team working on a portfolio of podcast commissions for the BBC, E4 Udderbelly and the Cultural Olympiad at the Edinburgh Fringe 2012.
Breege, Cameron and Roisin have now finished their month in Edinburgh. If you have been following their blogs you’ll get a feel for how full on the Edinburgh Festival is when you are working on a production. They have given us insight into festival life, what they have learnt along the way, how it all fits together in terms of producing a series of podcasts and how good industry practice and experience of this is vital to being successful in what you produce.
While Breege and Cameron were fully immersed in their roles as Content Producers, Roisin’s introduction to the broadcast world during this intensive training was proving to be hard work but equally exciting and rewarding Read below how they are getting on in their own words and listen to the podcasts here
- Roisin Seaton, Wednesday 1st August 2012
- Cameron Dykes, Wednesday 1st August 2012
- Breege Smyth, Thursday 2nd August 2012
- Roisin Seaton, Sunday 5th August 2012
- Breege Smyth, Monday 6th August 2012
- Roisin Seaton, Wednesday 8th August 2012
- Breege Smyth, Wednesday 8th August 2012
- Cameron Dykes, Thursday 9th August 2012
- Breege Smyth, Thursday 9th August 2012
- Breege Smyth, Friday 10th August 2012
- Breege Smyth, Saturday 11th August
- Roisin Seaton, Sunday 12th August 2012
- Breege Smyth, Sunday 12th August 2012
- Cameron Dykes, Monday 13th August 2012
- Breege Smyth, Tuesday 14th August 2012
- Breege Smyth, Wednesday 15th August 2012
- Roisin Seaton, Thursday 16th August 2012
- Breege Smyth, Monday 20th August 2012
- Roisin Seaton, Tuesday 21st August 2012
- Breege Smyth, Thursday 23rd August 2012
- Roisin Seaton, Thursday 23rd August 2012
- Cameron Dykes, Friday 24th August 2012
- Roisin Seaton, Sunday 26th August 2012
- Breege Smyth, Monday 27th August 2012
- Breege Smyth, Friday 31st August 2012
Roisin Seaton, Tuesday 4th September 2012
Roisin Seaton, Wednesday 1st August 2012
As I finally sit down to write this blog, it’s already 1am. How did it get this late already? Time seems to be flying by right now, as time not only flies when your having fun, but also when you have many, many things that need to be done! Oh, and did I mention we’re only a mere two days in to work? Furthermore, the festival hasn’t even started yet! There are only two things I can state for certain: 1. It’s going to be a mad few weeks, 2. Thank the Lord above for coffee.
Monday morning, and I awoke to a beautiful day in Edinburgh My first day at Dabster towers consisted of tea, coffee, meeting everyone, millionaire shortbread and a fair few laughs – any previous nerves were gone in minutes as everyone on the team are great, and pretty much like big kids. This month Dabster Productions will be working on a number of different shows for E4 at the Underbelly, the BBC, the Pleasance and Amnesty International – that’s a lot of work and a lot of shows! With no time to waste blethering we started to think up ideas for the E4 at the Underbelly ‘podcalf’ (the first cow pun of many), which is what my team will be focusing on. 400 cow jokes later and we’ve come up with a fair few ideas, some better than others – and all very beef related. After work Breege and I head back to “our flat” and flick through the Fringe festival guide, now it hits me how much is actually going on here!
On Tuesday morning, Producer Scott and I sat down to decide who we should try and get on the show. There’s already a fair few great acts confirmed for the first few shows such as ‘The Blanks’ who will be our first musical act better known as ‘Ted’s band’ from Scrubs! After typing acts up into a long list my task was to begin thinking up quickfire cow related questions (which is harder than you may think!). I am now aware of a stupid amount of cow facts, if I went on mastermind it could be my category – that’s how much I now know about the Bovine! After work we all headed to the Hive, for the press launch of the ‘Alternative Fringe’. The first half was a question and answer session of all the acts. We then got a taster set from a few comedians, some funny, some awful. The best was by no doubt ‘Lach’, who sung brilliantly funny songs. We then headed to the BeHive, for what we thought was the launch of the Scottish Comedy Festival but it wasn’t, it was just us chatting and Richard tying socks around his head.
Today it suddenly hit us how much work there is to do, the festival starts tomorrow and our first podcalf is recorded live in 2 days! The day in the office was mostly spent writing up briefs and questions for guests, as well as creating more cow questions, which has now got to such a ridiculous point we have taken inspiration from cheese jokes, for example; Q. What is the best type of cheese to hide a horse? A. Mascerpone… download the podcast to see if that one ever makes it on to the show. Later on we headed to the E4 Underbelly launch party, which was fantastic. It now felt like we were at a festival, there was posters everywhere, people everywhere, a great atmosphere, and the show; ‘udderly’ fantastic. The highlight was definitely Tom Thumb – the best beat boxer I have ever heard in my life, it was truly mind-blowing. Oh, and I have to mention Nick Grimshaw was sitting on a chair at the end of our row (!) After the show, we did a few vox pops of performers and audience members, asking them what makes them mad about Edinburgh, and what they’re favourite beef and cheese combination is (listen to the podcalf, all will become clear!)
It’s been a great few days, and the festival has not even began yet – things are sure going to get crazy, which is slightly daunting but at the same time unbelievably exciting! I can’t wait to see what’s in store.
Cameron Dykes, Wednesday 1st August 2012
I have been working here at Dabster Towers for three days now and I have learnt so much already I don’t know where to start! We have been busy mind mapping our ideas together to get a few features and ideas for our podcasts we are going to be producing, this has proved hilarious coming up with cow puns – What’s your beef? – is on of my favourites.
The editing and recording software we are going to be using is Cubase and it has proved to be a very easy to use. We have been trained on how to set up Cubase to record through the M-box and we have learnt how to edit the content we have recorded. Already we have attended two press conferences, The Alternative Fringe Festival and the Scottish Comedy Festival Opening, to get an insight into what the festival programme brings us this year.
We are now currently starting to promote our very own podcasts via our Twitter and Facebook accounts. Between our team we are working on THREE separate Podcasts, The E4 Underbelly Podcalf, The Pleasance Comedy Festival Podcast 2012.
Breege Smyth, Thursday 2nd August 2012
Hi, I’m Breege This is the first of my blogs from the Festival I arrived in Edinburgh on Sunday night and on Monday morning reported to Dabster Towers for work as a Content Producer. Dabster Productions are an Edinburgh based company that produce radio programmes and podcasts The main project that I will be involved with is the E4 Udderbelly Podcalf 2012 This podcast is a live, one hour, daily chat show It is hosted by Richard Melvin, Head of Dabster Productions It will have six guests each day, three performing and three chatting to Richard All those selected to appear on the show are performing at the Fringe Festival The variety of guests we are approaching are as varied as Paul Merton and Miriam Margolyes who are ‘big’ names to Daniel Sloss, a rising star in the comic world.
So that gives you an idea of the project I am part of a team of six and for the last three days we have been preparing for our first three shows It is a steep learning curve so I have had to listen to what the guys who have done this before are saying while staying on top of the tasks that must be done before the first show I have been making contact with agents and booking acts Once confirmed I have to research the acts so that a proper brief and script are ready for Richard There are two of us working on the research and scripts for the ‘chat’ acts There is a meeting tomorrow at 4pm and all scripts and briefs for the following days show must be ready for a read-through Fingers crossed they will be ok.
Today I was shown how to setup and record a live act using an M-Box, linking it to a desk and recording to a file ready for editing for another Podcast project I need to know this technical stuff just in case one of the Technical guys is called away or just to give them a break from constantly recording.
Tonight we all went to a Press Party for the Underbelly Venue It was a great chance to see small snippets of some of the acts appearing at this venue I did some recordings at the party of people commenting on the shows and the Festival. As soon as I finish this blog I will do some editing and hope for a gem that can be used on the first show Tomorrow night I will go to the Jim Jeffries show and get some feedback from the audience He is a guest on the first show the following day so it would be great to have a piece edited for broadcast as part of his introduction First things first, I will start with tonight’s editing.
Roisin Seaton, Sunday 5th August 2012
So here I am, exactly a week since arriving in Edinburgh, and it’s the first night I’ve actually stayed in. The past few days have been so busy that days no longer hold meaning – it all just collides into one big ball of crazy. There are no weekdays, there are no weekends. Every day is a weekday (working at the show and at the office) and every day is a weekend (going out, seeing shows, having the time of my life).
So, what have I actually been up to? On Friday we had our first live show, which meant Thursday consisted of last minute writing and a tiny bit of panicking – so exciting! It didn’t feel real until guests started to arrive, the first of which being The Blanks, or as many people know them ‘Ted’s band from Scrubs’. They’re all funny guys – I would know cause I was chillin’ with them, as you do (just making all my scrub-watching friends jealous). When waiting in the wings with them we were thinking up various cow puns which they ended up saying in their performance, I’ll have to see if that bit ends up on the podcast. I also had a great time with them taking their photo, we ended up getting pretty creative and getting a shot which looks like they’re about to fall off a building – you can look at the photo for yourself! On the Panel we had Jim Jefferies, Lucy Porter and Michael Winslow. Jim and Lucy discussing the inappropriateness of punching a baby in the face is probably one of the highlights of the show (download it – it’s pretty funny) and Michael Winslow – well he just made noises really. After the show everyone was thrilled that it went well, but were not finished; back to the office to prepare for tomorrow.
That night myself and Freya went to see Jo Claufield at The Stand (a fantastically posh and brilliantly funny female comedian) as well as two of the performers that were appearing on Saturdays show; Stephen Calman, who was a great stand-up, and Abandoman – the Irish hip hop duo, who also happen to be the best show I’ve ever seen. They somehow, through super powers I presume, manage to make up a rap on the spot completely improvised from what happens during the show. It was brilliant. This gave me the idea that Abandoman should be on last on the next days show, so they could sum up what happened in a rap.
The bosses listened to my idea – and it worked. On the panel we had Brendan Burns, Mark Little and Felicity Ward chatting about anything from cocaine to poo. Abandoman managed to put it into a side-splittingly funny rap. If my day couldn’t get any better, I was allowed the afternoon off to meet my friends who were coming to visit me. It was a glorious sunny day and we watched street performers on the Royal Mile then went to watch Tom Thumb, the insane Australian beat boxer, at the Underbelly as well as Jarred Christmas at the Gilded Balloon. I won’t give too much away as he’s on our show on Wednesday but all I’ll say is this; shooting a foam bullet at Jarred Christmas’s sweaty belly and having it stick to his lip was, without a doubt, one of the single funniest moments of my life.
Then I woke up this morning, baggy eyed and no bushy tail in sight, I was knackered. But guess what? I was looking forward to going to work. How many people can say they actually want to get out of bed and go to work after 3 hours of sleep? That’s when I realised how much I’m enjoying myself here and what an amazing opportunity I’ve been given. Todays show was the best yet; the panel consisted of Susan Calman, Sean Hughes and Sarah Kendal and was an absolute shambles – but in a good way.
So that’s just a tiny snippet of my past few days in Edinburgh, as you can tell I’m having the time of my life. Roll on the next show.
Breege Smyth, Monday 6th August 2012
The time is 23:39, I have just come back from the Sara Pascoe Show She was brilliant I recorded VoxPops from the audience as they left the show, which I will edit tomorrow, as Sara is a guest on our E4 Udderbelly Podcalf on Thursday I am not sure who needs a podcast for Wednesday but I will see tomorrow and go along and do a quick recording and edit tomorrow night I have been here a week now and already I am recognising lots of the acts, agents, organisers, sound technicians etc. who are working at this huge Festival It is becoming like a big family, be it a dysfunctional one.
Today Dabster Productions recorded the first Amnesty Podcast of this Festival I am not on the team for the Amnesty Podcasts but I went along at noon to see if there was anything I could assist with I ended up getting a white coffee with a ‘fat sugar’ for Shappi Khorsandi! She is lovely The amazing thing about this job is that you get to talk to and have a laugh with comics that until now I had only seen on TV Yesterday we had Sean Hughes on the Show He and Roisin were arguing over the price of a Pizza – I will let Roisin tell you that one herself Just to keep the name-dropping theme going, I have been talking to the agents for Sandi Toksvig, Nicholas Parsons and Miriam Margolyes. I am trying to book them for the show and I have confirmed Alan Davies for our show next week I hope these names mean something to you, if you listen in to the E4 Udderbelly Podcalf that can be downloaded from iTunes you will recognise the voices.
Tomorrow we are all back at the office to get scripts, briefs and running orders ready for Wednesdays show We also have to book the acts for the next five/six shows This involves phoning and e-mailing the agents for the performers and then making sure that there is a good mix of acts appearing on each show We have done very well to date so the pressure if on to keep up the standards.
The two images above are from the venue I was recording at tonight The festival venues are very varied and this one was at a Mojito sponsored venue – I was surrounded by limes, mint and lots of booze It was a make you own Mojoto – looked like hard work to me I much preferred listening to great comedy and recording some audio I am really looking forward to this week – what an adventure!
Roisin Seaton, Wednesday 8th August 2012
The beginning of our second week in Edinburgh and the first of the Amnesty Shows, which Dabster is also producing. It was the same as doing our shows, but different. We were there to help out a bit, and nothing more, which meant it was pretty chilled, all I had to really do was take photos. Freyja and I got the queuing audience to pose for photos holding the ‘Save the Human’ signs, I also got comedians to pose with them as well.
Since Monday and Tuesday aren’t Underbelly show days, we had a bit of downtime. We used this time to get ready for the shows on the following week. Freyja and I went to see Luke Toulson on Tuesday who is a great stand up comedian and seems like a lovely guy. We both agreed to suggest him for the show. We were looking for something else to get into with our Underbelly passes and the only place with seats left was a play called ‘A Guide To Second Date Sex’, which was interesting. It was well written and a nice change to see a play rather than comedy.
On Wednesday it was back to Underbelly shows and the panel was amazing. Rich Sherpio, Jeff Leach and one of my favourites, Jarred Christmas. I think it was my favourite show yet. At one point Jeff threw a water bottle across the stage. Scott asked me if I managed to take a photo of it, but I thought it was coming in my direction so was too scared to react! Today I managed to get a lot done for the following shows, as my parents are coming up on Thursday and I want to spend some time with them.
I’ve been learning how the shows are physically recorded. At first it didn’t seem too hard, however there’s lots of little things to remember to do along the way and it won’t record if you forget to do one of those steps. Basically, you have to hook up the recording equipment to the main sound desk in the venue to record the comedians, as well as a microphone directed towards the audience to capture their reaction. The whole show is recorded, which is normally about an hour, but only around 2 minutes of this will be used. To make the editing process easier, we take down notes and times of what the comedian covers eg; ’04:30 – olympics’ to make it easier to find the bits that you want to use in the podcast. It made me realise how much work goes into only 2 minutes of final material. This has to be done countless times in order to have enough material for the whole podcast. Taking notes was actually the most difficult bit, typing really fast – especially when the comedian is speaking at the speed of light!
I caught Tiffany Stevenson’s set, as she was coming on our show during the week, and then I went to the Pleasance to meet one of the Dabster team, Finlay, so I could watch and learn as he records shows. He has been recording acts the whole time in this venue for the Pleasance Podcast. Hopefully with a bit more shadowing and guidance I can do it myself sometime. The week is going well so far!
Breege Smyth, Wednesday 8th August 2012
Hi, It is Wednesday night and I am doing some research on Tom Stade, he is an interview guest on Fridays show He is Canadian and seems an all round ‘good’ guy so I will have to dig deeper to get some hidden secrets on him I hope to get his Brief completed tonight and that will put us ahead for the Friday show. For tomorrows show I am responsible for the Contact Sheet. This sheet contains the contact details for the acts At about 11am tomorrow I will phone all the ‘contacts’ just to check that all the acts are still ok to arrive at the venue 15-20 minutes before the show starts I also have the Running Order and most importantly the Performers Release Document All the performers must sign the Release so that we can upload the Podcalf That takes care of the paperwork and once all is in place the show runs smoothly, logistically that is.
Tonight I accompanied Cameron on a recording at the Pleasance Venue He was recording Sean Walsh for the Pleasance Podcast The recording of performances is quite tricky because you are working with your computer and equipment but linking into the venue’s sound system A good relationship with the sound technicians is important, as this will give you access and assistance when needed We got the microphones set up and got linked to the ‘desk’ but the computer was not recognising the M-box With two minutes to go before the show started and in the dark, Cameron had to phone Al Lorraine from Dabster Productions and get some technical advice Fair dues to Cameron he remained very calm and with less than a minute to go everything was sorted and the recording was getting the thumbs up The thing I learned from that was to make sure you phone as soon as you hit a problem because the guys are incredibly knowledgeable and helpful The second thing I must learn is to stay calm, easier said than done when the audience is clapping and the star turn is being announced I will go along with Cameron a few more times until I feel comfortable doing the recording myself.
It is hard to believe we are in our second week I have about four shows I must get to see by Sunday so there will be a few more late nights and hopefully I will get to some of the afternoon shows on Monday and Tuesday when we have no shows on There is a very interesting Artists Walk of Edinburgh I may go on it on the 17th August It starts at 7.30am and finishes with breakfast. That is it for now – I will finish the Brief tomorrow morning before the show but for now – book and bed.
Cameron Dykes, Thursday 9th August 2012
Over the past few days I have been so busy it’s been difficult to find time to write this. We have been going from show to show and then back and forth across Edinburgh to the office. To create a fresh image for the podcasts the “album artwork that shows in iTunes has been made to show the images of the people that are going to be in the podcast. That takes up a surprising amount of time, however it’s the little things that make a difference.
We have already launched and released our E4 Podcalf and we have just released our Pleasance comedy festival podcast, which our proving to be very popular. It’s no surprise considering the amount of content we have recorded amongst us.
We have recorded interviews with Cariad Lloyd, Abandoman for one of our podcasts as well as recording the Shaun Keaveny podcast too. In Shaun Keaveny’s show we had the pleasure of Sarah Kendall, Mark Watson and Axis Of Awesome were in with one of their shows.
The past week has been incredibly busy and I have only given you about twenty percent of all the things we have been up to Recording the shows and getting to and from interviews takes up a lot of the day. Today we are going to be editing the Pleasance bytes podcasts, which talk about the Theatrical side to the Pleasance line up. Over the past two days we have been recording the interviews and getting a good idea of the amount of work that goes on behind the scenes, it’s a very interesting listen to hear how much work is involved behind the scenes across the whole of the fringe festival.
I am attaching a piece of audio with this blog that I recorded at the Pleasance Courtyard this evening. I was doing a Vox Pop. I have just finished editing it for tomorrows show. I have also had to amend the Call Sheet – some of the agents delegate their work to their staff and when that happens I must get the contact details for that staff member so that tomorrow when I make the calls it is to the responsible person. It all makes sense really but it does take time to establish exactly who is dealing with what acts. Most agents look after many acts so for tomorrows Sheet there are only three contact numbers for six acts. The Briefs and Introductions are all done. Roisin writes up the introductions for the performers and she is a whizz at it. I do love my mobile office too, here it is at the venue Ermentrude!
I am taking too long on the briefs. I had the Brief for Tom Stade researched and just ready for editing and getting some questions but it took such a long time this afternoon. I am going to do the Briefs the night before because when I get back to the office after the show it is almost three o’clock, then I have to get something to eat so that it is almost four by the time I get to do some work. Between phoning and e-mailing to confirm performers and trying to get acts for other shows and trying to get tickets to see the acts we want on the shows two hours fly past and still no Brief completed.
Tonight I am going to do the brief on Alan Davies – I adore that man so it will be a pleasure writing up his Brief. I was at a Writers Masterclass given by the BBC this evening and one of the speakers – Oliver Lansley was the co-writer on the series Whites and Alan Davies was the main character. I will ask him if as a result of being in a kitchen for the sit-com has his cooking improved? Might be worth a laugh. The masterclass was good – here is the top tip – when it comes to sit-com, concentrate of the ‘com’ and the ‘sit’ will become evident.
A picture of lovely Rob Deering who was on the show today. That’s it for now – I’m off to start and complete the Brief for Alan Davies.
Breege Smyth, Friday 10th August 2012
Tonight Richard Melvin (Head of Dabster Productions and host of The E4 Udderbelly Podcalf) and I went to The Alan Davies Show. He is one of the big acts at the Festival. He was performing at the Edinburgh International Conference Centre and this venue seats 1200. I phoned his agent and she sorted out two tickets for us – result! His show was good, as expected. He is our headlining guest on tomorrows show so there are some nerves that he may not show. The big names are subject to cancel at very short notice. We can only wait and hope and tomorrow morning start the phone calls to ensure he is on his way. We all met up for a drink at a ‘members only’ bar – ‘Abbatoir’ then at 10.30 I left to go and see another artist that is appearing on the show tomorrow – David Trent. He was brilliant. He had a very different show that relies on sound effects and a video screen. I now understand why his agent said that he would have to do a ‘chat’ piece. This is why it is important to see the acts before we book them.
As I mentioned in the last blog, eating can happen at funny times of the day! I am determined to keep a healthy diet in this whirlwind environment, Roisin and I prep a salad box for lunch every morning.
On Thursday Annabel and I set up some systems and forms. We are all now linked to Dropbox for the show details like the Running Order, Call Sheets etc. This will make things easier and we are accessing a Google Calendar so we can see what is being planned for shows. I have to do some Tweeting and get onto Facebook to get friends downloading the Podcast. Social media savvy is vital in this industry. The acts may joke about it but they are all on it.
Tomorrow is Saturday – will Alan Davies show? I hope so because it was me who booked him and I have been asked about five times if he is a ‘cert’. In my infinite wisdom I have answered ‘yes’.
Breege Smyth, Saturday 11th August
Well we need not have worried, being the professional that he is, Alan Davies turned up on time and in fine form. We had a full house for today’s show – so the atmosphere was great. We also had an act turn up that had been cancelled! I nearly died when they introduced themselves but we got them drinks, got their Release Forms signed and they went on the Show. A wee tweak of the running order and a word with Richard and all was well. The Dabster guys are ‘chilled’. The company motto is ‘everyone’s cool and nothing is too much trouble’, they pretty well adhere to the sentiment.
Our well known and well loved Fred posed for a shot with me.
We all arrived back at the office delighted with the show and ready to finalise the next show. We have had a late cancellation on tomorrows show so a quick phone around to secure another act and then another brief to prepare.
Dabster Productions are also working on another podcast for the Pleasance called Pleasance Ahoy. The production has involved a Canal boat travelling from London to Edinburgh. Tomorrow is the final day of the Podcast and there is a grand finale in Edinburgh at 4pm. We are all going along. Al Lorraine has asked if I will record some of the VIP guests so I will take my recording equipment and hope to get some good audio. On Tuesday I will be in the editing suite with Sean Kerwin. He is the Sound technician and a total genius on editing. I am really looking forward to that because my editing skills are very basic.
I have Monday off so I hope to get to some of the morning and afternoon shows. We are short on female acts and we are always on the look out for the undiscovered brilliant comic, I’m off to scout!
Roisin Seaton, Sunday 12th August 2012
I woke up excited on Thursday morning as my family were coming to see the show, they were really impressed! I think they’d thought I’d just been having fun and not doing much work (which is half true). My favourite comedian on the show was Ian Stirling, my sister also agreed because she recognised him from CBBC!
On Thursday night I decided I’d check out a different venue so I went to the midnight showcase at Just The Tonic, (it was only a fiver!). From midnight until 2am 5 different comedians all perform a set, and it was some of the funniest stuff I’ve seen at the festival so far. It was a great and late night – the weekend had started early.
Fridays show went well, I love two of the performers so much – Pete Johannson and Dana Alexander, that I decided to go and see their shows that night. First I went back to the office to work on some intros for future guests and sort out the photos. Pete’s show was pretty much all about bears, which sounds weird – but it worked! Dana’s show, and the rest of the evening was fantastic – the atmosphere here is just great, all the venues gardens are so pretty at night – the trees lit up and fairy lights everywhere. You don’t even need to go to show’s to enjoy the Fringe!
Saturday’s show was a busy one – we had so many guests already, then one guest who was cancelled even turned up. We also had one of our weirdest but most interesting guests yet – Kaya, a dream interpreter, the days are just getting more and more bizarre as the festival goes on! I left the office at about 8 and pretty much fell asleep as soon as I got home, so I apologise – no exciting stories from my Saturday night! (Yes, I know it’s a weekend and Yes, it’s the festival and yes, I’m 18 – but I was tired OK?!)
I will soon be setting up the stage before the show on my own as Freyja, who has been doing it so far is leaving. Until now I have just been helping with the stage set up, such as putting up tables and chairs, which is the simple bit. I need to learn all the technical bits, which is mostly dealing with mics. So far, I know how to physically set up the mics on the stage but hooking them up to certain places hasn’t gone into my brain yet! Practice makes prefect. It will be really useful to know how to do this as I can see how setting up equipment for a stage is a really valuable tool, especially to work in this industry. I have had only very little experience before with lights and sound so I really want to learn a lot more by the end of this month.
My other aim is to learn about editing, but at the moment I’m busy setting up a Flickr account and sorting out photos, so next week I’m hoping to be able to sit in on the edit and find out how it’s done. Will let you know what I find out!
Breege Smyth, Sunday 12th August 2012
We had a great show today (Sunday) – not as crowded as Saturday but a good show nontheless. Afterwards we all had ‘chill’ time, we were not expected back at the office. I took my car back to the flat and had lunch. I was due at the Cargo Pub at four where the Pleasance Ahoy Podcast was recording its final episode. There was a live gig with comics from the Fringe Festival taking to the stage to entertain the crowds who had turned out to see the barge arrive at its final destination.
The Pleasance Ahoy barge had travelled from London to Edinburgh as part of the Cultural Olympiad. Dotted along the way were shows featuring top comedians. The event was being recorded by Dabster Productions and edited into a series of Podcasts available on iTunes. The gig to mark the end of this event took place at the Cargo Pub. The boat was docked there and all involved in the project were there to greet the crowds that turned out to welcome them to Edinburgh. There were TV crews and a live concert featuring comedians from the Fringe on the stage. Dabster Productions were recording the event and I was asked by Al Lorraine to take over the recording.
Great, I had a bit of a panic because I had to watch out for levels and adjust the M-box accordingly. I also had to make notes of every change of subject or applause and if there was a particularly funny joke I was to mark it with an *. The work area was a bit cramped so it was important to get as comfortable as possible because the recording was going to last about two hours. I got myself sorted and really enjoyed this task – I have heard about making notes for audio but I had never done it before. The text document is opened and the time logged and then a few words about what is being said. I made notes every three to four minutes. The purpose of this is two fold – it allows jokes and specific items to be identified easily by time on the audio, it also allows a look-up for specific words (swear) using search on the text document. Actually the whole thing was a lot easier than I had thought so I am delighted to have got the opportunity to do this. I packed up the kit afterwards so I was feeling a bit smug.
Later that evening I went to a show by comedian Carl Donnolly – he was very good. We are looking to have him on a show sometime. We have a day off tomorrow, Monday the 13th as do nearly all the performers so I will spend it walking around the city and visiting some of the other events going on. I will be back at Dabster Towers on Tuesday. The time is flying. This has been a really good week and I am looking forward the week ahead. I will see if we get Stephen K Amos and Al Murray onto the show. Fingers crossed.
Cameron Dykes, Monday 13th August 2012
The Pleasance has so much choice of entertainment during The Fringe, from Cabaret, Musical Operas, Theatre to Comedy plus many more. We have been recording all the comedy shows to create the Pleasance Podcast. Acts have included Adam Kay, Sarah Kendall, Elis James and James Acaster, which have been some of my highlights over the past few weeks.
Another project that Dabster is doing during the festival is the Pleasance Ahoy, an adventure by barge along the canals of Britain from London up to Manchester, Glasgow to Edinburgh. The final day of the journey saw the barge arrive here in Edinburgh, we popped over to see the goings on, there was a great atmosphere. Dan Nightingale was hilarious and I have been convinced to go and see The Boy With Tape On His Face after seeing him at a few press launches. A stunning, definite must-see show, I’d love to see him come to the highlands and do some gigs. He gave us a prop from his show…
Here at Dabster towers we have been working very hard over the last couple of days trying to make sure we have a game plan in place for all the recordings and editing we have to do. To give you some insight, this week we have 40 shows to record that are all spaced out at different times throughout the week. We have to schedule time around all these shows to edit each recording into the useable highlights. We then go back into the edit to create the podcast from these. Careful planning is the key!
I’m really enjoying this experience and the opportunity to create these podcasts. It’s a great team of people that I am working with. I better be off now and go and get some editing done as it can swallow a lot of your time.
Breege Smyth, Tuesday 14th August 2012
It is 11:30pm and I have just returned from a show by Mark Thomas, Bravo Figaro, performed at the Traverse Theatre. I got a Press ticket for this show because I am hoping that Mark will do a performance piece for our E4 Udderbelly Podcalf. I will make contact with him tomorrow. The show was brilliant – a very honest story about his father that was in equal measure funny and very sad. I will keep you posted if I get him to do a performance piece at the show.
After that show I walked to the Spiegeltent at the Book Festival in Charlotte Square Gardens. They have various artists and comedians performing in the evenings between nine and eleven. There was quite a crowd there but the act was not suitable so I moved on to George Street where there is another Spiegeltent but nothing there caught my eye. I usually walk to gigs because you never know what you will see or hear on the streets. I popped into the Jekyll & Hyde to see the stand-up comics they were showcasing. The duo that I saw were not too bad but they were not nearly good enough for our Podcast.
Today I was busy confirming people for our show for tomorrow – I got a confirmation from Stephen K Amos – woohooo. I am so pleased. The line-up for tomorrow looks really good, but already I am trying to get some confirmations for the Thursday show. The headline act I am looking for is Greg Proops. The agent sounds a bit hopeful so I will do a bit of sweet-talking tomorrow and see if it works. The agents are good sports and I am getting to know most of them. They are working flat out at this Festival so nerves get a bit frayed, it is important to be understanding and sympathetic.
I get a real buzz when a big name is confirmed but until you see them in the flesh you take nothing for granted. This booking of performers has been a fantastic experience and a very enjoyable one. The guys at Dabster are great, they are there if you need them but by and large they let you get on with your job, which is a real morale boost. I will be sitting in with Sean, a real expert, on the editing of the podcasts. I will make some time tomorrow and sit with him for an hour each day and I will ask Cameron to supervise my setting up the computer and the recording programme just to see if I get it right. I should be ok.
I have some Audio from my night at the Traverse Theatre that I hope you will enjoy.
Breege Smyth, Wednesday 15th August 2012
We had a really good show today. I was on the phone at noon to check that all the acts were on their way. Stephen K Amos turned up and was a star, everyone was there and things went smoothly until the keyboard for the final performer failed to work. It was fine at the sound check at 12.30 but here we were in the final minutes of the show and no sound from the keyboard. This gave Richard Melvin, the host of the show a ten minute slot to fill. No problem to Richard, he entertained the audience until the keyboard and the singer were sorted. We had Jeff Zycinski, the Head of Radio at BBC Scotland in the audience. I met Jeff when I was part of the Radio goNORTH team in June so he was asking me how things were going. Needless to say I told him I was ‘having a ball’ which I am.
Today I got a great result, I had sent an e-mail to the agents for Matthew Kelly and Claire Sweeney asking if the pair would come onto the show sometime – they replied this evening to say that they would come onto the Friday show. Matthew and Claire are in the play Educating Rita at the Assembly, George Square. I will go along to the performance tomorrow night. Another bit of good news is that Greg Proops is still on to come onto the show – unfortunately not tomorrow but his agent is trying to get him booked in for the Saturday show. I still have my fingers crossed for this. Just to let you know when I say I am going to shows and performances all the tickets are free Press Tickets because I am a reviewer. This is simply brilliant because it would cost a small fortune to see the amount of shows I have seen to date.
Late this afternoon I went to see a performer Mary Bourke at The Stand, Queen Street. She is an Irish comic and I have booked her for a performance slot on the Saturday show. She is funny and a bit different in as much as she does not look like a comic more like a reserved middle aged housewife – I am sure she would love me for saying that!
I was in the editing suite with Sean for a short while this afternoon. He uses two computers for the editing. One has the levels and sound effects and the other has the audio that he is editing. That’s handy because you are not taking up part of the screen with volume and level controls. It is good to see how he operates.
At ten tonight I am going to the Stand Up For Freedom gig, organised by the producers of the acclaimed Secret Policeman’s Ball at the Edinburgh International Conference Centre. It is a bash for Amnesty International, Dabster Productions make a Podcast for Amnesty so we are on the guest list. It should be good.
Roisin Seaton, Thursday 16th August 2012
There is a theme to this blog post; ”when disaster strikes”. In the past few days, we’ve had a few ‘hiccups’ when recording the podcast – nothing major, but they were things that had to be sorted out and overcome by the producers, which has taught me 2 major things about broadcasting; 1. Things will go wrong. 2. The show must go on.
Monday morning; another sunny day in Edinburgh, after a lie-in I skipped to work at a jolly pace expecting everything to be peachy (it was the Amnesty podcast, so I would just be taking pictures) but when I got there people were running around like headless chickens. In fact, headless chickens would look nowhere near as stressed. Why? Something had gone wrong with the power source, but it was more than just a slight ‘technical hitch’, as it ended up becoming an ultimatum: lights or sound? Obviously, we had to choose sound, as we were recording it for a podcast. But producer Richard still had to make that decision that the show would go on, despite the lighting creating more of a classroom atmosphere than a show. I learnt that it was important for him to be confident in his decision, and for him to steer the ship. If he was unsure about what to do, then it would make everyone else feel uneasy. He had to be the driving force that said ‘yeah, let’s do this, everything will be fine’, and everyone just got on with it. It was great. The audience didn’t mind, and if the comedians did they just made it funny (as their job title would hope they would) – so it was all OK in the end!
On Tuesday, it was another Amnesty show and everything was fixed at the venue, the electricity was all sorted, we were back to normal. However as guests began to arrive, things weren’t quite going to plan as we soon discovered. Pretty much all the guests had to be away by either 1.30 or 1.45 , which was a slight problem since the show finishes at 2pm! Michelle and Scott had to re-jig the running order quite a handful of times, but once again, it was all fine in the end! It demonstrated to me how important it is to be flexible, to be able to think on your feet in order to solve problems, and most importantly act like nothing is wrong at all! Our company motto is ‘everything is fine, and nothing is a problem’, even when it isn’t.
Wednesday meant it was back to the Underbelly podcast! Thankfully, nothing went wrong. The acts arrived and everything was going super smoothly apart from the mischievous Steven K Amos trying to mess up just about every link that Richard tried to do, but it all in the name of comedy. We had another great show under our belts, and Vicki Stone was set to end on a song. Once again, disaster struck, another ‘technical hitch’ prevented the keyboard from working. Vicki tried to fiddle with the keyboard, Sean was in with the pliers trying to fix wires whilst Scott was plugging and unplugging things. Richard just walked onto stage and started talking to the audience and joking about to fill time. Nothing worked so Vicki decided to run and get her other keyboard, which meant the show would run late with risk of losing the audience. Most stayed and when the keyboard finally played the first chord we heard the loudest clap from the audience yet. It all adds to the fun of it and showed me that there’s no point in taking yourself too seriously. After all, it’s not a matter of life and death. People are there to be entertained, as long as they are, they’re happy! Another lesson it taught me was the importance of teamwork!
They say you learn from your experiences and you do. Things always happen outwith your control, especially in live entertainment, that’s just the way it is. I didn’t just learn from these things that happened, but in a way, I kind of enjoy them. The challenges just make everything more exciting and something to look back on and laugh about.
Breege Smyth, Monday 20th August 2012
This is the final week of the E4 Udderbelly Podcalf shows. We have five shows to organise this week, the last show will be on Sunday. The E4 Podcalf team had today off to recharge the batteries so I went to ‘Six and a Tanner’ with David Hayman. Alun Armstrong (TV series, New Tricks) was in the audience, I also saw Alun walking on Charlotte Street yesterday so I knew he was in town for a few days. I went to speak to him after the show to see if he would come onto our show on Wednesday – drat he leaves Edinburgh that morning.
I am scouting for guests for the final shows, however we have had so many guest on that we the list is exhausted, or at least the list we can get access to. We have had some ‘big’ names on our shows. Matthew Kelly and Claire Sweeney were true professionals on Friday and the highlight of the show on Sunday Greg Hemphill. I am looking for a few people of that Calibre for our final shows.
I am not proving too good on the Briefs. The Briefs contain a synopsis of the career of the guest that is to be interviewed; it will also contain information about the show they are performing, an introduction that can be used to form part of the script and questions that will also form part of the script for the presenter. I end up putting in too much information or not enough information that is useful. My questions are not too clever either! It’s a bit annoying because I know what is required but I am just not hitting the mark. I am reading the Briefs that have been deemed good and hopefully I will crack this nut before Sunday.
It has been interesting listening to the Podcasts on iTunes and seeing how the shows are edited. The format is really good with great links and jingles. The links scripting is very important and is where the Dabster guys spend most time. This along with the delivery of the links makes the podcasts sound really great. I have learned that a good podcast requires a lot of preparation and planning. The same can be said about a documentary so what I have learned about the making of a podcast will also be relevant with the making of any radio/audio programme. It has been great to see all this being created first hand.
I am off now to read some of the reviews from the Festival to see what great talent I have missed over the last three weeks and get them on the show. I will let you know how I get on.
Roisin Seaton, Tuesday 21st August 2012
I can hardly believe it’s been almost 3 weeks since starting at Dabster towers. I don’t even think I can count the amount of people I’ve met and spoken to, or list the number of things I’ve learnt, or even remember all the shows I’ve been to!
As the weeks have passed tasks, which may have been a challenge at the start of the month, such as researching guests and thinking up questions, have become easier (still not easy, just easier!). The first brief I wrote took me hours and most of the information I gathered was irrelevant. When it came to questions my brain would be in physical pain from thinking so hard. But now I find it pretty easy to detect what information will be useful for the script, the questions then come naturally from this. In the beginning I also wrote long, complicated sentences when introducing the guests, but now I’ve learnt that it’s important for the host to have clear and concise scripts and information because they have to sight read.
Our team does the research, it’s then put into a brief for the producers, from which they take the information to write a script. Last night we got to sit in and help write the script for the Amnesty International show, which means it is hosted by someone else and not our boss Richard who presents the Underbelly one. This meant we had to really think about what we were writing as we wanted it to be funny but at the same time something the presenter will be happy saying. One simple introduction, one short sentence requires a lot longer than you’d think to come up with! Finding jokes and puns is also needed, as it’s meant to be a comedy podcast. Guess what? A few lines I came up with actually made it into the script. Today I got to hear Tiffany Stevenson read them out on stage and now their on a podcast on iTunes – pretty cool!
Last night a few of us went out for a little while to the pass bars. These are bars in each venue where mainly the performers or the VIPs go and require (as the name suggests) a pass. At the Underbelly pass bar, Abattoir, there were quite a few comedians drinking and milling about as usual, I saw Susan Calman and Al Murray. Also, there was Steve Cougan (aka: Alan Partridge), and a few nights ago some of the guys from work saw Hugh Grant hangi
Breege Smyth, Thursday 23rd August 2012
What a week! We are in the throws of the last few shows and we are manic booking acts and filling up the schedule All is looking good for the final shows with performers still keen to do a bit of stand up and chat even though they are exhausted and some are loosing the will to live – that is the Festival for you!
Big excitement yesterday when it was suggested that ‘yours truly’ went and ‘door-stepped’ David Hasselhoff We had been looking for him to come onto our show but due to his other commitments he could not make it – so armed with my recorded I went along to his venue My plan, if you could call it that was to catch him as he left the venue and hopefully get a few words from him I sussed out that he would have to leave by the entrance door and that he usually did a ‘meet & greet’ with his fans after the show I was not prepared for the huge number of fans that were waiting for the Hoff when his show finished. They formed a line three deep and David took up position at this merchandise table and signed t-shirts and arms and hats and posed for photographs – what a guy! I did not disturb him while he was with his fans because that would be rude but as he was rushing off to get his taxi to the Tattoo I ran with him and I got a recording with him talking about his fans and how important they are to him – result and well worth the two hour wait I have asked Sean Kerwin here at Dabster to edit the piece for me The reason I am doing that is to see what Sean will do to the package that I would not have done The package will be used in Saturday or Sundays show.
I have been reading the show scripts and it is interesting to see what gets used from the briefs and how the links and audience applause is inserted The podcast is then edited from the show so the order is changed from the live show Once the podcast content is edited and introduction script is written encompassing all the content in a funny, pithy way That intro is recorded and then inserted in to the podcast, all very slick.
Richard has mentioned that he would like an interview with Suggs of Madness fame He is performing at six this evening so the interview will take place before or after his show It is a small piece for the Amnesty podcast that Dabster produce
Only a few days to go and there is still a buzz – great!
Every morning I’ve woken up and said ”I’m definitely going to write a blog today” because I’ve been learning so much and there’s so much to tell! Then every night I’m like ”damn, forgot to write a blog… I’ll do one tomorrow!” So finally, here’s a wee one to give you a quick update on what I’ve been up to. But first, meet Mr Piffles – a guest on the show this week!
Earlier this week I got to sit in on the edit as I wanted to see how the hour long show we record gets condensed into a podcast that’s between 20 and 30 minutes in length. The software used is Cubase, which seems quite difficult to understand at first glance, Sean is so familiar with it that he makes it look simple. This was so beneficial for me, after watching him at work I saw how and why things were cut out (like the not as funny bits, or inappropriate bits) and how they were edited together to make it sound smooth. Also, watching Sean taught me useful editing techniques For example, he first cuts different sections of the recording into different chunks, which he labels and makes different colours so they are easier to find. This is something I would never have thought of When recording myself I often forget where things are, which means I can waste a lot of time looking for material I will be using this way of working from now on.
Scott, who is a Producer on the show, sits in on the edit and makes decisions about what is cut out, the order and how it should sound. The show we were editing was for Amnesty, which contained a discussion about the sensitive subject of rape. The live show ended on this followed by a musical act preforming a version of ‘Rude boy’, which is quite a sexual song. So the main task in the edit was cutting it so that the serious discussion was earlier in the show. It was interesting to see how the editing process decides the story, tone and angle I think editing is a very important skill to have, as the outcome of a show can depend heavily on it. The experience has made me want to get a bit of practice and improve my editing skills, I’ve never edited audio before. We still have a few days to go, maybe I’ll get a chance to do some myself!
The end of the Festival is fast approaching and I have no idea where on earth my time has gone This opportunity has really helped me put into practice the things that I have spent the last few years at City Of Glasgow College learning.
I have learnt something in all different aspects of production Scriptwriting involves making sure that things are up to date and relevant to the guest. Far too much time is wasted on finding out the wrong information, so getting onto it quickly and not just copying and pasting from Wikipedia is very important Creating an open-ended question so that the guest is free to answer the question with a story, more than just a yes or no.
I’ve learnt how to deal with people that you meet from other parts of the industry and develop working relationships in often very hectic and busy environments. There are a lot of people involved at live events under a lot of pressure to produce a quick turn around between acts We found ourselves, on occasions, trying to get set up for the next show with only four minutes to go!
These are high pressure times and everyone is just trying to get on with their work but as we are there to record the acts, occasionally we will need a bit of a hand from venue staff to help set up. The majority of the time all we need to do is plug into the main mixing desk and get a plug. However we might be in a small venue or doing a sketch show where microphones are not used on the performers, this causes us a lot more hassle. So you need to learn to keep your cool and make sure that you are pleasant as possible at the end of the day.
I met one of my comedy heroes the other night (Rhys Darby) and his wife (Rosie Carnahan) and we were talking about the Highlands and the Loch Ness Monster, as you do, and the fire alarm goes… GUTTED!
As this week is coming to an end I’m now concerned about the next job… what comes next?!
On Friday I woke up and couldn’t believe it was the final weekend of the Fringe, now it’s Sunday and we had our last Underbelly show! It’s the strangest feeling, as the show is always on our minds and what we’re aiming for, now – it’s done! We’ve had 18 Underbelly shows, with over 150 guests, and now it’s all behind us However, that doesn’t mean we’re completely finished As I sit in the office to type this Cameron and Finlay are editing for the Pleasance podcast, and we have our final Amnesty show tomorrow, which is being booked and written as I write.
Two days ago, Tom Duncan, ScreenHI Content Producer, came to the office to show us the film that he had shot the week before, a behind the scenes illustrating what Breege, Cameron and I have been up to in Edinburgh this last month I hated being filmed, but final piece was really good! Tom managed to show what we’d been doing but at the same time it was entertaining All of the team loved it, watching it was quite inspirational as it made us realise just what we had achieved It gave us a ‘YEAH, TEAM DABSTER!’ kind of feeling Keep a look out for the film, there are also a few appearances from some very special guests!
On Friday night myself and Karlie (social media for Dabster at the Fringe) went around various venues with a handheld zoom recorder getting different celebrities to give us a secret that we could use for the ‘Amnesty Secret Comedy Podcast’ to get people to donate £3 to Amnesty. We managed to get secrets from Jeff Leach, Rich Shapiro and Felicity Ward We went in to the Abattoir (Underbelly pass bar) to see if anyone was in there, comedian Benny Boot was sleeping on the sofa! Just shows what the Fringe does to you.
Then we went to the EICC, where the big comedians usually play We had 2 people in mind -Jimmy Carr, and Rhod Gildert. Usually, Jimmy Carr arrives almost an hour before his show, through the front door So we were hoping he would be able to quickly speak to us, but unfortunately today was the day he was late We managed to get introduced to his manager and get her email, so she could let us know if he was able to do something at some point At least it was something! We also managed to chat to Rhod Gilbert, who was so lovely He was speaking to us for ages, and gave us his email so maybe we’ll be able to get something off him too!
Tonight is a bit of a celebration night, as the finish line is almost in sight! Team Dabster are having dinner and drinks at Dabster towers, so I gotta end this now!
Well all-good things must come to an end and the E4 Udderbelly Podcalf is no exception The final show, on Sunday, went out with a fantastic line-up of acts – some new, but most were performers who had joined us at some stage during the four weeks, so it was like a big family reunion The ‘White Board’ with all the dates and ‘slots’ is full of names that we are all well familiar with now. We were quite chilled on the day of the final show and this was due to our knowledge of a routine that had become second nature to the team.
During the month I have had an opportunity to try my hand at many things and I was delighted when on Friday I was left to script the complete show on my own! This was not as daunting as it might seem because I used the template that was in place for the other shows I felt a great sense of achievement when by 6pm the script was in Dropbox Richard Melvin, the host of the E4 Udderbelly Podcast scrutinises the script and make changes to suit his presentation style. I was quite pleased that he made very few changes to the script I had submitted. Listening to Richard present the other shows and getting to know him a bit better over the last few weeks means that I had a bit of an idea as to what he would feel comfortable saying – when you script someone you are effectively putting words in their mouth so they have to be comfortable delivering them.
On Saturday morning I went along to The Cabaret Bar at the Pleasance for the final recording of The Pleasance Bites Cameron is recording the shows there so I had a look at him setting up and getting ready for the recording I was also hoping that David Hasselhoff might be there – it was rumoured that he was going to turn up but alas, it was only a rumour!
In my final blog I will include a piece of audio with few words from the ‘Hoff’ , I have yet to edit the recording so I will do that and also do a re-cap of my month in Edinburgh But for now I will transfer my files from the computer loaned to me by ScreenHI, sort out the brochures and paperwork I want to keep and pack up a months clothes and books into the car I am doing this on the final day of the Festival and there are hundreds and hundreds of comics, actors, musicians and performers of all sorts doing exactly the same thing today It is the end of a great experience but the beginning of a great opportunity – more about that also in my final blog.
This is my final blog and to accompany it I am including a piece of audio, it is a compilation of some of the things I did at the Festival As part of the edit I created the ‘stabs’ and a little trick from Dabster – I put music behind the applause I will explore some ways of making my packages more entertaining and varied based on the format used by Dabster, this is my first attempt and I really enjoyed the process although it has taken quite a bit of time.
I have been home two days, all the unpacking is done and life is getting back to normal I decided to get my final Blog done while the experience is still fresh The experience of working with Dabster Productions at the Festival turned out to be more or less what I expected it to be It was great to see the complete process involved in creating a series of Podcasts from planning and organizing the content to promoting the final product I have learned the importance of social media in promotion, when used effectively it is a powerful tool but like all things it does not happen overnight and it requires time I will spend some time getting my professional Twitter, Facebook, Kilter, etc., accounts setup and nurture some contacts. I am going to think about the image and the content and then launch!
I have three projects that I want to develop and pitch, one at RTE(Ireland), one at BBC Scotland and the final documentary I will make for Oban FM The Oban FM Documentary is about the local quarry and the people who have worked there I intend for it to be in two parts of 40 minutes each I will create a ‘sound scape’ to link the recordings and give continuity to the piece A lot of what I have seen used in the making of the podcasts will be adapted and utilised.
The programme for BBC Scotland is a different matter because I need to do a fair bit of research and then draft a good pitch I will contact Richard Melvin at Dabster Productions to get advice once I have sorted out what exactly I intend the programme to be about, I know the subject I want to cover I just do not know what angle to take I secured an excellent narrator and I got a recording with him just before I left Edinburgh.
I have already sounded out an idea for a Documentary to RTE, the state broadcaster for Ireland They are lukewarm on the idea, they want another angle I am going to meet with a few of the characters involved in my documentary to find another approach to the story.
This last month has given me great confidence to pursue my ideas and start banging on doors My reasoning is simple – ScreenHI and Dabster Productions believed that I was good enough to work on the E4 Udderbelly Podcalf and that has given me a huge morale boost. The experience also looks good on the old CV!
Another discipline that I had not expected to benefit from is the writing of this blog I want to be a writer and like all wannabes, I talk about writing rather than doing it This blog has meant that at least every three or so days I have had to sit and write I have an idea for a political sit-com and as soon as I finish this blog I am going to start the script I would quite like to be a co-writer on this sit-com so I will ask an acquaintance that I think would be good if they would like to join me.
Well, that’s it from me. I will sign out by thanking all at Dabster Productions and Olivia and Amanda at ScreenHI It has been a wonderful experience and I would urge anyone reading this to grasp with both hands the opportunity to take part in this scheme if and when it is advertised next year In fact I suggest you participate in as many programmes as possible organised by ScreenHI, that’s what I did and look at me now!
I’ve been home for almost a week now, and I’m getting festival-sick! Withdrawal symptoms of leaving Edinburgh are starting to emerge, the most severe being extreme boredom and too much time on my hands!
Looking back, I really did have the time of my life in Edinburgh. As the month went on I fell into a routine, working and living in Edinburgh during the festival did begin to feel normal, but when I think about it now it seems unbelievable what an amazing opportunity I had. I was very lucky to have had the chance to work with great people, I learnt a lot from them. Not only their knowledge about the industry but they shared some great advice and stories of their own, which I will definitely take on board.
One thing that I learnt about myself is that first impressions are everything. I think that sometimes I don’t give the greatest first impression as I’m not overly confident, which people can feel is unwelcoming. However, I think that interacting with so many different people in the last month has now given me newly found confidence, which will be very beneficial for my future.
Something I developed a lot during the time was my photography skills. I already had a keen interest and knowledge of photography before Edinburgh but having to take loads of pictures every single day has taught me a lot. It was a very special opportunity to not only take pictures of influential and well known people but to also have so many people look at my photos. I’m definitely going to keep pursuing this because I enjoyed it an awful lot and would love to get even better.
Before the job in Edinburgh, I had never written a brief in my life, now I know exactly what needs to be done. At first I was unsure how they should be worded and what information to include but now I feel confident that I could produce what is needed on any particular subject. During the placement I also got a further insight into scriptwriting, which is something I was already interested in and thought I was quite good at. Now I have learnt so much more about it and the important skills you need for scriptwriting. For example, if I am writing a script for a presenter who will be sight reading during the recording, make sure the sentences are short and simple to read, yet still interesting.
I also gained an insight into the technical side of things, from setting up the microphones on the stage to recording shows and editing. One week into the recordings I was fully confident setting up the microphones and the rest of the stage. This was important because we had to work as a team to set up and pack down as soon as possible because there was a quick change over from our show to the next. I had the opportunity to record a few shows, while being supervised by one of Dabsters team who knew what they were doing. From practicing I now think I would be able to do it myself, which is another really useful skill.
One thing that I really want to learn more about is editing audio. I understand the concept and some of the terms used from my experiences in editing video, however there are many tricks to editing audio and certain ways of doing some things. I’d like to gain a greater knowledge of it in the future. It would be useful to have someone show me but ultimately I know that I need to go and do it and work it out for myself, which I hope to be able to do at some point.
As well as all the things I’ve learnt, I have also had a tremendous amount of fun. Not only because I was living in Edinburgh, going out, making friends and seeing fantastic shows, but I actually felt like part of it. It’s so satisfying to create something of your own that your proud of but being part of the team that are creating something so big is so fulfilling that it makes me want to do it even more. People who preform in the festival or work during the festival, whether its at the bar, as a tech or in PR, all talk about the month in the same way – how crazy and draining it is. However everyone knows it’s one of the most fun experiences you can ever be a part of, it’s given me the best memories.
It really has opened my eyes up for the future; how hard I have to work, but if I do – it will all be worth it. I’ve learnt a lot about radio and it’s made me want to learn even more. If I ever manage to get a job that has even a percentage as much fun that I’ve had this month then I’ll be happy.