28/05/2015, by CLAS

A day in the life of Robin Hood… Media

I had no idea what to expect when I arrived in Nottingham to start the next chapter of my new life. I was young(er), ambitious, blissfully ignorant and perhaps most importantly, I had access to a Netflix account. My whole life was ahead of me but I still had little idea of where I wanted to take it and, if I’m being honest, the childhood dream of becoming a cowboy was looking less and less likely every day. So I decided that during my time at University, potentially the 3 most important years of my life, that I would take every opportunity that came to me.

One of these opportunities came to me in the form of an email from Beth Yearsley who is the Placements and Employability Administrator for the School of Cultures, Languages and Area studies and it was regarding a regional ‘Question Time’ for Robin Hood Media in association with BBC Nottingham. I applied to be an assistant for the day to help film a regional, political debate at the Nottingham Playhouse where various MP hopefuls were bombarded with questions from an audience of about 60.

As I arrived at the Playhouse I was joined by 3 other student assistants and we were greeted by the lovely Helen McCulloch, an assistant producer for BBC East Midlands, who then took us on a tour around the set where the filming would actually take place. Then finally to the gallery, although I’m going to refer to it as the command centre because it’s more imaginative, much to the disagreement of the crew. After this we were briefed on what we would be doing for the day which was essentially looking after the audience and just generally being helpful as possible. As members of the audience arrived we guided them to the bar area and told them to wait until filming was ready to take place and that all drinks were courtesy of the BBC which, as you can imagine, sent them stampeding toward the bar like wildebeest in search of the precious watering hole.

RH Media 2

After everyone had arrived and filming was ready to go we proceeded to herd the audience in the direction of the entrance to the stage where the panellists were. From here we made our way to the command centre where the director, producers, sound & light guys, journalists and then eventually us gathered around a few small screens and watched filming unfold in front of us which was actually really interesting considering we were just sitting there watching a man repeat phrases like “camera 1”, “okay now camera 3”, and “what I just said does not leave this room!” I managed to find a chair hidden away and in the process received a few dirty looks from people who actually worked there. This was the part of the day that I learnt the most about how TV works as I was in the heart of production, comfortably seated, and just taking in what a career in media actually entails. I felt at home.

I won’t talk too much about the actual content of the show as I’m sure you’re all familiar with how Question Time works but I will post a link to it at the end if anyone wants to see how it turned out.

RH Media 3

Even with everything that I noticed and took in from the control room the true value of the day came at the very end. After we helped pack up the equipment and the audience had left, the crew and even some of the politicians stayed for a drink at the end. This was by far the most important part of the day for me and something that I wouldn’t have been able to get anywhere else. I got to drink and talk to people who were doing what I wanted to be doing after University, they told me how they got to where they were, where they wanted to go from where they are now and gave me priceless advice about what I should be doing right now. I made contacts, found new opportunities and even learnt a little about politics by the end of the day.

To end this I’ll say what I got told by practically everyone I spoke to on the day. You have to put yourself out there as much as possible and take every opportunity that you can if you want to succeed in media or even in life. Everyone that I talked to told me about the many times they worked as runners/stewards and it led to nothing but all it took was meeting that one person at the right time in the right place that could and would help you out.

I would definitely recommend this experience to anyone who wanted to work in the media. I really enjoyed the day and, learnt a surprising amount and met people who know what it takes to make it in the industry.

To view the BBC coverage of the East Midlands Election debate 2015, click here.

Alex Trimble

Posted in Culture, Film and Media