Mar 262017
 

At the start of the week I received a call about working on a well known BBC business based talent show. The production company do a similar idea to 24 hours in A&E whereby the assistant(s) get to cut some stuff and one they had last year is back editing this year. It would be nice but I prefer A&E so I told them I am waiting on a call from them. They understood as they used to work on A&E and they joke about not wanting to take sloppy seconds. They asked for my CV anyway and wished me luck with A&E. It was a nice call to get – I was recommended to them by a production manager I’ve worked with before which bodes well as the more job opportunities you can get through word of mouth the better – but I do worry that saying no to so many good jobs won’t help, especially if I don’t get the one I really want. I constantly worry about whether I’m making the right decision or not. I’m going with my gut (I think) but my gut feels sick.

A colleague told me the A&E interviews are happening on the Tuesday and she has one. I don’t. I’m not sure if this is a good or bad sign but everyone I talk to about it says it’s because they know they already want me so no interview is needed. I want to just believe and accept this, and deep down I think I do, but I’m going crazy thinking of all possible outcomes and when they might come through. After this January I’m not counting on anything. My colleague says they’ll hear back about the interview by end of the week. It’s going to be a long week for me.

I’ve talked a lot about A&E so I thought I should probably go into some detail about the job I’m on now. 999: What’s Your Emergency? was the first freelance job I got back in November 2015. I blogged back then about how excited I was to be working on it but never did a follow up whilst actually on it. For those that don’t know the show you can catch up on a number of episodes on All4 – I worked on series 3. The assistants’ main job on 999 is trawling through all the footage to find possible stories, cutting them down to about 20 minutes for the producers to view and rating them on their quality. The producers would then watch them all and put them into possible episodes for the editors to cut. Once the edits got underway we would also assist the editors and export cuts, find specific GVs, sync rig material, and trawl the log for similar sounding stories that may have slipped through the net. Finally, once episodes were cut, a couple of us (mostly the lead assistant) would apply the fancy subtitling for the phone calls that make the calls come alive. I started at the beginning of November alongside the main assistant who was on the previous series. A couple of weeks in we were joined by more and more assistants until we had seven of us around early December. Starting at the end of January some of the other assistants came to the end of their contract and weren’t renewed so we slowly dropped down to four and then three of us until April when it was just me and the lead assistant again. In mid May, after several short extensions, they finally ran out of budget for me and the lead assistant was left to carry the remaining edits for what ended up being another 3 months.

I really loved working on 999. I felt like my work made an impact on what was broadcast which felt pretty good. They were a great team to work with and I loved my day to day work. One time an editor tasked me with finding anything in the footage that was a bit weird, a bit mad perhaps, but not as a result of a mental health issue. She was delighted when I found a brief encounter between a police officer and a bloke running down the street at 3am. They approached the situation as if something was amiss – like something was a bit weird. Turns out he just couldn’t sleep and decided to go for a run. Later I found another similar encounter where a man was jogging along the street late in the evening with a small van following in the road. In this instance the runner was training for a marathon but had been jumped in the past so his dad would drive along for security. I also really enjoyed watching the hours of footage from the rig in the ambulances and police cars. This is where you heard all the chatter that paramedics and coppers have during their shifts. There were some spectacular discussions – many which could never be broadcast – but some which made it to air for some light relief between stories.

This year I am only on for a few weeks – one of the filler roles for the busy patch like last series. I have already mentioned how weird it is not taking some sort of control but I’ve gotten around that and just ploughed through the footage not having to worry about media logistics and organising what gets viewed when and by whom. I’m working with a few of the last team and a few new guys – another great team. In terms of progression, however, 999 doesn’t offer so much. There isn’t really much of a chance for any of the assistants to cut anything, we’re really more of a filter for the editors and producers, and for that reason I’m not bothered about not being asked back for the long run. Doing a full run of 999 would ultimately feel like I haven’t moved on in a year and, as I’ve said before, this job is all about progression.

Hearsay tells me another editor on A&E has said that the production team want me back, but I’ve also learned that there is a second round of interviews and that I might not hear back until after then. I’m finishing the week on tenterhooks.

Mar 192017
 

Shortly after my first and only week of work in two months I spent a week fairly depressed from my return to having nothing to do. What made it worse was turning something down in the middle of it. I got a call from someone who had been given my name on a recommendation. They needed an assistant for a great sounding feature doc for BBC to be directed by Henry Singer. Annoyingly it’s from March to August which would mean I couldn’t do 24 Hours in A&E which I’ve been holding out for. Turning it down really played on my mind. In any other situation I would have leapt at it but I really want this A&E job. I decided to contact them to see if they can confirm me for a May start as that would put my mind at rest but all I got was a fairly vague but I guess promising response. I’ll still need something to fill March and April. I have a week pencilled on the BBC/PBS job in April but nothing else. After talking to a mate of mine one weekend I thought about seeing if one of the post houses I worked for needs some shifts covering.

Things started picking up as the PBS doc needed me for a day and on that day I got a call from 999: What’s Your Emergency? asking for 5 weeks. PBS would then give me the week following this as they are flexible so potentially I have 6 weeks of work starting the beginning of March which will take me to 3 weeks before A&E could start. This greatly improved my mood, however I then spent almost a week fretting about confirmation from 999 before they finally called on Thursday, whilst I was at BVE, asking if I was still up for it. It seems they sent an email confirming not long after the first call but it didn’t come through. This was a big relief and added to a great day as I met up with some old mates at BVE, got to see Louis Theroux talk about his work, and found a useful stand about a charity for when you are not earning – something I wish I’d known about back in January.

 

*****

 

I started back on 999 on 6th March, much happier to be back in my element. I wouldn’t say I love my job yet but I really like it and I know I will love it when I am finally editing full time. I was so happy to be back I arrived really early – usually your first day would start 10am so others can get sorted and set up ready for you. I, however, arrived at 8.56am. The others started arriving around 9.20am but the main two (and only people I knew) arrived together at 10, berating me for my over punctuality. Since then I have consistently been first to arrive and among the last to leave each day.

It is interesting to come back into a project where last year I was across the whole show, right from the start but this time around I am just helping out for a few weeks. Last time my opinion on how to do things was sought and I gave it. This year I’m having to hold back on saying how things should be done as it isn’t really my place to do so. This is something I struggle with as I always want to improve things wherever I am. I notice something that isn’t working well or could work better, troubleshoot it, find a fix, and then try to implement ways to improve the system. For example in my first week I came up with a way for shooters to make things better for us when grouping stuff that had been shot by two teams. It’s not really a big issue but their cameras are never properly synced, they just work on rough time of day. My idea was to just have someone clap in front of both cameras at some point during filming – something that would be good practice. In truth it should be common sense but this is TV and common sense rarely prevails. I suggested it to the series producer but his reply made me think he had misunderstood and thinks there is a bigger issue at hand. Then the main edit assistant joins in saying ‘it just isn’t an issue, don’t bother’. I see where he is coming from but I just want to make things better, I don’t mean to whine or moan about a trivial difficulty in our job. It’s just the way I am that I don’t simply find a workaround, I try to figure out how to fix it or make it better. This frustrated me a little on a Thursday evening but I let it go and stepped down to only doing what is needed from my job.

On the flip side, I love it when the executive producer gets passionate about stuff. The exec on 999 is, in my opinion, pretty great to work with. Not easy, but good fun. He gets a spark and goes off on a mad trail of ideas like a kid inventing make believe worlds. It’s how I want to be when making TV and seeing him like this makes me want to work more.

 

*****

 

During my second week on the job I am back to fretting about my next job, or more specifically hearing from 24 Hours in A&E. I’m jealous of everyone else in the room getting phone calls. Around mid week I finally get a call from the production manager on A&E and my heart leaps but he just wants 2 days right now if I’m free and I am not. Sounded like he’d call again soonish though. The next day I receive a call from the lead editor who was championing me last series. He mostly was asking about Avid advice but he also asks if I’ve heard from A&E yet. He tells me he championed me more as he finished up on the last series and said I should text him if I haven’t heard more in a week and he will give them a nudge. He also tells me that the 2 day job was edit work as he was asked about it too so that makes me feel more positive about things.

Towards the end of the week I watch a couple of difficult bits of filming. There’s not a large amount I can say about it but it involved people with serious mental health issues and how there is little the police can do but treat them like a criminal. It’s not a failing of the system as much as there just isn’t the correct system there for someone in this position. Watching it made me quite upset – possibly more so than watching someone have a heart attack like I did last time around. At least in that situation I can see people doing the damndest for them. In this situation nothing they do is appropriate for the person. I hope they can use it in an episode perhaps highlighting the failings of the system. It would be a tricky one though.

Feb 202017
 

My first day back at work means my first day for over a month actually getting up at a respectable time, getting ready and leaving the house to travel into work. This feels good. Initially I meet with the editor and producer of the reversion to discover they will actually be doing more of a re-edit than a reversion due to the amount of financial input from PBS who are broadcasting the series in the US. None of us know exactly what is required but we have a chat and the production manager joins us to explain how it is all to work out. The PBS edit isn’t actually due to start until mid March and will be taking the BBC cut at the 1st viewing stage which will be the basis for the PBS version. There has been extra interviews filmed to replace the presenter led pieces to camera and my job will be mostly to create the PBS projects and organise them so the editor and producer know exactly what they need to replace and what they have to replace it with. This almost definitely won’t be a week’s work but I don’t have all the information to work form straight off so I’m sure it will take me almost a week to complete.

I happened to notice at some point during the week that my contract has my weekly rate as ‘per day’ which could be fun. I doubt they’ll notice or act on it and, whilst legally if we both sign I could push them for it, they are a good company and I want to keep in their good books so I best not push them.

I received a lovely email from one of the series producers on A&E saying they will likely have a role for me starting in May. This is particularly good news as it means they are chasing me so my applying to the scheme will be almost unnecessary – I’m still going to do it as I know a number of other people applying and I don’t want to look presumptuous or complacent. I feel a little vulnerable as I’m pinning a lot on firstly getting the A&E scheme, secondly that it lasts as long as it has previously and keeps me employed until after Christmas, and thirdly (and possibly more importantly) that it will be my springboard into editing. My hope is that after this job on A&E I advertise as a new editor and focus on getting mainly editing jobs, but I’m very aware that I was also pinning a fair amount on working on the project that fell through and it left me unemployed for a long time. I know this situation is different as there will be plenty of other work later in the year and I hadn’t actually turned anything else down for it, but I hadn’t really looked either. Heres hoping it all works out.

After only 2 days on the reversion project I have pretty much run out of things to do. I am still waiting on some more info that I predict will give me another days work to do but until then nothing. I know the producer wants to visit, possibly tomorrow, so I’ll be able to ask him what else he feels I could do but I’ll have to look in some way busy for him. I’ve already watched pretty much all the cut material (which to me seems surprisingly little but I guess it is a slow process as they are still shooting). At the end of the day I get that email giving me tomorrow’s work and we’ll just have to see how I can make Thursday and Friday happen. I’ll probably contact the PM on Thursday to let them know how I’m getting along.

In more interesting news I did see a post about a week’s work creating the 10 minute pitch version of a doc on refugees. It’s low pay and just below my usual weekly rate but as they actually only want about 5 hours a day for 5 days I don’t mind – any money will do! The only snag will be if they require me to have my own kit. As previously mentioned mine is in no fit state to be used professionally and it would cost me a fair bit to get something that would be suitable. To date I have not heard back.

I spent some time with the producer on Wednesday who is happy with what I’ve done so far. He raised a few questions for the production manager and is understanding of how little I can actually do right now. We also managed to convince the PM to pencil me in for a second week nearer to the start of their edit as there will be more footage by then, plus they will have been cutting for a few weeks and may have more for me to do. I also managed to find myself a little more work off the back of a comment made by the PM in response to the questions posed by the producer. She mentioned that pretty much any talking head that wasn’t one of the three main presenters would probably be used for the PBS version. I decided to scroll through all the footage to see if any had been missed on either the log or the various and sporadic notes I’d been sent and found a fair few. It also helped improve my labelling and understanding of what each bit was and to what it related.

I finally sent an email officially applying to the A&E Scheme, despite already being asked. It took many attempts as my original draft was very gushy. I tried hard to reel it in and keep it simple and short but it still ended up being along the lines of “I loved working with you, I’d love to work with you more” fangirling.

By Friday I have nothing really left to do so I spend most of the day playing with some effects on the footage, mostly trying to recreate tilt shift on some drone footage over the Acropolis in Athens. I wonder if I could get away with sending a handover mid afternoon and buggering off. Sent email at 4:30 and the producer replied asking if I could collate all the notes and logs I have so they have a more concise PBS version of footage. Making this takes me up to the end of the day so I feel I have accomplished something of worth. There is also a small misunderstanding when the production manager asks me to send her an invoice as soon as possible. I was under the impression I was on PAYE but understand that a week’s work would be simpler as self invoicing. The issue for me is I haven’t yet self invoiced and would have to work out exactly what to do and how to then declare this later on. The PM says we should be able to do it PAYE so I’ll sort out the paperwork for that next week. I currently have nothing else to do so I might as well do that.

 

Feb 082017
 

I’ve been keeping in conversation with both the editor and the edit producer for the first episode I was credited on for A&E (yes, there have now been a few) and the editor mentioned he has given my name to someone looking for an assistant. I received a call two days later for a possible two weeks work which is better than nowt – in fact two weeks work a month will cover my rent and bills with just enough money for food so I’m fairly happy. We exchanged a few emails and I discovered they need someone to prep for an international reversion of a series. This usually means stripping all the music and graphics that are not licensed for worldwide broadcast, cutting out any interviews or pieces to camera that are not relevant to the worldwide audience, and maybe removing the VO for a re-recording. It looks like this is on a series of about 6-10 episodes so there’s a fair amount of work, perhaps not two weeks but then perhaps they want me to prep some of the new material too – cut down interviews or something.

I’ve now been confirmed for one week with the second week still a pencil. I have a hunch it won’t last two weeks and I haven’t heard anything from the Bristol job so I assume it’s gone to someone more local. Despite frequently looking I haven’t seen anything else relevant posted on any of my main job sites but I’m starting to see more and more producer / production manager / production coordinator jobs going up so programmes are starting to get underway, it’ll just be a few months before anything reaches post.

After being confirmed for the reversion job I saw a company looking for assistants available immediately for about three weeks work. I considered it but for 2 things; I am not free immediately due to this reversioning job but more importantly the three week job is with a company I have been told to avoid. Apparently no one likes working for them and they aren’t very prompt at paying. If I had nothing else I would probably have applied but I think I’ll skip it this time. We’ll see how wise a decision that turns out to be. I’m looking forward to being back at work if only for a week. At least it should keep me busy.

Jan 222017
 

Whilst I couldn’t say a lot has happened in the last couple of weeks things certainly have changed. Mostly this centres on the fact that I am no longer funemplyed but actually unemployed and seeking work. After many emails back and forth about a potential start date with promises that it will start in February and that I would be told as soon as it was fixed, I came out of the cinema on a Monday evening to see I had an email and a voicemail from the production manager saying they would be giving this job I’d been waiting on since November to someone else. They said it was someone ‘in house’ usually meaning someone who is on a staff contract and therefore cheaper. I later found out who actually got the job – a friend of mine in fact – who isn’t staff but has been working for the company (if not this series producer or possibly even director) and is probably a better choice for them. He also has been championed by one of the top documentary editors so if he’s involved then I had no chance.

I’m not angry that it went to someone else, I’m annoyed that I was strung along for so long. I know it’s just the way these things work (terrible excuse) but to have them say they were really interested in having me since November and making me promise I’d let them know if anyone else was offering me work whilst they sorted their dates out it’s then more than a little galling to have them give it to someone else. They were possibly just hedging their bets but who knows. What this means now is I have to really look for work during the worst time in TV as January & February tend to be quite light on work with things starting to pick up again in March.

So, in attempt to be in some way productive I found a slightly newer version of Avid that my license covers. I installed it hoping it will fix my export problem. Exports work fine, but AMA files are less good, so still not a fix. I’ll have to investigate further.

I received a call from the director I’ve been helping get his DVDs into some sort of web friendly files for. He is a bit of a technophobe (as is my mother) and so we arranged for me to go help him out one afternoon as I’m free. We discussed some possible further work as he is getting a lot of his old films transferred from master tape into ProRes files for him to store and create a showreel from. I could make a few quid from it but it’s not going to be enough to keep me going for any length of time so I still need to find work, but it was good chatting to him at his very nice house. With any luck it will lead to some real work with him in the future – he’s made some great programmes and I’d love to work with him one day.

In general I’ve been finding motivation an issue and my mood has been through some low points during the weeks. Every few days I check the 3 or 4 main job sites I use and I keep a daily eye on the facebook groups but I’m not very hopeful knowing all too well that this is the quiet time for TV. I met with an old family friend who suggested just trying to meet with certain people face to face which made me think about meeting a few of the talent managers I know to discuss with them my position and aspirations – it can’t hurt. I applied to a job posting based in Bristol as it should be for a couple of months at least and I could justify the travel. I think I know some people out Bristol way so I could possibly crash on friends’ sofas during the week and head back to London for the weekends. I’m yet to hear back. I also received a text a few days back asking for my experience in QC. This is the process of thoroughly checking a final video tape or file to make sure it meets all broadcast standards and has no faults in it and is possibly the sole area of post production I have no real training in. I’m sure I could learn it quickly enough but the project in question is going to a tricky QC so they said they’d just keep me on file.
A high point for me was seeing my first credit for 24 Hours in A&E the other night. It was on an episode I was actually quite involved with and was cut by someone I’ve worked with a couple of times who gives some great advice. I emailed him to let him know I’d seen it and to mention I was looking if he knew of anyone needing someone. He is currently on holiday but he confirmed my plan to make sure I get on the assistant scheme for the next series because it should be my gateway to being an editor. I’ve done some crisis planning and if I was really careful and spent as little money as possible I could possibly survive on my savings until the next series starts up. I really don’t want to – I’m going mad without work, and I’d like to spend those savings on holidays and so on – but equally I don’t want to get a 6 month contract in March as it would put me out for A&E. Here’s hoping on that 2 month job in Bristol.

Jan 092017
 

Rather than do a week by week I have decided to just amalgamate the holiday period into one blog. During the Friday afternoon lunch and drinks with the A&E team I had received an email asking if I meet with the series director of my next project, but as I had already booked transport home they booked me in for a phone call instead. During the call on Monday we chatted about my previous work, what I expect to get out of the job and my plans for the future as well as how this series would differ from the previous, plans for how we would work together, and reasons for it being delayed. It’s all down to logistics; a change of location and therefore group of people we will be filming. I’m sure I’ll be able to elaborate once I am working on it but for now suffice to say that it has similarities with the aforementioned issues that 999: What’s Your Emergency? faced. At the time of the call the director was still unable to give a definite date but said he was looking at a mid January start on casting so that filming would start early February with my job starting a week behind that – he’d keep in touch over the holiday to let me know if there was any progression.

By this time I had resigned myself to accepting that I would most likely spend January unemployed and had managed to plan for it so that I would be fine if I was unable to find filler work. January is quiet at best in TV so other than long term jobs starting up there isn’t a lot going. If I don’t start in February things will be more difficult but I shan’t worry about that until it becomes a prospect.

Over New Years I saw a job on Facebook which looks perfect; junior or assistant editor wanted to cut a few taster reels for international versions of programmes. Having already cut development tasters for in a previous job and with my editing experience on A&E I thought I would be just right for it and it was advertised as being a couple of weeks work or so in January. I applied but didn’t get it, however the person offering the job emailed me to say that whilst they filled the position quickly they were impressed with my CV and would get in touch if they ever had other similar work. It was a nice response to get and filled me with confidence. I then received an email in the New Year saying the new project were still unsure of the exact date but we would definitely be starting in February, perhaps nearer the end though. This is still ok but I warned that if it were to be later I would have to look for other work.

Over Christmas we started planning a family holiday that had been mooted earlier in the year. I was initially looking forward to it and had decided to book out the 2 weeks well in advance but in the last weeks of A&E I heard there is the possibility of the next series starting earlier than this one which would most likely clash with this holiday. The Garden run a scheme on 24 Hours in A&E designed to progress edit assistants to editors, with quite a few of the alumni returning as editors. I missed out on the opportunity this time as I had already booked two weeks in Thailand in August which they said they couldn’t work around when starting in June, and with the feedback I received upon finishing this contract I would be stupid to miss it next time so therefore I cannot commit to any holiday during that time just in case. I Shall email the producers in the coming week to see if they have an idea as to when they will start up again – despite not yet being finished on this series.

I will probably continue with more sporadic updates to this blog whilst I am unemployed as I am not as actively seeking work, knowing that I intend to start a longish contract in February which I don’t want to double book myself for.

Jan 062017
 

Monday

I started my last week on 24 Hours in A&E by seeing the editor about the email from Friday. He is in the same position as most editors in the mad rush to Christmas and needs interstitials, STAT! I was given an entire 8 hour shift and told to find interstitials from that. Unfortunately there was not a lot to work with in this period but I managed to pull 15 minutes of useable material and cut 1 interstitial. I also finished one of the staff ones I’d been doing and gave it to him as well. I then tidied up the next time from Friday that we had rushed out the door. One of the changes had been to change the music to have a boom at the end rather than the silence I had used to go with the natural punctuation from the action. This took a while as it meant other edits needing changing to match music cues but I made it work. Interestingly, after the series producer reviewed the changes, he decided that my original idea was better and so we reverted to it.

Tuesday

This morning I was given another next time for an episode where there isn’t much drama – there are no red phones and very few punch points. It’s still an interesting episode, we just don’t have that jeopardy moment when the call comes in and the ambulance arrives. I think I managed to get enough drama into the next time and the editor was happy with it. An exec producer saw it briefly and asked for one change (which I agree with, it improves it) and the series producer asked for another, also not unreasonable, change.

Wednesday

Busy day today; most of the exec and series producers are rushing between suites and difficult to track down yet every time they pass my desk I get a new request. First was another minor change to next time, then I was tasked with completing a quick interstitial for an editor who had started already, then we had an urgent request to find a new top of show interstitial, preferably from the receptionists as they are usually a good way of starting the programme. The problem we have is that by now all of the good stuff that has been pulled has been used, therefore the best plan of action was to trawl through and find more. We’ve started finding usable stuff but nothing that great. We’ll have to continue tomorrow.

Thursday

Still trawling through the many conversations of the receptionists. One I found and cut was going to be used until a reshuffle of receptionist moments between episodes meant that it wasn’t needed for this one. Instead it was given to another editor working on an episode to be completed in the new year. During all this I was given about half a dozen more changes to the next time for the non dramatic episode. The series producer has accepted we are limited by the episode’s content but the exec keeps trying to eek out a little more from it, which I guess is their job, I just feel ill and I’m going to a Christmas party tonight, not for A&E but the company I was working for on Supervet and before that 999: What’s Your Emergency?

Friday

Even busier than yesterday I am given a last minute next time that wants finishing before 2pm when we all plan to go for a Christmas lunch. This episode is much easier than the last as it is more dramatic and has some great characters but I still have to wait for busy producers to find time to view, change, and sign it off. I eventually get the go ahead to organise an upload to go to channel just as we all gather for a quick thank you from the execs and the handing out of small bottles of fizz before going for lunch. I’m saddened to discover that some of the production team (those I would have preferred to sit and chat with as I speak to them rarely during work) are unable to join as they are just too busy. Still feeling ill, I join for the meal and a quick drink afterwards before collecting my stuff and leaving work for the last time this year. Another time I would have revelled in staying out as long as possible as I’m sure some of the stalwarts would have kept the party going long into the night, but not this time. A bit anticlimactic but I can live with that.

Jan 052017
 

Monday

Having spent a couple of hours on the wedding video over the weekend and sent a rough cut on to the client he came today and told me he loves it – such a relief. They want a couple more aerial shots put in from their drone they bought but that’s fine, in fact it will improve the transitions from prep to church to reception so I’m happy with these notes. I should be able to finish that off this week and then not have to think about it.

In my day job I finished one search for specific shots and started another. With only 2 weeks to go before we have to have over 20 episodes delivered we are now so busy that we have too many demands and have to say to some people that we will get around to their request later. Generally the reception to this is good; people understand the whole team are busy and are just thankful for anything we can do to help.

Tuesday

I’ve been given a new interstitial to cut for another programme that is lacking in light hearted and funny moments. Without these, the main stories are still the same but the tone of the overall show is too heavy for them to be appreciated. You have to have both ups and downs for a rollercoaster to be fun, similarly you have to have light hearted moments to allow the serious ones to have their poignancy. I was tasked with making something funny out of a couple of characters who weren’t particularly funny at all. This was made more difficult due to the mix of languages used in their discourse. Having trawled through it all and cut it down to a useable 30 minutes of footage I think I might get something from it. I then spoke to the editor about it and he gave me an idea as to how to improve it. His suggestion meant faking the scene a little – an interesting point in documentary.

In all documentaries there is always a certain degree of fakery; just making an edit in time means you are affecting the raw footage and therefore not merely documenting an event but representing it to meet one’s own agenda. The art of documentary making is to do this without adjusting the truth of the event. In this case a conversation was started in one area of the hospital then dropped but picked up on and explored in more depth when in another part of the hospital. By then, however, there was only one camera filming what was going on making editing it down extremely difficult. To work around this I have made it seem as though most of the conversation was held in the first location, continued slightly as they changed location and then ended when they reached the new area. Whilst this isn’t completely true to the event the main point of it – the conversation they held – is kept largely intact, albeit heavily edited down to the highlights.

I stayed for an hour or so after normal hours to work on the wedding video. Managed to polish off one of the two rough sequences. Just one more rough sequence to edit then I need to do a pass through the whole film before it’s done.

Wednesday

Another day, another next time tease. I was given a pretty good episode with some really good punchy bits and good drama as well as some really good light hearted and humourous sequences. As ever the difficulty was getting the tease down to time whilst managing to show enough of what happens to entice the viewer into watching next week. An interesting point I learnt a few weeks back was that whilst 24 Hours in A&E maintains an average of 1.6 million viewers* the returning number is far lower, meaning that most viewers will watch a couple of episodes out of a series and not necessarily consecutive ones. In this episode the big case involved a patient with an issue that they only ever refer to in technical jargon. In the fullness of the episode it is fully explained but to do so in less than 30 seconds and maintain the drama was almost impossible. I sent a version off to be seen by the producers, we’ll see what they think tomorrow. The afternoon was then spent back on finding possible interstitials. I hit a mental block, possibly related to the frustration of the earlier next time but more likely mood related. I faltered and became largely unproductive for the last hour or so and it made me wonder what others do in this situation.

Thursday

Today I managed to create 3 sequences from the interstitial I hit a mental block on last night, so that made me happier. Even better, the editor and producer both like them and have given me notes to just fix some minor points. I then had to search through a load of chat about brexit which didn’t help my mood. This was because an episode that happens over the referendum result day might have to have a short piece removed for what someone says so I was looking for alternatives.

Friday

Due to a gig I’m going to tonight I am on a half day – woohoo! I started with some tricky notes on both the above interstitials and next time. The next time needed fixes within half an hour for an export so it could be seen by the channel which was a bit pressured but I was allowed to leave it with fixes needed for after the viewing so that eased it off a bit and I made the deadline. I was then emailed at 20:15 about what work needed doing first thing Monday morning, both on the interstitial and on another set of interstitials.

 

*C4 first broadcast alone. http://www.barb.co.uk

My Week in TV WC 28/11/16

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Dec 052016
 

Monday

Just when life was looking pretty good for the future I received an email saying that my next job has been delayed by up to a couple of months. It’s still going ahead but filming is already behind schedule, not sure why, but this isn’t particularly uncommon – my first job on 999: What’s Your Emergency? was delayed by a week or so as organising such filming with permissions and so on is quite difficult. Whilst I like the idea of maybe doing some directing or producing later on in life, this sort of organising would put me off.

If this delay was only a week or so I would have been fine as it would allow me to have a nice long break over Christmas but a gap of at least a month is a bit of an issue so I’ll need to find a filler job. I’ll think more on that later.

Today’s work was making more interstitials for the episode I was working on last week. I’ve made quite a few now, some pretty good, some ok. I gave the finished ones to editor as their viewing has been brought forward and they needed something to drop in to break it up a bit. I was then a little annoyed to have another assistant come and ask for these interstitials so he can cut an opener for the show. I’m perfectly happy for an actual editor to rework my cuts, after all I am only assisting them, but it feels a little like having my toes trodden on when another assistant is using them. I should probably just be less petty, but I can’t help this feeling.

Tuesday

I finished the rest of the interstitials today and after showing them to the editor and director they both said they were really happy with my work. This feedback also makes it to the finishing editor who has kind of taken control of my workload and made sure I spend as much time cutting as possible. With any luck it is making its way to the producers too. I’m now back to searching for a particular doctor to be featured in an episode. I compiled the wedding video rough cut with a view to exporting it to show the client but I decided the opener is about 6 minutes too long so I’ll have to cut that down first. I hadn’t time today.

Wednesday

Today was just more searching. Nothing special really. The finishing editor said he’ll have some small interstitials to cut for him when I get a chance. Looking forward to that at the end of the week.

Thursday

I finished a staff interstitial I’d had on the back burner for the same editor who’s whole day of interstitials I’d cut. He and the director really enjoyed it, more so than I expected which was a nice surprise – apparently it really fits their theme so will go straight in. This, unsurprisingly, makes me quite happy. I then spent more time searching for this doctor but tomorrow I’ll cut some more interstitials for the finishing editor.

Friday

I started this morning on cutting some moments for finishing editor. These are shorter than interstitials maxing out at about 20 seconds and I won’t add music as they’ll probably be slotted into places where he has music. I was then given a next time to cut at about 3pm and asked if possible to get a first cut to the editor by the end of the day. Bearing in mind I had to watch a 47 minute cut this would leave just over two and a half hours to cut something down; not impossible, but tight. At 6:20ish I was 7 seconds over (next time teases have to be dead on 30 seconds in duration) but my cut was in a good place. I told the editor as much and he said he was happy to take it Monday morning. I then spent another half an hour on it and got it down to time, and I was quite pleased with it, but when I went to show the editor he had left. Bit of an anticlimax to the week but he’s allowed a life too.

I had promised the client a rough cut of his wedding video by the end of the week but I still haven’t cut that intro down so perhaps I’ll nip in and do that on Saturday. It’s annoying that I can’t just do it at home as I could do it at breakfast and have the rest of the weekend to myself. Now I’ve got to consider sneaking into work and spending just a few hours on it.

My Week in TV WC 21/11/16

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Dec 012016
 

Monday

This morning I received notes from the editor on my latest latest next time and fixed it up. I’m getting to the stage where usually my second version of a cut, i.e. the version after one set of notes, is the one that goes to channel viewing which is nice. I’ve now been tasked with finding and making generic staff interstitials as an editor may need one for backup. Time to trawl through all the staff moments that have been pulled.

Tuesday

I spent more time working on staff interstitials today. This is difficult as the remit is so wide that with not enough notes to point me in a direction I am literally viewing everything. I’ve also been given another next time to cut. I was a bit miffed to discover today that another assistant has been changing one of my next time cuts after a producer has given them notes. I’m unsure as to why I’m not doing the changes. I know I’m still only an assistant but editors tend to get fairly possessive of their edits – and right that they should – the creator is the owner of that which they have created at least in terms of intellectual property. It’s not uncommon for editors to have to hand on their work when they overrun or are tasked with something else, but it’s not ideal and few editors are happy with it. I’m also annoyed that he’s doing it in my bin rather than duplicating and working in his own bin. This is a small thing but a professional point of practice, and after being indoctrinated into various post facilities I am a little picky with such things.

I had a bit of a loss of concentration from middle of afternoon for no real reason, I was just oddly distracted. I couldn’t focus on one thing for very long so whilst I had planned to stay and do more to wedding video I really don’t want to and ended up leaving slightly early.

Wednesday

Today I finished the latest next time tease and spent rest of day just watching staff moments looking for a common theme I could use to construct an interstitial around. One editor had a great one with two sets of staff on two separate occasions talking about people’s perfumes and how they smelt nice intercut with each other so I want to do something similar, but different.

Thursday

Today I was pretty much given free reign over the interstitials for a particular episode. I need to make about half a dozen at least but I’ll probably manage more than that so they have some choice. It should end up being somewhere in the region of 4-6 minutes or more of cut film which equates to about an eighth of a finished episode. I’m pretty happy about that.

Friday

I continued working on the day of interstitials and I’m quite happy with my progress. I’ve also been roped into doing guide VO recordings as one of the editors prefered my voice to theirs. This isn’t the first time I have been complimented on my speaking voice. I used to get asked to do readings at school. I quite enjoyed doing something a little different for ten minutes and it’s something I could easily say comes under the remit of edit assistant. Again I mentally checked out by 6pm but I blame it being Friday.