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.

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