Chris Sykes, BBC Newcastle – How Will Buckley Started My Radio Career

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Chris Sykes, now Broadcast Assistant with BBC Newcastle, found his way into the radio station via work experience.  Here’s why he impressed the BBC, and why they wanted to keep him around:

(Here’s Tim John’s original post on tips for how to make the most of, and not screw up, your work experience placement.)

“Well the speculation in the papers this morning link Sunderland with the Brighton pair of Liam Bridcutt and….erm…who’s the other player?”

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Chris Sykes, Broadcast Assistant at BBC Newcastle & SportsBeat Reporter

It’s about 6:15pm on Monday January 6th, 2014; the first day of my work experience placement with the Total Sport team at BBC Newcastle.

 

I’m sat in the broom cupboard-sized phone-in booth, alongside Vicki, the show’s producer.  There’s four computer screens crammed on to one work bench, which barely has room for two people.

As any football fan knows, January means the mid-season transfer window is open.  That makes it the perfect time to go on work experience with a sportsdesk, particularly one that covers two high profile, well-supported clubs in Newcastle and Sunderland.

In January, rumours are always swirling around about which clubs might sign whom and inevitably on a daily football phone-in, those rumours, truthful or not, will be discussed.

The show’s presenter, Simon Pryde, is talking about just that; speculation in the local papers that Sunderland are after two Brighton players.  One problem, only Liam Bridcutt’s name springs to his mind.

Straightaway, I press the red switch on the talkback mic into the studio and excitedly shout “Will Buckley” into Prydey’s headphones.

“Will Buckley, of course,” he exclaims.  And the show carries on as normal.

Now I must confess, the title of this post is slightly misleading.  That one small incident didn’t really get me my first job in radio.  Knowing Will Buckley’s name isn’t something listed on the BBC Careers Hub competencies for a broadcast assistant’s job.

Continue reading “Chris Sykes, BBC Newcastle – How Will Buckley Started My Radio Career”

ArtyParti – Putting Southwick on the Map, Thinking Digital Arts & Free Pinhole Photography

Hello, Creatives!  One of my side projects alongside running 99% Perspiration is a weekly radio programme called ArtyParti.  We invite guests to chat about artistic & cultural events in the North East of the UK.

Here’s the latest, episode 39;

Continue reading “ArtyParti – Putting Southwick on the Map, Thinking Digital Arts & Free Pinhole Photography”

Your Work Experience Experience: Gemma Hirst, ITV Tyne Tees – Day 3

13120751_10154782571584746_1905606792_oRemember Gemma Hirst?  Writer & Culture Editor for young writing start-up Kettle Mag, and final year on the University of Sunderland’s Journalism BA.

Last Friday, Gemma finished her three-day work experience with ITV Tyne Tees.

Here at 99% Perspiration, we want to make sure that you make the most out of your work experience placement, so we’ve asked a few key bloggers to document their “work experience experience”, and share it with us; the good, the bad, and the ugly.

From her third day with ITV Tyne Tees, Gemma learned some important lessons – when stories fall through, and you don’t quite manage to get what you hoped for, what do you do?  And how much can you prepare for every eventuality?

Continue reading “Your Work Experience Experience: Gemma Hirst, ITV Tyne Tees – Day 3”

Your Work Experience Experience: Gemma Hirst, ITV Tyne Tees – Day 1

13120751_10154782571584746_1905606792_o.jpgHello, Creatives!  On her commute home from her first day with ITV Tyne Tees, emerging journalist Gemma Hirst sent us this photo…

Who wouldn’t be excited with a pass to ITV’s building, right?

Let’s back up a bit.  Here at 99% Perspiration, we want to make sure that you make the most out of your work experience placement, so we’ve asked a few key bloggers to document their “work experience experience”, and share it with us; the good, the bad, and the ugly.

Continue reading “Your Work Experience Experience: Gemma Hirst, ITV Tyne Tees – Day 1”

Become a Reviewer in Residence at the Northern Gallery for Contemporary Art

CuckooHello, Creatives!  This one is stolen from the lovely folk at Cuckoo Young Writers, an organisation that exists to develop emerging writing talent in the North of the UK.  If you’re interested in writing/journalism, aged 15 – 23, please read on!

The Write Life.jpg(If you’re outside North UK, or outside Cuckoo’s age bracket, there are dozens of opportunities our there, and The Write Life have compiled a handy list of top-notch places to start:  26 Amazing Writing Residencies You Should Apply for This Year.)

“Become a Reviewer in Residence at the Northern Gallery for Contemporary Art (NGCA) in Sunderland!”

Continue reading “Become a Reviewer in Residence at the Northern Gallery for Contemporary Art”

International Women’s Day

Happy International Women’s Day, Creatives!  Join us in celebrating this important campaign, which attempts year on year to help bring society ever closer to parity.

I spoke to female creatives across various industries to find out what International Women’s Day means to them, and what advice they have in store for emerging female creatives.

Click here to listen to Bridget Hamilton on the 99% Perspiration podcast

Click here to listen to Bridget Hamilton on the 99% Perspiration podcast

Bridget Hamilton
Founder of social community project Verbal Remedy, and Producer at BBC Radio Newcastle
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“In this day and age you’d be hard pressed to find someone who doesn’t consume some sort of media every day.  That’s why I think we as an industry have to be incredibly hot on issues such as gender parity.

“Not only do we have to work on equality for those who work for us (for instance, only 36% of people in your typical newsroom are female), but we also need to improve how women are portrayed in our documentaries and dramas.

“No one should be confined to playing the swooning doctor’s assistant or the

damsel in distress.  Of course, many of us will be able to think of women whose contributions to TV and film are far from tokenism, but there’s still a long way to go.”

99% Extra – Mike Pinchin, Video-Game Designer

12606959_10153928402063552_264623515_nA few times a semester (fancy talk for “a third of a year”), our radio classes at the University of Sunderland feature guest lecturers, usually people who are active in the creative industries.  Our last:  Mike Duddy, who recently shared a boom-handling session with our students.

But last week’s session excited me a lot.  And I mean a lot.

Mike Pinchin designs video games.  I remember a lecture with him back when I was a student, from 2010.  He’d recreated the university campus, and had Daleks patrolling the media building.  Since then, he’s been making money from releasing his own games on mobile platforms.  He designs the characters, the aesthetics, the sound…  And he joined our class to show us just how important sound is to enhance the immersive experience.  “There are people doing all kinds of awesome sound design in video games – whether they’re actual video games or interactive experiences.”

Continue reading “99% Extra – Mike Pinchin, Video-Game Designer”

99% Extra – Mike Duddy

Mike Duddy is a freelance Sound Recordist / Post Sound Mixer / Audio Engineer, based in the North East of the UK.  His recent projects include working on ITV’s Beowulf, the BBC’s Dumping Ground, and on various feature films.

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Mike taught two sessions with our first year radio production students yesterday (where I lecture on audio production & journalism) on how to use boom poles effectively, and what to expect from a career in sound recording.

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So, the essentials.  “Being a boom operator is all about creative problem solving.”  Mike explained the art of being as discreet as possible whilst carrying out the role on set, whilst seeking the best quality audio possible.

“A little difference in space makes a big difference in sound, so you have to get as close to the dialogue as possible, without getting the boom in frame.”  They’re the very basic principles, of course, but the more you research and the more you practice, the more skilled you can become.  Down to memorising the spacial qualities of each lens being used.  That way, “if you hear a crew member shout out for a specific lens change, you’ll know instinctively how close you need to be.”

Mike asked the class what qualities they thought were essential to boom operation.  Second suggestion in both groups; being tall.  “Being tall is helpful, of course, but it’s not essential.”  What’s more essential to the profession is patience, steadiness, an ability to pick up scripts and sequences, and most of all, top-notch stamina.

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“You’re always chasing the best “polar pattern” (each different kind of microphone picks up a different shape of sounds around it).  It depends on the actors, of course; Hollywood types are professional at repeating movements and delivery in the same way with each take.”  But that’s not always the case, and a lot of the time he’s just acting on instinct to best capture the dialogue.

It must be a difficult task, to predict the movement of actors, but I was even more surprised when Mike revealed how he achieves this:  “I’ve learned to read neck muscles, they’re usually the first sign that someone is turning their head.”

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We’ve chatted about some of the fundamentals of recording sound, but what about the business end?  Some students asked Mike about how easy it is to pursue a sound career in the screen industries.

“Broadcasting companies like ITV and the BBC take on very few staff across their TV projects, and mostly use freelancers.  It’s standard to get on board with a fixed term contract, for instance my work on Beowulf was a 27 week contract.”

His advice mirrors Joanna Makepeace‘s recommendations in the latest episode of the 99% Perspiration podcast; “It’s mostly ad-hoc work – you’ve got to email producers, email line producers.  You’ll often get work from knowing people, knowing sound mixers, knowing boom operators, knowing film crews; so get out there and meet people.”

“It is quite a competitive industry.  There’s a lot of jobs, but a lot of people.  Stay professional, keep emailing.  Don’t pass up opportunities to meet people, to do work experience.”

“A lot of people say they’re keen to get into the industry, but many of them don’t get out there, aren’t proactive.  You’ve just got to do better than the guy next to you.”

“I watch a lot of TV shows, and you can get names from the credits and shoot them an email.  And then put yourself forward for shadowing, ask if there are any opportunities going…”

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And finally, one of our students asked the all-important question of how much you can make from a sound design career working in TV.

“You can get up to about £300 a day working with TV crews as a boom operator.  Which is better than a lot of professions!”

“And there’s a lot of work in commercials as well – there’s massive companies who spend millions on 30 seconds, so that’s great to get into; not just for sound, but for other industries too.”

If you want to find out more about Mike Duddy, and what it’s like to have a career in sound recording, make sure you check out his website.

 

 

99% Extra – Here’s Ben Tompkins Trying to Get a Job in Radio

Back in Episode 3 of 99% Perspiration, soon-to-be radio graduate Ben Tompkins shared that he was making a documentary for his dissertation project. It’s a one-off piece where Ben interviews several people who work in radio careers.

“Ben Tompkins travels around the North East of England searching for advice on how to get a job in the radio world.”

Included in Ben’s awesome documentary…

Giles Tanner – Managing Editor of Global North East

Tom Campbell – Drive Time Presenter, Heart Radio

Tom Davies – Head of Careers and Employability Service at the University Of Sunderland

Emma Snook – Producer at Amazing Radio

Jay Sykes – Freelance Producer and Lecturer in Radio Drama

Until next time…

Stay productive, stay awesome!