A LSFM Facebook notification alerted my attention: ‘FREE spaces available on a Creative Skillset Children’s Production Co-ordinator Course in MediaCity’. I clicked. Expanding the information, it dawned on me that the requirements I needed were not things held on my CV: ‘at least one year’s experience as a production assistant, production secretary, runner, and assistant location manager’. Despite this, I emailed the course and was reassured by a lovely lady that the course was very flexible in accepting those with equivalent university experience, and put me down for a place. But then came another dilemma. I was filming a wedding on the 22nd and therefore could not attend the assessment day. This was a big concern as for the course to be ‘free’ I had to participate in all three days or I would have to pay £350. My free place was looking impossible. So, I called explaining my circumstances. Once again, I was welcomed with a surprising flexibility and understanding of my situation. Here, I was allowed to partake in the 2 days’ training and be assessed via email or phone. Result! But wait… how would I get there?
Lincoln is a tricky place to travel from, especially on train. With no trains to Manchester until 9am in the morning, it was looking as if my 9am start in MediaCity was never going to happen. The only option was to look for accommodation, but excitement got the better of me. I couldn’t afford two nights in Manchester! Not on a student budget. Even if I found a sofa to crash on, the travel expenditure would swallow up my bank account… Again, faced with reality, I started to accept that this was one of those opportunity’s that would have to go amiss. But then I asked another question, would my University be able to help? Yes! With financial help for travel and accommodation from my University, I started writing this blog in MediaCity’s Travelodge after my first day on the Production Co-ordinator Course.
On my first day, I was in a class of 10 participants, who were all at various stages in their life; just graduated, graduated a few years ago, production assistants and a new mother looking for a change in career. Those who had left University in the last 3-5 years, were really interesting to talk to, especially as I would be in the same boat in May this year. Here we shared experiences of University and listened to the paths we were all hoping to take. Mingling with these people certainly gave me the confidence and determination in making my future happen.
Within my first day, we were also handed useful documents varying from example call sheets, crew sheets, progress reports, risk assessments, music legislation information and travel requirements for filming abroad. All of these documents were also made available for all participants to use in future projects, which made my first day’s experience very valuable. Following on to the second day, we were put through little exercises, watched a presentation on what it takes to be a production co-ordinator and learnt more about each other. It was also a bonus to have £10 a day for lunch! Chicken Burger and chips all around.
Unfortunately, on the second day, I was unable to catch a tasty lunch as I nipped into CITV, swallowing up my hour lunch break – but it was worth the hunger. From being a part of the LSFM Industry Mentoring scheme at the University of Lincoln, I was put in contact with the Producer of CITV through my mentor. This meant that, with CITV a few yards away, I was able to have a personal tour of the production suites and meet the CITV team. This was very exciting and something which would not have happened if I hadn’t had the confidence to ask questions; Was the production course flexible? Did I have the right requirements? Could I miss the assessment day? Would my University help me out financially?
By the end of my experience in MediaCity, I had connected with some insightful people, learnt a huge amount of knowledge on Production Coordination and taken a step, no matter how small, towards my future. Therefore I would like to thank the University for helping me and would like to encourage all students to try, just try, even during the most impossible of moments.