Sheffield Doc/Fest from volunteer to internship

Sheffield doc-fest logo_v2My technique lately seems to be to apply for jobs no matter how unqualified I think I might be and if I’m successful, worry about it the night before I start work. I hate myself for this technique sometimes but it always pays off in the end!  I first came across Sheffield Doc/Fest through a friend and as soon as I read into the festival, I knew I wanted to be involved.  I’m Rachel Hagreen a second year student at the Lincoln School of Media.  I’ve always either had my head in fiction as part of the course or freelancing to earn a bit of brass, so I figured I should open the door to documentary production too.

I really enjoyed directing my level two documentary as part of the LSM’s Media Production course but I didn’t realise how much I enjoyed watching them until I worked as a volunteer in May as a production cinema assistant. Getting that job role was easy, all you have to do is fill out a form online on Sheffield Doc/Fest’s website.  When I finally got the call back I’d forgotten all about the fact that I’d applied and presumed I hadn’t been successful; they decided to give me a job that apparently had lots of responsibility – something that I wasn’t keen to take them up on initially.

My week as a production cinema assistant was fab, I didn’t think I’d enjoy it as much as I did but I loved every second. Everybody there was so friendly and it was amazing being surrounded by such successful directors and other film specialists such as Walter Murch. I watched some incredible films such as Lucy Walker’s ‘The Crash Reel’ which really made me consider going further down this documentary route, luckily for me I was recommended to be considered for an internship. This application process was also simple but a little more daunting and a lot more nerve-racking than the festival volunteer role. After sending off a cover sheet and my CV I heard back from them within a week or so and was offered an interview; again I agreed without thinking too much about it and instantly regretted it on the train down to Sheffield.

My interview was really simple. It was more of a chat really as we just sat on the sofa and talked about uni and my thoughts on the last film I’d watched (which turned out to be his favourite film), he did also ask some ‘proper’ interview style questions but I could easily relate them to past uni experiences. I found out I was successful that evening and again instantly regretted ever applying.  I’ve just returned from my first shift as a Festival Assistant intern and despite it being 27º and seeing the blue sky through the office windows, I’ve loved it! I don’t think I’ve ever been as nervous in my life but as soon as I got there I was fine. Everyone there is so friendly and I felt like I’d worked there for weeks already. My main jobs are answering and forwarding on phone calls and emails and carrying out tasks set by other members of staff and of course tea making and washing up. The tasks will vary a lot but today after all my training, general introductions and talking about how long it’s been since I used HTML, I was editing their main website using HTML. Travelling and early mornings aside, I’m really looking forward to the rest of this internship and seeing what it might lead to next!