LSFM student-mentee and 2015 Graduand Sophie Gillott said: I had the opportunity to volunteer for Sheffield Doc/Fest (5-10June). I was assigned the role of ‘MeetMarket Volunteer’ after a phone call with Volunteer Co-Ordinator Elliott Thompson who had held a lecture in Semester B of this year. I booked my hotel super early and ended up having a day and a half spare in Sheffield before my first briefing. I decided to have a wander and came across The Peace Gardens, Sheffield Cathedral and amazing coffee shops and cafes – ‘Tamper Coffee’ and ‘Marmadukes’ both of which you’ve got to go to if you’re ever in Sheffield!
Our first briefing was short, and our Managers and Assistants went through the details on how we conduct the MeetMarket and the plan for the next couple of days. Sunday’s Market was a little different and was called the ‘CrossOver Market.’ This market was more for interactive projects, rather than films. The CrossOver market is a lot smaller than the MeetMarket and is only held for one day. This year it was held in Sheffield’s Millennium Gallery. I was an usher for the day and guided Projects and Decision Makers upstairs to the event. I should probably add that the Decision Makers are industry professionals who can give advice or mentoring and also funding for the projects.
The MeetMarket had the two biggest days. Meetings ran from 9:20am-7:00pm in 20 minute slots. 15 minutes for the meeting, and a 5-minute padding time, to allow for Decision Makers or Projects to be swapped over. The markets were held in the HUBS building of Sheffield Hallam University, in one room. I was assigned to look after a section of 4 tables. Throughout the day projects and decision makers would chance over, mainly the decision makers. During their 15-minute meetings we had to plan for the next one, whether your project was staying and decision maker moving, or if the entire table needed changing and a next project and decision maker bringing in. There were stressful and hectic points throughout the day, when some people turned up late, or were a no-show, or had to cancel their meetings. All in all, it was an exhausting, fun couple of days and I got to work with some fantastic people, and I also managed to get my business card out to a few production companies.
I’d definitely recommend volunteering for Doc/Fest, it’s great fun and the people you meet are amazing. And there are so many options for what you can do.