Where are we headed?

Today’s bombardment with Kony alerts on Facebook and events to a poster rally on the 20th April have all made me question: ‘whats the point?’ After the 25th notification with people sharing, jumping on the bandwagon seems to apply. I’m all for spreading the word but surely once, if not twice is enough. Why create a viral campaign at all? Is talking a dead art? I guess to reach the amount of people is only possible through social networking by raising awareness of the cause. Whilst everyone was busy watching the video, I was poking around and trying to find out more about Invisible children.

I’m not here to bad mouth or shun the organsition. I wanted to understand where there headed. What drives them to create flashy films to stur a campaign? And then it hit me. The guys created the documentary to show the plight of a country through a man who deems himself a leader. Surely thats wrong? From a film making stand point, I think the video is extremely professional and very ‘American.’ Playing on the heart strings is a technique used by kings of manipulation: Michael Moore and Louis Theroux. But it works. It’s a strange technique that can border upon pure exploitation. The subjects are already struggling why show it even more?

This raises the questions: Where are we all headed? Did the makers of Kony 2012 purposely estimate that everyone would react the way they have through creating a social campaign? Is this the same thing we had with Obama’s ‘Change’ motto 4 years ago? These may be at opposite ends of the scale (in terms of seriousity) but the makers must have had a specific objective in mind. Whether thats to simply show who Kony is or to bring a general awareness to the campaign. Social media as a form of marketing seems to be staying.

There’s no real path we can all follow. If you decide to jump on the band wagon, make sure you know about it before. Don’t just jump on board because someone poked or told you to. Actually look into it. If your not going to put poster up on the 20th April, decline the event. If you are, more for you. If you believe in a campaign like Kony 2012, go for it. Join the thousands of people who believe that there voice will make a difference by bringing awareness to the campaign. The direction you choose to head is down to you. If you decide to put 110% into something. Do it!

There are paths that we can individually take. Ones which arn’t necessarily obvious. But ones which are meaningful to everyone. Coming towards an end of a degree will lead to another path. What direction or form that will take? Who knows. By simply putting into place the steps towards a career into teaching, hopefully there might be something at the end of it all. There’s alot to learn from campaigns like Kony 2012. The persisitance and determinition to succeed is what makes the campaign such as success and an ideal everyone would hope to replicate.

 

Tenth and Life Lessons

Welcome to the tenth edition of Beyond Volunteering and what could be one of the last. With the end of my placement  fast approaching, I’m trying to decide which way to take the blog. Do I continue the journey towards teaching or do I create sometime new entirely. One of the lessons learnt from my placement was direction. The ability to move forward with someone or something. Whether thats finishing a film or just starting one, the direction you head in is an important one. Working at PSC has provided me with a form of direction teaching the importance of life skills and lessons. I guess you could call it an irony with a future teacher being taught something?  Standing back from the bigger picture can sometimes seem daunting, when your not able to see the outcome of a situation. For example, I never knew my placement would be extended through to March. The importance of foresight is a skill I do not possess. Nor do you possess. (Unless you’ve been hiding this from me all along.)

Me @ Freshers Fayre 2011

I never saw this coming!

I never saw myself at Freshers Fayre 2011 promoting Film Society before the event took place. Maybe leading up towards it as we prepare the promo material and stall. My point reflects the inability to sense the direction you are heading towards. Anything could happen? I didn’t see myself stepping down as Chair just a few months later due to work commitments. Direction is an unfair beast. With PSC, having my placement extended was an awesome experience and one that I didn’t expect. Working with the students on there projects is an enriching experience and one which I hope to repeat one day. Life Lessons are a part of the wider picture. We will never stop learning as long as theres something new to learn. I’ve learnt so many life lessons from PSC, from patience through to team communication. These are all skills that I can bring across to other areas in my life.

The tenth post on my blog doesn’t really have any bells or whistles. It’s a ‘pure post’ detailing the lack of foresight we all possess and the approach towards it. We shouldn’t be scared of the direction we’re heading. I guess we should embrace it, talk about it and laugh at it. I never saw myself becoming a teacher until 9 months ago. Direction is a strange occurance that we’re all following. Maybe it’s time to take a different path and head in a new direction.

The Overview

Those who are new to the blog might not understand the title ‘Beyond Volunteering.’ Even though I’ll be continuing the blog after my module, this blog is a journey from now to infinity and beyond. Hence the title. It will track my progress from my 2nd year placement at PSC towards my job with EF this summer and beyond. Who knows were we will end up? Prehaps I should provide a little overview of my placement and what I’ve been up to. Heres a little extract from my prospectus I’m writing:

The Overview

“Peter Symonds College is an A-Level based institution dealing with Post-16 students from a variety of backgrounds. The College deals in various qualifications offering the students the choice of Academic studies to practical experiences. Whilst its focus is mainly on the sciences and other technical courses, the intuition also houses varying Arts based qualifications. The College prides itself on delivering an unbeatable student experience as well as astounding results. Peter Symonds boasts a 99.3% pass rate with results divided into sub categories per subject. These subcategories are divided into AS and AS2. With AS2 having a higher success rate over AS. My placement involved working with both groups of students within the Faculty of Arts. This would involve working within the Film and Media Studies department on a variety of projects. My role would involve aiding the students understanding of Adobe Premier and related programmes. As advisor I would inform students on technical acquisition of skills and communicating a specific style or genre connotation. Even though the placement is advisory based, it would provide me with the necessary foundations to pursue a career into teaching.”

Just a little extract from my prospectus I’m writing for the module. A small overview of the institution I’m working for. I’ve got to be honest, the writing style for this is a lot more formal. Rather than the informal nature of the blog. I thought it might give you guys a little insight into the College and what  I was doing. I’m loving the placement and hope it carrys on well into March. I’ve got two more dates sets for the end of next week so I’ll update the blog with more info about that. For more on my past exploits at PSC feel free to check out my other posts.

Until next time, I’d like to leave you with a few thoughts. Have you ever thought about ‘What could have been?’ or ‘Things could have been different?’ I’ll be writing about the past… again. But this time, detailing the ‘Wrong Path towards Uni.’ Another retrospective about the decision I took which lead me to were I am today.

 

 

The Retrospective I’ve Promised

Back to the Past was a sentimental post from someone who isn’t very sentimental. A discussion I had with a mate put this into perspective. My time at University is going quickly. In my last post I mentioned that time can be extremely unforgiving. When you seem to be enjoying it, it’s suddenly taken away from you. We were talking about such a thing, how quickly the last two years have gone. Instantly, everything becomes more real. Taking this and applying it to my past seems easier at first, but trying to pin point the exact events that took place can be difficult. Film is a medium which can record such events, something that I’ve promised to show and discuss. Back to the Past: The Sequel.

College, a time of creativity, new ideas and possibilities. A time of making videos for fun and for a BTEC. This part of the experience involved working with a variety of different people. People whom I’m still mates with today. Over a period of time we made horrors, documentary, animation, promotional, music videos & much much more. Aside from this, I found myself complelled to look back to the past, but instead writing about it I thought I’d show you through video. Rather than talk in detail, it be great if my readers (if any) could comment on the blog about what you think? Do you think video can be used as a form of retrospective? Can you get the same from photos, drawings and etchings?

Toni Toll Investigates Spirit Communication

My good friend Toni Toll acted as presenter for this investigative documentary. Taking place on the Isle of Wight, Toni Toll took part in three very different forms of spirit communication. Tarot Cards, Psychometry & Clairvoyance. Basing her final test in Tarot. This part of the documentary looks at Tarot with a reading with Psychic Caroline McReynolds. Afterwards, there’s a short section about the haunted pub The Wheatsheaf on the Isle of Wight.

So how does this all relate? Why look to the past at all? By providing a back story to my journey from GCSE to Degree, I’ve begun what seems like a review or journal of the events. An online list to reflect, record and relate to a time when things appeared easier. A time when everything seemed just normal. In a time when everything happens at once and then slows completley, its great to be able to pause and consider the past. In a way, it’s fairly relaxing. The retrospective might concentrate on College but for me, it was a time of fulfillment and a time to explore creativity. I’ll leave you with something a little nostalgic. My attempt at experimental film has always been hit and miss. For College I produced an abstract video about my fathers memories growing up.

Vision

In a way, I’ve already answered the question above. ‘Can film be used as a form of retrospective?’  Even though the past will always be remembered I feel it’s time to look forward. But for now… i’ll remain in the past, just a little longer.

Never stop Learning

Even though my placement doesn’t start again till next week, I’ve spent some time considering parts I’ve enjoyed that I haven’t talked about. Blogs are meant to be a retrospective and act as a point of reference. One aspect of placement was the ability to learn new skills within editing. I have used an older version of Premier Pro which has a built in DVD ripping tool. In the new version, the students learnt how to burn a DVD using Adobe Bridge. A package which is used across the Adobe Suite of programmes. This example may seem insignificant, however it showed me the simplicity of learning new skills which save on time.

The above reaffirms that you ‘Never Stop Learning.’ That the process will continue till your old and on deaths door. A little depressing, I know. But it’s true. Everyday you learn something new or build upon knowledge you already have. This blog will hopefully follow my journey from beginning to end. Whether that’s the next three years or thirty. No one knows. The beauty of blogs is that there timeless. My ramblings will still be here for eons to come. It might be forgotten, but it will always remain. Im still learning new stuff! 🙂

I was asked to show a student how to create a grain effect for an old TV. I had encountered a similar situation back in College that I could draw upon for this. Working with the student, we found a solution to the question. I found this extremely rewarding. It also increased my understanding of the software, as the edition used was different from what I’m familiar with. One skill that was necessary to apply was communicating the right message to the student and listening to there responce.

This week is my final time working with AS Media Studies. It’s been a great experience getting to know the cirriculum as well as the students work. Some of this experience harks back to my time doing Media Studies at GCSE as the focus on theory was used to gain a practical edge. I’ve learnt alot about myself in the process as well as helping towards the students final project before A2 begins next year. Using the updated software, I’ve learnt how to export video onto DVD using the Adobe Bridge software. Creating a secondary buring file for later projects/ or burns.

Working with Media Studies AS has shown me that communication is essential between the students and the technicians. Its a vital component in the success and delivery of the film. By determining a specific structure (early on in pre-production) we could speed up the application of editing.

I’m still getting use to the style of writing a blog. The previous few seemed like writing a diary. The last two paragraphs appear essay like. I apologise if these ramblings seem to go on… like a broken record player?? It’s difficult to seperate the blog from a more personal account and to meet the criteria of the module. This blog entry was designed to focus in on the areas I haven’t mentioned thus far. By doing so, I’ve brought forward the notion of reflection. (Hopefully) It’s an important tool. Even after numerous coffees, I still find it difficult to focus in. Maybe coffee wasn’t such a great idea? Who knows? What I do know is that Week 2 is fast approaching and the Horror of Film Studies AS awaits. 😉

The Picture Post

Why start a blog with something pretentious? Just by writing this word, you feel I’m already talking at you… but is that the point of a blog? The endless drivel of someone who would rather write than talk. I never set out to be creative or clever about blogging. I see it as an aid to look back on my experiences. (Ofcourse the module says I should write one) but it’s more than that.

do pictures say more than words?

I started out by being honest about my experiences. Even though I’ve been at placement less than a week, I can already see this as a career for me. Put simply, theres a difference between actually doing something than listening about a possible career. Doing is better than doing nothing at all. When you learn in classroom you get two different occurances. Those who enjoy the theory, who find it difficult to put it to practice or those who excel at practical elements but are limited by the theory. I’m the later. Even though I see theory as a necessary evil. For me, I will need to adopt the theory to progress further.

By talking to the teachers at College they seem to suffer with the first. They provide the knowledge of theory but the execution is handled by media technicians. I asked what they would recommend? They suggested studying a PGCE after my course.

“Blogging” is all about reflecting on your experiences. It’s a great tool as it acts as a metaphorical time machine. With pictures and words trying to fight for space it’s a technique which I’m still perfecting. From the first weeks experiences, I’ve learnt two conflicting mediums (pictures and words) can work together. Similar to “Theory” and “Practicality,” to progress I will need to understand the connection between the two.

Have a little patience

In my last post, I mentioned that sharing ideas can often lead to skills you didn’t have before. Usually my patience threshold is non-existent. However, I found myself compelled to help the students as the problems during editing were relatable. Through discussing what each student wanted I was able to understand there specific needs. An example of this was in how to create a title for the end credits. By showing the guys the necessary directions to create titles, I became confident in how to approach what the teams wanted.

Patience is a skill I find difficult to understand. I decided working within Primary education out of the question. I have little patience when explaining certain things; however I was beginning to understand the importance of it. I wasn’t feeling angry or frustrated, I suddenly felt compelled to help.

When the second year began, you begin to ask the daunting question ‘What career do you want?’ At the time, I had closed the doors on many options. These included Events Management and owning my own production company. They all appeared unachievable as I hadn’t experienced managing any events or owning a business. I wanted a career which was dependable and enjoyable. Years before, I had floated the idea of teaching but had never taking it seriously. Suddenly, I was faced with the same idea again. So began the necessary steps towards teaching.

Spending the most part of Christmas 2011 plotting what I wanted to do and finishing a script. I came across an advert working for EF a company which specialises in teaching English to foreign students. Although I have no experience in teaching I felt it would act as a spring board towards it. I applied for the job and in a matter of days had a telephone interview. The job entailed working with 14 – 18 year olds (roughly the age group I’d like to teach). I’d look after them with other Activity Leaders taking them out to excursions and around Winchester. I got the job. 🙂

I saw this as the start of my journey towards teaching. I made a mental note to gather as much experience within this field as possible.

Working at Peter Symonds has been a real eye opener. Even though I’m only into my first week, it’s already reaffirmed my belief in teaching. Assisting the students in there edits has proved challenging and exciting. It’s great seeing other people’s works as it’s often reminiscent of the works I created in College. I draw upon the connection of the past; using the knowledge I gained at College and University to help the students.

The first week introduced me to A Level Film Studies in its purest form. The conclusion of weeks of production preparation to the inevitable end of the finished product. Again, it is difficult to describe on paper your reaction when you see a film come together. All I can say “It’s awesome!”

It all begins with Everything

A massive thanks for stopping by da blog! Expect plenty of updates, thoughts and feelings based upon my experiences on placement this Semester. I’m at the University of Winchester studying a BA in Film and Cinema Technology. Bit of a mouthful, I know.

Standard stuff. Beyond Volunteering will trace my journey from my placement to beyond. Hence the title. Who knows what will happen in 5 years? I’d love to be working in Post-16, teaching film and media studies. My interest started at the beginning of my BTEC, 5 years ago. I studied at the Isle of Wight College in Moving Image. My interest grew whilst working with a great bunch of people. We would work on documentaries and dramas together throughout our two years. Looking back, this was a time when I was unsure what to do. Career wise or going to University.

The notion of moving onwards felt unusual and didn’t feel right at times. I knew I loved film, but I thought about diversifing into Journalism. Maybe I wasn’t ready for further education. Doing journalism was the biggest mistake I’ve taken. This reaffirmed my enthusiam for all things film. I thought I’d include some background to why I’d love to teach it. Not only is it rewarding its also a massive challenge. So far each day has proved exciting and dynamic.

My role at Peter Symmonds College is to help out with editing AS Crime Drama’s and Lifestyle Documentaries. If the students have a problem I try to help out. There’s several different groups in various different stages of production. Sitting down with the students, I begin to notice the quality of the material shot. One diffculty appears to involve students putting the footage into a structure. Working within a similar environment at Univerisity, I can relate to having the same problems myself. Sometimes its difficult putting together a story, if what you have is different from how you saw it.

It’s a difficult to write on paper or on a blog. It’s easier to talk about an idea than actually creating it on a computer screen. I knew from past experience the techniques I had learnt. By suggesting these to the students I began to learn one of the most important lessons I will ever learn. Patience. But thats for another day…

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