Out of the Shallows… into even Deeper Water

The Adventures of Post-16 has certainly been eventful, each week presents itself with new challenges and hurdles to overcome. I’ve always said this would be an honest blog about my experiences into teaching. This weeks events have truly been eventful coming across file formats I didn’t recognise, being asked the inner workings of masks on Photoshop. You might be sat there thinking “This is easy” or “try harder next time.” Ive got to be honest, I was truly stumped. It surprised me to encounter techniques which I haven’t even covered in my degree. I was assisting with  A2 Film Studies. Maybe my degree I’m on focuses to much on the film and not the post production? It isn’t the first time I’ve ever been stumped but coming across technically challenging issues at this level was unexpected. The students I were helping out are extremely intellegent and extremely patient. Maybe my knowledge on the software was at fault, that I should prepared and familirised myself before I entered the classroom.

I had left the metaphorical shallows and waded into deep waters, so to speak. I had already noticed that some student’s were focusing on areas that I had no experience in whilst others were focusing on the editing via Premier Pro. Obviously, being comfortable with the later I turned my attention towards these guys. I could ensure that my knowledge from using Premier Pro could enhance there movie trailers.

In some respects, maybe I should have turned my attention towards those that were using software I hadn’t used. Prehaps it was a subconcious decision I took not to look like a tool. How can you prepare for something if you haven’t been briefed about it beforehand? The answer to that question… I don’t really know. I guess the good ol’ honest approach would say ‘Your responcible for your actions, go find out.’ I wish I had the ability to see into the future, were I could determine a situations outcome. Prehaps thats to OTT, maybe all I need is some common sense.

Generally speaking, organisation is one of my strong points, sometimes I’m to organised. On occasion things fall through the loop. Being producer for a variety of projects (during my degree) has improved my patience ten fold as well as preparation. One of the lessons I’ve learned is always have an exit plan. Or in this case alway have a plan.

It’s still keeping all my option open (career wise) but thats another post in itself. The focus of today’s entry was to show that you cant have everything go your way. That sometimes we encounter hurdles that we cant overcome… instantly. With a bit of hard work and persistance I might overcome them, until then I’ll have to make do with what I know. Back into the shallows, me thinks. 😀

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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. 😉

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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