Self Reflection: Media Industries Television Seminar

I was super excited that we got to have a seminar on television, as in the group selection phase it almost was a no go. The lead up to our seminar was a pretty short one, wanting to have it done as soon as possible we opted to do ours in week 6 – leaving us roughly 4 weeks to prepare everything! It all seemed a bit daunting, but we seemed to have a really solid strong group which was a bit reassuring. After the division of groups we immediately began discussing how we’d go about our seminar, we knew we wanted to keep it entertaining, unique and fun; so when the game show idea came up we were all sold. After this we quickly split ourselves into smaller teams as we instantly knew working with that many people would be  a challenge. We had a promotional team, networking team, technical team, props team and a games show/ question team. I was on the networking team which meant I was one of the people who’d be contacting people to be a guest at our seminar, and then on the day greeting them. This actually proved to be a very difficult task as people just weren’t responding. 2 weeks in and we had not one guest locked down which was quite distressing. THEN within another week we received an  influx of replies, and had the complete opposite dilemma – how / who do we say no to? We made a list trying to evaluate who would be the best options and how we could have a diverse range of guests.  We settled on Anna Gregory executive producer at Fremantle Media, Jeff Shenker a  production manager for channel 9, Lucy Maclaren a producer at Renegade and Ronn Frimm the senior news director at ABC. And the guests were sorted, us networking people just had to send out confirmation emails and figure out  a meeting spot. I also took on the role of making the rock candy, it took a few goes to get it right but with the help of my mum we got it looking pretty cool – the taste however was not the best! It was a cool little extra however, which aided the theme and enabled us to generate some hype in the lead-up to the event. Throughout the lead up I was also our teams communication point with the steering committee, so I was constantly going back and forth keeping both the group and Ronja updated on the happenings.

On the day of the seminar we arrived at 9.15 to get all set up. A few of our team members went down to collect the props from the television studios, a few went to collect the technical equipment and the rest of us stayed back folding up pamphlets, cutting out posters and sticking labels on the rock candy bags. As it reached 10 am we were starting to get a bit worried as the doors had not been unlocked yet and we had a great deal of setting up to do. As 10.30 came around someone finally came and unlocked the doors for us and we got to work. So stressful! There were people running around everywhere setting up props, lighting and the cameras. I got to work setting up the computer for the powerpoint, realising there were a few slight changes that needed to be made. I was also told our introductory video had to be inserted and edited slightly so I began doing that, but soon had to delegate this job as Katrina and I had to go and collect our guests one at 11.15 and the others at 11.30. We collected 3 of them perfectly on time and got them back to the room, however, Lucy was running late so I waited for her and we got to the seminar a few minutes after we had anticipated starting so quickly got Lucy in her seat and I headed to the powerpoint and then the seminar was off and running!!

I thought our seminar itself went SO well! The guests were all really cool and so informative having heaps to say and lots of helpful tips, they all got along really well too! The format was unique and engaging, we managed to keep on time, everyone enjoyed the catering, Conor was a fantastic host and the Q&A went super well, people getting right into it.  After the seminar a lot people stayed around to talk to our guests who were more than happy to discuss things with them which I thought was really great and the point of the seminar. I am really impressed with how well my group worked together and couldn’t have asked for the seminar to go any better! We received heaps of compliments from our fellow classmates and each of the guests sent emails complimenting our work and saying how impressed they were with our professionalism; which was  really good to hear.

Wanted Seminar 6: On The Line

I was pretty impressed by the final seminar in the series, it was so theatrical and addressed its Matrix theme SO well. There were binary code curtains which covered the door to get in, little shots of pills (red or blue lollies) handed out as we walked in and the whole mood of the seminar room was fab. It was darkly lit with just enough light to make sure that the guests were visible, I thought the idea of bouncing the light from the LED’s was such a great way to create a softer light on the guests and an awesome green filter placed over one of the two lights was a great touch in keeping with the Matrix theme and dulling down the brightness of the lights. The music was a great touch also. I was impressed before the seminar even began!

They had a really good variety of guests, having people who work in the digital field across different areas of the media industry such as film, online and the written word. I thoroughly enjoyed the honesty of the guests, and also the debate that went on between two of them as well.

Although I am not looking to get into the digital field when I graduate, I did take away some great advice from the speakers. They made it very clear how important interning can be, often having the ability to land you a job such as in the case of Anna Horan. I liked that they recommended you be pragmatic about money and have another source of income while you are interning or working on a  passion project. I also found it very interesting how big Linked In is becoming in the employment sphere, and thought that was a good thing to keep in mind when looking for employment.

Overall, I thought this seminar was really well done. The speakers were interesting and informative. The hosts were great at keeping the flow going and so well prepared. And the theme was executed beautifully!! LOVED the pizza too. Only slight downfall would have been the lack of promotion for the seminar. Solid end to an amazing series of seminars

Wanted Seminar 3: Femme Fatale

The third seminar in the Wanted Series was the Femme Fatale, women in the media industry seminar. I was really looking forward to this one as the promo video was pretty spectacular along with all their other promotional material. I loved that they had such a diverse range of guests too, with Jenni Tosi CEO of film Victoria,  Brodie Lancaster a writer and Elizabeth McCarthy producer at 3RRR.

To begin this seminar there was a quiz that posed questions regarding stats about women in the media industry, asking the audience to vote for the answers they thought were right. This quiz was a perfect way of establishing the tone of the seminar and contextualising the scope of women in the media industry. In terms of staging the use of a raised platform was very clever as it allowed the guests to be so much more easily viewed by the audience. Michael Kean was also a fabulous host, he kept the show running seamlessly. I thought his explanation as to why he, a male, was the host was a really good one.

I gained quite a lot from the content of the seminar. I enjoyed hearing about the guests experiences and struggles to become so successful and it made me realise that even today it can still be a struggle for women to make it within the industry. It also emphasised the importance of remaining strong and confident and not letting things bring you down or deflate you. Overall I felt like this seminar was very successful and I was quite impressed.

Wanted Seminar 4: Reel Crimes

This week’s wanted seminar was entitled Reel Crimes and was about the Australian film industry. There were three guests Nadia Tass a producer, Trevor Blainey a director and Veronica Gleeson of Screen Australia; a very diverse and interesting panel of guests.  The set-up was quite simplistic and clever presenting it like a panel with a long table and guests seated behind with name tags in front of them.  3 initial things I noticed about this seminar was the lack of theme in the setup, the audio issues which made it difficult to hear the speakers at times and also the fact that the host managed to get Veronic Gleeson’s title wrong which I thought seemed semi-unprofessional.

The content of the seminar was really good. I thought Nadia was fabulous and inspiring as she discussed her efforts to get funding for her films, such a legend! There was a real awkward tension between Nadia and Veronica however, as it was very clear that Nadia was slightly anti screen Australia oh and plot twist one of Nadia’s films was one of Veronica’s all time favs. One of the most important tips I picked up from this seminar and something that I think has been reiterated over the past few seminars, was the importance of having a vision  for the story you want to tell and passion for that vision. As without the passion and vision it will be  very hard to convince people to give you funds to make your work. Nadia also expressed the importance if making the film with the budget you have, which can be done by working out the essence of the shots you need and finding a way  to cheat them.

The format definitely could have been more unique and interesting but overall I thought that the content of this seminar was really informative, and liked that they expressed that there is no reason why you can’t make it in the Australian film industry; its just all about the approach you take.

Wanted Seminar 1: Non Fiction

The very first seminar in the Wanted series was pretty well done, especially factoring in the amount of time they had to organise everything, just 3 weeks!  They kicked it off with four amazing guests: Terry Cantwell, Genevieve Bailey, John Hughes and Maya Gnyp.

The promotion for this seminar was well done, I saw many posters and heaps of posts on Facebook in the lead up to the event.  On the day we were given a bag of nuts as we walked in with the same logo as the posters which was a nice consistency, and the branding ‘nut-fuction’; a sucker for a god pun I thoroughly enjoyed this. It was a little disappointing that the trail mix was the only food provided though, especially given the length of the seminar.

The guests were very informative and knowledgable in their various spectres of documentary. The main thing I took away from each of the speakers was how important it is to be passionate about what you’re creating, and the importance of knowing who your audience is and how to communicate to them.

Technically the crew did an awesome job with the set-up on the day and there weren’t as many technical issues as I had anticipated for the first group. In terms of format, I don’t think the pitch segment worked so well. Maybe if it was modified to be a more specific pitch it may have worked better or if the guests had been given the idea before the seminar? It just felt a bit all over the place and as though the guest were reiterating what they had said in the questions immediately before. I also didn’t think the tweeting in questions to a hashtag idea worked too well and was rather disappointed in how the Q&A had no audience interaction people’s questions ignored due to a lack of time.

Overall, I think this group did a great job and offered a really good start to the Wanted Seminar Series.

The Screening & Final Reflections

The screening, once again was an awesome night; and I was incredibly impressed by the standard of the documentaries presented. It was amazing to see the progress everyone had made since last semester, even just in terms of the cinematography!  It was a great experience to see my group’s own film on the big-screen for the first time and to get a gage of audience perception of the final product, which was nice as it seemed to be pretty well received. I really enjoyed all of the films of the night, everyone choosing such great and diverse topics! There were, however, in my opinion a few documentaries which stood out among the masses.


To Be A Poet 

Fabulous choice of participant! His story was so captivating, his speech so articulate I found it so hard to imagine that not long ago he had been illiterate. I loved the way it was framed around the poem, which was able to capture his story perfectly. It was short and sweet, and although it did leave me wanting to see more; I think keeping it short worked perfectly. The audio was perfect, and I actually can not fault anything!!

Long Story Short

One of my absolute favourites of the night, so touching! (a lot of tears in the cinema during this one) I think the choice of participants, two elderly people nearing death who had lived such different lives without regret was brilliant. Not only were the questions asked and the sections of footage perfect, but it was also impeccably shot. I loved the dolly shots towards the bright, bright light at the end of the nursing home hallway that suddenly changed direction as it neared the light and headed up to the doors labelled with the names of the individuals. Oh and the music was so fitting to. All in all just an amazing documentary!

Alternatives

That cinematography!! The one thing I couldn’t get over whilst watching this documentary was how amazingly it was shot, from the framing of the landscape to the amazingly bright yellow-green of the grass; it was fabulous. The participants were also very passionate about their sustainable lifestyle, so good choice there too!

The Things That Nana Remembers

A sensitive, moving and personal story of the events of the holocaust. I loved that they took the topic in a different direction, as well as the juxtaposition between the now and the recollection of memories. Oh and the end was brilliant.

At The End of The Day

A fabulous film about drag queens. Loved, loved, loved the central character! He was so perfect, love the contrast between his natural blokey, man’s man appearance in juxtaposition with him all made up in drag was amazing. The way he spoke about manliness and his analogies was hilarious. The choice of colour style from black and white to colour, and the song choices were also fabulous!! Watching the make-up process on the younger guy (assuming filmmaker) was also brilliant, as well as the Drag Bingo clip in the credits – all in all a great film.

Henry The Magpie

So creative. It was so amazing how the narration was able to shape and create humour out of what would not be considered humorous footage! To think of the time it would have taken to capture the perfect footage to tell the story also, is definitely impressive.  So different to all the other docos presented, job well done.

Just A Game

This was yet another very entertaining film. So fast paced and jam packed with information. Loved all the sketches they did, and think they did a fabulous jobs communicating their contention – one of the very few incredibly subjective documentaries presented.

Circus Stew

I thought they did a fabulous job in presenting and piecing that beautiful archive footage together, absolutely loved hearing the stories and memories from the guy who filmed the footage all those years ago; especially the one from which the film derives its name Circus Stew. Good choice of music, and great work in allowing the amazing archive footage speak for itself – it truly was visually spectacular. Am definitely interested in what Mark Holden will do with it in his  pieces. Only criticism, some of the audio cuts were a bit abrupt and cut off too early.

Jehova Who

This group did an amazing job in objectivity, allowing the subjects to speak for themselves without twisting it to fit a contention – which could oh so easily have happened!! Although, I’m sure all the audience came to their own conclusion about what they thought about the Jehova’s Witness community; all ethical boundaries were respected and no one was made fun of, rather presented as they are. I loved the church elder from the beginning of the film, so firm and aggressive in his belief system, and also the contrast between him and the family with the young child.


I honestly was so impressed by all the films, and enjoyed them all!  After a great deal of time spent editing, and a few minor disagreements about certain elements of the film, I think my group all came to agree on won thing in the end- that we were happy with the film we produced. Focussing solely on Jason, which was a completely different direction than we ever intended was a bit of a risk that paid off in the end. The collaborative effort of our group and advice from both the class, Paul and Robin; allowed us to utilise everyone in the groups individuals skills (Neha’s after effect geniousness, Simon’s ability to make music, Moses’s cinematography skills, and Michael and my own editing skills) to produce the dramatic, stylised piece which despite all the changes in subject we as a group been aiming to achieve from the outset. I am so proud of what not only my group but everyone else has achieved this semester, was definitely an enjoyable semester overall and everybody has amazing films to show for it too!