Thursday, 24 October 2013

Channel 4's 4Talent day in Great Yarmouth

So today I was fortunate enough to go to one of Channel 4's 4Talent days, based in Great Yarmouth. Originally when I applied I had little hope of actually getting a place; they say on the website if you don't hear back from them within a few weeks you haven't got a place because of the large number of applicants, yet somehow I received an email (three emails actually, either they were very confident about offering me a place or there was a glitch on the system, I'm going for the latter) inviting me to attend today, 24th October! I personally live about 4 and a half hours away from Great Yarmouth meaning this was a somewhat spontaneous trip.

As I had work last night I was unable to get a train down (up/sideways?) until this morning, meaning I was up bright and early at 4AM! I left the house at about 4:30AM when I was dropped at Liverpool Street Station in London where I boarded my first train to Norwich before transferring to Great Yarmouth. One thing I have definitely learnt today is not to drink large coffees before attempting to sleep. Instead of counting sheep I counted chairs: if anyone was curious there were about 880 seats on my Greater Anglia train this morning at 6:00AM. Nonetheless, I remained awake for the whole journey. I arrived at Great Yarmouth Station at about 8:40AM and got into my taxi. About 30 seconds later (slight exaggeration) we pulled up right outside the Hollywood Cinema, where the event was taking place. Straight away I was excited, and clutching my train tickets in one hand and my nerves in the other, I walked inside.

The first thing that struck me was how friendly everyone there was. I could smile at people and instead of them glancing back at me and leaving me wondering what I'd done wrong, people actually returned my smile! In fact, two girls saw I was standing on my own and came over and spoke to me, we got chatting and they helped me find the room I was supposed to be in - definitely a welcoming start! Along with the unlimited free coffee/tea/cappuccinos it was looking to be a good day. We were given a welcoming talk from Priscilla Baffour who introduced us to the day and basically told us the ins and outs of Channel 4. After this there were the options of four workshops; originally there were supposed to be three but to my utmost surprise and pleasure a Journalism workshop had been added! This was brilliant news; being an aspiring Journalist (as I repeated to my taxi driver later in the day) this workshop would be so beneficial and definitely something to help me gain experience. There were other workshops on option offering experience with green screen effects, maximizing CV and cover letter potential and finally pitching a new programme, but I decided the journalism one would be best for me.

The talk was led by Jules Mccarthy, a BBC journalist who has worked in the industry for 15 years now. She was great. If ever there was a journalist I've met who I would aspire to be like, it would be her. The talk itself was so inspirational, and Jules is such a lovely woman which meant that any questions or queries you had could be answered clearly and in their entirety. Throughout the workshop we covered topics such as broadcast journalism voices, how to cover a topic briefly yet fully, interviewing skills, along with improving ourselves as a whole - the very first task was making lists of things we were good and bad at, and how these could benefit/hinder us as journalists in the future. The whole talk was incredibly inspirational and just heightened my desire to progress into the journalism field especially.

 After the first half of the workshop we were given talks from Charlie Gauvain of EyeTV and Mike Hughes of Mustard TV. Both talks covered topics such as how to break into the industry, how to impress people and unconventional methods of drawing attention to yourself in the right way! Although I personally prefer the writing side of journalism the talks did pique my interest into broadcast journalism and production too, so hopefully in the future I can gain some experience in these fields also. We had a lunch break (also provided by Channel 4, aw) and then the workshops continued. We practised the skills we had worked on previously and did some mock broadcast announcements which were great fun. After finishing these there was a Q&A session where we were all given the opportunity to harass quiz all the industry professionals on any general media queries and then the day was wrapped up. I didn't get the opportunity to take many pictures throughout the day; although there were a lot taken by the 4Talent team which I will provide links to when they're up! I did however take a walk around Great Yarmouth afterwards to reminisce from previous visits and took some photos there.
Editing and recording broadcast journalism from unconventional mediums (iPhone cameras)
Broadcasting my hopes and dreams, fresh from Great Yarmouth's pier arcade
Our first task - publicising our talents and personal criticisms before decorating the wall with them 
One of many Channel 4 4Talent TV screens where we were shown mini clips and show reels
Industry professionals during the Q&A session
Reminiscing Great Yarmouth
Pirate Park by the shore!
Arcades along the promenade 

Great Yarmouth seems to mainly be filled with arcades - straight up approval here
Couldn't not have a go, unfortunately this is where my talents end (I didn't win, surprise surprise)
In desperate need of Disney toys.
The Channel 4 4Talent day is a great experience for anyone trying to break into the media industry. This day has just proved to me that although talent is important, there is a huge aspect of 'it's not what you know but who you know'. By networking and spending the day learning from industry professionals, I've learnt so much about how to progress and showcase my talents for the future. I have made new friends who share the same interests as me and generally, had a fantastic experience in Great Yarmouth!

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