When choosing my work experience, I knew that I did not want to spend my time behind a desk, as I am likely to lose interest quickly. A fellow classmate and I had our names put forward by my lecturer to spend three days to work as promoters for a volunteer’s event on behalf of Southampton Voluntary Services.
My colleague and I conversed with Josie Francis, event organiser and volunteer developer from SVS and settled on a time, date and place for our first meeting.
We agreed to meet on the 6thFebruary in the University café for 2pm. Once introductions were made, Francis gave us background knowledge about SVS and the work she does. We were informed that there would be two events on the 24th February that would need to be covered. The first event is to take place inside the West Quay Shopping Centre where 30 voluntary services will be encouraging the members of the public to join their services. The second event will be an award ceremony held in the Major’s Parlour inside Southampton City Council with the Major as a special guest. Francis told us that the reason behind both events was to broadcast Southampton as being a “city that helps itself” and praise dedicated people for their services to their community.
On the 24th February, the two of us arrived fully equipped outside the West Quay Shopping at 8:30am. We arrived early so that we had enough time to familiarise ourselves with our surroundings, seek potential shots, write up questions for the interviews and organise our day.
As I have photography experience I found it fitting that I be the person to photograph the days’ events. My colleague took the role of camera operator. Although I was the photographer, I helped with the filming of the interviews.
A photographer from the ‘Daily Echo’ arrived at the event to document the event. As I took photos, I would see the professional reporter taking the same shots, a friendly battle of the photographers soon erupted as we both have a competitive nature. He later told me that he admired my competiveness and I have the trait of a professional photographer.
During the event, I had the opportunity to interact with members of the public but with passionate volunteers with positive attitudes to life. I found it refreshing and was so inspired that I signed up for ‘Mencap’, a voluntary service that supports those with disabilities.
Once the event at West Quay had simmered, my colleague and I went to the Major’s Parlour to set up the camera 30 minutes prior to the guests’ arrival.
Since a photographer from the ‘Daily Echo’ was a no-show at the Major’s event, I was asked to take the photographer’s place. As my colleague filmed the event, I took individual pictures of the honourees receiving their certificates from the major.
Whist interviewing the volunteers from the ‘Round About Café’, we were asked to create a promotional video for their establishment at a later date, we accepted their proposal.
Once the event ended, I gathered everyone on the grand stairs of the council foyer for a group photograph with the major as they held up their certificates.
That same day my colleague and I went to University where we edited the photos.
The responsibility bestowed upon me during the second event in particular, made me feel confident in my abilities. I realised that I had been holding myself back with self-doubt in the past and that I do have the creative tools so should believe in myself more.
On the 26th February the footage from both events were edited and the finished product, sent to Ms Francis.
The next three days of our work-experience was spent discussing and creating a promotional video for the ‘Round About Café’.
On the 18th March, we met up with Cita Jagot, Community Team Leader at Radian at the ‘Round About Café’ in Swaythling at 12:30pm. Here, she gave us a booklet detailing the history of the café, the like between the café and Radian and the positive impact the café has had on the locals. Ms Jagot informed us that she wants the video to highlight that they are a non-profit organisation that not only serves nutritious food but also provides opportunities for people the enhance skills and make something of their lives. She then gave us a few names of volunteers who are willing to be our interviewees for the video. As we arrived equipped to film, we recorded footage inside the facility and of the outside. Before filming inside however, I asked the customers if they would allow us to film them dinning for the promotional video, thankfully permission was granted.
On the 8th April, Ms Jagot gave us permission to film the ‘kids can cook’ club held at the café. Due to an emergency work meeting, I was unable to attend the filming session, which inevitably left my colleague filming by himself. I sent Ms Jagot an apology detailing my situation, to which she gave an understanding reply. Whilst at the shoot, he created questions we could ask for the interviews.
On the 10th April my colleague and I returned to the café at 10:30pm to record the volunteer interviews. As my colleague was more familiar with the questions than I was, he interviewed whilst I held the sound equipment. Since my colleague is tall and the camera short, I advised him to kneel on a chair so the interviewee was no longer looking up at him but was eye-level to the camera.
We spent the following day reviewing and editing our footage.
From these experiences, I discovered that I am in my element when I am given leeway for my creativity to shine. For the first time, I felt like my partner and I was a professional promotions company. A glimpse of what my future could potentially be. A future where I am my own boss and run my own video production company.