Earlier this month the final bootcamp for Channel 4's Rio Production Training Scheme was delivered. The final ten are now all starting their placements for the year and looking forward to the monthly training that we run from Channel 4.
Charlotte Birch, soon to begin as a Production Co-ordinater with sports producer Dreamteam TV reflects on her week:
When I first heard the words ‘boot camp’ I envisioned crawling under nets, running until I couldn’t breathe and wading through muddy water. Thankfully the Rio Production Training Scheme boot camp involved none of this. What it did involve was a week of learning, insights and enjoyment.
The week started with introductions – to the scheme, to the year ahead and to each other (quite honestly the nicest bunch of people to share this experience with). The wonderful Sam and Edi from thinkBIGGER!, who manage the scheme for Channel 4, talked us through everything to expect from the year ahead. From what to expect on our first day with our production companies to the variety of experiences that await us. It’s safe to say by the end of the day each and every one of us was filled with excitement over what lies in the year ahead.
We were fortunate enough over the course of the week to meet and speak to many fantastic and inspirational people who are in a variety of different roles within the industry. Early on in the week we met Channel 4’s Commissioning editors Stephen Lyle, James Rutherford and Andy Stephenson. Not only did they answer all of our (sometimes tough) questions regarding topics such as coverage building up to the Paralympics and educating school children on sport but they were also offering us invaluable advice to take with us. Rachael Latham, former swimmer and Paralympic world record holder turned sports presenter, came in to speak to us about how she had been on a similar scheme for onscreen talent in 2012 and how her career as a presenter has flourished. A piece of her advice that resounded with me is to take every opportunity sent your way – just say yes! Zak Oomer talked us through working with talent and what that entails. Kiran Selvakumaran spoke to us about what it’s like to be a runner, how to make the best impression you can and why carrying a lighter can open doors for you.
We also had the chance over an evening to meet Sunset + Vine, the production company who will be producing Channel 4’s coverage of the 2016 Paralympic Games. It was brilliant to meet the people behind the outstanding coverage of the London 2012 Paralympics and to hear how excited they are for next year’s Games.
Midweek, Alex Wood – editor in chief of The Memo - gave us a fascinating insight into the world of research and technology. Each choosing obscure topics to investigate, Alex showed us how using the likes of social media and Google alerts can aid our research, and ultimately build a collative inbox. It was a really interesting day that will benefit us all immeasurably in the year ahead. Plus some of us learnt more about fly-fishing and cheese sculptures than we ever thought we would!
Later in the week, we had the opportunity to sit down with David Abraham, Channel 4’s Chief Executive, and ask him about a variety of topics from the forthcoming Paralympics to his vision for Channel 4. It was incredibly exciting and interesting to talk to him and to hear his advice on working in the television industry.
Whether or not you admit it, most people have a competitive streak hidden somewhere and I think it’s safe to say that Rob Nothman – broadcaster and producer - definitely unleashed ours (mine) on Thursday with a Paralympic Sports quiz. In my defence there was a chocolate fudge cake on offer. Not only was the quiz good fun but it highlighted all the areas of sport we need to be keeping abreast of. As Rob has worked on large scale sporting events, it was fantastic hear his advice on how to cope with the mental and physical demands that come with working on such big projects.
The week was rounded off by a session on Health and Safety for Outside Broadcasts – imperative for us to know and it served to open our eyes to dangers that could be overlooked on a busy, sporting day.
It’s fair to say boot camp week was not what I expecting, there were no drills, no whistles and no obstacle courses. Instead there was a bubble of infectious enthusiasm and excitement, containing ten very eager people about to start an incredible (unforgettable) year.