Blog Post 1 –
What research did you undertake into the job market for your work experience?
I did my work experience whilst studying abroad in Canada. In one of my classes, I was presented with six companies/organisations that all worked across the broad spectrum of social justice/social justice media. After hearing from a representative for each organisation, I (along with two of my peers) researched further into what each of the potential placements would require from us, and also what they were about, in order to select our top three choices.
During this research period, it was very important to me that I connected with the goals of whichever organisation I ended up working for, and that my placement would allow me to push myself out of my comfort zone and improve some more basic skills that I had not focused on before. As I was new to the country and had therefore never heard of any of these organisations beforehand, it was vital that I researched not only them but also the market in which they operate.
What research did you undertake to gain a commissioner for your Individual Audio Project?
Almost immediately after hearing about what we had to do for our Individual Audio Project module, I decided that I wanted to do an audiobook. More specifically, I wanted to do a short story from The Tales of Beedle the Bard by J.K. Rowling. When I pitched this idea it was explained to me, that in order to use the text from a book, I had to get permission from the writer/publisher. After hearing that I was a little bit concerned, as J.K. Rowling is one of the biggest writers of the time, and the Harry Potter franchise is about as big as it gets. However, I really wanted to make this audiobook, and so I began researching ways to get in contact with whomever I needed to make this happen.
Eventually, I found a page on J.K. Rowling’s website that has all the various facets of her company and how to get in touch. After finding this, I decided my best bet was to contact the general information department via email, which turned out to be the right call. I ended up hearing back from The Blair Partnership (the publishing/production company that manages J.K. Rowling) who were happy to “commission” my audiobook. This experience gave me a great insight into how to gain a real commission, and how to get in contact with massive names/companies/brands.
Blog Post 2-
What did you learn from your work placement?
During my time working with Shameless Magazine to create a piece of digital content celebrating their 15th anniversary, I learnt a lot about print media, starting a collective/company, and working within a professional team.
Going into this placement, I had no real experience with print media. Although I was tasked with creating digital content, I learnt so much about what it takes to create informative and entertaining print content for a young audience, and the struggle that the print industry is facing. One of the biggest things that I learnt was, the issues that are threatening the future of Radio as we know it, are the same as print. Access to digital and online content is what is challenging and changing both industries.
I also learnt a great deal about what it takes to start and maintain a media collective/company. During the process of interviewing the founders of Shameless Magazine, and the people that work there now it was made clear, how difficult it is to find and keep an audience. Shameless is a feminist publication for young women and girls in Canada, and not many people are making content specifically for that audience. So, even though there isn’t really much competition, in terms of other print rivals making the same content. It’s interesting to see how hard it can be to keep something like this alive, and that it is really reliant on the willingness for the creators to continue pushing their product and remaining passionate about it. It was clear to me that the reason Shameless Magazine is still around after 15 years is that the people who work there, and its patrons really believe in it.
This leads to the final thing that I learnt whilst working at Shameless Magazine, which is how to work in a professional team. Shameless isn’t a huge company that has hundreds of people working for them, so people working together and being able to rely on each other to do what they need to is really important. I hadn’t had much experience of this outside of university projects, and so it was very interesting and informative for me to see exactly how a team dynamic functions in the real media world.
What did you learn from working with an external commissioner?
In my case, I wasn’t really working with my commissioner. It was more a case of them agreeing to commission the piece, provided I didn’t put it online or use it commercially. I did, however, learn from the process of getting a commission. My biggest take away was that researching the company/area that you would like to get a commission from is very important and can make the difference between someone saying yes and someone saying no. For example, if I would have emailed Bloomsbury (who are very hard to contact directly) it most likely would have been a no. However, I decided to continue looking for someone more directly connected to J.K. Rowling. Because of that, I found lots of possible contact addresses, but went for the broadest one, as I thought that would be my best chance of getting passed on to the right person/place.
That whole process has taught me that it is entirely possible to get in contact with and get the green light from big brands or companies, but you have to be willing to put in a bit more effort into finding the right person to ask. Which isn’t always the most obvious. I also learnt that just because things are hard, it doesn’t mean they are not worth it. I really wanted to make an audio adaptation of one of J.K. Rowling’s stories, and am very pleased with the outcome. So for me, it was completely worth the extra effort and research to get my commission, as I would have regretted not giving it my best shot.
Blog Post 3 –
Where do you hope to go next, what sort of career are you aiming for (reflecting on your work experience and audio project)?
When it comes to deciding what I want to do after graduating, I’m still a little unsure. I do know that I want to pursue working in the radio/audio industry, but I’m not set on one thing. I would really like to go into audiobook narration, and voice work. That is not something that I have been able to do a whole lot of at uni, but I did narrate the story for my Individual Audio Project which really cemented the idea of taking this further. I absolutely loved doing it and would love to do more in the future, but I also have a keen interest in podcasts, and I love specialist music programming.
I think what I actually enjoy the most is storytelling. Whether that’s through, literally narrating a story, sharing my own and other people’s experiences in a podcast, or talking about my passion for music and what it means to me, or what I think the artist was trying to say. So, that’s the career I want. I want to be a storyteller.
I also want to do good, to make a difference in people’s lives, and although I feel like telling people’s stories does make a difference, I want to be more hands-on. I intend to travel and do volunteer work around the world, I have a trip lined up where I would travel to China and get my TEFL (teaching English as a foreign language) certificate, which would help me finance any travel. Along with the fact that audiobooks, podcasts, and voice work don’t have to have fixed locations. By traveling and podcasting/recording as I go, it would mean that I could do good and volunteer without having to put all of my audio industry work on hold.
I am also considering doing a masters in something completely different to radio, I have managed to narrow it down to; politics and international relations, human rights law, or marine conservation. I feel like having a formal education in any of these fields would allow me to accomplish my two biggest goals better, these being storytelling and doing good. I would be able to make informed, educated content about subjects that matter most to me. I know that is quite a long list of things I want to do, and places I want to go, but I do have the rest of my life to do them. So, I think it’s perfectly possible.
What are five practical steps to help you into this next phase, post-graduation?
(These steps are not in chronological order)
- Research –
I need to keep researching what masters programmes I am most interested in, as I am still unsure of exactly which field of study I want to pursue. I also need to continue to research travel and volunteering opportunities are available and work for me. For example, I may not be able to go to China as planned, if the Wuhan Corona Virus is not under control.
- Surgery/Recovery –
I have issues with basically the entirety of my lower body, essentially all of my bones are facing the wrong direction. I am currently in physiotherapy to try and help the pain that it causes, but it’s looking like I will have to have fairly major surgery to correct my hips. This surgery will take about a year to fully recover from and will mean I have to adjust my plans and may have to postpone some volunteering trips. However, it is a pretty important step as it will allow me to do more and say yes to more adventurous and extreme opportunities.
- Create a voice reel/portfolio –
At present, I do not have a voice reel that I can send in for castings for audiobooks or any other types of vice work. I need to make sure I have this after uni and am sending it out.
- Improve online presence –
There are websites like, Mandy.com, that allow you to find voice work easily, so it would be very beneficial to me to improve my profile and apply for more jobs on there. Also, in the current environment, lots of people are finding contributors through social media, and potential employers are known to look at people’s digital following to see if they think they would be a worthwhile addition to their projects. At present, I am not very good with social media, so I think it is important that I improve this, and have a clear brand for myself.
The media industry is notorious for work opportunities being given to those that have connections. In order to progress my career, I need to continue to network with people (meet for a coffee) and expand my database of contacts. I feel that the audiobook portion of my contacts needs expanding the most.