BLOG POST 1
1.1 What research you undertook into the job market for your work experience.
I have always loved Justin Bieber since I was a teenager, to the extent that apart from being an active member of his fan club, together with seven other girls who shared our passion for Justin, decided that we wanted to go the extra mile and during one of our meetings we came up with the idea of keeping the Spanish fans updated on Justin’s latest news. That is how I started managing his news on Twitter for the Spanish fandom (@JDBSPAIN).
Due to the relevance gained with these communication activities and having thousands of followers on the Twitter account, three of us living in Madrid were invited to take part in the ‘Week of the fans’ at PRISA radio (Cadena SER) to talk about our experience as Justin’s fans. Thanks to this visit I got some contacts from the company to whom I wrote applying for a trainee summer position two years later. My application was accepted, and I started working at Los 40 radio, PRISA’s pop music station since the end of August to the beginning of September 2019.
In addition, during the pandemic lockdown in my home country (Spain), thanks to my family contacts, since my mother works at Mediasset Spain I was given the opportunity of assisting technically two different TV shows for four months, being in charge of sound, camera and light in the kitchen section of the Spanish TV shows Sálvame: ‘Recetas de Belén‘ and ‘La última cena‘.
Finally, my last and current work experience came through the strong relationship that I developed with one the voice actresses who took part in my individual audio project: Devorah Cutler. She liked my work very much and highly appreciated how I managed the project, so she decided to hire me to support her with her digital personal project.
All in all, these experiences have taught me about the importance of keeping in contact with all those you meet, as well as the significance of taking up any opportunity you come across which could improve your professional portfolio and place yourself in a better position when applying for a job.
1.2 Research for gaining a commission for Individual Audio Project.
After reading the assignment for the Individual Audio Project I did not sit on the fence for a single minute. I was determined to produce a unique piece of audio drama, hence, based on the importance of an immersive sound design as well as some original scores, and the very special voices needed, I chose horror as the genre for my audio piece.
Regarding my commissioner, once I had the genre and the plot for my project, I made a list of commissioners that could possibly be interested in my piece of audio. When I saw it in black and white, I realised about the variety of commissioners that my project could appeal to. I contacted them all by e-mail and not too long after, I got two positive answers: on the one hand, Frederick Greenhalgh (Final Rune Production) and on the other hand, George Ledoux (https://www.georgeledoux.com/), who featured similar horror content. Both of them came back to me and agreed to be my hypothetical commissioner.
I researched for further information about them and after reading all concerned to their work experience and abilities, I chose George Ledoux who I though could fit in the commissioner role better.
This gave me an insight into what the process of gaining a real commission would be, should I choose to pursue a position in audio production similar to the one proposed in the audio project assignment.
BLOG POST 2
2.1 What you learned from your work placement.
My first work experience managing Justin’s news on Twitter taught me the importance of being in contact with the users as well as being available and flexible in terms of time. Additionally, this was my first contact with the term ‘fake news’, since we acted as a bridge between the news generated in the US and his fandom in Spain. We had to proof-check the veracity of the news before posting them, which helped me to develop my researching skills too. Besides, due to this two-year-experience managing his news, I got a strong knowledge and a variety of skills to engage audiences along with promoting interactions between users and the content, focusing on stimulating users’ interest by creating innovative contents after identifying the audience’s needs and likes.
Apart from having our official account on Twitter, we created another on ASK platform (https://ask.fm/jdbspain) in which our team answered all the questions fans might have, especially about his tours, tickets, dates, new singles, etc. This position made me a good team-player as I shared responsibilities with seven other people.
At my trainee position at Los 40 I learned how important it is to remain calm during a live programme, as I could see how stressful it could be to broadcast a live radio show in which calls from the audience are taken. Moreover, my role gave me the opportunity to get in contact with the marketing side of the show, as I was in charge of the promotions on the social media platforms. These activities made me realised about how key is advertising in the media and that is an area I would like to further explore.
At my placement as technical assistant I learnt many different skills, such as being able to work with varied technical equipment. It was again a live TV show, recorded outside the TV set which made me face yet again the stress of live broadcasting. This role taught me how crucial having a ‘plan B’ could be, as well as boosting my improvising skills, for instance when the connection was lost.
Regarding my current position as supervisor for digital media content it is providing me the opportunity to increase my creative side and due to the different time-zone my client and I live in (LA and Madrid), I am becoming aware of the importance of flexibility at work.
2.2 What you learned from working with an external commissioner for Individual Audio Project.
I think that the assignment of creating our individual audio project from the scratch provided me with an ideal opportunity to put into practice all the skills that I had acquired during my stage at Westminster University, particularly the ones related to Radio and Digital Production. In addition, I was able to express myself and make the most of my creative side.
This project taught me a range of new abilities, such as directing, managing a group of people, writing a whole script, overcoming technical difficulties, editing and using special sound effects (some of them were created by myself), working with different time zones, as well as planning the project timing, which greatly enriched my skills portfolio.
Apart from that, the audio project made me become aware of my innovative and creative potential, since I was able to produce a very unique piece of work. Besides, this project was a huge challenge for me due to the fact that I am Spanish, and I had to write in English plus, I had to research and study the typical British informal language and slang. This assignment provided me with the occasion of refining my digital skills, particularly, editing, at which there is still some room for improvement in the future.
Regarding the commissioner, he was very convinced of the likelihood of my project and found it remarkably interesting, giving me a positive feedback throughout the process, saying that:
‘I enjoyed it, and felt you did a pretty great job considering you don’t do this for a living, ‘the sound design was well done with only a few things that I felt were distracting enough to break the immersion. Things like the running footsteps and some of the outdoor ambience, but other than that, quite good and I’m being very picky here as I assume you want a sincere critique. I particularly liked the way the “ghostly voices” turned out. The entire thing reminded me of a record album that was done by the Disney company back in 1969 that was about their Haunted Mansion ride. I hope you had fun creating this audio play, Andrea. I certainly had fun listening to it!’.
I am glad to have had this experience of gaining George as my commissioner because I think it provided me with an insight into how the real process would be.
BLOG POST 3
3.1 Where you hope to go next, what sort of career you are aiming for, drawing on your work experience and Individual Audio Project.
Once I finish my degree at Westminster University, I would definitely like to pursue a career in a commercial radio, although I would not turn down a position in any other area of the media industry. I am thinking of applying for ‘Los 40’ or ‘Europa’, which are two of the top commercial radios in Spain. In order to have more possibilities of joining the job market quickly I think I should improve my academic portfolio and enrolling for a master’s degree. I would prefer one that focuses on advertising or digital marketing, since thanks to my working experience, I have realised about the importance of having a higher knowledge in these matters, which would be relevant for any position in commercial radios, as it is my wish. A master covering those skills would fit my requirements and help me greatly when promoting contents for any radio station.
In addition, I do not rule out the possibility of finding a part-time job in which I can improve my digital production abilities, as well as exhibiting my creative thinking skills. In this sense, I would be happy both ways if I were to secure a job in radio and work my way up across the industry, not dismissing the idea of returning to England if I am offered an interesting position.
My goals are wide, yet I believe with hard work I can achieve them. Firstly, I hope to continue my job as a supervisor in digital content. Secondly, I would like to go into a more strategic position in terms of social and digital content as well as editing or producing a radio or TV show at a commercial station as it would combine my aspiring career paths.
On the other hand, in relation to my individual audio project, I would like to perform roles such as directing or writing scripts for audio dramas, as my commissioner gave me a positive feedback about my skills for the media industry:
‘The entire thing reminded me of a record album that was done by the Disney company back in 1969 that was about their Haunted Mansion ride’.
3.2 FIVE practical steps which you will follow to help you on the next phase, post-graduation.
As the course draws to a close and graduation approaches rapidly, here are my five practical steps to help me on the next chapter of my professional life post-graduation:
- Continue working as a digital supervisor promoting Devorah Cutler-Rubenstein’s digital content and taking this experience as a base for getting new clients playing a similar role. In addition, I am open to accept a position as technical assistant for TV shows, as I did during the Spanish lockdown.
- Once I graduate from Westminster, I will review my work inside and outside the university and update my CV and extend my work portfolio for future employers to know which qualifications and skills I have.
- As I became aware of the importance of getting a wider knowledge on the marketing and advertising, I would like to apply for a Master on those areas.
- Once my work portfolio is reviewed and my CV is ready, I will renew my social media profiles, particularly LinkedIn and Twitter, updating my qualifications and skills. Besides, I will actively join these platforms job-seeking groups so as to get alerts of new positions and I will set my profile to ‘actively seeking for a position’. Additionally, I will try to expand my network, since I have realised of the importance of having a wide group of professional contacts and also explore other media careers by attending events in and around Spain or the UK.
- Actively looking and applying for appropriate roles at national music radio stations. In case it is necessary I will use my professional contacts to seek for job opportunities, like those ones I met at ‘Cadena Ser’ radio station, ‘Los 40’ radio station and ‘La Fábrica de la Tele’, among others.