Blog Post One
Research into the job market for work experience
Before I started studying at University, my main piece of work experience was through my volunteering at one of my local hospital radio stations in the studio as my original goal was to become a radio presenter. However, I also wished to look into another avenue that I was passionate about: social media marketing. As I lived in London throughout my first year of university, I wanted to take this opportunity to gain some hands-on work experience in the social media area, and to get more of an insight into what this career would be like. I had signed up for a few Facebook groups that aimed to get young people work experience and placements in marketing, and I had also applied for some summer work experience opportunities too, but had not heard anything back.
This was until our course leader Matthew, who sends emails with work experience opportunities regularly to everyone, had sent an email with the opportunity to work as an online content intern for Fun Kids Radio, I thought that it would be perfect as it combines my two passions of radio and social media! The job application required creating a mock piece of content to promote an event that could be used for the radio station, so I studied the website to make sure that I used the correct colours and fonts for my creation. After sending this, the director of the station got in contact with me and asked if I would like to have an interview with him. After this was successful, I went in for a trial day at the end of November and was then offered the position of being a weekly intern between January and April 2019. This gave me the opportunity to see what the application process is like in the industry, and the importance of seeking a variety of different avenues to get experience. Eg. through Facebook groups, online job postings and through the people that I had already known – my course leader!
Research for gaining a commission for Individual Audio Project
My audio project was based on the idea of dreams. I created a 15-minute feature that was a mix of factual and creative content. The main idea was to immerse the listener in the dreams that I created, and to also give them some information about why these types of dreams happen. In order to develop this idea further, I listened to a few examples of long-form audio features so that I could get a clearer idea of how I wanted to structure the piece to make everything flow effectively. This would therefore make it easier to approach potential commissioners, as I could clearly explain to them the idea that I had in my mind.
My first step in searching for a commissioner was to try to find a psychologist that was experienced in this area. Because although many psychologists can discuss the idea of dreams, it would have been more beneficial to the final product if I had contacted someone that was directly related to this specific field. I contacted a few psychologists that had books published in this area, and I also emailed the dream research institute but had received no responses. Finally, I came across Alison Ward who is a local business owner that analyses dreams. I phoned her and explained my project in which she said she was happy to be one of my interviewees. I then asked her if she would like to be my commissioner and that she could use the audio to promote her work if she wished. She then agreed and said that she thought the idea was interesting. Although in the past I have had experience of contacting potential interviewees, this process gave me a real insight into what it was like to pitch an original idea to potential commissioners, and have given me a good practice for the future.
Blog Post Two
What you learned from your work placement
My work experience placement at Fun Kids Radio was incredibly beneficial. I learned a variety of different things, such as a brand-new app called Headliner that is used to promote pieces of audio on social media. I used the app to promote one of the on-air features on the show, ‘The Yes No Game’. I also had experience working for a variety of different brands ranging from Hotel Transylvania to KidzBop! The brands had to approve the work that I created before they went public, and I am proud to say that all of the work that I created was approved. I also played a direct part in helping with the development of a new area of the site called ‘Fun Kids Facts’, which was in promotion with the radio station’s new Amazon Alexa App. I also had a hand in editing some videos for the Fun Kids YouTube channel. In addition to this, I had also written a variety of different articles and quizzes that were cleverly worded to be aimed towards the target audience of the station.
This work experience placement has both taught me new things and helped me enhance the skills that I had prior. The knowledge that I have gained from this has continued to help me throughout my studies, such as my work during our music radio module and our current pop-up station module. It has also helped me to come up with innovative ways to promote content on our student radio station, Smoke Radio, now that I am the head of online content. Therefore, helping to improve my portfolio which I hope will help in gaining employment after university.
What you learned from working with an external commissioner
I enjoyed working with my commissioner. When I explained to her my idea, she was very enthusiastic, and said that she would love to commission my idea because it promotes one of the aspects of her business: analysing dreams, and using this to help people for therapy. However, at the beginning I found it difficult to create a longform piece that showcased a lot of different sides as I thought that this would go against my commission, as I thought that I should strictly just be promoting my commissioner. But after the piece developed, I began to understand that having lots of contributors with varying backgrounds can strengthen the project, making the final product stronger for the commissioner’s business. Therefore, this taught me to keep exploring every possible avenue for a project.
After I had submitted my individual audio project, I also sent it to the commissioner. And she said that she really enjoyed it. At the moment, she hasn’t used it herself as she has just been doing online sessions and livestreams. However, in the future it could be used to promote her business when things return back as normal.
Blog Post Three
Where you hope to go next and what sort of career you’re aiming for
Firstly, one of the main career paths that I am aiming for would be to work as a social media producer for an established radio station. I feel as though the experience that I have gained through the degree and work experience have given me some of the crucial skills that I would need in order to excel in this career. Such as creating social media content for our class radio station/show, and editing longform audio and video in my individual audio project and digital storytelling. In addition to this, throughout my next endeavours I will also aim to find time to get some more work experience in order to make myself seem more desirable to an employer for this type of role, to continue building up my knowledge and experience.
Another career path that I am looking to explore is of a voice over artist. In October 2020 I was chosen as one of the winners of the voice of the student radio awards where I was the voiceover for the online SRA nominations and the awards. I have also done a few voiceovers for the SRA chart show. Included in the prize was having a voiceover coaching session with a producer and voiceover artist from Bauer where I recorded some scripts that were then mixed and sent back for use on a showreel. The voiceover suggested a few websites that you can pay for a membership and get sent auditions daily in order to build up a portfolio. I am looking to create an account with one of the websites after I have finished university to build up my portfolio whilst looking for work in other areas, as voiceover work isn’t a career that you get into straight away. Whilst in the process of editing my individual audio project and playing back parts to the class, there were a few positive comments about my voiceover abilities as I narrated the dreams, and my peers have made me feel confident to peruse this career further.
In addition to these paths, I am also considering continuing to study. This could be through graduate schemes for marketing which I have been applying for. The most successful I have been so far is reaching the final stage of the Sky marketing scheme, and I shall be hearing from them between February-May. If successful, I will start in September and earn a marketing qualification as I work. Alternatively, I could continue learning through completing a Masters. I attended a virtual open day for the University of Westminster’s social media course, however I have also been exploring other avenues aside from social media such as a masters in screenwriting, as my studies in coming up with a concept for my individual audio project and digital storytelling have inspired me to continue creating original concepts, and the masters in screenwriting will give me the opportunity to explore this into radio, film and television.
My plans for a career are quite extensive, however I believe that I could be in the position to explore multiple career paths at the same time. Eg. developing my voice over career whilst searching for work in a social media for radio or a company, or whilst pursuing a master’s degree.
Five practical steps to follow into the next phase, post-graduation
- Begin applying for social media jobs in radio: Because there is no sort of graduate scheme for radio, the majority of social media jobs in radio that have been advertised are full time and to start ASAP. This is not possible at the moment as it clashes with university, so therefore I will start applying for these jobs when I am closer to the end of finishing coursework. Eg. Around mid-April.
- Create a voices.com account: As advised by the professional voiceover artist, I will create a voices.com account so that I can get access to more auditions, and also to build up a portfolio and advance this career. I have a showreel through the SRA and the adverts that were professionally mixed by the producer that I can use for this.
- Network: I’ve got the email addresses of voiceover artists through my competition winning of the SRA, and I have been in contact with a few people in a voiceover group on reddit. I will therefore aim to email these people to ask for advice.
- Continue to apply for graduate schemes: Although I am in the final stage for my Sky marketing application, it is still not confirmed that I will be offered a position. Therefore, I will continue to apply for the different opportunities that are posted on the Facebook pages that I’m part of, and from what I come across on LinkedIn and Indeed.
- Explore further study options: Continue to explore further education opportunities, either through a masters that I think would be fitting to help me gain skills for the next stage of my career, or through online courses to boost my knowledge and give a competitive edge over other candidates for future job applications.