by Louie Ablett, Work Experience, 12th February 2016
My starting day in a lovely week at the company, working alongside Julia and Rick Goldsmith, and associate Therese.
The day began with an early bus, and arriving at the dwelling-come-offices of the Goldsmiths in time to help them load up the wagon with framed photographs taken by the local photographer Derek Evans, who sadly passed away 10 years ago.
We took his precious black and white prints to the Hereford Archive, a fascinating building covered in wooden lapping, and heated Geo-thermally.
The morning there was spent hanging the photos on the walls, checking distances and drinking coffee.
Then I was sent off into town on some errands, with resulted a confusing confrontation in Rymans and sticking a document to a down pipe inside All-Saints Church. Then I ate my food outside a drizzly Costa, saying ‘hi’ to a couple of friends at their work experience placements, these two namely located in The Burger Shop, and Beefy Boys, both remarkable local restaurants offering exquisite junk food. Then I hurried back to work and tried my hand at filling in a database, before attempting a blog on the Catcher Media website.
On day two I got hands down with editing raw footage of some fascinating interviews, my work preparing the files for a thorough final edit. Part of my job was to discern the useful parts from the unuseful, and the only way to settle this was to watch the clips through several times, much to my interest.
I was excited to use the software too, Final Cut Pro X isn’t a tool I have used before and I still dream of it days after.
Lunch was an upbeat affair, meeting with the two friends at lunchtime in The Rule of Tum Burger Shop. After a delicious burger I resolved to persuade my mother that evening to eat there for a Pancake day treat. I can tell you from after the experience the pancakes were… well, every bit as good as my imagination had made them to be.
That afternoon I felt in heaven as I continued with the edit, watching as youngsters (about the same age as myself) interviewed the town elders about the old days, asking how things had changed. It was great to work with and look forward to seeing the final version myself.
Pulling myself out of bed at 6 am (which is 6 hours before a teenager wakes up in his typical environment) I somehow caught an early train to Walsall, just to the north of Birmingham. When I arrived at the primary school it wasn’t quite so early anymore, and I jumped straight into being the ‘sound guy’.
Rick and freelancer Therese were filming in a school, for a remake of the decade-old ‘Help I’m Hairy’ educational video for schools. I held the microphone on the ‘boom’ pole right over the kids as they talked and chatted to Therese about what puberty was like, and on a couple of occasions it was tricky to hold the incredibly sensitive microphone still over them just out of the camera shot, as some of the wild misconceptions the kids came out with were gold. In between the shoots the School Nurse and the three of us would discuss how sweet the kids were, sometimes grinning about a little boy who had told us how he was worried about just waking up with a beard one day.
In the afternoon the remaining hours of school time was spent shooting cinematic sequences with kids outside, with clips of makeup, bullying, companionship and boys antagonizing girls. Throughout this I observed how Rick worked with Therese, a brilliant team as she kept the children’s attention and directed them as Rick shot it all off a shoulder-mounted.
I was made useful carrying the tripod, lenses, reflectors, white balancing ‘skrif’ and a portable lighting setup. On a couple of occasions younger siblings of the children on set would run up to them from the play ground to see what was going on. The insistent form teacher would send them away, often with scowling looks from the older sibling. Some didn’t seem impressed that their younger brother or sister was interfering with their acting role, while others would call back to the younger ones ‘I’m going to be in a movie!’
Once again the early rise and commute to Walsall, but today took me to a Secondary school, where Rick and Therese were already set up. A couple of boys were interviewed on request, who spoke about many ‘guy problems’ as well as clearing up the beard rumours.
Many others were interviewed before we travelled around the school’s open interior, filming in vast corridors filled with light and colourful walls and an open plan lecture hall.
Once again getting the guys and girls to do some short acting scenes for a cinematic cut-through which would be used over the top of the earlier interview audio to provide a more dynamic watch, and which would be combined with the other footage in the edit.
I moved the lights around, to maximise the realistic and the cinematic light to benefit the shots which Rick was getting in his film. After many retakes the school day was over and we packed up all the gear and equipment, Rick driving me back to Hereford with him, and we chatted about filming and among other things.
I’m sad that this is my last day here, as I’ve had a lot of fun, learnt a lot and greatly respect the work that the Catcher Media Company does. I’ve spent this morning writing this up, and this afternoon Julia, Rick and myself are off to the Hereford Archive Centre again, this time they are presenting the exhibition to a number of lucky viewers and guests.
The exhibition of Derek Evans’ work is going to be at a number of different locations if you want to go and see it for yourself. As a matter of fact I met a man who was photographed by Derek Evans some 40 years ago with his wife. I met him on Tuesday as I put round the advertisement leaflets locally in Hereford as I was on my lunch break. He is the Hereford Butcher, and who still works in his little shop on the street behind Boots, just along from Tesco. A lovely man and, what’s more, Julia and Rick say they have seen his and his wife’s photo themselves, it’s survived. If you have a moment go and have a look at the photos, some are in All-Saints cafe and will be moved around the county in the following month.
I’d like to say I’ve had an amazing week, and I recommend anyone who is interested in film media to get in contact with Julia for work experience…