Throwback Thursday No.4 - Press Night

26 July 2018

Time for another look back through my work over the past decade, in chronological order, and we’re into 2010, my first full year of freelancing.

Press Night (June 2010)

The Context: I only survived my first couple of years as a freelancer due to a huge stroke of luck. Just as I moved to London, I was contacted by the head of the journalism department at Kingston University. They were looking for someone to design and teach a new module in video journalism, and needed a young - and let’s be honest, cheap - person who could teach the technicalities of video while also understanding how the future of journalism was unfolding.

My blog had brought me to the university’s attention and I was chosen over far more experienced journalists at major news broadcasters who only knew how to teach television.

I started teaching two undergraduate modules and would eventually teach a few more. I have only fond memories of my time at Kingston University. The students were great and the department was a joy to work in.

I even came away with a degree in teaching!

The Story: Advertising the course to prospective students was always top of the department’s mind and so I offered to make a short film following the most exciting part of the Kingston journalism experience: producing the award-winning student newspaper.

Press Night follows the third year undergraduates working together to make an edition of The River.

Looking back: I’d be amazed if anyone made it past the first two minutes. The start is very slow, it doesn’t grab the audience or give anyone a reason to keep watching. The low audio means you need to really listen hard to pick up what everyone is saying during the editorial meeting.

Once the press night itself starts though, the pace picks up. The story really starts at about 2 and a half minutes in, with a clear announcement of the deadline that’s fast approaching. In retrospect this should have appeared right at the top.

I’m in the thick of it as the deadline is missed and the students scramble to finish the paper so the final third is quite enjoyable to watch with lots of movement and shouting.

But those first two minutes are painfully dull.

A bonus video: Oddly, I felt confident enough to produce a behind-the-scenes video talking about the storytelling behind the video (!) I thought I knew what I was talking about but I was yet to start my serious study of how stories work so this is woefully ignorant.

I filmed this on the university’s equipment as I still hadn’t bought my own kit. So this still belongs in the box of “old” videos (see my previous posts). It’s stylistically very similar to television and I hadn’t yet begun to explore the potential of online video.

That would change in the next couple of months.