Mock Interviews – Preparation, The Interview, Reflection

Part of this module included taking part in mock interviews where we had to act as though we were applying for a job role with the Aim High program; a program set up in conjunction with NI Screen to introduce graduates into the film/TV/gaming industries.

What Is Aim High

In preparation for these interviews I took the time to research the program and think about what area I could best sell myself in. NI Screen writes,

“AIM HIGH, the new entrant training scheme for aspiring TV producers, is back! Northern Ireland Screen and BBC Northern Ireland are looking for motivated, passionate storytellers to take part in this prestigious training scheme. We want creative people who can bring fresh ideas to programme-making, but not necessarily people with academic qualifications.”

I also researched the interview panel; I knew all of the professors but I took time to find out a little more about Paula Campbell, another panelist, and what she does.

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My Approach

The programme is open to many different areas in the industry, but for this interview we had to choose one area to focus our work upon. When I looked over the titles I decided to aim my work at the production course, as my role in projects often encompasses a producer role. I’m always involved in the creative ideas side of the work, but at the same time, I make it my goal to make sure the project remains true to its vision throughout the process of production.

With this in mind, I set out to create an application that was catered to the role of producer.

I researched the role of a producer in general, to give me a solid idea of what I’d be involved with on the scheme. This also gave me a sense of the skills that I needed to speak to, that are desired in producers. These included time management, the ability to maintain a creative vision, working well with people and more.

I then researched what questions that I would be asked, and began constructing some answers based on my expectations.

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Updating Work

With my website still in development, aimed at a very different field, I decided to showcase my old website. The reason for this was that the work on there related much more to the TV and Film industry than the new web site does. This gave me the opportunity to speak about my time with JAM Media, working closely with the producers and editors on the production of Roy.

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I then chose to refresh my CV which needed to be updated since my work in the summer. I decided to simplify the written content, and clarify the roles that I did in each company. After showing the old CV to my professors in the US, I was told that the content felt too crowded and busy. With this in mind, I took a range of things out, leaving only the most important facts about myself. The CV now feels much cleaner and elegant.

Old CV
New CV

Download the PDF here: MaryStewart_CV

I then wrote a cover letter aimed specifically for this role. It was production focused and drew points from my key experiences for industry.

Dear Paula,

My name is Mary Stewart. I’m a designer currently in my final year of Design for Animation at the University of Ulster, Belfast. With a passion for production, I am always looking for opportunities to develop my skills in the creative industries and I believe that I would have a lot to give on the Aim High Program for Production.

My interest in production began during a placement with BAFTA Award winning company, JAM Media UK, where I had the opportunity to work alongside the producers of ‘ROY’, a children’s programme for the CBBC. I had exposure to all aspects of the post production process, from editing to compositing to visual effects. My work as a compositor was of broadcast quality, and as a result, I gained credits as a digital artist on Season 3 of the show. My editing skills were further developed at JAM Media, where I worked alongside their offline editor, editing a show from start to finish.

I have the ability to join the dots between a project’s goals and what it takes to achieve them. At a recent work placement with creative agency, Atto Partners, I played a role in the production, script writing and editing on promotional video projects for clients across the UK. Having responsibilities across multiple disciplines allowed me to see the “big picture” in each project, as well as learn from people with different skills and perspectives.

My experiences to date have shaped my passion to be a producer, but I know that I have much more to learn. The Aim High program would be the perfect space to gain a deeper knowledge and understanding of production, and an invaluable opportunity to further my career in the field.

I look forward to hearing from you in the near future.

Yours Sincerely,

Mary Stewart

Feedback Reflection

When I had my feedback with Alec, he was really positive with how everything went. He told me that I came across well, and that my question to Paula was original and showed that I had done my research.

Overall I was pleased with the interviews and I felt that I prepared well enough to feel confident sitting by the panel. As this was not my career path of choice, I did feel slightly strange to be responding to the questions as though I was a passionate producer, when that is not the case. However, I know that it is important to be able to cater yourself to each post, role or project that you have to interview or pitch for, so this was a good practice for me in that regard.

Citations

Film Production: Who is a Producer and What Do They Do? (2013) Video. Directed by Creative Live. Youtube: Creative Live.

NI Screen (2015) Aim High. Belfast: NI Screen. Available from: http://www.northernirelandscreen.co.uk/sections/221/aim-high.aspx [Accessed 03/04/2016].

NI Screen (2015) Staff. Belfast: NI Screen. Available from: http://www.northernirelandscreen.co.uk/sections/51/staff.aspx [Accessed 03/04/2016].

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