So here I am, at the halfway point of my allotted time at Slinky.
After five weeks, what are my thoughts I hear you ask? Wait, you’re not asking? I’ll tell you anyway…
Heading in for my first week I was expecting to be logging emails, updating spreadsheets and the time-honoured favourite of brewing several rounds of tea a day, needless to say, my expectations were met. Of course they were, I’m the new work experience boy! I was pleasantly surprised by two things however; 1) In between the coffee brewing and receipt printing I was given many opportunities to create blogs, work on edits and shadow Tim and Ryan, learning and drawing on their experience in the profession, and 2) by how the office maintained both an air of professionalism and happiness. Everyone in the office, be it the beautifully bearded Matt or the taciturn Tim, has been welcoming from day one.
The random bouts of Phantom of the Opera or Eoin’s ability to recall entire Simpson’s monologues transform the tedious task of email logging in to a (professional of course) sing-a-long, fun for all the family. Joining in with this (or at the least attempting to join in as I’m still not up to speed on my Oliver! soundtrack) has helped ingratiate me in to the Slinky team and I believe this friendly atmosphere is evident to anyone who steps foot in to the Slinky office.
One of the first production tasks I was presented with was to create an animated advertisement for a coffee house. Quite a challenge for someone who has never used Illustrator or After Effects. However, Ryan is both adept at this software and a fantastic teacher. He walked me through both and provided me with a guide he had written himself. Within a day or two I had created my very own animation, Alien Café! Whilst this might not be the world’s greatest animation, (that title belongs to Lilo and Stitch or maybe Toy Story 2) it was my first experience using animation software and I learnt a great deal. At the least I feel I have gained a much larger understanding of the animation process.
My first shoot was something I had been looking forward to before I’d even gotten the job, all the theory in the world can’t match up with some first hand on-location experience. I won’t lie, on my first shoot I was fairly useless, I had to be told what and when to get certain things out and even then I’d occasionally be unsure precisely of what I was doing, I may have been good for carrying equipment, but other than that I was probably just in the way (though Eoin would be too polite to say). This was great experience for me though as I feel through my observation I picked up quite a lot.
On my next shoot I was much more efficient setting up the necessary equipment and was even trusted to do some filming myself.
(though none of it was used; the ‘Steadicam’ was more ‘Wobblycam’ in my hands…) Both shoots were informative and enjoyable from a personal point of view and from a professional one I could see and understand how to act and get the job done properly, not an easy balance when sticking a camera in someones face.
Several weeks in, Matt gifted with me a challenging edit task, to create a blooper reel from footage of an earlier shoot. Whilst this meant sifting through several hours of footage, I was also given the creative freedom to experiment with various styles of editing. For example, I turned footage of Matt cleaning a door in to a fast paced, dramatic action sequence (with night vision effect!). I created a creepier edit of Ryan intensely staring at the camera, complete with eerie music and, for a completely different tone, I also pieced together a slightly whimsical, comedic cut of several failed attempts at the (relatively simple) task of sticking a sign to a door.
The first half of my Slinky experience has flown by and I already feel like I have valuable experience of a professional production environment, plus we get cookies.