~ uog media festival – st4 ~

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The two talks I chose to attend and compare were by John Rostron, an independent creative producer and Matt Belt, a past student at the University of Gloucestershire.

The reason I chose to attend Johns talk was because he has a lot of experience in the live sector of the music industry, and that is something that I have a big interest in. I then chose to attend Matt’s as he has travelled around the world and has worked on various projects for radio stations. The description and marketing of the event pointed out all of the key aspects that he would be talking about, and stated that he has previously studied at the University. This created a connection with me because it showed how he has been successful during and since his time at University and it showed me that if I work hard I am able to make my goals achievable.

Buying tickets for both events was very simple. I simply had to go on the website (www.uogmediafest.com), click on the event I wanted to attend, log onto my student account and then book onto it. It was also made clear when booking onto an event that you can cancel your booking up to an hour before it started. Another point that was made was that if you failed to attend an event you had previously booked on to, you would be banned from making further bookings. The car park for the University (park campus) was signposted on the main roads, along with sign posts from the car park to reception, so this was a simple journey. My first talk was with John Rostron, so  once I got to reception I began heading in the direction of the room (TC014). This was shown on one sign by the door at reception. Outside the room where the talk was being held there were signs about the talk and a member of staff to give us some information (if the previous talk had overrun) which was very helpful (stops someone embarrassing themselves by walking into a room full of people who have already been there for an hour).

However, when I arrived for my talk with Matt Belt, sign posts to the room (TC202a) were a little less clear. There was one sign on the wall pointing out that the room was upstairs, but once up there, there was no clear sign as to where the room was or the name of the person holding a talk in the room. This was a problem as I had to look very closely at each door sign to find the room.

Johns talk was in lecture theatre TC014. This meant that a PA (public address) system was set up, allowing the whole room to hear what he was saying. This was set up so there was no bad feedback between the microphone and speakers. Having speakers on the left and right sides of the room allowed for a clear sound around the whole room. There was also cameras set up at the front and back of the room, to stream footage online. These were handled by students at the University, which is a great was for them to gain experience in working at such live events. The cameras did not affect the way the presentation was delivered to the audience as they were not causing an obstruction or making any noise. The factors of a PA system and cameras is where a clear difference was noticed between the two talks. Johns was addressed a room of perhaps 100 individuals, whereas Matt’s was addressing around 15 people in a smaller, more typical classroom.  This meant that there was no PA system set up, and there were no cameras filming the talk. Even though the room was smaller, in my opinion, there still should have been a microphone for Matt to use, as sometimes it was difficult to hear what he was saying, as he was quite a nervous speaker, so at points his voice became much more quiet. In both talks were lecturers from the University who I assume have a connection to what the guests were talking about.

Both events were a great experience, and I gained a lot of knowledge from John and Matt. John talked about how Sŵn Festival started out small and was underestimated, but through dedication of him and his team has become a well-known festival in Cardiff. I was also made aware of how much planning it takes to make a festival successful, with work starting months, and for some aspects years in advance. Matt explained how he managed to get work abroad, whether it be through volunteering or a work placement. He was proactive with his passion, using his summer to work in America, and having dedication to save his money to return and travel to Ghana to work. He gave his three top tips; have a goal, don’t be afraid to do something new and to be proactive. This has put into perspective of how hard you have to work to achieve your goals, but once you have there’s nothing better.

A positive of the media festival is that an individual is able to book onto as many guest talks as they wish to attend, even if the talk has no relation to the course that somebody might be studying.  Another thing that I thought was good was the opportunity to ask questions to the guests. This gave people the opportunity they may not have had otherwise to gain knowledge on something that may help them in the future. An example of this is in Matt’s talk people were able to gain first hand knowledge of how difficult it was to go over to America to work, as this is a very appealing thing to do, especially for me.

One point that could be improved about the media festival was to make the audience aware that there would be cameras filming the event, and give individuals an option to sit somewhere that wouldn’t be caught on  camera, as this made several people feel very uncomfortable. Another improvement would to be to place signs on the doors as to where the events were taking place and who the guest speaker is, as this would clarify for people who are unsure.

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