After completing an industry-recognised City & Guilds Diploma in Radio & Journalism in 2015, I took on two media placements to build up some practical experience. First, I became an intern with Flickerpix Animations at Waddell Media House in Holywood, where I completed such tasks as statistical research for documentaries, synopsis-writing and drafting ideas for a stop-motion children's programme, alongside assisting the Creative Director with developing ideas for a literary-themed interactive app. Once I'd completed my qualification, I then had the chance to work with the production team behind BBC Northern Ireland's The Arts Show, where I earned my first official media credit on the programme's April 2015 edition.
After that, I was invited to return to Flickerpix to work as a production assistant for a BBC Learning documentary on the 1941 Belfast Blitz, earning me a second BBC credit. While my main responsibilities were to liaise with visual asset suppliers and to source reference material for the animation team, I also gained some admin experience by completing and submitting festival screening applications, managing the talent pool database, processing orders for animation software and compiling itineraries for pitch meetings, as well as writing social media content for new projects.
I've always got plenty of questions and opinions buzzing round in my head, and would like to one day venture into cultural journalism. Before undertaking my media diploma, I had an introduction to music journalism through my role as Radio Officer for the University of St Andrews Rock Music Society, better known as RockSoc. Every week, I would compose a playlist for the society's show, RockSTAR, usually based on a set theme - for my first show I chose a superhero theme to celebrate the release of Marvel's The Avengers Assemble - and fill the airwaves with two hours of classic and modern rock, as well as a healthy dose of chat and banter.
After leaving RockSTAR, I continued contributing to St Andrews Radio by becoming a writer for the station's Music Team, Hearing Aid. One of my pieces, an exploration of the popularity of international music in the UK, can be found on this online edition of Hearing Aid's magazine.
As of March 2018, I've become a contributor for Scottish arts magazine The Wee Review, writing reviews for albums, plays, books and gigs.
When it comes to writing, whether it be for an article, an essay, a Facebook post for a client, a poem or sometimes even just a grocery list, I always turn to my pen and paper before producing any work electronically. There's something about writing by hand that helps me to structure my arguments and keep a firmer grip on my ideas much more easily than typing can ever do.
As I mention in the "About Me" page, my writing varies depending on my mood, although I take my overall influences from authors such as Edgar Allan Poe, Angela Carter and Neil Gaiman. While at St Andrews, I had the happy fortune of falling in with Inklight, the university's Creative Writing Society. While currently working in customer service, I take as many opportunities as possible to work on my stories, and even volunteered to produce product reviews for the staff newsletter to add a little more professional writing to my repertoire. Below is an Alice in Wonderland-inspired poem that I was lucky enough to have published in the annual Inklight Journal in 2012, and which I later went on to read, alongside a few other pieces, at the StAnza Poetry Festival:
Slay the kings with playing cards
And crown the queens with crystal shards.
Time is ticking, none to spare!
Cross the labyrinth, if you dare.
What lies beyond? Home at last,
Or lost in shadows of the past?
Petals fall and raindrops fly,
Seeking hope in cloudless skies,
But blue burns black; where now, my dear?
What solace will you seek from here?
Under Night’s calm watch, you wait,
While Moon and Stars divine your fate.
In silence still and slumber deep,
This dreamless, dark and lonely sleep,
The butterflies their vigil keep
Upon the sea of tears you weep.
Maybe someday you will find
The way home from your sombre mind…
Now disappear, for day has dawned!
Now leave the snowy rose to mourn,
And shed the red tears left behind;
The memories of your sombre mind.
Farewell, my dear! This dream is dead!
So find yourself, or lose your head.
Creative, journalistic, academic, SEO-friendly... if there is writing to be done, then pass me a pen!
As a keen linguist, I'm always happy to help others improve their speaking and writing skills in languages they're not familiar with. In fact, in the summer of 2015 I enjoyed a two-week teaching session with Nordic School in Kiljava, Finland. While there, I had the responsibility of planning, preparing and delivering lessons in English grammar, vocabulary and culture to a class of Russian pupils aged eleven to fourteen. One of the best ways I found of getting the students to engage with the language was through different creative activities. For example, when learning about advertising, I found that an effective plan was to have the class design a tourist brochure for Kiljava, or when discussing infrastructure and environment, they each created and presented their ideas for new planets, complete with native inhabitants, climate, culture and infrastructure. By far, the most rewarding aspect of working for Nordic School was not only being able to teach an enthusiastic group of pupils, but also the opportunity I had to learn about Russian language and culture from them in turn. In fact, I am eagerly counting down the days until my return to the same camp this summer.