It was a while ago in November In A Nutshell that I had mentioned giving up the opportunity to watch rugby, England versus New Zealand at Twickenham.
Want to hear what trumped that?
Instead I went to Leicester. Quelle horreur! As a Northampton Saints fan, that’s a sin as there’s a healthy regional rivalry.
Off I went to the Leicester vs Bath match.Lets say that I was slightly nervous. I didn’t really let myself think about it because I didn’t want to get scared or have too many expectations. I was looking forward to the opportunity because I was getting a valuable insight and because of what it could potentially mean.
If you watch ESPN’s coverage of rugby you will know what I’m referring to when I mention the Kebab van. It’s where the presenter and pundits chat pre and post match. So I nipped in there to see how rehearsals were going and what happened in the live broadcast. It was very interesting, not to mention cool- again!I don’t want to name drop but in order to give a complete picture Mark Durden-Smith introduced himself and seemed very friendly which helped me feel a bit more relaxed. Thank you!
Austin Healey was also present along with Ben Kay who asked to use my massive fuzzy hat to put Mark off when they went live. Of course I was happy to oblige, it did put Mark off and within minutes my hat had been on TV, result!
If we step away from my well hidden giddy rugby fan self, it was great to see how the various aspects of TV production work. It’s amazing how much hard work from so many people goes into producing one show and the various features included.
Once the game was about to start, myself and Sarah went to the Gallery which is basically a big fan which has lots of TV screens. Cool! It houses the director and various people working what comes onto the TV from the various shots available.
It was a hive of activity and hugely exciting for to see the magic happening. As someone who wants to get into the industry and who loves rugby, it was pretty brilliant to see everything going on behind the scenes.
I was slightly confused to see that there was a small camera pointing at my chest. Don’t worry, I’m under no illusions that it was the breast cam and on returning to the Gallery, I soon realised that the television match official (TMO) sits there.
I’d previously thought that the TMO was just kept in a cupboard somewhere.Now it’d would’ve been exciting at the best of times to be sat next to the TMO but on this particular occasion, even more so. There were three red cards awarded and two yellow cards! That never happens! To see one red card is sensational but three? And I was sat next the the guy making the controversial decisions!
Unfortunately for the teams involved but it helped to understand the relationships between ESPN and Sunset + Vine, the director, camera operators, sound technicians, presenters and match officials (plus more) to deliver a brilliant show of rugby.As the game was ending I spent some time observing the lovely Sarra who reports and interviews the players and team directors.
It gave me a great opportunity to see her process of questioning, her posture, how she engaged with the interviewees, what sort of questions she was asking etc. It all helped with tips on what I do when interviewing.
The whole day was brilliant and I was massively thankful for the opportunity. After thanking S + V for the experience, I offered my services emphasising that I am interested in doing more with them if the opportunity arose.
I also mentioned that I would be available to help on their next local match between Northampton Saints and Saracens on 30 December which just so happened to be a 20 minute train ride down the road from me, at the Stadium MK.
I was happy to hear back that I was more than welcome to go down to the stadium so that’s exactly what I did.
It was nice to feel part of the machine but it was also great to engage with the fans who were mulling around. People tend to get a bit giddy when TV is around and it’s nice to pick up on that excitement.
For fear of sounding all mushy, it was a great thing to be a part of and gave me another piece of the puzzle to help me understand the production goings on.
I was also lucky enough to see where all the video clips are made (you’ve got to love a montage!) and then on to the Gantry which is where the analysis takes place and the commentators do their thing. Luckily for me, it just so happened to provide an excellent view of the match!
On the plus side, I got to chat with a very lovely chap (I’m ashamed that I can’t remember his name, sorry lovely chap!) about his role in the team and his experience so far. It’s all about people!Summing up, it was awesome and I’m shattered. I think all the excitement trying to make a good impression, along with my running for the first time in years, has taken it out of me! Not that I’m complaining. It’s well worth it and doubt is the first of many exciting opportunities.