Following a runner role at the company in June-July, Wingspan Productions offered me my first researcher role. And what a project to cut my teeth on! For nine months I’ve been working on documentary series ‘Computer Says Show’, chronicling the experimental creation of the world’s first computer-generated musical, ‘Beyond the Fence’. I’ve gained experience in sound recording, in camera operating (5D, A7s, FS7, XF305), in researching, in design and even earned the title ‘Computer Lyric Dramaturge’ on the theatre production, that played at the Arts Theatre between 22 Feb – 5 March.
I undertook a crash course in sound recording, and am most proud of the sound recorded on location at Greenham Common air base. Actuality sequences, in a military base sensitive to radio communication presented quite a challenge, but one I’m glad not to have missed out on.
From the intial data collection, to creating excel spreadsheets for every musical you can think of, to beta-testing ideation systems, to conversing with online robots right the way through to treading the boards with the cast for the first time, it was a great, if not crazy, project to be a part of.
On top of the research for the documentary, I also took charge of the online marketing content for the musical, shooting, editing and delivering content to the agency to drive ticket sales. I also helped put the theatre programme together, liasing with the theatre creative team and the broadcast team, before sitting with the designers to finish the job.
What more can I say, the Wingspan team have not only been willing to share their expertise, they have helped me to push fear aside and get stuck in exploring new skills. They are supportive and ambitious, which is exactly the kind of environment I’d like to find myself in for my first official on-screen credit! Huge thanks to them all for putting up with me!
Computer Says Show broadcasts on Sky Arts at 8pm on 25 February and 8pm on 3 March. Watch the trailer here: https://www.sky.com/watch/channel/sky-arts/computer-says-show
Get your tickets to Beyond the Fence here: http://beyondthefencemusical.com/
When the madness of ‘Computer Says Show’ was over, I then began work on ‘The Joy of Data’ for BBC4 between April and June.
The research for this gave me the chance to talk to experts from all over the world, including a man using data to prevent rhino poaching in South Africa, to satellite image companies that provide data to all sorts of surprise industries. It was fascinating. One of my favourite theories to emerge from amongst the noise was that we all have our very own ‘data double’. A version of us that exists in the data collected about us online; the ads we click, the things we buy, the pages we visit. I’m not sure if I find it comforting or not, that beyond my own existence, there will continue to be a ‘me’ made up of 1s and 0s wondering around somewhere.
The role included location sourcing, contributor casting, second-camera operating (A7s), setting up shoots, research notes, fact-checking, archive, studio filming and more. Director Cat Gale continued to be an absolute inspiration to me. Cat’s stamina is unparalleled and I honestly can’t tell you how she does it!
Presented by Dr. Hannah Fry, ‘The Joy of Data’ aired in July. You can now buy the programme here: http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/b07lk6tj/products