I think my biggest strength in relation to media production and the projects I will be working on is my attention to details. I have the patience and interest to go through all sorts of small technicalities, settings, information and other details. In audio recording and production, this means I easily spot unwanted sounds and noises, so we can record clear sound throughout. In editing this means working on things like colour correction, consistency, and continuity. In marketing and copywriting it is the importance of choosing the right words, punctuation, grammar and proofreading.
Another strong skill I possess is organisation and project management. I can plan, make decisions and control their implementation for small and large projects; I also understand the scale and the level of complexity of a variety of media production processes. Once I find out the restrictions such as budget, resources and time, I can create a realistic step-by-step plan for each process involved, make sure the people responsible for this have all the resources they need, identify any problems that may arise in the process and help find creative solutions for them.
Another advantage I have is my professional experience prior to my studies. I have been working since I was 15, and most of the jobs I’ve had were media and / or marketing related. This raises my profile with valuable skills and knowledge, a good understanding of business processes, experience in working with clients, contractors and real budgets, and bringing projects to a successful end.
I am a creative problem solver, and I know how to work with limited resources. This means making the most of the time, energy, budget, people, and equipment we have at our disposal, as well as the skill to quickly find efficient solutions that work.
I also think I am well-connected in terms of professional contacts (both within and outside University), so whenever I have a specific project to work with, I can easily find the right people to either take part, consult, help with resources, or give feedback.
My biggest weakness in creative projects is my limited experience in people relations. I understand the technical processes, but the personal relationships in teams are still something I need to work on a lot. This is why I haven’t put myself forward for any leading role – because I don’t yet trust my abilities to lead a team or a project.
Another weakness I have is my fear of failure. This often leads to lack of creative freedom in projects I am working on, not allowing experimentation and / or change after an initial plan has been set up. It also translates in my lack of trust for other people’s ideas. I have often run the pattern of seeing my idea as the only possible solution to a problem, and not giving enough chance or credit to other people’s ideas.
A further weakness in relation to the projects I will be working on is my constant self-imposed stress from the beginning to the end of the project, and even beyond – which often translates in causing additional stress in my team. I worry too much about too many things at any given moment, and instead of tackling the problems, I usually leave them until the last minute. The only positive result of this worrying is that I am usually able to figure out all the possible problems and worst-case scenarios that might (and often do) happen – most of which I would probably never need to think about or deal with if I have a more structured and positive approach to the project and I start working early on instead of worrying.
A very important opportunity from the projects I will be working on is the expansion of my personal and professional contacts, especially on a local level (most of the projects will be based locally). I intend to live and work in the Midlands for at least two more years, and getting to know the area and key people around my chosen professional paths will be a huge plus. What is more, because of the nature of the student projects (which people often have low expectations for), we have the opportunity to work in lower-stress environments, but with the chance to have huge impact if we produce something good.
I think another good opportunity will be improving my professional profile amongst my peers. In the university-arranged projects, I will be working with people who have more experience than me with things like video production, producing and directing, which would hopefully help me learn about them in a more professional environment. What is more, I hope to be able to demonstrate my expertise and passion in the areas I specialise in (sound production and post-production), so I can then gain the respect and trust of my colleagues and start undertaking more interesting and challenging projects.
Another opportunity can of course arise from my attention to details and general curiosity. I’ve had lots of occasions where simply showing up and listening to what people are saying has led to new and very interesting turns both on professional and personal level. Exposing yourself to unusual situations, with people from various cultural and professional backgrounds can often give you access to unique and valuable information, new ideas, and possible creative solutions to problems you’ve been struggling with. This is especially valuable for my chosen areas of professional development – small and mid-sized businesses and projects, usually with limited budgets but unlimited potential.
When it comes to my job, there is a potential risk for the business to change direction. It is still a very young business, where things quickly change and most of the time there is no predictability or certainty in the results of our efforts.
Another threat is the risk of people withdrawing from the university-arranged projects, thus causing tension and stress to everyone involved. This is typical in student projects, but with the ones I have chosen to join I am hoping to keep this risk to a minimum.
A further potential threat is technical failure and / or lack of competence. Since all these projects heavily rely on technology and operating equipment, one small mistake has the potential to ruin a good idea.
One of the biggest threats I might face in working on these projects is spreading myself too thin. I tried to minimise this risk by not signing up for projects I wasn’t interested in, and quitting projects shortly after their start if I couldn’t see myself successfully completing them. Even though I would ideally like to do everything, it would be more beneficial to focus on a handful of projects (and stick to my roles within them) and get quality instead of quantity.