Becky headed to BBC Studios Natural History Unit for her 2022 Grierson DocLab placement

Becky headed to BBC Studios Natural History Unit for her 2022 Grierson DocLab placement
Thank you BBC Studios for supporting Grierson DocLab! Pictured is Becky with the team at the recent Panda Awards in Bristol.

I was lucky enough to spend two months in Bristol at BBC Studios’ Natural History Unit working a hybrid role as a researcher and production management assistant.

I was put on an amazing production that was filming animals in various locations across the globe. This role allowed me to gain an insight into both areas and ascertain what career path I wanted to follow.

On my first day I was welcomed in by Production Manager Nikki and Assistant Producer Nat, who gave me a warm welcome and introduction to the team. We went on a tour around the newly furnished offices; with their environmental accreditation, I was eager to see the space they had sustainably created and was not disappointed. For my first few days, I was allowed to settle into the software and delve into the stories I would be working on.

During my first month, I was taken into the meetings with the editorial and production teams which looked over story ideas, their progress and the budget to accommodate them. It was fascinating seeing the beautiful storyboards, created by Storyboard Artist Sam, being used as a blueprint during the filming process.

Within production management, Junior Production Manager Jodie took me under her wing and trusted me to work alongside her during preparations for several shoots. Through this, I gained knowledge of booking systems, schedules, carnets and more! Alongside Jodie, I was fortunate to work with Production Management Assistant Saakshi, who taught me what the day-to-day tasks of a PMA entails – initially setting small jobs to allow me a smooth entry into the role and letting me accompany her in shoot set-ups and out-of-office tasks.

At the start of October, I was given the opportunity through Series Producer Paul to join the team on a shoot in Teignmouth to see first-hand what goes on during the shoot with animals. As this was my first experience on a set, I was very grateful for this chance to see editorial in action and how cohesively Assistant Producer Elsa, Researcher Joe and Camera Op. Sam worked together to capture the story at a such a high standard.

During the last week of my placement, I and many of my team, won tickets to attend the Panda Awards and the after party! I met so many fantastic people in the wildlife industry and was able to make connections, as well as spending the evening with the team that gave me so much support throughout my time at BBC Studios.

This experience allowed me to understand how I could use my previous knowledge in animal sciences and wildlife filmmaking still within a production management role, and how interlinked the two roles were within the whole production process. I will be forever grateful to the Grierson Trust and BBC Studios’ Natural History Unit for giving me this opportunity to let me throw myself into both roles to discover that production management is my cup of tea.

Published: 17 November 2022

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