Taylah Lowe-Allen learns about journalism and dives into Soho’s production world
I’ve spent the past two weeks at Little Black Book and it’s helped to confirm that journalism is the career for me. The experience was so fun and insightful and the team were so lovely to work with. Throughout the two weeks I’ve learnt so many different things, from how to upload content to the website to scheduling social media. I’ve also been transcribing interviews, learning about writing articles and helping to prepare interview questions.
As well as all that, I also got a chance to get out of the office and find out about advertising and production. We went along to an interview at MPC with Laura, the editor, took part in The Martian VR Experience and also got to visit music company Mcasso’s studio to ask a few questions ourselves.
Sitting in on the meeting that Laura had with some of the team at MPC, I was able to learn a lot about the entertainment industry – not just advertising but film and gaming too. Though it was quite technical, with lots of focus on things like VR and realtime rendering, I was able to interpret a lot of things and learn a few things along the way, some lifelong lessons.
MPC seem to be open to change and the new trends and ideas that arise which is a good mentality to have as a business.
One of the key things that I learned was that your knowledge can be used in multiple different ways and combining and the crossover of this is key. If you have the ability to think this way, it will get you very far in life as you will be able to adapt to many different roles, projects and working environments. Trying new things that you have not done before allows you to gain experience in different fields and when coming to vital decisions also considering what you would want is what you apply to some decisions.
Taylah and fellow work experience-er Omar at MPC
When it comes to trying new things, MPC are an excellent example to follow! They are adapting to the ever-changing world; teens are growing up with new mentalities and higher expectations of technology, phones can now do more than ever, games are, in some ways, even more powerful than films. The fact that MPC are part of the film world, advertising and now gaming, digital and VR gives them the best of all worlds and means that their work is relevant to people of all ages. There’s Virtual Reality for teens, Jungle Book for kids and The Revenant for adults.
The Martian VR Experience
What’s on this summer? What is there for the kids or even the adults to do? Why am I so bored?
Yes, in the UK it’s the summer holidays and if you’re not lucky enough to be going abroad it can be hard to find anything fun to do or any way to escape. Well, I’ve got the answer: Virtual Reality.
Yesterday, I was lucky enough to experience an awesome VR project at production company RSA. And now, suddenly, I understand why this sudden craze has appeared and I have to admit that I am totally on board with it.
I was surprised by how unbelievably cool and shockingly real it was. You know that you’re sitting in the middle of a room and not actually in the virtual world… but it feels so surreal. When entering the room, I was expecting to see a room set out in the theme of The Martian film however it was just a room with a chair in the middle - shocking right? But the magic all happens in the headset.
The fact that it is interactive adds to the enjoyment of virtual reality. It’s not just like watching a 3D film at the cinema with the images just coming towards you. What really added to the experience was that I was sitting on a chair that moved in order to make the scene feel even more real. For example at one point I was sitting in the rocket, waiting for take off… and the seat started to rise in synch. This experience also came with controllers, which meant you had to take part in interactive experiences throughout.
Of course, wearing the headset felt weird at first, but once the actual experience started it began to feel more comfortable. I was no longer thinking about anything out in the real world, so there was a real sense of escape. It is, admittedly, quite funny to watch others doing VR and because the reactions it causes you to have is somewhat uncontrollable. After experiencing Virtual Reality, I think that it will be very successful in the future - and it has made me very curious to learn more.
When watching advertisements on TV, I’ll admit that I don’t really pay attention to them - you really just want to watch the television show that’s meant to be on, don’t you? However, you get the odd advert which catches your attention. Even then, the music in the commercial is not the first thing you think about. But if people could see just how much work and thought goes into it, they might pay more attention.
That’s a lesson I learned this week when I went to visit Mcasso. It’s a company that composes, licenses and re-records music for radio branding, advertising and TV branding. The team at Mcasso told us how much hard work goes into the music for the adverts that they do and the challenges they face. Production on ads is complex and there are many different people involved. Moreover, when it comes to music you need to think about leaving space for dialogue and so while it should be catchy, it can’t be overpowering. Lastly, there’s a lot of back and forth, trial and error before you reach the end product because it is not easy to get it first time.
Mcasso also gave us some handy hints about how to spot when music is made specifically for an ad. Sometimes the actions don’t match directly with the music, for instance. In the track Mcasso produced for the Hyundai Fan Dome in London’s King Cross, the music changed when a host of angel appeared, and a harp was used to bring extra angelic feeling to the spot. Music for advertisements doesn’t just have to sound good, it also has to entice the audience to buy the product and also make it relatable to them.
When it comes to the composing of music, layers of sounds create music and the instruments can be seen as ingredients for a cake. I used to play the saxophone, so I got into a great conversation about that. It was fascinating to hear that it is so hard to replicate a wind instrument digitally as it very rarely sounds natural.
It was also interesting to learn how long it takes to compose a track - but as the famous quote says ‘perfection takes time’. Aside from composition, the other side of the business is licensing music. The rights are very complicated, it costs a lot and some bands do not want their music published; these complications, I guess, can be very demotivating. At Mcasso’s, though, they do a really good job – the Toyota Yaris karaoke ad that they showed was a great example of research. They understand that they have to deal politically as well as musically.