I felt the need to write this post after finding the following grab-bag underneath a desk (in fact, every desk) when I was freelancing as a Studio Director in April 2011:
Initially when I first discovered the bags I said “what a brilliant idea”, and thought nothing more of it. But driving home after my shift I started thinking about exactly why they are there. Clearly, meetings have been had to implement the costly logistics of such items, and more importantly, their necessity. It’s actually quite a big thing. Let’s break down what we have here:
A bright orange reflective bag, a glow stick, a dust mask, bandages, two satchels of water, and a reflective heat blanket.
Just for a moment, try and envisage a scene that would require such items… We’re talking about a situation where we need to find this bag in low light, requiring the glow stick to aid visibility or the need to be seen by others, using the bandage to stop bleeding on either yourself or others, using the dust mask to reduce breathing in particles from the air which may be harmful, using the emergency heat blanket to keep you or someone else warm, and having enough water to last three days… these are all things that become useful and necessary in an emergency situation.
They are items regularly found in kits designed for earthquake victims. Bear in mind these are under desks in offices in Central London.
This, if ever, was the first time I’ve felt directly affected by the now overly-used term “terrorism”. Terrorism is fear, and defined as the use of violence and/or threats to intimidate or coerce. Somewhere along the lines (likely post 9/11) someone Senior in this company has identified the building we work in as a more-than-likely target. Budgets have been set to pay for these items and their upkeep (the Datrex emergency water packs have a shelf life of 5 years, for example). Steps are in place for new staff members to be introduced to these measures and the reason for their requirements.
And it’s not just these individual grab-bags that are in these offices. I’ve also spotted large blue rucksacks with the Star of Life logo on them, a worldwide identifying emblem for emergency medical services. I really must ask how much training their first-aider staff go through!
It’s a huge logistical step to implement these safety and security measures within such a massive corporation, and certainly puts a spin on the need for the emergency exits to be pointed out (something a lot of people are ignorant towards anyway, ultimately to their own demise. Do you know your routes out of your workplace?).
I hope these items never have to be used and I highly praise the person/people who came up with the idea (preferably not a company, making money out of fear).
I was even more impressed to discover whilst Directing two shows over in Hong Kong (via London!) that they have similar grab-bags under their desks too. Though I appreciate that studios inside the sky scraping Cheung Kong Centre building in central Hong Kong is more susceptible to an earthquake than London.
Surely every place of work should have such measures? If not for use within the confines of their own office, but perhaps to include the every day person on the street caught up in a tragic event? An example here would be the people involved in the bombings of London on 7/7. A better example would be those who became victims of the 7/7 Tavistock Square bus bomb, which ironically exploded near the British Medical Association and was hosting an event for medical staff and doctors. The point in case being that when medical attention is close at hand, lives can be saved.
The simple act of being given one of these emergency kits makes a significant statement; where you work is of high importance, and so are you.
On the other hand some people will say it’s just a bag.
I really thought April 2012 was going to be a quiet month. Having only been freelance for seven months so far I don’t have the full years worth of experience I would like in order to guage the busy and quiet periods. I guess it depends on your remit of work. In my industry of News and Politics, Christmas and New Year are busy. Mainly because so many people want the time away from the studios to be with their families. That means double-time freelance pay on certain days. It seems with Big Brother back on the cards, summers will be busy too (and I don’t mind that).
When Celebrity Big Brother ended in January I had no other work on the horizon. I did the odd day here and there with Sky News and continued on my search contacting studios and other companies. Bloomberg took me on as a contracted freelance Director for their Asia shows in January and I was keen to get my teeth into it all and learn their studio ways (as each place seems to have their own technical workings and language). I’d been doing that, but it still felt quiet.
Thankfully for me, an overnight Director with Bloomberg London had a baby on the cards. And the little one appeared at the beginning of April 2012. Joy and happiness all round. They start a family, I got over two weeks of freelance work.
With Big Brother seemingly on the cards till the end of 2014 I can’t help but have twiddling thumbs, waiting on the text/call/tweet/FaceBook-message asking if I am available. And I wouldn’t say no. I couldn’t say no. I dream of being in the Big Brother house! In fact not too long ago I had an actual dream of being in there and rushing into the previously-locked bedroom area and seriously debating at lightning speed which bed I would take (furthest from the toilet and the main door so less noise?) whilst making sure the other housemates weren’t going to steal the bed I wanted…
But for now, it’s Bloomberg for another week. Business. As usual.
Being freelance means having your profile on the internet, and having it public for all to see. Typing your own name into Google and checking the results is one way to find out what your potential employers can see, and you’d better hope it’s all the good stuff they find.
Low and behold, a little searching finds my name listed at the following places:
The Crewing Company
Being part of the Internet Movie Database is something I didn’t think would ever happen, but there it is! Albeit, some of the information was slightly wrong and had to be tweaked.
It was a long drive to Manchester for this years BVE North expo. 205 miles to be exact. Taking place at the Manchester Central Arena, the expo is a gathering of products and services for broadcast, video and audio professionals.
For me, I was interested in three seminars;
- How To Be A Successful Freelancer
- Blackpool Tower 4D Case Study
- Things A Studio Director Should Know
I was pleased I managed to attend. I learned a few things from the above seminars and I also managed to catch up with people I had heard of but never met. My first tweet of the morning was just to say I had arrived and realised that The Crewing Company were also in attendance. It wasn’t till the end of the day where we managed to meet up, but I am glad I did. Lovely people!