South West Media Project

The South West is home to a range of media companies that vary from graphic design, filming, news papers, recording studios, and photographers.

Having a media business in the South West is a good idea as many production companies like the BBC have many studios and post production facilities basted in Bristol and the surrounding area. The studio in Bristol have been used to film plenty of television programmes such as “Deal or no Deal”, “Casualty”, and “Skins”. And over 25% of the worlds natural history films are made in Bristol.

There are hundreds of local newspapers operating in Somerset and they have also been around for hundreds of years. Also to keep up to date with technology and the internet, newspapers also tend to put the news on their website. This makes it easier for members of the public as most individuals spend a lot more time on the internet than they used to.

Because there is so many media business operating in the area, there are now things called “support networks” that are websites that store details of a variety of different media industries so customers can get hold of contact details or information about them. Support Networks also advertise different media events and job prospects in media.

Bristol Media is a support network that encourages creative media in the community since 2005 when it was established. They accomplish this by advertising jobs and encouraging employers to look for workers on their site. To put your CV onto their site you have to be a member and to be a member you do have to pay. This is one of their ways of making money. They broadcast permanent, temporary and freelance jobs. This seems to be very successful as they have 3500 subscribers and 500 paying members who have submitted their CV.

Other than jobs, Bristol Media also try and spread the word of film cases in the area and now have an RRS feed so people can keep up to date and receive news and information as soon as it comes to the website.
Sodapop Media is a design organisation that is run by Dave Atkinson and Oli Pendry. They are two graphic designers with a humble business that is run in Bath. They have many clients that they make websites, posters, logos, brochures and CD’s for.

Their website gives off a casual and laid back approach but it’s also made very professionally and it’s full of useful information about the company and the people who run it, which only seem to be two. But they claim they don’t need to employ sales people because if their work is decent enough the word will spread. The founder of the company, Dave, specialises in print design and websites. Whereas Oli is trained in print design but also illustrating and flash animating.

Reading their testimonies I can see customers are very happy with the service Dave and Oli offer, and the customers stay loyal and use them again and again for different purposes. Their work doesn’t just stay in Somerset, its spread outside the region.

They encourage potential clients to ring up and ask for quotes as it’s more personal. Their business seems so friendly and relaxed if I needed my business rebranded I would definitely go to those two for help.

I also e-mailed them both but unfortunately they didn’t get back to me.

Touch Productions is a production company based in Bath.

The main handful of staff consists of Malcolm Brinkworth (CEO), David Postlethwaite (Head of production), Simon Hawtin (Head of development) and Marie Coyne (Production Manager).

Malcolm was the founder of Touch Production and has 30 years of experience in the media industry. He was an executive producer in plenty of factual programmes that have broadcast in the UK and over the world. He has won awards for filming, and he was a member of the Pact Council from 2002 – 2010. He was the Chairman of Pact’s nation and region groups for four years.

David’s role is overlooking the processes and the outcomes of Touch Production, and it is his duty to be responsible for the budgets, crew members, human resources, post production and the final piece. He used to work for the BBC and he has extensive experience and knowledge of the broadcasting industry.

Simon is head of the development team, and he is always thinking of ideas for new material and ideas for exiting and modern television. If an individual has a good idea for a project, Simon deals with their proposals.

Marie applied to be a production manager on Touch because she wanted to work on BBC2 Thames Shipwrecks series. Her speciality is factual programming and she has worked abroad in America for some documentaries.

Touch Production has been around for almost 25 years, and in that quarter century they have accomplished a great number of achievements here in the UK and in America.

The series they have done which have aired in the UK are “Brit School”, “Parish in the sun” and “All over the shop”. The documentaries include “Dispatches”, “True Stories”, and “Cutting Edge”. Their documentary that re-investigated the OJ Simpson case won an Indie and RTS award. Touch Production films have also won BAFTA’s, Emmy’s, and have broken audience records before.

Most of their work goes out on BBC channels, Channel 4, SKY, Five and ITV.

Now being the successful business they are, they can afford to make a 3D production company. They make documentaries and series, and even film concerts so they can broadcast those in 3D.

Walk Tall Media is a Bath based company that makes innovative and interactive content for clients who need media to either advertise or inform. This can range from promotional videos for business, educational and training videos.

Their core members are Jacqui Doughty – (MD and Senior Producer), George Griffiths (Head of Production) Karin Chalmers (Development Manager), Stephen Chadwick (Musical Director and Composer), Kate Stonham (Writer and Director), Julia Kennaway (Director), Brian Uranovsky (Lighting Cameraman) and Rebecca White (Production Assistant).

This is a big team compared to most of the local production teams in bath and each member plays a specific and needed role. This means they can produce videos in a short amount of time if clients needed the video quickly. The Walk Tall Media production team also have years of experience with film and radio.

They have worked with many big corporate companies such as the BBC, BBC Education, Channel 4, Granada and Baby Cow.

Their process starts off with the client and Karin talking about their ideas for the video and then Walk Talk add some input, if needed, so the video is shaped well and has structure. Filming is then discussed and in post production the customer can choose the format in which they want their video to be shown. This could either be on their website or on a DVD.

Walk Tall Media have won a few awards so far, such as an RTS for Secondary Arts and Language, A JAPAN PRIZE for International Education Broadcasting and an ETMA for Broadcasting and an ERA for Educational Resources.

If you wanted to work with Walk Tall Media as a freelance they encourage you to send them your CV and when you are needed they contact you when vacancies arise. There is a website or you can send it to them in the post.
Aardman Animations is a company with studios in Bristol that make short and feature length animated productions, such as Wallace and Gromit, Morph and Shaun the Sheep.

It all started off with Pete and Dave, who are the founders of Aardman. Both their mothers were artists and their fathers worked in the BBC. Dave was interested in photography where as Pete was more of a sculpture.

They made their first stop animation project in their kitchen, and they did this with bits of cut up paper. This got shown to the producers of “Vision On” and they gave Pete and Dave the supplies to make another short production of whatever they wanted. This time they experimented with people, and would take pictures of them jumping in mid air and put it all together to make it look as if they were floating. Their show was recorded in Bristol so they ended up setting up a studio there, plus their family lived in Bristol too.

Their next project was about a character called Aardman, which they sold to the BBC who then aired it. The BBC bought it for £25, and when that money had to go into Pete and Dave’s bank account they didn’t know what to call the transaction, so they called it Aardman. This is where the name of the company came from.

After doing that 2D animation they wanted something that would be fun to produce all the way through, and since Pete was into clay and sculpturing, they experimented by making characters out of clay for stop motion.

Fundamentally it was just Pete and Dave, but since they were more demands for them two to make more programmes and shorts, they decided to take on two boys to help around the studio.

To shoot most of their clay stop motion films, they used a 16mm camera with a long exposure. They also had to take the pictures in a dark room inside because of the lighting. If they were filming and natural light was in shot, it would mess up the photos as the light would be changing and this would be visible on the final product.

Aardman got their big break when Blue Peter interviewed them and did a segment about them on their show. Then Jeremy Isaacs saw their potential and asked them to do ten 5 minute pieces in 8 months for Channel 4’s animation festival. However Pete and Dave knew this wasn’t possible to suggest to Jeremy that they make five pieces to start off for the festival and then another 5 after the festival to have aired on Channel 4.

This was their first proper commissioning job. And their shots got shown at 9 o’clock in the evening which was good as it was prime time.

This then lead Pete and Dave to start making feature length films, such as Wallace and Gromit which everyone is familiar with today. The latest Wallace and Gromit film was aired on Christmas Day in 2008, and they had an audience of 16.15million. It then went and won a BAFTA for Best Animated Short Film, and now every Wallace and Gromit feature has won a BAFTA.

Aardman Animations have also won 4 Oscars and numerous academy awards for various films and television programmes.

AJEM production is a video and audio production company run by two women, Emma & Jo.
They are based in Bristol, and were established in 2005. Between them they have numerous years of experience in media production.

They both had ambitions to work in media, and realised their true talent for producing at University. They studied Time Based Media at UWE, and their friendship grew stronger during the 3 years there. They made plenty of projects together, and worked to a brief with efficiency. Emma and Jo earned a first in their degree, and Instead of working for other employers in the area, they made their own partnership. The name A JEM production comes from Jo and Emma’s names combined.

From researching these two, I have also found out that they are often hired to film gay weddings. This is because customers feel more comfortable with two women present at their wedding than if there were two men there. Emma and Jo claim they want their customers to feel comfortable and relaxed at all times.
They have worked their way up and have had their work involved with Channel 4 and E4. This production company isn’t as successful as Aardman but they have only been around for 6 years, and they specialise in different sectors.

The Bristol City Council employed them to make an awareness video about education and case studies about how young people can learn outside of school. This was shown at numerous colleges and further education establishments in the region.

They have had many clients that ask Emma and Jo to make videos for their businesses or teaching facilities. The company they have are professional and are good for clients who are working to a budget. The type of videos they make are informative, promoting, learning, training and awareness videos. They also do Wedding service packages, which start at £650.

Before doing this essay I didn’t have any idea that the South West was thriving with so much media production companies and studios. I assumed that London was the main area in which broadcasting and producing would be prosperous but I obviously thought wrong. They say that if you set up a production company in London and then you move it outside of London you will never be able to move back. This is because London is meant to be so big you wouldn’t be able to re-establish yourself, but this is obviously not the case anymore. Bristol is one of the main hot spots for broadcasting and making television, and the media sector is advancing and growing so fast, hopefully I will be able to land a stable job in this area because firstly, I live in the South West, and secondly Somerset and Dorset have so much potential I can see them being the equivalent or even taking over London in the Media department in the upcoming years.

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