What I learned at XpoNorth

My dream of being a fiction writer is a quiet one. Although authors nowadays are expected to have a personality, a media presence, a charismatic skill at promoting ones own work, it is still largely a quiet profession. There are long hours of reading and researching and sitting in secluded corners of cafes frantically scribbling in a notebook or typing in a netbook (at least that’s what I do).

My dream of being a writer has developed from my love of stories, and of course stories can come from multiple different mediums. So for almost as long as I have wanted to write, I have wanted to work for television. A far more active and social way to express stories.

Whenever I imagined myself working in any film/tv environment, however, I imagined myself much older. Until one day, about a month ago, I found this link for a two-week training course with XpoNorth Live!

 

XpoNorth is a creative industries festival that takes place every year in Inverness. It includes talks, discussions and showcases from almost every creative industry you can think of: fashion, design, crafts, film, writing, publishing, gaming and music. The training which I applied for was with XpoNorth Live! (essential exclamation mark) as part of the film section of the festival. It involved researching the various guests, speakers and musicians who were already a part of the festival and asking them to either perform a song or take part in a short ten-minute interview which would be filmed live in Eden Court and later put up online. Our trainee roles were Researcher for the first week and Producer for the second week, where we were also joined by the trainee film crew.

 

The application process happened so fast! Probably because I’d applied late (oops). And I was swinging fearfully between utter terror and growing excitement. I was scared that I wouldn’t be able to handle it – four years at university had made me lazy, I had never worked a proper 9-to-5 job before. I was panicking that I would crash every lunchtime and not be able to pick myself back up. I was expertly trained in the art of procrastination, what would happen if I couldn’t get the work done? I could potentially let down everyone else involved and ruin the live broadcasts!

Add to all this my typical nervousness with meeting new people, particularly talented, creative people whom I admire. My confidence had grown exponentially over the years, but I was still generally a happy-hermit-loner type creature.

Of course, all of these fears were all in my head, and the reality of XpoNorth was that it was a hub of brilliant, creative, inspiring, dedicated and friendly people. The work was hard, the hours were long and mistakes were made but we learnt from them and persevered, and the reward and accomplishment achieved was well worth it.

As well as learning what working with television was really like, I learnt the following things about myself; that I had the stamina to work long hours (food and sleep helped enormously!); that I could handle making mistakes and recovering from them; that I could totally talk to strangers; and that I loved all of it!

Here are just a few things which I produced, but there were so many great people there so check out the other videos:

Michiel Turner – ‘Set Your Arms Open’

Imogen Islay Hay – ‘The Raven’

Nikki Richardson – Filmmaker and Julia Richardson – Actress

Heather McDermott – Jewellery Designer

Tristan Hunt – Partner with Audiolock

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