A day in the life of a scicomm officer. Chapter 4.

I think I need to start this post off with another apology. Once again I have missed updating you with another insight into my career in scicomm. I aimed for one a month this year and am way behind that goal although I have been taking the photos on days – I just haven’t gotten around to actually writing the post, but hopefully that is all about to change. Hopefully over the next few chapters in this series, I can show you a bit more variety of what my days are like, and today’s we are even venturing outside of the office! I know right? Ha!

Earlier this month, I spent three days down at the Folly Farm Centre in Bristol for a three day course learning how to make science documentary style films. It is seriously an incredible course and I learnt so much. The first day was all about pre-production, the next was all about the actual filming and the final day focussed on the post-production in the editing suite. I will be sharing more about what I learnt specifically with you in more posts soon, but for now I thought I would give you an insight into another day in my scicomm career on this course. Cue the next chapter of the scicomm career diaries!

07:31 – I was staying on site for the course and had a really cute little room that had obviously been converted from stables. While I had a bit of a lay in compared to my normal start time, it was still quite an early start to grab some breakfast before a jam packed day on our film production day of the course. But it wasn’t too bad getting up at this time when you walk out of the door and this is the view you have.

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08:41 – Delicious breakfast. Tick. Now back to the room to grab all the camera kit I had brought with me ready to shoot. In reality, this wasn’t much stuff at all – the camera and microphones were in my bag. But others had brought suitcases full of equipment – which was a little concerning to see.

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10:17 – Each day started off with some theory before we got hands on with an exercise or challenge. This morning was learning about camera settings, understanding audio before thinking about how to shoot a sequence aka a series of clips that will make up a scene in your documentary.

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10:42 – Short break to digest the theory before we got the cameras out. Also the shortbread biscuits were delicious!

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11:13 – Back to it. We took some time to get acquainted with our cameras as many of us, including me, had brought work’s equipment so had to suss out how to change everything. Before just heading outside and trying to film some shots with all the right settings and of course the right focus and so on.

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13:32 – Lunchtime and as you can tell the food was once again delicious as I couldn’t resist wolfing it all down before taking a photo. But definitely refuelled for more filming this afternoon.

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14:48 – For this afternoon’s task, we were split into groups and challenged to shoot two complete sequences. We had to get all the shots that we were going to need from long shots, to close ups, to action shots. It’s safe to say I won’t be hitting Hollywood for my acting skills anytime soon, but hey you never know there may be a film producer or director in me yet. This session was great as we got to put our cameras to work, but also and perhaps more importantly got a feel for directing to make sure you got all the shots you needed, and crucially how much time it actually takes to film enough material for even a one minute scene.

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16:35 – It’s safe to say that by this point my brain was fried with information overload. From watching all the clips that we had shot earlier and critiquing them, we also had more theory to learn about light. But I had learnt so much, and it had given me a lot more confidence of getting it right now. Well at least better than my first attempt was. And I was very excited to wrap up the production day not only because it was nearly dinner time, and you know how I feel about food, but also because tomorrow was editing day which I was really excited about now.

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18:11 – While the course day might have been over, my day of work wasn’t. Before heading to dinner, I needed to do some social media and press pack work ready for a pop-up science-art exhibition we were hosting the week after in work. As well as checking some emails so I didn’t get too far behind.

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22:01 – Back from dinner. All the promo work I needed to do for the exhibition was scheduled. But I had one more thing to do – have a chat with this amazing scicommer Air Sea Sam. You may all know my Scientist in the Spotlight series here on the blog, so I am experimenting with a slightly different format that you will see very soon. So, I interviewed Sam as the last thing I did that night before getting some shut eye all about her research in air-sea physics and much more. Which you will all get to read and listen to very soon!

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And as they say in the film industry, that’s a wrap! Haha..

I hope you enjoyed seeing a completely different day in the life of a scicomm officer to normal. You can check out Chapter 1, Chapter 2 and Chapter 3 here for even more insights, and there is plenty more where that came from including a ‘work from home’ special.

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If you have any questions about anything you have seen in this blog, or about my career in scicomm generally, please ask me in the comments all of your questions! Or if you want to know more about this course, please do ask any questions in comments, on social media or send me an email.

Is this what you thought a day in the life of a science communications officer would look like?

I’m also thinking about making these style posts into video form – so if you would prefer that or would like that as well then I would love to hear your thoughts.

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If you enjoyed this post, then please hit like, write a comment or share it with your family and friends for them to discover the joys of science too. Or you could pin it using the graphic below. It would really mean so much to me. Or you can always subscribe to Soph talks science in the menu to never miss out on any science inspiration and curiosity ever again.

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♥ I am absolutely thrilled to announce that I am a brand ambassador for Petite Ecoliere; a company with the wish to inspire a dedication to education of girls and women, and to give back to charities helping girls all around the world. Follow this link or click on the graphic below to find an awesome little something for you or someone you love and give back at the same time!

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