Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Let the Production Begin

We had our first session for the term with the team last week Friday but had some more glitches. Also, with the long weekend coming up, there are some implications for our production and the day of sessions with the team. Let me take you though a few of the thing that occurred over the weekend with the Upstart Radio team.

This term is our production term and this past week the aim was to start generating content. Due to a communication breakdown between us and the Sethumo, the intern at Upstart who organises the Upstarters, we were unable to have a fully productive Friday session. Only three Upstaters arrived, two of whom (Ncubeko and Aphiwe) are no longer part of our team of six since they have academic commitments on Friday’s. This means that essentially we only had one member arrive. With only the skeleton of our team present, we decided that we would ask them to do the smaller stuff that will be used in our slot on YUNG Amplified. Aphiwe Mame looked up interesting facts; Ncubeko was interested in celebrity news while the other Aphiwe looked for brain teasers. Tom and I will have to make sure we’re communicating effectively with Sethumo from here on end, but I’m happy that this session wasn’t a waste.

We spent the rest of Friday afternoon contact the team members to let them know about Saturday’s session. We were working with Shireen, Upstarts project manager, who contacted Simamkele and Bathabile, our two new members. They all arrived on time for the second session of the weekend save for Tom who was stuck getting the last of his documentary interviews and Aviwe who couldn’t come because of Accounting extra lessons at school. We met briefly in the “newsroom” to discuss what we would be doing for the day in terms of generating content. I had downloaded and put into one folder all the previous Upstart editions and we decided that everyone would look at a different edition and spot a timeless article that they would rewrite in a new format for radio. They all went to it and about half and hour into the session, I realised how this isn’t the most riveting of tasks to do. They’re in high school, as Bhatabile feell asleep at his computer I had to chuckle! This is work they give to the intern in the newsrooms I’ve been to! But, alas, these sorts of things must get done because there is some rich material in Upstart that can and must be exploited.

To solve the problem of boredom, I sat done with Bathabile and thought of ways to remake the article. The one he selected was from one of the earliest editions of Upstart about body image. This was based on a workshop a lecturer from Rhodes University had given the Upstaters. The writer of this particular article went about asking other Upstarters what they thought was the perfect body. We chatted about what Bathabile would do to make this translate to radio relevant to the show. Together we decided that he will take a recorder to his next Upstart session and ask a few of his peers questions about their understanding of body image and their ideal body. We will then work on packaging this in the coming weeks and look into getting someone who is knowledgeable on this topic to come and chat to Bathabile in studio about the comments his peers have made.

Reggie worked on facts about the Paris and Switzeland based on a former Upstarters experience, Xabiso did a rewrite on a piece on China, but turned it into what will become a straight read on interesting things about China. Aphiwe rewrote from an article on solar cars and Simamkhele’s piece will be about the history of Mary Waters, the woman the school was named after. Tom and I helped them tweak their scripts so that they are ready for voicing at our next session. We went back into our newsroom, which is really the seminar room in the radio section of the journalism department and looked at the dummy copy of Upstart with the intention of having them select material they could go home and rewrite and be reading for the next session. It turns out that most of them had contributed to this edition and we were able to have them repurpose their own articles for radio. They were very keen. This will be an ongoing process of getting the content and packaging it over the coming weeks as we get closer to the day of our first show.

Before I get ahead of myself talking about the day of the show, we do have the Easter holiday coming up, meaning we lose our two production days. We have decided to meet on Monday and Wednesday to make up for these two days. We have a great deal to get done in terms of producing the content and getting mock shows done all in preparation for our weekend in May where we’ll be reclaiming the airwaves!

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