Working with a Production Company

By Matthew Weston

My Week At Stone’s Throw Media
By Josh O’Neill

My name is Josh O’Neill and I am a 16-year-old student currently studying for my A-Levels at Thomas Telford Sixth Form.

I have an interest in business, and really wanted to see how a production company such as Stone’s Throw Media operate in everyday business related situations, for example how they deal with customers or if they have to complete unplanned work at short notice.

Monday

First off, I met Matt in the lobby who took me up to the office and introduced me to the rest of the team. Being a small company, I was surprised at the computing facilities that were being used and the professional software that was incorporated into them.

I was given a tour of the building by Matt and Mike, to see the different rooms in the complex they often use for meetings and other tasks, and also to see where I could get food and drink at lunchtime.

A meeting between Mike and Matt and some potential customers commenced at 11am. I attended to get an inside view of how Matt and Mike present their ideas and can deal with any questions that they may have to ask.

The potential customers were eliminating certain options and choosing to focus on ones that would be most suitable to their audience – the options which displayed information simply and concisely throughout, for example.

Different types of video production were discussed, such as drawing time-lapses and kinetic typography. These were interesting to me and showed that even though Stone’s Throw as a production company can offer graphic animations or similar services if they suit the customer’s needs better.

At 1pm, after a lunch break, Dan arrived to discuss matters to do with sounds and music in animated videos. I heard some examples which I thought were high quality, and which could be interlinked well with some of the projects that Stone’s Throw Media have to offer.

Tuesday

I started Tuesday by completing some research on certain equipment that was no longer needed by the company. I checked what condition the equipment was in, and then could estimate using different websites what the most likely price would be that the guys could sell it for.

I then observed some work being completed by Tom. There was a problem with the audio of a video being produced, which could not be fixed easily. After some thought, another programme had to be used to eradicate the issue, showing how Stone’s Throw Media are well equipped and experienced to deal with any issues that can be thrown up at a video production company.

A meeting in Coventry followed, where some research and development of the drone (for aerial video and aerial photography) was taking place. Stone’s Throw Media are getting a drone to diversify and expand their portfolio and be able to offer a wider range of services.

Wednesday

To start, I was introduced to Jamie who specialises in cartoon animation and graphic designs. I spoke to him for a while whilst he talked through the different projects that he has completed in the past for Stone’s Throw Media.

I was asked to sketch some ideas I felt would be suitable for the project Jamie was working on at the time, as the customer had requested something else to be added into the cartoon animation.

With help from Jamie I used Photoshop CS6 to create parts of a room I had designed to be included in the 2D animation the project was based on.

In the afternoon, I continued tackling with the unwanted equipment, taking care to list them accurately on an auction website. This involved working out posting and packaging prices, writing detailed descriptions of each item, and including high quality photos to support the descriptions.

I set the prices of the equipment based on the prices that I worked out the day before, which meant they were accurate and up-to-date prices.

Thursday

A meeting at 11am in Shrewsbury was the first item on the agenda.

The meeting involved presenting Stone’s Throw Media as a whole, and showing all there is to offer by showcasing their available services and work they’ve created for customers in the past. This seemed to be a very effective way in winning the prospective client’s interest, because once the interviewers had sampled some work they were asking a lot more questions and wanting to find out more about the company.

I felt that the way in which Matt and Mike answered the questions was very professional and well thought through, because even though a lot of information was given in the pitch, the interviewers may not have had enough time to write down what they were looking for so wanted to be certain.

I think that being able to answer any questions on what you do to a high level of accuracy and with confidence is a real skill which I personally see helping my preparation and presentation skills in the future.

Back in the office in the afternoon, I worked with Matt on WordPress, which is an online piece of software enabling businesses to construct an effective website without using complicated coding.

This was useful to me, as was Matt showing me ways that a website can improve its visibility through a few simple techniques such as identifying what people in the local region are commonly searching for. This knowledge is something I can use in the production of a website I am helping to design with R. O’Neill Ltd, an accountancy practice based in Wolverhampton.

Friday

On my final day with Stone’s Throw I continued working on WordPress on my own. I had to try and find the optimal “keywords” that people were searching for by using data that has been collected and analysed by Google. I could then use these keywords in various parts of the company’s website to help the website be as externally visible as possible.

In the afternoon I watched as the guys conducted an interview with Pushpinder Kaur, who was representing her company ‘Sustainable Wowhood’ based here in the West Midlands with Speed Plus.

Around five minutes of video was recorded on the day, but the video has been condensed down to just 1 minute 43 seconds so that it is concise and keeps the viewers attention for the entire duration. This is a very important factor when editing a video before it is publicly uploaded!

I am very grateful to Matt, Mike, and the rest of the Stone’s Throw team for allowing me to work with them all week. I think I have taken away a lot of knowledge about how a video production company operates, as well as experience that I will be able to apply to any businesses that I may work with in the future.

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