Week 8 – how did that happen?! I’m two thirds of the way through my internship with Fuel, and I want to reiterate (again, I know, but I think this can’t be said enough) how grateful I am for this opportunity, and how generous the Fuel team have been with their time, advice, generosity (and the office biscuits!). I’ve learned so much, and been able to firm up my feeling from producing student theatre that ‘producing professionally would be something I would find exciting, rewarding and interesting even when I’m doing the most boring stuff of the job’. I’ve now spent eight sets of three days, 24 days, doing some really exciting and some more mundane (see shredding below) things, and they’ve shown me that this is definitely something I’m interested in pursuing in the future. As well as enabling me to learn how to do them better before I have the pressure (which I really hope I will have in a year or two) of having someone pay me to do this job, and no one to double check that I’ve done it right and fix it if I haven’t. Thank you, thank you, thank you.
And now, on to what I’ve been up to this week.
I arrived in the office at quarter to 10 on Wednesday morning, and was greeted by an email from Stuart, the head of production, asking me to book a van to come to Somerset House, pick up a load of technical equipment, and take it across town to the store, where he was waiting for it. I did so, and then started on my task for the morning; planning an itinerary to send some members of a creative team for one of our future projects abroad for some research next month, and looking into the necessary visas, vaccinations etc. I’d started getting my head around this when the van – which I’d been told would take an hour and a half to arrive – showed up at 10:39. So a few other members of the team in the office and I loaded up the van and it went off to the store, and then I got back to work, comparing flight possibilities and timings, looking into distances and estimated taxi costs (which I had to get google to contextualise for me, because I had no idea about the conversion rates for the local currencies), looking into possible hotels and costs, and drafting a sample itinerary. I formatted this into a word document list, which is my personal preferred way of reading a schedule for myself, so that I could best understand my options, and then reformatted it into a timetable-like format for the producer who is working on this project. (Side note – let this serve as a reminder to everyone that people all have preferred formats for understanding things, that none of these are necessarily better than others, and that a bit of flexibility – e.g. working in your own preferred format, and then handing to others in their preferred format – is a good thing!) I spent the afternoon working on a couple of little things which needed doing (posting a couple of letters, looking up an old email which Niamh needed for a future project…) and planning social media publicity for the next few weeks and months – looking into recent reviews which could be shared, making a brief list of upcoming events and looking up good quotations in the script of a play which will be touring soon (putting my 2/3s of an English degree to good use!).
On Thursday morning I continued with social media publicity planning. This started with looking up special days of interest coming up nationally and internationally which we could use (e.g. if we had had a show about a rabbit, we could have used National Rabbit Day for publicity. Unfortunately, we don’t, but if you do – feel free to make the most of this, and let me know about your show in the comments, because that sounds like fun!). I then interrupted my social media work, which was relatively long-term stuff, to do something more short notice, updating the latest stage of discussion in the communal ‘communications’ document, in which we list venues we contact, the show we’re contacting them about, who the specific person involved in the communication is, if there is one, and what the latest communication has been (e.g. ‘this show isn’t right for their style of programme/their venue, but they would like to hear more about future projects/other work by this artist…’). I then got back to social media planning, listening to an amazing podcast with the artist whose script I had read the day before, listening for interesting snippets we could use. This took a while, as the podcast was 69 minutes long, and any extract I wanted to quote I needed to listen to several times, but it was fascinating. After that, I had a meeting with Louise, one of Fuel’s co-directors, who wanted to have a proper introduction (as she had been away for most of the time since I arrived) and also hear both how I was doing, and what I want to do with the next few weeks and the future. I was a little nervous beforehand (who isn’t when they are prepping to have a chat with someone whose work they admire?) but it was really relaxed, while being incredible helpful for me. We essentially had a chat over cups of tea (this is, after all, England). She asked me about myself and what I was interested in, and what work I enjoy. You’ve already read a lot of this on the blog, so I’ll spare you the repetition, especially given how long this week’s blog is looking. We then talked about options for the future, how she’d got to where she is and what motivates her, which was both fascinating and inspiring. She suggested that the best way to be a producer was practice and just doing the stuff, experiencing the problems and learning how best to problem solve. She said that lots of good courses are available, and teach interesting and useful things, but that she felt, from her own experience, that one learns more from just doing it.
Friday was another good day, occupied mainly with setting up social media publicity schedules. (Incidentally, would this be something you’d like a how-to for a Monday advice blog sometime? Let me know in the comments!) We have several shows coming up, and I planned out tweets about them to schedule in advance, such as countdown tweets. To read those, you’ll have to follow Fuel on twitter (you can do that here) and see what comes up in the next few months! I also had some administrative things to do which needed doing; booking some trains for some artists coming up to do some workshops, updating the Fuel website to reflect a couple of new relationships, and getting started on looking into branded sweets which we send as thank yous to venues etc. to see if there is a better option than the chocolates we’ve sent so far. More on that next week!
That’s all for this week, thank you as always for reading, and a huge thank you to my grandparents, who rented a place on Airbnb for the days I was in London, so I got to spend some time with you and go to work. I had a wonderful week, and I really appreciate your generosity.