Conflict in the Workplace

In a tight, busy production, stress is inevitable. People deal with stress in many different ways. But in the close, intense world of a production company conflict between colleagues is almost inevitable. One of my colleagues gave me some very valuable advice in one such situation, which I would like to share with you all. He said

“If something hasn’t been done right, or hasn’t been done, or hasn’t happened to someone’s exact preference, or maybe it just hasn’t worked out that way, don’t become defensive about it. That confirms that there is a problem. Instead, agree that there does seem to be an issue, which immediately makes a point of contact, rather than conflict, and suggest a way of solving the problem.”

I noticed that this is exactly what one of my more experienced and highly diplomatic colleagues was doing. She is someone I seek to emulate in every way anyway, but this expert way of handling conflict simply reinforced that!

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Conflict in the Workplace

London Life

I’ve realised I’ve got to this point in my blog and not actually written about what living in London is like! It’s a pretty key part of working in the TV industry (the only real alternative is Glasgow), so I thought I’d do a myth-busting blog about London.

London Myth London Truth
Everyone hurries everywhere Yep, pretty true actually. London operates at a much faster pace than anywhere else. I got so used to this that when I went back to Oxford to see my family, I pushed past everyone out of the station, went striding down the street…and then stopped. There was no one else around. No one to elbow out of my way. No one to tread on my feet as I tried to manoeuvre my overnight bag around a corner. And it was so QUIET!
The underground is scary and busy Well, yes, at rush hour and at weekends when all the tourists are out. But fortunately TV hours are 10am till 6pm, so you won’t see too much of rush hour. One thing to remember about the tube though: try not to make eye contact with a stranger. It’s weird. You may be squashed so close to someone’s armpit you can tell which type of Lynx they use (or not, as the case may be), but eye contact is still not okay.
It’s dangerous As with any city, you learn where to go and where not to go. Just make sure your house is secure and that you have contents insurance.
It’s expensive Yes, but it depends where you go. If you’re eating out in Covent Garden, it’ll be daylight robbery. But there are plenty of apps, Twitter accounts and websites that recommend free, nearly free, or cheap and cheerful places all around London. A few of my favourites are:

App: Secret London

Twitter Account: Townfish

Website: Atlas Obscura

If I’m meeting a friend in London, I always ask them to recommend somewhere or something, that way they’re helping me discover more of London, one coffee at a time!

The tube map is so complicated you’ll never learn it WRONG. Londoners take great delight in asking a friend where they live and then working out their route home via their internal tube map. Or they just ask Citymapper, the essential app for London travel. And once you get to know your internal tube map, you begin to understand all the London targeted tube advertising, which is mainly based on puns of underground stations.
The air is really polluted According to statistics, yes. And I have noticed the air to be dirtier than where I come from, rural Oxfordshire. That’s to be expected. But to combat that London is full of the most wonderful, well kept, luscious parks. You can come out of the dodgiest Lidl you’ve ever seen into a stunning 10 acre tree-lined park where tennis courts are filled with mixed doubles and personal trainers run their sessions at the free outdoor community gym.
Everyone is really rude There are a lot of people in London. You’ll get some rude ones, but you’ll get many, many more kind ones, generous ones, artistic ones, talented ones, humorous ones, clever ones.

 

But I think my all-time favourite thing about London is that there’s always something going on. The city never sleeps: there are community initiatives, comedy nights, plays, gigs, cool bars, museums, shops, clubs, swimming pools, sports clubs, all going on every day. If you’re bored or lonely in London, you’ve done it wrong.

London Life

Lights, Camera, Zenia

In addition to being the researcher across the documentary series I’m working on at Glasshead, I also get to be the assistant on any shoots that we do for the London episode (mainly because the company can afford to send me to accompany the cameraman, whereas the budget doesn’t quite stretch to that for the other international episodes). So one Saturday in early June, I got up at 5am to get the train to Leeds to film a conference. I was just supposed to look after the wide shot and take care of contributor release forms. I was in my element. I like a little camera work, but it’s not my main focus – I genuinely enjoy taking care of paperwork, carrying stuff around, coordinating contributors and interviews, anything that involves being organised and organising other people. And problem solving. Which, as you can imagine, is not what the cameraman/director wants to be thinking about, so I was able to make myself very useful indeed! I had the time of my life, and although it became a 16 hour day, I was still buzzing with adrenalin by the end of it.

I do enjoy the organisational office-based elements of producing, but when you finally get out on a shoot it all becomes worthwhile, you see what your office work has been building up to. And fortunately the story we were covering is genuinely inspiring, I feel honoured to be a part of that production.

But I wasn’t expecting the next development in my role as ‘assistant’.

The next shoot was an evening one, based in London. I arrived on location, set up the wide as before, and looked after it, tweaking the shot slightly as and when necessary (widening the iris, upping the gain, tilting and panning to follow the action). But then we had to film something more dynamic – and the director asked me to take the camera off the tripod and do handheld stuff! Bear in mind that this is a pretty hefty Sony EX3 and I’ve never done handheld for more than three minutes at a time…then imagine the pain in my arms after having held this thing at shoulder and hip level for 45 minutes straight. This stuff is really physical.

But I was so honoured to have been trusted with this responsibility. In every way, on so many levels, working in TV is a constant baptism by fire. You get given the chance to take on more responsibility almost by accident and you have to face it head on, without any training or practice. And if you’re good, if you don’t fail, if you get on with it without complaining, you’ll get to do it again. And again. And that way you get to practice. And then one day, you get really good at it, and you get paid a lot of money for doing it.

I’m just looking forward to the bit where I get paid a lot of money to do this…but in the meantime, I’ll do it because, despite the sore biceps, I love every second.

Lights, Camera, Zenia