Recently I applied for a job at the BBC. Specifically, a six month puppetry internship, working with the CBBC in Manchester. The job description was very enticing and the fact that the BBC was offering this kind of paid opportunity is a credit to their company. The job was advertised on their website and I knew instantly I had to give it a shot. The dates however, conflicted with my course at the London School of Puppetry which was cause for some internal debate. The head of the school, Caroline Astell-Burt, was incredibly supportive of my application and encouraged and helped me through the process, assuring me I could defer my course if need be.
A good friend of mine and LSP graduate Kate James-Moore was also applying for the job, and as we were both living at the LSP house in Grassington at the time, we spent a lot of time discussing our applications and the prospect of getting an interview. This was really our aim; the interview. An interview would be a form of validation, a chance to meet the people and showcase ourselves as professional artists. I am a firm believer that, for myself personally, I am much more appealing in person than I am on paper and so was eager to at least get that far. The application process was a long one, mainly because we also had to set up a profile on the BBC Careers Hub which was a daunting task. Not to sound conceited, but how can I do myself justice with an online profile? This is something I continually struggle with on my website. An online presence in today's world is so important, but as I say, I believe I am much more appealing in person. If only I could have that chance.
I would have that chance; Kate and I were both invited to interview for the position. We were wrapped! This was a fantastic opportunity. I was so proud and excited for both of us to have gotten this far. With a script to learn and a company to research, I knuckled down and did my best to prepare for the interview. This included watching lots and lots of CBBC kids shows... it's a hard life! There is one particular show I have fallen in love with: "Bear Behaving Badly". I won't go into details but if you love puppets and British humor as I do, give this show a watch!
The big day came and I found myself outside the BBC buildings in Manchester hours before my interview. I wandered the courtyard reciting my lines, trying to calm my nerves. I would give it my best, that is all I could do, but it had become very apparent just how much I actually wanted this job. I walked into the building and was greeted warmly by reception, and after a short wait was led upstairs by a very friendly young man named Will. I was shown into a small room and introduced to the interview panel, Tony Reed, Natalie Bolton and Melissa Mitchell, three professionals for whom I have the utmost respect. There were also three beautiful puppets in the room; Will had informed me they were some of the original puppets from Sesame Street.
We began with the audition piece; I selected a beautiful dark purple puppet with lovely rainbow feather hair and performed for the panel. It is very easy to over analyse an audition, however I will admit, nerves were most certainly present. I felt my energy lag and my connection with the puppet falter as I tried to keep out of my own head. I wish I had have taken the time to really play with the puppet and the script, but as in any audition, it is great practice and I will only improve every time! This was followed by some questions by the panel, some of which were very interesting and really got me thinking: questions like "What does puppetry mean to you?". I was quite proud of how I held myself through this process, taking the time to really think about the questions and give honest and thorough answers. It was actually a really pleasant experience and got me thinking about my craft and my goals in a way I perhaps hadn't in some time. The panel were all very friendly and made me feel very comfortable throughout. I left the room feeling good. I had done my personal best and was proud of that.
Last week, I received a phone call from the BBC. They told me that unfortunately, due to a technicality, I was ineligible for the position. They did however offer me some very constructive feedback saying that they were very impressed by my work and would have loved to offer me the position if they could. They have invited me to potentially do some work experience with them in the new year, which would be a fantastic opportunity for me.
I learned a lot from my interview at the BBC. I gained renewed perspective about myself as a professional and a great insight into a company that I have a lot of respect for. I feel I can be very proud of my achievement; three hundred people applied for the BBC's puppetry internship, only fifteen were invited to an interview and two were offered the position. It is a wonderful validation to know I have what it takes and I will move forward with a renewed ferocity towards my goals. I have confidence that with continued hard work... and play, I can achieve my dreams.
I would like to thank everyone who supported me through this process, I really appreciate all the advice and encouragement. I would also like to thank the BBC for a fantastic opportunity and an experience from which I have grown and learned so much. I wish the BBC every success with their interns and look forward to hearing from them in the new year.