Archive for the 'Film/TV' Category

“Hideous” Vanessa Feltz ‘bullied work experience girl’

OK, I added the “Hideous” – but this is the story reported on Digital Spy over the past few days.

Vanessa Feltz has been accused of bullying a student who was doing work experience on her BBC London show.

Beverley Nesbit, 19, claims that she was reduced to tears after a series of incidents involving the presenter in July. She secured the post after winning a £120 bid arranged by Feltz’s daughter Saskia Kurer at a university charity event.

“I basically paid to be abused by Vanessa Feltz for a week,” she told the Daily Mail. “Vanessa was really brash, not like the bubbly person you see on television, but in a rude and arrogant way. She barely acknowledged me, and when she did she said everything I had done was rubbish.”

Recalling one incident, Nesbit said: “Vanessa turned to me and said, ‘Beverley, which is your favourite poem by Yeats?’ I’m not a stupid person, but I was honest and told her I’d never heard of Yeats and didn’t have a favourite. She was really rude and said something like, ‘That’s ridiculous, write me a 2,000 word essay on Yeats by tomorrow’. I thought she was joking.”

Feltz apparently requested the essay the following day. “I had to admit I hadn’t done it,” Nesbit added. “I couldn’t believe it. In the end I went to the toilet and just cried. I just wanted to go home. I couldn’t believe how rude and horrible she had been. In the end a producer came and asked me if I was okay.”

Feltz didn’t respond to the paper’s requests for a comment. A BBC spokesman said: “This was a private visit arranged by Vanessa and not part of the BBC work experience scheme.”


Debate about Internships in the Media

You can now check out BECTU’s debate about internships and unpaid work over at their YouTube channel. Part One below.

Shooting yourself in the foot?

An Event on Film and Television Internships

Date: Thursday 18th March
Time: 7:00pm
Location: The University of London Union, Malet Street, London, WC1E 7HY (nearest tube stations: Goodge Street & Russell Square)

In the wake of the recent London Dreams case, which retrospectively awarded an unpaid intern the National Minimum Wage for the hours she worked on a feature film, there has been much debate within the industry about the effect this decision will have. Does the verdict represent the long-overdue protection desperately needed by the industry’s most vulnerable workers, or the death of creativity and collaboration which often provides a stepping stone for those who are new to the industry? Should it be viewed as a victory or a disaster..? 

Continue reading ‘Shooting yourself in the foot?’

Nickelodeon UK : Bloody Brilliant

One of the few companies still engaged in the intern world in a big way in the UK TV business is Nickelodeon.

Not only are their offices actually a lot of fun to work in, but having worked as a paid intern there for a few months now, I can safely say that they give you responsibilities that are challenging, exciting, interesting and stimulating. They pay almost all of their long-term interns I think, and the short termers get a great deal of good, relevant, and exciting experience mingling with celebs and such in a positive way.

I just can’t speak highly enough of Nickelodeon as an employer, especially for interns. Whilst I hear horror stories from my intern pals every day, my work feels like a gift – It’s just the right balance and there is a great deal of support and help provided to get you on your feet.

You put in the work for this company and they most certainly reward you for it.

Even prostitutes get paid…

I’ve been working as an “intern”, (or if you prefer, substitute the usual ‘unpaid, unappreciated, exploited office helot without whom the entire company would implode’) in a business organisation  for the past 3 months. Technically, I should be getting some specific experience and in fairness I have been, for a given value of ‘some’. The trouble is all the other stuff I’ve been asked to do. Like organise and book my boss’s holiday, book restaurants for his friends, find tickets for shows, go to the supermarket, squeeze fruit into juice for 5 hours for a cocktail party etc etc. My boss once made me go to the cash machine, and honestly I have never been so tempted to commit a crime in my life.

The most recent outrage He Who Must Not Be Named has perpetrated was to ask me to track down a certain kind of foodstuff as a gift for some friends: and this item, believe you me, is rare as hen’s teeth. Probably rarer. So I call up Harrods, Harvey Nicks, Selfridges, all the major supermarkets and some of the minor ones too. No go. Then I trawl through the internet. No luck, except a cash and carry who demand you buy 100 of them. For a moment I’m tempted to do so, just to see his face as 100 of the dratted things are unloaded into my his hallway. Most people by this stage would give up, but my boss is made of sterner stuff; that sort of attitude did not win us the Empire. No lily-livered surrender for them. He Who Must Not Be Named resembles an angry deity, propitiated only by the sacrificial sweat of their workforce. Boss decides that the thing to do is to ring up the factory where it’s made –in China.  He reasons that everybody speaks English these days so they must have someone who can help. With some scepticism I call them, and sure enough the person on the other end of the line has no idea what I’m saying and eventually I thank them for their time (in English, since my school didn’t stretch to Mandarin) and hang up. I’m told to send an email, which I duly do. This saga has started to haunt my waking and sleeping: I’m so irrationally stressed about it that I’m almost weeping in frustration. This is compounded by being sent texts about it at 9pm on a Sunday evening, for example.

I have a Master’s degree from Durham and this is what I’m reduced to. Like an idiot, or a masochist, I take it, partly because I’ve been brought up to be helpful and partly because I’m so desperate for a job now that I’d probably Morris dance naked on the House of Commons roof if it meant someone would offer me one. I’m terrified that any refusal will lead to a terrible reference, so my boss can dangle the prospect of a permanent position at the end of this stint (which, incidentally, has no official end date, so I could be working for free forever or until I find another job), ensuring that I never refuse to do anything, no matter how absurd or mundane. In the meantime I am effectively paying, since I have to pay for my own travel expenses, to have my dignity and self-respect peeled away, layer by layer, as though flayed alive. Even prostitutes get paid for their services; interns have to pay their punters. And meanwhile employers still want their pound of graduate flesh, and we still give it to them.

I want a cocktail

I want a cocktail

Campaign for minimum wage keeps moving

The Low Pay Commission mention “work experience” in their annual report on the operation of the Minimum Wage, published today:

“4.80   We again received evidence on this topic this year from a number of stakeholders.

The National Council for Work Experience (NCWE) stated that employers in the media industry continue to exploit students through unpaid work experience, and it believed there was some inconsistency and confusion with the existing guidance and advice by the Department for Business, Enterprise and Regulatory Reform (BERR), the Department for Innovation, Universities and Skills (DIUS), and HM Revenue & Customs (HMRC). It was concerned that unpaid work experience could lead to the exclusion of less wealthy students and reported little policing of the minimum wage as it applied to this group.

Continue reading ‘Campaign for minimum wage keeps moving’

Maybe we’re looking at working for free from the wrong angle?

When you work normally you’re paid in money.  When you work for free you need to be paid in some other kind of currency – and I think it’s important that you make sure that this happens.  But the question is what kind of currency that should be.

Continue reading ‘Maybe we’re looking at working for free from the wrong angle?’

Interns Anonymous

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