My Hero – My Journey

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Through the amazing Young Journalist Academy programme, I was given the opportunity to work with Footstep Productions, a professional television company, to create a documentary called ‘My Hero’. The series is all about giving young people the chance to meet their heroes and have a short apprenticeship with them.

My journey started a year ago, when the YJA team, from Boston High School, were interviewed by the company. I thought it went well but forgot about it completely until I heard the surprising news a few months later that I had been shortlisted with 3 other girls. I met a few members of the crew again and had a screen test as well as discussing what we like to do and what we love about journalism.

Once again I had low expectations about getting chosen however a few months later I heard good news that I had been chosen. The filming was delayed but last Monday, I finally met with the team again to film a short section of the documentary.

I was very nervous going into the first day of filming which was set at my school and worried about it so much not getting much sleep! However when I got in and started the interviews, commentary and presentation I really enjoyed it. Looking back at the day makes it seem very surreal and I almost wish I could do it over again!

The crew and Colette were so friendly and helped me relax in some of the very first takes, as well and encouraging me and giving me lots of tips so I could really make the most of the opportunity.

The question I have been asked a lot was what was it like? At first it was all very strange, with quite a few microphones and a huge camera but throughout the day I became more comfortable and confident in my pieces to camera.

When sports day was cancelled due to the weather I had to improvise, commentating on a netball match held in the sports hall. This threw me but surprisingly I feel the interview with the head and the commentary of the match went well.

In August I met the crew again to film the rest of the documentary with famous presenter and sports commentator, Jacqui Oatley.

This opportunity has been an amazing experience all thanks to the Young Journalist Academy and Footstep Productions and all I can say is: bring on August!

(Below is a picture of the crew from left to right: Paul, the camera man, Me, Colette, Olatz (a Spanish intern) and Steve the sound guy)


27th August…

Last Friday I went down to London, filming the first of two days with Jacqui, this was at her house and she took me through all the preparation that needs doing before going to the studio. First however, she sat down and talked me through some of the footage we had shot last time, giving me tips and compliments about my interviewing technique and my commentary.

After, we went over her preparation that needs to be done before every match and before she goes to the studio. Another big part of the preparation is the wardrobe. Jacqui explained to me that she actually has no styling at the studio and no budget meaning she has to decide on an outfit herself and take it in on the day of filming.

We then filmed the iconic opening credits of the programme in front of a green screen! And while Jacqui shot off for a quick break, the green screen proved a challenge to put away!

The last bit of filming that took place was the interview. This was the part of the day that I was most nervous about as I find it quite tricky to remember everything I need to ask and enquire about. However with the tips Jacqui gave me in the morning ~I had adapted my interviewing technique and therefore found it a lot easier and almost found myself relaxing!

After a long day of filming the crew, Jacqui and I went out for dinner at a nearby café before saying goodbye.

Monday saw us at a new location- at the Input Media Studios where the Women’s Football show is filmed. Here we met Jacqui and we went straight into the production meeting where scripts were handed out and edited to suit the liking of Shelley Alexander (Editorial lead for Women’s sport at the BBC), Jacqui and the producer.  The make up artist Gina arrived shortly after along with Steph and Emma the two guests so Shelley gave me a quick tour of the set before allowing me to give her a quick interview. It was nearing rehearsal time so I took the trip to the gallery where I could see the set of the show from all the cameras.

Jacqui explained that although the show isn’t broadcast live, the producer and director like to run it as if it was live so the talk sections are as natural as possible and it can make the whole process a lot quicker. In the gallery you could really see how the show comes together.

After the shooting of the show had been wrapped up, Jacqui took me into the studio and gave me some tips about presenting and reading the auto cue before it was my turn.

After getting my microphone fitted, I practised reading from the autocue before having the piece recorded.

After another fascinating day the experience finally came to an end, and I have had an amazing time! Thank you to everyone who supported me throughout this journey and I can’t wait to see the end result!

Kyra Balderstone, 

Boston High School Newsroom.

One Response to My Hero – My Journey

  1. Neil Paddison September 20, 2015 at 2:20 pm

    What an amazing opportunity! Well done for stepping up to the challenge, Kyra. It must have been nerve-wracking, commentating and interviewing on the spot like this. Can’t wait to see the finished documentary!