17th July 2012

So for those of you who don’t already know I am currently completing a Masters in Children’s Digital Media Production and if you haven’t been an avid follower of my main blog: My Box It’s Life and Me you might not know that I like the CBBC series My Life.

My course is taught at the University of Salford in Media City, where I take many if not all the photo’s for my main blog- including my time lapse photo’s of the new Coronation Street.

This section of my blog will take a slightly different format and is about the research project that I am completing based funnily enough on the series My Life. I am luckily enough (in my opinion) to not have to write a dissertation instead I get to produce, direct, film and edit my own version of an episode.

Of course a masters is a masters and so there is a reasonable amount of research and writing that needs to be involved. (Not enough to put you off reading my progress blog I hope)

18th July 2012

I wanted to create a documentary about children for children.

So the idea: way back when things were colder and we were signing carols and I was certainly craving mince pies I watched a documentary on ITV called ‘My Child’s Not Perfect’ now the title grabbed me…..surly every child is perfect I wondered how they were going to make a programme with presumably negative connotations to their parenting.

But I loved it I thought it was not only really interesting but also inspirational, and I don’t just mean this because it inspired me. Having watched the documentary in the evening I woke up the next day and knew what I wanted to complete my final project on.  A sort of role reversal my parent’s not perfect.

For many years I have been interested in assistance dogs, since Brownies when a local lady who had Multiple Sclerosis came to give a talk she had a beautiful black poodle who was her mobility assistance dog, the dog could support her to get back up if she fell over get the washing out of the machine. From this moment I set about learning about assistance dogs.

Image

Picture description- Guide dog wearing harness walking down the street.

http://assistance-dog-aware.blogspot.co.uk/

Image

Picture description- Hearing dog wearing coat.

http://bloggers.com/post/hearing-dogs-for-helping-deaf-people-4663619

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Picture description- mobility assistance dog reaching for bank card at cash machine wearing purple jacket.

http://www.guardian.co.uk/news/blog/2007/mar/09/post273

25th July 2012

Having watched many of the My Life episodes I took these thoughts and contemplated how interesting a My Life styled documentary about guide dogs would be.

The more I thought about it I soon realised that it combined all of my passions and was the perfect final research project for me.

I came up with two possible types of contributors that could provide an interesting story:

  1. A family member who has an assistance dog and there under 12 children, niece/ nephews or grand children tell the story
  2. A young person of under 14 year olds who has or is getting an assistance dog.

And so in early February 2012 I set about trying to find the perfect contributor, to begin with I contacted charities, Dogs for the Disabled, Canine Partners, Support Dogs, RNIB, National Blind Children’s Society, An many local deaf support centres. (to name a few)

Most got back to me and although were very interested in the project, but due to being charities did not have the resources or contacts to be able to provide me with any assistance.

It was a huge disappointment but I was not going to give up that easily!!!

Throughout my research into assistance dogs, I started to really appreciate the work that the support charities do and how important volunteers are to them. And so I decided that I could spare some time to volunteer.

2nd August

(We are looking back and it’s about May time now.)

Now that I am a volunteer for guide dogs, I have learnt so much not only about the charity and the great work it can do but also about the amazing partnerships that have been made.

My Job role, is as Media Assistant so I have written several press releases one that I am particularly proud of because I wrote it as though from a guide dog Edward, through this I learnt that it costs on average £50,000 per dog that Guide Dogs fund, this figure I think is astonishing but so worth while.

I have also decided that I would make a couple promotional videos for Guide Dogs to help promote the charity and hopefully encourage people to volunteer or perhaps even donate to the cause.

Through out the process of becoming a volunteer, I met Janet who works for the charity and she put me in contact with Chris, who is a guide dog owner that might just be interested in being a part of my project!

Fingers crossed.

3 th August 

The series My Life, is in my opinion a hidden gem on the CBBC channel it is not something that too many people know about in particular adults (some who actually work for CBBC) don’t know that there is a documentary series for children about children but in many cases the children who actually fit into the channels target audience they don’t know either.

I know this from some research I carried out with some groups of 9 year old children out of 8 only one had actually seen and knew of the series.

The series is not actually made by the BBC’s in house team it instead is made through independent production companies for the BBC because these are themselves based across the county it means that the contributors of the documentaries also are.

Documentary series following the highs and lows of a group of youngsters. Tackling a different subject each episode, the strand provides an insight into the lives of different children across the UK, each with a unique story to tell.

The series’ have seen many amazing children contributors with incredible stories to tell, there have been episodes about disabilities, sports, traveller children’s, children’s whose parents are in Afghanistan and whose dad’s are in prison, over coming their stammer, children with alopecia, children with prosthetic limbs, narcolepsy, dwarfism, and to a child getting a kidney transplant from his dad.

I have seen them all and can tell you that the series is extremely diverse and as you can see covers some very serious issues.

It was at this point that I realised that from knowing the concept for the series you could see the programme themes fitting on BBC2, BBC3, Channel 4 or Channel 5. And even with their contributors being children the programmes would still do extremely well if they were appealing to a older target audience. So I wondered how it was possible to make the series about complex issues suitable for children if the CBBC channels target audience is 6- 12 years old.

I set myself the research area and question Looking into CBBC’s series My Life what factors are important to make factual programming about serious subjects suitable and appropriate for children?

It would be through making my own version of a My Life episode I would endeavour to answer to this question.

5th August 

In May I went to meet Chris she was extremely interested in my project she has done a lot of work for guide dogs, from helping on the tours, giving speech’s about being a Guide Dog owner, and has been on TV for the charity.

Chris was diagnosed with Retina Pigamentosa many years after seeing something on daytime TV explaining about symptoms that were similar to hers; she is now completely blind and has had 5 Guide Dogs since then as well as completing 2 degrees and raising 2 children.

Chris has a best friend called Shane he’s a golden Labrador retriever cross. And she has 3 grandchildren who came round whilst I was there. And they have agreed to be in my documentary. ‘My Life, My Nan and Her Best Friend’

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