Jay Chapman: A Year In role
Reflecting on my first year at Rubber Duckers
A year ago, I had just completed my BA Hons in Media, Culture and Production and was unsure about my next steps. Following a stunted experience at university impacted by COVID-19, I was hesitant about what aspect of my creative skillset I wanted to develop and which career path I wanted to begin. However, I knew I still wanted to work in content production, building upon the skills I learned in my course, so I decided to undertake some freelance photography and videography work for those in my network as I waited to find the right job opening. I wanted to do something that would allow me to produce visual content and express myself whilst also adding weight to my continued professional development. So, when I received an offer from Rubber Duckers, it felt like it was an opportunity I couldn't turn down.
A multifaceted journey
What excited me about my role from the start was the promise of diversity. I knew I wouldn't be confined to a single role; instead, I would have the chance to develop my skills in videography, photography, web design and marketing. What I love the most about my role is that every day feels different. Working for the business has provided me with the opportunity to work on a wide range of content production projects which has allowed me to develop different areas of my skillset every single day.
As I reflect on the past year, I'm amazed at how much I've learned and developed. I’ve developed my skills in video editing, gradually becoming proficient at crafting captivating visual narratives. I’ve had the opportunity to work on a wide scope of editing projects and learned to use the constructive feedback my mentors and clients have provided to improve my ability to meet client expectations and refine my skills in the process. I’ve become competent at capturing video footage using a tripod, becoming more adept at handling, and maximising the potential of my videography equipment, including cameras, microphones, and lighting setups. I’ve seen growth in my development of pre-production skills, creating detailed storyboards, shot lists, and production schedules to ensure smoother shooting experiences. My journey in photography has been equally rewarding, growing from someone inexperienced with client briefs to someone who can confidently handle client photography projects in various genres. Moreover, I’ve learnt professional post-processing techniques to enhance and refine my images to an industry standard through photo editing software such as Adobe Lightroom and Photoshop. I know that I have much more to learn, but I’ve found the perfect environment to utilise my current skillset without neglecting personal growth, providing me with a solid foundation for my development.
Learning from the best
One of the most valuable aspects of my journey at Rubber Duckers has been the privilege of learning from industry experts. Throughout my tenure here, I've received unwavering support from two key figures: Ross, our Head of Content, and Chris, our Managing Director. They have consistently offered their guidance, readily assisting with any challenges I've encountered, and providing me with a platform for expanding my knowledge and honing my expertise through their valuable insights. Their mentorship has not only elevated my skill set but has also significantly influenced my creative approach. I've felt like a sponge, absorbing knowledge, and techniques that I apply to my work every day.
I feel at home at work. It’s a relaxed environment with mentors who are accessible and approachable. The solidarity and support here are unparalleled, I feel valued and that I am being supported which makes every challenge more manageable and every success more rewarding.
A Proud Milestone
Becoming Rubber Duckers' inaugural employee marked a significant milestone filled with challenges and a profound sense of accomplishment. My journey with the company began with a unique set of circumstances, where both my mentors and I embarked on uncharted territory. While there may not have been a pre-existing roadmap, my mentors demonstrated a remarkable level of preparedness, providing guidance and support as we collectively navigated the unknown. The initial days required a combination of improvisation and adaptability as I familiarised myself with the company's vision and goals, ensuring that my efforts aligned seamlessly with broader objectives.
I'm proud to have been the company's first employee. It brought a unique sense of responsibility—a commitment to prove my worth and contribute to the business's growth. The journey has been challenging, but the sense of achievement is worth every effort.
One standout moment from my first year at Rubber Duckers was my involvement with the Teddy Rocks Festival. I had the incredible opportunity to capture video content for this event, documenting not only the festival itself but also the talented artists and bands that graced the stage. Knowing that the festival's proceeds go to a children's cancer charity made the experience even more special. It was a moment where my work aligned with a noble cause, and I cherished every moment of it.
Another project I particularly enjoyed was for Southampton Athletic Club, creating content for their website. This project epitomises the diversity of my role as I captured audio for a showreel, photographed athletes in the field and even had the opportunity to capture footage with a drone. It was great to develop my skills in multiple areas and to be heavily involved in a project the business is proud of.
5 Tips for Junior/Apprentice Joining a New Business/Agency
As I reflect on my first year in this new role, I thought it would be a good idea to share the valuable lessons I’ve learned with future juniors and apprentices embarking on their professional journeys.
The first year at a new agency is a time of growth and adaptation. Be open to learning from your colleagues and mentors; every bit of knowledge gained is an investment in your future.
Don't be afraid to ask questions, even if they seem basic. It's the best way to learn and show your eagerness to understand the company's operations.
Your colleagues are your greatest assets. Foster strong relationships with your team members, as they can provide guidance, support, and friendship throughout your journey.
Often, as a junior or apprentice, it's perfectly normal to have doubts and question whether you're making the right decisions. However, remember that it's okay to make mistakes; in fact, it's a crucial part of the learning process.
Don't be afraid to take initiative, even if you're uncertain. Your willingness to try and potentially stumble along the way will not only lead to growth but also demonstrate your commitment to the team. Mistakes are valuable lessons in disguise, helping you develop and refine your skills over time.
Remember why you chose this career path. Stay passionate about what you do, and let that enthusiasm drive your dedication and creativity in your work.
As I look back on my first year at Rubber Duckers, I am filled with gratitude for the experiences, skills, and relationships I've gained. It's been a year of growth, and I can't wait to see what the future holds as I continue my career within the media industry.