Work Experience: Masspro

This is a backlog of info on a recent attempt to do some work experience over the recent easter break. I'm not sure if I'd mentioned anything to do with this project in passing in an earlier post so I'll just explain the whole situation here. Obivously I've changed the e-mail addresses shown.

So, when I was in 6th form college and art college, I worked at a video production company called Masspro Productions. They are only a small home-run business but the pay was good and it was some relevant experience in the field of video shooting, editing and dealing with clients in this field.

Sometime in February, I visited the company's site to see how they were getting along and was really impressed with both the new sleek look (which I can't help but think I've seen elsewhere, hopefully not stolen) and how the company had now fractured into two definitive factions: Masspro Productions who handle filming and edting and just Masspro who seem to deal with the animations and special post production stuff.
The 'Masspro' animation splinter really piqued my interest. I have little experience in the way of 3-D animation skill, apart from some basic Maya and XSI tutorials and experiments but it is a skill I would like to develop further so that I could implement 3-D in flash or aftereffects or just gain a stronger grasp on the subject. 'Masspro' also make use of aftereffects which I have more experience with but would still like to learn much more on through professional experience.
Anyway, I decided to make contact with the company as I knew Derrick, the founder/head of Masspro from my previous years of working for him and knew that this would give me a better chance of finding some tasty work experience in the company. This is where I made my first mistake.
I assumed for some reason that I needed to offer a bartering chip in order to gain some experience rather than just straight out asking for it. I guess this is a confidence issue but I know now to just be straight forward with my requests. Also in my e-mail to Derrick, I'm cringe-worthy in how I apologise to my previous employer for the lack of contact; it's completely unecessary and makes the conversation kind of awkward. This is what I sent:

Hi there Derrick!

It's will here, long time no see! How is it going? I've been very busy at uni, trying to figure out what I'm doing with my time and such. I regret that the time I've spent back in Hartlepool has been spent working on other projects so I've not had the time to 'assist' in filming or editing but it looks like you've done pretty well without me heh. I don't know if I've been ignorant of it, but I had no idea the company dealt so much with 2D/3D illustration and animation as well as editing and shooting and as someone who would like to be employed in the future of the creative industry, I think this is an area of importance.

I'm wondering, is the company now big enough that it's in two parts; one for animation/illustration and the other for film?

I'm not massively proficient with 3D programmes but I'm trying to get to grips with Maya at the moment and I'm using what time I have spare to study it. I'm also looking at programs like Aftereffects and trying to put them to use on the animations I'm currently working on which are 2D based but give the illusion of 3D with the moveable cameras and masking and such. Because there is alot on at the moment, but I get a genuine kick out of making a model, marionette or animating what I can.

What I'm wondering is, if we would be able to arrange something where I could come and work with Masspro for a number of weeks, unpaid of course and with the enthusiasm to learn of an eager young animator. What this means is that I could spend the time editing video for you, helping with filming if I could be shown how to use Maya or Aftereffects or just helped to get some editing experience under my belt. I am more interested in the Illustration/Animation side but the film experience is really important too.

I'm sorry if I've waffled on a bit here Derrick, I just had a bowl of frosties and had a cup of coffee so I'm a bit hyper but I hope this e-mail finds you well.

I hope to hear from you soon mate x


Eurgh! This e-mail is far too long and whats with the 'x' at the end? My future e-mails need to be much shorter, more to the point and just.. less awkward.

This was the response that I got back:

Hi Will,
nice to hear from you.
We are still here and getting slowly bigger, still looking for that big opening.
Still consider you part of our structure and would be glad to see you again.
We could have used you a lot over the last few months.
I don't know when you are available perhaps you could advise me of some dates when I could consider you for location shooting.
Yes we are expanding into 2 areas masspro and masspro productions.
With 2d and 3d you will need to speak to Mark his email XXXXXXXXXXX@fsmail miss the underline off.I will forward your across to him, please write to him direct.
We are also doing a lot on photography and now have a mobile studio.

I was touched to recieve this because it showed that Derrick actually did consider me as part of his business and that I'd made a difference and this pushed me to act more.
I wanted to e-mail Mark about getting some experience with that side of the company but for that, I needed to know what times I would be able to work during so I e-mailed one of my tutors:

hey christian tis will,

do you know where there might be any places in the timetable that I could use to take on a couple or more weeks of work experience or do I have to wait until summer for it?



p.s. apart from easter.

and i got this response

Hi Will

Additional work placements are always welcome, I'm sure we can fit something in but your Critical Studies is the main obstacle at the moment, next term is a lot more flexible. Have a look at your timetable, see if you can find any slots and then come have a chat.

What placement are you looking at?



I accidently deleted the e-mail chain that followed this but basically me and Christian discuss how it would be possible for me to not be in college for the first two weeks after easter in order for me to gain a maximum total of 5 weeks of work experience time. This was perfect for me because it meant that I would be able to work solidly on my editing and post production skills whilst also picking up some 3d production abilities. I was also hoping to craft a small showreel using these sharpened tools for the 3d animation company 'Qurios Entertainment' who operate in Hartlepool and whom I will discuss in my next post.

Anyway, times in hand, I set about informing Derrick and Mark using variations on this e-mail as to when I would be available:

Hi Mark, its Will again :)

I'm going to be in Hartlepool from Monday (17th) for a few weeks
and I was wondering if I would be able to get some experience in your
department, learning about how you go about producing slick animations and
illustrations for Masspro and picking up a bit it myself during the
time I'll be back in town.
I have a beginner's understanding of Maya, softimage xsi and
aftereffects but some professional experience would really help me out.
A couple of days or even a day, any time at all would be great; I
don't want to become a hinderance to your work or relaxing over easter.

Cheers Mark!

There, that e-mail is much shorter and more to the point whilst still being quite friendly, much better!
Anyway, I got a response from Derrick a few days later from him saying that those dates were fine and we
agreed from the 17th of march til around the 16th of april that I would be available to shoot and edit film for
him, in liu with the agreement I had assumed I needed to make to get me more relevant experience.

But, I never heard a response from Mark. Initially this was because the address Derrick had
supplied me with was a dud and kept bouncing back my e-mails but after telling Derrick this and
being given a new e-mail, I still recieved nothing after maybe 4 e-mails. I didn't want to push anymore
because I thought that Mark would find me insessent and irrating if I chased him any further in
that direction but looking on the situation now, I wish I had asked Derrick for Mark's mobile number
or something. I can't help but consider that the Masspro team arn't that sharp with the e-mailing

Anyway, with the dates over easter arranged, I prepared to come back to Hartelepool over easter
and get some work done. I emailed Derrick a week before I came up to check if everything was still
in check and he was fine so back I went. I had given myself a buffer of two days rest at the beginning
of the break in order to give myself a bit of a break between my college work and what I expected
to be a torrent of filming and production work. I casually e-mailed Derrick telling him that I was
back in town and would be ready to start work on monday.

I heard nothing back.

'Okay', I thought, 'I only gave him 2 days to respond to an e-mail so maybe he hasn't gotten around
to it yet'. The fact that Mark had still not gotten back to me was an annoyance but I figured that
once I was doing some filming or editing, I would be able to contact him from there. Again it strikes
me as to why I didn't get his phone number but I know that in every other way I made a
concious effort to attempt to contact the company.
On the monday morning, March 19th I went down to the office to start work and there was no
response at the door. From the doorstep I called Derrick and no one picked up. Frustrated, I went
home and for the next 4 days I called the office in an attempt to find out what was going on.
On saturday I recieved an e-mail reply to the message I had sent the previous week:

Hi Will

So, here we have the new email address of Marks which.. didn't gather a reply when I sent it a
few e-mails but more importantly and annoyingly, we have the reason why I was unable to contact Derrick. I can't help but be a little sore over this as we had arranged to act as professionals. I understand that it was easter and Derrick may have wanted a holiday but I didn't appreciate him not informing me that circumstances had shifted around and essentially making me come back to Hartlepool for no reason. I did like being back home but I'd have rather procured some work experience when I had the time space to do so.

I kept calling Derrick every other day to check if anything needed doing but he either wouldn't pick up or he'd inform me that there was nothing to do. I never got in contact with Mark because I didn't think to acquire his phone number and after the three weeks were up, I was left with a bitter taste of the experience; a shame because the previous times spent with Masspro had been such good ones.
I'm still attempting to contact Mark about the 3D production experience because that combination of being able to get very useful experience in the industry combined with being able to stay at home for a while is one I still find very appealing and I've just e-mailed Derrick for his phone number so, hopefully I'll be able to get somewhere. If not, I'll have to try and crack 'Qurios' by myself.

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