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[personal profile] charloween
Today is the start of VidUKon, which is exciting! I'm heading down/over to Cardiff in a few hours, but first I have to finish an article that I'd agreed to have done by yesterday.

The week has been long already (so long, and another week has passed since the last thesis update, which was: external examiner out of the hospital, but persists in being a dick). I'm in the annoying headspace of not being able to face the article (because it makes me feel dumb when I can't get the words out, eh) but knowing I'd feel even worse if I hid from it this morning and tried to finish it on the train or this evening.

I woke up at 5am this morning - well before my alarm, thank you - and I feel vaguely shitty. But I'm looking forward to seeing all the lovely VidUKon people, to knitting more of a pullover I started last weekend in a fog of procrastinating/avoidance/stress (I'm about 45% done?), and to grabbing a nice drink from the hotel bar once we make it to the con.

Yesterday I shambled together an application for a Dream Job (for which I'm underqualified - they want 2 years' post-doc experience, and I'm still in thesis limbo), which I feel vaguely bad about. I'd convinced myself I don't have a chance, but I had a good conversation yesterday with a mentor who encouraged me to put something in. My worry is that I've written something embarrassingly dim, and that'll follow me around this incredibly tiny academic field.

The good conversation yesterday with a mentor happened when she took me along to the BBC Written Archives (about 90min drive each way from where we're based). I hadn't been before, and I was curious about how it all works, so I approached a friendly face in the department and asked if she'd be visiting any time soon, and if I could come with. It all worked out wonderfully!

I spent the day reading the production files for [famous UK children's cartoon recently also adapted into a feature film], which was newly vetted/opened for research and therefore meant I was the first researcher in. It was fascinating to see letters sent by [character's creator] to the production company, and the production company's correspondence with the BBC. They'd also kept a letter sent by a 10yo viewer, asking for more episodes. oh my heart It was a good introduction through, because it proved that the production files aren't always where the fascinating stuff is kept.

Most of the day I was looking through contracts - more like receipts, really - for an animator/puppeteer who was not a BBC staff member, but a regular contributor from the 50s through the 70s. Hundreds of these, each detailing X amount (usually in guineas, heh) for Y work on Z program. Two days work puppeteering, 10gn/day. Six short animation films of cells to be used in science programming, 7gn/animation. (In an early contract, he was paid as 'Puppet Manipulator'. Hee!)

Because each contract is specific to the work done per episode, it's another way, other than published listings, to generate lists of programmes to investigate. I found a few times the contributor was paid for (essentially) a pilot, but nothing more existed for that name. Either they went with another puppeteer or the show wasn't picked up. I was looking at the file because the guy in question worked with a producer that my mentor was researching, and we managed to uncover mentions of a bunch of programme titles that she hadn't heard of. \o/ success!

...and now I'll stop procrastinating and keep fretting over this article. I need to trim more words to leave room for more explanations, and I'm pretty convinced I've muddled whatever point I was trying to make. Argh.

A couple hours is my time limit, though, and then I'm off to Cardiff. (After logging in to my work email, pretending not to see what I'm sure is an annoyed email from the editor asking where the article is, coughing out an apology, and sending off the revision. Argh.)
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