IN DISCUSSION WITH: KAYLA, SENIOR ASSISTANT EDITOR, CORONATION STREET - ITV
In Discussion With: Kayla, Senior Assistant Editor, Coronation Street - ITV.
Last week, we headed over to Manchester to have a good old natter with Kayla, who is a Senior Assistant Editor on Coronation Street. We couldn't wait to find out what it's like working on the world's longest running soap opera, and of course, share it with you. We didn’t quite make it to the cobbles, but we were close enough!
Kayla is also one of our fabulous guest panelist at Girls in Work LIVE in Liverpool on Saturday 26th January. If you’d like to come along and chat to Kayla in person, click here for more info & to get your ticket!
We’re sure a lot of people are going to be fascinated by your job role! Could you explain to us what you do?
This question is always so complicated to answer! But yes, of course. I’m one of the Senior Assistant Editors on Coronation Street, and we work in the post-production department. Once the episodes have been filmed, they come through to us and we have a team of Editors who do the initial edits. Then, they get sent to ‘Dub & Grade’, who tidy them up, make them sound better and look shinier! They do things such as adding in footsteps, ringtones or the ‘chatter’ of all the extra’s voices in the Rovers.
Finally, it comes through to me and one of my colleagues - we work in the Online team and we do any final fixes such as painting out microphones that have slipped into the shot, or amending the date stamps on text messages. We then do all of the final checks, which involves checking for any technical problems, or continuity and story-line issues.
We’re the final check before it airs on TV, so there’s a lot of pressure!
As well as the TX version of the episode that airs in the UK, we then have to produce two additional versions: the omnibus version, and DTO (download to own). DTO is the one that gets distributed to other countries. Some countries will have different music licensing laws which is why we need a second version, and we also have to remove the ad-space. Removing the ad-space then means we may also have to re-jig a few of the scenes so that there’s no funny jump-cut right in the middle.
Then, Friday is viewing day! During the week, my colleague will edit the omnibus and I will edit the DTO, so on Fridays we watch each other’s versions to sense-check everything is good to go.
It does mean that I have to watch every episode of Corrie… multiple times!
How many hours of Coronation Street do you think you’ve watched so far?
Oh gosh… thousands!!
I also make the credits, which doesn’t sound too stressful but it’s very important as things get very political if you spell someone’s name wrong (as you can imagine). We deliver the episodes to the network on a Monday for the following week, but an error in the credits can be enough to have the whole episode re-called and sent again.
Is this always what you wanted to do? and How did you get to where you are now?
When I was younger, I was convinced that I wanted to be a vet! I got through school and then did a year of biology, chemistry and physics.. which didn’t exactly turn out how I planned, and so the year after I went back to college and did film & media studies instead. I then pursued this as a university degree afterwards. Unfortunately, I’d say that my Film & Media degree didn’t necessarily set me up to get a job. It was all theoretical with no practical experience - I just knew no-one was going to hire me.
So I went back to university and did Broadcast Journalism as a masters degree. I never saw myself being a journalist as such, but the course taught me how to film and edit which I knew were great skills to have… and they were skills that I wanted.
I fell into TV really but fell in love with it at the same time!
I started out working in radio sales after doing my masters, but by then I knew that TV was the direction that I wanted to go in. Then, one afternoon, my current boss called me and asked if I was still interested in the post-production trainee position I’d actually applied for previously, and while I wanted to say yes straight away, there was a catch in the fact that it was initially a 3 month fixed-term contract only.
I knew that taking the job would be a risk. After those 3 months, what would I do? I would still have rent and bills to pay but it was something that I really wanted to pursue. I’m very lucky to have a supportive family who, after talking it out with them, all told me to go for it. So I did! I quit my permanent job for a temporary one, and never looked back.
What’s the best thing about your job?
Can I give two answers to this one? I really enjoy being given the opportunity to have real input into the episodes. I may not be writing the story-line or directing the cast, but if I can spot a problem, provide a resolution and fix something that could have been catastrophic for us, then it gives me a real sense of satisfaction.
I also love the environment - I never take for granted that I work on Corrie! I walk past the studio doors every morning and it’s still as exciting now as it was two years ago. Oh, and being a northern girl, I don’t have to do anything else in life to please my Mum now - she’s over the moon and thinks I’ve made it!
And the most challenging?
Definitely the tight turnarounds! We’re the last to watch the episodes on a Friday before they are delivered to the network on a Monday - so if there is something that needs fixing, it doesn’t give us much time. Compliance can also get involved which can make things a little more complicated. Sometimes, we have to work longer hours because we are that last link in the chain, but it’s also what makes it exciting!
What’s the one piece of advice you’d wish you’d have been given (or learned) sooner?
If you’re not happy with something, change it straight away.
I’d say this applies to work, but also relationships. There have certainly been situations I’ve been in where I look back and wish I’d have done something sooner.
Time is precious, so don’t waste it if you’re not happy.
What keeps you motivated at work?
The opportunity for progression! I want to be editing and I want to do well. There are a lot of progression opportunities where I am and I do count myself lucky. I’m lucky to have a fantastic team, to be learning all the time and work in a job that is just really fun.
And finally, how do you switch off?
I come home, have something to eat and sink into some sort of TV programme (that isn’t Corrie!). I’ve actually just got into Pilates though, so I have a feeling that that’s going to be my new thing. And then, if I’m really struggling, I’ll get into bed and read so that I then don’t struggle to sleep and I find that really works.