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Matthew Booth – South Island School 1988 - 1995

I attended South Island school from 1988 to 1995 and back then there were no
media studies courses of any kind. When I was in 6th form they started the
program as a GCSE and I played around with some of the first equipment bought
by Mrs Crew. Mrs Crew helped me in a hugely significant way in that she gave
me the contact details of a man who worked at Star TV and I arranged a summer
internship for myself between lower and upper 6th.

It was while Interning at StarTV that I became convinced that the media was for
me. I loved the control room at Channel V where I rolled prompter for the VJs as
they prerecorded their shows and I was fascinated by the edit suites where they
cut together the finished product.

After another internship, this time at CNBC, I went to Leeds University where I
did Broadcasting Studies for 4 years. The course was jointly run by the
University and the BBC. We had BBC trainers come in and teach studio directing
and single camera work, culminating in actually putting together a news package
with a BBC crew, and editing it together in BBC Yorkshires edit suites.

In the Third year I spent the University year on a work placement at BBC Pebble
Mill in Birmingham, where I worked on daytime television shows, Top Gear, local
news and a 3 month filmed drama Series called ‘Out of Hours’. The experience
was critical because up to that point I had thought I wanted to work in film, but
the lifestyle that I experienced as well as hearing about the lives of the rest of the
40 strong crew, showed me that film was not for me.

After University, I returned to HK in 1999 and contacted a friend who had recently
started work at CNN. He put me in touch with the Technical Supervisor who
brought me in for an Interview to see what I could do. Thanks to my University
studio work I could drive a studio camera, so she hired me immediately as a
Freelance Studio cameraman working predominantly the morning shift which
started at 4am. That certainly took some getting used to.

While I was working as a freelance cameraman I spent time in the edit suites
learning how to do deck to deck editing. Then the directors who worked there
helped me by teaching me how to direct. I freelanced as a cameraman for
around 3 months before starting as a freelance Technical Director editor.

After some very enjoyable work on CNN’s Millennium coverage, and a few more
months freelancing I was offered a permanent position as a Technical
Director/Editor in May 2000.

Since then I’ve been around the world with CNN, directing shows in London,
Shanghai, New York City, Paris, Abu Dhabi and Davos among others. I worked
on Beijing’s Olympic Games coverage and have directed shows during major
global events including the Invasion of Iraq in 2003, the SARS outbreak in HK
and the Asian Tsunami of 2005.

I’ve worked with some amazing people and been to some amazing places with
CNN and it all started with an Internship that SIS helped to arrange.

A career in the media is difficult to get and harder to keep, but it can be an
intensely rewarding and interesting experience. You get into places you have no
right to be and meet people that most people would never get a chance to see,
and maybe travel the world at exciting times. If you see an opportunity, leap at it,
you may not get another chance, and when you are just starting out, remember,
there is no substitute for enthusiasm and creativity. You might be surprised how
willing people are to teach you things if you just show some interest.

Directing Christiane Amanpour in Davos Switzerland