The Intern’s Cut

By Katie Padda — June 28, 2021

I think it’s pretty safe to say NEWSUBSTANCE is not your average internship experience – and this, I mean in the best way possible. Although an unconventional year to be thrown into industry, my time here has been nothing short of action-packed from the word ‘Go’ – a testament only to the proactive, daring (and at times, suitably bonkers) spirit of the NEWSUBSTANCE team.

Over the past 10 months I’ve been thrown into wonderful projects from across the creative spectrum – from drone light shows to music festivals, and sculptural installations to immersive visitor experiences. One day I would be tasked with conducting in-depth research into Bradford’s heritage, and another day rendering Dexter’s blood-splattered chainsaw in 300 drones. A key highlight has got to be my involvement in our pitch for Festival UK 2022. I’ve been able to watch our team of individuals, from various specialities ranging from climate science to kinetic sculpting, collaborate and combine skillsets to create something game-changing – and more still, play a role in that very team. You’ll have to wait patiently to see the concept come into fruition next year (trust me, one to look out for).

The London NYE drone show by our drone division, SKYMAGIC, was another incredible project to be part of. Experiencing the design process of London’s first ever large-scale drone show was undeniably cool, a display designed solely for televised broadcast which reflected on such a unique year that was 2020. This was also my first taste of seeing elements of my own creative work brought to life: seeing renders I’d produced from my desk at home projected in the sky in drones was a seriously cool yet surreal experience.

In between co-parenting our social media platforms and sketching out weird and wonderful ideas, I’ve developed an understanding for how large-scale events come together – witnessing first-hand how audio, visual creative and production seamlessly align to create a live experience that moves an audience. Speaking of collaboration, something I will certainly miss is the distinct sense of a team we have going on here – particularly when we’re up against the clock to meet tight deadlines, a strong group effort allows for everything to fall into place, just in time.

Other things I’ve learnt include:

  • Rarely do people actually sign off emails with their full name.
  • ‘Swag’ (!) is the formal and preferred term for on-site company attire.
  • We don’t complete tasks, we ‘box them off’ – depending on how your week is ‘stacked’.
  • Oh, and shaking ink cartridges = bonus ink!

In all seriousness, it’s been a privilege to work alongside such a driven, down to earth team who so clearly love what they do. I’d like to thank both the NEWSUBSTANCE and SKYMAGIC teams for welcoming me in and allowing me to learn from the very best. Whilst I will miss being immersed in the incredible projects that are currently ongoing, I’ll be completing my Art and Design degree nothing short of inspired – taking with me a wealth of absorbed knowledge and a fresh outlook (as well as vivid dreams of individually counting drones and perfectly-stacked Google calendar Jenga).