An unexpected day at work…

Steve Hough, reflects on a project that required not just his extensive medical knowledge and a profound understanding of client and speaker needs. It involved the ability to pivot and adapt to a project with compassion at its core.

On the face of it, when preparing for a studio filming session to record a short video of a person’s experiences of living with HIV, we were focused on delivering the best end product for the first project we had worked on with our new client. The brief for the filming included a series of proposed questions and ideas for content to support the speaker’s preparation for this video. The speaker wished for the filming to be conducted in an interview style, to enable her to focus on answering questions, rather than talking through her experiences on camera in a didactic way.

In agreement with our client, I took the responsibility to lead the interview with the speaker.

Working with the AV team we were set up and ready to go. As usual, we started by suggesting to the speaker that we would do a short practice run with the first question so we both had a chance to familiarise ourselves with the environment.

Upon asking the first question about her experience of living with HIV and the challenges that she had faced, the speaker began to narrate her story, which included significant distress, hardship and seemingly endless insurmountable challenges which transitioned into a story of gradual and then significant progress, increasing positivity and an inspirational attitude to succeed that was infectious and awe-inspiring.

At this point it would have been crazy to stop the ‘practice run’, so we carried on exploring more of her experiences. Her ability to relate her personal experiences and talk about them in a way that others could learn and benefit from was both thought-provoking and hugely motivating. It was clear that the speaker was having an immediate impact on me, the client team, my colleagues and the camera crew.

Our speaker, a person living with HIV was an inspiring individual, very eloquent and positive in both her manner and her outlook, especially considering all the horrendous situations she had endured. We were able to capture a difficult and somewhat upsetting story of a young person who has not only managed to achieve great things for her own life, but who is driven to improve things for people living with HIV and works tirelessly for others whilst maintaining her own health and wellbeing in the background.

My hope is that we were able to demonstrate to our client, not only our collective expertise in obtaining a great result in project delivery, but also that achieving the best end product really does matter to us as well.

Being involved in such an emotive and soul-searching interview wasn’t even a thought that had passed my mind on the way to the studio. This experience was a privilege to have been a part of. I know that for our speaker her life goes on following this project, and she will have many more challenges and successes along her pathway with HIV but we wish her well and every success in her future.

Thank you LCW for giving me this opportunity. I wasn’t expecting this project to have such an impact on me, but it did, and I will take inspiration from this with me throughout the rest of my life.