Today, I will be taking one of the most important exams of my life so far. That is no exaggeration. The Foundation Programme Situational Judgement Test (SJT) is a two hour and twenty minute, 70 question paper testing the candidate’s judgement in a variety of clinical scenarios. I’m not going to go into detail about the test, and if you really want to you can do so here, but I want to convey the sense of pressure this single test carries. Following medical school, doctors enrol in the Foundation Programme which consists of two years of practicing medicine in a (generally speaking) UK hospital, Foundation Year 1 and 2 (F1 and F2). The application for the Foundation Programme is a points based system, with a total of 43 points available from performance in medical school, 7 points for additional degrees and publications, and 50 points for the SJT. Yes, one single test is worth more points than five years of medical school, and a Masters degree. And to add to it all, it isn’t a test you can revise for. You can prepare to a certain extent, but there is only so much that can be done. My last minute preparations consist of buying things on Amazon and watching cookery programmes. Aggressive procrastination.
Some of you may have seen the newest Newforge Studios video, The Beauty of Bread. The Northern Ireland Camcorder Club One Minute Competition is coming up this Monday, and I wanted to have at least one decent film made by then. I have been watching Chef’s Table on Netflix recently, a beautifully filmed documentary series exploring the story behind six famous chefs, which inspired me to create a food-centred film. I have been baking bread sporadically over the last few months and one morning I had a revelation: why not make a film about bread? Not everyone bakes it, so filming the process and condensing it down into a minute would be an ideal concept. Bread making tends not to be a quick process, so the filming was spaced out over the course of the day with another short film made during the first rise. What seemed like a simple enough concept initially became more complex as we began the process, and achieving the look you have visualised takes multiple takes, careful composition, and organisation. Let’s not forget time. I have a patient Director of Photography who puts up with my tendency towards impatient and aggressive direction, and even working steadily, it still took a number of hours to get the results we wanted. The credit for the beautiful videography goes to Brian Douglas from Newforge Studios. We were even featured on the Bread Feed, curated by BREAD Magazine. Let me know what you think. What works about it? And what could be improved? I’m considering making a series of films about food slowed down, and a longer version of The Beauty of Bread should be finished later this month.