Prime time for engineering

News editor

A TV production company is recruiting for a series aimed at reconnecting people to engineers that are intrinsic to everyday life but are often forgotten.

This week’s Briefing owes a debt of gratitude to a reader who alerted The Engineer to something they’d seen on the Institution of Structural Engineers’ website.

A certain J Gray MICE/CEng noticed that Polar Media – a film and animation company specialising in films about engineering and technology – is on the lookout for engineers to take part in a series that will show how engineering improves people’s lives.

The blurb on the Institution’s website says: “They [Polar Media] are seeking clear, talented, and energised engineers whether young, old, female or male. They are looking both for contributors to feature in the films and specialist engineers who could work behind the scenes as mentors and provide technical support”, which prompted The Engineer to contact the company to find out more.

Alice Smith, producer, told The Engineer that Polar Media aims to recruit 6 engineers for 6 episodes to be filmed at projects around the world “where there is a real engineering need”. The projects could include establishing WiFi for a rural community, WASH (water, sanitation, and hygiene), infrastructure in the form of building a bridge or crossing, and disaster relief or prevention.

Smith added that they will be legitimate aid projects, run by either Oxfam, Engineers without Borders, Practical Action and that Polar Media intends to use RedR as part of the training process.

“It’ll mean that we’ll end up in a number of development areas…purely because that’s where the need is,” said Smith, who stressed that the series is not about development, developing countries, or charities. “It’s purely about engineering but using [development projects] as a vehicle because A) it’s good for the charities to be part of it, and B) it really gives us the opportunity to reconnect engineering with people again because there’ll be a direct and immediate impact upon the people that are in the community and it’ll genuinely change their lives.”

In an email, Smith added: “We have worked with engineers for years, and whilst we aren’t engineers ourselves we have enormous respect for the work they do. We make both corporate films and TV documentaries, and it seemed obvious for us to connect the dots, and bring engineering to a TV audience.

“One of the things that is constantly apparent to us is that engineers seem to all have a unifying thread of wanting to constantly improve things, in our view from an instinctive desire to improve the world a little bit.

“They provide the perfect narrative arc of finding a problem and solving it, but so often is the human element of this forgotten. We are interested in the reconnecting people with engineering – in terms of the engineer’s skill and ability, the community they are helping and the difference it will make to them, and the audience at home appreciating that what engineers do can, and does change people’s lives.”

Filming is likely to start toward the end of the year for trailer or pilot and will run into 2016. Polar Media estimate that each project will take around 3 months to film, with the majority of it taking place abroad.

“We will be looking to work with employers to allow this to be possible” said Smith. “We’re keen to hear from both individuals and recommendations from others (for those people perhaps too shy to put themselves forward!) We don’t have a deadline for applications yet as the project is still in the development phase, but I would perhaps say a tentative date initially of the end of September, although if we don’t find the right people, we will re-open the search.”

Interested parties should contact alice@polarmedia.co.uk (using the title ‘engineering’) with a short biography, a description of your career or experience to date, and an explanation of your interest in the project.

More on Polar Media can be found at http://www.polarmedia.co.uk/home and https://polarmedia.wistia.com/medias/vugw3q2b9d