corp – tv – sheffield

We spent a night behind the camera with Corp TV…

Most Sheffield students – both past and current – have experienced the feeling: head pounding, memories blurred, queasy stomach, yet entirely comforted in the knowledge that you’ve just had one of the best nights of your young life. Corp has the unique ability to make you blush at your recollections while you simultaneously count down the days until you can get back inside.

Thousands of students returned to their favourite late-night haunt during Freshers Week this year, but many would be experiencing the wonderment of a sweaty Skool Disco for the first time. Bless ‘em. My task was to spend the night with the curators of Corp TV, an online series which manages to encapsulate the madness of a student night out into a 3-minute episode loaded with humour, wit and of course, a touch of debauchery.

The prep

Meeting at the nearby Devonshire Cat before the chaos begins, I speak with filmmaker Tristan Ayling who took charge of filming in 2016 and has seen the series grow in popularity. It is clear from speaking to him that he’s very passionate about this line of work, something which becomes more evident in the quality (and hilarity) of the end result. Tristan is joined by his partner, Jess, who shares the same dedication for their work that he does.

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Following what can be a five-hour night, they will sift straight through two hours of footage and condense that down to just 180 seconds, often getting it finished by the next day. The third member of the crew with us was John, the enigmatic host who fans of the show will know well. John has been with Corp TV for over three years and hosts at least two shows per week. Since John and Tristan have started working together the view counts have been rising, regularly amassing 10,000 views each week and with a recent Corp Friday episode currently clocking in at around 35,000. They put this is down to how well they get on with each other and the dynamic between club-goers and the film team.

Speaking with the crew, I couldn’t help but worry whether they’d feel somewhat apathetic at the prospect of another busy night of work, but they are clearly all excited and even more so now the students have returned to the city. They talk excitedly about seeing old faces and it becomes clear that are not just here to film: they have formed a genuine community with the clubbers and are actually looking forward to catching up.

There’s a stall selling candyfloss so the crew decide to initiate a contest to see who can eat it the quickest

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On to Corp

With that, it was time to descend onto Corporation; the time was 11pm and it was sure to be heaving by now. Walking down Eldon Street the queue takes up the whole road, scores of excited Freshers huddle together with no idea what is about to hit them, as one one of the city’s best no-frills clubbing experiences awaits mere yards from where they stand. Once we are in, we make our way to the back of the stage in the main room, and already people are vying for the attention of John and shouting “Corp TV!”.

People swamp to be on the camera and try to get Tristan’s attention, screaming into his ears as he walks through the dancefloor and grabbing his arms, even the camera, at times.

Tristan sets up his camera and the crew go to conduct some interviews around the club. It’s a sea of school uniforms, the white shirts regularly sporting a whopping stain or two from one of the venue’s famous brightly coloured drinks. It suddenly dawns on me that half of the revellers probably still have their school uniform in the right size and I instantly feel a lot older than my 20-odd years.

Walking through the smoking area, I’m taken aback at how much attention John and Tristan are getting from almost everyone who sees them. People shout greetings, shake their hands and repeatedly jostle to get in shot for an interview; meanwhile Jess has the tricky job of ensuring people don’t get too excited around the equipment and keeps overly eager revellers at bay. It’s around midnight so everyone is still able to string their sentences together… mostly. There’s a stall selling candyfloss so the crew decide to initiate a contest to see who can eat it the quickest, with one student wolfing it down in incredible speed. I really hope he can do sweet then savoury, otherwise he’s going to struggle keeping the cheesy chips down later.

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Late night shenanigans

As the night continues it gets a tad rowdier inside the venue, and one of the most noticeable things is just how packed out it is. Corp has grown since my days at the Skool Disco, with the Trafalgar Warehouse now open and a number of revamped areas upstairs – yet it was still full from top to bottom. Tristan’s next task was to do a floorwalk and I joined him as he captured shots around the venue. There was no shortage of footage available: half a dozen freshers are leaping around on a bouncy castle, fresh-faced lads screech along to Queen and a number of people show their love by flashing for the camera. A brief stroll around with Tristan and I see how there is literally never a dull moment on Corp TV duty.

As with the interviews, it’s striking how many people swamp to be on the camera and try to get Tristan’s attention, screaming into his ears as he walks through the dancefloor and grabbing his arms, even the camera, at times. Every room is difficult to get through as the dancefloors are rammed. The night has got late and appears to have brought out the romantic side in these young partygoers. Squeezing through the dancefloor I am trying my best not to knock any couples caught in a lovers embrace, but as that seems to now be half of the club, I decide to power through less considerately.

The team conduct a few more interviews before the night ends by 2AM; as you can imagine, it’s pretty difficult to get much in the way of coherence from interviewees at this time. What you do get, however, is a lot of humour, some good musical numbers – a favourite being a blues remix of a trap song that John made the student repeat until it sounded bluesy enough – and a slight bit of sick. The crew stop filming just before the night ends, leaving those still in attendance to see their night out in style – and presumably begin counting down the days until it all starts again.

Catch the next episode of Corp TV on their Facebook page.

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