High Tide Media Co-founder and Edinburgh local, Alex Porter-Smith, shares her tips on what to see, do, eat and drink while at WYSTC 2018
Tell us about where you grew up, went to school, and your work.
I was born in Edinburgh and grew up here; I lived by a beach called Portobello for most of my childhood and then moved across the city to an area called Morningside – both are places I still really like to visit. When it’s sunny, Portobello feels like a proper seaside town, and Morningside feels like a village in a city with lots of independent shops.
My first job (when I was 17) was at the public arts body for Scotland, Creative Scotland, as a digital media apprentice. It was here that I learnt how to film and edit, and where I met my now business partner and co-founder, Eathan (who was also an apprentice at Creative Scotland). When I completed my apprenticeship, I worked freelance with a range of people whilst I studied, which included as a runner and production assistant for big production companies, supporting younger students throughout their work and creating online content with Eathan.
Why did you start High Tide?
We started High Tide when we had been working together for a while for a range of clients in a freelance capacity and decided it was time to make it a full-time venture. We had found out what we were good at; I produce the content and look after our clients, whilst Eathan films and edits to create some amazing visual content. We decided that working together as a studio would make us a much stronger team and give clients an easier way to find us – and we were right! We’ve been operating for a year and a half and worked with some brilliant clients during that time.
Who does High Tide work with? Who are you best able to serve?
We work with a range of companies; we are passionate about working direct to client, as well as with creative agencies. Throughout our summer months, we tend to work with festivals to capture the atmosphere across some really exciting events. This year we worked with an amazing local festival called Hidden Door, as well as bigger players in the Edinburgh festival scene, including Underbelly, Edinburgh International Film Festival and Edinburgh Fringe Society. And shortly we’ll be working with Graphic Design Festival Scotland. Our winter is usually spent working on campaigns with clients who will run the following spring and summer. We enjoy the campaign work as we get to come up with ideas and guide clients who have never commissioned video before and it’s great to see them become more confident throughout the process.
What did you want to be when you were younger and how did you come to get involved with video production?
I have always enjoyed telling stories in some way; I was particularly passionate about drama and film at school. Meeting people within these sectors gave me the confidence to be involved in visual storytelling and making different kinds of content. My co-founder and I often work on small films too – I recently produced a short film called “Farmland” with an amazing group of local crew and I am particularly excited for its release in the new year.
Are you a frequent traveller? Do you have a favourite type of destination or style of trip?
I really enjoy a city break as I’m the kind of person who will get bored very easily, so I like to go to places where there’s lots to do. In the last year I’ve been to New York City, Krakow, Hamburg and also to London several times for work.
What’s special about Scottish culture?
Scottish culture is particularly special because it includes so much variety. On the one hand, there’s lots of history and plenty of arts and culture to soak up in the cities, but you can very quickly be out of town to some amazing countryside, or even to the islands where you feel like you’re at the end of the Earth.
What are some activities and attractions in Edinburgh that you would recommend to WYSTC delegates?
If you have some time for touristy things, there’s the Scottish National Gallery of Modern Art which has some fab pieces and a lovely walk next to it to/from town along the Water of Leith and Dean Village. Jupiter Artland is another art gallery a bit out of town, but with some amazing features too. Camera Obscura is a more obvious tourist attraction in the city centre – pricey, but entertaining. A walk up any of the seven hills is always nice and a great view – the most central and easiest walk is Calton Hill. Arthur’s Seat is a tougher walk, but a more rewarding view. Finally, ghost tours of Edinburgh are always good fun – Mercat and many others offer tours.
If there’s one thing not to miss while in Edinburgh, what is it?
I would definitely make every effort to climb up one of the seven hills; ideally Arthur’s Seat or Calton Hill. There are absolutely amazing views from the top of each and you can really see how the city was formed from the castle to the city centre. If you go at the weekend, you’ll likely end up chatting to lots of other people at the top too.
Is there anything over-rated about Edinburgh?
Although they are great, some of the big tourist attractions are really over-priced and only take about an hour to see! There are so many small fun things to do in Edinburgh, which makes it a really interesting place to discover. So, I would say with a little bit of effort, it’s quite easy to spend only a little bit of money and have a really interesting time in the city.
What do you recommend as far as food and drink in Edinburgh?
For your caffeine fix while visiting Scotland, I recommend the Scottish Independent Coffee Guide, searchable by city. For bars and restaurants in Edinburgh, Usquabae is a lovely traditional whisky bar and restaurant and near the EICC. It’s slightly on the pricier side, but worth it for a lovely Scottish experience. There is a Thai restaurant called Chaophraya with a great view of the city looking out to the castle. Rollo is a lovely restaurant with British food, but with small tapas style dishes.
Are there any cool co-working spaces in Edinburgh?
There are lots of brilliant co-working spaces here: my favourite is a place called Tribe which is a bit out of town and near the beach. There’s always a fab group of people and it has such a homely feel to it. There are lots of other more central spaces including CodeBase (with pingpong!), the Melting Pot which is mainly for social enterprises, Kingsford which has lovely facilities in the new town, and finally Co-Desk at the old vet school which is worth a visit anyway.
Anything you’d like to say to the youth travel professionals attending WYSTC?
I am really exciting to be leading a seminar on video strategy at WYSTC. This is my first WYSTC, so it will be brilliant to meet lots of people from all over the world – please do come and say hello!
Make sure to catch Alex Porter-Smith of High Tide Media during her WYSTC seminar on Thursday, 20 September The need for video: Combining video content types to reach your audience.
About Alex Porter-Smith
Selected as one of the UK’s most promising young filmmakers by the British Film Institute, Alex has over six years of professional experience in film production, working on projects throughout the UK. As co-founder and producer of High Tide Media, she works closely with clients, developing ideas, managing budgets, organising crew and liaising with locations.
With combined film production experience and an educational background in business, Alex brings both organisational expertise and creative vision. Ensuring effective management of each film project, she introduces a keen understanding of what audiences want to see, assisting clients in utilising content to their advantage.