After hurrying out of the BBC Tour, Tuesday 10th October, following the last minute rush of taking selfies next to the T.A.R.D.I.S and getting caught in the revolving doors, there was a brief lunch break; so brief if fact one of our journalists had to carry mince and dumplings around in a chip box – shout out to the Big Market cafés.
After lunch, we continued to Bamburgh House which is a spectacular looking building in Newcastle’s city center just off East Pilgrim Street. For those of you that don’t know what goes on inside, it’s an eight-story building that houses various artists and project spaces. It all sounds really arty, however, I wasn’t very impressed with the inside. I love modern buildings, they make me feel like I’m strutting around like Meryl Streep inside of Runway Magazine from The Devil Wears Prada. Once inside the small elevator, you’re taken up to a variety of floors with long corridors; low ceilings and a very daunting absence of windows.
We were guided from floor to floor by Zoe Anderson who allowed us to dictate what parts of the building we wanted to see, as well as answered any queries and gave us insight on some of the company’s history. Those of us on the tour had the pleasure of making the acquaintances of game developers from Nosebleed Interactive and Craig Hawkes from Kaleidoscope CFA (née Docyoumentary).
My favourite part of this tour was sitting down in Craig Hawkes’ office and listening to him present the who, what, where and why of his company Kaleidoscope CFA (Creative Film Agency). Craig was friendly, cracking jokes immediately about how his company recently rebranded due to Google’s autocorrect but now clients struggle spelling kaleidoscope.
Craig made a point of asking who in the room has an iPhone or a smartphone with a camera. After everyone in the room raised their hand, he explained that anyone can go out and make a film. Even he uses his iPhone to shoot footage – footage that is actually being used for a client’s campaign. Did you know that BBC reporters have been reported to be seen filming news footage via iPhones and tablets?
“Being a filmmaker isn’t enough anymore.”
Craig had a lot of the advice for the budding film producers in the room, emphasising that one of the key aspects of starting off is to be enthusiastic; to use the technology available to them and to make sure they’re memorable. He went on to tell us about his own personal history about how he studied Fine Art at University but had never bought into the solid physical aspect; he much more preferred the stories behind the art. When he first moved to Newcastle, he needed a job as he has a child to support; so, he ended up in a corporate lifestyle that he admitted made him unhappy. However, he never lost track of where he wanted to be and what he wanted to achieve. Craig ended up studying a part-time Masters while working with Bamburgh House and started his business Docyoumentary 4 years ago.
In the beginning, Craig found that he was only being contacted to replace bad footage taken by the company’s first choice, however using this to their advantage the company made a good lasting impression, making valuable contacts, building up trust and delivering quality footage, this took them to where they are today.
Craig spoke about how quality control is one of the only things keeping the professional world of filmmaking/features alive now that anyone can get access to cameras and editing software. Again, the way to be noticed in this modern age of technological advances is to make sure you stand out, Craig stated they should “always look for influences, always push yourself” because “you’re only as good as your last job.”
For the budding editors in the room, he talked about what software he recommends and preached that YouTube is always a great help when getting to know new programmes. He told them that “editing hasn’t changed since it started,” therefore the reason behind the footage had to be what stood out from others of a similar nature to get it noticed. Many companies, such as Apple, now advertise products on TV without showing the viewer what they’re selling, they are so big and easily recognisable they don’t need to. Apple has created such a memorable brand that they can simply sell the reason why behind their brand. Example: lots of companies have brought out smart watches – but I own an Apple watch, why? Because I’m invested in Apple; I buy into the why behind their brand because it lasts, it retains a lot of its value and if you have any problems you just take your stuff to the Apple store and they sort it out for you. Plus, let’s be honest here; it looks awesome.
Those of you out there who are breaking into the industry or are students, Craig recommended a kit hiring site called Monster Peacock. You can go to the website and email Adam if you have any questions.
“I’m selling myself more than I’m selling my work.”