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To kick off the week everyone pitched their ideas for their projects to one other, thus creating a very warm and welcoming community of young Film-makers. Peter and Sisley are working towards creating a promo reel for a production company they are in the process of setting up. To achieve this, they presented their storyboards  which plan out the potential shots for the film. Maxine and Andrew are working on a video art piece that explores the paranormal – using archive photos and animating them so that they come to life. They have identified that having work in an exhibition or screened is key to the next steps they would like to take in their careers. Meanwhile, Alfie is working towards setting up a business in event management and would like to make a video that promotes the company. Nathan has decided to collaborate with Alfie in order to gain a broader experience in the practical field of filmmaking, which shows that these students are inspiring each other in their goals. It’s rather exciting to witness all of these innovative and forward-thinking ideas being implemented in a professional and collaborative environment!

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Film Masterclass:

On Friday, the students were given a brilliant opportunity to hear Creative Platform talks delivered by three amazing speakers about different areas of the Creative Industry.

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First up was Melanie Iredale from Sheffield Documentary Festival who explained all about the annual event and how she ended up working her way to her current position. Having completed a Film Studies course at Northumbria University and realising that filmmaking wasn’t for her, Melanie became an usher at the Tyneside Cinema. As well as climbing up at the career ladder, she used the cinema as a way of getting to know about audience behaviour through speaking to visitors about what brought them there and why.

Melanie then talked to the students about her current job as the Deputy Director of the Sheffield Documentary Festival, which is not only the UK’s biggest documentary festival, but also one of the top three worldwide! Founded in 1994, it comprises of five sections – Film, Alternate Realities, Talks & Sessions, the Marketplace and Networking Events & Parties. Melanie went into detail about the different sections, such as how Sir David Attenborough and Louis Theroux led some of the 96 Talks & Sessions that occurred at this year’s event!

Melanie gave the students plenty of useful tips on what the Festival look for and how films get noticed, which is especially beneficial considering there were over 2000 submissions for this years event alone! Melanie advised the students that the Festival typically look for something that appeals to both a public and industry audience and has a new approach to a known issue.

The students were strongly encouraged to get involved in the Festival, which recruits about 450 volunteers each year, and Melanie also reiterated to the group that “you shouldn’t feel like you have to move to London” in order to work in the Creative Industry as long as you are prepared to do some travelling. Considering Melanie herself has never had to move to London, she seems to be proof that you can still be successful without heading to the capital!

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The next guest speaker was Dr Dominic Smith, an Artist and Curator. Having graduated from University in 1995 with a degree in Fine Art, Dominic explained how he inadvertently ended up curating art shows in return for office space after his previous office rental fell through. Having gained an understanding of how to put an exhibition together, he became a Curator at the Laing Art Gallery, allowing him to grasp a sense of artists working at a high calibre.

After co-creating a project entitled Polytechnic, an artists’ group with a focus on open source approaches to project progression, he began his doctorate at the University of Sunderland but when his funding ran out before he had completed it, he also took on a job at The Tyneside Cinema, during which time he set up a radio station to “create a space for artists where there was no space” and was also involved in a month long radio show called Radio Boredcast with Vicky Bennett.

Since leaving The Tyneside Cinema, Dominic has been working freelance as an independent curator with jobs including the Society for Chief Librarians and Queen’s Hall in Hexham, one of the locations that Film and TV mentor Chloe Rodham and Ladder’s guest speaker Tim Lozinski displayed their collaboration, The Illuminarium, last year. Dominic is also currently working on a digital platform for CORNERS, an idea set up for artists by numerous cultural organisations around Europe, which focuses on the edges of the continent as opposed to the inner cities, something that further demonstrates how more opportunities are opening up for creative workers outside of the capital cities, which is very promising for the students.

While Dominic finds it difficult to describe exactly what his job is, describing himself as “free floating in the Arts”, it was interesting to hear about the different projects he has worked on and how he showed the students the different paths they could take within the realms of the cultural industry.

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The final guest speaker of the day was James Taylor, Animation Director and co-founder of Arcus Animations, whose studio the students got to visit back in Week 4 of the programme. Seeing the company’s show reel provided a glimpse at the incredible work they do for their clients and how they put a unique spin on their projects by injecting a dose of humour into even the more serious of their pieces, making them much more appealing to audiences.

James discussed how he and his two co-founders struggled to get funding for their projects, as they didn’t seem to fit into a category such as Film or Art. Despite a reluctance to do commercial projects, the trio realised that this was a way of paying the bills and soon saw the potential to reframe this idea and turn it into letting them tell the story of a business, highlighting how you can make the best of any situation. Having shown the students the company’s promotional video for the work they do, it was clear to see how Arcus use animation to make something so much more enjoyable to watch!

This session proved to be extremely useful to the students as they gained information from people working within the various aspects of Creative Industries and got to hear how they got their start and what they are currently up to. The student’s also had the chance to have any questions they had answered directly and to hear from Industry specialists was invaluable and will no doubt be put to good use when they are thinking about what they can do with the projects they are working on now when are completed!

by Olivia Carr (TICE Blogger)