In the opening talk we were told about why we have creative futures the main reason was to prepare ourselves for the work place. It aims to have use listen to experienced people in the industry and learn from them on how to maximize our ability and to get the career that we want. It also gives us the chance to listen to ex students to hear about how they transitioned from being a student to working in the industry. This will help us look at key aspects of being employable and how we can best present our selves to companies that we look to work for or with.
We were then shown a video of a student talking about how he set up his own company and we were given excellent tips on how to get our names out there. The first tip was to get work experience when a student so that it gives us an opportunity to get meet new people and new contacts that can become new clients. He then went on to talk about how he volunteered to do free work for charities and how that benefited him as some of the voluntary work lead to paid work with the charity and how it also lead to his work appealing to other clients and bringing in new clients. Charity work is an excellent way to get new connections.
CV’s and Application
This talk was about the differences between CV’s and applications and how to make a good CV and a good application. The first thing that I have to do is thinking about what I have to offer the company that I am and to be pro active about saying what I have to offer, I must list everything and not be modest about what you have done and what it is you have to offer. It is important also to offer evidence of what it is that you have done.
Talking about what I have done that has been hard or challenging to finish is also very important as it shows determination and the ability to work threw challenges. Working in a group is important and you must show the ability to work as part of a team to achieve a common goal.
It is also good to look at modules that I have done to analyse the learning objectives as I can reference them in my CV and application as skills that I have to offer.
When setting out an application think of STAR Situation Task Action and Result using this will make an organized layout that will be easier for the employer to understand. Another way of writing that I was told was not to use the letter “I” in a CV but I can use that letter in a application as a CV is just the main points about me and it focuses much more on my education and experiences and skills that I have and it is just points rather than paragraphs.
This talk was about running a business and dealing with the finances and tax and other bits that influence a company. The first thing was the value of products will always change depending on the place and time of it being sold like a bottle of wine would be cheaper in a supermarket than a high end restaurant. Its important not to under value my work as it will result in finances that could be improved. This leads to the first rule of always make sure that you are paid every penny of what you are owed otherwise it leads to not getting paid when you should be. One main part of running a business is to set up a personal survival budget so I can work out how much money it takes to survive to see if the business is viable if I don’t earn enough money to survive then it wont be viable. When making the personal survival cash flow it is what you need to live off and not what you want so it is important to minimalize you’re initial living costs.
The next part was about the type of costs that companies face so fixed costs are things like rent so things that you have to pay and that stay fixed. Then the direct and variable costs are the costs that do change so this is things like materials and costs that vary depending on the size and quantity of products that are sold. Capital costs though are fixed costs that have long-term benefits to the company that you can take away from the taxes that you pay.
Another tax benefit that you are aloud is that you don’t have to pay tax on the first £10,000 that you earn. Its important to understand and have good solid bank statements and keep receipts so that you can claim back on taxes.
To start a business you will probably need to approach the bank for a loan to do this you will need to create a business plan in that plan has to be a detailed cash flow statement that predicts all costs and income using market research that you have gathered. A business plan is something that says what the company is and what it aims to do and achieve so why are you setting it up, what does it do, where is it going to be, who is going to be the target audience for its products or services and when do you intend to get things done by. It is important to send the business plan two weeks before the meeting with the bank meeting so it gives the banker to read over it and analyse it, it is also important to know the answers of the bankers questions as you must know your business plan inside out. For a cash flow you must predict your profit to do this you must do a lot of market research to get an accurate prediction of what the profit of the company will be.
Firstly we were told that finding work experience was competitive and difficult and we were competing for work experience like any other job. But it is important to have relevant work experience because it helps us make connections with people in companies and because of this it must be taken seriously and we must act professionally. Identifying skills that are specific to me will help me apply for work experience and help me get the placement, If I get it then that gives me the opportunity to listen and talk to people already in the industry and how they got there and what they had to do to go from being a student to being a employer. When applying for work experience I need to brand myself because I am selling my self when I apply for jobs and work experience. It’s important to start of making contacts with people already in the industry, as they will be able to help me get a job once I graduate from university. But when making contacts it is vital to speak to the right people who can help you and give you the right advice. When doing work experience learn and improve from it and us it to prepare you for the working environment and us it to make your self better and more employable as work experience is part of the learning process. So why is work experience so important, it is because employers need evidence that you have the skills that you say that you have and work experience is a fantastic example of that. The last piece of advice was if we have a period were we cannot find a job volunteer to do something as employers do not like gaps in the CV.
Chris Woodworth specialises in character animation and has worked on many Lego games and even a Grand Theft Auto game. He gave out a lot of useful advice about animating and networking. The first thing he got us to do was to think about what it is that we want to do specifically so that we can prepare ourselves for it in the right manner. You also have to be willing to learn all the time as you never know everything and you need to be open to learning new things and having new experiences. Having an open mind to what it is we do so working in games wasn’t what he had planned for himself but that is where he ended up and he is loving it so stay open about what section of the industry we work in. In a show reel only put your best work in don’t bother putting work that you don’t like in and make sure that it is watchable and appealing to watch as the people who will review it will have to watch hundreds of reels you have to make yours so they don’t just turn it of after a couple of seconds. When trying to get a job go around companies with CV’s and hand them in personally to show them you are enthusiastic and determined in what you do. Don’t under value what it is that you do and social media put the show reel on social networks including linked in let people see what it is that you are capable of. In a show reel it doesn’t just have to be film at the end you can put in a couple of still images showing of work and images that you have made. When putting videos on the Internet put them on Vimeo and not you tube because Vimeo is taken much more seriously and they will pay more attention to it if it is on Vimeo. Lastly he told us that you are never safe in a job and you must always be willing to learn and develop your skills to keep up with the ever-improving industry.
Film Maker, Artist, Producer
The man who gave this talk started off by stating the importance of social media as one of his pictures he put up on Instagram and it went viral. He also told us that he does things that he wants to do and then looks to get paid afterwards and he stated the importance of doing what you want to do and be passionate about what it is that you do. This is part of being self-employed you get to chose what you do but you never know where you’re next pay check is going to come from.
He then went onto talking about jobs and job interviews and the main piece of advice was to be enthusiastic about the job and get excited because if you do then the interviewer will notice and it will benefit you. Also don’t get tied down to a job and don’t let a job take away your passion for your work, as it will have negative consequences on your work and it is important to be passionate and care about what you do. Its important to work efficiently and to make the best you can despite the tools that you have.
First of all we were told to put our social media sites in place and prepare ourselves to network as soon as possible. A fundamental piece of making social media sites is to make them all relatable and easy to recognize so use the same pictures and put up the same content to so that when people look at it they can tell that it is you’re website and they all link in to each other. It’s also important to get relevant followers and to do this you must join related groups on Facebook and perhaps even start Facebook groups yourself. A note that they did tell us was that it was much easier to build up a following on Twitter than it was on Facebook and that it is important to relate relevant information on the sites so that you keep people interested re-tweet useful information and make people want to follow you and like you on social media. Its important to remember that on social media you are selling yourself to potential employers and clients and that means it is vital that you look professional and mature and use social media to further and not damage your career.
An important piece of information on contacting people was target someone three times as it will usually take that many times to get noticed I have already found this to be true as I tried to arrange a studio visit at Blue Zoo and it took me three emails to get a reply so I have found this advice extremely useful already. Social media is great but it doesn’t replace emails as emails or more useful when you try to get large quantities of information across. Again social media works with Skype and email it doesn’t replace them like Skype is much better for keeping connections that you already have, as it is a lot more personal and can form much better connections. Being professional is great but it is hugely important that you maintain a friendly attitude and keep the relationships you make friendly, as you must try to be likable.
As they stated earlier social media is marketing your self so that means that it is very important that you brand yourself in the right manner and you set out a brand for yourself to sell yourself on, Linking the social media sites together helps maintain a constant brand message for yourself.
An Animated Journey
This talk was very helpful in making commercials and setting up a new company, Firstly we were told to identify what it is that we want to do after we graduate and focus our work on that so for me I need to make films that will appeal to commercial companies in the USA. We then discussed the pros and cons to running a company, the biggest negatives relate to time firstly the time it takes to get going can be quite a long period of time as you must establish a client base, secondly you must work long hour and we are talking 24/7 because when setting up you have to do everything from doing the finances to the practical work and then finally the repeating of work as clients will want you to repeat yourself but this can turn into a positive because that gives you the opportunity to develop at what you do and become very good at what it is you do and your style.
If you do want to go it alone then identify people of different skill sets early on so you can get them on board and you are able to build a team around you. The bonus of working in advertising is you learn a lot by working to high expectations and deadlines that you face on every project and that will help if you want to move out of advertising as these skills are good to have in all other parts of the industry.
A skill in advertising is being able to make a client think that your idea was actually there idea so that you get to do what you want to do and do what you think was best.
In advertising it will sometimes challenge your ethics and beliefs for example I don’t drink alcohol but if I was approached by a beer company to do a commercial what would I do, I would face a decision on whether or not I would feel comfortable doing that and would I be happy doing it sometimes working in advertising you must face decisions which combat your own personal ethics and morals.
Lastly be carful not to over work as this can lead to health problems that will damage or in some cases end your career in advertising always put health first as you wont have a career if your health deteriorate to much.
Erasmus & Studying abroad
Erasmus is a EU funded student exchange program that allows you to continue your course in another university in another country so for example Barcelona. A lot of EU countries take part like Bulgaria to Poland and Spain. You can get a grant of €250 to €300 a month depending on what country you go to and the cost of living in that country, The time that you can spend studying aboard can vary from three months to twelve months but up to six months is the advised amount of time you can spend aboard. Accommodation varies depending on what university you go to it can be student accommodation but it can also be student housing it depends on the facilities of the university, The language barrier is not a huge issue for our type of work because we work a lot more practically than other courses and it isn’t as much language. Erasmus is a program that I will certainly consider doing because of the opportunities that it can open up for me and the fact that it would be such a fantastic experience for me to be part of.
When setting up and planning a company you must think about these very important points, starting with what is it that it will do and how can I use my skills to ensure its success and develop the company to the next level with my skills, then who is it for so who will the customers be and what is the target audience of the company this will lead to questions like how will I brand and present my self and I will do this through market research as to who I am appealing to. Also how much do you expect to earn and this is just a prediction that is born out of market research on what you can charge and production costs. Then finally do you earn enough to live and to maintain a full time job so do you have enough customers and charge enough and make the right amount of profit so that you can live. To do this you must make a personal survival budget that is a list of all the costs you need to survive so the cost of living and the cost of food.
When setting up make sure that you make it official by signing up to tell the tax man that you are an operating company and make sure that you write down two to three pages of what the company is and what it is that it does. This will help you make it clearer as to what you do and will also help finding investors that will be willing to help fund the company. Lastly keep good records of costs and income, as this will help you claim back on tax. He then gave us some top tips on starting a business.
· Keep an open mind and keep learning and developing your skills to help improve yourself and the company and attend seminars and lectures to keep learning new skills.
· When keeping records have two of everything as a back up and set a good foundation for good records.
· Keep a good record on expenditure so that you can claim back on taxes, which is extremely useful financially.
· Create a good working environment even if working from home create a environment that is professional and gets you into a working attitude.
· Try and find opportunities and potential customers even when planning the company because getting the first job is by far the hardest to get because you are unknown and have no trust with clients.
· To help get jobs network with people get to know as many people as you can as you may come across future customers.
· Volunteering might be a good way to get your name out there and the volunteering work might even turn into paid work. It will open the door to new contacts that can help you find customers.
· Don’t be to modest be honest about you achievements but don’t come across as arrogant just be honest with people about what you have achieved.
· Setting up a business takes a long time and you must be patient in what you do take small steps.
· In creative industries especially you get rejected more than you will get accepted so don’t be to down hearted and just keep going (Don’t take it personally)
Creative futures were very good and helpful if I decide to eventually open up my own company. Although my short term goal is to get a job in the US and creative futures was very much centred towards setting up my own company, That is a long term goal of mine once I have settled in my new life and in the industry so for long term gain I feel that this was extremely helpful to me.
Sparkle is a VFX and CGI company based in Liverpool when we went to visit we were shown there work and what they have done for different companies, They talked about the technicalities of filming so when they do live action they do not use smoke effects while filming they put it in after in post production so that it is easier to track. They also said they never film in the dark they film during the day and make it dark in post production so they have more control on the light levels in the film and they can change it much easier. There were a lot of technical tricks they told us about and showed us camera calibration in Cinema 4D and how they would re build a live action scene in the computer. Overall the visit was very helpful for technical issues that I face and have faced in the past and I found a lot of solutions to problems.