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Golem

Golem at HOME by Vanessa Roth

I went to see “Golem” a performance by a leading theatre company known as “1927” in Manchester’s new “HOME” theatre on the 15th October. At first I didn’t know what to expect, I saw images of the production online and thought, this looks different! The actors interact with animations, which are projected onto the background. The style of the animations and characterizations of the actors was very surreal. I knew it wouldn’t be a typical theatre performance like lion king, but I didn’t expect it to be so bizarre.

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The story follows Robert, an estranged and nerdy loner who works in an office job with other strange people. One day Robert decides to purchase a “Golem”. A Golem is a clay sculpture (presented as an animation) similar to ‘Morph’. Golem’s walk and talk and were made to obey their owners. Golem was set to obey Robert’s every command, but as the story progresses it shows how Golem ‘updates’ itself and becomes more forceful in its suggestions. Timid Robert then becomes too dependent on Golem to the point where Golem starts to dictate his every thought – from his love life to his job, to his hobbies. The concept of the story was very captivating and I could see a clear reflection of Golem symbolising a Smartphone. The story of Golem is easily relatable to modern day and shows how technology is starting to control us. It shows how the development of technology is quickly expanding and we don’t know who is in control of it. As the story goes on, Robert’s personality changes into a self-obsessed sociopath, which shows the negative effect Golem has on his persona.

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The visuals in Golem were like nothing I have ever seen before. It was truly amazing to watch. The ‘trippy’ graphics along with the music created such an atmosphere that you felt like you were in the animated world with them. It was such a new experience; the combination of physical theatre and interactive animations was done brilliantly. The actors were so in sync that it was as though they were sometimes part of the background. There wasn’t a moment when my eyes weren’t drawn to the stage. It was truly captivating.

Although I didn’t always understand the estranged humour of the play, I could still appreciate the visuals and the message. It was an overall great experience.

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Halloween Caketober at The Shriek Project by Shu-Ling Li

This Friday, October 30th SharpFutures will be hosting a fancy dress encouraged, Halloween Caketober special at The Sharp Project, all in aid of Forever Manchester, a charity that funds thousands of community projects across Greater Manchester.

Forever Manchester’s recent projects have included supporting The Film Makers Club; a fun group aimed at 8-16-year-olds to find and research ideas, direct, interview, use cameras and edit their own material. Forever Manchester has also made a positive impact supporting dementia sufferers for groups such as Singing with Dementia; which encourages the use of music to ease symptoms of dementia.

As you may well be aware the annual Great British Bake Off has resulted in a baking buzz that has gotten people eager to whip our their cake tins and sift out their favourite recipes ready to prove their Pillsbury flare! Much of this knead to roll out sponges your grandmother would be proud of has risen from baking judges Mary Berry and Paul Hollywood (not as Tom Clarke insists Mary Shelly and that dude from Duran Duran!) simmering our senses with layer upon layer of thrilling challenges that have kept us gluten to our television sets week by week and it’s not gone amiss within The Sharp Project.

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Living with Rachael Rothwell, our resident baker and true Wednesday Adams of the Halloween season, I’ve seen her train blood, sweat and treacle for the ultimate prize of the highly sought-after Caketober Golden Rolling pin – awarded to the champion of this years #Cakecomp, just when I think everyone’s sound asleep I hear a curdling yell from Rachael’s crypt “This batch has a soggy bottom, must start again!”. She is however up against a trifle of competition from our very own Rachael McGuinness, renowned in our caverns for her striking rainbow cake creations and Kerry Parker with her flurry of iced cupcakes.

In this baker’s dozen, we also have the talented Amanda’s catering team – not ones to be outdone with plans for a spooky selection of confectionary delights and decorations to boot. Needless to say, with the likes of Claire Hinds and Brownbag Films beguiling baking skills awaiting release from the realms of their aprons, who knows how this cauldron of caramel, chocolate and cobwebs will set! It’s not just baking that will receive recognition as there will also be a prize for the #BestDressed, be it bizarre, gory or gruesome! Dusted throughout the day will be a mixture of ghoulish games and a drizzle of gruesome goodies to giveaway, folding in with our special guests to judge your beastly bakes.

Join us if you dare just doughnut forget to bake, dress up, and raise money!

From 12.00

Friday, October 30th

The Campus

The Sharp Project

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Favourite Production created at The Sharp Project or The Space Project

As part of our “Favourite…” series, we decided to create a blog about the SharpFutures apprentice team’s  favourite TV productions that have been created at either The Sharp Project or The Space Project. Below are our initial choices, part two to follow soon!

Fresh Meat

Fresh Meat’ (Objective Productions for Channel 4)

Chosen by Amy Williams

My favourite production made at The Sharp Project has to be Fresh Meat. I didn’t actually watch the series when it was on TV, I watched the whole thing on Netflix simply because I love Jack Whitehall, plus some of the other actors were instantly recognisable from other programmes like The Inbetweeners and Wild Child/Angus, Thongs and Perfect Snogging  which is something I look for before watching a programme.

I think the main reason I enjoyed Fresh Meat is because it’s relatable to my age group, with the storyline being about a young group of adults starting university and getting used to living with other students, so I was able to understand what they were going through. But apart from that it is hilarious, I did have high expectations for it to be funny since Jack Whitehall, a brilliant comedian, and Joe Thomas, from the comedy series The Inbetweeners, were starring in, so was really pleased. Plus it’s an easy programme to watch allowing you to be a passive viewer, you don’t have to concentrate what’s going on you can literally sit back and relax whilst watching it. I must admit I wasn’t sold straight away, I had to watch 2 or 3 episodes before I was completely into it, but then from that I couldn’t be pulled away from my TV!  I think the best part about it is that it’s realistic, nothing out of this world happens, it’s literally things you can imagine happening to yourself when you go to live with complete strangers and personalities clash but that’s what makes it so funny because you start to imagine yourself in the situations. It’s quirky, it’s simple and I love it. And since I watch everything with Jack Whitehall in, it was a must see for me! I would definitely recommend Fresh Meat to anyone!


Dragon's Den


Dragon’s Den (BBC North for BBC 2)

Chosen by Aleena Sharif

I love watching Dragon’s Den, as inventions, new products and innovative smart services inspire me. They are fascinating, some are very simple and right under your nose- while others have been hand crafted and are more abstract. It helps me come up with ideas similar, improvements to products or services and inspires me.

I watch it from time to time when I see it on. I make my mum change the channel to Dragon’s Den. I personally prefer to watch programmes like Grand Designs, or things like Dragon’s Den – as I love seeing new products and inventions. Maybe it’s because one day I would like to pitch an idea of my own or start up my own business eventually. Dragon’s Den is definitely a programme that gets me talking, sometimes I can’t shut up when it’s on! (Yes, my mum has to rewind it a lot…)

I also like the aesthetics of it, how it is set in an industrial warehouse- like a basement underground with old rough walls. It was really cool seeing the Dragon’s Den set at The Space Project on my first visit there. I instantly recognised the big and rusty metal cogwheel – but was surprised to find out that this set was built by artists – and not everything was real! (I would have never known when watching it on TV!)

The prop and environment set artists have a lot of skill, around the edges of the set was unpainted and rough torn bits of materials the artists had used- but when on camera- this is not visible. It was fascinating seeing that right next to the finished set, as you could see the development/comparison of the raw materials underneath the finalised, realistic set.

If I had to choose a favourite dragon, it has to be Sarah Willingham – the creator of restaurant chain The Bombay Bicycle Club and co-founder of The London Cocktail Club. I like her because she seems fair and also nice, she gives people a chance. It can be hard and nerve wracking standing in front of many professionals who are very strong minded and straight to the point. Most of the Dragons are harsh and straight to the point, but Sarah seems to have a warmness about her – but knows when to back out and criticise.


 

No Offence

No Offence (AbbottVision for Channel 4)

Chosen by Dominic Corry

 I particularly enjoyed No Offence, mainly because Paul Abbot’s scripts are unparalleled and, generally, this show is a further exemplification of this he explores the gallows humour prevalent in the day to day lives of Manchester based coppers.

He is one of the writers who can display realism and actuality in the shows and fiction that he produces without the finished product being jarring or try hard. It’s brilliant that we are associated with such great drama at both The Sharp Project and The Space Project.


 

eHarmony

eHarmony Adverts (422vision)

Chosen by Lewis Marsh

My choice of favourite production at The Space Project doesn’t come down to what the actual production was…

It doesn’t come down to the narrative, actors or what channel it will be broadcasted on, it comes down to the fact that the eHarmony advert filmed at The Space Project was the first professional production I had experienced first-hand, the transition between filming in the studio/stage to the final piece had only been seen on the internet by my eyes, that is until 422 Shoots came to The Space Project to film this advert and I got to see how it all works, who does what and just get a feel for the atmosphere on an actual production set.

So this is my favourite production filmed at The Space Project and The Sharp Project because it was my first experience, something I will never forget along with the fact that there was a live camel on the site!

Don’t forget the popcorn as well…

eHarmony Camels eHarmony Sam & Lewis

 


 

BMG

Boy Meets Girl (Tiger Aspect for BBC Two)

Chosen by Kerry Parker

The reason why Boy Meets Girl is my favourite production is for a few reasons. The fact that it was groundbreaking in the sense of bringing the transgender community into our lives – but rather than shoving it down our throats, it was done by using comedy and a bit of romance.

It follows the lives of Leo and Judy, who meet at a bar and hit it off. The opening scene of the whole series is Judy telling Leo that she used to be a man but now a woman. It follows their relationship as they have to get over the age gap (Leo is in his 20s whereas Judy is turning 40), introducing each other to their families and of course, the whole telling Leo’s parents that Judy is transgender.

Like I said, the story is more about the relationship of Leo and Judy rather than her being transgender and it’s a good mix of both.

Another reason why I enjoy the show so much is that some of the SharpFutures team and myself have helped with the production and the Social Media afterwards. Some of the team interviewed the cast (all the interviews can be watched here) and we have also promoted their show by uploading the behind the scenes images that were taken onto our Pinterest page.

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WE’RE HIRING : Production placements at The Sharp Project & The Space Project

SHARPFUTURES ARROW

SharpFutures are looking for 8 talented people for a 12-week Production and runner support Placement Programme.

Please see below for details: 

12-week PLACEMENT (full-time work experience)

REAL LIFE PRACTICAL BRIEF

START DATE: 9th November 2015

Must be available to work:

* Stage 1: 9th November 2015 – 18th December 2015

* Stage 2: 7th January 2016 – 18th February 2016

To gain a place on this work experience programme you need to demonstrate that you have the right mix of skills in addition to creativity, tenacity and perseverance. You also need to demonstrate that you would be interested in and provisionally available to join SharpFutures POD for part-time and casual work after the placement has been completed as well as during the placement. For more details on SharpFutures POD http://sharpfutures.org.uk/pod/

The Space Project

You may have graduated from a Production course at University or are self-taught and passionate about working in the industry. Either way you have to have some knowledge be it camera skills, editing skills or production skills or creative project management in general. This course is not for a complete novice but equally it is not for industry professionals.

SharpFutures production placement programme will offer you the opportunity to enhance and gain valuable industry skills in addition to an insight into the many roles associated with digital production.

You will attend regular workshops held by industry professionals, whilst learning the ropes of how to be a runner for The Sharp Project and The Space Project and in the second half of the placement you will work on producing a live content brief with fellow placements.

Whether you would like experience drawing storyboards, writing scripts or scouting locations in pre-production, be part of the camera, lighting or sound crews in production or be involved with the editing in post-production. SharpFutures production placement programme will give you the opportunity to gain valuable experience.

Applicants should have knowledge of the production industry and display an amount of skills relevant in producing video content. You should have either had experience in Production before be it a University course or are a keen enthusiast of all things ‘content making’ in your own time.

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Essential qualities

* Reliable

* Motivated

* Can commit to two six week work placement (a minimum of thirty five hours per week across twelve weeks in total)

* Over 18 (due to Health & Safety)

* Be able to attend The Sharp Project and The Space Project every day for the duration of the placement

* MUST NOT BE in full-time education

* Have be able to work flexibly, across a seven day week and in some cases on a twelve-hour rota

To apply you must send a short description (100 words or less) of why you should be offered this opportunity, your CV and your portfolio of previous work to talent@sharpfutures.org.uk

Placements will be paid at national minimum wage for your age.

Manchester residents will be given priority interviews.

All successful applicants will be offered a formal interview to meet the team discuss the details.

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Aleena Sharif’s First Week at SharpFutures

First day as an apprentice…

As I previously have worked as a Social Media Placement at SharpFutures and also an apprentice with Playground Squad at The Sharp Project, I was glad to be back! I am very familiar with the building and some of the people here. I understand that it is a creative, busy and hard working- environment. It is a cool place to work and there is always something new going on. The Sharp Project never sleeps!

On my first day as an apprentice, I had an induction in which I met my new colleagues- as well as people I have met before through working at SharpFutures. It was strange being classed as a new apprentice since I had worked with SharpFutures previously- but as a placement!

I came in as normal and was invited into Gold 66, where I used to have workshops in Social Media Marketing, to find notebooks and pens on the table as well as Jayne and a TV. This was the first I had seen of my new colleagues and we had to introduce ourselves.

We then watched a presentation, which was about the rules and code of conduct mainly, as well as some questions to ensure we were clear of what is required from us. After this, we had to do a short icebreaker task to see how we all perceive or interpret information differently.

It was interesting to find we all did this in a similar way – but differently at the same time. We all cut out the unnecessary parts of the conversation and concentrated on the informational elements. Essentially this task was to get to know the other person a little bit, as well as to see how we take information in differently.

We were then told we had to do a presentation by the end of the day, just after lunch and were sent content to read through- as well as questions to answer. After logging onto our laptops, we all read through the content together and suggested ways of making a more interesting presentation- in a short space of time.  Vanessa and I, since we were more familiar with SharpFutures, were told to lead on the presentation- but we all had to speak.

When we were researching and discussing, we were also getting to know each other more and having a good laugh whilst coming up with ideas. I decided it might be fun to make a few short videos of us roleplaying the rules of ‘misconduct’, to show that we all understand what is not acceptable behaviour, as we were supposed to be filmed – but unfortunately we did not have a camera to hand._DSC0423

It was quite funny doing daft things and it was a good way of making our presentation more fun and less boring. We also agreed that both Vanessa and I would start with the two opening questions – since we knew more about them – then make it more of a conversation style interview – asking the new apprentices to answer the same set of questions about themselves. It went well and by the end of the day I felt like I already knew a lot about the new apprentices!

Next day…

On the second day, I was assigned my own task and told I must gather information and read through more content sent to me by my new main managers. I must present this information back in my own way, gathering information and answering questions about The Sharp Project, The Space Project and also other questions relevant to the apprenticeship.

I read through the content and started doing research. I decided to manage my time efficiently, to make a Trello board with guidelines and a checklist to keep myself on track. I also started typing up rough notes and breaking down the questions into power point slide sections.

Though the presentation will be less formal, I was a bit nervous thinking about it! (I usually hate presentations). This is the reason
why I chose to do it though, so I get used to presenting and it just seems like the best method to answer the questions I have been asked. When I get used to them, I start to enjoy them more- and this is what SharpFutures are about- learning new things and coming out of your comfort zone!

Third day…

Day 3, I was then continuing to do research as well as taking more notes and re-drafting them. I did a lot of reading and typing, keeping in mind what I already know about The Sharp and Space Project brands. I found The Sharp Project easier to talk about and expand on, but The Space Project – not as easy in a way, as I have only visited it once!

The Space Project is the sister site to  The Sharp Project and is the purpose built TV production stage complex for the North of England. The research has helped me learn more about the differences and similarities- which is quite important to know when working with/on the brands.

The rest of the week…

Throughout the week I worked on this presentation, constantly adding to my notes and re-wording, breaking it down into sections so it was then easier to transfer into a speech and also work as a presentation – without duplicating my notes and repeating myself too much. There was a lot of information to take in, so my
presentation became a lot longer than expected!

I then had a conversation with Kerry, as I was told we needed to help with tweeting and promoting content we had all created for Boy meets Girl. Kerry told me about a cool online presentation site – Prezi – so I decided to use this for my presentation.

I felt a little nervous about doing the presentation but decided to make myself do it to get used to presenting in front of others! I was also struggling with finding the right presentation program to create a nice and also smooth, clear presentation – without it being too complicated to use – as when I am nervous- it’s good to be sure of how to use the software at least!

Having familiarised myself with it slightly, I was then able to start creating an interesting presentation which follows a similar theme to the brands themselves. It also made me feel more confident that I hopefully won’t be boring anyone to death! (Despite the fact there are 24 slides in total…)

On Thursday, Lauren unexpectedly mentions Dan’s graphics and has a quick chat with Kris and me about some content she wanted to be produced. I was then told she wanted graphics from me, a report of
The Sharp Project and helping with some tweets for the social media channels.

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This is life at SharpFutures, one day you’ll be working on your apprenticeship, then the next you are given 101 tasks to do, totally unexpected! This is the charm of working with SharpFutures, you never know what is going to happen and what you will be responsible for doing! It may seem like a very relaxed job, where we look like we are having too much fun at times, but there is a lot of work involved too. There are a lot of rules we must adhere to, though as long as we do- this isn’t a problem!

I was then emailed on Friday, told that I need to produce a report of The Sharp Project. I finalized my presentation today but rescheduled it for the following week as it is all a bit chaotic here! It pays to be an expert multi-tasker whilst working here, it is a great place to be. It is definitely daring and adventurous at SharpFutures and The Sharp Project…

To be continued…

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Skills Minister Nick Boles MP visits SharpFutures

Minister of State for Skills and Equalities Nick Boles visited The Sharp Project on 6th October 2015. The blog below has been sourced from Creative Skillset’s article

 Nick Boles MP met apprentices, trainees and other young people on creative digital and social media work placements yesterday at SharpFutures in Manchester.

Invited by industry training and skills body Creative Skillset, the Minister was clearly impressed by what he saw.

“I think it’s remarkable what you have created here. The POD [people on demand] scheme in particular is such a new idea. I don’t know whether you have done it elsewhere in the country but it seems like something we could transfer to other industries and other parts of the country.” Nick Boles MP

Many of the young people were supported by Creative Skillset via the Employer Ownership Pilot programme, the aim of which is to pilot new models of training. Using £37m co-investment from industry and government, Creative Skillset invests in innovative projects such as SharpFutures and ITV’s Continuing Drama to help small and medium companies in the UK Creative Industries develop talent and skills; in this case helping to develop a Northern Powerhouse and long-term growth in the local creative economy.

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Once successful examples like these have been assessed, Creative Skillset then adapts and replicates them to benefit other parts of the creative industries, which is predominantly made up of SMEs.

“We’ve looked at all of the evidence and we have concluded that apprenticeships have a better impact, have a greater effect on people’s earning power, than any other kind of skills training,” added the Minister.

“For me it’s really very simple: an apprenticeship is a job with training that lasts at least 12 months. And if you say to me, in our industry many of the jobs are freelance or self-employed, we need to find a way to make an apprenticeship possible for [these people]. We need to find a way to make an apprenticeship work for the creative sector.”

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SharpFutures: Alternative places to spend your fresher’s week

As its now Fresher’s Week for first year students in Manchester, we thought it would be a good idea to get some of the younger members of the team to recommend a few night out destinations, alternatives to the more obvious places you may have already heard about. We hope you enjoy them

If you have any suggestions please Tweet us at @SharpFutures or email us at team@sharpfutures.org.uk

 

Wasabi by Shu-Ling Li

Itadakimasu…Tuck In!

For when you need to escape the bustling streets of Manchester, China Town’s Wasabi is a great Japanese restaurant to tuck away into. With its oriental décor and vibrant anime themed interior, Wasabi makes you feel like you’ve stepped into an overlWasabiooked avenue of Japan’s traditional meets urban scene. Specialising in freshly made  ramen, sushi and bento (Japanese street food), the menu here is perfect if you’re on a budget with set combinations of ramen, yakisoba orbento dishes with 3 sushi plates starting at just £8.50 – this also makes the
perfect hangover cure! What makes Wasabi such a fun place to eat however is the eccentric stream of J-pop music videos from the most popular artists of Japanese youth culture. Without a doubt, these will have you mesmerised over your many plates of maki rolls and miso soup!

Faulkner Street, Manchester, M1 4FF

http://www.wasabisushi.co.uk/


 Cane and Grain by Rachael Rothwell

Cane and Grain is the place if you enjoy ribs and rum. They describe themselves as part skate bar, part speakeasy, pat TIKI heaven. Cane and GrainIt’s open late but is a great place any time of the day. Located in the NQ it is a bar with something for everyone.

Thomas Street, Manchester, M4 1NA

http://www.caneandgrain.co.uk/

 


 

Font Bar by Lewis Marsh

From chalk written specials to a relaxing atmosphere through lighting and chilled music; along with great company of course, in my personal opinion The Font bar is worthy of your free time. Along with all these positivFont bares it is also conveniently based only a 5-minute walk from Piccadilly gardens.

I prefer the daytime as the music played is chilled enough to have a conversation with the person you have gone with.

New Wakefield Street, Manchester, M1 5NP

https://thefontbar.wordpress.com/

 


2022 by Kerry Parker

2022 is a bar that prides itself on being quirky with good beer & music. You can play Ping-Pong in one-half of the room and dance in the other! 2022It’s free entry so it’s definitely worth having go if you find yourself in the NQ.

Dale Street, Manchester M1 1EZ

http://www.twentytwentytwo.co.uk/


The Eagle Inn by Dom Corry

I love those venues in which you don’t expect the venue to actually be there – The Eagle is one of them. It’s a quaint back street pub initially but then, swiftly down a few small walkways and doors you The eagle Innenter this magnificently intimate room, all arched and vaguely Gothic, it has a balcony overlooking the stage as well which is very rare in smaller venues, every time I’ve played there the experience has been a great one, the small nature of the room means that the atmosphere is always good, I recommend.

Collier Street, Salford M3 7DW

The Eagle is so alternative it doesn’t have a website!


 

 

42nd Street Nightclub by Kristian Baines

42nd Street – 42’s for short – is a Venue for alternative, non-chart music with a relaxed dress code and regular themed DJ nights. This is a rather popular venue, so I recommend you get there early or be prepared to queue.

With theme nights and varied music on different days, there is 42nd streetsomething for every type of music fan. You can even become a member for cheaper entry and free drinks. This is always a great place to sample the popular music that has come up through Manchester. Also let’s face it, as a fresher, it’s all about the cheap drinks.

Bootle Street, Manchester, M2 5GU

http://www.42ndstreetnightclub.co.uk/


HIDDEN by Sam Wagster

HIDDEN is a new night club that’s been in the making for a good few years. Along with having the soundest guys running it, its autumn winter line up is incredHiddenible. Having only opened under a month ago. The night club has already played host to some of electronic music’s best acts, including Magic Mountain High (Move D, JuJu & Jordash).

If you’re into your hard hitting and Detroit techno make sure to make it down to Meat Free for Ben Sims, DJ Bone and Fred P. As those girls always know how to through as party.

Mary Street, Manchester, M3 1DZ

http://www.skiddle.com/whats-on/Manchester/Hidden/#content


Satan’s Hollow by Sally Hirshman

Describing itself as a ‘neo discotheque’, Satan’s Hollow is THE must-visit nightclub for fans of rock and heavy metal music.  With its stone floors and chapel-like seating area; two rooms of music plSatan's Hollowaying a mixture of current tracks and classic metal; two bars with devilishly student-friendly drinks deals (a bottle of Carlsberg lager for £1.30!) and a large statue of Satan himself overlooking proceedings, this nightclub has everything the student (or seasoned!) rocker could want from a night out!

Princess Street, Manchester, M1 6DD

https://www.facebook.com/satanshollowmanchester

SharpFutures attend Creative Skillset event in London

Creative Skillset recently announced their programme to boast skills in the Creative Digital sector with a launch event at Channel 4 HQ in London . The project allows Creative Skillset £37m (£20m from government funding and £17m from the creative sector) to enhance the skills of young people and encourage diversity in the sector. The event was to celebrate the cooperation from many different sections of the creative industry in the UK ad their drive to generate an access path for young people into the sector. SharpFutures is one of the partners involved in the project and so we were invited down to London to attend the launch,
After meeting Sheni and Tom at Piccadilly station in town we all got on the 13:15 train to London. Once in London we got the London Underground Victoria line (South bound) to Victoria Station, from which the venue was only a short walk.

 

Outside C4

On arrival at Channel Four we were given badges reading ‘I am creative’ indicating our roles, for example, me and Tom were given blue ones to show we were apprentices and Sheni, Sue and Rose were given red ones. Before the event started we met up with Sue and Rose in the venue and took advantage of some photo opportunities with Channel Four executives.

We also used this time to meet people and chat about our apprenticeships, Tom talking about he has been with SharpFutures for over a year and me acquiring various ‘awwwws’ and ‘ really? How are you liking it?’ when I explained it was my fourth week. After answering numerous questions about my apprenticeship and what my day to day actives at The Space Project entail everyone started to migrate to the main event space. Not long after the guests filtered inside the speeches started. Channel Four’s sport commentator introduced speakers one by one, such as, MP Matthew Hancock (MP for business, innovation and skills, energy and climate change) Ed Vaizy (responsibility for digital industries, media, sport and business), Chairman of the John Lewis Partnership, Sir Charlie Mayfield. To finish off the speeches was David Abraham( photographed above), chief executive of Channel 4 and a board member of Creative Skillset.  Listening to the speeches made me realise how lucky I am to have this apprenticeship and without some of the people giving these speeches -and the occasional anecdote here and there- I may not have this opportunity.
Finally, after answering a few more questions, being interviewed by the photographer of the event, we got the underground back to Euston Station and grabbed a Burger King before getting on the train back to Manchester.

John Chorley – Final Week with SharpFutures.

A few weeks ago I applied for a Game Design Apprenticeship Position with PlayGround Squad based here at The Sharp Project. I was ready to apply for a job I’ve wanted since I was five years old.

I told my parents I would be a games designer one day, and my friends in school told me my name would be in the credits of a game and they are right.

My life changed for the better when I first played Alexx the Kidd on the Sega Master System 2 all those years ago. For those too young to understand what Alexx the Kidd was like, you can check out the video below from Cubex55 on YouTube.

For a long time, I gave up wanting to work with video games, because there was simply no related jobs in Manchester, and so I changed my career to be a web developer, there’s always someone who needs a website right? There is a lot of money to be had in developing websites, and even mentioning that I’m a web developer gets people asking me questions.

When I started working for SharpFutures I had no idea that it would open up the career path for me that I had always wanted.  If I didn’t work for SharpFutures, I wouldn’t have found out about the games design apprenticeship with PlayGround Squad, and thus it would still be a dream.

I play video games all the time, so this apprenticeship is an excellent match for me, not only do I get to play games, but I’ll also be working on creating them.  With the next generation of consoles here, its one of the best times to get into the industry.

SharpFutures has been the stepping stone to help me get ready to realise my dreams, they have been an excellent team to work with this past year, and I wish everyone the very best for the future, and thank you for an excellent year.

Tech-2014-1

Tech Predictions for 2014

( Image from diydays.com )

2013 saw some good tech being released and some bad tech making its way out, the iPhone 5S and 5C was launched, Samsung tried to release a smart watch which eventually became a failure, and the Xbox One and PS4 both launched, and steam annnocuned their Steam Machine PC/Console hybrid.

But 2013 has been and gone, and now its the time to predict what tech we might be seeing in 2014.

Steam Machines

This is one of things I am 100% certian on.  In fact Valve showed off the different companies creating Steam Machines with some controversial price points at CES 2014.  These Steam machines are aimed at people who just want a living room PC that can play many of the great games us PC gamers have been playing, such as Serious Sam 3.  You can see a video of the announced Steam Machines below.

(ReviewTechUSA on YouTube going over the announced Steam Machines and comparing the price to the specs)

My main concern with the Steam Machines is that the highest price point for a steam machine is $6000US (£3659.65) a really high price point for a gaming machine.  However there are lower priced options which should play many games just fine.  Some of the Steam Machine will have both Windows and SteamOS so they should be able to play any games you throw at it, which is a good thing.

The idea with these Steam machines is that you can take them apart and upgrade the hardware which is benefical but that wouldn’t be its biggest selling point.

My prediction for this is that it’ll sell small ammounts, but not as much as Valve are hoping, this is due to the fact that most of the companies are placing a GTX Ttian graphics card in them, which alone costs £1000+ which obviously puts the price up a lot.

Tablets with phone functionality

The Asus PhonePad at CES is the first tablet that can have phone functionality without an app, however it requires another phone to be docked in the back of the tablet for it to use the phone functionality.  I’m hoping we start seeing more tablets with phone functionality bulit in as standard with certain tablet models, it would be brilliant to be able to answer a phone call while using my tablet as that would be awesome for multitasking.

(Video from TechnoBuffalo demonstrating the Asus Phone Pad Mini at CES 2014)

For example say your trying to watch a TV show on your tablet and someone rings your house, it would great to just tap a button and answer that call without having to go and get the phone.

Console quality mobile games

Tablet and Mobile games are still not all that great, however with nVida announcing the X1 Tegra chip its a real possiblity that we might start seeing much better mobile and tablet games. nVida claims that this new chip is more powerful than the PS3 and Xbox 360.  This new chip could start off a chain of new gaming tablets being released.

Information about this new chip can be found this found on this article from CVG.

My prediction is that we’ll start seeing affordable tablets and phones bulit specifically for gaming that use this new chip, tablets that are portable and light weight but pack power.

Google Glass release

Google’s controversial and amazing “Glass” hopefully sees release this year at a decent price as its something I personally want to use myself. This could start a whole chain of new wearable tech, and I hope it doesn’t meet the same fate as the Samsung Galaxy gear did.

Another thing I do hope is that people start accepting Google Glass more, because for YouTuber’s like myself it’ll be a brilliant tool to use for making videos without having lug around a camera.

You can see a review of the early access form of Google Glass below.

(Video from Engadget reviewing Google Glass )

My prediction is that Google Glass will do really well but not before there’s some heavy legislation which says what people can and cannot do with it.