All posts by Guest Blog

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Shu-Ling Li – FOH Placement first week at The Space Project

Mon-Tues 29-30th June 2015

On Monday and Tuesday, I worked with Rachael, Sally and Becky. We were fortunate enough to have a handbook to work through; which Rachael had made to help show us the ropes. I was trained on how to create passes for clients such as the cast and crew for Mount Pleasant, and also had to ensure I confirmed permission to create new passes by calling our clients office to verify the names needed for each new pass. I was also trained on how to accept and log post correctly by ensuring I didn’t sign for damaged or incorrectly addressed parcels.

One of the highlights of the start of the week was being taken on a tour of the Houdini and Doyle set with Colin; whilst it was in the process of being built. In stage 1, I was able to see a Houdini hotel lobby being created with attention to every period feature of its time.

Wed 1st July 2015

With Rachael back at the Sharp project- we were left to put our training into practice. The daily end of shift updates sent out by the runners at the end of each day helped keep track of what was still outstanding from the previous day and what information needed to be cascaded to the next runner or receptionist. Ensuring these updates were sent out each night really helped maintain the flow of work from one person to the next and I felt with these updates, Becky, Sally and I worked well as a team. It was also reassuring that I was able to pick up existing tasks and complete them correctly the following day.

On Wednesday I also met Sue Woodward for the first time. It was great meeting her in person after only seeing photo in news articles. I spoke briefly with Sue about how I was finding the role before her meeting with Rose and Collin that day.

Thurs-Fri 2-3rd July 2015

On Thursday and Friday I worked with Lewis for the first time, he was sat working away on his Macbook and within minutes I discovered what a brilliant designer he was. He modestly explained that he was creating signs to be used for Sharp and Space to help clients navigate their way around the buildings. I was very interested in getting to know more about his creative genius and what software he uses to design with as my degree also used some of the same programs and I was eager to learn more about the techniques he knew which I could also adopt. During periods where I had finished logging visitor pass forms and no clients needed support, Lewis would show me how to use Flash- as design tool used to create motion and cartoons; which I had never used before. Below is a picture he and I worked on, to show a day in the life of a Sharp Futures intern.

Friday saw a casting for Houdini and Doyle with various actors and actresses arriving, this was quite exciting as there was a buzz in the reception with actors coming in and out with a various looks of apprehension, excitement, confidence and enthusiasm- something we could all relate to.

What I learnt:

  • Organise post as soon as it arrives and note down as much detail as you can about each item on the post book log such as recipient and barcode, to ensure the client to receive their parcels as efficiently as possible and to minimise your workload throughout the day.
  • How to use Flash with Lewis; which was a lot of fun and something I will be able to use in the future- from creating pictures for friends to simply developing my own software skills.
  • Communication is key to ensuring the day runs smoothly- whether it be replying to an email to confirm you have received it or ensuring you take down relevant information from a telephone message.Challenges:

• The vast amount of post we receive throughout the day and ensuring these were all logged correctly in our manual filling system. Fortunately we had a good system of noting down what post we received on a joint clipboard before writing the final details in the post folder- this again ensured our communication between each other was clear during busy periods so that we knew what the last person had already logged.


• Speaking to people like Tom and Lewis about how they had come to work for the Sharp Project and their most memorable experiences to date. Lewis for example, described the time he was working on his own work in the Sharp Campus when a business had glance over at his work and offered him work to create their businesses info-graphs. I found it inspiring to see the work he had created then to the work he now currently produces, and how much he had learnt from working with this client of Sharps in such a short space of time. I found it inspiring to see that new opportunities can arise at anytime within Sharp Futures and that clients are always interested in knowing more about you and supporting your talents.

Screen Shot 2015-08-04 at 10.26.35 amA day in the life of a SharpFutures intern through the use of Flash- used for the first time with the help of Lewis Marsh.


PLAY it!

Recently, 2 of our new SharpFutures Social Media placements Kristian and Aleena attended the event PLAY it! at The Museum of Science and Industry.

IMG_0074A – The event started on the 25th of July and progresses on to the 9th of August. This is a throwback to Video Games and its past. There was a multitude of games ranging from a few modern titles to the early consoles created over 30 years ago.

K – Upon getting there we were greeted by several people all dressed up in costume depicting several popular video characters. All of these cosplays (costumes) were incredible and most importantly noticeable, you knew instantly who they were trying to represent.

A – From there, we entered the room that was housing all the consoles that were going to be our entertainment for the next few hours. A plethora of video games and its consoles span over a large room, just waiting to be played. Ranging from the early days of Pong and Pac-Man, to more modern day classics such as Halo and the Uncharted series. There were a lot of game stations and enough consoles, so no one was waiting in a queue, except for the Oculus rift of course!

K – One of the most interesting pieces of technology that was present was the Oculus Rift. It is a virtual reality headset, which was kick-started in 2012. It has been in development ever since, and there will be a commercially available headset due for release in early 2016.

A – It was cool trying out the oculus rift for the first time. It is such an immersive, cool gaming experience, I just wish I got a bit longer on it so I could get used to it! It makes you experience gaming on a whole new level, I loved the fact that I could look around and the device would detect everything I was doing- even my hands were virtual and moved as I moved them! It was like I morphed into the character and I couldn’t see what else was going on in the room- I could just see inside the game! I think it is such a great product and would love to buy one myself.

IMG_0068 (1)K – One of the biggest and best takeaways was just how friendly and approachable everyone was. This was not only the staff and the cosplayers. But the guests as well. As everyone there was attending due to some form of interest in video games, it was just so easy to talk to people. As you all have a platform to speak to each other. Due to the fact that most gamers love talking to others about games as much as playing them.

K – A great example of this is when we kindly asked if we could join 2 other people in a 4 player racing game for the Xbox called Mashed. Which plays very similar to Micro Machines, a game I was very fond of as a child. Being able to play a game that was a blast from the past was a very humbling feeling for myself, which also gave me the advantage and I was able to come out victorious from our 4 player battle.

IMG_0091 (1)A – The event was very informal and relaxed, everyone was just enjoying themselves. I was surprised to see so many cosplayers and people dressed as characters from games. I just expected there to be a room full of games and people playing them- but it was nice to see these characters socializing and adding to the event. Of course I had to have a picture with some of them!

So if you are a fan of games or know someone who is, be sure to bring friends and family alike to the event, they are available in 2-hour slots or you can buy an entire day pass. Tickets can be purchased here.

Below are a few links of interest:





Guest Blog – Kristian Baines

A fresh pair of eyes on the Performance Poetry Scene #justsaying

The event I attended was a spoken word event, #JustSaying, by Reform Radio, hosted by Young Identity.  Reform Radio is a shared digital arts platform, born and bred by young, creative Manchester working predominately with 18-30-year-olds who are not in work, education or training.  The event was hosted to help raise money for their crowdfunding campaign for new studio equipment –


I have very little experience when it comes to the artistic production of the spoken word, the only time I have come across it has been in television or films. What I ended up learning from the event is that it is a scene that encourages others to develop and wants everyone to take part in it.

The performances were all astonishing. One aspect I came to really admire is that every performer had their own singular style that really showed them as a character. There were some performances that were colored and came from a challenging past. Whilst others had a more comedic aspect to it. There was also an inclusion of props and references that fit into some acts tremendously well.


I came in with an open mind, however, there was a pretense that that the event would be as a whole, doom and gloom, as it is portrayed in media. That I would not enjoy the evening and would leave in a rather depressed mood. Nevertheless, I was pleasantly mistaken, there was a real energy and buzz throughout the event that kept and upbeat and positive arc as the evening progressed.

This is not to take away from the more serious and harder hitting poetry. These were amazing performances that conveyed real emotion and clearly came from a time in their lives that were not safe for them. Even so, they have learned to cope, change them for the better and channel their emotions into a healthy creative aspect which gives them joy. This is a great thing to see as young people do sometimes have a tendency to not be able to control their emotions well and showing there is another creative outlet that they may not have had thought of or seen that can really help them.

I’d say that the evening was a massive success in my opinion, it was a cracking night. Filled with good food, drink and people. Everyone there was so friendly and approachable and I could tell by speaking with some of the performers they truly loved what they do. I would whole heartily recommend attending something like this if you are looking for something a little bit different. I would very much like to attend a similar event in the near future.

Maybe even take part!


iphone art collage

GuestBlog – M20Photography – Abstract iPhone Art

Create Abstract Art with an iPhone & a Torch

All photographers have to start somewhere, and whilst for high-end commissions, quality gear may be essential, during the time that you are building up a portfolio and learning all  about light, shadow & composition, a simple phone camera & one light source can yield surprising results. This blog is all about accessible art – all the following shots were all taken at home on an iPhone 5, using available light which anybody can do.

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The first subject is nothing more than a bangle laid on an A4 piece of paper, lit by a torch (from the Pound shop!) I folded the edge of the paper over to create more shadow – you can do this, and more at home yourself and here’s how:

Take an interesting object – something that might create a dramatic shadow & place on a piece of white paper on a table – don’t just plonk it in the middle, consider the rule of thirds.

Lie the torch on the table and move it all around the subject until it casts a shadow you like. Switch ALL the house lights off, yes even the TV – this is best done during the evening with no other light which might detract the effect. For extra texture, try tearing or cutting the paper.

Frame your shot holding the phone firmly with 2 hands, zoom in if necessary although bear in mind, this may cause extra fuzziness (grain).  Either lean on the table to hold as steady as possible – or tuck your elbows into your body for support if photographing from above.

Hold still for several seconds whilst the camera focuses, wait a few more seconds and then click with as little movement as possible – remember, the slightest shake can blur your shot.

It’s surprising how close-up the iPhone will focus, but you do need to be patient whilst it searches for something to focus on. If it doesn’t focus on your desired point, gently touch the screen on your focal point and wait a few more seconds for the camera to refocus.

The following shot is an ordinary glass tumbler placed on a sparkly tile underneath a kitchen downlight. I added perspective by twisting the corner of the phone to create distortion, rather than photographing flat on.



And here’s the apple icon on my iMac with the keyboard reflected by kitchen lights.

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This is a small sculpture of a double bass player lit by a torch against a propped-up piece of white paper. The smaller images are the same sculpture but with a tin foil background, and a wider view of the set-up.


For the purpose of this blog, all images are unedited other than cropping, no filters, no colour correction, contrast or borders etc – I wanted to show how you don’t even need to leave your sofa to create fun images that add to your portfolio. Have a go yourself — we’d love to see your results.

For anyone interested – the photograph below is the only one taken on a professional camera (again unedited so you can judge the results for yourself)

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Some other resource to inspire you:-


GuestBlog – 12 year old Harry talks about Minecraft and Manchester Coder Dojo

My name is Harry and I am 12 years old, I have been going to Manchester Coder Dojo since it’s been at The Sharp Project.

Minecraft is a very popular and fun game, the aim of the game is to run around your world, collect resources and build whatever you want whilst also surviving against hunger and angry mobs. The angry mobs can be things like: zombies, skeletons that fire arrows, creepers that blow up, spiders and witches who throw potions at you.  In Minecraft there are mods where its adds a tonne of different blocks, mobs and weapons. You can also go to the moon and mars.

There are servers on Minecraft where people can connect  and play against each other on different mini-games, team games, and survival games.

I like to play this at Manchester Coder Dojo at The Sharp Project because you can play with your friends and experts volunteer 
to help you code and programme games.

I really do recommend this game and Manchester Coder Dojo to everyone. For more information on Manchester Coder Dojo have a look at the website here.


Nick Wood: Freelance Videographer / Runner / Production Assistant.

I am a freelance videographer and a member of the SharpFutures Talent Pool. I graduated from studying Film and TV Production at Manchester’s Futureworks in 2013.

I became involved with the SharpFutures team in June 2013 after volunteering at Event #005, since then, I have been involved in many key events such as LEANCONF, Creative Digital Experience Days & Digital Teapot 14.

Being a part of the Talent Pool means that I am recommended to The Sharp Project tenants ABF Pictures and Stone Cross Films when they need additional skills. I have been offered paid work on set as a Runner, and as a Production Assistant, providing me practical experience and a good insight into larger scale productions, as well as expanding my contacts network.

As part of the Talent Pool, I was also lucky enough to work as part of the SharpFutures Team on a Social Media Booster Campaign for an event launching the new Peugeot 308 – a great experience further expanding my photography and social media skills.

As a Freelancer, I am currently looking at an idea to develop a business that utilises video production as a way of advertising for brands and companies via social media.
I am also looking to develop a portfolio career with a larger scale production company where I can develop my knowledge and skills in a wider environment.

I am looking to find a junior researcher role in the creative digital sector so I can develop a sustainable career, and am hopeful that my experience with SharpFutures Talent Pool will help me achieve this.

You can see some of my work here that I have obtained during and since my studies along with some personal projects. My work has been heavily based within the snow sports industry and I am looking to build upon this whilst also expanding my portfolio.

Follow me on twitter @njwood84 & Linkedin

Lauren Hira,
Talent Manager at SharpFutures –

“Nick has become a valued member of the Talent Pool who we are happy to recommend, he is reliable, creative and able to turn his hand to any task we throw at him. We are proud to have him as part of our team. “


I used to pass The Sharp Project every weekend on the way to work, the thing that stood out to me was the glittery silver front.  I would be looking forward to a dull day at a fast food restaurant and passing it made me smile, but I never really understood what the building was. My second encounter with The Sharp Project was a little different; I’ve recently been selected to take part in a Social Media boot camp by another company, which I’d previously been rejected from. This time I wanted to stand out so I went in search of some work experience that would make me stand out from all the social media hopefuls.

That’s when my aunty suggested The Sharp Project, I immediately set out to try and find out a little more about it. After emailing SharpFutures they set up two days work experience for me to come in and talk to other people within the field, and gain a little knowledge about working within such an environment.

Although I had done some research prior to coming to The Sharp Project, it didn’t really prepare me in the slightest, pictures can’t really do the building justice. Apart from it being absolutely huge, it’s also extremely quirky and homely. It reminded me of the Google headquarters, all it needed was a slide! I was absolutely amazed by ‘Red’ which in normal speak is a row of glass cabins that different creative companies work from. It genuinely has a high street feel, and is a brilliant way for different companies to interact and exchange thoughts.

The Sharp Project feels like a community rather than office space, ‘The Campus’ (which in normal speak would probably be described as a canteen) is a hub of people eating, working and even playing ping pong. It feels like a courtyard with all the glass offices facing it, the air throughout the place is almost electric. I also had the chance to meet Sue Woodward, the Creative Champion behind The Sharp Project, talking to the person behind the extremely large building I was stood in was extremely exciting and I’m glad I had the opportunity to do so.

Being a young person trying to get into this particular industry at the moment is proving an impossible task, everybody wants to do it and trying to differentiate yourself from all the others is extremely difficult. It’s also very expensive to run your own business at such a young age, to make it work you need experience and that’s what The Sharp Project offered me.  Having spent time here speaking to the SharpFutures apprentices and looking around the office space I feel much more comfortable knowing that somewhere like this exists.

Spaces like The Sharp Project give the younger generation an opportunity to start their own business and let their own space for a small price, rather than trying to make a huge sum of money they’re trying to create jobs/opportunities and are trying to create a buzz around the industry.  My time at The Sharp Project with SharpFutures was short but I definitely won’t forget it, and who know in a few years I might find myself with a shipping container in Red!

Jessica, Student, 19