Category Archives: Freelance

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Placement Workshops – Danny Moore & Dan Walsh

At SharpFutures we’ve recently recruited 8 placements for a 12 week course, which consists of workshops, masterclasses, content creation, real-life creative briefs and become part of the SharpFutures Talent Pool and support network.

Welcoming this first cohort of placements which consists of 8 people varying in many different areas of interest such as graphic design, production running, scriptwriting, social media marketing, the list goes on.

As a part of my work with SharpFutures I have been involved in a number of workshops that have been organised for the 8 placements to gain them an insight in to the industry and to also give them advice. The first workshop i was involved in was on Content management and curation.

 (Marketing Exec and Web Developer) involve a big chunk of time working through content and managing it from the SharpFutures Blog, to the website and the Social Media.
The second workshop I did was with Lauren Hira, we hosted a workshop to show and discuss all the activity that SharpFutures gets up to working for clients and on our own social media presence, we also went in to how it has become a skill very much in demand at the moment.

placement-blog150It has been a really interesting learning curve hosting the workshops as only 2 years ago, I found myself in a very similar seat to them. I remember that first workshop on Social Media Marketing I attended at SharpFutures as an Apprentice in my first month, not exactly sure of what Social Media marketing consisted of or how it could be utilised for a business. Just in 2 years of learning on the job and much of my own time being spent on researching into all the newest discoveries and innovations of the Social Media world I now find myself confident enough to share my knowledge. I know from my own experience, learning from someone actually in the industry is much more advantageous compared to learning from a book published 5 years ago. A lot of the content and advice in that book may now be bit out of date compared to the real world, with things such as Facebook and Twitter constantly adding features and innovations you have to keep up with the changes to stay on top. Being able to pass on my knowledge felt quite rewarding, although it’s now more important than ever to stay on top as I potentially have 8 competitors chasing me…

Reiterating what Danny has said,

. As it forces me to take a step back and look at the work we do on day-to-day basis more objectively . It’s also made me appreciate how much I’ve learnt over the past 2 years and not assume knowledge when talking to others.

As everyone seemed to respond positively to the workshop I’m planning to hold a workshop on using WordPress as a blogging/portfolio platform to promote yourself as a creative individual. We’ve already taken the placements through setting up and using Tumblr as way of displaying and sharing their work. But I think WordPress provides a more succinct and professional platform much like a real website, although slightly more limited than a full WordPress website; it still looks professional and can also help develop coding and design skills.

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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. http://digital-photography-school.com/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.

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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.

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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:-

http://iphonephotographyschool.com
http://www.ippawards.com/2014-winners/

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.

 

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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.
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Ditch The Standard Microsoft Word Template CV

Ditch the standard Microsoft Word template CV if you want to stand out from the crowd, don’t even bother with this unless you’ve been specifically asked for it.Sending uninvited, dull-looking CV’s will get you noticed for all the wrong reasons.

We do things differently in the Creative world and that’s exactly what we want to see – something different & creative.  We recently featured a very creative twist on a CV as seen below. You can find the previous blogpost here ‘Creative Approach of Presenting A CV’.

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If you must send a formal CV, make sure it’s a PDF not Microsoft Word – unless instructed. Follow professional guidelines and avoid common mistakes, there are numerous guides available all over the internet and at local careers outlets – notwithstanding this one for starters… CV TIPS

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Dom Corry – Digital Runner Apprentice

The first thing I feel is the ease and breeze, people seem to enjoy what they do here, so in turn you aren’t met with hostility or general bad reverberations, vibes, air …this then makes for a clean and un turbulent landing on to planet Sharp Project and since that landing I have enjoyed my first week here.

‘What is it people actually do here then, man?’

I hear you inquire in your mind’s eye (I’m pretty shamanic in that way see)

It’s a fair question and seeing as I am now officially a ‘digital production runner’ here, I should have the answers…I do… I think.

So as I understand it The Sharp Project is a building ,hub and general epicenter of all things creative digital based in Manchester, in which specifically creative digital based businesses form this sector rent space to run day to day duties of their ever blossoming ports of call, be that photography (Nelson Reeves) or the creation and distribution of stage lights (ELP) and of course as well as being primarily tenant based this big bad spaceship of a structure also has 4 stages available for anything from events to television and set storage even if I went off the question a tad bit. if you want more information where tenants are concerned then I can give you some; this place also has memberships available for people(again within a creative digital context) who want a place to work, resolve and generally come to plot world domination. That would be my understanding of ‘what people do in here’ and what it actually is that The Sharp Project erm is, even though you didn’t ask, I told you I was shamanic.

You also didn’t ask what the role digital production runner entails, but I will tell you in brief. I help with the day to day running of the machine and pumping of the heart.

So the moral of the first week at The Sharp Project and I’m pretty certain in life generally is that being polite being honest and generally being a good human being will serve you well; first and fore mostly within the sharp project.

Over and out (for now).

Dominic Corry

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Scott Rosbottom – IT/AV Apprentice

It has been an interesting first two weeks for me. In which I have learnt a fair bit already whether it’s from some basic coding to making an Ethernet cable. I honestly believe this is a fantastic opportunity for me and hopefully for the people who later on follow in my footsteps. Everything seems to kind of just flow and as much as it can be completely hectic at points it still seems to all work. It’s got an amazing team of employees in which you can build a close rapport with very quickly, it’s a close environment with a variety of different tasks and jobs to do partly being the reason it flows so well because even though everyone has their certain aspects in a job and specialise in certain things we all chip into different jobs and aspects to have it done to the best it can be and the most efficiently.

I have personally never felt so comfortable in a job, its doing what I want to do, how I want to do it and the environment I most thrive in. everyone has good attributes and bad attributes, I have found in these two weeks alone some of the stuff I am better at than I thought and some things I need to brush up on in which I knew already but I have the help to better myself in them ways within my time here. In my time here up to yet I have configured a wireless router, set up my own desktop, made the Ethernet cable for it, made a inventory of all our stuff which we will be using also as a in and out system, learnt front of house, and have the job of setting up the AV in the campus. I’ve also learnt that I need to stop sometimes and just listen sometimes as it would be massively beneficial to me and I don’t always have to be in the limelight I can step back and learn from other people.

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Kerry Parker – Digital Runner Apprentice

My name is Kerry Parker and I am one of the newest Production Runners apprentices based at The Sharp Project. Before this I was a member of the SharpFutures Talent Pool, working on Front of House and across the events and production on site.
During my first week in this apprenticeship I have already worked with ABF Pictures who are one of the tenants that are based at The Sharp Project, who make adverts. I was asked to help with the casting for an advert that they was developing for a client. For this they asked if I would greet people at the reception and take them through to the office where the casting was being held. During the casting I had the opportunity to tell them any ideas that I thought would work in an aspect of the advert. As I am building my experience with different companies, it is all helping me develop my skills and will hopefully get me to where I want to go in the future – a Drama Producer.
During the rest of my first week I worked on Front of House, coordinating and dealing with visitors for some of the companies that are based here. I also got the opportunity to go and meet all the tenants and introduce myself as part of the new team. We also had our inductions and met with our learning provider and began working on out profiles.
I am excited for the next twelve months here as I will learn a lot of new skills and further my development.

Kerry Parker
Digital Runner (Apprentice)

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What is the Creative Digital sector?

#Creative:- : originality of thought or imagination

#Digital:- : involving or relating to the use of computer technology

Creative Digital companies make, move or manipulate Digital Content around the world. The European Commission considers the digital and creative industries the most dynamic emerging sector in Europe to work in and the most important driver of innovation in other sectors. Official statistics published January 14th, 2014 reveal that the UK’s creative industries are now worth £71.4 billion per year to the UK economy. With a growth of almost 10% in 2012, outperforming all other sectors of UK industry, the sector also accounted for 1.68 million jobs in 2012, 5.6 per cent of UK jobs.

With a sector showing so much growth, here at SharpFutures our aim is to empower and equip young people with all the creative and digital tools vital for success in this sector – and to advise of the realities and pitfalls. Creative work is often project-based and can come in ebbs and flows. To succeed in this industry takes determination, imagination and flexibility.

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It’s all about the Content

The first thing you need is a dedicated skill, ambition and an idea of the career path you hope to take.What are your strengths? What is your talent? Can you illustrate a logo or a design a website? Take stunning photographs, write compelling copy or create animation?

Whatever your skill, an absolute must is a digital portfolio. Whether it’s a showreel, blog, website, YouTube channel or any other audio / visual representation of your work, Employers or Clients want to see results, style and creativity. If you haven’t already got one, go and make one. There are an abundance of free tools available such as:

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and too many others to mention.

If you have got this far, you are already on to the next step…It’s all about the content…

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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. “