Category Archives: Apprenticeships

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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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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…

nat_dog_day

National Dog Day – A selection of recent canine visitors to The Sharp Project

Each week at The Sharp Project a wide range of visitors pass through the doors and at SharpFutures our favourite has to be dogs! (we’ve had kangaroos and camels visit too but that’s for another blog.)

Production companies and tenants often bring their canine friends in to work with them as The Sharp Project is a pet-friendly site. This means that over the last few months we’ve been able to take pictures of a whole range of furry visitors –  please see below for a selection and Tweet us @SharpFutures to let us know your favourite! 


Meet Buddy Buckley, who belongs to Chris from Pixel Kicks

BUDDY-FROM-PIXEL-KICKS


Here’s Bella, Michael from Project Simply’s terrier.

Bella Project Simply 01


This is Tim from Digital Ninjas very excitable Labradoodle.

DIGITAL NINJAS - LABRAPOODLE


Here is The Drawing Room’s King Charles Spaniel, checking out what’s going on outside the Drawing Room
DRAWING ROOM DOG


Meet Beryl, who belongs to our newest tenants Digital Stage, whose new home is in Red 010
BERYL -


Let me introduce you to Dr Feelgood. This friendly pooch belongs to John Bramwell, lead singer of I Am Kloot who visited The Sharp Project to film the St Anthony video

HENRY AKA DR FEELGOOD - JOHN BRAMWELLS DOG


We spotted this lovely Bichon Frise (with protective collar) wondering around Red and couldn’t resist taking a picture

DOG IN RED


Meet this Jack Russell cross who belongs to Riskbox, Campus members at The Sharp Project

RISKBOX DOG



This gorgeous Pomeranian likes visiting  80 Hertz, the recording & post production studio we have at The Sharp Project

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Meet the adorable pup Kodak, who belong to Promotion Hire who are tenants in Gold 068

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& Promotions Kodak again!

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Here is the beautiful Cleo who belongs to our very own Elli from SharpFutures who are tenants in Blue 056.

CLEO with ELLI SharpFutures


This lovely dog is Tess who belongs to Louise from Intelesant who are based in Gold 059INTELESSENT-DOG-CALLED-TESS


This lovely Labrador came in to film an advert a couple of weeks back in Stage One. Keep your eye out to see if you can see this pooch on TV!

DREAMS BED DOG


Here is a special guest over at The Space Project. Meet Wilhemena the Staffordshire Bull Terrier from the make-up department at Houdini & Doyle.

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Compiled & written by SharpFutures apprentice Sophie Hukin

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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.

Inspirations:

• 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.

SharpFutures [FRAMED]

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As a means of curating and displaying the work produced by our recently graduated placements, we produced a brand-new website with Pixel Kicks of The Sharp Project:

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We held an  event at The Sharp Project, where; the website was launched, films were premiered and the placements received their graduation awards.

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If you’d like to keep up-to-date with SharpFutures [FRAMED] and our online video content, subscribe on YouTube and check-out our new website.

Check out our ‘Rossendale Documentary Short’:

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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.

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. 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/