I decided to update the webstie and give it a new look, as well as update my portfolio and CV. I created a theme used in the headers of each page and whilst I created each header myself, I have to give credit to the artists whose artwork I used in the process (Diablo, Dishonored, Pokemon, Half Life and Skyrim), as well as the artist whose geometric pattern I utilised for the background: <a href="http://www.freepik.com/free-vector/polygon-lines-background_1070077.htm">Designed by Freepik</a>
This week's topic was titled "Social Media and your Career". In 2016 the two terms almost go hand in hand as we are well and truly living in the digital age. It has never been more applicable and to most employers, a necessity, to be involved to some extent with social media.
According to Social Media Statistics Australia, the number of Australian users on Facebook in Feb 2015 was 13,800,00, the number of Unique Australian Views on YouTube was 13,500,000; WordPress.com was 6,1000,000; Tumblr was 4,700,00; and Instagram was 4,000,000. These Statistics are Australian only - the reach that Social Media platforms have worldwide are staggering. Anecdotally, my first grad-job after uni; my direct sales manager told me that the HR team vetted me via my FaceBook profile before they even picked up the phone to ask me for an interview, and that this was a typical process for them when hiring. An article published by Forbes wrote "The Facebook page is the first interview; if you don’t like a person there, you probably won’t like working with them."
OK, so why is social media important? Well the numbers don't lie: most businesses have an identity online, as do most people and that information is easily accessible by anybody who has an internet connection. What better way to compare both businesses and employees than by browsing their personal webpages? The benefits to social media are numerous, but the article specifies the ways in which to leverage these platforms, assuming the benefits are understood.
The first point is that students should start utilising the various forms of social media now, and not wait until they've graduated to start creating profiles. This is because social media, like in real life, is an always evolving, growing process. It's important to start developing relationships with people in the industry now so that they have time to mature so that by the time you do graduate, you have at least the semblance of a industry network in your desired field. To reiterate the first point I made - the numbers don't lie and it's a fact that there are online connections to every industry in business. It's simply a matter of connecting with them. An article published by Business Insider wrote "LinkedIn is a formidable professional networking platform as well as a powerful job board and search engine. The fact that a full 94% of recruiters use social media, in particular LinkedIn, to fill open positions should get you excited."
Of course this can be a daunting process - there are dozens of social media platforms ranging from FaceBook and Twitter, to YouTube and LinkedIn, and more are appearing every other week. The article addresses the issue as to 'where to start' by suggesting that we choose 3 objectives that are relevant to us and our career right now - yes these will change by the time we graduate, but we'l cross that bridge when we get to it. By identifying 3 objectives we can help narrow down the social media platforms we should engage with.
For instance, I wish to better my drawing skills, build a larger portfolio and increase my skill set specifically in 3D art. In order to achieve these objectives, I can use the following social media: I can use YouTube as a means to subscribe to a number of established and talented artists who can help me better my drawing skills by way of instructional videos and tutorials. I can use Instagram to follow other artists from different disciplines so that I can be inspired by their work daily and in doing so generate new ideas to help me increase my own portfolio. I can use LinkedIn to follow game development companies and track their articles to see what resources I should be looking into in order to build upon my 3D skill set.
The third point that the article speaks of is to engage with other people within the industry of your choosing. This is especially important as it goes hand in hand with the first point made of starting to build your network now. By interacting with people in the industry you are creating a foot print. You're shaking hands and having conversations - this way you are now visible in that space. People will remember you for good or for bad as long as you make that effort and an impression. This then becomes a vital tool once you've graduated and you start looking for work because you can go straight to those same people who are already in the industry and leverage those relationships to further your career. Of course it's never a good idea to simply ask these people for a job, but by keeping in touch, over time, you'll naturally speak of your desire and if an opportunity arises for work, one of those contacts may very well approach you with an offer.
Having an online presence opens you up to a new type of harassment and is the fourth point in the article. Anonymity allows people a mask behind which they feel obliged to attack other people. Unfortunately this is quite prevalent on social media and cannot be avoided however it's not always bad. The article makes mention that other people online tend to forgive and support those starting out, but turn on a dime when threatened by a persons success. Again, this is typical human nature - the internet just makes it that much easier for people to be critical. Dealing with this type of criticism will depend on the person, but it's best to simply ignore the naysayers and embrace those who support you whenever possible. An article published by ABC touches on 5 Ways to handle and prevent online harassment. There are plenty of tools online to help mitigate the nastiness which may inevitably rear its head. http://abcnews.go.com/Technology/We_Find_Them/ways-handle-prevent-cyber-harassment/story?id=15973742abcnews.go.com/Technology/We_Find_Them/ways-handle-prevent-cyber-harassment/story?id=15973742
Finally we talk about increasing outreach and keeping those who are invested in you with the use of newsletters. Newsletters are a long standing method of updating groups of people at once - my old primary school and high school used to send these out each week in order to update my parents on what was happening with the school, highlighting student achievements and notifying them of anything urgent, events, fairs etc. Even online newsletters are used by most companies as a means to achieve the same purpose and one you have set up an online presence there's nothing stopping you from sending out your own newsletters; in fact, you should! Even if you don't have a 'company', you yourself are a brand and can promote to your followers what you are up to. Keep people engaged by notifying them of current projects, projected work, collaborations or even simply journal your career. It's a simply form of engagement and can only serve to assist your online image.
To summarize - it's important that we all take the time to invest in social media - especially those of us in the creative industry and that's because our work is typically viewed or heard online. Having a social media presence, especially a large one allows people who like what you do, to follow you and support you. Additionally, by having multiple accounts, you cater to all the potential followers who only subscribe to a certain type of social media. begin sooner rather than later and constantly update your platforms - it's a cumulative payoff which bears fruits down the track - trust me, I know first hand. Look where I've written this blog...
Switching classes a third of the way through the Trimester means that I was satisfying different requirements for different lecturers. This is fine - it simply means that the type of content Andrew is looking for, is different than that of Tim and this particular blog missed the mark in satisfying both. So here's my revision of Week 2.
This week's topic covered different ways to monetise your craft. As a creative there's naturally a little more freedom in the way in which you can approach employment. By definition, a creative (artist, musician, actor, writer etc) is an entrepreneur. Unlike the typical verticals of business: Finance, IT, Sales, Marketing, HR etc, the demand for a creative in white-collar isn't a high and therefore a creative doesn't typically find themselves in the standard, '9 - 5'. An article taken from news.com reports that Australia's most wanted jobs for 2014 were in the Information Technology space, Health Staff, Plumbers and Accountants.
Further to these findings, the Australian Jobs Occupation Matrix 2016, taken from the Department of Employment, Australia, shows that the Accounting, Banking and Financial Services (with specificity to Accountancy with 188,100 jobs in 2015), Construction, Architecture and Design (with specificity to Electricians with 165,500 jobs in 2015), Education and Training (with specificity to Primary School Teachers with 147,500 jobs in 2015), Health and Community Services (with specificity to Child Carers and Nurses with 149,600 and 257,400 jobs respectively in 2015) and Sales, Retail, Wholesale and Real Estate (with specificity to General Sales Assistants and Retail Managers with 552,800 and 235,200 jobs respectively in 2015) were some of the highest sectors for employment for last year. Compare those numbers to that of the entire Arts and Entertainment industry and you'll note a significant discrepancy in the number of roles filled.
.Graphics and Web Designers, and Illustrators make up a total of only 46,500 jobs, which is a decline of 7,700 (14.2%) jobs in the last 5 years!
So what does this mean? We can assume that there's no shortage of skills - In recent years there has been in surge in the formal education and training of creatives. SAE itself has been churning out creatives in a wide variety of disciplines for over 35 years, whilst providing them with real world industry experience; that is to say, real jobs within the industry, right here in Melbourne. SAE's major competition in the form of AIE boasts "and excellent track record of placing graduates into industry-relevant places since 1996".
The intake process for both of these Melbourne based institutes are rigorous as well - there is a need to cull potential candidates and admit only those who show a desire and competency for their chosen discipline and the reason for this is because there is usually always an overabundance of candidates than there is positions at the institute.
What we have then, is a discrepancy between the number of potential employees (if we assume all graduates are jobseekers) and the number of real world positions available to them. How then does a potential, professional creative by trade, find work and by extension, an income?
This week's article describes some of the more common ways that this is achieved. The first is the traditional route that I discussed earlier. An employee within a company on either a Full time or Part time basis has many benefits. "On the one hand you may have the stability of a salary, along with paid leave and other benefits. You will also always have projects to work on, and be working as part of a team...You can be a full-time or part-time employee, but either way you will most likely be on a salary." This is of course provided that you can find and successfully land a position in a production house, studio, agency or company. Based on the statistics presented above, this may not necessarily be the the likeliest of avenues. With regards tot he topic of the lecture, the salary is the biggest selling point to this type of employment. A fixed salary provides a guaranteed safety net which hugely impacts your lifestyle. A guaranteed income over an undermined amount of time is a luxury that the freelancer does not have.
The freelancer as defined by the article is "an independent creative earning income from the sale of your projects." As with the contracted employee, this also has it's benefits and pitfalls. The opportunity to 'be your own' boss is a much sought after goal by many Australians and is a huge catalyst for many creatives to follow their path in the first place. Not being tied to a boss, a company, location or predefined hours allows for a lot of flexibility and freedom which in my opinion, is very conducive to the intellectual workflow and production of ideas in a creative space. I typically don't work well (with regards to drawing and designing) when I'm stressed. But of course, as the article points out, "actually having people buy your projects is not easy", and as a freelancer, being a salesman is part of the job as you have to actively go out and seek opportunities because you don't have a boss who provides them for you.
The article goes on to highlight some of the criteria a freelancer needs to be aware of, such as pricing of your work and how to arrive at that figure based on the quality, time taken and your competition. Because selling your work is the primary goal of any freelancer, being knowledgeable in the market in which you're providing a skill is imperative. An excerpt from the news.com article quotes Plumbing Trades Employees Union, Paddy McCrudden as saying "If you are unemployed as a plumber in Australia there must be something wrong; you've either got a bad work ethic or are charging too much." The same applies to a freelance artist, or musician: It pays to know what the climate in your industry is and you need to adapt to that to ensure that you're providing a service that is in demand, at a price that is competitive, yet reasonable.
Running your own studio is a great way to get started in the industry as well, as it provides a platform with which to create work and for other creatives to collaborate and work alongside you, and crowdfunding is getting more popular every day thanks to sites like 'gofundme', 'kickstarter' and 'indegogo' to name a few, whose primary purpose is to make it accessible for people to be patrons for your work.
The article goes on to talk about working multiple jobs - if freelancing is the path you wish to follow, then perhaps taking on an additional job, defined in the article as a "day job...where you do things for money to support you while you do what you really want to do after hours" as this will financially support you while you build your consumer outreach. As we just discussed, selling your work can become quite difficult and you'll often need a primary income stream in order to live.
Consultancy work, commissions and sponsorship are all other avenues that a creative can take and they should all be considered by anyone considering this lifestyle. Again if we reference the Jobs Matrix above, there simply isn't enough positions to enable creatives in Australia with a Full time job in the industry. By nature a creative thinks outside the box and that notion shouldn't apply strictly to their work but also to their career.
If there is an overarching theme to this article (and I believe there always is!) it would be to pay attention to the avenues in which a creative can provide a service. Whether you practice your craft for the love of it or not, making an income based on it should always be a priority. It is a case of one hand shaking the other - for myself, I love what I do and I aim to practice my craft professionally for many years to come, however in order to do so, I will need a steady income so that I can live and work in comfort. I cannot and will never assume that I can simply 'get another job', because in this industry, that statistically isn't a viable option. Instead, I need to consider my environment and think creatively as to how I can generate an income drawing pictures so that I can continue to draw pictures and make an income.
Newscomau. (2016). NewsComAu. Retrieved 7 July, 2016, from http://www.news.com.au/finance/work/australias-most-wanted-jobs-tech-heads-health-staff-and-plumbers/story-fnkgbb3b-1226794470655
Employmentgovau. (2016). Employmentgovau. Retrieved 7 July, 2016, from https://docs.employment.gov.au/system/files/doc/other/australianjobs2016occmatrix.pdf
Saeeduau. (2016). Saeeduau. Retrieved 7 July, 2016, from https://sae.edu.au/campuses/melbourne/
Aieeduau. (2016). Aieeduau. Retrieved 7 July, 2016, from http://www.aie.edu.au/About_AIE/why_aie
This week's lecture covered the topic of 'Inclusive Design'. In essence, the material touches on a number of topics inducing accessibility, race, gender and conflict among others, with the intent to define and describe the reason why it's important to consider these issues when designing for media (although the article makes specificity to video games).
I sensed that the overarching theme was to be mindful - research your target audience and make allowance for an extended audience. For each topic, your design cues could betaken by asking the questions like: "would somebody with a hearing impairment be able to follow the dialogue in my game?", and if not should I then consider implementing closed captioning/subtitles to cater to that audience. "Would somebody who has a form of colour blindness be able to complete this particular puzzle, or discover this hidden item/tile?", and if not should I then consider an alternate colour pallette? A particular concept included in the article which I really liked, was the Bechdel test - attributed to Alison Bechdel's 1985 comic strip which poses 3 questions to determine a woman's role in film. This is a great tool which can be used to judge the gender equality of your piece of media, ie: "Does my game pass the Bechdel test?:" and if not, should I consider adding a female character to my script, or alter the existing cast in some way in order to make it more inclusive?
There is quite a lot of content in this week's lecture however if you remember to be mindful of some of the areas: gender, conflict, colour and sound, then all you need do is ask the question: am I neglecting these groups of people? If the answer is 'yes', then at the very least, no matter what decision you make after the fact, you have identified areas in your creative media that may alienate certain demographics.
The issue with trying to be inclusive is that people are quick to criticise whether you got it right. It's a 'damned if you do, damned if you don't' scenario. The article mentions that a way to mitigate the backlash from trying to be inclusive in the first place, is to embrace the concept and include a lot of diverse characters. "Don't just have one woman, have many. Don't just have one gay character, have many. Then they represent lots of different people, they're not trying to represent a whole gender, race, or sexuality."
In my opinoin, this is sound advice as long as the integrity of the intended theme of the piece of media (such as the movie's plot, or the game's lore) isn't comprimised. I believe that equality in all forms should be considered when developing an idea, but don't simply include diverse characters for the sake of including them, I feel that an idea can very easily become over saturated and lose it's way because of this - the most famous of these tropes, I feel is the 'token black guy'.
TV Tropes defines this concept as the 'Token Minority', who "is a character designed to get more minority groups into the plot." TV Tropes extrapolates on our discussion from earlier by going into detail on a number of reasons why this is beneficial to the show and the writers. For instance, the token minority "is useful for bringing in discussions of racial issues, gender issue or homophobia into the plot", but ironically also "allows the producers to make race jokes related to minority without any shame" and "allows the producers to avoid criticism from minority groups" when doing so.
In fact, Trey Parker and Matt Stone, the creators of TV show, South Park, included a token minority in their show and named him, Token Black.
There's a lot to be said for content that goes against the grain in an effort to centralize these themes. In class, most students researched a movie which either identified aspects that enforeced bias and prejudice or, like in my case where I referenced 'Kill Bill"; a film that embraces gender and cultural themes as well as being stylistically appropriate for people with a visual hinderence such as colour blindness. To prove this point, I cited the famous 'Crazy 88' scene within the movie that was rendered entirely in black and white.
Another example of catering to the progressive nature of societal values, the film 'Monster', stars Charlize Theron, who plays Aileen Wuornos, a Daytona Beach prostitute who became a serial killer. In order to portray the role, the usually stunning Charlize had to gain 15 kilograms, shaved her eyebrows and underwent significant makeup sessions in order to resemble the real life counterpart.
This was a bold choice made by the actor but one which film critics praised. One such notorious critic, Roger Ebert named it best film of the year and wrote "What Charlize Theron achieves in Patty Jenkins' Monster isn't a performance but an embodiment."
The article goes on to discuss inequality in employment, touching on the long-standing issue of women in high-earning roles, as well as talking the issues of conflict within video games - relating even that point back to the misnomer that women aren't invested in violence within video games like men are. Although in saying that, the article references a study conducted by Her Interactive, which found that girls didn’t like fighting games because “they lost interest in fighting the same opponents over and over again for no good reason” (Graner Ray, 48).
There is a lot to be said about gender roles, sexuality, conflict, race and for that matter religion, violence and drugs in media - we live in a very politically correct society at present and thanks to the internet, a point made by Andrew in this morning's class, everybody has the chance and feels entitled to get up in arms about anything using the justification that they're 'offended'.
In conclusion, this week's material doesn't so much care about the impact including a variety of themes in a piece of work will have, rather it's about remembering to consider a wide variety of themes when creating your work as a failure to do so may result in eliminating your audience and butchering your outreach.
Tvtropesorg. (2016). TV Tropes. Retrieved 4 July, 2016, from http://tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pmwiki.php/Main/TokenMinority
Googlecomau. (2016). Googlecomau. Retrieved 4 July, 2016, from https://www.google.com.au/url?sa=i
Media-imdbcom. (2016). Media-imdbcom. Retrieved 4 July, 2016, from http://ia.media-imdb.com/images/M/MV5BMTc3MzA2OTA2Ml5BMl5BanBnXkFtZTcwMjI3MDg4NA@@._V1_SY1000_CR0,0,1502,1000_AL_.jpg
Duckduckgocom. (2016). Duckduckgocom. Retrieved 4 July, 2016, from https://images.duckduckgo.com/iu/?u=http://images6.fanpop.com/image/photos/34500000/-Charlize-Theron-charlize-theron-34529253-1920-1200.jpg
Imdbcom. (2016). IMDb. Retrieved 4 July, 2016, from http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0340855/
Wikipediaorg. (2016). Wikipediaorg. Retrieved 4 July, 2016, from https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Monster_(2003_film)
Herinteractivecom. (2016). Her Interactive. Retrieved 4 July, 2016, from http://www.herinteractive.com/about-us/overview/
This week's lecture material covered the topic of interviewing for a job. The article, misleadingly titled "Secret Interview Techniques", failed to deliver any real secrets to the interview process. Rather, it set about detailing some very important and what I believe to be fundamental criteria that any job seeker should be aware of.
The article begins by touching on why it is that employers put potential candidates through the interview process. It's due to a number of reasons, all of which are aiming to discover what kind of employee you are. The trick here is that we will typically go into an interview with the notion that we have to sell ourselves to the employer in order to get what we want and we would do this by wearing a chip on our shoulder and highlighting all the things that make us great, when in actual fact the employer is trying to discover all the things that you're trying to keep hidden - in fact it's the premise under which interview questions are often selected. The questions asked in an interview process are designed carefully with the intent to get the prospect to let down their guard and open up by engaging them in thought provoking dialogue. Asking behavioral questions disguised as simple "What would you rather" type questions is a common tactic employed during the interview process and being aware of this is your first step to success in my opinion.
Further to this point, a tremendous amount of resources are spent by research entities in order to streamline and create the most efficient line of questioning in an interview. Remember that just like the job you're applying for, there is a job for people to better the application process. The interview process has matured and changed over the years - A research paper published by Timothy A. Judge and Chad A. Higgins from the University of Iowa shows us that employers have all but disregarded the 'conventional wisdom' in the interview process. "Until very recently, the interview, as typically conducted, was through to be plagues by many problems", including a low reliability among interviewers regarding what questions should be asked, applicant appearance and gender as well as aesthetic bias, more weight given to negative information than positive information and so on. What this means is that for years, the interview process has been skewed by the personal preference of the hiring persons and not objectively performed as they should be in order to give every applicant a fair chance.
P-O Fit was developed on the premise that organisations may benefit from hiring employees based on their fit with the culture and goals of an organisation rather than just the requirements of a particular job, (Bowen, Ledford, and Nathan, 199) this is a common theme in interviews today - I myself have personally been hired based on my personality and fit within a team even though I lacked the skills necessary to fulfill my role ideally. I was told by my boss that the skills I needed could be learned, however my work ethic was something I've developed through my personal experience and was more valuable to him.
The article then moves into an anecdotal example of the writer's experience with a job application - it's humorous and really quite entertaining but the situation described here isn't one that mirror's what most graduates will encounter upon leaving school. However I don't believe the point of the story was to simply tell an interesting tale, rather it was to highlight that in order to get a job, you must be willing to think outside the box, or more specifically, thinking laterally and you must also be willing to take the initiative and put your self in the position where these opportunities can present themselves.
The third point the article mentions, is arguably the most important one and that is to network. The reason I say this is the most important of the topics is because it's one that anyone can begin working on right now. Getting out of your comfort zone and finding people within the industry doesn't cost you anything other than your time and it is well worth your time to work your way into the industry at your earliest convenience. Rubbing shoulders with people in the industry doesn't necessarily mean that you'll get a job once you're ready, but the old adage of "It's not what you know, it's who you know" has rung true for generations and shoes no signs of being proven wrong anytime soon. I feel that students are in the best position to do this - simply put, they have the time to invest into this task. Most people, once game fully employed, are restricted by the hours and days in which they work - student however, although I'll admit we have a significant work load, can manage our time freely and choose our days and hours (for the most part). I have been on both sides of this fence - a student, alumni and now student again, as well as full time employed and making networking sessions during the working week can be quite stressful. However just the other week, I shuffled my schedule around and made my way down the the IGDAM (Game devs meetup) in the city where I introduced myself a number of professional who are currently involved in exactly the type of work I'm striving for!
The final section of the article is broken up into smaller sections, all of which tackle the questions asked and asked from you in the the interview. The article goes on to describe trick questions, why it's important to ask questions of your own as well as the phone interview which typically precedes the face to face interview, where you'll be judged solely on your ability to answer and the content of your answer to questions.
In summary I believe that this weeks material can be summed up with a phrase that I've liked for some time: "Failure to prepare is preparing to fail". This means that it pays to be aware of what it is that you're doing. If you're applying for a job, do yourself a favor and be prepared for what is to come. You know that the interview process is an integral, unavoidable part of the application process and you know that it usually begins with a phone call. So before you pick up the phone or set a date and time, do your homework! Know the company that you're applying for, the position that you're applying for, be prepared for the questions that the company will ask you. What skills do you need for the role and do you have them? If you don't and you think that's detrimental to your success then what steps will you take in order to satisfy that criteria? Why do you want the role and why does it have to be at this company? Be prepared to think and be prepared with answers; it all goes a long way in showing how serious you are about the job you're applying for. Remember that rarely will you ever be the only person applying for a job - look at the climate around you: we're in an incredibly over saturated market with an all time high unemployment rate so what is it about you that separates you from your competition? What have you done previously in other roles, or at school, or at home or to help a friend that demonstrates your ability as a person to think, act or perform a task well or better than somebody else? Knowing the answers to some of these questions or at least sparing a thought for these situations will assist you when it comes time to actually interviewing for that dream job.
Timothy-judgecom. (2016). Timothy-judgecom. Retrieved 30 June, 2016, from http://www.timothy-judge.com/Judge, Higgins,
Sae creative institute. (2015). Medium. Retrieved 30 June, 2016, from https://medium.com/self-directed-practitioners/week-8-secret-interview-techniques-8cdd5b225eee
Coming to the end of Week 4 and CIU has proven to be quite interesting – not in the least bit in part to my being in the wrong class now for the fourth week. After last week’s decision to swap classes and join my animation brethren; by force of habit I came to school at the same time and walked into the room I’m meant to be in, but at the wrong time. My actual class was to start 2 hours later and so I cut my losses and joined my original class for one more week. It’s not a huge issue, as Tim’s class was quite entertaining – he brought in some contracts that he has personally received or revised during his time in the music industry and together we formed groups and analysed 1 of the 4 available in terms of their real-world implications on behalf of the musician and the producer/manager etc. This was an interesting and very fun exercise as it forced ups to think about concepts a lot of us had never considered before – and how could we? A lot of the information contained in these contracts aren’t the typical things you’re taught when you go to a creative college. The legal stuff, the copyright – it’s usually the stuff reserved for professionals looking to pursue that line of work and not the people who are usually affect by it.
So touching on the topic of copyright – I again found the blog article very interesting – but of course, I had already covered this in last week’s blog post (as that was the week we all had off due to the public holiday). It was mentioned via email last week that this week would actually be going back to look at the copyright material, which pushes Week 4’s content a week back, but we’ will be making up for that in Week 7 where I assume we would normally have had class off due to study week. This is a fine alternative for me as I don’t miss out on the content and I would have been studying anyway.
Tim also showed us some music by a band whose name I care not to remember – he claimed they were the future of music but I felt personally, that they were utter garbage. Then again that’s the beauty of art right? Subjectivity? Then again, it’s hard to make assumptions like this when it comes to music because like most forms of expression (painting/fashion), music has given us many things which at each point in time, someone has said “This is crap”, only to see that genre blow up and make billions. I can’t imagine this will be any different. In fact, I’m a prime example – I love 90’s hip hop, but I also love Video Game Soundtracks comprising of a lot of orchestral pieces. I also love certain death metal as well as Korean Pop – so go figure. Most of those genres are seen as niche, but each has evolved to become mainstream over the years.
Looking into next week, we’ll be covering “Secret Interview Techniques” and just on that I have to make mention, that while I’ve thus far thoroughly enjoyed these blogs – this is the first click-bait title I’ve seen and its kind of dumb. Secret techniques? I mean, really. I won’t discuss the content of that lecture now, as I’ll leave that for next week after we’ve discussed it in class, but suffice it to say that I’m intrigued and hope that this week’s lecture, especially seeing as how I’ll be changing classes and teachers, will be very interesting.
Week 4 into the project and I’ve now set timelines for the guys to abide by creating a WBS and a GANTT charts – I’ve spoken to them all about the importance of this document and adhering to a schedule because otherwise the risk is that the workload will blow up and we’ll be in serious trouble.
I’ve also been getting them to continue to generate ideas and think about the development stage of the project – the artists are keen to develop their ideas however our story still needs a lot of fleshing out.
It’s been a bit of a struggle to get some of the guys motivated – one of my members is absent more often than not, and the other was struggling last week to get his work up to scratch in terms of both quality and delivery on time – however I’ve spoken with him and he’s on the right track now. This might be due to my inexperience as a competent leader, but we’re both comfortable for now – at least I feel we are – and that’s a good sign that I’m not being overbearing and that he feels the work is fair.
The other team member who is absent has been a bit of a mystery – I haven’t seen any of his work, or what he’s really capable of. He initially put his hand up for 3D and rendering, but as the weeks move on, I’ve decided that we won’t be relying on that for our project just in case he fails to deliver. Instead I’ve asked him to generate some concept sketches this week for work that he feels he will be able to generate in 3D and render. This will be a good starting point to assess his ability to stick to the timeline and the quality of his work – if the concepts are good and he feels that he can render the accurately, then I’m happy to lend him resources in terms of my time as well as the other guys if necessary. If not, then I’ll pull him off 3D and assign him different work – which will also involve changing he project scope, but as we’re still pre development, we have the time buffer to do so.
We also received a new entrant into our team which now makes us the largest of the 3 teams in the class. I had a group meeting where we welcomed him and had a chat about what he’s comfortable with and what our project scope is. He seemed quite enthusiastic about being on our team and like our project idea – he also seems determined to produce some good work and hopefully if he keeps up that attitude he can help inject some enthusiasm into the rest of the guys now that things are starting to get to the serious part of the project.
I’m doing my best to keep everyone on track and moving the project forward, but it’s an awful lot of work. I know that I’ll continue to make this statement through the term but it’s the truth – there’s a lot of planning and admin work that I’m doing and I hope that it all pays off. If it does, then it’ll be worth it, but if not then I fear I’ll have lost face with the guys. Although I know that this is all part and parcel of the real world. Either way, I’m having fun for now, and I hope that the guys are too.
We’re pitching our idea in its final form this coming week which I need to write the presentation up for – the guys all seem very comfortable with the ins and outs of the idea and the designers have an even greater idea for the details than I! But of course that’s to be expected. Our newest guy will obviously need to catch up, but I have no doubt that he will – I’ve provided him ill all the resources that he’ll need to get his head around the finer details and I’ll do my best by providing everyone with topic points to cover in the presentation to enable even the poorer speakers to deliver a confident talk.
This week's class didn't run as per usual due to a public holiday, however some interesting things still came about from CIU111.
The first being that I discovered I've been attending the wrong tutorial for the past 2 weeks - I was contacted by Andrew who inquired as to my whereabouts and when I told him that I'd been in class we both realised it had been the wrong one. I know that I went to the right class room in Week 1, but when I sat down and Tim took the role, I realised that I wasn't called. I asked Tim about this and he said that timetabling issues are common and that he'd fix things up if I wanted to stay in the class - I didn't see any reason not to until the following week when I over heard a conversation between two students who were discussing CIU111. One student said to the other that the CIU111 unit was disciplinary specific this trimester. Upon hearing this, I interjected and said that I felt that was strange, because I had been in a class of Audio Students. The student remarked that he was a Game Design student and his class was full of Game Designers. At this point i knew something was wrong, but because I had already attended the first 2 weeks of class I didn't think to make any changes. Then of course, Andrew contacted me and informed me that his class is an Animation class and that he will likely be assessing my work over the Tri, so I've decided that from Week 04, I'll be attending his classes.
The second interesting note was this week's lecture material. I read through the copyright article and as always, I was impressed with the level of detail and simplicity with which the article was written. It's chock full of video references and useful information, a lot of which I feel that creatives should know off by heart. It's a common question I hear when dealing with art and other creatives: what is plaguarisim and what isn't? I always say that when it comes to Art, it's usually appropriation, rather than plagiarism (unless of course, you're blatantly copying another artist's work). \
The article details the different types of copyright and how it varies from one art form to the next - I didn't know that a piece of art is copyrighted the moment I create it and that I would continue to own that copyright until 75 years to the day after I pass away, unless I sell it to somebody. It's important to know this information as well as know where to go and who to ask for further clarification because essentially we want to turn our art into a career - at least that's what I want to do - and to monetise your creations you need to make sure that you're not stepping over any legal boundaries. The topic of copyright leverages itself well based on last weeks content too, which I feel is a nice progression of learning the material.
This past week, the team and I made an effort to brainstorm over a couple of meetings and really nail down the theme and idea we wanted to go with moving forward. I've been trying to get them to understand the expected timelines and deliverable for the project throughout it's various stages and expressed my interest in having some final concepts and storyboards ready by next week, to enable us to begin development in the week after.
I'm really happy with the teams progress so far - there's a certain member who seems to really be invested in the project and putting forth a considerable amount of enthusiasm into the meetings, as well as working with the other members without my instruction. This is great to see and I can only hope that he continues with this attitude throughout the trimester. The others are going well too, however they haven't shown the commitment that I'd like as yet - although it's still early days, I can appreciate that every trimester can get off to a sluggish start for some student. I've kept them abreast of the expected workload however, and as long as when the time comes they're prepared to put in the yards, then I'll be more than happy.
Otherwise it's been business as usual - I find myself doing a hell of a lot of admin work, but that's the breaks of being a team leader. I hope that I can keep them motivated and on track, with the proper advice and also prove to them that I can be trusted to direct the team to success.
Outside of the project, but with relevance to ANI111; I just completed the first two, of the five quizzes, and I must say that while I understand the need for them, I feel that it's a laborious task. The entire assessment is worth 20% of the unit's total grade, and there are five quizzes to complete, each with varying numbers of questions, (the first two were 10 and 6 respectively) - this cost me quite a bit of time this morning as the questions themselves were quite demanding if you wanted to give it a proper shot and display competency of the course material - but during these questions I had to sit back and think that I was wasting my time as each question is worth a fraction of a percent of an aggregate grade, yet I was committing hundreds of words to each answer...I think there was also some angst due to the fact that I knew I had to write this weeks blog - again, another deliverable which won't net me any marks - I don't want to sound like I'm shying away from the work - I enjoy the work that I do at SAE, however I currently have quite a lot of it. There are many assignments to complete and many units to satisfy and I find that a lot of my time today has been taken up writing this blog and with those questions, and between the admin work I'm delivering for my team in terms of emails, timelines, forecasting and planning meetings and agendas as well as keeping on top of them, well it's a lot of time which is being taken away from the assessments that I'm actually graded on.
Well that was my rant, and because this is my ANI111 development blog, I know I'm entitled to do so.
This week’s lecture focused on establishing an online identity – while sites already exist that have more or less done this for us by way of data-mining our secrets and hobbies over the last 10-15 years (FB, MySpace, LinkedIn etc), they don’t always do the best job at highlighting our…more presentable virtues.
Rather, this week was aimed at getting student to create a brand new website – one that is all about them, their craft, their love for the industry and to promote their skills at a professional level. This isn’t social media – this is an online resume.
Tim spoke about how to ‘theme’ your website – I’m an artist, or at least I like to think I am, or worst case: I’m a student with the dream of being an artist (although something is telling me that there’s a difference between art and design because one is for pleasure and the other is paid?). With that being said, we were shown the online presence of a SAE student, Felix. He’s an audio student and his website very much exemplifies that – from the banner on his landing page of an equaliser (or waves? I really don’t know – I’m an animation student in a class full of Audiophiles – someone in the timetabling department needs to rethink their strategy). Tim went on to explain how we need to ‘show’ our craft, highlighting areas where Felix had included sound cloud links, and production updates etc.
Luckily for me, I was a step ahead of the curve. Before I decided to pay an institute to tell me how to draw, I was drawing for the love it and in doing so, had created a personal website where I would showcase my art (as well as other social media outlets – you should go follow me on all of them)
Above: My personal website, where I showcase most of my work and provide a friendly place for all my SAE blogs to live in harmony. www.ryanmittencreative.com.au
Above: My FaceBook page, which is more or less a copy of my website, but terrible due to the technical issues I’ve had with FB since day 1 – 9/10 times I’m unable to post anything on my own page. www.facebook.com/ryanmittencreative
Above: My Instagram page – this is my favourite and most used Social Media platform due to its efficiency to use and outreach capabilities. @anotheraspiringartist
Above: My LinkedIn profile, which I’ve more or less abandoned in the last year due to leaving Full Time, white collar work in lieu of a more satisfying life as a creative. https://au.linkedin.com/in/ryan-mitten-913a9b47
See? I’m learning already! Tim made it a point that we should be thinking individuals and that we should work ‘smart’, rather than ‘hard’. With regards to CIU111, we have two assessments which include: building an online portfolio and the other is to keep a weekly blog: his suggestion is that we kill two birds with one stone, and so throwing stones at random birds I have!
Tim also showcased a young hip-hop artist by the name of Vic Mensa – I say hip-hop because I find it hard to categorise him in any other genre. I admittedly, am a Hip-hop head of the 90’s – by today’s Hip-hop, at least the commercialised stuff you hear is, well, utter garbage. This Vic Mensa kid however, is very good. I haven’t had the chance to listen to too much of his stuff yet, but that’s due to his lack of material. I hear he has a large back catalogue of mixtapes and the like, so I’ll be trying to track those down as well.
Aside from having a great flow and well-produced beats, he’s also taught me that by freezing Orange Soda in an ice cube tray, and then filling the main chamber in my water pipe with said ice, will presumably result in a very nice taste. #lifetips
Finally, there was this past week’s blog article thanks to SAE which covered blogging. How meta! In an attempt to work ‘smart’ I’ve included the blog about blogging, in this blog, with the purpose of utilising the tips in that blog to enhance the quality of this blog.
Wait, that was the wrong image.
That’s better. As far as a ‘good read’ goes, this week’s blog wasn’t as stimulating as last week’s about the overview of the industry – but that’s not to say that I didn’t find it informative and useful. A glaring omission that I found when I made it to the very end however, was that a key tip and one that should’ve been elaborated on, is that to get better at blogging, one should strive to blog as often as possible. This course inadvertently (or purposefully) requires students to blog for many of their subjects (one subject in which my tutor didn’t even take the time to read any of my blogs, and in the other, where blogging is required, but not assessed). To this end, we’re forced, more or less, to blog without any real purpose other than for the sake of blogging – of course I see some serious issues with what I just mentioned but this is not the post for that (stick to a topic – see? Blogging is getting better already).
I feel as if I’m at the point where I’m about to digress, and I have much, much more work to complete before next week’s classes, and statistically I think this blog is worth 2.3% of my overall mark for this subject (I literally just worked it out), and so I think I’ve more than sufficed the requirements for this week.