Film and Visual Culture: Guest Speakers Panel

On Tuesday 12th March a panel of speakers from the film and video production industries shared their stories, knowledge and experience with first year students on the Film and Visual Culture course at Creative Campus.

“Do your research, know the companies, know what they stand for and how you can contribute.”

The first speaker was Maureen Sinclair from Clapperboard UK. Maureen told the students her incredible story of how she started as a writer for Mersey TV working with home grown luminaries such as Phil Redmond, Frank Cottrell-Boyce and Jimmy McGovern on the groundbreaking soap Brookside.

Maureen gave advice on the power of collaboration and a shared vision in the writer’s room and on set, and also the importance of being focused at all times while working and pulling your weight.

Maureen spoke about Clapperboard and their work with school children aged between 12 and 17 to help them write scripts, make them into short films, and showcase them at an Oscars-style awards ceremony with famous names and experts from the industry on the panel.

 Her reason for starting the company was to give opportunities to young people in Liverpool that they may not otherwise get. “We’re a city of storytellers,” she told the students.

 Maureen closed with advice imploring the students to research production companies, watch their films, understand their mission statement and let them know what you and only you can bring to that company.

film camera

“Whatever your project is, make it the most exciting in the world.”

Kelly Forshaw, the managing director of Jack-All Productions, spoke about how she started her company after extensive work in acting, media, marketing and communications.  

Jack-All Productions is a video-led creative content agency. Kelly said they specialise in producing engaging digital moving image, starting with the creative concept right through to delivery.

Kelly spoke about how she wanted to work with organisations to amplify their story, to tell it in an exciting and engaging way in which they may not be able to, as she believed in their cause.

Kelly’s story introduced the students to another avenue for their skills in filmmaking. Kelly’s advice included how to network and how to get yourself known by production companies.

She advised students to be as friendly as possible and to put yourself about. To get yourself known, take people for coffee and ask for advice.

One nugget of guidance that struck a chord was to treat every project you work on as the most exciting in the world, to make the ordinary become extraordinary by using your skills as a filmmaker and storyteller.

film creww.jpg

“Tell me why YOU want to make films. Tell me your story.”

The final speakers were Jay Podmore and Jason Lamar of Avengers Media, a start-up film company created by two actors who wanted to create their own roles and shape their own futures.

They spoke about their obsession with filmmaking and story and how they were fed up of waiting for the phone to ring, fed up of rejection, and decided it was time to make their own films.

 Jay told how he had not been to film school but took the knowledge he had gained from working on many film sets and started to shoot his own short films.

He showed the students examples of his work and gave advice on throwing yourself in to challenges, not being afraid of asking for help, and to create your own opportunities rather than waiting for others to give you them.

Jay’s advice to students looking for work experience or looking to make films was to be sure of what it was they wanted to say in their filmmaking. He said he looks for individuals who are passionate about telling stories only they can tell.

“Be nice, say yes to things, everyone knows everyone.”

The closing message to the students agreed by the panel was that film is a tough business, but it’s those who work hard and with a smile on their face that will prosper.

5 common mistakes to avoid when creating your CV

There you are, staring at a job description which is perfect for you (or at least a job that will do for now!)…you click ‘Apply’ hoping to upload your CV and get through this application quickly as the deadline is at midnight… when you suddenly remember that you never quite got around to writing that CV. Or perhaps you did, and it’s saved on a USB stick somewhere, but you cannot remember the last time you updated it…you realise you are in for a long night <<groan>>

Before you start, take a look at these 5 common pitfalls to avoid when drafting your CV.

Mistake #1: Maybe we have been thinking about CVs all wrong

Most of us see CV writing as a chore, and fall into the trap of starting from an online template, or copying a friend’s CV, without too much thought.

But what if you flipped this process around and allowed your creative juices to flow? Why not start by asking yourself the question ‘What is it that I want a prospective employer to know about me?’

One way to do this is to forget about your laptop or CV template for a moment and grab some post-its (yes actual paper!) and write down those things that you would want an employer to know about you. They might be things like

I studied abroad and now I find it easy to connect with people from different backgrounds’

‘I have done a variety of customer service roles and I’m really good at dealing with awkward customers’

‘I am great at…?’

Only after brainstorming what you want your CV to say about you do you then think about where these would go on your CV by sticking the post-its on different sections of a template.

Another way to do this is to ask a friend to write down things they think an employer should know about you as it’s often easier to big up your friend than it is yourself. Which leads nicely on to the next point which is…

Mistake #2: Not blowing your own trumpet

Why do some of us find it so hard to let others know about our own achievements? Whatever the reason, your CV is not the place to be shy. You got a First? Then make sure you say that in your profile. You have the SALA award from Hope? Make sure it goes on there.

If you find it uncomfortable, then use the Careers Advisers here at Hope as your ‘critical friend’. We can talk to you about what you’ve done to get a full picture of your achievements and uniqueness and then review your CV to check that you are doing yourself justice and that it truly reflects the value that you bring to an employer.

Mistake #3: So what?

I am a team player and can also work on my own.

I am a people person.

I am hardworking and quick to learn.

So what? If you have any of the above or similar statements on your CV, do they pass the ‘so what’ test? These statements have become clichéd and overused. They take up valuable space on your CV and add nothing if not backed up with evidence.

Another example of failing to pass the ‘so what’ test is mixing up responsibilities/what you did/job description with actual achievements/skills. For example, which of these following statements would come across well to a prospective employer?

A I worked as a waiter in a restaurant and delivered food to the tables and cleaned the kitchen.

B I worked as a waiter in a restaurant in a customer facing role where I dealt with members of the public in a fast-paced environment, delivering excellent customer service whilst ensuring that quality and health and safety guidelines were adhered to.

Both are true but clearly B illustrates more of the transferable skills gained.

Re-read your CV applying the ‘so what’ test after each statement. If it doesn’t pass, then rewrite or delete!

Mistake #4: Matching (alternatively known as the ‘Jedi Mind Trick’)

When you get busy or under time-pressure it is easy to just send off a standard version of your CV and hope for the best. What this means is that you miss the opportunity to tailor your CV to the job you are applying for.

The purpose of matching is not simply to engage in buzzword bingo on your CV, mindlessly throwing in the words that are in the job description. Instead, this is about making it easier for the employer (and any recruitment software they might use to screen your CV) to see that you are a match for the job, at least on paper.

Using the same job title on your CV as in the job description (if appropriate) can help, as can identifying key action words from the job description and using them in your CV.

Mistake #5: Not using the right CV format for you

Did you know there is more than one type of CV? From a chronological to a creative CV, and everything in between, it is possible to choose the format which provides the best showcase for your experience. Trying to land a job which is unrelated to your degree subject? Then maybe a skills based CV will work for you. Looking to start a career in the creative industries? A specific creative CV for your sector or even a visual CV might be the best way to showcase your portfolio.

Whichever format you choose, try to avoid the above pitfalls. You have (according to research) about 7 seconds to impress a prospective employer with your CV. How will you do it?

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For help creating your CV, use Hope’s CV Builder on MyCareersCentre here https://mycareerscentre.page.link/CVbuilder  Once you have a draft and would like feedback, drop into Careers Express in the Hub on Mondays, Tuesdays and Thursdays, or book a 1:1 career consultation by contacting the Careers Team at careers@hope.ac.uk

Network to a Successful Career – Part One

What is it?

Networking in its most basic form is talking to people and exchanging ideas. In a professional sense it involves meeting with specific professionals or experts for the purposes of sharing information, gaining exposure, building and maintaining future relations.
Even if you haven’t ever considered yourself part of a formal network we all have them but don’t realise! At the very least this will include family, peers and lecturers – can you think of any others that already exist within your network?

In turn, the members of your network will also have their own network. Confusing!?! When networks cross like this new relationships can be formed. Think about this like a marriage where two families join together.

“Two networks for the price of one”

Having your own network automatically gives you access to the network of others – meaning having access to people or groups to talk to and exchange ideas.

Why do it?

“No man is an island”

It gives you the chance to expand your knowledge and develop new ideas and in the long term equip you with a sustained presence and community.
The networks that we interact with can heavily influence our relationship with career and future employment options; how you decide on a career path; and, the approach to develop your career prospects. Varying who is in your network will provide a broader source of information and influence in both directions.

“Skills in action”

By actively engaging in networking you will be able to demonstrate and enhance a number of employability skills, such as: confidence; communicating; negotiating; using initiative; making decisions and demonstrating your commitment to professional development outside of your studies.

What does an effective network look like?

Ability to connect you with others                                     Share some of your values
Promote your work or skills                                                Willing to provide insights
Influencers within other networks                                     Act as a critical friend

Exploring British Science Week

British Science Week has arrived and Liverpool Hope University is delivering a range of activities, workshops and talks throughout the coming days.

Is this for you?

Absolutely!

If you are anything like me the word Science can feel irrelevant at first glance, creating connotations of immaculately sterilised labs with Sheldon Cooper calling me a “puny human.” Or still having nightmares about having to memorise the periodic table for GCSE Science….aaaggghhh!

If you are still reading, I will allay fears like these and tell you why British Science Week isn’t just for students here studying so-called hard sciences or even those that belong to the Science Faculty. British Science Week is for everyone and here’s why.

We are all scientists now

A simple definition of Science is that it is the systematic study of something through observation and experimentation in an attempt to discover, prove or disprove something.
Consequently, regardless of whether you study the Arts or Biology, Social Work or Nutrition, History or Robotics the approach to learning at University is always scientific.

Be curious!

The events at British Science Week are an opportunity for you to explore something you may not have considered before. Being curious and acting on it is an underpinning feature of growth, development and discovery. It demonstrates open-minded thinking and is the gateway to connecting ideas across disciplines.

If curiosity killed the cat,
satisfaction brought it back!

Curiosity has led to a variety of accidental inventions from the downright silly to life saving treatment: Play-Doh; Slinky; Cornflakes; non-stick pan; Velcro; the Internet; and, Penicillin.

What’s on?

A range of workshops being hosted by Mathematics, Psychology, Computer Science, Geography, Health Sciences and Sport, inter alia, on themes such as Robotics; Cryptography; Modelling wind flow; and, Sports drinks.

To see events taking place please access the link below: http://www.hope.ac.uk/media/studywithus/departments/healthscience/documents/British_Science_Week_FOR%20PRINT%20(1).pdf

 

 

 

Born to teach? The why, who and what of teaching

Ahead of our Teaching & Education Fair on Monday 25 February let’s take a quick look at what is involved in a career in education, from why people do it to how to get started on your teaching career.

Whether you are studying your BA QTS, your PGCE/PGDE, or a non-teaching degree, if you are considering a career in education then this (and the fair!) is for you.

Why teach anyway?

Yeats wrote ‘Education is more than the filing of a pail, it is the lighting of a fire’. Indeed the desire to inspire others is often cited as the main reason for following a career in teaching.

Without inspirational teachers we might never (arguably) have had the poetry of Maya Angelou or Stephen Hawking’s ‘A Brief History of Time’.

Other reasons given for pursuing a teaching career range from wanting to make a difference to the lives of pupils from all walks of life, to seeing that lightbulb moment in a pupil’s eyes, or for the sheer love of a particular subject.

Perhaps you have always felt you were born to teach, or your desire to teach has been a slow burn. Whatever your motivation, you need to be clear on what that is as you will need to be able to tap into that motivation as you embark on what is undoubtedly a rewarding yet challenging career.

Who do you want to teach?

The concept of lifelong leaning means that there are many opportunities to be an educator, outside of the traditional primary or secondary teacher that most people think of when they think of ‘teaching’.

You may want to help refugees settle in to the UK by teaching English and other necessary skills; to help offenders to learn valuable skills whilst in custody to help them reintegrate after their sentence; or use teaching as a way to travel and see the world. You might want to pursue a career related to educating others but don’t fancy standing in front of a class of students, such as teaching assistant, SEND coordinator, schools liaison officer in a museum…the list is endless.

Even amongst the more ‘traditional’ routes the focus can be varied. You may be drawn to teaching young people with particular needs, or drawn to an alternative style of education (e.g. Montessori, Human Scale) that aligns with your personal beliefs.

As you can see, there are many ways to be an educator to suit your interests, personality and career plan.

What is the current teaching landscape?

It would be remiss of a blog that discusses teaching to ignore the elephant in the room. Teaching is not for the faint-hearted so let’s not pretend that this is an easy job.  We hear on an almost daily basis in the media about the drop out rate, with newly qualified teachers pointing to workload, Ofsted inspections and pupil behaviour as key factors in feeling compelled to leave the profession.

What is clear, is that when teachers are able to have headspace and freedom of creativity, as evidenced when Andria Zafirakou won the 2018 Global teacher Award 2018, they can provide truly inspirational and impactful educational experiences.

However it is not all doom and gloom and there are signs of progress. Job sharing and a 4 day week are being mooted as ways to alleviate some of the workload pressures, improved mentoring for new teachers is being suggested, and Oftsed is looking into its own assessment procedures.

To thrive in this profession you are going to need a good level of self-awareness to answer the following questions – how resilient are you? what environment suits you best? what type of student and teaching style will help you be the best teacher you can be?

Next steps

The best way to discover the answers to these questions and more is to get as much experience in an educational setting whilst you study, whether or not you are currently studying a teaching qualification. Check out our current placements here https://mycareerscentre.page.link/Placements or contact our placements team on 0151 291 3246 who can help you with your search.

The Teaching & Education Fair gives you a chance to meet face to face with over 15 local and national teaching organisations, recruitment agencies and local authorities. You will also have access to workshops and seminars from leading industry experts. There is no need to book, just pop along to the EDEN building on Monday 25 February.

Nelson Mandela said ‘Education is the most powerful weapon which you can use to change the world’. As with any weapon, its impact depends on who wields it. What type of educator are you going to be?

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Questions about teacher training? Why not come along to the Initial Teacher Training Q&A drop in this Wednesday 20 February at 1pm in the Employability Hub, to ask any question about teacher training.

The Teaching & Education Fair takes place on Monday 25 February in the Eden Building from 9-3.

Drop into Careers Express in the Hub on Mondays, Tuesdays and Thursdays, or book a 1:1 career consultation by contacting the Careers Team at careers@hope.ac.uk