Starting My Journey

This entire process of researching and refining my career options has been extremely useful. I came into the year considering lighting in relation to camera, also dabbling in grading; and now I go ahead purely focused on lighting for live event and theatre rather than film. I’ve had plenty of opportunities to experiment with my role and experience in the industry, all of these driving me into a career path for lighting design. Whilst its a little side tracked from the filmmaking course I can appreciate how experimenting in this art form has enabled me creative freedom eventually finding myself building a professional career on my employment history (North Somerset Council and Timber Lake Camp).

I am certain in what I want from a career and I now feel I have the necessary skills and representation to propel myself forwards. This journey has already begun with my freelance contract with the Alma Theatre. Furthermore I am in the process of completing the last few checks and anticipate starting my employment with the Regrave Theatre as a Theatre Technician. I’m eager to get my career started, who knows where it’ll take me!

Blog Stats

This entire blogging process has been an example of my marketing strategy and online presence. Rather than create a private portfolio I am a great believer of embracing new media technology so I can share my experience with the world. With the importance of online and social media the task of blogging actively places me in discussion with media practitioners.

As I am nearing the end of my university degree I wanted to break down the statistics regarding this blog (www.joshuawakley.wordpress.com) to demonstrate its importance and role its played in considering my role in the ‘bigger picture’. I’ve understood the amount of views posts have been generating, this has fuelled me further in my blogging, but its the overall picture for my final year that is of biggest interest.

2014 – 1,238 views, 741 visitors (1.67 views per visitor), 252 posts

2015 – 1,147 views, 655 visitors (1.75 views per visitor), 282 posts

Screen Shot 2015-05-15 at 04.47.57

July 2014
12 views, 3 visitors (4.0), 23 posts. All views from the United Kingdom, often referred by LinkedIn.

August 2014
10 views, 6 visitors (1.67), 16 posts. United Kingdom 6 views, United States 4 views. Referred by LinkedIn and direct address.

September 2014
13 views, 12 visitors (1.08), 5 posts. United States 11 views, United Kingdom 2 views. Referred as direct address.

October 2014
211 views, 113 visitors (1.59) 64 posts. United States 120 views, United Kingdom 81 views. Referred by search engines, LinkedIn, Facebook and Twitter.

After this point I started to see increased activity around my blog, with the UK and US providing the majority of views. Using WordPress’s Stats function I can get precise breakdowns of all the views, search terms, popular tags, popular posts, etc. It’s an interesting read to see what is most popular in my blogging style.

Screen Shot 2015-05-15 at 04.57.09
Screen Shot 2015-05-15 at 04.57.58
Screen Shot 2015-05-15 at 04.57.28
Screen Shot 2015-05-15 at 04.58.07
Screen Shot 2015-05-15 at 04.58.14
Screen Shot 2015-05-15 at 04.58.23
Screen Shot 2015-05-15 at 04.58.33

Taking all of this evidence into account it is difficult to tell what elements of my blog stand out most without purchasing premium WordPress features for even more depth to the online stats. I’m attracting the majority of views through search engine terms (these aren’t explicitly stated) and minus heavy traffic through my home page everything seems to be taking my audiences interests.

All this information can become faceless and just seem like a load of figures, but the fact it generates this much traffic demonstrates an active approach and engagement with the industry. I’m freely sharing my experiences and from this I get the odd comment or referral, for example ‘Iggy’ from ‘Howtofilmschool’ in response to my post about assembling a gaffer tool kit:

Screen Shot 2015-05-15 at 05.06.19

Another example is my blog being referred to in the article ’30 Tips for being an Outstanding Camera Assistant’ (https://filmcameracourse.wordpress.com/2011/11/23/30-tips-for-being-and-outstanding-camera-assistant/):

Screen Shot 2015-05-15 at 05.07.34

 

It’s these more personal encounters that makes me feel my approach to this final year has been a worthwhile cause. I had to compile all of this work and by sharing it even if I only inspire one individual I have at least changed on persons perspective on media production and hopefully inspired hundreds more who visit my blog on a regular basis.

SharpShotz Update/Deadline

Screen Shot 2015-05-08 at 17.34.55

With deadlines approaching for University I have found it difficult to find the time to make the edits for the BBC SharpShotz project. As my degree takes priority unfortunately I’ve have to push the SharpShotz priority down my list of things to do. I’ve still been in conversation with my team and Nick, once I have fine tuned the project it is ready for final approval. Hannah (Animator) has sent me the latest version of the animation so everything is ready, its just the case of finding time to put it all together.

Screen Shot 2015-05-08 at 17.33.08

Personally I don’t want to rush the project, the students have put a lot of effort into it so it would be unfair on them. Thankfully everyone seems to be in the same boat as all of our deadlines are approaching. As a result Nick has chosen to extend the deadline until 1st June. This means I can focus on my degree right now and once the deadline has passed I will complete my role on this BBC program. I want to put my fullest effort in and give the students a final film to be truly proud of.

Academy Music Group

The O2 Academy has always been one of my favourite venues in Bristol for music and performance. Over the years I’ve seen a huge range of acts perform including Good Charlotte, Reel Big Fish, Cee Lo Green and Frank Turner. The venue is located on Frogmore Street run by the Academy Music Group (AMG). The Bristol branch was the third Academy venue opened in the UK. As it is owned by AMG this is where I need to go regarding job opportunities.

The Academy Music Group formerly operated under the name ‘Carling Academy’, but from 2009 following their partnership with O2 all of the venues undertook the current branding of ‘O2 Academy’. Jobs are advertised through their website, mostly jobs are for bar staff, cloakroom attendants and box office, there is no suggestion of technical jobs such as Lighting. Full time employment directs you through to ‘Live Nation’.

Screen Shot 2015-05-09 at 15.07.38

 

Live Nation Entertainment promotes and produces over 22,000 events worldwide annually. As of 2005 they own/operate 117 venues, consisting of 75 US and 42 international. Presumably the company has only grown in size and taken ownership of more venues, a prime example being their ownership of AMG.

The Live Nation job engine includes a wide range of roles across all of the companies sites in the UK. All are full time positions with some casual also advertised. From a quick browse I have pulled up the role of ‘Assistant Technical Manager’ at the Oxford O2 Academy. From the job title alone I feel like this is the most relevant to my skill set and should get me most involved with technical operations such as lighting.

Screen Shot 2015-05-09 at 15.29.32

The role advertises itself as “overseeing the technical aspects of a production from ‘load in’ to ‘load out’. Reading the exact requirements of the job I get the impression its similar to being a technician stationed at a theatre. The idea is to ensure anyone hiring the venue follows all the appropriate procedures, and with a working knowledge of the venue to best assist and ensure their experience runs smoothly. Two points that perk my interest most:

11. Operate event lighting, using Avolite consoles and Robe Fixtures and undertake maintenance and repairs. Some sound engineering on occasion.

12. To develop the lighting within the venue and for club nights.

This is exactly want I want to be doing in the future. Right now with my current employment set to start at the Redgrave Theatre it is worth taking note from this job opportunity and investigating how to use the stated technology. That way as I continue to build experience with my new employment and can look ahead to future challenges I may face and use my employment as a way to continue to build upon my skills.

I know judging a job by a city isn’t necessarily the best way to decide, but at this stage I am comfortable staying in Bristol. It has a thriving arts and performance scene so there should be plenty of opportunities I can approach in the future. Moving somewhere like Oxford may limit any way for progression beyond the job advertised.

Live Entertainment encourages you to create a speculative CV and email alert through the job search portal in order to receive regular updates of employment. Currently there may not be a job that suits my needs, but getting actively involved for future employment can never be harmful.

Further Reading:

Showreel Considerations

There has been a lot of discussion amongst my peers recently regarding compiling a showreel. Whilst I think this is a necessity for my career path into live event and theatre it is something I would still like to assemble as a video when entering my website. Right now I have a strong range of footage focused on my craft as a lighting designer that can only benefit my online presence.

As I am yet to receive any footage from recent projects I have decided to wait. As this isn’t a vital element in my online presence it gives me the opportunity to spend time and effort through scouring all projects (when I receive my copy). That being said I have still made mental notes regarding the content from each project:

Bristol Vibes – Demonstrate lighting states for all three acts, can advertise live event lighting as a separate project. Not concerned with presenter links. Potential opportunity to sample music to show how the lighting matches the rhythm.

Billy – I have both a graded and ungraded version of this project so I can wash over the original as a transition demonstrating a clear difference. Already have favourite shots.

E-Bristol – Find moments with more camera movement to show lighting state on either sofa. Examples can spread to green screen on VTs (yet to see footage) and colour grading title sequence (have ungraded version for wash over transition).

Implication – Use wash over transition once again. Heavily feature due to stylistic approach and visually pleasing. Want to show complete change in palette between original yellow shop and colder blue version I created.

Lost In A Supermarket – Show light building up using RAW photo stills before cutting to example footage. Want to focus on supermarket footage, unlikely to feature bathroom.

Postal Service – Find stylistic elements for lighting (e.g. Jack walking down corridor). Can show further evidence as Steadicam operator, wanting to feature long take in street.

The World Of The Willows – Difficult to show producer skills in video, will find visually interesting section purely to ‘show off’, potentially shows what I have been able to organise. Can also represent as colourist skills.

Varsity Series – Only want to focus on set build as felt studio recordings weren’t a great representation, potentially pull footage from my DSLR recording breaking down the entire build

In addition to this years films I will find some strong examples of previous work. I will put particular emphasis on variations of lighting work as this is how I want to market myself, for example working as a DP on ‘The Creative Carnival’.

Right now I have a strong online presence and marketing strategy still in place. When I have all the relevant footage I feel confident in assembling a strong showreel to further demonstrate and compliment my skills in lighting.

LinkedIn Update

With all elements of my marketing and online presence up to date I have been drawn to updating my LinkedIn profile. Whilst I may not use this often as a networking platform I appreciate its intent and feel it continues to be a useful tool for making professional connections. Even though I have barely updated it over the past year I continue to make new connections on a regular basis.

LinkedIn is a business orientated social networking service, as of June 2013 it reports more than 259 million users in over 200 countries. As much as it allows you to connect with individuals it allows users to find you, discovering your detailed profile where a potential employer could be viewing. It works both ways as LinkedIn gives opportunities to research companies and keeps in the loop with potential job and experience opportunities.

I now view LinkedIn as an extension of my online presence, using it to house the information expressed on my website and CV. Relying on my recent update to these elements I have now collated this information onto my profile.

Old – LinkedIn 2014

  • Added current projects (removing and reordering to match the way they are listed on my website).
  • Completed role at BBC May 2015.
  • Added Alma (April 2015) and Redgrave (May 2015).
  • Added societies in University listing.
  • Stated “Specialising in lighting design & colour grading” in University listing.
  • Added societies in School listing.
  • Remove older projects for focus on current work and interests.
  • Update interests towards live event, theatre and lighting over camera or film.
  • Added ‘Lighting Controls’ and ‘Set Construction’ to skills.
  • Changed profile picture to highlight lighting/gaffer work, old version suggested camera prominence.
  • Professional headline “Lighting Designer & Media Technician” as a continuation of my brand.
  • Added variety of groups and communities shifted towards live event, theatre and lighting, removing those focused on film.

New – LinkedIn May 2015

Alma Comedy Show

Continuing my listing as a freelance technician for the Alma Tavern & Theatre Holly has contacted me regarding upcoming work. The fact she has asked for involvement again is a positive note on my performance last time regarding Phone Whore. It’s a while away but still something to look forward to!

Screen Shot 2015-05-06 at 23.56.11

CV Update

Following recent employments and projects I have updated my CV, taking the opportunity to alter the design so that it works with my re-working of my website and new business cards. My previous CV was designed in March.

JWakley CV March2015

References

I have added a new reference, James Helps. He has contributed a lot into me starting a career in lighting design, constantly being around to help and putting me in contact with various professional contacts. If it wasn’t for him I would not have my job with the Alma Theatre and Redgrave Theatre. Originally I wanted to remove one reference, however I opted for four references as all were important. Jay Jacobs holds the title ‘Senator’ portraying an importance to my work. John Podpadec has gotten to know me really and is a reflection of my life at UWE, he is also a lighting and camera specialist, relating to my career path directly. Finally Sian Powell has known me the longest, rather than a media background the reference brings evidence of work ethic, organisation, social skills, etc.

Qualifications

I have added my new qualification as a First Aider. I am yet to receive a copy of the certificate so I have worked off the title for the course “Emergency First Aid At Work”. This comes chronologically in the list of qualifications.

Employment

I have updated this section with my new employment at the Redgrave Theatre (May 2015 – Present). To accommodate for line spacing I have generalised my employment at the Angel, removing individual starting periods as a multi-media manager, instead merging it with my barman work, still showing progression from Kitchen Porter. Seeing as my contract with the Alma Theatre is freelance I have decided not to include this under employment, instead the projects will feature under ‘Freelance’.

Freelance

This has been the case of juggling some of the job titles, some are slightly more generalised than my precise role (e.g. Duet listed as Gaffer rather than Camera Assistant). This reduces the amount of job titles, enabling everything to direct more towards lighting and live events, whilst being able to list a variety of projects. New sections include ‘Theatre Technician’ for my role on Phone Whore, having moved Rock Project here as I did all of the tech, not just the lighting like other Nailsea projects. ‘Production Assistant’ is also a general term so I can boast my involvement with BBC and Bristol Media.

Skills

I have chosen not to edit this section.

Contact/Title

I started by amendment my name/logo so that it matched the house style present on my website and business card. As a result I chose to move it across to the left side of the page, aligning the edge with the red strip for a continuous stripe effect mirroring my brand. My personal details I mirrored the design from my business card by using logos to outline each contact method. Unlike my business card I have included my location as it could be relevant to the job I am applying for.

JWakley CV 2015

I’m happy all of the relevant information is included on my CV, having updating with necessary content. The slight amendments to the design ensure it becomes a continuation of my house style and brand. Looking ahead the section for ‘Skills’ needs work in order to better target my career path, however I’m sure this will come as a I progress, just like my updates to Freelance, Qualifications and Employment.

Business Cards

With my website up to date I have now started to review all of my other marketing materials. Business cards typically bear information about a company or individual, including a name, company, and contact information (e.g. address, phone, website, etc). Modern cards may include other forms of electronic communication such as Facebook and LinkedIn. I’ve always found the key to a good business card is a striking design, something that looks professional and demands attention.

Previously I have designed one under the identity of ‘Table 3 Media’ as a business venture with a friend. For this I incorporated a strong visual style, instantly building upon the orange and black house style derived from the website. One feature I particularly liked about this card is the inclusion of a QR code, this was also presented in ‘Film Tank’. The use of these codes vary in popularity, personally it helps to fill up empty space and makes it that bit quicker for the audience to reach their target destination, your website.

11186370_10153268840103516_678995471_n

 

The white cards definitely appear much cleaner and are easier to read, the black cards tend to lose colours in their darkness. ‘Jack FM’ is nicely spaced out, all the information is clear to read and the colour scheme/fonts form a nice house style. ‘BBC’ repeats this, however it comes across very generic and bland, I don’t like the amount of empty space, it feels like the space on the card isn’t being utilised to evenly space text. ‘Film Tank’ also falls to this problem with all the information bunched together, I do appreciate the inclusion of a QR code. ‘Benjamin Harding’ is too dark, the inclusion of imagery to me comes across as tacky. ‘Sponsorcraft’ is my favourite card amongst all shown, the design is clean cut, text is spaced evenly with everything building upon the house style present in the logo.

I derived my business cards style from my website, starting with a white background and red strip down the left hand side. I don’t necessarily have a logo, the font with my name and title could possible count as this as its present across all pages of my website. Underneath this information I opted to include three methods of contact: mobile, email and website. I want to keep the card simply otherwise I could flood it with other contact methods. I feel these three elements are purely professional whereas an address can vary and is personal. My website can then lead the audience onto other online presences for myself (e.g. LinkedIn, Facebook, etc). My research into other business cards didn’t suggest any other information to include. As with my ‘Table 3 Media’ card I opted for a QR code to fill out the empty space in the top right corner.

Screen Shot 2015-05-06 at 01.29.57

 

Out of interest I played around with the idea of silhouettes of lights to further highlight my specialism. Experimenting with different silhouettes I didn’t really like the impact on the design, it felt a little unnecessary, crowding the design and breaking away from my established house style. It did make me realise I should swap around the email and website lines so that the text flows on a diagonal on each line ending.

FRONTV1

Putting a design on the back of a business card is debatable, I like the idea of having one so that the card is eye catching from either side, it also helps to make it stand out when in someone’s wallet. Keeping it simplistic I have placed my logo in the centre of the card with a solid red background.

BACKV1

I asked for feedback from Jordan Luke and Will Ward concerning my business card design. Both liked the clean cut design and felt it carried across from my house style well. There were very few suggestions on how to improve it. For the front I have pulled the content into the centre more accommodating for cutting and bleeding lines, also spacing everything evenly from the edges so it all appears symmetrical. Jordan’s suggestion of adding a white strip on the back so it appeared inverse I was slightly skeptical of, however once I tried it I really liked it and feels it adds to the design. If I can get them printed so it flips on the horizontal edge it means the line will be continuous.

FRONTV2 BACKV2

I love the simplicity of the design, it continues from my established house style and conveys all of the necessary information I would need to give to a client or individual. The use of symbols is in-keeping with the simplistic approach, and the QR code helps to fill out the empty white space. I will source the best price to get some of these made up, currently I am looking at VistaPrint.

 

 

Website Update

Now that I’m coming to an end of my academic career I have plenty of content to add to my online presence ready for the professional working world. With my new jobs at the Alma Theatre and the Redgrave Theatre, along with wrapping up some freelance projects it’s important I add all of this online to keep building upon my portfolio presence.

I feel certain at aiming myself towards the theatrical and live event market, taking this into account I need to rework my website towards these elements with film and television as supporting elements. My brand of ‘Lighting Designer, Colourist & Media Practitioner’ I have decided to cut down in length, first by removing the title of colourist as this is an avid interest but not something I want to pursue as a standalone career. Lighting Designer remains my primary title as this is my main area of interest and aspiration as a professional career. Finally taking my new jobs into consideration as ‘Theatre Technician’ I feel this is a common title in my trade so it will be useful to capitalise on this. Rather than restrict to just theatre, I feel the idea of ‘media’ helps to embody a wider range of work. When updating and reworking my website I have taken the title of ‘Lighting Designer & Media Technician’ as the base element to build upon.

Home Page

Once completed I will put my showreel as the video on the home page, current I’m using ‘The Creative Carnival High Speed Shoot’ simply due to its stylistic impact, very much the case of something to show off. I’m happy with the opening statement and have added some new production stills for the scrolling gallery. The first few put emphasis on lighting showing it in a studio, location shoot and theatre, along with evidence of working as part of a team. After I continue with a range of skills on various shoots (e.g. camera, set design, steadicam). This gallery automatically changes every few seconds so the user can see as many examples before clicking off the page.

Screen Shot 2015-05-04 at 16.38.47

Credits

Simply the case of updating with the latest freelance projects I have collaborating on. Additions include ‘Phone Whore’ at the Alma Theatre, ‘Duet’, and the Afrika Eye Film Festival. This does not include full time places of employment (e.g. North Somerset, Redgrave). The length of the University projects run up until my input on the project. The live events list their broadcast dates.

Screen Shot 2015-05-04 at 17.03.18

Contact

Screen Shot 2015-05-04 at 14.12.45

Once again the case of updating the page, for this adding some additional testimonials from Matt White, Nick Bentley and the NSCP. I debating taking away some quotes but felt adding these didn’t oversaturate the page with writing. I have changed my contact details from red to black so that they stand out further, also opting for a lighting production still rather than one of me operating the camera.

Screen Shot 2015-05-04 at 17.19.45

 

Film/TV

I wanted to undergo a re-design of this page as I feel its slightly too much information. Ideally I want emphasis on the product, encouraging the viewer to watch content. By having to scrolling through pages to get to additional content immediately delays this process. I loved the idea of having scroll over graphics with the films information whilst everything is displayed in a series of boxes across the page.

Screen Shot 2015-05-05 at 15.23.38

I tried adapting the ‘lists’ function to serve this purpose as Wix doesn’t offer a pop up or roll over function for videos (can be done with photos). I found through using the lists it can generating a separate page with more information by clicking on the video title. This immediately makes organising easier as the website will generate its own content as I add to the list, a function I have been utilising with the current design of my site.

Screen Shot 2015-05-05 at 15.23.46

My problem with this function was the size of the videos, also restricting the content to purely videos so I can’t prove evidence of ongoing productions easily. Instead I have opted to build my own video gallery, having evenly spaced content across the page in a 3×3 grid.

Screen Shot 2015-05-05 at 15.33.06

This is immediately more eye catching, building upon the heavy graphic stylings of the site. The next step was adding the additional content for each page, as pop up windows can’t be generating I came across a cheat for this process. In short adding a duplicate page with the text on top, then making either button a link to each page (button to text, exit to original page).

https://www.wix.com/support/html5/wix-app-market/adding-apps-to-your-site/kb/how-can-i-add-a-pop-up-to-my-wix-site

Considering content I have vaguely run to a chronological order, however I wanted to highlight particularly strong pieces of work on the first page of videos, also focusing on my work lighting primarily. For this reason I have pulled ‘Creative Carnival’ forward as its a strong piece of visual media, whereas I have knocked back ‘Billy’ as it doesn’t demonstrate much creative input as a colourist.

Screen Shot 2015-05-05 at 16.45.52

I’ve added titles to match the existing house style of my brand, including a page title and brief description how to access more information. There is a variation of video footage (full films or trailers) and production stills dependent on the stage of the production. I can now use this template to copy across to the second page of stills and slightly amendment for the ‘Other’ page.

Screen Shot 2015-05-05 at 18.32.19

By clicking onto each title you are now presented with an individual page outlining the duration of the project, my role and a general overview. In the case of ‘Bristol Vibes’ I have also opted to include additional photos, this will be dependent on each project.

Other

I’ve continued the design template from the ‘Film/TV’ page for consistency across the website. The only difference is the emphasis on imagery rather than video. The main page features only imagery to represent the nature of the project, the individual pages may feature some videos where appropriate.

I toyed around with the idea of renaming this section so the emphasis of the site doesn’t feel centralised around Film & TV. However I really couldn’t think of a better term than ‘Other’, currently I don’t have enough live event experience for a dedicated section in the website. The diversity of work cannot be represented through a singular title, therefore I have kept the ‘Other’ page title. The wording of “a selection of” means I can only include the best representation of myself without the need to demonstrate every single piece of work I have created in recent years. For example I have opted to remove the Baggator publicity materials as it strays too far away from media production.

Screen Shot 2015-05-05 at 23.17.01

The design of each individual page varies from the stylings of the ‘Film/TV’ section, but keeps constant throughout this section of pages. I have maintained the idea of symmetry and boxes, aligning three media elements with a text box featured as a fourth box. Some sections include a video to demonstrate the topic whilst the majority consist of pictures only.

Screen Shot 2015-05-05 at 23.17.12

Final Tweaks

To accommodate to this new style I have had to increase the length of the webpage, using the red strip on the left hand side as a measure. I have spaced the menus buttons further apart from one another whilst maintaining an equal distance. This has meant my ‘Credits’ and ‘Contact’ section have increased in height to accommodate for the additional space, avoiding any of the pages looking too empty.

Evaluation

It’s taken a lot of work to get the new design of my website together, I’m extremely happy with the end result. The fact I break down each project featured individually may seem slightly over the top, however this is as much of a personal portfolio as it is public. I have selected the pieces of work that I feel are my most professional and best represent me in my field of work, so I feel indulging my audience with additional information should be an option if they choose to investigate any project further than the grids.

I feel the new design to the main content pages helps to pull together my house style, building upon a clean cut and concise brand, whilst maintaining the colours and shapes that can be associated with the brand. The website is a rich source of information about myself with in depth content for every project I regard as a representation of my professional self. I cannot see any need for change on this site for the foreseeable future, only the case of adding content.

Now I have secured my new website design I can carry this across to other marketing documents. I like to use the website as my base brand as it features so many styles in itself (e.g. buttons, titles, grids, pictures, etc), making it easy to pull content from it and directly transfer across to CVs, Business Cards, Showreels, etc. This is definitely a strong representation of my professional self.

www.joshuawakley.co.nr