99% Perspiration vs. Juice Festival – part 2

Ryan Kennedy and Jay Sykes

Ryan’s the one looking goofy on the left, I’m the one with less than cool fashion sense on the right. Who even wears knitted ties?

Juice Festival blog’s Ryan Watson caught up with me over lunch to chat all things creative, and why I make 99% Perspiration.  (You can read part 1 of the interview here, where we talked about questions, interview skills and preparation.)

We chatted about networking skills, building up confidence, creative opportunities, and about the inspiration behind making 99% Perspiration.

Could you tell me about some of the challenges in building up the audience for 99% Perspiration?

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Click here to listen to Sean Rameswaram, producer of Sideshow on WNYC & Studio 360, on 99% Perspiration

Podcasts do take a lot of work, a lot of time to build up – you’ve just got to keep going at it really.  I haven’t increased numbers as much as I’d originally hoped for, but I’ve increased numbers a fair bit since I began.  We’re into the thousands now, it’s taken a long time.

It’s interesting that you say numbers have not gone up as much as you’d hoped by now…

Yeah, I was hoping to have conquered the world by now.  (Jay laughs.)

Continue reading “99% Perspiration vs. Juice Festival – part 2”

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Lungs – A Call to North East Artists

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Lungs is an upcoming contemporary art publication based in Sunderland.  It exists to catalogue the work of emerging North East artists, and to provide a platform to exhibit to a wider audience.

With a limited print run, the catalogue will be distributed to local galleries, museums and art organisations, to serve as a reference of the innovative creative work happening on our own doorstep.

Photographer Angela Wingate is one of a team of three bringing “Lungs” together.  We asked her why this project is so important to her:

Angela Wingate Photography

“I think more than anything, we wanted to show what’s going on around here. Our curating class spent the week in London last month and the culture of the city is so arts focused.  Everywhere!  You don’t get that here.”
Angela Wingate, Photographer & Co-Founder of Lungs

“Everyone assumes you have to travel to London for arts and culture but there is some awesome work being created in the North East.  We want the galleries and art organisations to know that before they call out to artists down south, see what’s going on right here.

62f2b5_4ce67c1b2f284b67835150f097358bfa(1)“We want the Lungs catalogue to kind of serve as a reminder… like, ‘Hey, we’re here!’  Hopefully, it will be received well and we will be able make Lungs an annual publication.  And we’re really excited.”

A call for artists based in North East UK is now open until 15 April 2016. Submission guidelines can be found at lungsproject.org.

An exhibition of a selected works will coincide with the launch of the first Lungs issue in September 2016.  To find out more about the project, you can email the team – lungs.project@gmail.com

Want to help support us, & buy some snazzy stuff in the process?  Head over to our RedBubble – clothing, mugs, books, bags galore!  We’ll have some new designs on the site soon.

nyf-gold-award-jay-sykes-circle-crop1And, as always,
Stay productive, stay awesome!

Jay Sykes
Executive Producer, 99% Perspiration

99% Perspiration vs. Juice Festival

Hello, Creatives!  Usually on 99% Perspiration, we’re interviewing other creative professionals to find out what advice they have in store for emerging creatives, and what skills/knowledge they can offer us.  And I must say, it’s nice, and really rather surreal, to have the tables turned.

Ryan Kennedy and Jay Sykes

Ryan’s the one looking goofy on the left, I’m the one with less than cool fashion sense on the right. Who even wears knitted ties?

Juice Festival blog’s Ryan Kennedy decided to catch up with me over lunch and find out what advice I had in store for other creatives; particularly those interested in starting their own podcasts.  Here’s the post (originally posted to the Juice Festival blog website).

You know the drill; click on “Continue reading” to, well, you know, continue reading.

Continue reading “99% Perspiration vs. Juice Festival”

A Day in the Life: Sophie Lisa Beresford, Artist

Following the recent What Next? Sunderland event on Wednesday, the latest and 36th branch of a national campaign to bring together artists and cultural players from grass-roots to those on the top of the trees, I left with a renewed passion.  I’d signed up as social media coordinator to help with the Sunderland effort, and am so excited to see how the community of artists and cultural players can influence arts here, in a city so often overlooked in the shadow of its more “culturally significant” cousin, Newcastle.

Sophie Beresford

Photo: Faith Rutherford

It was there that I met Sophie Lisa Beresford.  She told me about her upcoming art show “Geordie Mackem Magic” at Arts Centre Washington, and I was quickly won over and wanted to check it out; not in the least because she’s one of the most enthusiastic and engaging speakers I’ve ever met. Her work, she explained, explores her identity of “raggie” (a local term for chav (a national term for a downgraded member of working class society)), and how her art reaches past the barriers places on her by society to For more on this topic, I thoroughly recommend you check out Owen Jones’ ridiculously insightful “Chavs: The Demonization of the Working Class”.

 

ChavsLong story short, Sophie’s now a member of our 99% Perspiration Facebook group, and was promoting her event.  Meanwhile, another Sophie, our guest blogger and journalism student Sophie Dishman, is searching for a new contributor to her A Day in the Life… blog series.  I introduced Sophie to Sophie and, voila, a connection was made.  That’s why I love the group.

A big thanks to 99% blogger Sophie Dishman for allowing us to reblog her Day in the Life series.  Over to you, Sophie!

Continue reading “A Day in the Life: Sophie Lisa Beresford, Artist”

99% Extra – Sheila Quigley, thriller author

Sheila’s an hilarious woman.  She’s the kind of person you could easily spend an afternoon with and wonder where the time went.  She’s a best selling crime/thriller author with an impressive 10 novels under her belt, and a fan-base which stretches from her works’ local setting in Hougton-Le-Spring, all the way to death threats from Down Under (from her fans in Australia, who apparently really don’t want her to hurt their favourite character.)

“There’s a lot of luck in getting your work published, but it all depends who you’ve got behind you.  There are some fabulous people who’ll do anything for you in this business, it’s beyond belief, but there are also some turds.”

We’re sat in the corner of the National Glass Centre’s cafe, in conversation with the Houghton-Le-Spring crime writer, and it actually feels like a conversation.  She’s on our level, we’re on her’s.  And it’s so humbling to meet someone who’s as down to Earth as the people gathered to meet her.

“I don’t plan,” says Sheila.  “I’ll have a title in mind, and a blank screen.  And I never know where it’s going to end up.”  But that’s what makes writing so exciting for Sheila.  “To me, writing a novel is like reading a novel.  I always get surprised, and I never know what will happen from chapter to chapter.”  No planning?  No structure?!  Stick that in your Writing 101!  “Because I want to know what happens, that’ll compel me to write.”

12539979_10153916875438552_676560072_nShe doesn’t even keep a log of events/characters.  “It’s all in my head.  I didn’t have an imaginary friend as a child, I had a dozen.”  But keeping such a rich world in her head at all times has its drawbacks too.  “I need to write one novel at a time.”

Whilst Sheila admits she doesn’t get chance to read as much as she’d like, she says it’s a very important part of being a novelist.  However – and here’s what really surprised me – she doesn’t read any crime novels.  “My favourite book is ‘The Strand’ by Stephen King.  I’d recommend it to everyone.”

“Don’t bother writing if you’re just chasing a path to fame and a big pay check,” says Sheila, “you need to be invested.  If you really, really want to do it, for the love of it, do it.”

Sheila still values the old system of publishing; getting on board with a publisher and having them (to some extent) promote the book for you.  But she advises you should “start by seeking an agent first.  Most publishers won’t look at anything without an agent’s backing.”  But she also values self-publishing.  “I know of many people who’ve become successful through publishing work themselves, and then being picked up by an agent.”  

“There’s more opportunity for emerging writers now than there’s ever been.”

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It’s been a whirlwind of a journey for Sheila, since she began writing novels in 2004.  12 years and 10 novels later, it’s fascinating to learn some advice from one of the local greats.  But there are still some twists and turns in store Sheila had one of her biggest dreams-come-true:  Her debut novel ‘Run for Home’ was adapted for the stage and showcased at the Greater Manchester Fringe last year.  Sheila says she’ll never forget the experience of her.  “Seeing my characters come to life in-front of me was truly amazing.”

For any emerging novelists reading this, I’d thoroughly recommend you meet as many writers as you can.  If there’s a meeting, or a book signing, go and say “hi”.  Ask questions.  Make connections.  Because they may turn out to be thoroughly lovely people, like Sheila, and they may well start you on the right path.  “There’s a lot of luck in getting your work published, but it all depends who you’ve got behind you.”

nyf-gold-award-jay-sykes-circle-crop1
And, as always,
Stay productive, stay awesome!

Jay Sykes
Executive Producer, 99% Perspiration

#FundMyArt – Jamie Benson

“How do you fund your work as an individual artist?” – asked dance blog Stance on Dance.  And Jamie answered.

You might remember Jamie Benson from episode 14 of our podcast (if you haven’t heard it, please do, it’s one of my favourite episodes, all because he’s not afraid to tell it like it is!)

Well, Jamie has made a Funding 101 for dancers/choreographers, although it’s applicable to anyone looking for funding.

Jamie Benson

Jamie Benson

Why trust this guy?  Jamie’s probably one of the given his years of experience in writing grant applications for various organisations – his LinkedIn profile is extensive – so he knows some of the pitfalls and tricks that various individuals and groups face when looking for funding.

And that can be a daunting prospect for a lot of creatives, right?  Even if you’re used to it, it’s time-consuming, doesn’t offer a guaranteed pot of money, and full of hoops to jump through.

He quickly takes you through commissions, how to enhance your website,  fiscal sponsors, what to be wary of in grant applications, persistence in crowd funding…

Jamie Benson on “7 Way$ to Fund Your Art”.

For more on Jamie Benson, here’s his website, and for dancers/choreographers, we recommend you sign up to his marketing newsletter – especially if you live/work around New York City.

Finally, I’ve posted this on our website before, but here’s another snippet of solid funding advice; Jan Williams from the Caravan Gallery (an art gallery on wheels which tours all over the UK), on how to write successful funding applications;

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And, as always,

Stay productive, stay awesome!

Jay Sykes
Executive Producer, 99% Perspiration

99% Extra – Mike Duddy

Mike Duddy is a freelance Sound Recordist / Post Sound Mixer / Audio Engineer, based in the North East of the UK.  His recent projects include working on ITV’s Beowulf, the BBC’s Dumping Ground, and on various feature films.

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Mike taught two sessions with our first year radio production students yesterday (where I lecture on audio production & journalism) on how to use boom poles effectively, and what to expect from a career in sound recording.

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So, the essentials.  “Being a boom operator is all about creative problem solving.”  Mike explained the art of being as discreet as possible whilst carrying out the role on set, whilst seeking the best quality audio possible.

“A little difference in space makes a big difference in sound, so you have to get as close to the dialogue as possible, without getting the boom in frame.”  They’re the very basic principles, of course, but the more you research and the more you practice, the more skilled you can become.  Down to memorising the spacial qualities of each lens being used.  That way, “if you hear a crew member shout out for a specific lens change, you’ll know instinctively how close you need to be.”

Mike asked the class what qualities they thought were essential to boom operation.  Second suggestion in both groups; being tall.  “Being tall is helpful, of course, but it’s not essential.”  What’s more essential to the profession is patience, steadiness, an ability to pick up scripts and sequences, and most of all, top-notch stamina.

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“You’re always chasing the best “polar pattern” (each different kind of microphone picks up a different shape of sounds around it).  It depends on the actors, of course; Hollywood types are professional at repeating movements and delivery in the same way with each take.”  But that’s not always the case, and a lot of the time he’s just acting on instinct to best capture the dialogue.

It must be a difficult task, to predict the movement of actors, but I was even more surprised when Mike revealed how he achieves this:  “I’ve learned to read neck muscles, they’re usually the first sign that someone is turning their head.”

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We’ve chatted about some of the fundamentals of recording sound, but what about the business end?  Some students asked Mike about how easy it is to pursue a sound career in the screen industries.

“Broadcasting companies like ITV and the BBC take on very few staff across their TV projects, and mostly use freelancers.  It’s standard to get on board with a fixed term contract, for instance my work on Beowulf was a 27 week contract.”

His advice mirrors Joanna Makepeace‘s recommendations in the latest episode of the 99% Perspiration podcast; “It’s mostly ad-hoc work – you’ve got to email producers, email line producers.  You’ll often get work from knowing people, knowing sound mixers, knowing boom operators, knowing film crews; so get out there and meet people.”

“It is quite a competitive industry.  There’s a lot of jobs, but a lot of people.  Stay professional, keep emailing.  Don’t pass up opportunities to meet people, to do work experience.”

“A lot of people say they’re keen to get into the industry, but many of them don’t get out there, aren’t proactive.  You’ve just got to do better than the guy next to you.”

“I watch a lot of TV shows, and you can get names from the credits and shoot them an email.  And then put yourself forward for shadowing, ask if there are any opportunities going…”

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And finally, one of our students asked the all-important question of how much you can make from a sound design career working in TV.

“You can get up to about £300 a day working with TV crews as a boom operator.  Which is better than a lot of professions!”

“And there’s a lot of work in commercials as well – there’s massive companies who spend millions on 30 seconds, so that’s great to get into; not just for sound, but for other industries too.”

If you want to find out more about Mike Duddy, and what it’s like to have a career in sound recording, make sure you check out his website.