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”

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.”

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And, as always,
Stay productive, stay awesome!

Jay Sykes
Executive Producer, 99% Perspiration

Blogging 101 – Sophie Dishman

Photo: made on Canva.

Sophie Dishman, a young blogger based in Sunderland, is perhaps one of the most persistent, engaged online writers I’ve ever met.  You’ve seen how irregular the posts on the 99% blog are to date, right?  I envy Sophie Dishman.  She is to me as a tommy gun is to a cannon.

Photo: Sophie Dishman’s Instagram, @MusingsOfAJournalismStudent.

But fear not – Sophie’s been kind enough to share some of her insight with us; a veritable “Blogging 101”, which walks you through from idea germination, some of the must-dos and the must-not-dos which I wish someone had taught me, all the way to how to best utilise the features on your blog, and promote it effectively.

Just follow the link below to find her genius how-to.

Source: How I create my blog posts.

NYF Gold Award Jay Sykes - circle cropAnd, as always,
Stay productive, stay awesome!

Jay Sykes
Executive Producer, 99% Perspiration

Picking a Degree – The South Asian Edit

Hafzah Zamir on the difficulties of pursuing a career in the creative industry, whilst being surrounded by Asian academic success

Hazfah Zamir - 99 reduxYou’re probably reading this article because you are thinking about picking a degree, or even considering whether the university lifestyle is even your fortè.

Being South Asian, when it came to picking my degree, there was a sense of pressure to say the least.

Coming from a South Asian community, or to be more specific, a Pakistani community, it was difficult when it came to choosing the career path for me.

I remember picking my degree and being torn between a dream and reality (as clichè as that sounds).  The dream was that I wanted to be an artist. Since I was a young girl, I had aways been into the creative side of life; from painting, to theatre, to literature, to photography and film-making (to be honest the list could go on).  But ultimately, my reality was that the careers that were made for South Asians were more on the…  academic side.  Growing up, I was surrounded by family who went into the conventional Doctor, Lawyer, Engineer, Accountant category.  I knew this was not for me.  Don’t get me wrong, I did have the capability to pursue these careers, but there was one particular night that I remember vividly.

It was late and I was thinking about the career that I would want to go into.  I mean the right thing to do was to be academic, be successful, make my family proud.  But would I be happy for the rest of my life?  Of course not.  I’d be stuck in a dead end job doing the same thing day in day out that I didn’t like and be depressed.

But this was always a worry for me; I didn’t care what society thought of me, but I did care about the griefing my parents would get because of a few comments made by some distant auntie visiting from Lahore coming up to my Mama and being like:

“Oh your daughter is an artist…  My daughter is doctor, earning thousands.”

Girl, please!  If you’re going to sit there and evaluate my life, the life of someone you barely know, you need to go and reassess your own life.  Yes Lahori auntie, you’ve been shut down.  *Snap snap*.

But anyways, I therefore decided to start looking for a degree where I could get the best of both worlds (sort of like the Hannah Montana of degrees).  I looked and looked and instead of just giving up and following suit to the conventions of my society, I instead found Public Relations.  As a combination of business and marketing, it allowed me to appear academically successful in my society, whilst creating creative campaigns and working a lot with social media.  I managed to find a degree that would also satisfy me.

When people ask my Mama what I do, she isn’t rather proud to say that she has a daughter that is a trainee Public Relations Practitioner.

And me?  Well, currently halfway through my degree I can happily say that I get to be as creative as I want and branch out into doing other opportunities, which gives me the satisfaction that I once thought was only a dream.

Creatives.  Do not let societal norms affect who you are and your dream, because at the end of the day, this is your life.  Please let me be that first step that changes your life forever.

Stay Productive, Stay Awesome!

Words by Hafzah Zamir

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.

 

 

Radio 101 – Ep. 21 of 99% Perspiration

Hello, Creatives!

Jam-packed episode for you this week.

On the 7th October, the Student Radio Association held training days around the country, inviting various radio professionals to give talks about their work, share their stories, and offer advice to tomorrow’s radio professionals.

And that’s exactly what 99% Perspiration is all about!  We’re were lucky enough to be invited to the North East & Yorkshire training day.  So if you’re interested in heading into radio/audio work – whether it’s presenting, producing, journalism, or voice over – then listen on.  This is the podcast for you.

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This Week’s Guests:

Steve and Karen, Breakfast Presenters on Metro Radio.

Click here to listen to Steve & Karen on 99% Perspiration

Click here to listen to Steve & Karen on 99% Perspiration

Doug Morris, Managing Editor at BBC Newcastle.

Click here to listen to Doug Morris on 99% Perspiration

Click here to listen to Doug Morris on 99% Perspiration

Anna Harding, Regional News Editor for Global Radio.

Click here to listen to Anna Harding on 99% Perspiration

Click here to listen to Anna Harding on 99% Perspiration

Tom Campbell, Drive presenter of Heart Radio.

Click here to listen to Tom Campbell on 99% Perspiration

Click here to listen to Tom Campbell on 99% Perspiration

Emma Snook, producer/presenter at Amazing Radio.

Click here to listen to Emma Snook on 99% Perspiration

Click here to listen to Emma Snook on 99% Perspiration

Kyle Wilkinson, the voice of BBC Radio 1.

Click here to listen to Kyle Wilkinson on BBC Radio 1

Click here to listen to Kyle Wilkinson on 99% Perspiration

This week, a huge thank-you is in order to Steph Finnegan & Rute Correia, who recorded interviews.  This episode of 99% Perspiration would not have been possible without them.

And until next time,

Stay productive, stay awesome!