Am I able to give career advice? I’m only 22 after all.

I’ve been helping out at my old university – King’s College London – with their careers and employability office. A couple weeks ago, I went in to speak to current undergraduate and masters students at a career festival for the Film Studies program. After graduating in July, I now have 7 months of experience through my full-time job in a media agency. Walking down the all-too-familiar corridors created an interesting sensation:

Here I was in the exact same location and it’s very clear that it’s me who has changed and not the environment. In fact, the architecture, smell, feel, and people looked exactly the same as last year (when I was attending this career fair as a hopeful final year student). But this time, there was a different confident stride in my steps, not one of getting a first, but one of having job security figured out.

Most of the students were there looking for a way into the film industry. In that respect, I was their counter example of someone who veered away from the ‘artistic’ satisfaction of the creative arts for the more corporate world of marketing and advertising. I think speaking to the students was just as informative for me as it was for them. Nevertheless, I stood tall and explained my role and plans for the future in the business world.

Two weeks after the speaking event, the careers office asked me to write a blog post for them. And it finally came out, so I thought I’d share it (which was the point of my whole rant above). Enjoy:

http://blogs.thecareersgroup.co.uk/humanities/a-case-study-in-digital-advertising/

It offers some insights and advice to university students trying to figure out what they want to do after graduating by drawing on my own experiences of job hunting/soul searching.

I obviously still have so much to learn about the world of work: what skills are most employable, how to change jobs, how to progress, how to balance work/life, etc. However, I still feel that I can offer advice and help to university students, especially because the experience of transitioning lifestyles is still so fresh in my memories. It’s important for people to stay in touch with university students as they progress in their careers because, essentially, those students are the future of the work force. Their desires, mentality, and capabilities are a direct reflection of generational changes, economic situations, and cultural values. And it’s very hard to know what the future holds if you don’t understand the people that will be working it because let’s be honest, most business are people-led first and foremost. So an understanding of the younger work generation is ALWAYS key to any company that wants to grow.

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An extract from the introduction of my Film Studies Dissertation (King’s College London)…

This dissertation is situates within the growing research around the stylistic use of digital technology and new media in contemporary cinema. My main area of investigation will be the virtual camera in narrative computer-animated films, with a precise interest in musical cinematography. The term ‘musical’ refers to the narrative premise of analysing song or dance sequences, while the term ‘cinematography’ refers to the stylistic and aesthetic form of the camerawork. The musical context provides a point of consistency across the films and sequences chosen for formal analysis, thereby providing a lineage between different production methods and styles. Prince argues that that digital technology builds “on stylistic traditions established by filmmakers in earlier generations … while providing new and more powerful tools to accomplish these ends.”[1] Likewise this dissertation will explore the stylistic developments in computer-animated films in relation to past cinematic traditions.

This investigation is structured around the aim of outlining and testing the term ‘digital cine-mobility,’ as a cinematic style, through comparisons with established stylistic traditions. Chapter One will explore the visual effects of cel-animation and computer-animation in relation to the Walt Disney Animation Studio. Chapter Two will study the moving camera of the American film musical. And finally, Chapter Three will scrutinize the term ‘digital cine-mobility,’ which we will initially define as, the selection of fantastical, playful, and impossible camera movements in computer-animated films. The concept of digital cine-mobility is framed around a lively camera that presents spatially dynamic, effortlessly integrated, and kinetically expressive movements. The aim of this investigation is to progressively examine, and attempt to define, the descriptive terms above.

[1]  Stephen Prince, Digital Visual Effects in Cinema: The Seduction of Reality (New Brunswick, New Jersey, and London: Rutgers University Press, 2012), 4-5.

What Does It Feel Like To Write A Dissertation? … it’s like braiding hair!

What Does It Feel Like To Write A Dissertation? ... it's like braiding hair!

I like to use the analogy that writing a dissertation is like braiding hair.

Don’t be fooled if it sounds easy. This isn’t a simple three-part braid. No no, your customer (or dissertation supervisor) wants a whole hairstyle, not just the braid. You have three chapters, each is like its own braid, which then has to weaves together into one. Plus, you have your introduction and conclusion, the equivalent of styling the bangs in the front and the stray hairs in the back.

It’s also a process, a journey. You try one strand of hair here and then another there and when that doesn’t work, you undo the braid and try again with the knowledge and experience you gained in trying the first time. It’s a constant process of putting a strand of hair in and then stepping back and seeing if it works. Then if that quote, errrm…. I mean strand of hair, doesn’t fit in with the other twists and turns of the style… Then it has to be taken out. Sometimes, you finish a whole fishtail braid and just as you’re about to tie the end… You realize the fishtail style doesn’t work with the hairpins you originally chose! Time to re-try weaving the hair strands together in a French Braid.

Lastly, let’s not forget about functionality. Hairstyles not only have to look clean and well-put together, they also have to hold when put to the test. Wedding hairstyles, gymnasts’ buns, horse-riders’ braids… They all have to stand the event/physical activity. Similarly, your dissertation has to be well-written/presentable AND be defendable/rooted in a research methodology.

And at the very end, you hairspray the style with footnotes, a bibliography, a filmography, a cover page, and a table of contents… And voila! You step back and you have a dissertation hairstyle!

CalArts and the Legendary Offsprings of room A113 are featured in Vanity Fair.

CalArts and the Legendary Offsprings of room A113 are featured in Vanity Fair.

Well, well, well… anyone who’s watched an animated film in the last 15 years has probably seen the result of this legendary class of Character Animation at CalArts (California Institute of the Arts). Most of PIXAR’s founding members were students of the classic Disney artists in the 70s and 80s. This Vanity Fair article is such a good summary and insight into the cultural climate and history of animation at the time – the lead up to the animation revival of the 1990s/2000s. It is definitely worth a read. (Just click on the photo to go to the article!!)

I get so inspired by this story (and this group of youngsters). But I think the lesson to take away from this is that you must be determined, hard-working, but also courageous to take risks and new opportunities. Today, there is no guarantee that graduating from CalArts will automatically lead you to become an animation director. These directors graduated at a different time in history and I believe that there will be a new wave of animation in the future. The question is, who is willing to create a new path and lead this revolution?

Being in your 20s.

Being in your 20s.

Yes, there’s a lot of articles on Thought Catalogue about being 20. Most of those articles are lists including titles such as “23 things to do before you get married at 23.” Truth is, everyone is panicking. Everyone is unsure. But everyone will look back at this time as some of the best years of their life, so…

Calm Down and Enjoy. You’re a work in progress. A college degree is not a completion certificate.