Professional Studies - Richard Wallis

The final lecture in the series of professional studies lectures was delivered by Richard Wallis and focused on the ‘client factor’. He went on to discuss how the client is the key to understanding how the industry works, but this is increasingly difficult in a changing landscape of interactive and new media. Henry Jenkins (2006) on Convergence Culture states “The client is everybody’s business”. This is particularly intriguing to look at within a production team, if every person is aware of who the product is for and exactly what they want potentially a more efficient better product for the client could be produced. In my experience working with clients at 8bit Lemon, this is extremely important. It is very easy to get ‘hooked’ on a project, where by you add a develop the work beyond what the client wants often ending in increased work load and a client with a product they didn’t ask for. 

Identifying and winning the client involves finding, pitching and looking after clientele. The question ‘How do you find a client’ was raised amongst the group: 

- Identify a market 

- Research and understand the market

- Know who you’re aiming at 

- Have great ideas 

After you have found and established the client and target audience the next stage is the pitch. These can be broken down into two types; your own ideas and the solution for what the client wants. I think this is one of the most difficult parts when winning a client, particularly in the Interactive Media Industry and at the early stages of a growing business. Managing the time you put into a pitch or concept designs is difficult, you need to put enough effort into producing a great looking proposal, but can’t afford to waste time if you don’t win the product. I recently spent 3 days creating a pitch to develop a new webpage for a London company competing against 2 other companies. I did not win the project development on the bases that the other company created 3 possible ideas apposed to my 1 idea. I find it difficult to justify spending a week developing proposals for a project that was minimal pay with a chance of winning a pitch. From this I have learnt to choose my clients, much like Mike Hawkyard spoke about in our first lecture. 

Client relationship has to be managed to nurture a longterm relationship and it is this relationship that will ultimately win you more clients / work in the future. Things that could break down a client relationship are: Missed deadlines, Spiralling costs, Failed expectation and poor communication. In business the account manager looks after the client and leases with the project manager who looks after the creation process. 

Business is about the client. The client is everyone in the business. The client is the business.
Richard Wallis, 2012

Professional Studies - Evan Grant

For our penultimate lecture, Evan Grant the managing director of Seeper Arts delivered an intriguing lecture on his career from Bournemouth University to managing his own company. Seeper is an arts and technology collective focusing on interactive installations and research across the globe. 

In 1998 Evan graduated from BU and recognised that the University was focusing on the wrong technology, moving away from what was the CD ROM and towards Web 1.0. By teaching himself the web technologies Evan left University and began his own company, This was particularly intriguing because in my first year of University myself and 4 others from the course begin a design and branding agency, 8bit Lemon, almost parallel to the process that Evan took when he began his company at University. To see someone succeed with a venture they began at university was truly inspiring. 

At the end of the lecture, Evan finished with the quote “There’s more to life than screens” this is something that has effected my train of thought ever since, and is very interesting to consider the thought of how the skills I’m learning can be implemented in more innovate ways. The term ‘Cross Platform’ is usually associated with multiple ‘devices’ rather then ‘platforms’, Evan expresses that devices are not the only option to exhibiting digital content, and thinking out side of the screen is potentially more interesting, exciting and worthwhile. Moving the focus from screens changes the “essence of experience” Evan speaks of the importance to capture a child like sense of wonder within projects. And says “Try and give your projects magic” communicating projects to the biggest audience possible, by doing so the ideas will spread to a much wider range of people/audience.

Professional Studies - Kris Erickson

My 3rd entry focuses on copyright in the creative industry and the recent changes in copyright law in the UK and across Europe. Kris Ericson and Bartolomeo Meletti are copyright researchers at Bournemouth University. We will explore what copyright is and how intellectual property right falls under copyright laws. 

An important factor when looking into copyright is the consideration of past culture, when you tell a story do you own the right to that story? Our culture consists of all the stories and behaviours we undertake on daily occasions. When it comes to copyrighting digital creative work, the distinction between copied work and original works is as complicated as whether the stories we tell belong to us. To protect your digital works legally there are 4 potential methods: 

- Patent (Protect an invention) 

- Copyright (Protect artistic work)

- Trade Mark (Prtect signs / words associated with a product or service)

- Registered industrial design (Protect shape configuration)

Intellectual property right falls under the umbrella of ‘Copyright’ and the protection of artistic works. Kris Ericson said “It protects the expression, not the idea”. For example in games the gameplay mechanic is copied, such as controls, campaigns and online game play structure and feel. Kris made it clear that once you create something original, copyright law automatically attracts to it. This information is particularly significant because the type of work I produce on the course is creative and for the rest of my working career I intend to be creating digital works. Knowing that my creative ideas are protected is reassuring, not only does it reassure my ideas are safe but also allows others to be inspired by what I produce, which I feel is important for the progression of design and trends within the industry. 

The final note is on increasing your protection rights on work that you have produced, particularly something like software in the interactive media industry. Software is most powerfully protected under copyright, because source code is protecting a product providing a service or function. Kris explains; Litteral copying: When you use other source code in your code. Non literal: when you copy the way it works none of the written code.  There is no infringement unless its proven that you have had access to the original code. For design, a way of protecting work is callusing it as a Trade Secret - breach of confidential information. “Confidential Information” Protects your self about employers who see your information and won’t hire you. You have to show in a court that you treated the information confidential. 

Professional Studies - Joanna Lush

Today’s professional studies lecture, the 2nd entry to my blog, was delivered by Joanna Lush a freelance digital producer. Joanna began the talk depicting previous major roles that she has held within various jobs ranging from project management to business analysis. It was great to hear Joanna talk about how different roles within the industry guided her towards different positions and opportunities, “You learn as you come, with regards to the different subjects” suggesting how those different roles allowed for different decisions or career choices within the creative industry. 

We then moved on to discuss the processes a digital agency undertake and the types of people who are involved in the production process of a piece of commissioned media. Firstly we spoke about possible reasons for a company to need new digital content and one particularly interesting reason was ‘social listening’, where major corporations would take into consideration the consumers thoughts via their social media outlets. We looked at several examples of large corporations doing this badly, including how Gillette didn’t give a free razor to a charity event, other customers picked up on this directly effecting the image and reputation online, just from responding poorly to a single message.  The development and production of a commission within a digital agency includes a vast team of experts. It was interesting to discover the process and people I would be working with in the digital industry, and the exact processes that happen in reality. Account management - Looking after the client and helping steer them through. Project Management- Running project end to end. eg. “Does the client use internal networks?”. Business Analysts/Technical Analysts - defining the scope and solution. Information Architects / usability specialists - defining how users will interact and use the end product. Strategists and planners. Creative - copywriter and art director teams, designers, art workers defining and realising the creative concepts. Conceptual teams. Production- Frontend and back end developers, testing and QA. 

After discussing the people involved, Joanna moved on to talking about the procedure of the above process, and how an agency uses the ‘waterfall’ process when developing a product. Each stage of the develop directly effects the next, if production is delayed then testing will be effected. The down side to this is for example, if testing (The final stage) dosnt go well, then all the development before hand would have to be started again. The way to avoid this would be the ‘spiral’ process, where each element of a production goes through a design developing and testing stage repeatedly, this however is far more expensive, and time consuming- impractical in the real world. The final thing that we addressed was the evaluation and maintenance stage of a project, something that i had overlooked before Joanna’s lecture. This is to ask the questions:

- does it do what we said it would?

- what lessons learnt?

- What can we apply to the next project- are there changes needed?

- What campaign management is required?

This concluded the lecture, and I feel that with Joanna’s knowledge of project management and business analysis skills has allowed me to look at the creative digital industry from the inside mechanics, and begin to get to know the exact processes I will be involved with when I ultimately work in the digital creative industry. 

Professional Studies - Day of Master Classes

Today was the first day of the professional studies unit, and it was to begin with an intensive day of lectures and workshops from professionals in the Media Industry. The aim is to get us as students to being to think about our career life, and to make the most of the opportunity to build contacts and ask questions to a range of professional guest speakers. Below you will find some of my thoughts and reflections on key speakers of the day that I found closely related to myself and my prospective working life.

John Dale: 

John Dale a writer, directer, producer and digital interactive entrepreneur opened the day of masterclasses. John began by depicting the beginning of his career, he noted the several changes his career path took as he learnt more about himself and what wanted to achieve. After immediate success in the organisation of BBC, John made the decision to leave the structured corporation for his own projects and adventures. This is something that I will continue to think about with regards to my own career, I like John, believe its important to be working in an enjoyable environment, and achieving my goals for myself. It was reassuring to hear from professional creatives that this was the path they took, and ultimately improved their working life. 

One of the initial projects John under took I found particularly interesting, producing interactive advertisement content for London busses. John depicted how the commissioned task posed a series of problems, such as the lack of audio and the short dwell time of each passenger. The production process required solutions for each of the issues, a procedure that forced John to discover new skills and imply old. This type of process is something that I enjoy, the ‘solutionising’ of issues and the consequences of these to my personal skill set. 

Not only is it practical skills that John has continued to develop but also his personal abilities and drive for a philanthropic lifestyle. This is apparent when looking at Johns recent projects such as ‘Kidnet’, ‘ABD: Climate Change Tool’ and ‘Bedlam Brazil’ where he uses current technology as a tool to affect the world for the better. An interesting anecdote that John raised was the ethical boundaries that his work and projects require him to constrain to, when developing a young adults news channel in the far east he was approached befriended by the countries media head. John was creating a network that allowed direct connection to the younger generation that the country needed to penetrate. This certainly got me to think about the political affect that a project can have and how the ethical consequences are clearly implicated and in this case avoided. 

I felt that Johns exuberance in is work and ‘not looking back’ attitude was inspiring. It was comforting to know that he made several transitions throughout his career but maintained enjoyment and hard work ethic throughout, and it was this that guided him to achieve his dreams. I will continue to look forward, and keep an open mind to all opportunities and possibilities within my career life but also personal. 

Mike Hawkyard:

Mike Hawkyard is the CEO of 4T2 Media based in Bournemouth, Dorset. 4T2 is a company specialising in game design and development for smart devices and the web browser. Their clients range from small local companies to the international Lego Brand. Mike started with a brief overview of his company and the progression of his career in the creative digital industry, as an alumni student of BU himself and a digital creative in my personal field I found his presentation particularly intriguing.

Mike was enforcing some great motives throughout, but one that particularly intrigued me was “Have an opinion and make it heard”. This is a comment that i can relate to,  recently I have realised how important it is to trust your own opinion. As a digital designer, I need to fully trust the decision I make when developing a design and corresponding product. Mike voiced his opinion in the business side of things, when about to lose a contract he made it clear how he felt 4T2 was the best option for the client, ultimately winning the contract. This is a perfect example of how I could imply the same skill of trusting opinion to other elements of my working career.

I thought Mikes realistic and informative advice given in his presentation was extremely useful, with points being made that i will continue to think about though out my career in the interactive media industry. Such as:

  •  EMF -  “Everything is My Fault”
  •  Take it personally. Argue your stance. 
  •  Have an opinion and make it heard. 
  •  Work hard, you will not just get lucky.

To conclude the presentation the group discussed what they thought the future holds for technology and the direction in which it is heading. This is what we produced:

- Anyone can make an app and launch it on multiple platforms
- In game advertising in freemium games will give new features
- Revolution in global free education – all goes digital
- Apps kill the browser – Windows 8

The day was a great way to kick off the unit, opening the group up to the vast possibilities and options available to us when already in a career or when looking to begin working life. Im looking forward to the following speaker this Thursday (11th October, 2012).

Profesional Studies

For the duration of the First Term I will continue to write a post about lectures from professionals in the creative digital industry. Heres an overview of the unit:

To develop in students a critical understanding of the role of the producer as a collaborative media manager in a 360 degree cross platform environment.   

Students will be introduced to key concepts, skills and knowledge they will need for future employment in the media industries and a critical appreciation of media commissioning and production processes in a cross platform environment.

O1 an understanding of the legal and ethical contexts in which the media operate;

O2 a critical appreciation of media commissioning and production processes;

O3 an understanding of cross-platform delivery and exhibition;

O4 an ability to work in groups to manage media workflow. 

Web Design- Blog URL Integration

As Part of the brief states:

It is suggested as part of the course that you keep a reflective blog that you must keep updated with your design, production processes or ideas from the theory unit. Your site should link to this blog so that your external audience also gains an understanding of the way you work and develop solutions.

I will be simply integrating this blog by creating a click through link from the ‘Blog’ icon in the navigation bar.


Web Design- About Page Background

On the home page I used a jQuery plugin as a source for images used as the backgrounds to the body element. There are 2 pieces of JavaScript code that allow for this. To begin with i explored other options and ways of getting an image to resize with the browser using html 5- all of these simple options worked, but only as the entire page- covering the entire site. To avoid this i would need to resize the image within constraints- Much like that of the Home page, where the dimensions set and resize to when the browser/resolution window is different. I then went on to explore some of the options using further jQuery code… The codes that i discovered where very similar to that of what im using currently in the home page therefore i decided to use the same code and jQuery library- this would also reduce loading time of the page! Heres my process:

Web Design- About Page Basic Layout

Keeping the overall look and feel of my site the same I will be transferring the same layout of the homepage to the About Me section of the site- The Header/Navigation and Body will all stay the same dimensions with some changes to the layout of a few elements. To begin though the basic structure of the page: 

Web Design- Update/Next Stage

I am really pleased with the result of the home page! The simple design has meant for an effective clean look and feel and the logo/colours have established a great theme for the site that looks professional but also expresses my creativity. The next logical step would be to begin work on the ‘Portfolio’ or work section of my site, however- With the basic layout and key elements of the home page completed i can easily transfer these sections to other pages of the site. For example the About me page is the same layout with minor tweaks and the contact page again, very much the same theme for that page. These are the pages that I will begin to work on prior to the ‘Work’ page. It will also give me some more time to begin to collect and locate my previous work for the portfolio section of the website.