Sorcha found this Indigogo for La Noria (2015) and we liked the layout of their pitch.
- First they show their best shot,
- then they talk about who their team is and why you should trust them,
- then they talk about the story and concept,
- then the Indigogo rewards,
- then a sneak peak of La Noria.
Sorcha took the task of writing a script with all the information that we would need for the pitch. I tried to condense this into a shorter version:
We received feedback that we needed to structure the pitch better for the audience and explain why we used so many different styles. With this in mind, Molly and I took what Sorcha had written and re-iterated on this, adding more detail while trying to keep it short. Sorcha and I re-iterated again while recording to make it sound natural when spoken. We also tried to keep the story structure flowing so that each section had a reason to continue to the next.
This semester, Creative Enterprise helped me in a number of ways in both preparing me to apply for a job and also helping me to start thinking more in depth about my career.
I realised this semester that I haven’t put a lot of time into self-evaluating before. Taking time away from projects to put into researching and making a CV and cover letter has been very enlightening but preparing for interview made me realise most that I find it very hard to sell myself, even more so verbally. I put a lot of time into preparing for my mock interview but still felt like I stumbled a lot so this is an area that I still need to practice more.
Preparing a showreel and portfolio website was a great way to reflect on my work and see the gaps. I tried to make a showreel focusing on lighting, texturing and concept art but I feel that I should demonstrate a wider application of these skills.
The guest speakers this semester were a great way of thinking more about my career. I feel that I should not be too hasty in trying to specialise but I also worry that I won’t be that ‘T-shaped’ person that everyone is talking about. I think that placement year will be a good opportunity to explore the different possibilities. I’m not afraid to jump into areas that I have not spent a lot of time in yet such as motion graphics, compositing and dynamics but I also want to develop the current skills that I have and make them a lot stronger. I like the idea of being self-sufficient in being able to create a complete product/experience and also being knowledgeable enough to help others in all areas of production. I want to learn more about film especially and be able to contribute something amazing to a team. Importantly, I want to make myself more employable and be prepared to make a living from my skills once I graduate.
Glenda Martin suggested that we use the interview simulator on the Employability Portal which was very helpful: http://journey.ulster.ac.uk/5
It had a range of timed questions to go through from 8 sections which you could type or speak and then at the end you could download your script with your answers and suggestions on how you should have answered.
Feedback and Reflection:
I need to be more aware of my body language and posture. I unconsciously had kept my hands clasped underneath the desk. Alec suggested keeping them above the table.
Like always, I need to work on projecting my voice and being less quiet. Alec did say that my passion came across at least.
Although I spent a lot of time preparing I stumbled over the simple question of ‘why do you want to work here’. This was partly because I hadn’t prepared a particular studio to apply to and was treating the interview as a general job application. My nerves also got the better of me. Either way I should have been more prepared. Now I know that I should practice more beforehand so that even my nerves can’t get in the way.
Christian suggested adding parallax and a vignette to the 2D stargazing scene to make it stronger for the pitch video. I finished the 2D concept a little more and animated the layers with a camera in After Effects. Unfortunately we didn’t get to complete our 3D version of this as we didn’t plan enough time to add the characters. I tried to use Sorcha’s design of Julie in this (as it most match the Moebius-like style that we had discussed as a team) and then tried to match William to Julie. The lighting hid the line a little though and the colours changed after I colour corrected to fit within the scene.
Sorcha’s Julie Design
Sorcha’s Julie Design
Sorcha’s Julie Design
Line visible before lighting added
I’m trying to add a slight parallax effect to the stargazing concept for our pitch video. Usually if I wanted to create a parallax effect in After Effects I would animated the scale of different layers to scale with different timings. Jonny suggested looking at this video and it was a great reminder of how to use a camera in 3D space in After Effects. I had not heard of this method since foundation year and had forgotten it existed. By using this way, I can space the layers out in the z-axis and then animate the camera instead of scale. This also adds the ability to use other camera attributes such as depth of field and aperture.
*pitch video to be re-done
I blocked the hallway and living room geometry and the hallway and kitchen animation.
Did we deliver what was asked of us?
We delivered pitch material and put together a video. However, we should have made a clearer representation of Julie and William aging over the 10 years and we should have created more concepts showing scenarios of the characters in different emotions. We also didn’t finish the 3D scene which we were working on for the deadline. I feel like we could have easily finished this except that both Sorcha and I caught the flu and couldn’t work for a few days each. We really should always leave extra time in our plans for unforeseen events like this.
Dealing with the change in requirements.
Just before Easter, our requirements as a team changed a little. Instead of making a video which demonstrated gameplay, Jonny discovered that more concepts of the characters and their relationship would be better material for a pitch. We still wanted to make a 3D scene together but this required a new plan as our gameplay footage was now less suitable. Skype meetings worked well over the Easter break but I felt that we could have done better if Molly and Aidan could have met immediately after our meeting with Iglu. Only Sorcha and I could meet soon after our Iglu meeting to discuss the new project direction.
Better time and project management.
Looking back, my best weeks usually involved a team meeting early in the week. For example, I think that my best week was in week 02. Immediately after our meeting with Iglu, we had a white board ideation session in which we discussed and divided up exactly what we needed to do. This helped to lay down a clear path of what exactly was important to tackle straight away and I was confident to jump on a task immediately and give a whole week for completion. I also worked well after meeting with Sorcha on St. Patricks Day during which time we set mini-deadlines for certain tasks. We tried using Asana at one point but it didn’t seem to catch on. I’m determined to start using a tool like Asana instead of facebook.
Team decision making problems.
One of our problems was making a firm decision on style. Sorcha and I sat down to discuss this together when it seemed quite late into the project. This turned out to be the solution that we needed as I felt a lot surer of what we wanted after this meeting. I wish we had of identified the high importance of this earlier in the project and had as many meetings as we needed earlier on until we found a solution. We seemed to orbit around the problem for a long time until it became more obvious. The same problem was present for choosing final designs for the two characters. Another option would be, if the team is having trouble deciding, then the team should appoint one member to research into and make a solution for one particular part of the project.
Presentation of work and communication
I felt like I was too quiet during meetings with Iglu Media and didn’t present my work as well as I should have to Gareth and Jonny. Jonny and Gareth made a point during our first meeting about artists who were too protective of showing their sketchbook work. I think that I can be like this sometimes as I often start a sketch like a scribble almost and then make iterations until it looks presentable. I should have put more time into presenting my work beforehand for meetings and I should have been more prepared about what I needed to communicate regarding how I contributed to the team’s weekly outcomes.
When writing my CV I found that the CV builder on the Ulster University Employability Journal website was the most helpful.
It has lots of example of good phrasing and use of power words and also talked about emphasising skills gained from experiences.
This feedback from Greg on our combined CV in class was also helpful:
- Grades e.g. from Leaving Certificate are a lot less important at this stage.
- Highlight skills like unusual languages that you know.
- Have your work experience at the top. Relevancy trumps chronology.
- Starting with the sentence “Diligent student…” in your profile is questionable. Find a better way.
- When you’re talking about your hobbies, don’t sound so passive. Demonstrate what you actively get out of your interests and how you actively do them.
- Even within the ‘interests’ section you should be paying attention to the order based on relevancy or what stands out the most.
- Be careful of making sections too wordy.
This is some research which was useful too but I forgot where I wrote it down from:
- Tailor your CV to who you’re applying for. If they ask for team skills be sure to demonstrate this.
- What is my unique selling point?
- Look at everything that you have done and be able to talk confidently about the transferable skills that you can take from that.
- For your profile, describe: who/what you are, your experience, your skills and relevant evidence and what you are looking for. Use short positive sentences.
- Work experience: As well as your job, show activities outside of this which demonstrate your initiative.
- Explain the way (adverb), the what (verb) and the benefit.
- Other skills: How do you contribute outside of the workplace/academic environment? Organiser, networker, team player?
- Do your interests correlate with the job that you’re seeking?
- Use anecdotes to show personality.
Alec suggested that I add a simple graphic to my CV to make it more memorable visually. I loved Rachel Dixon’s example of this with her bears.
Back when I was beginning to build my website, this was some of the research which I looked at.
Do’s and Don’ts How to Build a Website that Works:
David Mattock: http://www.davidmattock.co.uk/
Mattock’s site makes it easy to find his showreel and also clearly shows Mattock’s skills. His contact form has multiple options, giving the impression that he’s easy to keep in contact with. He also has links to his social media pages which makes him more accessible.
Dave Rapoza on carbonmade: https://daverapoza.carbonmade.com/
I like how Rapoza’s portfolio is split into client work and personal projects that he’s worked on. This could work well if I wanted to display myself with general skills e.g. a section for lighting, modeling etc. or if I wanted to show my involvement throughout a single project, from concepts to 3D visualisation. It also links back and forth well with his blog and social media sites. Rapoza’s contact page isn’t as impressive as Mattock’s.
- Have a neutral background e.g. grey so as to compliment/not distract from your work.
- Show your name, email and phone number very clearly.
Class Feedback and Feedback on Edward’s website
This was some feedback that Edward got during class which I also found very helpful for fixing up my own website.
- On your homepage, have a bit more information straight away.
- Make your email link clickable. I tried looking up how to do this. Apparently it’s just as simple as adding mailto:me@example .com in html but the link created doesn’t see to open up anything on my laptop
- Use area codes for your phone number.
- If any of your videos are private, have the password or an email for contacting below the video.
- Remove confusing menus from pages.
- Is there a more important link that you could include than your Facebook? Do you really want this link at all?
- Test how easy your website is to navigate. Ask other people who haven’t seen it before?
- Optimise images so that they load quickly. Try Photoshop’s ‘save for web’ button.
- About page: Put your email here also. Have your email everywhere so that it’s easy to find. Describe what you’re interested in. Your ‘about me’ page should contain anything that will make you stand out to an employer, something interesting about yourself and something that the employer can connect with.
- Think about tabs on your blog that can also say something interesting about you e.g. a ‘what you’re reading’ tab.
- Look at your website on all platforms. Is it legible?
I also sent my showreel and website to Iglu Media (who I’m on placement-lite with) for feedback and they were kind enough to get back to me. Mostly my biggest downfall seemed to be my website layout. My front portfolio page was a bit cumbersome to scroll side to side on and it was too easy to miss sections. I found a new theme to make this easier to navigate but I have yet to find a theme were the menus don’t have to be expanded separately at the top.
Jonny Shields, their art director also suggested that I display my concepts larger for scrolling as I had them displayed in a gallery as small clickable thumbnails. For my showreel, they commented that my subtitles to show what work I had done was nice and clear.
I saw that Alec had posted the MPC First Step internship application link on Facebook during the Easter break. Feeling utterly unprepared I thought why not try anyway! With only a day left to send in an application I tried to put together a showreel and cover letter aimed at the lighting department.
By applying here under such short notice and to a particular area I actually felt that it forced me to put together my showreel with better presentation and more focus.
This was my initial planning for a generalist showreel. I used powerpoint for planning as I didn’t have any editing software at the time.
This was what I put together for a lighting showreel:
Natasha Crowley Lighting Showreel 2016 from Natasha Crowley on Vimeo.
I feel like I may have ended up including some irrelevant material like UVs as I didn’t have a lot of material to make a completely lighting focused showreel. For the application, I was required to include a showreel breakdown that described what I learned for each piece but I should probably have included the software used information within the video also.
Natasha Crowley Lighting Showreel Breakdown
I created my first cover letter for this application also. In my defense I was very tired after working on my showreel all day and with the deadline at midnight I only had about 30 minutes left to write it. I think that I should have been a lot more specific as to why I wanted the internship at MPC in particular. I also should have discussed specific skills more and why I would suit the role.
Second Showreel Version
Mark pointed out that by using Times New Roman it looked too much like I didn’t care much for font and just left it at default. I had thought that it just looked simple and legible but I now see what Mark means. I looked through the Adobe typekit for a handwritten styled font and found “Felt Tip Roman” which I liked.
I looked for music to add also as I didn’t have time to for the first draft. I mostly looked through this site for copyright free music: http://freemusicarchive.org/. For this second version I also included some extra concept art and development work.
Natasha Crowley Concept, Lighting & Texturing Showreel 2016 from Natasha Crowley on Vimeo.
I plan to make a third, ‘CG Generalist’ version too that includes my modeling, animation and possibly nCloth simulation also.