Creative Enterprise: Reflection

Over course of the module I’ve had the pleasure of delving into a lot of really interesting research and conversing a lot of amazing people. I thought the way the module has been set up and the content we’re taught as a result was invaluable, particularly for a developing artist/designer. The interview experience in particular was something I can say I’ve learned a lot from, the one on one process gives you a great chance to experience what industry is potentially like here and where its going, which I can say with confidence, cant wait to be part of it. I realised that presentation is a large part of selling yourself, both in person and how you present your work, which has caused me to really think about how my work communicates itself to others. Adding life to your work could be the difference between you getting employed. The advice given in the guest talks we’re eye opening, and only made me more excited and devoted to keep pushing myself and developing as an artist, cause the hard work pays off to quote Gerard Dunleavy.  I’ve also developed a better understanding of how things work (that aren’t industry specific) like creating a good CV or cover letter, the importance of networking, regardless of what career you’re and the necessity of just going for it and seizing the opportunity you want.

Overall I’ve had a great time with Creative Enterprises and learned a lot as a result, and have been given a good direction to go in and keep progressing.

 

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Making a cover letter

Before writing my cover letter up I wanted to take a bit more time to research into what makes a good cover letter, ranging from the content and format to what will help to stand out in the rest.

What is a cover letter?

‘A cover letter is a one page document that you send with your resume when applying for a job.’

It sets out to:

  • Introduce yourself to the hiring manager
  • Argue why you’d be a good fit for the job
  • Fill in places your resume cannot describe
  • Further explain other aspects of your resume

Format

1.Contact Information

Begin your cover letter, include both the employer’s and your contact information.

2. Introduction

Find out who you’re addressing the letter to:

Look through the company’s website, LinkedIn, or even give the company a call to ask for the hiring manager’s name. Even if you get it wrong, it still looks like you’ve made an effort.

Introduce yourself:

In the first paragraph of your cover letter, begin by telling the employer the position you are applying for and how you learned about the opportunity.

The rest of the paragraph should briefly present basic info about yourself, including: degree, area of study/expertise, and your career goals in terms of how they align with the goals of the company.

3. Sell Yourself

  • The second paragraph should respond directly to the job description written by the hiring manager.
  • Describe how your previous job experiences, skills, and abilities will allow you to meet the company’s needs.
  • To make that easier, you can (and should) literally include words and phrases from the job description in your cover letter.
  • Try to find out what they are doing,why,given the current state of their industry.
  • In a third paragraph, explain how you can fit into that schema, and help push the company forward and achieve any goals you suspect they may have.

4. Conclusion

  • This is your “call to action” portion of your cover letter.
  • Inform them that you’d love to get interviewed and that you’ll be in contact with them in a week if you don’t hear back.
  • Thank them for spending the time to read your letter.

So based off what we were taught in class and from the following bit of research, I started on my cover letter.

In my case I decided to use Double Jump Studios as the company I was applying for due to the fact that I had been working with them for several months and built up a good working relationship with them.

First draft:Andrew Coyle_cover_letter_old.jpg

 

After showing it to Alec for feedback he suggested going into more detail about how I would fit in with the company and what I could contribute to them as a result of being employed. Also add your signature to make it more personal. 

With the feedback taken on board I finalised my cover letter

Final Draft

Andrew Coyle_cover_letter_newest-1.jpg

 

 

Showreel With feedback

 

First draft of my showreel, so theres still a few bits and pieces to fix up. I put this together with the intent of applying for a generalist postion with a company, showing off my work in as many areas as possible, modelling, animation, compositing etc.

After wrapping it up, I sent to Alec and Niall Carlin (Double Jump) for feedback and advice on how to make it better.

Alec’s Feedback

  • Try some other car renders – try using different hdr images maybe with higher studio light contrast (more black areas) experiment with the car paint shader material.
  • Move the comp shot forward, after the robot model, then the animation cycles, then the bird and crunch shots, then the prop models
  • Add textures and appropriate shaders to the prop models along with the wire frame stuff you have when you have time after hand in.

Niall’s feedback

  • Liven it up more
  • Don’t just have turn tables of your work, have you assets doing something that engages the viewers interest, like interacting with one another.
  • Show the early concepts,process and development of your work

He then told me to look at this ‘making of video’, taking note of how the individual, shows the development, process and breakdown of the work.

 

Really happy with the feedback given, it’s really constructive and will definitely make a huge difference whenever the changes are made. Thanks lads!

Preparing for the Interview

In preparation for the interview I decided to do some research into the potential guest panel interviewers.When talking through good ways to present yourself and preparing for an interview, it was clear that doing a bit of research on the company your applying to work with and the individual interviewing you was a good thing to do.

As a result I decided to do a bit of research into NI Screen’s Paula Campbell and Black North’s/Enter Yes’s Ross Morrison

Who are NI Screen?

Northern Ireland Screen is the government-backed lead agency in Northern Ireland for the film, television and digital content industry, driving global growth through boosting our economy, celebrating our culture and enhancing our children’s education.

Paula Campbell – Skills Executive

  • Joined in August 2011 as Co-ordinator for the Aim High training scheme, a joint venture with Creative Skillset and BBC NI, and was appointed Skills Executive in November 2014.
  • She  co-ordinates work placements for the Aim High trainees with local indie production companies as well as BBC NI. Paula is also responsible for organising additional training workshops, master-classes and trips to festivals and markets for the trainees.
  • Prior to joining Northern Ireland Screen, Paula worked in production for over 25 years including being a founder and director of a local production/post production company for 10 of those years.

Who are Black North?

WE ARE UNDERGOING SITE MAINTENANCE. WE THANK YOU FOR YOUR PATIENCE. CONTACT US FOR MORE INFO.

Black North are a multimedia company who create award winning animation and interactive products based in Belfast Northern Ireland.

Ross Morrison – Assistant Producer

  • A writer by trade, Ross has been involved in the creative industry for a number of years. In 2007, he was a finalist in international novel competition, Pulp Idol.
  • In 2008 his short Slow Life was selected for an anthology put together by the Society of Young Publishers to celebrate the most exciting young writers in the UK & Ireland.
  • Since 2009, he has occasionally worked with Blacknorth as a Script Editor until he joined on a full-time basis in December 2014.
  • He has established himself as a useful asset, bringing with him project management experience along with a vast array of talent and imagination.

It’ll be great to get in insight to what the industry is like here from these two, and where they see It going in the future. Hopefully they foresee jobs….lots and lots of jobs… But regardless, they both have a lot of experience and advice to give from the sounds of it so I’m looking forward to meeting them.


In addition, we also went through some interview questions, looking at how they should be interpreted and how we should respond to them.

Some examples were:

Tell us about yourself

  • The employer wants to know about you but also put you under pressure to see how you react on the spot.
  • Take full advantage of the control they’ve given you
  • Don’t give a life story, keep it pertinent, keep focused on the position you’re applying for.

Appropriate Answer:

2 to 3 minutes long and briefly cover your education,interest in the field, work history and experience.

Why Should you get this Job?

  • Your opportunity to describe why you want the job and why you would be a perfect fit for the company.
  • This is your personal sales pitch

Appropriate Answer Format:

“From what we’ve discussed so far, you’re looking for ‘X’. In the past I have demonstrated ‘X’,’Y’ and ‘Z’ (experience and your main strengths) which have really helped my previous employer.

Where do you see yourself in fives years time?

  • The employer wants to see if you’ve thought about your future and you’re ambition to progress in the industry.
  • They also want to verify that you plan to stay with them for a long time.
  • If you’re applying for an entry level position, explain how you’d like your career to progress. for example ‘I’d like to progress to this position’
  • If you’re applying for a senior position explain how’d you move the company forward, have a look at their business strategies and explain how you could help them achieve it.

Appropriate Answer:

Be passionate about the industry, fit your career goals around the company’s objectives. Demonstrate passion and exploit your strengths.

What are your weaknesses?

  • Realise what they are, be honest, there’s always ways for us to improve ourselves.
  • Take one weakness and give practical examples of how you’re trying to address it.

A good answer would be:

“I used to find it difficult to work on simultaneous project, preferring to finish one task before starting another. However since taking part in a time management course recently, I’ve learnt how to manage my schedule more effectively, making it easier to multi task when necessary.”

Appropriate answer format:

Weakness + how you’ve tried/how you’re trying to address it, and turn it into a strength.

What are your Strengths?

  • Pick the three biggest attributes that you think will get you the job and give examples of how you have used these strengths in a work situation.
  • They could be tangible skills like, proficiency in a computer language or intangible skills like good management.
  • If you’re not sure where to start take a look at the job description which should give you an idea of what they’re looking for.

Appropriate answer format:

Be ‘T-shaped’, Have a good broad knowledge but a good expertise in the area you’re applying for.

 

 

 

 

Research: Websites

We were asked to go and do some research on how other CG artists have set up and layed their websites, saying what we like and we think could done better.

Here are some of my finds:

Chungkan – Cinematic Artist

http://chungkan.wix.com/portfolio

Chungkan.jpg

From looking at the site we are immediately hit with how organised and well presented everything was. The content is split up into three areas, professional, personal and workshop.

Professional – Portfolio created from the variety of Blizzard projects he’s worked on.

Personal – A small collection of portfolio pieces that he’s done outside Blizzard

Workshop – A series of tutorials he’s made himself for any artist to work from.

Good Points

  • Simple,clear and well presented
  • Collection of work is a very high quality
  • An email address is found at the bottom of each page as well as links to his other online presences such as facebook,vimeo and linkedin.
  • The fact he creates content that sets out to teach others demonstrates a sense of confidence in his own work.

What could be done better

  • He could go into a bit more detail when it comes to the work he produced, which tells the employer more about the artist.
  • The site doesn’t have a showreel demonstrating his work in greater detail

Overall, I think Chungkan’s site is simple but really well thought out.

Victor Hugo – Freelance Artist

http://vitorugo.com/

victor Hugo.jpg

Another artist’s site I thought was worth mention was Victor Hugo’s. His site is organised in a way that allows the user easy navigation through out.

When we first enter the site, the first thing we see is his showreel that clarifies his specific responsibilities in each project and a collection of work from multiple other projects ranging from advertising to comic book illustrations.

Good Points

  • Well organised and easy to navigate
  • Demonstrates his work and portfolio clearly
  • The ‘about me’ and ‘F.A.Q sections tell us more about the person behind the work which could be useful for an employer.
  • The ‘Get in touch’ section displays a variety of different contact options including links to his presences on social media site like facebook.

Victor hugo_contact.jpg

What could be done Better

  • I would really like to see some form of blog from the site that gives us a better understanding into how he works and gets the results he does.

Cant really fault Victor’s site, it seems to tick a lot of boxes for me and demonstrates a variety of really cool stuff.

 

Peter Zoppa – Character Artist

http://www.zopfx.com/wordpress/

peter

Peter Zoppi has gone for a slightly different approach when creating his online presence, where he’s merged his website and blog into the one area.

From the home page we are greeted with a small bio section off to the side of the site and a continuous flow of blog post detailing interests and recent projects.

The content is broken up into both professional and personal work, tutorials,photography, about me and contact information.

Good points

  • The website demonstrates a variety of high quality work, both personal and professional.
  • The fact that he creates content set out to teach others suggests he has confidence in his work.
  • The addition of a photography section gives us a better idea of how he perceives things such as composition and framing within a shot, etc.

What could be done Better

  • The site could be simplified as it’s currently very busy looking
  • The addition of more contact information would be great
  • A show reel or at least a gallery of work being present on the homepage would be useful.

CV Drafts

Below is the first draft of my CV, I wanted to follow along with the advice and feedback given in class, in which you would typically have your name and occupation at the top, followed by your bio and then experience as these pieces of information are what tell the employer most about yourself and whether or not you’d be a good fit for the company.

fist_cv

I started by breaking it down into into a basic format highlighting the main headings to go in each section.

layout_1

However looking at it and comparing it to others, I felt like it was quite boring. It has the information, but visually it doesn’t say or reflect a lot about myself and therefore not standing out which could cost me the position i’m applying for.

As a result I started looking at the other CV’s that were produced by the rest of the class. In particular Sorcha McGlinchey’s and Christan Johnston’s.

Sorcha’s CV

What I like about Sorcha’s CV is that her personality shines through it. You can really get a sense of what kind of individual she is, fun, creative and hard working, the visual elements also help tie it all together with the  little rendition of herself as her logo or brand symbol which adds a nice sense of character to it. An awesome CV Sorcha!

Christian’s CV

christ

One of the things I thought was great about Christan’s is the design. It’s very simple and layed out to ensure the information on the page is organised, clear and well formatted.

So as a result, I re-did my CV, taking influence from Sorcha’s and Christian’s.

I rearranged the layout, changed the colour scheme to make it more visibly interesting to look at and added a little character I made up in Maya to add a bit of personality to it.

 

CG_AC_CV_NEWEST

 

Careers Advise from Glenda Martin: Career Development Consultant

We had Gelnda Martin, Careers adviser for Ulster University   give us a talk on how to correctly prepare for our career development.

Key notes:

What will we get from Placement?

  • Earn yourself some cash
  • Stand out from the crowd
  • Put your academic knowledge into practice
  • Test your career options
  • Build your confidence working with others
  • Develops skills employers want
  • Training and Development

What do we want from a job?

  • Lots of responsibility
  • Finacial Security
  • International Experience
  • Company with good reputation / profile
  • Local / Home experience
  • Work with lots of people
  • Work independently
  • Good training opportunities

The value of placement

  • On average students completing a placement year achieve a higher degree classification compared with those who don’t take placement eg 2:1 compared  to 2:2
  • Placement students are more like to be employed six months after graduation and to have higher salaries than the average graduate

Why placements are important?

  • More than half of recruiters warn that graduates who have had no previous work experience at all, are unlikely to be successful during the selection process and have little or no chance of receiving a job offer for their organisations’ graduate programmes.

Employability

  • Employers want more than just a degree
  • It is your responsibility to manage your own career
  • Nothing is certain – Future of the labour market consistently changing

What employers are looking for

  • Employers expect to recruit people from university that have not only the relevant academic qualifications but also a wide range of skills and experiences

Desired Skillset

1.Commercial awareness (or business acumen)

2.Communication

3.Teamwork

4.Confidence

5.Problem solving

6.Accuracy & attention to detail

7.Organisation

8.Perseverance and motivation

9.Ability to work under pressure

10.Negotiation and persuasion

How do I find Relevant Work Experience?

  • Personal Contacts (family and friends)
  • Previous work experience contacts
  • Yell.com – map who is in your area
  • Professional Associations
  • Academic support
  • Career Development Centre
  • Internet Searches (jobsites)

 

How do I write a good Application?

  • The key to a good application is making sure your Skills, Abilities, Knowledge & Experience (SAKE) fit the job and/or person specification.
  • In these highly competitive times, you’re unlikely to get far if you can’t align your SAKE to all or most of the essential requirements.

Preparation is Key

  • Research the company –Its Development, Expansion,  Markets,  Products, Mission Statement,  Its Values,  Its Ethos /Culture.
  • Often the application form will test your knowledge of contemporary issues which face a particular organisation. This is to check that you have done your prep work.

 

Application Form Checklist

  • Follow instructions, for example about the use of block capitals, black ink, your own handwriting and word limits
  • Complete every section or insert NA (not applicable) if it doesn’t apply to you
  • Pay attention to your writing style. Use action verbs such as ‘organised’, ‘responsible’, ‘managed’, ‘lead’, ‘planned’ to create a dynamic, competent image
  • Check for mistakes in grammar, spelling and punctuation
  • Compare what you have written with the job description – is it concise, clearly illustrating why you are right for the job?
  • Re-read your draft answers to the questions while imagining you’re the employer. Do they impress you? Would you want to interview this applicant?
  • Keep a copy of the form so that you can read it before the interview

Identify three things about yourself that make you the best candidate for the job!

How do you write a CV?

  • Look at the job
  • What does it involve
  • What skills are needed
  • Think about your skills/qualities/abilities/experience
  • Match the two together – and provide evidence!

 

Design and Layout

Should be:

  • 2 sides of A4
  • Appropriate to role/job being applied for
  • Follow a logical sequence/order
  • Aim to be ordered and allocate space in relation to the importance of the information
  • Draw reader’s eye to important areas

Include:

  • Personal Details
  • Career Objective
  • Education
  • Work Experience / Employment History
  • Skills Profile
  • Achievements / Interests
  • Referees (Usually 2)

Tips:

1.Always tailor your C.V.

2.Sell your skills – always be positive

3.Use bullet points

4.Use positive, action verbs

  • Don’t use weak words such as “did” or “worked”; change them to “achieved” or “implemented”.
  • Include active verbs when describing your activities
  • e.g. achieved, arranged, contributed, established, implemented, initiated, negotiated, organised, increased.
  • Put the most powerful words at the left-hand side of the page – where the scanning eye travels first ie not “While I was at Brown and Co. I developed a new database system”, But: “Developed a new database system while at Brown and Co”.

5.Include covering letter

The interview process

  • Show enthusiasm
  • Smile
  • Be positive
  • Make it easy for the interviewer to obtain information
  • Even if it feels as if things are not going well don’t give up.

Answering Interview Questions

  • Identify the key skills being asked for
  • Reflect on your own experiences to find a suitable scenario which highlights these skills/competencies
  • Good approach – is to use STAR

Situation – describe the situation

Task – what did you do

Action – what steps did you take to complete the task

Result – what was the outcome

  • Try to draw on a range of experiences

On the Day

  • First impressions count
  • How you come across is as important as what you say

-7% words

-38% tone of voice

-55% body language

Questions to ask the interviewer

  • The Organisation

–What are the likely future developments?

  • The work and training

–What projects you would be involved in?

  • Colleagues

–Who would you be working with?

  • Prospects

–What career paths have other graduates taken in the organisation?

  • Timing

–How long will you have to wait before you hear from them