Professional Exp: Updated CV

Saturday, May 19th, 2012

Alexander Holland CV

Click to download.

Professional Exp: Presentation

Friday, May 18th, 2012

The Presentation below.

My professional experience was a big mixture of professional creative opportunities that I organised for myself so that I could utilise the experience to help me get a better understanding of what I is I would like to do once I have finished university. The experiences were all different in some way but all relevant to what I love about Media Production. I was very keen from the beginning of this module to do as much as I possibly could, and I think I did that to certain extent but even now I can see that I almost took on too much as I have been very busy for the last few months. Unlike a lot of my colleges none of my professional experience revolved around a placement in a large company, but rather freelance work – I know already that freelance is the way in which I want to get into the industry.

The first piece of experience was most definitely the biggest and most challenging for myself, half of my year and lectures had pulled together to make several short films in Iceland and I was the Director of one, Snowblind which was written by Clifton Stewart. Without out a doubt Iceland was an incredibly experience that I would do again tomorrow if someone asked me to, but it wasn’t easy. As we shot this film on a professional level, there were expectations of me far beyond any that I have had before and it was a big learning experience in many ways. In the early production process I took on the role of a producer, and spent many hours sat on a computer or on the phone,

liaising with contacts from all over the UK and Iceland sorting out the travel, equipment, accommodation, logistics – and I have to say I learnt a huge amount about the industry from this part alone. I came realise that I always have been told how intimidating and faceless the film industry can be, but with charming attitude and simply being polite I got a lot of favours and freebies and so had my faith restored a little bit. But what I certainly learnt is that in Pre production is not where I see myself.

When actually out in Iceland,this is when I was sin my element. It was incredibly travelling around the world, meeting new people and making films – this is what I wanted to do. As this was the first major film where I was working as a director a lot of it was trial and error. I found that Being director goes beyond the designated role, I became a leader – where people would look to me to be the strength and driving force of the production – and a as much as I enjoyed tackling the issues and helping others it wasn’t always a good thing. When on set we faced a lot of technical issues, lights generators and just general confusion, I found it hard to simply sit back and focus – As person If I can see something that needs to be done, I will just do it. But as the lectures kept reminding me, I am the director and I cant be dealing with small issues which others should be tending to. So after a chaotic first day shoot, I had learnt a lot. On the second day everything ran like clock work, I stepped back from everything and concentrated on my actors and nothing else – and if something wasn’t done I left it to my 1st AD and everything ran perfectly. I cant begin to express how much I learnt when shooting Snowblind – Not only technically or professionally but about myself. My directorial skills had become better than ever, and in a short time I devised my own way of directing actors and have used it ever since. What I feel improved most is my ability to work in a big team of people, how to address them, deal with issues and organise. I also made a lot of contacts, Edda, hulda & Jon our fixers who a huge contact database in Iceland. I had a meeting with Film commissioner Einar Tomasson in Iceland who I am now regularly emailing about the film as he wished to screen it in Iceland. Iceland has been one of the greatest experiences of my life, And I know that the lessons I learnt whilst there will stay with me for all of my professional career.

My next professional experience was that of an educational one. I was asked to participate it

in a competition where film makers and musicians would come together, and were given 2 weeks to make a music video. I was put into a group with Jak Uddin and Abdul Sahir, to of colleges of mine that I haven’t really worked with or know well, but never the less I was still excited. The artists we worked with was by the name of Keziah a soul singer from London. I learnt a lot about time management with this, as you can expect having only 2 weeks. And We tackled a lot of problems a long the way – including the weather. I found working with jak and abdul a breeze, as they both were passionate about what we were doing, and both had the knowledge and skills to get it done. We worked very well together as a team, Myself taking on a more directorial role while Jak and abdul worked as DOPs and Cinematography, but all in all the end result was very good and I am glad we worked together. I cant say that I enjoyed the shoot itself, as the arist was quite difficult to work with, but even from this I learnt a lot. I learnt that no matter how annoyed or frustrated you get with a person on set or the client – you simply have to keep your cool,If I were to get angry at the artist or offend someone and that is not professional at all. I also came to realise that I could see myself working on music videos in the future, as I enjoyed having the ability to let my creativity run wild.

My third bit of work was a short one, where I was asked to make a sports video for a Snowboarder who I had done some graphical work for in the past. And it was relatively easy, the reason for me doing this is it is an avenue of production I have considered going into, editing, 3d imaging & post production. It took about 3 days and the client was very happy for me to do what I liked with the video. I cant really reflect a lot about this work, as I was imply sat on my computer for several days but I can say this much – Although I enjoy editing and playing with footage its more of a hobby than a possibly future career. Sat in working on a computer all day just isnt where I Can see myself.

My final piece of experience was a dream that I have always wanted to start. I wanted to begin the process of setting up my production company, the reason for me not doing this sooner is that I didn’t really know how to actually being the process of starting a legitimate business. Thankfully I started via a charity that help young people start company, give them free office space and funding opportunities. This company was called the young lives charity. Id like to say that I had made a got everything sorted but the whole process has to take quite a long time, and I wont be in my office for some time yet. But I have taken something from the experience, I came to realise that not everything can be done right now and I need to work on my patience – Whether this comes with age I am not sure, but as a young film maker I like to act upon everything immediately, but I need to learn to slow down – the world moves at its own pace not mine.

Looking back several months its easy to forget how much I have come along as a filmmaker, its only when we step back and look at the bigger picture can we really see the change that’s happened. These professional experiences have been an incredible journey for me, taking me to Iceland and back, pushing me to my limits and dealing with things that several months ago I couldn’t have dealt with. I am not going to say it was this Unit that changed me – but rather myself. I have learnt a lot (almost to much to list) but the things I find most improved is my leader ship skills, my directorial skills but most importantly what it is I want to do with my life. Without a shadow of a doubt I am going to be a Film director, working with new people. In new places and seeing and creating incredible images for others to enjoy – I cant imagine doing anything else with me life.

Professional Exp: Diary day 18, 19, 20

Saturday, May 12th, 2012

My last professional experience, I decided from the offset that I wanted to start the process of setting up my own production company. To do this I researched into the many ways in which people have done so, and the majority of which started because of a fund or charity that helped the starting process. I started by getting in touch with a young entrepreneur from Birmingham called Jamie Dunn, he had been involved with funding quite a few youth projects around the Birmingham area. When I finally got in touch with Jamie it all sounded very promising until I hear the unfortunate news that because I was not based in Birmingham the fund did not apply to me.

Luckily I found this website which I stumbled upon.

The website was of a Chairty business fund set up in my actual local area, where local business had come together to help young entrepreneur and business men set up there own company. With it any person selected would be given there own office and space, support and different ways of funding. As soon as I saw this I got on the phone, and within minutes I was talking to one of the people running it, a lovely lady by the name of Alice. I described to her about what I wanted to do and how I could do it. She asked me to emails her my ideas and plans.

The very next day I emailed her my showreel which she seemed very impressed with and so sent me this email with all the services that would be available to me.

“In terms of information, this is what we offer to young people here;

Our aim is to support local businesses owned by 16-25 year olds, who we work with to provide,

*              Free office space / work space
*              Help with finding the right funding to grow their businesses
*              Business planning support, advice and guidance
*              Support from business mentors and weekly speakers in PR & marketing, finance, sales, branding, networking, business management and more
*              Access to meeting rooms, and networking events”

The even more exciting thing about it all is the fact that I would get my business’s name put up on the side of the building! SO i would have to start designing it as soon as possible.

The next day I received a phone call from Alice going over a few more details of what Is available. She had organised for myself to have a look around the office, on May 24th were I could start the paper work proceedings and meet some of the sponsors. As this seems to be getting more and more serious,I began working on ideas for names and logos – For a production company its image is very important and I wanted to look professional yet approachable as a company – The name I decided to use for now is Real Shift Media.

Professional exp: Diary day 16 & 17

Tuesday, May 8th, 2012

For the third part of my professional experience, Sam Peachman a professional snowboarder who I did some graphic design for got in contact with me to put together a video using the footage he took whilst skiing in Corchevel. The last work I did for him was a few years ago when I designed the Manchester Uni Skii trip poster.

He asked for me to produce a small clip so that he could see what I was capable of,  and then giving me 3 months to work on the footage. He sent me over 15 gigs worth of GROPRO footage, which wasn’t shot right either. He had set the camera up to shoot at 30 fps which is ok for generic shooting, but when shooting sports it should always shoot at the highest frame rate without jeopardising resolution – plus it looks a lot better when slowing it down.

It took me about two days to work on the very short clip,  the reason for this is i wanted to impress him with the visuals so i decided to use a piece of software which I wasnt overly familiar with. Twixtor which is a plugin for after effects allows the user to slow down footage by thousands of frames, As the footage wasn’t shot with the right frame rate it took a long time (hence the two days) to get it looking the way I wanted. I am quite pleased with the result, and Sam was as well so he confirmed that he would like me to make the video of Corchevel. Here is the end result.

Professional exp: Diary day 15

Friday, May 4th, 2012

So the video is finished! Jak finished the edit and we handed it in not a moment to soon! We spoke to the organisers of the competition and had a chat about how it all went.  I am pleased with some of the shots in the video, and glad we got it done in the small time scale that we had. In all honestly I am not completely pleased with the edit and some of the shots, but to be fair Jak the editor stayed up all night long editing because we had to shoot so late, and Im proud of what we accomplished as a team! But disaster. Hours after the hand in I received a phone from Jak about our difficult ‘artist’ she pulled the video out of the competition because she decided it wasn’t her style, it didn’t show the ‘soul’ vibe.

Unfortunately this is just the way of the world, I am more than confident that I performed professionally and delivered what I could in the time that I had. I think its important to note though that the artist was getting a free music video, which in fact cost myself alone £60 pound in expenses. This all a side I feel it was a BIG learning curve for myself, it was the first proper music video shoot that I (and i use this term lightly) directed. It was possibly the hardest piece of professional work I have ever had to do, not because of what i had to do, but the difficult artist, time restraint and no budget. When we handed in the video Richard Wood the organiser was kind enough to give me and the group this feedback;

“Good start and you did it all in the time frame. So well doneVery promising. I can see potential here for you all to grow and develop. Learning to work with different creative people is what is key to film makers. So good start and lessons learnt”

All together I wouldn’t say that I have learnt anything practical, but I have most definitely learnt a lot about how acting professionally leaves you in good stead what ever the outcome; stay calm, collected and carry on.

If you get a free lunch at a fancy restaurant & the waiter brings you the carrot soup instead of the onion – don’t through it back in his face. Smile and enjoy the soup you have, after all it was free

Professional Exp: Diary day 13 & 14

Tuesday, May 1st, 2012

“Day 2 shoot”

Well I would like to say that today started off better than the last shoot, but unfortunately It didn’t. The day started like the last wake early train and carrying a lot of equipment – thankfully we had Jordan an extra pair of hands (an actor in the video) but the address Keziah had given us took us 4 miles of walking in the wrong direction from 5 ways train station. We finally arrived at the location to find a not so welcoming vibe. The was drugs and alcohol being smoked, which was fine but not when Keziah who we needed to get started was involved and hadn’t even started getting ready. We finally got ready for 5.00pm which was very late and light had already started fading, I had to leave at 7.30 to be able to get back home.

We started shooting the shot above which only took a few takes and we began sailing through the shots. I feel that i have taken on the Director role within this production, it just comes naturally to me as I like to think I am a good leader and problem solver. It was made slightly difficult with Keziahs family drifting on and off set wanting to look at was going on – to which I finally had to ask them to leave if we had any hope of finishing the video. After 2 hours of battling with the bad lighting and sporadic rain fall I had to leave. I really didn’t want to as the video was far from finished and there was still 4 shots left. Jak and Abdul assured me they had it under control and would get it done. I wasn’t very pleased with the shots we had got today,  maybe it was because yesterdays shots were looking really good and the weather today just created a dull flat light which we couldn’t change very much – so that will need to be touched up in post. I am still very excited to see the end result .

Professional Exp: Diary day 12

Monday, April 30th, 2012

First Day Shoot.

The day started at 7.00am, I had to be at the equipment loan shop at 9.45 and on a train at 10.30 as there was a lot Jak & Abdul kindly came from Birmingham to help me carry it (only when we had it all did I realise how much there was). We made it on the 10.30 train to Birmingham and were going to Hampstead near where Jak lives – he had found the first location which was a country lane road. We finally arrived at 11.15 and were waiting on Keziah to show at 11.30, which she didn’t. It had been raining for 3 days straight and thankfully it was a beautiful sunny day so we had to get all the shots here before 6.00pm. Keziah didn’t arrive for another 2 and a half hours, we had been trying to reach her the entire time and had heard nothing. When she did arrive, in all honestly I was quite angry about how rude she was not to let us know, and not even to really apologise for how late she was – So I set up the equipment  to let off some steam as she arrived to avoid being unprofessional.

I explained to her that we only had 3 maybe 4 hours of good light left so everything had to be done quickly (I think she sensed my disappointment) and so did her best to be speedy. We finally got to shooting, and were using Jaks shot list which was very helpful but not too detailed. The first couple of shots we tried using the slide rail but didnt achieve the look I was thinking of. We then decided to just use the JIB as it was more versatile and offered a better look. We got through the majority of the shots very well, and as filmmakers we got into a sort of machine – I would describe what shot and how it should look and Jak and Abdul knew how to get it. At around 5.00pm we were loosing good light and clouds were approaching so we had to get the shots fast. The last shot was a good one as one of us would have to sit in the trunk of a car with the shoulder rig on while keziah followed on the bike- which looked fantastic.

Finally we had finished and for the few hours we had been filming I was very pleased with what we got. Keziah could see that we were not happy about her less than punctual arrival but hopefully it will be different for the final shoot. We definitely need to work on our communication between Keziah and us as it seems to be lacking despite modern day technology.

Professional Exp: Diary day 11

Monday, April 23rd, 2012

Today was quite an important one, over the night Abdul, Jak and myself had been brainstorming ideas for the music video – So today we met up with Kesiah and her close friend Jade who was to be her stylist for the video.  We went for a coffee sat down and spoke about all the ideas. I had been listening to the track over and over again trying to visualize the music. I came to understand that the track is very fluid, chilled and works on a simple 4:4 time scale, So the video had to fit the tempo and style of the music. We had come up with idea that for the majority of the visuals Keziah should be riding bike, the reason for this is its a great visual to cut to in between the narrative & the motion of the bike fits within the time and tempo. Thankfully Keziah loved the idea and agreed it worked, that said we then came up with the narrative. I drew up some mock sketches quickly and all agreed that this was the idea we wanted to go with.

I set tasks for everyone to go away and accomplish, mine was to research and find actors. We also decided that the shooting dates were going to be on 30th of April and 2nd of May – so it was not that far away!

Professional Exp: Diary day 10

Friday, April 20th, 2012

To broaden my professional experience I wanted to branch out and do something new, so got in contact with my lecturer about any opportunities he knew of. As luck would have it, early in the week a lady by the name of Olivia had contacted Ross about needing a last minute group of film-makers to run in a 2 week music video competition – down to a team dropping out. So I jumped at the opportunity, and was put in a team with 2 other lads from my course who I had not only never worked with but never really spoke to. We all met up, Abdul, Jak and myself on Friday 20th of April for the first ‘2week2makeit’ meeting were we were going to meet our artist that we were going to work with.

The names were drawn out of a bag, and we were put into a group with Keziah Johnson a soul singer based around Birmingham. We introduced ourselves and explained a bit about what we have done professionally. At first I could see she was slightly hesitant as we were the youngest film makers, but we assured her that we only made professional looking content and we wouldn’t disappoint her. Both Jak & Abdul had to leave early, so I stayed with Keziah going over ideas and what she had in mind with the tracks.  We listened to the three tracks she said we could use. In all honesty the first two I heard were not very good, simply because there was no real singing, and they sounded very unfinished. Thankfully the third track ‘I like you’ was some what better and a narrative could easily be applied visually to the music video. We worked on any ideas we had and I asked her to compile a list of any useful resources or people she knew of that we could use. After all we are only students and there is only so many resources we have, and within the small amount of time we have to make this video  we will need everything we can get.

The first day ended really well and I was very pleased with Keziah and was confident we were going to get it done!

Creative Activism – Analysing Kony *To be assessed.

Thursday, March 22nd, 2012

84 million views in 18 days.

In 18 days the stop Kony video made 84 million views & with it has caused a lot of controversy. Why? Lets take this video apart and see why and how it draws a viewer in. The videos content for now is not important but its delivery is. The video its self is well presented and edited in a way that would make any film maker jealous in some respects, the footage is of a very high standard and the edit and over dub is excellent. This is not what got its infamy though, this video is film making genius. To draw the audience in it makes the person watching feel apart of whats going on, almost responsible  in some ways. In the film the narrator and film maker as the viewer questions so it breaks the 4th wall barrier making you apart of whats going on. In trying to convince the audience of the message the film maker uses every trick in the book – hes uses hos own son in telling the audience who the bad guy is – in this it brings the aspect of child hood innocence which affects a lot of viewers. It also raises a hint of patronisation to the viewer in a between the lines message ‘If a child understands so should you’The music in inspirational and the visuals are a mixture of heart warming and enraging – this combined with film maker appealing to your sense of humanity creates a highly effective delivery of a message. I myself in watching this felt that I needed to get involved and its only when i stepped back and realised that it had convinced me with no actual sources I realized how clever the video was. Like so many others when i did a small amount of research on the topic I found it to be not as ‘straight forward’ as I thought.

This video utilizes so many different ways of drawing in an audience, but its main aim is attacking your sense of humanity – making a viewer feel responsible and vulnerable and is if the only way for this to stop is if YOU get involved. Looking at the responses across the web it is easy to see how it affects people and how people responded to it. The video gained its moment from Facebook, as one person posted ‘you should watch this’ maybe 20 people see and respond and so they tell others to watch it and so on and so forth. This is where the power lies in social media, instead simply telling someone a message, actually ask them to become part of the message. The other side to how people responded to this video is quite interesting, for example when i showed my house mate the video he instantly questioned its sources, information & legitimacy. He like so many others on the web are the reason that as of late the creator of this video has been detained for questioning on several matters from fraud and money issues to the actual idea that this video is in fact propaganda.

In short without repeating myself, this is a brilliantly made video that sends a powerful message – but with that you can expect a powerful response one that is pro your argument and one against.