Tuesday, October 30th, 2012|Advice
, Guest posts
by Sam Watson|
Today’s post is an interview with actress Teodora Cristea who is based in the Big Apple (New York). She writes about inspiration, experience and tips.
Born to parents who were revolutionaries in Bucharest, Romania during the time of the Iron Curtain; raised to be extra nice and say “Eh!” at the end of all my statements and questions in Toronto, Canada; at home, emancipated by choice from the life I used to know, in New York City learning and creating.
I’m a book, museum and history enthusiast; poet and traveler of sorts.
What inspired me to be an actor?
It wasn’t inspiration that brought me here, but more of something I discovered inside one random summer in New York while in an acting workshop. There was never a decision to move from home and pursue it, it pursued me. And I’ve been following this thing, this feeling that at first dragged me along this path, ever since. Now I shape, understand and control it. It is my calling and passion for the cinema.
How I got into it?
I didn’t. It got into me. (Editor: “I like this answer”)
Favorite movie and why…
A Beautiful Mind. I think Mr. Crowe did a spectacular job at becoming his version of John Nash. His character was complete. He had his own thoughts, physical qualities, speech and revelations of the soul that one can’t just play, but must become that person to experience. The story is beautiful, Jennifer Connelly is beautiful, and the cinematography is beautiful. Also, a slight bias for Mr. Crowe whom I think slightly resembles my father!
I was actually quite rattled when Mr. Crowe was not awarded the Academy Award for Best Actor for this performance – but that obviously had to do more with politics than with art, so we’ll leave it at that.
Best acting experiences…
The moment right after “Cut!” when I snap out of my character, the memory of those minutes just passed is a blur and though I can’t remember what specifically happened. I trust that in the very least that scene will be interesting, which I think is what every actor should aim for.
I’ll always remember my first time. It came at the end of two hopeless years at an acting school where I felt I was making zero progress at. Luckily for me, the director I was assigned for my final project was the incredible Marni Zelnik. She had a way of seducing the talent and performance out of me and though I was nervous at first, I reached a point where between her calls of “Action!” and “Cut!,” I fully gave myself to that performance. That’s what I always bring to set with me now because I know that anything less is not worth being here for.
Tips for newbies:
First of all, take the notion that you will get discovered out of your head before you even start acting. It makes lazy victims out of talented people.
Second, it’s called show business, not your business, treat it accordingly. Work hard, be professional, and always be early for everything. Though you may get lucky, you can’t count on it. It will take years of hard work, sweat, and tears, but when all is said and done, this high is like nothing else you will ever experience.
What I dream of, and the next five years:
Considering that until three years ago I didn’t even know this was what I was meant to do, the only thing I can hope for in the next five years is to find myself in a place I never expected to be. I want to grow professionally and artistically, but also learn more about myself and this universe that we’re all a part of; all the while contributing to inspiring and innovative cinema. On the more logistical side of things, I’m constantly writing and even planning the launch of my first production company, House of Dolls, with fellow Canadian superstar Kelsey Lynn Stokes.
I hope my work will outlive me and teach future generations to love the world around them. That’s the most important thing. I hope they’ll still have a world around them.
And by the next five years, Sam, I hope to send you a red carpet premiere invitation. So, fingers crossed. Just kidding. Luck is not part of this equation.
Who inspires me?
From the unknown, to me, to humans I catch glimpses of on 23rd St. when I wander around the city, to all things nature, I find inspiration in all living beings. Anything and anyone who triggers an emotion is inspiration.
Of course, I admire some of the great screen seductresses: Audrey and Katherine Hepburn, Elizabeth Taylor, Angelina… But I don’t strive to be like them, I strive to be myself and live my own legend.
My parents are also a significant source of inspiration. Their strength and the story of their lives, individually and as a couple, inspire the strength and will to fight in me. They’ve come a long way. I plan to take them even further.
Follow Teo on twitter at @teocristea
Thursday, October 25th, 2012|Elexu Team Posts|
by Sam Watson|
Art is one of the most subjective experiences of the creative side of life. While I have never been a massive art fan, I can appreciate the skill and beauty of some pieces of art, especially sculptures which I think takes a true artist to make something out of stone. However, there are some pieces of “art” that just confuse me and I wonder who considers that art? Here is a little list of some really weird art.
1) The Physical Impossibility of Death in the Mind of Someone Living : Damien Hirst
This is a notorious piece of art by the infamous Damein Hirst and its a 14-foot tiger shark immersed in formaldehyde in a vitrine. Its sale in 2004 made him the second most expensive artist in history. It’s just a dead shark right? I have read up on how the shark was created and it seemed that it took the skills of others to create this which to me means that is does not belong to Hirst, such as the guy who put in the structure to support the shark.
2) My Bed: Artist: Tracey Emin
I mean come on, it a dirty teenager’s bed and its considered art. Anyway Tracey Emin a member of the Young British Artists created My Bed for an installation in 1999 for the Turner Prize. It is basically her bed complete with used condom and blood stained underwear. Burn it…burn it with fire. What made it art was the fact she stayed in the bed for several days when she was in a suicidal depression. One woman actually tried to clean it up. Is this art?
3) Milk Vomit Art: Millie Brown
Artist Millie Brown starves herself for two days because if food is present, the piece of art will smell and she may have to pay license fees. She then drinks coloured milk…sticks her fingers down her throat…pukes on a canvas and then sells it for over $2500. Nice. I can appreciate that the art looks okay but it’s just the way is was created. Brown became so famous for this style of art she was invited to puke on lady gaga.
4) Mao Sugiyama… I just don’t know what to call it.
Mao Sugiyama is asexual and an artist. To show this he had his genitals removed and frozen for two weeks. He then proceeded to advertise a banquet which you could attend if you bought one of the expensive £160 tickets where he would cook his things and you would eat them. The tickets sold out and he served his meals with mushrooms and parsley. If this performance art then I want no part of it and I think £160 is not enough. I don’t have a picture.
IS THIS ART? TELL ME WHAT YOU THINK IN THE COMMENTS SECTION!
Tuesday, October 23rd, 2012|Guest posts
Elexu Intern, Elliot Moore, recently got the opportunity to interview William Berman. William is a Videographer based in Ascot, Berkshire. The conversation highlights his journey so far in the industry and offers a general insight into the job role.
Tell us a bit about yourself as a Videographer, what attracted you to the job role initially?
Well, I currently work for a production company based in Addlestone, Surrey and have been filming for around about nine years. I first started filming through an interest in skateboarding and just wanting to capture what my friends and me were doing and the places we were going. At the age of 13, just going down to the local skate park was its own little adventure in itself.
I think I started out by simply borrowing my parents’ Sony video camera to begin capturing footage. After about a year, I put together a 30 minute long skateboard film and made a second one shortly after. I guess it was after producing those two edits that I realised that I had a knack for it and wanted to make a career out of it.
What would you say is the most appealing thing about the process of capturing and editing?
That’s kind of a tough question haha. I just like being able to capture something and interpret it in your own way. Everyone in the industry has a different style and as a result. Videos rarely look the same. Within reason, you can be as creative as you want. There are no set rules that you have to follow which is pretty cool.
So what equipment are you currently using?
I’m not using that old Sony camera anymore, that’s for sure! Right now my set up includes a Canon 7D and a Panasonic HPX-171. I wont go into all the technical jargon, but they allow me to capture footage at really high resolutions & framerates as well as good sound quality, which is equally as important.
What about software? Do you have a set preference?
I have used a variety of video editors over the years and the higher end ones pretty much offer the same tools, but right now I like to use Final Cut and Adobe After Effects.
After effects is pretty much for animation. I’m not as experienced with this software, but I have been using it to animate text for videos and add subtle effects. It helps make your videos look more professional you know.
So what was the first proper filming project you were involved with?
It sounds crazy when I think about it but when I was 17, I worked for a snowboard magazine (Method) for 6 months, producing 10-minute video podcasts every week to be released on iTunes. Being someone who loves snowboarding, it was pretty surreal meeting so many professional riders. I learned from this experience how to film in a line on the board.
What would you say has been the most exciting filming project?
One of the best projects I have had is one I’m working on right now which is for a huge drum and bass DJ called Friction. I basically went to about 8 music festivals over the summer and filmed all of his sets, capturing and editing compilation videos to highlight the tours that he went on. I’m a massive fan when it comes to drum and bass and Friction is almost one of my idols. So that was pretty incredible.
All sounds very exciting. Taking everything into consideration, how challenging would you say it was to get started out in the industry?
Well sadly, like a lot of things these days. It’s about “who you know, not what you know” which is frustrating. Throughout the process, people knocked me back a bit, telling me I was wasting my time. Gradually I started to get more and more freelance work with various companies in and around London but was never consistent enough. I tried contacting local businesses too but often with no success. I think back then my age was also against me.
There was only a handful of people I knew who were around my age. Everyone else in the industry seems to be a lot older. Companies probably just assumed I didn’t have the technical skill when I was more than capable.
But anyway, somehow, out of perseverance and luck I guess, I managed to land some work with a few agencies who provided the regular work I needed. Since then, I’ve had loads of great projects and my show-reel (portfolio) has really grown. The people I work with now don’t judge me by my age, which is a refreshing change. I feel like, respected.
Based on the last question, what advice would you give to individuals interested in filming / video editing who are just starting out?
I would say the best thing to do is to just get out there and get some real practical experience. There is a lot of technical knowledge involved, but that is something that comes with time. Trying to learn it all through reading and research just isn’t going to help in the long run.
When it comes to the software, try not to get too freaked out. Again there are a lot of technical things to learn, but just by playing around with the various tools will help a lot. Just keep at it. There are plenty of online tutorials out there, which are also really handy.
Thursday, October 18th, 2012|About Elexu
, Elexu Team Posts
Today’s post is for the Elexu community and anyone that potentially wants to be an Elexu community member of which you are all welcome to be. We are launching the Elexu competition, “Secret London,” the brain child of Elexu Intern Hernan (or nicknamed Nano).
London is a place of hidden corners. Most people who live in London have secret places that they like to go to that tourists doesn’t know about. A great way of describing London was said by fellow Intern Omenya:
“London is great because you can have no destination and still end up somewhere fantastic and unique, is is a city unlike know other. From the eccentric clubs of Soho to the colour full stalls of Camden. I love meeting strangers and randomly having a chat. One of my secret spots is Northwick Park where I like to go for moments of clam thinking and reminiscing. It’s a green place in a busy city.”
Since I am sharing somebody else’s secret place, I thought I would share my own. Mine is the Hobgoblin, a rock bar in the middle of a place full of typical clubs that plays music that I don’t care for. It has band nights, a pool table, an imitate garden cut off from the street and really comfy couches to chill out on. A great place to chill out with friends. I really must trying going somewhere without a destination sounds like a idea.
So lets get to the competition. All you have to do is submit a picture of your secret London hideaway to our platform with a small paragraph (up to 100 words) explaining why it’s special to you and you will be in the running for the prize. To enter please join the Elexu platform at www.elexu.com/invite and use VIP code SCRTLDN1.
What do you get for telling the Elexu Community your secrets? The best submission will win two tickets to the acclaimed production of Loserville. Good Luck! If you have any questions please either write in the comments section or contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org .
Tuesday, October 16th, 2012|Advice
, Elexu Team Posts|
by Sam Watson|
Something terrible has happened this week to me. My laptop’s hard disk had an error and after a computer experts attempts at repair’ I was told like a person waiting to hear bad results from a doctor that it was beyond repair. The only way to get the data was £200 magnetic reading which I will have to save up for. However this got me thinking about a few issues about the way we live our lives, let the revelation being!!
Firstly’ back up your files because you always have that mentality that it will not happen to you’ but it does and you will cry. I recommend Dropbox which can save files online like Google drive. However’ I came to realise that three years of my life existed on the laptop which contained all the work I completed for my degree, etc. Modern humans can literally document our entire lives on a computer from work to pictures of what people have for dinner on Facebook. I do not know if this is sad or awesome. What do you think? Sometimes I think we should get away from technology because at the end of the day, you don’t want to say that I spent most of my time looking at a screen. When you don’t have to spend time on a computer, you then go and do some stuff away from a screen such as rock climbing, painting or anything you fancy having a go at.
This leads me to my next point which can be better explained by an experience had when the Olympic torch passed by Oxford Street and everyone had their phones out recording or taking pictures, including myself. As it went past I was looking at the torch through my camera and I realised that I should probably see this with my eye and not though a screen. Did anyone actually see the torch with their eyes? Or just through the visual screen of an electronic device.
Some things are just so much better to be in the moment with that memory watching with your eyes, because your eyes are so much more powerful than a camera and also the memory of the experience will be more powerful because it’s your own and you weren’t spending the time fumbling for a camera. Just enjoy the moment!!
Thursday, October 11th, 2012|Advice
, Elexu Team Posts
Today’s post comes from Intern Hernan who got the chance to interview lawyer/photographer Norma Davis who talks about her passion.
Norma Davis is a New Jersey based photographer and lawyer.
Tell us a bit about yourself as a photographer?
I´m based in New Jersey and have always loved to take pictures. When I went to high school I started to get a formal training, getting to know a bit more about photography. My first serious work about photography consisted in taking pictures for the high school newspaper which acted a gateway to the photography I conduct today.
My first equipment was a 35mm camera bought by my mother which allowed me to take black and white pictures and colour, experiment with them and start to know the possibilities that photography can bring to life.
What do you think about the transformation from film to digital?
At the beginning, what you could get out of the dark room wasn’t the same you could get out of the digital, but after all these technology advances in the past years, it´s fine, there is no a technology gap anymore. Now whatever you can get from film you can get it from digital and if not with different programmes you can enhance photos to different levels of creativity, so that´s why I was looking forward to it, because at the beginning photography was more difficult but now everyone can do it. I hated the dark room but now the technology has caught up with the quality I have gone completely digital.
As a result, did it impact your images or post production? What do you spend most of your time in taking photos?
I take a lot more pictures now cause with film was expensive, but nowadays it´s easier. I spend a lot of time editing images, that´s the biggest difference, now I take much more pictures than before.
What type of photo or style best describes your interests?
Probably people. I did some landscapes but my images are mostly people in an informal manner. I take lots of pictures in a documentary way, trying to reflect how people´s personality changes or how do they age. Whatever happens in a moment I try to capture it, whatever it is.
Colour or black and white?
Black and white, for sure.
Why such a strong preference?
Because it´s much more beautiful than colour, you really focus on the picture, there is no distraction. I like colour but even with lots of my colour pictures I turn them into black and white. It´s long process to convert them though, so I prefer to shoot them in BW. I shoot colour because a lot of people prefer colour images.
How do you class yourself as a photographer? Professional, commercial, enthusiast, amateur…?
Professional enthusiast, I do work professionally about the skills, but I don’t want the work to ruin the love I’ve got for photography.
Are there any words of wisdom about the business of photo, since Elexu focuses on help youngsters in focusing on their goals and careers, what can you offer them about this business apart from the passion?
If you can take a business course because photography can become a business. It´s not just taking pictures: you have to have a client agenda, launch a website and be able to have jobs coming in. In order for the people to hire you they have to know about you and see your port-folio, how do you work, what market are you in… if you want to do commercial photography you want to set up a studio, or do portraits, you have to educate yourself about the business.
Sometimes you just take a picture and it looks great, but that´s not the norm, the norm is that you have to know the camera. You have to know how it works, what lighting it captures… it’s like an eye but the eye is a million times better so you have to practise to become proficient.
Tell us about your inspirations?
Ansel Adams. I saw him for the first time in the library when I was young, and I was just amazed about what he did. And he printed all his pictures, and that´s an important fact, because in photography you have to be a good photographer but also a good printer, he was both, now it´s much easier, but in that time, you really have to admire it.
Steve McUrry, if someone said my work is like his that would be a compliment for me.
What would you say for encouraging a young photographer wanting to pursuit his dreams, what would you say?
Go to school. Learn as much as you can and once you are out try to make the best of it. It´s a hard work but if it´s what you love you can do it. Take lots of pictures, take pictures of what you love not things that you think someone else would like, If you take pictures of what you love it will show up in your photography, photo’s reflect personality.
Tuesday, October 9th, 2012|About Elexu
, Elexu Live Events
, Elexu Team Posts
Today’s post is going to be a bit different from the normal rants and ravings of the elexu community/staff, but rather it is going to be about what is happening in the next few months with Elexu. We have a few new events and competitions will be important to you. This blog post will be constantly updating with new information about the lists events so keep checking back.
Style it Soho (Available to enter now) - The first phase of Style it Soho was a huge success bringing together budding models, stylists and photographers to set up photo shoots around Soho to compete for a fashion swag bag. Here is the official description of the competition:
“Style It Soho is a fashion competition aimed at giving creatives in the fashion field the opportunity to interpret the visuals of a number of stores in the Soho area as well as the outdoors of the Soho environment through a single photograph.”
We are entering phase two which you can be a part of. We want to have another shoot day, so get involved if you want to be in front or behind the camera and show off your talent. Not only could you win a prize, but you will also meet new contacts which is fantastic because in this business it is about who you know. Further, this will be great to add to your portfolio. Read more »
Thursday, October 4th, 2012|Advice
, Elexu Team Posts
, Guest posts|
Today’s post is inspired by a number of people who had conversations with on the way home about current music. I put the conversations we had into a post. So it’s “written” by a number of people, but edited by Intern Sam.
Music is a subjective topic. Everything is an opinion and most likely should be in that “don’t talk about religion or politics with friends” category because I have seen arguments and tears over music. However, my friends and I were driving home one night and did not adhere to my previous wisdom and starting talking music. The fear…
Luckily these friends are mostly all in the same genre boast as me. Therefore no comments were made or judging occurred, unlike when fellow intern Claudia started playing “Call Me Maybe” in the office. That song is as catchy as a cold and you will be singing it all day, regardless of musical taste. Anyway, back to point of the post. My friends and I had agreed that we hadn’t got into any new music lately and were just listening to what we liked two years ago. We had all lost faith in commercial music at the moment and didn’t even bother keeping up to date with new music.
I mean look at some of the top 100 today. Some music is more about gimmick than music. Ex: “PSY Gangnam Style” (maybe it makes more sense in Korean). I decided to come up with a system to get myself out of this musical rut. I wrote down genres of music and put them all into a bowl. Once a week I pull a genre out of the music bowl, find a video on YouTube that represents the genre and listen. After, I then I click on a few related videos to expand what I listened to (rule of on thumb click on videos that don’t represent well known artists) so at least I have the possibility of finding some new music I like. So far, I am really liking some Biggie Smalls, Foster the People, Alexisonfire, Colourshop and a amateur artist who does really good covers of songs. I recommend everyone tries something like this because you don’t know what exists until you have heard it. Kind of like that whole, “if a tree falls in a forest it doesn’t make a sound” saying.
Music can have a much more profound effect when heard live because not only do you get the music, but also the personality of the artist. Mixed with the crowd, it makes a unique experience incomparable to your headphones. So go check out some open mic nights and gigs. Maybe amateur music put up for the world to see in sites like YouTube is truly the way forward in music. These artists have no other influences except themselves (no managers, no marketing team or controlling label). I truly believe that some artists are only as good as thier marketing team and I know that some amateur artists become commercial artists. This may explain why some musicians first album that made them famous is their best (Metallica). Amateur artists are truly free to perform what they want. THAT IS WHAT MUSIC IS ABOUT, not about whether or not I will call you.
Everyone is entitled to their own opinion, but some people have the a wrong opinion. If you would like to share your opinion on something and write a blog post for this page then contact Sam at email@example.com.
Tuesday, October 2nd, 2012|Advice
, Elexu Team Posts
, Guest posts|
Today’s post comes from all around the Elexu office. Each member gave one tip for being an Intern. Some tips are what you would expect to hear, but are always important to reiterate and some are personal suggestions based on experience.
1) What am I getting into.
Whenever you volunteer to be an unpaid intern there is always a risk of joining a company that simply treats you as unpaid labour. Therefore it’s a good idea that when you see an advertisement for an internship you should research the company, the person (if a name is given) on LinkedIn and most importantly throughout the interview process you should gather this list of info: expenses, potential for a full time position, main responsibilities and ask them what you get out of it. Also ,some internship’s are in foreign countries so it’s best to know that you will be spending the next six months in China.
2) Networking and attitude.
Networking isn’t just a fancy word for meeting people in the white collar world. It’s building a list of useful contacts for the future. So meet and build up as many relationships as you can. You never know who you may need to contact for a favour in the future.
Also, treat the internship like a job because most internships are summer long interviews. Even if they don’t tell you, they are definitely looking at what you can do. Everything you do can affect your opportunities and references you get out of the experience.
3) LONDON is the place to be
Supposedly around 61% of UK Internships are located in London. This is a great opportunity to go to some events in London after work, just because you end at 5 o’clock doesn’t mean you have to head home. Once a week, look to go out in London, maybe with the other interns. You can find a number of free events listed at Timeout. For example: this month I am going to a liquid spray art battle (yes they exsist). There are also museums that do late nights, karaoke bars, alternative bars and small unique events such as Soho secrets; London is an oyster, you just have to open it.
4) Free Stuff!
Let me just say: DON’T STEAL. What I mean, is that if you helped work on a company magazine, poster, newsletter or anything you put effort into then try to get a free copy of it. This is evidence of your work, value to the company and can be a great thing to show off to potential employers in the future. Make sure that you name is represented or else no one will no you exist. Also, consider anything the comapny gives away for free, such as buissness cards to computer programs.
4) They need you (You can tell this one is from an executive).
Find a way to make yourself invaluable to the company, make the company or organisation feel like without you they will wither and die. This also puts you in a position of power to get what you want but don’t push it.
This is an Elexu Community post. If you would like to write a Blog post that you think the Elexu Community would be interested in then please contact Sam at firstname.lastname@example.org.