Thursday, December 6th, 2012|Advice
, Elexu Team Posts|
Today’s post is written by Elexu intern Ashley who is from California. She writes about studying abroad and why she wanted to do it.
I was eleven years old when I first knew that I wanted to study abroad. My older sister was spending a semester in Madrid and my family visited her during that time. At that moment I realized what it meant to feel comfortable in another country and I saw my American sister acting and showing us around Spain like a local. Fast-forward nine years and here I am sitting in London, spending my own semester abroad. I have been given this amazing opportunity to live, study, and work in the most diverse and amazing city.
With all of Europe right across the channel, I have been able to travel to Croatia, Sweden, Denmark and Scotland. In the same distance I would normally travel from San Francisco to San Diego I can now get from London to Zurich. I truly believe that every student if given the opportunity should spend a semester abroad. It has helped make me more independent and I have more confidence in my capabilities. Also you Europeans don’t know the meaning of a long drive, you think two hours is long.
Only about 1% of undergraduate students in the United States study abroad. Not surprisingly, The United Kingdom remains the most popular destination, with a total of 32,683 American students. The choice was obvious for me, foreign language is not my strongest subject, and the London program my university offered included the chance to have an international internship. For students who hope to gain the most career impact from study abroad, you should choose an internship as part of the curriculum. This experience has reshaped the way I think about my future jobs and career path.
Living in London has opened my eyes to a whole new view of the world that we live in. The daily actions and interactions with people from other cultures has been the best part of the last four months.
Going back to the United States will be a bigger culture shock than when I arrived. I really hope that more American students will take advantage of studying internationally. It is so easy to get lost in the large bubble of the United States and I hope that after this experience I will go back changed and enlightened.
Tuesday, December 4th, 2012|About Elexu
by Sam Watson|
Before I started my internship at elexu I had never written a blog post and never thought of doing one because who would read it? However, after a couple of weeks I found myself in charge of the company blog and was introduced into the new world of blogging.
Here are some tips that I have learn’t while blogging and I think I should share:
1) Blogging isn’t just about having people read your words. To be honest, if one person reads your blog and someone takes something from it, then that’s enough for me. Writing blogs is about exploring your own opinions, formulating your own arguments, polishing up your writing skills (always important) and of course running something in the online world is always good to have on the CV. Also write how you talk, the way you talk is unique to your self and it comes across this way in the blog which brings more uniqueness to your blog… see where I am going with this. So write for yourself and not for other people, blogs are meant to be you.
2) Guest blogging every now and then is something to consider. Lets be honest unless you are famous or have a legion of online stalkers then not many people want to read daily updates about your life. So reach out to other bloggers and people who have interesting articles to share and post them on your blog. This way you network, get some diversity to your blog and if you pair up with another blogger you can guest post for them and reach their audience. Win win situation.
3) Study other blogs and look to see what makes them successful so you can steal what they do, adjust it to yourself and then BHAM your blog just some more readers. Also look at how the big blogs on the net are really well formatted, a nice looking blog is much more inviting. Nice pictures, easy to read text and good colour combinations are key to a successful blog.
There are some many guides to writing a good blogs and there are many more tips but these are three that I think are important. So good luck and good blogging!
If you would like to write a guest blog post for the elexu blog then we would like to here from you. We are looking for a huge variety of articles from business art, music, sports, technology, top 5 lists to crazy rants about vegetables. If you would like to find out more about guest posting then please email Sam at firstname.lastname@example.org to discuss articles, word limits etc.
Thursday, November 29th, 2012|Advice
, Elexu Team Posts|
Today’s post comes from Intern Emily who writes about social media addiction.
Hello fellow internet citizen. Do you have a Facebook account? Twitter? Pinterest? Tumblr? Soundcloud? Linkedin Account? Youtube account? Do you own one of these accounts? A few? Or all.
I doubt the majority of readers will say that they have none of the above; Generation Y, you must have at least one! Especially in this day and age where exchanging Facebook profiles is as common, if not more common, as exchanging phone numbers between friends. Social media usage is so ordinary now that there is even a psychological diagnosis affiliated with it: “Internet Addiction Disorder” which is readily accepted in China, Taiwan and South Korea, and next year, this disorder will be listed in the fifth edition of the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual for Mental Disorders (DSM-V), aka the American “bible of psychology”.
But are you addicted? Apparently the symptoms include: preoccupation with the internet/internet gaming, withdrawal symptoms when internet is unavailable and loss of other interests. It has been noted that when we receive a notification from our social media profiles, we get a hit of dopamine, which is a chemical in our brain that affects our behavior, sleep, cognition and, more importantly, our mood. With each hit of dopamine, it recharges our addictive compulsion. Thus, technically speaking, it is scientifically possible to be addicted to the Internet.
With this in mind when I evaluate myself, I’m not addicted… am I? When I disappeared to Asia in the summer, I didn’t always have the Internet and I don’t feel like I had withdrawal symptoms, but when I managed to access free Wifi I was ridiculously happy with the fact that I can see what my friends have been doing back home.
I mean, when I don’t have Internet access at home, I complain… that’s not necessarily a symptom right? Its not like I come out in rashes or anything. But when it comes down to it, I probably do spend a LOT of time on social media websites. Especially when I was at university, and when I’m on the train, and when I’m waiting for a friend and before I go to bed and…. Hm.
But can you blame me though? A lot of the time I’m facing a screen. When I want a quick break from a task at hand, I’ll take a cheeky moment to check my Twitter and maybe I do get a little excited when I see someone has tweeted me back, but is addicted a good word to describe me?
The thing with social media now is that is connects people in different ways: socially, professionally, nondescriptly, purposefully etc.… It’s true social media can be a time-wasting activity, but working at Elexu has made me realise that if you do spend a lot of time on social media, you might as well do it with a purpose. At least when you use Elexu, there is a purpose of attempting to become one step closer to your aspiration. Whereas Tumblr is just… looking at what you and other people COULD aspire to… and loads of cats. Social media can be a good addiction if you use it in the right way.
Wednesday, November 14th, 2012|Advice
by Sam Watson|
Today’s post is an interview with Lawrence an aspiring Architect conducted by Elexu Intern Elliot Moore. They talk industry, inspiration and tips.
Questions 1: Tell us a bit about yourself, what made you decide to pursue the area of Architecture?
Well, I’m Lawrence. I’m 22 and have recently graduated from Bournemouth University. For me, drawing has always been a great passion. For as long as I can remember I’ve always enjoyed drawing anything and everything that comes into my imagination.
When thinking about a career path I felt I could apply this interest with drawing to architecture. Funnily enough I wasn’t 100% sure that I wanted be an actual architect, but the more and more I studied it I began to fall in love with it.
I learned fairly early on that it’s a subject that encompasses a wide variety of creative areas such as illustration, art, sculpture, typography graphic design etc. All these things really appeal to me. But more importantly, I realised how significant it is. Through good architecture you can essentially improve the way people live their lives, so from a social level it’s quite interesting.
Questions 2: Are their any artists in particular that you admire? And what is it about their work that you like?
There is no set artist in particular but generally speaking, I like Brutalism as a form of architecture which was inspired by Le Corbusier. I’ll try not to get too technical here but it is basically a style that shares similarities with modernism but embraces the use of raw materials.
A lot of people see Brutalism as overbearing and oppressive with quite a negative reputation. For example, they’d see the buildings as just dirty concrete towers. But I totally disagree.
When you see ancient stone buildings like temples etc., they look really old and worn, but they still retain this really amazing aesthetic to them. A really powerful image. The weathering makes it seem like an ancient relic from another era of time, almost a monument to humanity. Now that is pretty cool if you ask me.
Questions 3: What exciting projects have you had the opportunity to work on?
Although I haven’t had the opportunity to work on a strictly architectural project as of yet, I have been lucky enough to work as an assistant in the art department at Shepperton Studios. This was working on the new Fast and Furious film, which is coming out in 2013. Here, they basically take the script and produce the required visual elements for the film. This can be anything from open worlds, to environments, to buildings etc.
Although this job was not specifically architectural, it definitely put what I’d learned at university into practice and was an experience I really enjoyed.
Question 4: As you ultimately want to move into the field of Architecture. What do you have to do to get into that industry? Is it difficult?
Well the title of Architect is actually protected by Law. I mean, you cant have someone designing buildings who aren’t qualified enough They could produce a construction that is unsafe, potentially endangering lives. Because of this, there is a pretty strict system in place that you have to follow:
- Firstly, a BA in Architecture for three years
- Followed by a “Part 1” work placement (6-months or more)
- Then a Masters degree in Architecture
- Followed by a “Part 2’ work placement (1 year)
- Then lastly, a series of final examinations (including a case study, written exam, oral exam and CV evaluation)
…Then you’re an Architect. So in answer to your question, yes its quite difficult haha.
Question 5: What advice would you give to individuals interested in getting into the world or Architecture?
Well, as you can tell from my last answer, the subject is notoriously hard. Very work intensive, so you have to be passionate about it. I guess it always helps to think about what particular styles interest you the most, and then go research it on a personal level. Also, if there’s a famous building you like, get up and go and see it. Seeing it on paper is one thing but it’s the human experience, which is what architects also think about. Think about how you feel when you first see it and first walk inside. It can be quite inspiring.
Thanks for your time Lawrence. Good luck with your future work
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
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.
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.
Thursday, September 27th, 2012|About Elexu
, Elexu Team Posts|
by Sam Watson|
Today’s post comes from James, an Elexu intern who’s last day was this week. He writes about his experience with Elexu and what he might do next. Good luck James!
I have just completed an internship at Elexu and it has been a blast… that’s right working for pretty much nothing has been a blast. I finished university with an ambition to embark on career in public relations. As with higher level positions today you need some experience, but you can’t get a job to gain experience. I know it’s a vicious circle. I applied and Elexu decided to offer me an internship that would not just be experience to put on the CV, but they vowed to also help me develop my skills further They made it clear to me that when looking for an intern they look at personality, thinking process and potential which is similar to how Google recruits. Grades are just a doorway.
Elexu is an emerging organisation, therefore unlike other internships, this one did not require me get anybody coffee. Instead I had my own responsibilities, tasks, independence. I also really noticed that the work I put in changed the organisation’s progress. Everything I did had an impact. I heard that if I was in an already well established company, it would take a lot longer to get to this level and have less of an impact. At Elexu, I didn’t feel like an intern. I had little restraint, got support on my ideas and could be creative in a cooperate workplace. Plus, the staff and other interns really made this experience the best it could possibly be.
What’s next? I could try to purse my career in public relations in a period of high youth unemployment or go back to working a retail job which would provide money but it would feel like I was taking a step back. Here is a interesting option 3.
Teach English as a Foreign Language.
I just started a TEFL course; it has taught me that I don’t know English as well as I thought I did. Did you know there are around 20 tenses in the English language? They help you get to a teacher level of English and how to handle a class of eager learners of all different levels. Doing this course gives me the opportunity to see some of the world and learn about different cultures. Not only can I teach them, but they can teach me their language which would give a CV an edge in the future along with the internship. Some options include South Korea, Brazil and Japan.
If you would like to know more about this check out the TEFL Academy website http://www.theteflacademy.co.uk.
Good luck new Elexu interns.