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 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 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, August 21st, 2012|Interviews|
Self taught and frequently published, Tony Chambers’ photography shows us powerful details of the city but also the quiet peace of the rural landscape. We decided to ask him a few questions about himself.
Ladies and gentlemen, enjoy.
When did you first start taking pictures and why?
When I was growing up, my dad always took the family photos…and they were great. Except none of the people had heads! So when I got older, I seemed to get handed the camera more and more. And from then, well, I just went on.
What’s your background as a photographer?
Although I’m not professional, I am a published photographer. My images have been used in local newspapers and magazines. As far as training, I’ve not taken any courses – everything I’ve learned has come from lots of reading, experimentation and practice. There are really good magazines available for photographers these days, such as Digital Photo, where you can learn about taking good pictures, buying quality equipment and such.
What camera kit do you use?
Body: Sony A65; Lens: Sigma 18-200mm f/3.5-6.3 DC Sony-alpha
What’s the best advice you’ve received that’s made a difference to your work?
Always have a camera with you. You can’t take decent pictures if you don’t have a camera with you. You don’t know when an opportunity will come along, so you have to be prepared.
What makes for a good photo?
It’s what you see the picture being, not necessarily what it is. It’s what you bring to the forefront, what you choose to highlight, which point of view you take. Up to 70% of the success of an image lies in the editing process. And that’s not just the technical editing process, e.g., using software, it’s also your vision for what you want to show, what you want the image to be.
What advice would you give to a young aspiring photographer?
Take as many photographs as you can. With digital photography now, there’s no limit to how many shots you can take. So keep shooting, even when you think you’ve made the shot you want. It’s a bit of a numbers game. If 1 in 20 pictures are great, then better to have 200 to choose from, right?
I started shooting when photography relied on film so it was expensive passion to pursue. Now that’s not the case. So take advantage of the new technology.
What would you like to learn from an aspiring photographer?
I think up and coming photographers have a real enthusiasm and can be more experimental than older photographers. I would learn from their example.
Tuesday, August 14th, 2012|Interviews|
by Crystal Yang|
Today we are taking a look at the life of Marcy Johnson. Marcy started her career in acting, but has found another outlet for her creativity in teaching Yoga. She is happier now she is financially stable, but she also explores how things could have been different if the right opportunities were presented to her.
Crystal: When you were still acting, what were the main struggles you faced?
Marcy: It’s a tough career. I moved straight to Los Angeles and didn’t have any networks or representation (a manager or an agent). This meant I had to find auditions myself and trying to get your foot in the door without the right network of people can be almost impossible unless your lucky.
Crystal: Do you feel fulfilled by teaching yoga now?
Marcy: Yes, there is a sense of balance and creativity in my life now…plus now I’m getting paid on a regular basis to do something else I love (that’s a real bonus!).
Crystal: Do you think a site like Elexu could have helped you?
Marcy: Well I think so… if there was the possibility to be seen by a manager or an agent who might have signed me that would have been a game changer. I guess that would happen if I entered a competition and I put up my reel (a one to two minute clip of an actor’s film work) and got some attention through that. Even if I didn’t win I might still get noticed. Though hopefully I would win because let’s face it, unless you make it big, actors don’t make much money.
Crystal: What’s your favourite word and why?
Marcy: Dork. It’s always been fitting and I think it’s fun to say.
Thursday, August 9th, 2012|Interviews|
by David Young|
Elexu blog is a lot about sharing insights and advice. The most relevant insights often don’t come from seasoned veterans but instead from someone who is very much like us, someone we can easily relate to. That’s why we love interviewing emerging artists, young entrepreneurs or like today recent graduate – please meet Kathryn.
David: Tell me a bit about yourself.
Kathryn: I’m a recent SHSU graduate. I currently work at YMCA in Houston. I spend most of my free time at home playing with my 3 dogs.
David: What are you aspiring to do now that you have graduated?
Kathryn: Now that I have finished college I have lots that I want to do, and it’s hard to find a good place to start. I hope to eventually become a physical trainer and rehabilitation professional for people who have gone through extreme situations. I hope to learn lots while I am here with the YMCA that may help me in the future
David: What was it that made you decide you wanted to do Physical Training?
Kathryn: I have tried lots of different things, and never really found that I enjoyed anything as much as I did going to the gym with my friends. So I thought, “what if I could do this for a living?” Wouldn’t that be awesome?” So I decided to give it a shot and I have been loving it. I have never regretted choosing this yet.
David: What has been your biggest challenge and how did you overcome it?
Kathryn: My biggest challenge was finding what I wanted to do. I have had difficulty in the past with all my friends seeming like they had some exact plan and I was lost. The key is to find something you love, and learn how people need this. If you love doing something, you’ll do a better job at it, and work will come naturally to you.
David: Elexu’s three pillars are content, capital, and connections. How do you think these things could help you?
Kathryn: I believe that connections are the most important thing for anyone who is looking to expand their career. In any sort of work, there will always be a need for help from others. Connections will make this much easier, and I believe people genuinely want to help others, they just don’t know who to help. A company like Elexu could really help people like me meet the connections that could help me.
Tuesday, July 24th, 2012|About Elexu
by Fiona Smout|
Today, Katherine Dawn Perry is a full-time office worker and the proprietor of Kit’s Baking Boutique, an online company selling delicious sweet treats made to order. Tomorrow, she sees herself pursuing this passion as a full-time career, perhaps even with the hopes of one day owning her very own boutique! In this Elexu interview, Katherine talks about how she made her dream a reality, and inspires others to have the confidence to do the same.
Tell us a bit about when you first realised you wanted to start up your own baking business. How easy was it to make this a reality?
I’ve always wanted a career where I could use my creative talents. I started off making greetings cards and cute crochet toys that I successfully sold at school fetes and on websites such as Etsy, Coriandr and Folksy. Then I had a breakthrough! In December 2011 I baked my first batch of cookies for my husband and family, and they loved them! This encouragement fuelled my passion for baking and after a few months I was making Macaroons, Whoopie Pies and Cakepops… I was officially hooked and I knew this was something that could turn in to a successful venture. My business is still in its infancy, but I believe that with the support of my family and friends, by this time next year it will have grown; it is my hope that the business will become my full-time career.
Read more »
Thursday, July 5th, 2012|Interviews|
by Amy Bloom|
Musician Nick Klar couldn’t believe his luck when he was asked to join Gringo Star for their summer tour. Here he describes his experiences.
We’re halfway through the Gringo Star UK/EU tour, which has taken us around all of the UK, to some pretty diverse venues and some equally diverse but hugely appreciative audiences. Living on the road you start to fully understand the real meaning of ‘roughing it’, but more often than not there’s a floor or sofa to stay on. Which is just as well; at a truck stop on the A1 in Yorkshire that we had chosen as our place of rest, we were rudely awoken by 4 or 5 police officers checking to see if we were diesel thieves. Luckily we weren’t. The next night we were permitted to sleep in a swanky hotel lobby after the bar shut and we were too drunk to go anywhere else. Unfortunately the morning staff weren’t so accommodating and kindly asked us to leave the hotel and go out into the cold, wet street at 5am.
I came to join the band after their long-time drummer, guitarist, pianist and songwriter Pete DeLorenzo decided to put relentless and extensive touring behind him, leaving the band a few months before the tour started. They contacted me in March to see what I was up to and when they found out I was free they asked if I could drum on their tour, an offer which I could hardly turn down. We had limited time to practice but it didn’t take us long to get the set primed and ready to blow minds.
We’re just about to play our last UK show in Brixton before we set off for our first European show in Dresden tomorrow only to return to Camden on Saturday via Berlin and Paris, after which we go straight back to play Hamburg and several Italian dates with Black Lips, this time accompanied by Max Lewis on the merch stand. If this first stint is anything to go by, the second half of the tour is shaping up to be a belter…
I suppose the hardest things you face when you are trying to become a full-time musician are gigs where you play to literally nobody. It always happens and can be pretty depressing but you can actually have a lot of fun if you think of it as a practice. My advise to people just starting out in bands is to play as many shows as you can, you’ll always get at least a few great ones and the people at those shows will be more inclined to come and see you again. Also practice, because if you are not very good people won’t want to see you again.
How to make it:
Personally I prefer a more grass roots approach to finding new music and getting people interested in my own music, whether it’s hearing about a band from a friend or seeing a support act you’ve never heard of that you then start listening to. There’s also something very gratifying about people approaching you after a show and praising your performance and maybe buying your music there and then.
Like – because it applies to everything!
Tuesday, July 3rd, 2012|Elexu Team Posts
by Martin Zeman|
This week Elexu is supporting another group, All Out, with a similar mission to ours…to empower people! All Out is an organization whose aim is to form a world where everybody is accepted and can live freely. A platform dedicated to fighting for equal rights; for Gay, Lesbian, Bi, Transgender and straight individuals. Trying to make the world a better place each day through campaigns to inform and engage the public’s attention.
William one of Elexu’s newest team members, shares his experience with the organisation.
What made you become a member of All Out?
All Out really grabbed my attention when I came upon a story that was about a potential ban on “gay propaganda” in St. Petersburg. Having lived in Dubai where being gay is actually illegal I was flabbergasted to hear that a country was moving backwards in terms of human rights and equality rather than forward. All Out was protesting the decision by posting videos and getting people to sign petitions, and I thought “why not? If I could make a difference just by being aware, spreading awareness, and signing petitions, I should.”
Do you feel like you are part of a community?
Having grown up all over the world I really do feel like a global citizen so feeling like a part of a local community is difficult sometimes. However after finding All Out I was able to mix my global lifestyle with becoming a part of different communities around the world.
How can others get involved in All Out?
Very very easily! Go to the website (www.allout.org) and check out the different stories they are currently following/supporting/protesting against. If anything it’s a great way to become aware and help without having to go and march down the high-street (you can do that too though!).
Do you have any advice for somebody trying to hide their sexual Orientation?
I believe everyone should be comfortable with themselves/their sexuality before coming out. Find someone that you trust and know will support you no matter what and then work towards becoming comfortable enough to tell them. In this case you’re allowed to be selfish because you should never hide who you are and keep yourself from being happy.
And finally, what is your favourite word and why?
“Cracker” because it seems to mean different things but all fun! And my English friends call me a cracker, not sure why but I like it!