Home Ladders Ladders || The Final Farewell Pt. 2

Ladders || The Final Farewell Pt. 2

Enterprise Support

It’s time to shine a light on the very special Enterprise Support sessions ran by mentor, Lee Casey. Students from all three creative disciplines joined together for four weeks of exploration into building their own business and from what we’ve seen, the room has been filled with very creative and talented individuals with great ideas. But where exactly can they take them?

Over the four sessions, Lee’s wealth of experience and understanding of social media and business strategy has helped build a foundation of understanding for young people. They have discussed building networks, digital footprints and marketing techniques to help set the tone of their personal or professional persona. What makes you unique? What platforms are you on? Where is your audience?

“Everyday we pitch ourselves and our business”

We even had a visit from the wonderful Holly Ellis – a freelance Graphic Designer who shared her experience in branding. This was a very interactive session, allowing students to explore meanings behind colour and to make their future logo and/or business name appeal to the right audience.

Lee was chuffed to bit with the development shown in such a short amount of time: “It’s been exciting to observe the progression in thought processes the students have had over the course of the Enterprise sessions.  In terms of looking at their digital footprint, creating their own unique networks, personal brands, as well as the potential of collaborations and how they bring these together effectively to reach their target markets”.

Stage 2

Stage 2 aims to offer fresh ideas, inspiration and expert tips on how to improve a particular skill in your chosen creative sector.

Music

One of the key skills in musicianship, especially for a performer, is songwriting. Being able to make people respond to your music and having a professional image is one thing but writing authenticly and building a musical identity takes some time. For these 3 skills development sessions, it was all about homing in on that skill and Music mentor, Sam Burt, offered some unique ways to tackle it.

For Day 1, students left the traditional confines of the studio to visit some a bit more obscure and from a first glance, irrelevant to the music industry – in this case, it was the Lit and Phil based in Newcastle City Centre.

Students were encouraged to take advantage of the beauty and history surrounding them and allow it to inspire song creation. In some senses, this was a way for students to leave their social environment and the modern world to explore spaces that can spark the imagination. And it certainly seemed to do that. After a thorough tour of the venue and all of it’s hidden gems, students inquisitively wandered around the building to reflect on the emotions they felt in the space.

After a day of research, it was time to put their ideas into practice. The next couple of sessions firstly involved crafting songs from the raw, inspiring experience they had at the venue. Sam shared some very interesting top tips he has learned over the years and equally so, students shared stories and musical processes which created a lovely working environment. Soon after students began to have at least an idea of where their song was going, Sam met with them at Loft Studios to give them an introduction into music production, recording and mixing. After all, why not figure out how to turn your musical magic into a recorded product for the world to hear!?

Film/TV

We were delighted to be back at Newcastle University for Film/TV students to face one of the most complex pieces of Adobe software…After Effects. Yes, there were a few apprehensive faces to begin with but the ultimate goal was for them to take those initial first steps and slowly build from there. But a common question is first, why is this software so important? What can it be used for? Chloe started with a holistic overview of what the software can achieve and how it can be used in so many exciting ways. This certainly gave students that nudge to give it a good old go.

First off, they had to make a moving image. The moving image is an incredibly useful tool and we often don’t realise that it’s in so many of the things we watch. The next session focused on another aspect of After Effects, and Mocha, to track footage so that elements can be added to a live action screen. They used a piece of footage of a man holding a phone and added motion graphics to the phone display. They also looked at 2.5D (…almost 3D!) scenes and made a layered landscape which appears to move in 3D space. Amazing stuff.

For the final hurdle of the skills development sessions, they were set the challenge to make a character walk across the screen in After Effects. They also looked at how you can still illustrations appear as if they are being drawn onto the scene.

Software Development

For Phil’s Software Development team, it was all about tapping into web development – we are talking HTML, CSS and JavaScript galore! The goal was to specifically focus on skills which are actually relevant right now, and what is seen as employable to companies in the sector.

The first session saw participants learn HTML and CSS and create their very first web pages. They were able to grasp the lessons through practical application and start to get to know the languages as the creation tools that they are and how to use them to create web pages. Using CSS they were able to personalise their pages to make them suit their own personal tastes and styles.

Next, they looked at Javascript and how to manipulate web pages once they have loaded initially. This meant the participants could update their existing projects to be more responsive while using them. They also looked at simple animation and interaction in JavaScript, the basis for games development. This means that the students were left with the skills to develop simple games, something they may choose to take into the final stage…

The final session looked at games development in Unity and how complex animation models can be added to the projects that were started in the first stage. The students really took to this and quickly were able to create interesting interactive elements where animated figures could be moved around while appearing to walk. Lee, a former Ladders graduate joined in the session. His final project had used Unity to create a reaction game and so he hoped to learn the extra skills he needed to add an animated player character to his project – really lovely addition to the sessions!

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