Industry Week 2023 continued on day two with more amazing guests. Starting off the day, students learnt about the incredible growth of HADO (Japanese for energy blast). Jim Sephton, Managing Director for HADO told us about the growth of the sport from its beginnings in Tokyo seven years ago, as a game centred on fighting giant monsters, to what it is today – essentially Street Fighter live or dodgeball on steroids!
Yes, HADO is an Augmented Reality (AR) sport – merging physical sports and esports – that puts the power of energy balls and shields in the hands of players on a real-life court. You can play 1 v 1 or as a team, and Jim gave a whistle stop tour on the rules of play before taking students over to our Metronome venue for some HADO in action.
Check out more of our highlights below!
Roly Oliver – Former Touring Sound Engineer & Production Manager
The UK-based sound engineer told students all about his 25-year career working for top artists, including Red Hot Chilli Peppers, Taylor Swift and Snow Patrol.
Oliver was keen to stress the importance of teamwork in the sound industry, specifically how “you are only one part of a team full of different skill sets, in which you should be able to bounce off each other”.
Roly didn’t just tell students about the big artists he worked with, he discussed how the experiences made him feel and the insights he got seeing musicians grow and learn from what they were doing.
He was honest about the challenging workload and how sometimes he would go from having plenty of work to a four-month period without any at all. He told students to be prepared for times like this and that above all “putting your happiness first is the most important thing. If a job starts to make you miserable, it definitely isn’t for you and you should find something that better fits you, your skill set and your mental health.”
Second year BSc (Hons) Event Production student, Logan King, said: “I thought the talk was really informative, especially with the videos that he used – from the Pet Shop Boys performing at Glastonbury to Robbie Williams at Knebworth (I can’t believe he was part of these shows!) – I took a lot away from it.”
Roly outlined the different aspects of the sound engineering industry and that there are lots of different roles you can fill, especially once you start making connections.
Above all, he recommends students make an effort to be chatty and to discuss topics other than work with potential employers, as this is a way you can get into jobs and work your way up in the industry.
Content Creation Panel
For this session we were joined by award-winning marketeer, Chinelle Brandford, A&R, Surrealist Artist and Editor, Olivia Taylar, and journalist, host, and BBC1Xtra contributor Mimi the Music blogger. The trio discussed their experiences of being content creators in a new age for media.
Topics ranged from being women of colour in an industry predominantly run by white men, to the authenticity which is being sought online after years of Instagram being very prim and proper and carefully curated.
Mimi the Music Blogger is a self-confessed music connoisseur, she discussed how she worked her way into the content creation industry by sharing what she loves online and building a career by simply being herself. Mimi added how she focuses on breaking down barriers and ensuring equal representation for women in media, particularly when it comes to reporting on music.
Olivia Taylar is an artist who works at a music and artist partnership company and she spoke all about learning your market and audience, ensuring your voice is heard, and making sure confidence is seen in the content creation industry.
Both women are of diverse backgrounds and spoke about their lived experiences of prejudice in the industry:
Mimi said “Black women get painted as angry and some people masculinise us as they only see you as angry and different to them. It is a battle and many people will use your skin colour as a way to seem woke. You have to work past this and show them you are more than just your skin colour.
Olivia added to this by saying: “If you learn to exploit yourself in the right way and do what you are comfortable doing, you can use your difference as a superpower.”
Stuart Watson – Sports, Media & Entertainment Branding Expert
Students got up close and personal with design legend, Stuart Watson. Watson is the co-founder of Nomad and has worked with some of the biggest brands in the world. During his session, Stuart took the audience through the different stages of his career, starting with his early art projects in secondary school and the impact two teachers had on him, he said:
“I think almost everyone I know has been affected by good teachers. A great teacher inspires you and I had two. One who saved me – who saw this chaos of a really naughty school and gave me safe haven in the art classroom, protecting me from getting expelled or whatever could have happened. The second one really championed me and he opened my eyes to design. He also turned me onto university, in fact, he actually filled in all the forms to apply for me at NTU – I’ll never forget what he did for me and I think that’s a story that everyone can relate to.”
The sliding doors moment came for Watson when he was hired as a graphic designer at Wolff Ollins where he co-created the brand for ‘Oi’, Brazil’s fastest ever start-up to reach one million customers! Stuart showed a video from the transformational year he spent living in Brazil, where he fell in love with his then boss, the two are now happily married with two kids and a home in Rio. His key piece for students:
Stuart took us through the different brands he created during his time with global branding agency, venturethree, for Sky, The Times, Little Chef, and King, not to mention winning the pitch to rebrand Premier League! He also discussed the risks he took when, fed up with being an employee, he quit to start Nomad with a maxed-out Amex card as funding.
Off the strength of his work with Premier League, Stuart and Nomad have become sports branding experts. Their first project was a Sky Sports rebrand and Stuart has continued his work with the League on their “No Room For Racism” campaign, the latter he is especially proud of:
“We came up with a mechanic that crushed all of the space out of the letters as a metaphor for there being no room for racism. We’ve since built campaigns over recent years, using motion design, long form storytelling, and short form messaging, that put a bit more meat on the bones about what happens if you are caught being racist or any kind of discrimination. That’s really important as well, that you don’t just talk about it but there’s consequences and action.”
Stuart revealed the one piece of tech he can’t live without – a pencil, as you never know when inspiration might strike and you’ve always got to be ready. Asked for his top tip for students looking to forge a career in design:
“Junior designers are a huge investment in people’s time – the speed at which we work at, the strategic element is insane. The advice I’d give to someone starting out is: it’s ok to be finding your voice, very few people start off being brilliant at this job, it takes hard work and practice. It’s about taking references and building a body of work over time.”
Stuart and Nomad have put together a blog that provides more top tips for getting a job in the graphic design industry, including a shortlist of agencies, and advice on creating work that speaks to them.
Dan O’Neill – Wildlife Television Presenter
Dan O’Neill is a self-confessed wildlife fanatic and a documentary filmmaker as well as an openly gay man making a name for himself in media.
O’Neill has produced and presented various documentaries, high-profile fashion features, musical collaborations and digital campaigns engaging new audiences in conversations around exploration, conservation and climate change.
He grew up loving animals and nature as it was something which he bonded over with his dad who was a physicist and really encouraged his love of wildlife. During his session, he spoke about his passion for storytelling and the environment and how he used his two university degrees to combine his interests.
Dan discussed his exciting new project ‘Giants’, which he recently wrapped filming for Curiosity Stream. Billed as epic in scope, the 5-part series sees Dan circle the globe to find the biggest beasts that have walked the planet, unlock their evolutionary secrets, and bring their even bigger extinct ancestors back to life with the latest CGI.
Marc Bis, a first year BSc (Hons) Film Production Technology student said: “I found it quite fascinating with all of his expeditions and the fact that he is not your typical wildlife film maker and I really enjoyed learning about the weird and wonderful animals and places he explored.”
He also spoke about the challenges of being an openly gay man in the industry, as many of the countries he has visited have very strict laws surrounding LGBTQ+ people.
“As a team we put safety guidelines in place to make sure that we’re secure whilst filming and not caught up in any legal issues, however, most people I’ve come into contact with are open and accepting.
“I hope that I inspire other LGBTQ+ people with what I do and how authentically I am myself.”
We can’t wait to do it all again on day 3!
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