IW23 Day 3 Highlights

Thursday March 9, 2023

Confetti students enjoyed day three of Industry Week 2023 with more talks, masterclasses, and a Tekken 7 esports competition in Confetti X. Not to mention a night of the best live and local music for free, courtesy of our partnership with BBC Introducing. We also marked International Women’s Day with a celebration of women making waves in the creative and entertainment industries, including Games Broadcaster, Alysia Judge, A&R experts, Davina Merchant and Emma Stakes, and Composer/Performer, Gazelle Twin. Students also enjoyed a Women in Games: Game Jam, which raised awareness and funds for Juno Women’s Aid!

That’s just the tip of the iceberg, check out some of the highlights below!

Alysia Judge – Games Broadcaster

Alysia Judge gave an insightful talk on how video games can just be for fun, they can also be a vehicle artform for spreading deeper and more meaningful messages. Beginning the talk by highlighting the games of Alba – a wildlife adventure, Bury Me My Love, Celeste, Life is Strange 2 and Minecraft – the uncensored library; she was able to demonstrate how themes of climate change, the struggles of refugees, mental health, free speech and much more can be packed into video games, despite being often overlooked with gameplay being seen as more important. She said:

“Be honest to the game that you’re creating, it doesn’t have to tackle a big issue or change the world, but if it makes sense for the character or world to tap into something in ours then brilliant.”

Alysia repeatedly made the point of gaming being a multi-disciplinary medium including writers, game designers, artists and more, and that no matter your background or socio-economic class, there are plenty of opportunities available in video games development:

“A game’s power lies when it shows not tells … its power lies in the small moments, the emotional gut punches seeing something you really care about on screen.”

Ace Ruelle (pictured)

Ace Ruele – Creative and Entrepreneur

Ace Ruele is an actor and creative capture developer with credits on a number of films and video games. The founder of Creature Bionics, a character and development company, Ace gave a charismatic and engaging talk followed by a workshop in creature character development. As part of his talk, Ace brought students up to speed on his development as a motion capture actor, how he got started making successful reference videos for other artists and demonstrated his own physical acting prowess. He also emphasised how important branding and mindset is when trying to stand out in the industry.

Ace outlined the huge range of possibilities when fleshing out creatures and fantasy characters for games and media. Dressed the part in full motion capture suit, he provided a demo on how motion capture works in the games development engine, Unreal, showing off a range of arm extensions and tail movements. Conscious that there were not just VFX students in the audience, Ace focused on giving advice relevant to all students and courses, he said:

“One thing you always need to know, whether you are creating an environment, lighting, whether you are creating a character or the blueprints, you must know the purpose of why it’s happening and must know what it’s going to interact with. E.g. what’s the purpose of the light reflecting on the character? The more in-depth you go, the more information you create, the better your work is going to be produced.”

Having spent some time on the wrong side of the track, Ace opened up about his four and half years spent in prison and how he came out determined to turn his life around. Upon release, Ace found acting and got the chance to work on The Legend of Tarzan. The rest they say, is history, Ace began to realise his own creative potential which has drove him from strength to strength ever since.

Ace rounded off his session with a huge focus on mindset and branding, highlighting: “If you don’t believe in you, why would anyone else? You are the asset, you have to invest in that asset by putting the work in. Think about how you can add value to the industry you want to work in. Create work that enables others in the industry to produce greater work. Don’t be afraid to go left when everyone else is going right and make sure you promote the living daylight out of your niche.”

NUEL team

David Jackson & Peter Cole – NUEL

We recently welcomed the NUEL team to set up their base of operations on campus and we were thrilled to have them be involved in this year’s Industry Week. NUEL are one of the UK’s leading grassroots esports organisers including the annual Amazon UNIVERSITY Esports UK & Ireland tournaments. For this session, students were joined by NUEL Managing Director, David Jackson and Head of Product, Peter Cole. David and Peter were joined by the NUEL Founder himself, Josh Williams, and NUEL’s Broadcast Manager / second year Confetti BSc (Hons) Esports Production student, Rebecca Green!

During their intimate session in Confetti X, the team brought students up to speed on all things NUEL, which initially started out in a student’s bedroom to a dedicated professional company. Each team member talked a bit about their role and how they got involved in esports, they also unpacked job opportunities available within the industry (including themselves) and gave tips on the attributes recruiters are looking for:

“Don’t believe in the social media hype – people sometimes get put off applying for jobs with companies like us because they think that they need to have 10+ years’ experience, but that’s not the case. We just need people who’ve got the right attitude.

“People who can take the initiative and solve problems are gold dust in a business.

“Within an esports company, there are so many different roles – your career is going to evolve and change over time. You’ve got lots of opportunities here – having multiple skills and an openness to try new things and not say “that’s not my job” will really benefit you.”

A big topic touched on was the bad wrap esports gets for poor community management online and NUEL discussed the line they are drawing in the sand on what’s acceptable behaviour and language in esports. Speaking on their desire to push for change and clamp down harder, David Jackson said:

“It’s infinitely better to be in front of the curve on things people can and can’t say, as the last thing you want is to be the toxic esports tournament organiser. Don’t feel the need to reflect the community if you think the community’s wrong, take the initiative to try and steer it, and NUEL will support you all the way.”

Peter Cole highlighted investing in tools to help automate moderating the community and David discussed the pathways they’ve made to support admins (their first line of defence) encountering intimidation and abuse as part of big tournaments, including bringing in therapy.

Josh Williams didn’t shy away from the challenges of working in the fast growing esports industry:

“My advice is you’ve got to be really clear on why you’re doing it and not lose sight of that – keep that belief in what you are doing and ask for help. There’s the myth that people who start companies are magicians, but it takes people, you need to ask for help.

“A lot of things can go wrong and you’re expected to be in a number of things that you’re not qualified to do, but you’ve just got to get your hands dirty and get stuck in. It’s natural to make mistakes and it’s all part of the learning process.”

Second year BSc (Hons) Esports Production student, Rebecca Green has already secured herself a role in NUEL’s senior team despite not yet finishing her degree, a credit to her hard work, determination and the quality of production knowledge and work experience she’s gained whilst studying with us, she said:

“I’m the only person looking after broadcast – the amount of freedom that you get working for a small business is incredible. It’s nice to have so much say on what goes on, however, on the flipside it’s kind of terrifying as you’re often doing things for the business for the first time, you have to create the process and that can be daunting. You have to learn to make things up a bit as you go along and have confidence in your decisions.

“We’re all kind of like a family – I genuinely love working with you guys. That’s what keeps us going when things get challenging.”

Davina Merchant & Emma Stakes – Manager & A&R Consultant

This double headliner event covered the role of A&R, and how artists can stack the odds in their favour to get signed. NTU alumna, Davina Merchant told students about her ambitions and how they transported her from pursuing entertainments journalism to working in management. Davina has flourished in the music industry and has signed recognised artists including Tion Wayne, Mae Muller and Giggs to name a few.

Davina discussed her daily routine from finding new talent to setting up artist sessions. She spoke about the importance of staying consistent and putting the time into your craft to perfect it. Davina gave insight into industry life and the benefits of building strong networks and working creatively. She fondly spoke about being able to watch artists develop and achieve greatness. Davina’s energy and go getter attitude really shone throughout the session, motivating students to pursue their own industry goals:

“If you have a drive and passion, put time into it, if you believe in what you do you can do it anywhere”.

“Even if it’s a bad day you have to get up and try again”.

“You need to believe in yourselves and what you are creating”. – Davina

Similar to Davina, Emma Stakes has managed to combine her business acumen and creativity to achieve great success in the entertainment industries. She began her career as a singer and songwriter in addition to discovering and supporting artists. The industry expert has mentored for BBC Music Introducing, worked on well-known shows like Britain’s Got Talent and The X Factor as well as being an A & R Consultant for Universal Music UK. During the session she discussed the importance of being proactive in networking and “making nothing into something.” Emma was also keen to share her process for matchmaking artists and producers. Asked what she thought were the most important characteristics necessary to make it in industry, she listed authenticity, staying motivated, and putting yourself out there.

“There is a lot of levelling up. You can find talent everywhere, you do not need to be based in London, there are portals everywhere like BBC Introducing.”

“Never compare, always work on your own journey”. – Emma

We caught up with BA (Hons) Music Performance student, Aaleyah Brown-Montoute, how she found the session, she said:

“It went really well, I found it very empowering and it interesting to hear their perspectives”.

Asked for her key takeaway, Aaleyah added:

“The best advice from the session was to be yourself and put your work out there and to not compare yourself to others.”

BBC Introducing

Students enjoyed a night of the best live and local music, for free, thanks to our friends at BBC Music Introducing. Hosted by BBC Radio Nottingham DJ Dean Jackson, who has helped launch careers of Ed Sheeran and Jake Bugg, brought in his own words an “grade A lineup!”

Artists: Lyvia, Jerub, Bexx and one of our talented BA (Hons) Music Performance students, Courtney Marke, performed to a sold out crowd. Events like these  showcase the best up and coming artists, providing a platform for these musicians to perform on a world class stage. We caught up with Courtney after the show, she said:

“I have always really enjoyed Industry Week but this year was the best for me! I have been attending them since I started at Confetti college and it has lead me up to the big moment on BBC Introducing where I was honoured to perform for International Women’s Day with my amazing band. I am grateful for the opportunities I have been given from Confetti and the space it has given me to grow and create. I am always inspired by Industry Week and the people they bring in and so to be a part of that was an honour.”

Are you interested in attending events like Industry Week as part of your studies? Book onto an Open Day to find out more about our offer at Confetti.