PR, Films and Fantasies

Archive for the ‘Bits of the world’ Category

The fact that I stop writing on the blog doesn’t really mean I stopped writing, just that my focus lies somewhere else for the moment. That other place is Chesamel Communications‘ website, the insights section, where I get to share all kinds of news about the world of mar-com or the fabulous people I get to meet weekly in the amazing London Town.

If you want to check out Donald Trump’s top tips for succeeding in business, my top trends to use in mobile marketing for small businesses or the winners of this year’s Screen Awards (the marketing and distribution awards for the film industry), do log in and have a read. I’d really appreciate some feedback as well. Also, if there’s something you think I should write about, just drop me a line!

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It’s been exactly one month since I handed in my MA dissertation and officially finished university… actually school overall… which means, to be more precise, the end of 17 years of my life!!! SEVEN-TEEN. You can imagine that I wished for this moment to happen over and over again, but now that it’s finally here, now that I’m an adult (!), now that I am absolutely free to set my life, I dread it! It’s so scary knowing that in September you don’t have something waiting for you, that no matter what, you know you’ll always have academia if everything else fails.

Employment is a sort of Pandora’s box, especially if your “broad” degree allows you to work in everything and anything but actually nothing. Which sector, which industry, what position, how qualified, full-time/part-time, freelance, taxes and a billion other dilemmas. The “good” part is that I’m not alone in the feeling…

Last year I wrote a paper for one of my university modules on the Creative Industries in strict regimes, focusing on Communist Romania. It’s definitely not the best piece of writing, not necessarily a mind-blowing piece and for most Romanians things will probably sound very familiar. However, here, in the UK, it was received extremely well (and yes, I got a nice mark for it) as many of my tutors and colleagues found it quite informative and interesting. Also, the introductory part as well as my literature review could prove quite useful for anyone wanting to define creativity, understand what limits it or encourages it, as well as find out what are ‘the creative industries’ and why they should be praised.

Hope you enjoy reading it: Creative Industries in Communist Romania

P.S. I am more than happy to comment on anything on the topic! Let me know what you think!

P.P.S The poster is form the Communism Museum in Prague

Quick entry tonight… I’ve been studying creative cities for more than a year now (during my BA and now in my MA) and I thought it’s time I shared a few videos/podcasts on ‘cities’ that I found quite interesting. I’m working on an essay on the links between the experience economy and the creative city at the moment, so I’ve been listening and watching quite a few for the past weeks. These are just some starting points, mainly by the big names in the field such as Charles Landry, Richard Florida or Peter Hall. Let me know if you have some more!

Charles Landry

Florida

Sir Peter Hall

Phil Wood

Peter Kageyama

Be creative! (Yes, I am being sarcastic!)

P.S. In a future post I’ll comment on the number of “creative cities” or regions out there. Only last night I saw Scotland’s latest tourism add – The year of Creative Scotland. All this after ages of Creative Britain or Creative England… I wonder what Ireland is waiting for?

Yesterday I went to an amazing event on festivals and their evolution, organised by LIFT (London International Festival of Theatre) and the Jerwood Charitable Foundation at The Southbank Centre in London.

There were loads of points covered in a full day of talks, group discussions and presentations by both artists and festival organisers/producers (plus a delicious lunch with a brilliant view of the Thames and The London Eye). This is broadly what the event covered:

The last decade has seen a rapid growth in the number and popularity of arts festivals in the UK. No longer is the UK arts festival calendar solely dominated by Edinburgh: from Spring to Autumn across the UK there are increasingly popular grass roots festivals that celebrate local culture, large-scale music festivals that now include theatre and dance programmes, new city-wide festivals that promote place-making and civic identity and mainstream cultural institutions wrapping up their existing programme within a festival format. And in addition we are also witnessing the rise of a new type of arts festival led and programmed by artists.

Many of these festivals emerged and grew in the economic boom of the last decade, fuelled by public sector spending, corporate sponsorship and the disposable income of audiences. Now, in different economic times, how many will survive? What strategies will festival organisers need to adopt to make themselves more sustainable? Are there now opportunities for new, more collaborative festival models? What unique role do festivals play in the development of an artist’s career?

Keynote speakers:

Jude Kelly Artistic Director of The Southbank Centre

Simon Mellor Executive Director, Manchester International Festival and newly appointed Executive Director, Arts at Arts Council England.

Key contributors:

Mark Yeoman Director of the Noordezoon Festival in Groningen in The Netherlands, one of Europe’s most innovative and popular performing arts festivals

Stefan Kaegi Co-founder of the German performance collective Rimini Protokoll who recently established ‘Parallel Cities’, a mobile artist led festival taking place in cities across the world

Andy Field co-Director of Forest Fringe at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival

Faith Liddell Director of Festivals Edinburgh, a new organisation working on behalf of Edinburgh’s major festivals

Jennifer Cleary Head of Creative Learning, Manchester International Festival

And including a new, especially commissioned performance byTim Etchells Artistic Director of Forced Entertainment

It’s impossible to summarise the 8 hours in a few bullet points but until the videos and podcasts will be uploaded on the LIFT website, I’ll put down some ideas that kept repeating themselves throughout the day:

– it is essential that more festivals focus on the “making of new work“, give more freedom to the artists and trust them to produce something original and specially designed for that specific festival

– try to help the artists develop, collaborate and create new audiences through festival participation

– the support of the local councils is more than essential as it can completely revolutionise a festival; this doesn’t necessarily mean more funding, but networking, access to essential city stakeholders and facilities, links with the tourism department etc.

– think medium to long term when planning festivals and have a bigger impact on the city as well

– become more and more environmentally friendly, even if it means increasing costs

– know very well what your USP is and why you are putting it on (is it for the local development, for economic reasons, for artist development, for audience needs?)

– try to change things (socially, artistically…) not just reflect them by bringing same old ideas and acts

– a festival doesn’t necessarily have to become bigger every year as that doesn’t really mean better; more acts and more money in doesn’t imply more satisfied audience members

In the end, do check this amazing project: Ciudades Paralelas. Incredible idea of a festival that can be transferred to every city in the world without the hassle of set design, artists and loads of funding.

After the amazing Life in a Day, Britain is having it’s own 24h coverage:

It would be so amazing if more countries would join and make their own versions leading to some brilliant tourism spots. What can be more “authentic” than life in a place as lived by its people? No branding agencies, no fancy commercials, just daily habits and adventures.

“Film anything, but make it personal!”

I’ll definitely join in on the 12th of November for Britain…

Summer holidays are usually the time I manage to catch up with my huge fantasy reading list, one that I permanently, passionately though quite hopelessly update during the year on Goodreads. Due to my addiction to stories and storytelling, I spend every available minute in books while travelling or before bed, but nothing compares to the long hours away from reality on a hot (or not) summer day. So… after finishing my degree this year and locking away all media related readings, I went to the closest Waterstones and spent a fortune on pretty volumes (no, I don’t do Kindle!). Obviously things didn’t go as planned and I ended up having a very, very busy summer, but still, here are two titles which I simply couldn’t put down until I reached their very last word.

First of all, if you didn’t hear about The Hunger Games then it’s high time you did as people say they’re the new Harry Potter/Twilight out there. I was first introduced to the title by a fellow actress while playing the role of the sacrificed Athenians in We Are the Minotaur. She’s American, in her 30s and they way she described it was: “it’s the most intense, sick story of kill or be killed in a post-apocalyptic society,  just that with teenagers… and it’s better than JK Rowling”. As an ex-reality media student and since we were playing a role similar to the one of the main character of The Hunger Games, this obviously got my attention:

Suzanne Collins, the author, says that the idea for The Hunger Games came to her one day when she was channel-surfing, and the lines between a reality show competition and war coverage “began to blur in this very unsettling way.” She also cites the Greek myth of Theseus, in which the city of Athens was forced to send young men and women to Crete to be devoured by the Minotaur, as inspiration for the nation of Panem; she explains, “Crete was sending a very clear message: ‘Mess with us and we’ll do something worse than kill you. We’ll kill your children.”

Bought it and couldn’t put it down… I’m not saying this is some sort of exquisite novel with complicated language and billions of hidden symbols and metaphors, but it’s definitely a unique story. Very easy to read, fast paced and also emotional overall, once read and digested it can lead to different discussions on today’s society and where we’re heading. If you’re not a keen reader, then maybe you’ll be tempted by the film due to be release in April 2012 and staring A-listers such as Jennifer Lawrence (aka nominated for an Oscar last year – Winter’s Bone) or Woody Harrelson (which I will see in person next Sunday at the London Film Festival!!!!).

Another absolutely brilliant title is The Night Circus:

A strange beast, creakily plotted but boasting a fabulously intricate mise en scène. At its centre is the appropriately named Le Cirque de Rêves, a dreamlike travelling circus in the latter part of a baggily imagined 19th century. It arrives without warning in fields around the world, opening its gates between the hours of dusk and dawn. Once inside this monochromatic world, audiences might watch a tattooed contortionist fold herself into a tiny glass box, feast on chocolate mice and caramel popcorn, or wander through a sequence of tents that includes an ice garden, a desert and a maze constructed from towering clouds. (more in the Guardian)

I picked it from a pile in the bookshop because it had the word “circus” in the title. Personally I am beyond fascinated with anything that goes deep inside this misterious world and The Night Circus surely does not disappoint! The best thing about this story is the amazing images it creates in one’s imagination. If you’re a visualizer, like myself, then you will simply be blown away by this fantastic scenery created by Erin Morgenstern (a name to watch out for as this is just the debut novel!!!). Also, I must admit that the book cover is probably one of the most beautiful I’ve seen in a few years and I simply couldn’t resist the temptation to know more of what’s inside it.

What I don’t get is why people keep comparing it (as well) with Harry Potter… nowadays any book mentioning magic is automatically inspired by Hogwarts? No! It has nothing to do with it. In my opinion JK’s books were focus so much more on the plot and characters and through them was the fantasy world created, while in The Night Circus it is the senses that are inundated with details, allowing the reader to sink deeper and deeper into the imagination.


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