Around a month ago, The Creative Condition got involved in a week-long business development course at a York university.
Over the five days which the Acorns course ran, each of us took part in workshops and discussions, led by eminent entrepreneurs and covering aspects of business management, from legal issues to accounting and from marketing to networking.
Dom, our Marketing and PR Manager, believes the course has been useful in guiding our own plans for the future: “Over the course of the week, you have professionals who have made a success of themselves and shown entrepreneural flair. I think we came out of it with a stronger structure, feeling a bit more together and more positive about everything.”
Already, the relationships nurtured between the entreprenuers who attended this particular week of Acorns sessions are leading to business collaborations; already, Mike shall be working alongside Jo Blackburn of Sona Creative Marketing – who joined us on the week-long course – to develop a promotional strategy for a translation service.
“There’s a lot of opportunity there,” Dom acknowledges of the potential to work with our fellow Acorns alumni; “It’s bearing some fruit, and I think it’s come from all us hopefully making a good impression on people.”
All of us will be catching up with the progress of the other attendees next week, and Dom looks forward to seeing how everyone’s entreprenueral path has panned out in the meantime. “I feel people may not have taken over the world quite yet, but they’ll have made starts,” he admits. “The person you walk into an Acorns course is different to the person you walk out as: a much more level approach to working in business.”
The Acorns course coincides with a busy period for us at The Creative Condition. We already know what Mike’s been up to, but what about Dom?
“I’m doing a lot of blog work now, which is something I’m interested in pursuing,” he says. “I’m going to be doing some blogs for an international web analytics service – I’ll be taking that role on fairly soon.”
Dom is also employing his skills in “building content” to other areas, including developing new working links through existing customers. On the back of his work covering news and events related to The Phoenix Centre, Dom is now working on a personal basis with Yorkshire-based artists.
“It’s a nice challenge for me,” he reflects on this particular venture; “It’s always enjoyable to work one-to-one with people.”
Dom is also continuing to share his everyday craft with school students, an element of his work he is highly passionate about. “I’ve being doing more work in schools; I love that, using journalism as a skill through workshops. It’s been a lot of fun to do.”
Mike's Many Missions
Catching up with our Creative Director, Mike Leigh Cooper, is always a challenge as he seems to always be on the go working on our project and representing us to the wider world. However, we’ve stolen ten minutes of his time to find out what he’s been up to…
Firstly, Mike and our Artistic Director Jonathan have teamed up with Make a Wish Entertainment to film a special delivery for Year 10 students in Halifax.
Our guys spent two days at North Halifax Grammar School following the process of the students putting together, and performing, an end-of-term production of “Macbeth”.
The special event is something of a tradition at the academic institution, following other off-the-cuff media productions involving staff and students before they break for the summer. “It’s not often they know about the subject matter, so we gave them a synopsis,” Mike adds. “We went out and filmed for two hours, then after their lunch break, they had an hour of editing.”
Mike and Jay’s role as facilitators for the “Scottish play” project means they aimed to involve the young people in all aspects of filming; “We made sure they watch back the scenes they took part in, so they had a contribution to its structure. It helps keep everyone engaged, because it creates debate and discussion.”
The two days in Halifax also allowed for an extra dimension in how The Creative Condition deliver our workshops; students were offered the opportunity to use two different types of camera while filming. “We wanted to test the feasibility of using a HD flip style camera,” Mike explains. “It gives them an overview of different ways of filming.”
Another collaborative project sees Mike pairing up with another member of our working family, Jessica – a music video shoot by personal request of the York band’s frontman.
Speaking of the approach made by The Birdman Rallies‘ singer and songwriter, Dan Webster, Mike comments: “He said to us, ‘Can we help out with a live performance video?’ which was quirky and interesting at the same time.” A match for our mission, then!
“Jess and I went to Harrogate and filmed in loads of different places, from parks to warehouses… rivers, fields of corn, fields of flowers,” Mike says. He has certainly enjoyed the chance to work with our Project Assistant; “Jess is a creative person, she’s comfortable with conceptual stuff. It was great to have her around and allow her to contribute to the video.”
Finally, Mike has also discovered his work as the UK’s Relay Reporter for the European Year of Volunteering 2011 project continues to draw in a healthy audience.
His 286 items of content he produced have so far amassed a total of almost 200,000 views; placing him a close second out of 26 other media volunteers.
“It’s good to see my stuff is still being viewed,” he observes. “I’m proud to have represented the UK in the European Commission project, and it’s also good that everyone’s efforts have not gone unnoticed.”
With that, Mike bounds on to the next task of his working day, of which there are plenty… to be shared with us all another time.
Choose My Music Records
Colm and Dom have been working with Choose My Music Records to develop a press campaign for the forthcoming The State Of Music Volume 4 CD that will be released on Thursday, August 30, 2012.
While Dom brought the job to the group, it was Colm who took to the task the quickest, doing plenty of research and digging up as much info as possible on the innovative venture to craft a short and (hopefully) compelling press release. He says: “The concept of Choose My Music Records is both an interesting and appealing one which we’re highly honoured to represent and promote. Through exploring what the project is about, we’ve discovered how much passion and belief its creator has for The State Of Music and how that same passion has somehow spread to key figures in the music industry.”
He continues, “We like the notion that bands and artists who have featured on earlier albums in the series were invited to perform at this year’s South By South West; if this isn’t a ringing endorsement for the project, we don’t really know what is! From listening to a selection of the tracks on this upcoming volume, they definitely fit the ethos of individual, independent music from modern underground American artists – another reason we reckon this is something worth championing.”
The fourth collection of choice tracks from unsigned American artists - The State Of Music Volume 4 - is set for an August release on the Choose My Music Records label.
A concept created and curated by the Choosemymusic.org website, The State Of Music Volume 4 is the penultimate showcase of individual, independent artists or bands representing each of the 50 states of the Union. The first three albums were released in January, March and June 2012 respectively, with the physical format version of each of the first two volumes selling out.
So far, support for The State Of Music project has seen the profile of its featured artists expand. A special Choose My Music live showcase at the 2012 SXSW festival in America saw 26 acts, representing 22 states, perform in the space of 12 hours. Tracks from earlier volumes have also been aired on BBC 6 Music by Cerys Matthews, and Q Radio by Caroline Beavon.
As with the three previous editions, all profits from the sale of the compilation will be donated to Camden Calling, a London-based community group who work with musicians, artists and other creative individuals who are, or have previously been homeless.
“The first three albums have been so well received,” says The State Of Music creator and Choose My Music founder, Dominik Paczko. “The bands featured have found new fans and it has raised some much needed money for Camden Calling. I just hope it it continues throughout the release of Volume 4 and beyond.”