Category Archives: Creative Art

Filmmaker Josh serves up success with Andy Murray lyric video

It was great to catch up recently with one of our Excellence Scholarship winners, Josh Dwyer who graduated with a 2:1 in BA (Hons) Film and TV Production in 2016. Here Josh reflects on his achievements and how his interest in film and photography developed.

“I’m an ambitious film director, photographer and graphic designer. I remember the moment I knew my life would revolve around Creative Arts. I was 11 years old and I was taking part acting in a college short. It was only an hour or so with student filmmakers but nothing had ever gripped my attention as much as the process of film-making. I began directing in college and in my down time, I practiced photography and design, these evolved rapidly from hobbies to passions and I would spend most of my nights trying to develop skills in these areas. Before my DSLR camera, I used my phone for photography with no idea how to compose a shot, but it didn’t stop me from trying. I had some great tutors in college to thank for teaching me the foundations of composition. After buying my first DSLR at 18 years old, my life was channeled through my camera.

Once I purchased a new PC, graphic design took the front seat for a long while. I was addicted to experimenting with new skills and abstract ideas. Getting in contact with a London record label through Twitter, I found myself creating artwork covers for their latest tracks, I was even asked to rebrand their logo, which was such an honour. This, for me, was my biggest achievement to date. I was proud of myself.

After a few years working with ‘A LifeLong Recording’, I was asked to put together a lyrical video for their latest track ‘Andy Murray, Love Britain’. I didn’t want to throw together a simple video so I studied a technique called kinetic typography, something that was completely new to me at the time. After a week I had a lyrical video ready that I received a surprising amount of praise for. The video was published on SB.TV and shared by people like Gary Lineker, Judy Murray and Jamal Edwards. It felt other worldly!

A friend had suggested I apply for an Excellence Scholarship which after thinking about it made perfect sense. I wanted to push my skills further, with more advanced animation and 3D building techniques but my PC couldn’t keep up with me. I was awarded the scholarship as a result of the work I did with ‘A LifeLong Recording’. With the money I was able to update my hardware which has allowed me to progress onto much larger projects with Cinema 4D and Adobe After Effects.

Cinema 4D

It will sound like a cliché, but the money was a small factor when I was awarded the scholarship. I may have received a lot of compliments and thanks for the work and projects that I have completed in the past but it’s easy to feel detached from praise through messages and social networking. Being awarded an Excellence Scholarship from Edge Hill made me feel truly acknowledged and validated. A dedicated evening to celebrate, a round of applause from an audience, a strong handshake and congratulations from the Chancellor really did make all the difference. I will never forget it, and I will always be grateful for it.”

Anna emerges from backstage to return to the spotlight

It’s always nice to hear how each of our scholars reacts to the news that their application to receive a scholarship has been successful.

Sharing the news with Anna Heatley was particularly memorable when, by pure coincidence, she discovered that her achievements were being recognised on what was already a day of celebration!

Awarded an Excellence Scholarship in recognition of her dedication to creative arts, Anna talked to me about making the transition from being a performer to working behind the scenes on various productions which her commendable charity work has helped to bring to an audience.

Although Anna prefers being a stage manager or set designer to being part of a cast these days, I’m happy to throw the spotlight on her one more time as a deserving scholarship winner!

“It was my 23rd birthday, I was out celebrating, when I received a phone call from Edge Hill University informing me that I had been awarded an Excellence Scholarship in Creative Arts. I was in shock, I had never expected to be selected. It was great news, especially as a mature student I was nervous about embarking on a degree and so this news settled my nerves and gave me confidence.

Over the past 15 years I have joined 6 dramatic organisations, all charity funded, within my local community. It all started when I joined the Warrenpoint Pantomime Club, at the age of seven. Since then I’ve played various roles in numerous productions, both musicals and classic plays. However, as I progressed with my involvement with these organisations, I realised I wasn’t born to perform, I was destined to combine my other passions with theatre.

I completed a 3D Art course a couple of years ago that equipped me with the skills required to be involved with other aspects of the theatrical world such as make-up, lighting, sound, set design and construction. I have worked backstage on various productions including Godspell, Footloose, The Beauty Queen of Leenan, Rozencrantz and Guildenstern are Dead, and Frankenstein. My efforts were recognised when working on these sets by receiving the following nominations:

  • Youngest Stage Manager in Newry and Mourne (Footloose 2012)
  • Youngest Set Designer (Godspell, 2011, Footloose 2012, The Yalta Game 2012, Rozencrantz and Guildenstern 2013 and Frankenstien 2014

As all of the societies I have been involved with relied on charitable funding, I have spent a great deal of time helping in fundraising schemes which enable the productions to go ahead. As I embark on my degree in BA (Hons) Theatre Design I hope to continue my involvement with both fundraising and with set design.”

I can safely say that Anna has stuck to her word as I have seen her at events around campus fundraising and campaigning for the ‘Coppafeel’ campaign, a worthwhile cause in getting females to check their breasts. If you are interested in finding out more about this charity, please visit coppafeel.org.

Michael walks in fields of gold thanks to scholarship

It’s always great to hear the stories of what our scholars have been up to and how receiving a scholarship has helped them.

An Excellence Scholarship for Prospective Students has made a big difference to Michael Scott-Abbott.

Michael has used his scholarship to fund the purchase of equipment to support both his studies and his passion for film and TV. One of the end results is a fantastic new music video to accompany a beautiful cover version of Fields of Gold. Michael will take you on the journey from receiving a scholarship to capturing a new take on a Sting classic in his own words!

“When I’m not studying for a BA (Hons) Film and Television Production degree, I’m working with multiple companies across the North West producing video content that ranges from advertisements, applications (for businesses to apply for grants/funding or get involved with programmes), to short films and music videos.

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Recently, I worked with a company that was commissioned by the National Lottery and Age Concern to produce five short films focusing on the war effort and how that has affected and is perceived from one generation to another. I’ve also spent a lot of time working with a company that is focused on bringing a fantastic range of education theatre, tailored directly for students, to schools across England. With this company I worked on a documentary regarding cyberbullying which was revised into a physical show and performed at the Tate Gallery in Liverpool throughout the summer which was absolutely fantastic (even if I am biased!).

Being awarded with this scholarship at the beginning of my studies, I was given the opportunity to invest in and push my creativity to levels that I wouldn’t have been able to beforehand. I was given the chance to purchase equipment that has proved crucial to my work, both as part of my degree and outside of my studies: equipment that made me available to collaborate and seek out other creative partners. I’ve been extremely lucky because of it and feel it has really helped to enrich my University experience. One of my first projects using the new equipment was just over a year and half ago, filming and producing a music video, with gaining over 1,000 views!

Here’s a couple of photos from the day itself. It was a great day!

As for plans following University, I was lucky enough to attain a graduate job after my tutor, Elke Weissmann, recommended myself and a small number of students to apply for the position. Attending multiple assessments and interviews, I still can’t believe that I was chosen as a Junior Film Production Executive for a firm based in Preston and London.”

Scholarship enables Jenny to fulfil her American dream

It is great seeing our students on campus, it was only the other day that I bumped in to one of our scholarship winners, Jenny Howell, who was recognised for her achievements in creative arts with an Excellence Scholarship for Prospective Students in 2012.

I often bump into Jenny on campus as she is heavily involved in University life as a student guide, student assistant and student mentor! When Jenny is not working in one of these roles, she is busy working on assignments as she is now in her final year of a BA (Hons) English and History degree.

With the 2014 Scholarship Awards Evening having just taken place, and with a little help from Timehop, Jenny was keen to reminisce about her own presentation night and reflect on how receiving a scholarship has helped her fund two trips to Camp America to share her passion for poetry with others (with a bit of sightseeing thrown in for good measure!).

jenny 4

“So, a few days ago a picture of me and my awards ceremony in 2012 popped up on my Timehop. I can’t believe it’s been just over two years since I went to the Scholarship ceremony and received my scholarship! I was awarded the Excellence Scholarship for my creative writing. I don’t study creative writing, it’s something I do as a hobby. I write poetry, songs and short stories, two of my poems have actually been published! I remember when my first one got published and my mum was reading the letter over my shoulder she started calling everyone shouting, “My daughter, the PUBLISHED poet!” Ever since I was little, I’ve wanted to be a writer and being published and receiving this Scholarship for it just reinforces my passion.

Applying for the Scholarship wasn’t easy but I worked really hard for it and I’m so happy I did! I had to write a personal statement (because who doesn’t love that?!) and I had to scan in a selection of my stories and poems to prove my ‘excellence’. Two of my tutors at college helped me with it and I even emailed them a photo of my certificate. My parents and grandparents came to the Scholarship Awards Evening; it was amazing. Other than the certificate, engraved pens and the cheque itself, there was free food (every student’s dream!). The ceremony was like a mini graduation ceremony, I even shook hands with the University’s Chancellor, Tanya Byron, who presented me with the certificate.

The scholarship has given me inspiration to travel to places I didn’t think I would ever get the chance to go to before! Through the money received from my scholarship, I’ve been to America twice as part of the Camp America programme based in Camo Wa-Klo.

Whilst there, apart from writing a lot of poems, I even taught a creative writing workshop with young children aged 6-15. Many of the children had never written a poem before but they were actually really talented at it. I was so proud of inspiring others to try something that I love so much! One of the campers even wrote a poem about me which (not being biased) I think is a beautiful poem!

After completing the camp in 2014, I was lucky enough to travel and see some amazing places in the America including New York, Washington DC, Niagara Falls and Philadelphia.

The scholarship has helped me achieve so much and it will continue to help me. It’s one of my best achievements and I can’t wait to see what else it will bring for me!”

Jordan’s scholarship helps to make every second count

Last week we introduced you to one of our new Sports Scholarship winners for academic year 2014/15. This week, one of our class of 2013/14 has been in touch to update us on how his first year has been and how receiving an Excellence Scholarship for Prospective Students has helped him in unforeseen ways. Meet Jordan Rollins, a Year 2 student on our BA (Hons) Advertising degree.

“I have always had a keen interest in advertising. The power and influence of the advertising industry fascinates me. I therefore selected Creative Media Productions at college and it was here that one of my documentaries was nominated for 2011 Co-op Film of the Year and I had a film trailer and music video shown at the Curzon Theatre in London. I then went on to study at University but this was not Edge Hill. I originally started an Advertising and Design degree at a different University but dropped out because my mum was diagnosed with stage 4 ovarian cancer and I knew I didn’t have long left with her. I worked in various jobs, including for a marketing company based in London, and worked personally on various advertising and art based projects in my spare time, such as logo designs and posters for bands including the Essex-based group ‘Beat Surgeon/Freddie Cardwell’ and ‘Eastbound and Down’. However, my mum knew how much I missed university life and made me promise I would go back in 2014, so I did. This is where my experiences during my year out helped as I was able to write about this in my scholarship application and hopefully, along with my previous achievements, it portrayed to the selection panel my passion and dedication to this area. To my delight, I received a call stating I had been successful in my scholarship application and I am so glad that the panel saw potential in my application as it has helped me out tremendously.

I originally wanted to save the scholarship money so that I could travel to volunteer in Africa after University or in one of the summer breaks but, as is sometimes the case, my plans had to be changed and sacrifices made. By November, when I received my first payment as a scholar, my mum’s health had deteriorated and I knew that the financial support of the scholarship needed to be spent on travel expenses to London to visit her in hospital. The scholarship gave me the option of not working part time and allowed me to return home and spend time with my mum as often as possible. This is something I will always be grateful for. The scholarships are designed to support people and it certainly helped me, maybe not in the way I originally wished for, but nonetheless the opportunity to spend as much time with my mum is something that couldn’t be beaten.

I have enjoyed my first year at Edge Hill and the Advertising degree. I used the money I had left from the first year of the scholarship and with my wages I have purchased a Macbook Pro along with various Adobe software. This has not only enabled me to work on University projects but also helped me to work on projects away from University and continue developing my own portfolio. In fact, over the summer I have designed the logo and business card for a local company ‘Howard and Williams Carpenters’. Talking about developing my portfolio, I am now looking forward to a three week trip to New Zealand, were most people would go to travel around and see the sights (which, don’t get me wrong, I am hoping to do!), but I am also hoping to book a day with Saatchi and Saatchi for a portfolio critique and to see how an advertising agency is run first hand.”

David directs himself to the top

With the academic year coming to the end, we caught up with David Kaye, one of the winners of our Excellence Scholarships for Current Students.

David reflected on his achievements this year and spoke about his future aspirations, particularly upon graduation next summer following the final year of his degree in BA (Hons) Film and Television Production which commences in September.

“I was awarded an Excellence Scholarship for my work in film and video production. For the past three years, I have been working as a co-director for ‘One Touch Media Online’ which specialise in film and video. During this time I have taken part in over twenty productions such as short films, music videos, documentaries, promotional videos, advertisements and many other types of projects.

This year I have purchased an Apple mac, editing and sound software, camera and equipment, which without the scholarship I would have been unable to have purchased. Owning these has allowed me to take on more projects, which has not only helped me to develop but has also assisted my peers who are involved and expand their portfolios. I have been able to use some of the financial support for car rentals, bus fairs and dinner to the cast and crew and of course the occasional end of project celebratory beer!

During this year, along with a couple of friends we entered the 9.88 Channel 4’s Ultra-Short Film Making Challenge. The challenge involved making a film which lasts no longer than 10 minutes. The short 10 minute film we created: ‘Take Me Back’, was a film shown in reverse and used some of the equipment that the scholarship enabled me to purchase. The film itself featured on the competition homepage and can be found below.

A lot of people focus on a specific job role but I make sure that my role changes with each project as in the future I want to direct films and to do this effectively it requires a universal understanding of film and all of its working components. So far, I have had experience with directing, producing, cinematography, lighting, sound and editing so that I can one day make this aspiration a reality.”

Lights… Camera… Scholarship!

Jordan Fraser was awarded an Excellence Scholarship for Prospective Students for producing three short movies in 2013. He has just completed his first year studying on our BA (Hons) Film and Television Production degree.

I caught up with Jordan the other day to discover how receiving a scholarship has made a difference to his film making and to hear about what he’s been up to since being presented with his award. So, without too much further ado… Action!

“Looking back, I’m really proud of the three short movies that were recognised by being offered the Entrance Scholarship. Within my short movies, I particularly enjoy creating layered stories which, although not always apparent on the first watch, cleverly incorporate visual clues.

Obviously, without a Spielberg budget I couldn’t buy Pinewood but the scholarship cash was a very welcome gift that allowed me to purchase some very important pieces of kit including SLR lenses, a shoulder mount, computer upgrades and editing software to help me on my way for the first year.

And what a year it’s been. I’ve had to successfully make the transition from being my own boss, so to speak, to applying my knowledge and collaborating with my peers, making the most of the great facilities the campus has to offer, and quickly learning how other factors such as people with their individual ideas and personalities affected me directly. This was quite a culture shock and I had to adapt quickly.

The first brief I received on the course was to create a short film based loosely on a series of ‘shorts’ called Coffee and Cigarettes whereby we needed to prop the scene with one of the two items. So coffee it was, accompanied by Valentine’s cards. The synopsis here was a minimal café scene, where two friends meet after a long time apart. In the short time they have together, it becomes apparent that they have differing views on everything (including coffee and Valentine’s Day!).

Take 2 and our second movie is more of a dark espionage affair. This film taught me a lot, both in the art of filmmaking but also about working with actors. I couldn’t have asked for more from my leading man, learning his lines and pulling off a brilliant performance in just three days. As his director, I instilled how angry, emotional and petrified he should feel and it worked.

Now, it’s summer. I’m thinking of ideas for some ‘off campus’ movies and the second year is looming. I can’t wait for the next episode to begin!”

Mark’s success was always in the script

Having been out and about across the University promoting the scholarships, it’s been great to catch up with some of our current scholars, hearing about their latest achievements and how receiving a scholarship has helped support them.

At a recent drop-in session, Mark Syson, who was awarded an Excellence Scholarship for Current Students for his script writing and film making skills, had a chat to explain what he’s been up to since being awarded a scholarship and to share his plans for the future as he approaches the end of the final year of his BA (hons) Media, Film and Television degree.

“Receiving an On-Course Scholarship in Creative Arts has really enabled my production crew and I to push the boundaries in the current production that we are working on. For example, we are now using both live action and animation/special effects in our short which I am really excited about because it is something we haven’t used before.

Being in third year of university has added pressure. Completing a dissertation and assignments on top of managing my own production crew makes it extremely difficult to go out and film when you want to or where you want to. The scholarship money has helped take some of the pressure off and I am extremely thankful for that. For example, we have just filmed some scenes in a really nice house in Warrington Birchwood, and having that extra money has contributed to getting all the equipment there, paying for train costs, and petrol and travel costs for the actors, food and costumes.

I think gaining that recognition and appreciation for my efforts in script writing and making films has encourage me to keep going. At this very moment I am extremely proud of the script that I have written for this new production, because it hits a whole world of genres such as comedy, drama, psychological thriller. When I first wrote it, I was worried that it wouldn’t play out on screen but, after this week’s shoot, I am confident that it will.

It is such an amazing experience when your right there in the shoot and you realise your script is really coming off the page. This film will be going to film festivals around the UK and overseas as soon as it is finished and I have set some money aside to pay for festival fees. Hopefully this will promote the film in the manner it deserves, and also give me a good aspect to my CV that will help me find a career in the film and television industry when I graduate from Edge Hill University.”