Breaking In (October 2022)

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Breaking In (October 2022)

Breaking In brings together early career creatives to tell you what starting out in the Creative Industries is really like.

The event series has been designed to help support you in entering the creative sector, whether you’re interested in freelancing but are unsure of where to start, or you’re applying for permanent positions and wondering how best to sell yourself on a CV.

About Our Panellists

DJ Biggoss

DJ Biggoss has worked in the music industry for over 10 years now. He started off as a Club & Radio DJ playing in clubs in Birmingham & regularly up & down the country & has also played internationally twice at a3c festival in Atlanta as well as various other international music festivals. Biggoss then got into artist management and worked with a few local artists. During his time in the Birmingham music scene Biggoss has been known as dot connector and first port of contact for a lot of people outiside of Birmingham wanting to engage with the Birmingham music scene. Most recently Biggoss has began working in music publishing insuring artists are being paid correctly for their music and providing sync opportunities through his company Syncdin.

Lydia Cockerham

Lydia is a Narrative Designer at Deep Silver Dambuster Studios, currently working on upcoming AAA title Dead Island 2. She has worked in the video game industry for almost 5 years and has a background in copywriting and content marketing. In her current role she crafts exciting stories alongside gameplay, and gets her hands dirty in the practical work of writing scripts, supporting voice actors and implementing designs in game engines.

LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/lydiacockerham

Helena Greening

Assistant Producer, Wall to Wall

Originally from the North East, Helena is an Assistant Producer working in factual television and documentaries. After graduating from university in 2020, with a degree in Fine Art, she has made the switch to go in a different creative direction. Moving her way up through the roles of Runner, Junior Researcher and Researcher, and being part of the Grierson DocLab 2021, she has recently worked on programmes such as ‘Who Do You Think You Are?’ and the new ‘Louis Theroux Interviews’ series. Alongside her work, Helena is constantly developing ideas, in hope to make films that aim to question systemic structures, prompt deep thought about our actions and beliefs, and make us feel inspired and connected through sharing life experiences.

Ruby Taglight

Ruby is a London-based jeweller. Ruby creates sculptural jewellery exploring the importance of adornment. Drawing on themes such as myth, history, and religion, her pieces play with combining traditional materials and forms, with those less conventional, such as synthetic gemstones and figurines, celebrating the over-feminine, over-embellished, and the kitsch. She hand carves her pieces out of wax before casting them into precious metal, and signing them with a lab-grown ruby. GIA Graduate Gemologist, awarded ‘Stars in the Making’ 2021, and selected for The Goldsmith’s Centre’s talent showcase, ‘Shine 2022’.

Website: www.rubytaglightldn.com

Instagram: @rubytaglightldn

Helen Qiangli

Helen, owner of MuseLi-Q, is an award-winning jewellery and object designer and artist based in London. She is interested in expressing the strong emotional connections between jewellery and food, nature and surprises in our daily life. Qiangli works with precious metals, and precious/semi-precious gemstones. She explores interactions between jewellery and desire, leading to fun and inventive creations that bridge eastern and western cultures. MA Jewellery & Metal Royal College of Art 2018-2020, selected for The Goldsmith’s Centre’s talent showcase, ‘Shine 2022’.

Instagram: @museli.q

Transcript

Lee Hornsby

So welcome, everyone to Creative UK’s Breaking In webinar this afternoon. Breaking In is our exclusive online event for our students. So I’m Lee Hornsby, I work here at Creative UK, I do all sorts of things, which I’m not going to go too much into today with you… but what I do do, in a nutshell, is I work with a lot of our creative and our education partners, our members and our networks, and I keep an eye on the development of our recently we launched student membership. And for the next hour or so for everyone here, I’ll be your event and discussion Moderator.

 

So thank you to everyone who’s tuning in this afternoon, and everyone who might be watching this on demand in the future as well. It’s great to have you with us and joining in the conversation and listening to our wonderful panel. So if anyone wants a little bit of a refresher on what Breaking In is, it’s a very simple webinar – we able to bring together a panel of creative professionals who are here to chat about their own creative career pathways, their journeys and their experiences so far within the creative industries. So hopefully giving you all who are a little bit earlier on in your journeys, a few bits of insight, some opportunity to listen to ask questions, and I’ll be doing my best this afternoon to keep the conversation moving and get as much as we can from our wonderful panel this afternoon over the next hour or so. As we go, do feel free to pop questions into the q&a submissions throughout the discussion, which should be just at the bottom of your zoom panel. And I’ll do my best to come back to those questions a little bit later on.

 

So our panel today, there are a diverse mix of creatives representing all sorts of different creative disciplines in various parts of the UK, and at different points in their careers as well. And I’ll let each panellist introduce themselves in a second, but just to say a massive thank you upfront to DJ Biggoss to Lydia, to Helena, to Ruby, and to Helen as well – I can’t wait to learn a bit more about everyone today. So without much further ado, I’d like to start with DJ Biggoss, if that’s all right. And the clue is in your name a little bit. But if you could kick us off by introducing yourself and telling us a little bit about what you do, and a summary of your background, really, that’d be that’d be real.

 

DJ Biggoss

So yeah, as Lee said, I go by the name of DJ Biggoss and I’ve been a DJ for over 10 years, I can’t remember exactly. When I started. I started off as a club DJ, then got into internet radio. As a DJ, a lot of opportunities sort of came my way. And I always sort of jumped at the different opportunities that came my way. So, as a result of that, my friend had a studio and I used to spend a lot of time in his studio because I like music a lot. So that that led me into doing a bit of studio engineering, then I ran my own studio for a bit. I also had artists coming to me for advice, and I regularly have relationships with artists. So I started managing a few artists in Birmingham. Also, as a DJ is taking me around the world played at various music festivals, such as A3C music festival in Atlanta, played at Canada Music Week as well, most recently, sort of eased up a bit after DJing. And I’ve moved into music publishing. So it’s a whole new world for me. So I’m just sort of learning the whole sector. And most recently, yesterday, I was at a Games Expo in Glasgow, just sort of networking and stuff like that, with people who make games, just letting them know that if they need music for their computer games, or films, or whatever it might be, we’ve got the music. So yeah, that’s a bit about me and my journey.

 

Lee Hornsby

Thanks, DJ Biggoss, I’ll loop back to some of those bits that you mentioned, actually super interesting. And good to just go through the rest of our panel ready to do the same if that’s all right. And I’m just looking at my top pin, and I’m gonna go to Lydia first or second, rather, if that’s alright, Lydia.

 

Lydia Cockerham

Yes. Hello. Yeah. Hi, everyone. Thanks for being here. So I’m Lydia. I’m a narrative designer in the video games industry. So that ties into what DJ Biggoss was just saying. So that’s really interesting. So yeah, I work for Deep Silver Dambuster studios who are based in Nottingham. And I’ve been in the video games industry now for about five years a little bit, a little bit under that, but it was getting on for five years. And I’ve always been related to the writing side and coming up with essentially, as the title suggests, narratives that help tie gameplay together and create fast stories for people to enjoy while they’re playing games. My background before then was kind of in advertising. So I was a copywriter, and a marketer, and I did like content marketing and a lot of different varieties of writing before that. So I’ve seen several different sides of the creative industry. But yeah, it’s been an interesting ride so far. And I’m really excited to see where I get to next.

 

Lee Hornsby

I’ll ask you a bit about that in a few minutes time as well. Ruby, do you mind? Do you mind coming in?

 

Ruby Taglight

Yeah. Hi, everyone. I’m Ruby. I own my own jewellery brand. And I’m the maker and designer called Ruby tabulate London. I came into jewellery through a sort of fine art route. So I studied sculpture at university and then began my journey to sort of begin teaching myself jewellery making since then, so I’ve been working. I started my brand officially about two years ago now. So before then, I was working for various jewellers, and enjoy retail and sort of gathering all the information I needed to start my brand. So that’s kind of where I’m at right now.

 

Helen Qiangli

Well, thank you, Ruby. Helen.

Hello, everyone. My I’m Highland and my name is Chun Li from. I was born in China, and I’m a jewellery and product designer. I started ba MA in industrial design and then my interest in jewellery lead me to start it at the Royal College Art, London in jewellery and metal. I graduated in 2020. So I currently live in London working to establish my jewellery brand, alongside a position as a part time Research Fellow teaching at the Monash University that’s from Australia and the campus are based in Suzhou, China. So jewellery and metal and industrial design, I think that’s just all different types of design. And they there is no boundary between them. And in 2021, I founded MuseLi-Q. So that’s my brand. So I explore the fun and quirky jewellery creations with the emotion and walls. So I would like people to see the drivable and emotional part in the jewellery.

 

Lee Hornsby

Thank you, extremely Helena.

 

Helena Greening

Thanks, everyone for coming in, it’s been so nice to hear what everyone does on the panel properly. So like Ruby, I actually did a fine art degree as well. I’m from the northeast of England, like Yorkshire, and from a fine art degree. And now I’m transitioning to working in television, in documentaries. So I’m an Assistant Producer. But I’ve only been that for about five days in total. So I’ve just made that jump up to being assistant producer. But sort of, I’ve only been in the industry a couple of years since I did my fine art degree, and actually did a bit of partnership with creative in UK and which was great when I was a student. And I started making lots of different videos whilst I was a fine artist about being from like the northeast and getting more people into university from different backgrounds and state educated people. So started doing that. And then thought I was focusing on that and enjoying it. So I decided to go into documentaries. And since I left, I’ve done everything from being a runner, junior researcher, researcher, and now assistant producer. So gone through sort of all the different levels, and now have spent a few days being assistant producer. So the long term is sort of working in documentaries and making my own but I’m on my way. So yeah, thanks for having me.

 

Lee Hornsby

Okay, thank you. Thanks, again, to everyone joining us today. The first question I actually want to throw out to everyone in turn, again, really is obviously, the events called Breaking In, so the idea is that people who are tuning in are kind of curious as to how you guys got started, or how they might get started in whatever their creative careers might end up looking like. So I was just wondering if there’s a kind of moment or a couple of moments that each of you can kind of draw on to kind of pull out and share with people as to how you got your foot on the ladder, if that’s the right term, or just how you decided to get up and running. If you obviously own your own business or if you’ve been freelancing in the past just kind of Yeah, what kind of what was the first steps you can took towards where you are now really, which I know is different periods of time away for different people on the panel. But yeah, maybe if I go back to DJ Biggoss if that’s all right, and if you could, if you could share anything.

 

DJ Biggoss

For me, I was always a proper hardcore music fan. And I suppose I didn’t know what I wanted to do within the music industry, but I always know that I wanted to be a part of how to engage and I suppose DJing was sort of relatively easy entry or something that you know, I enjoyed. So how I got into it is I just bought myself some equipment, a lot actually. Before buying equipment, I used to go to oxygen rooms, and just pay to use the equipment there and practice and then got some money to give. I bought my own equipment and just started doing mixes at home. A friend invited me to come on to internet radio with them and just started contacting promoters, sending them like estimates as well as contacting the relevant people within the field that I was playing music in so I wouldn’t contact Drum and Bass promoters because I wasn’t playing drum and bass. I was playing UK music, hip hop and r&b. So, you know, I made sure that the people who needed to know who I was in that sort of club scene, knew solid, you know, like I said I’d send them mixes, go to the events, offer my services at discounted rates. Sometimes even for free – just to kind of get my foot in the door, just to get my name on the flyer sometimes because I knew that when my name was on a flyer, then other people would see and then, you know, sort of makes you be more attractive. And it gives you more sort of clout as we call it nowadays. So, uh, yeah, that’s how I got into the DJ. And then with the music publishing, how I got into that was one night during the lockdown, I was watching TV, and I see the credits pop up, and I see something about the music supervisors and production company. So I started doing some research, and I noticed that the whole field of music publishing was, it was all one sided, I didn’t see enough colour – let’s put it that way. So for our as a DJ, I could bring my expertise to the world of film, TV and gaming. And I’ve always wanted to do more than just DJ, to be fair. So I just found out how to set up my own publishing company, but alongside my business partner, Carla, and we just did all the necessary things that we needed to do. You know, making sure we registered with PRs and all that kind of stuff. And it’s, it’s been a learning journey. But yes, I think you just if you want to do things, you’ve just got to take the first step. And, you know, do that leap of faith.

 

Lee Hornsby

And just to stay with you for a sec, would you say you did all of this kind of off your own back in your spare time? And a lot of it’s self taught, self discovered kind of DJ Biggoss – was there anything through school or college, or was it ‘this is just something I’m passionate about and want to pursue?’

 

DJ Biggoss

Yeah, with me it was all passion driven. I’m not gonna lie. I think because I used to produce music as well, and that was all self taught. When things get too technical and stuff, it kind of pushes me away – I’m more about the raw passion, and working like that. So yeah, I didn’t read, I didn’t study for anything, I just taught myself and learned along the way. It possibly would have been easier if I did undergo some education and do some courses and stuff. But I had to do what worked for me. Whereas, in regards to the music publishing, now, I do attend events and are read around and stuff like that. So I’d say with that I’m more so educating myself with the music publishing. But when it came to the DJ, it was a sort of self taught and just watching people and just your student like that we can get it.

 

Lee Hornsby

But I think that that’s a really important point. And just to kind of stress that, particularly any creative careers, not just music, that they can take all sorts of twists and turns and what you study or what you kind of pursue at some point in your life doesn’t necessarily always dictate where you end up. And there’s lots of different ways to end up in different places, right?

 

DJ Biggoss

Definitely. My music’s been a journey for me. Like I started off as a DJ, of being a producer, music artists manager record, had a record label. And I’m just willing to go wherever it takes me, you know, any opportunity can open up any door. So that’s, that’s always been my thing, because some of the smallest things that I’ve taken part in have given me some of the biggest opportunities. So you just never know what’s around the corner to be fair, and yeah, I’m just I’m never scared. If it’s something that I like, and I feel I see that it makes sense. I’ll give it a go.

 

Lee Hornsby

Well, thank you, Lydia. Same question, you know, breaking in, how would you describe how you got up and running and how you got started?

 

Lydia Cockerham

So I think I resonate with quite a lot of what DJ Biggoss said, I think, often you can be too prescriptive. And you can think, right, this is where I want to go. And you know, everyone has plans, right? And goals and they want to achieve them. But you know, sometimes life does take you on weird paths. I think it’s a blend, right? You need to have a vision and be like, this is where I want to get to, but often, you know, you’ll go the long way around. And sometimes that’s necessary and you don’t always get there the way you think you will. So the long story short is yeah, like I always I knew I did an English degree. I did English and Philosophy. And I kind of knew I wanted to write in some way but I had a vision – I think a lot of people do that – if I go down this career path, am I just going to starve and I’m not going to be able to make any money. So I was looking for just how can you make money as a writer by writing things – who wants that? And that’s how I stumbled onto initially, copywriting which I got in, you know, just through a social media job, which there are 1000s of and, you know, it was just something that I could then say, oh, okay, I’m writing tweets for people. But I could also write blog posts, and I, it was just a really tiny company. And I got lucky. And I managed to do lots of various other things, and from there, get other jobs. And then getting into video games is really tough. Like, it’s a very competitive industry. And I do think it’s one of those things of I got lucky, I got my foot in the door. It’s so often it’s just a numbers game, it’s just like, you just have to apply to a lot of things, you have to talk to a lot of people, you just have to try your luck, right? It’s rolling the dice. And the more times you do it, the more odds you have of just getting lucky that one time and there, I don’t think there is a secret to it. It’s just, you know, I got lucky. And once you’ve got that experience it just becomes so much easier to say, ‘Okay, I’ve done this. Now I can prove I can do that’. But it’s so much of it is about persistence and resilience, and just believing and picking yourself up every time and just keeping going, at least for me.

 

Lee Hornsby

Thank you. And yeah, I mean, I know you said there’s a certain amount of luck involved. And I can definitely read that resonates with me as well. I’ve definitely had that throughout my career. But also, there’s a certain amount of creating your own luck as well, right. And you know, DJ Biggoss spoke about this already kind of networking and put yourself out there and kind of just going for it. And that’s quite scary. And it can be quite daunting as well for pupils, particularly when you’re younger, I was absolutely petrified of that sort of stuff when I was graduating or when I was a student. And I’ll come back to that later. I’d like to get people’s opinions on that and kind of advice to people who might be tuning in, in a little bit. And Ruby, would you mind, giving us a little bit of a lowdown on how you got started on your journey?

 

Ruby Taglight

Yes. So it was a little bit like Lydia and the fact that I was studying fine art – I was doing painting and sculpture – and I just didn’t really see after leaving university that I would I mean, I graduated in 2016. And I didn’t really see a way that I would be able to viably make it as a sort of fine artist. And a lot of my work was based, I mean, I suppose is a bit of luck around sort of adornment. So I just sort of got really into the idea of jewellery. And then I thought how I can get into making jewellery and it’s quite a closed off industry. I feel like everything’s sort of little trust and who you knew. So I didn’t really know anyone or how to get into it. So I decided to start taking short courses. So I actually went back to university and studied geology, so coloured stones and diamonds. And then when I came back to London, I started applying, I worked in two jewellery shops. And then I also got a part time workshop one day we in Mayfair, which was actually a kind of fluke, this woman happened to be looking for someone just to rent the bench while it was not being used. So I went in there once a week to sort of experiment and just slowly began meeting people, I suppose in the industry, and began making friends. And I think it is just a case of putting yourself out there and meeting as many people as possible who can say to you, like, ‘we’ll help you with this job if you don’t know how to do it’ and like, ‘don’t be stressed about life with precious materials’ like that. It’s just sort of, I suppose gathering the knowledge. But I did find working in jewellery shops and sort of going in that avenue, was a really great way to sort of meet clients or potential clients and get to know how people sort of approach buying jewellery or how you should make what people like. And yeah, it was sort of a gathering from that way. And then I began slowly, sort of teaching myself how to make jewellery and balancing the two out.

 

Lee Hornsby

Was there a moment when you kind of thought, Yes, I’m ready to kind of start my brand and start putting my myself out there as a business or is that just happened?

 

Ruby Taglight

Not really, it kind of came about. I decided to move to Italy to study at a sort of old school jewellery school in Florence. And that was in March 2020. So I had kind of moved, I’d quit my jobs, left my workshop, moved and then obviously locked down happened. And I came back and I kind of didn’t really have anything else to do. So I just set up set up workshop and my flat. I was like, well, let’s just go for it. So it was kind of just enforced, but it was a good. It was great timing, I think.

 

Lee Hornsby

Great. Qiangli, obviously you are in a similar discipline to Ruby as well. Do you want to tell us a little bit about your journey?

 

Helen Qiangli

Actually, when I started it was a little bit overwhelming because I graduated in 2020, the first day of the COVID. I think that’s very difficult to find a job for a student who graduated from art school. And then I started to work as a freelance designer for a few brands and companies – so designing the jewellery collections, and to get more experience from that. And then I feel like, actually, I need to learn more about the business development and the running skills. So I have done some other programmes that helped me with thisp art, for example, the Getting Started programme by the Goldsmith Centre – this about all the news for jewellers or silversmiths who want to create their new career, because I feel like I asked, ‘what I’m most interested in is?’ I would like to rely on my own jewellery and to show my pieces how myself in that. And also, I took other programmes like the Diamond Academy, and also this year, the Shine 2022. So that’s helped me to build up more knowledge and the systematic information about doing that.

 

I think that’s also an Opportunity. Like, there was a position about the teaching and research fellow in the university. I think, from before I graduated, I always had a dream, like I don’t want to live just one way of life, I want to have maybe more possibilities. So I can teach as I share my experience with the students. And in the university, that will be a very good experience. And also at the same time, I can also build up my own career. So I think just lucky. So I took that position. And so like a half year I’m teaching and half year I’m doing my own brand. Yeah.

 

Lee Hornsby

And yeah, and that’s, it’s actually super interesting, because what we talk about a lot to students and graduates is this idea of a portfolio career is what we call it in the creative industries. And that’s the idea that you’re kind of doing maybe two or three different projects or things at any one time, and you know, you’re still keeping your options open, but you’re still being a creative professional, but you’re also exploring other avenues as well. And do you find that you have found a good balance between those two things at the moment or is it something that you’re still figuring out?

 

Helen Qiangli

At the beginning, actually, I found the challenges to balance this, because I need to balance the time and effort and energy about that. But later, I realised, actually, these two things can influence and help each other. When I’m teaching, teaching help with these students about their knowledge skills, and also their projects helped me to build up more, open my mind to think in different ways and see the possibilities from the projects. And also I learned a lot from them. And during my teaching. And for my brand, I feel like it benefits a lot to think about what people really want towards people in different ages. They really like to see design. And I can create more like collections and think about my clients or users who like. And I think that’s an experience I can also share with the students. So after that I found I can balance these because they are not separated.

 

Lee Hornsby

Yeah, it’s great point isn’t and some of the best lecturers I had at university were also the ones who were still practising. I’m still working in the industry because they knew what was going on, rather than people who had been out of it for 10-15 years, which does happen. Helena, do you want to tell us a little bit about how, yeah, how you’ve gotten on over the last couple of years?

 

Helena Greening

Yeah, so I also graduated in 2020, which was pretty hard to say the least. So it was, I think, we came out the back of university feeling quite sad because we hadn’t had a degree show. And that’s what you sort of build up to as a fine artist. It was really hard. And so you’re sort of coming off the back of a degree feeling like, not that sort of like yeah, let me get into the world. It was sort of like, what am I doing? And I sort of already made my mind up that I wanted to continue painting but I also wanted to do film. So I’d been making my own things. I’d be making access videos I’d be making started to develop my own ideas for documentaries. And that’s the kind of first thing that I started sort of bubbling away with. And because nobody was really hiring in the film industry, especially, I’d moved home to the northeast, there wasn’t really a lot down there. So I ended up emailing so many people from the industry to kind of what Lydia was saying, like, I was emailing so many people at random people saying, I loved your programme. I really liked that documentary, would you like to have a zoom with me, which I felt so like conscious of at the time, but actually, the more flow I got into it, the easier it was sort of Hi, my name is Helen and grinning. And it was really useful. I think that was the way that I kind of got into TV was because normally, I’ve heard of people saying, ‘Oh, well, I know this person, or I know that person’. I was like, ‘Well, I don’t know anybody’. So it was sort of putting myself out there and getting to know people just by emailing them and having 15 minutes with them to say, ‘Can you give me any advice?’. And the people who I did that to were the people who gave my first jobs. So, I also entered tried to enter as many schemes as possible. So, Screen Skills is a really great place for people who are wanting to enter into television. And I got my first mentor through that. And he helped me, like, to do my CV, to connect to other people. And again, that was just a job I had just then was through someone who only had my first mentor with about two years ago. So it sort of all kind of starts to connect with it’s quite a small world, but sometimes really feels really daunting. But I think you’ve just, I just tried to put myself out there and be as passionate as I could about the things that I wanted to make. And that’s what I would say, try and make your own stuff. Or if you’re really passionate about it, do something about it yourself. You know, don’t wait for someone to say, ‘Hey, come on to this project’ to do it, sort of start reading, just listening out to what the world is what’s going on in the world, and something will come to you creative and you want to make something about. So yeah, that’s how I’ve got in.

 

Lee Hornsby

Great. I’m so I’m gonna stay with you, actually. So what I want to do is, obviously, this idea I mentioned this earlier, this idea of reaching out to people, almost kind of cold calling people, if you like within the industry has come up. And we talked about networking as well. And a lot of people in the creative industries or students from graduates is certainly the case when I did TV production, that university as well, the idea that it’s not what you know, it’s who you know. And you know, that statement just terrified me at the time, because I was quite shy, not really super confident to put myself out there and do exactly what you did Helena, and what a couple of others on the panel have described as well. So I guess my question is really, now kind of,12 years in the future I kind of understand now that networking is, it’s kind of a skill, like anything else that you just get better at, and the more that you do it, and the more you start doing it. And so I guess just a question, which I’ll put to the rest of the panel as well. But, you know, what would your advice be to a student who’s kind of a little bit scared of networking? You know, what, what would you have liked to hear maybe when it comes to that side of things, and getting your foot and foot in the door?

 

Helena Greening

Yeah, it’s hard, because I think no matter what you hear, at some level, the nerves don’t go away, it probably stays like, you know, even now, sometimes I feel nervous going into a room full of people who I know that I’m probably going to have to talk to at some point because I’d love them to give me a job. But also, because I’d like to obviously know what they’re doing. But I think actually, one of the first pieces of advice I got was actually one of the Creative UK meetups, and it was a panel of people and there was a man called Marquis Stillwell. And he said, people in this room, come and talk to us, don’t be afraid we will hire you. And just that sort of really base level like we want to speak to you come and speak to us, because if you don’t speak to us, you’re missing a trick. And I thought, right, okay, I’m gonna go speak to him then. And actually, that really opened up the door to me them starting to think actually, these people will want to hire me one day, surely you want to get to know people who you want to work with. And I think as I’ve gone on in my career, sometimes if I’ve given someone an email, they’ll now say, ‘Oh, let me put a name to a face and let’s have a coffee’. And actually, that becomes so much easier as you go along because you realise people actually really are invested in you as a person. And as someone who makes and creates, that’s a really nice thing. So I now will probably get more excited about meeting people because it’s like, they’re making incredible stuff. Why wouldn’t I want to go and speak to them? So I’d probably say see it as an opportunity to talk to amazing people who’ve done amazing things and just soak it up or like a sponge really. Don’t be afraid of it even though it’s scary still for me. Yeah, it’s not something you get completely used to.

 

Lee Hornsby

Thank you, Helena. It’s almost relabeling it in your brain right to kind of get away from all of the baggage that that word networking comes with, and just kind of think of it as just meeting and speaking to new people who probably have, you have a lot in common with. DJ Biggoss, you mentioned, you’ve just not long come back from an events, networking with games, companies and things, I imagine that you’ve done a heck of a lot of meeting up with new promoters and reaching out to people. I mean, what advice would you give to people who might be a little bit uncomfortable with that?

 

DJ Biggoss

Initially, I would have said sometimes bring a friend for moral support. Because sometimes when you’re in these places, especially if it’s like an open air or like a bar, and you’re there, and you already feel a bit lost and a bit anxious. So if you’re there with your friend, and then you can sort of talk and like, well, I want to talk to this person, and sometimes they can sort of help you in, if that’s possible. But after we do, you’re not always going to have the opportunity to have a friend. And sometimes you need to sort of do it alone. And I suppose it’s about picking your moments sometimes. Because, you know, sometimes I remember yesterday, there were times I wanted to speak to someone, and they were speaking to somebody else. And during the middle of a conversation, and I just had to sort of stand there and wait, but also let the other person know that I’m waiting to speak to them. So as soon as it finished, the one conversation, sort of started another conversation with them. And you know, at the end they people do at these events, people do want to network, they do want to hear what you’re doing. And people do genuinely want to help other people come up, so to speak. So, yeah, is trying to get rid of the nerves to be fair, and just go and do it.

 

Lee Hornsby

Yeah, definitely. And I think that that’s an important point, though, right, is that generally people are friendly, especially if you do find yourself at a networking event or event where people are kind of mingling, which you know, you will find yourselves out and some different points. People are probably all feel the same as you do as well.

 

DJ Biggoss

So it’s kind of just getting, you’re all in the same boat to be fair. So yeah, you might see groups of people talking and might be put off, or sometimes it’s just because they know each other to me, so yeah, just take a shot.

 

Lee Hornsby

Great stuff. Lydia. Obviously, you described how you shot out lots of emails and reached out to people. Yeah, what would you what advice would you give to people?

 

Lydia Cockerham

Yeah, I think I broadly agree, especially with what Helena said, in that, once you start talking to someone, just, you know, focus on what’s interesting about them, and just treat them as a normal person, because then you can talk to almost anyone, I’ve done a fair bit of networking, and I used to actually be freelance copywriter. So I would go to kind of like events where there were just a whole bunch of people from tons of different industries, and I’d just start talking to them and go, Okay, you’re a lawyer. Cool. And then I’d start talking about legal things. And it’s actually really interesting. So you’ve just got to follow you know, what’s interesting, and especially if they’re in your industry, you might meet people that have worked on, like Helena says, amazing things that you look up to, and suddenly, that’s an incredible opportunity to ask them questions like it, you know, imagine if you meet your favourite documentary maker, ‘oh, my God, what an incredible opportunity’. So definitely see networking has that chance to speak to people that have that experience. And I would agree that broadly, people love to talk about themselves, don’t worry about that. They will, they will chat away, if you just ask them a few questions. I’ll say, ‘Oh, I love this thing you did.’ They’ll definitely talk to you. And I’m kind of get to the stage now where people will message me on LinkedIn and say, ‘Hey, can I chat to you about, you know, getting into games and doing narrative’ and suddenly to be on the other side of it? It’s like, Yeah, I’m happy to chat to people, you know, just 10-15 minutes. I think almost everyone is happy to help people out that way. So yeah, not everyone is terrifying. People do want to be nice. Treat them as interesting people, and you’ll be fine. Yeah.

 

Lee Hornsby

Thanks. And yeah, I think I mean, not everyone, but as humans – definitely me – sometimes you tend to automatically catastrophize everything and think of, well, what’s the worst that could happen? And actually, the worst that can happen is that someone maybe is a bit boring, and they don’t want to talk to you. But that’s definitely the minority of times and you should pull yourself or can you kind of move on to the next one? Ruby, anything from you when it comes to networking tips or advice?

 

Ruby Taglight

I mean, I’d say in terms of sort of selling a product, people love to buy from people that they’ve seen their faces and then you they kind of connect with the personality and therefore connect with a brand much more deeply in and for the long term. So I think it is really important to just introduce yourself and just be really interested and curious and I think that kind of sticks with people. A lot more. So yeah, I think it is important. I mean, I’m a very big introvert as I’m just sort of like huddled away as a maker. But I do understand recently the importance of really sort of just telling people your story. I think everyone, like the story behind a job or anything that you’re creating is really important. And that’s what people connect to. So I definitely think it’s just got to be done, think and follow up, as well.

 

Lee Hornsby

I think that’s a really important point, as well as that kind of, obviously, if you do if you are a bit more introverted, or maybe not quite as confident, or if you’re just starting to reach out to people or meet people think to be being genuine and authentic is really, really important as well, I don’t think anyone should feel like they need to be someone else, even if they’re mustering up a bit of courage to kind of reach out or chat to people. But yeah, kind of building that really genuine relationship is really important as part of the networking process. And Qiangli, what would advice would you give?

 

Helen Qiangli

Yeah, I think I have the same feeling as Ruby. And when I was not the kind of person who like to talk to people a lot in front in front of many people. I think one thing is because my main language, my first language is not English. And I was not confident enough to say yes, to all have the, you know, the, the English native speakers, but I think I did have another type of networking, and that’s also my type is to be brief to some emails. I think that’s the, especially when we were students, or when we just get started, we didn’t have too many people are really very new, lots of people. So if you are interested in some people, or you want them to be your mentor, or you would like to apply for some positions, or even just some inquiries, and just write the emails and send it to them, because the worst thing is, you can’t get an answer. That’s the worst thing. So you won’t lose anything. Just, you can’t get the answer. But you if you didn’t do it, you got nothing. So I feel like that’s the people are more like kind and nice than I thought, when I contact someone, I thought, That’s someone that I really admired. And maybe it’s impossible, he or she could answer my questions or give me some advices or even a mantra, but actually things. You know, if you send 100 emails, even the one person answered, that’s your game, and you know, something, and you can keep in touch. And that’s, I think, the good way to start from the beginners. So I thought I benefit a lot. And then on to the face to face. I think, like Lydia said, just, maybe you say something, because when people have the common interest of topics they would like to talk. If not, it doesn’t matter. Just listen to people and you were just treated. This is you, you can learn from them. And you know, more things you didn’t know. So just the attitude to be relaxed is so important. Yeah.

 

Lee Hornsby

Great, thank you. And I think that is an important distinction to make. The first thing you talk about in terms of there’s a difference between networking online or reaching out to people online and doing it in person, I think there’s a little bit easier to think maybe to ease yourself into doing that via email and LinkedIn, as well as another potential avenue that people can explore. And we’ve got 15 minutes left, I actually wanted to maybe spend 10 minutes or so before I see if we’ve got any questions, I can see a couple of comments. And we’ll try and get to them in a few minutes time. But I wanted to kind of last thing really wanted to put to panellists before we go to questions is obviously you guys, you know, we’re on our way to either a successful career or you’ve already established a successful career or kind of, you’re doing something that you want to be doing and you’ve kind of put the legwork and the hard work into kind of getting up and running. And as a student or graduate kind of your thinking or maybe worrying about all of the potential things that might go wrong, or where things might slow you down. So I’d be really interested to hear from you, as you know, any challenges that you guys have had over the past few years and or just any kind of even if it doesn’t have to be a kind of huge, huge, massive challenge that you’ve overcome, but something that has maybe given you a bit of pause for thought and how you overcame that really. Now, if someone’s got something straight away that comes to mind, do feel free before I pick on anyone.

 

DJ Biggoss

So as I said, I’ve recently moved into music publishing. So the whole 18 months has been a challenge. It’s a new sector. So I’ve had to learn the industry. It’s been hard meeting people, especially, you know, during lockdown, there hasn’t been a networking events. And then when I have been to networking events, I’ve found that they’ve been great. But I’ve never really met anyone who does anything similar to what I do, or Yeah, so I really find that difficult, but speaking to people, emailing people, just doing general research, trying to jump on zooms with people. Like, for example, I got to go to the Scottish gaming expo yesterday, because I received an email from Barclays about business support, responded to the email had a zoom with them. And there was like, Oh, you want to you want to work with gamers and stuff like that? Okay, I’ll put you in touch with XYZ. And then when I spoke to XYZ, XYZ was like, oh, yeah, we’ve got a gaming expo coming up in a few weeks. You can come for free, and stuff like that. So people do want to help. So work is just about talking and just and letting people know what you want and asking for help at times.

 

Lee Hornsby

Right, thank you. So yeah, not being afraid to kind of reach out and say to people, yeah, I need a hand and be patient as well. Lydia, your hand shot up as well.

 

Lydia Cockerham

Yeah, I would, I would say, you know, I’ve been out of University for about eight years now. And my message is imposter syndrome is a real thing. It never goes away. Don’t let it hold you back. You know, everybody has these thoughts that I can’t do this. Even if you’ve done it for years and years, you’ll still think, ‘Oh, how do I do this thing that I’ve done before?’ People can see that I’m inside my head. I don’t know what’s going on. I can’t you know, everyone else has it figured out and I don’t absolutely everyone feels that way. And you know, you can’t let it hold you back. Don’t be that person that you know, will believe those thoughts when so many other people will get jobs that they have opportunities that they don’t really deserve, and you deserve it. So really go for it. You know, you might a lot of times I think you think you’re not ready for opportunities, or you can hold yourself back. But you should never do that you should always think push yourself, you know, you’ll never know if you’re ready unless you try. And often you’re ready far sooner than you think you are. If you just put that little bit of fun. So that would be my thing that I’ve continued to find really hard. So you do just have to believe in yourself and keep trying. Absolutely.

 

Lee Hornsby

Thanks. Yeah, yeah, I’m 34. And I still have impostor syndrome. It’s it doesn’t go away, you just get better at dealing with it. I think. I’ll come to you, Helena, if that’s the right, kind of any big challenges that stick out to you?

 

Helena Greening

Yeah, I’d probably say, I mean, I’ve already spoken about but COVID was a huge challenge. But I won’t go over that again cos it’s pretty self explanatory that it’s hard to get job when there’s a pandemic. And I’d probably say one of the biggest challenges I’ve found as a sort of risen up in different levels is, because I’ve been I mean, I’m not technically a freelancer, because I’m not a limited company. But I’m working on very short contracts again, and again, that’s quite a different thing to get your head around, especially when you leave uni and you’ve been used to just being in school, or being in college or being in university, you’re suddenly bouncing around all over the place and constantly looking for your next job. think that’s a really hard thing to get your head around. Because sometimes when you’re starting out the jobs are a bit few few and far between. I mean, I can only say because I was in COVID, that occasionally I was doing a week of work. And then two weeks ago by do another day of work, or, you know, you get like really little bits here and there. But then slowly the jobs start coming in, and you’ve just got to build your network and wait for thing. You know, I’m at the point now where I can sort of think, oh, there’s this, but maybe there’s that and does this line up with my next job. And so it’s sort of like a bit of a jigsaw puzzle of trying to piece work together. And you always like Eve every single time you think, oh my gosh, am I gonna get another piece of work? You know, am I gonna? Is someone gonna reach out to me or is nobody gonna have anything? And that is a bit of a, it’s a bit hard to do. But you’ve got to sort of hold your nerve and things do come. And, you know, you’ve just got to make sure that, like I said before, you’re reaching out to people, you’re constantly looking at what people are making, telling people that you’d like their work, keeping in touch with companies and things do come and the same goes for really grabbing experiences. You know, when you’re sort of a runner or junior researcher, you’ve got to grab every single experience and have sort of chips at you a bit and you don’t cry. Don’t know what you’re doing sometimes, but just ask people, you know, he’s not gonna be like, No, you should have done this before you should know what you’re doing. Everyone’s gonna be saying, No, of course I can help you, this is what you do. And then you can do it much better. You know, grab cameras, that’s this isn’t my case. But grabbing cameras taking opportunities. You know, they always say to me that it’s very, very male, heavy in my industry about who’s going to sort of get to the technical work. So every time that I’m like, elbows in sort of trying to get ourselves to do those technical things to work with the cameras. So just sort of make yourself be heard and like, really value what you have to bring to something because other people will be doing the exact same thing. So if you don’t shout, other people be shouting louder. So yeah, I’d say just hold your nerve with jobs. And also, make sure you’re selling yourself right and going for every opportunity. You can.

 

Lee Hornsby

Thanks. And yeah, just for, for everyone who’s watching this. About a third of our workforce within the creative industries are self employed just over a third. And that kind of goes higher when you look at different sub sectors like TV and film, for example, and music as well. And yeah, wrapping your head around or getting used to kind of not having a full time job, can be something that might be a bit jarring to begin with. But as you said on there something that yeah, kind of hold your nerve and stick with and then hopefully works out. I’ll come to you, Ruby, if that’s all right, kind of a challenge or something that’s challenged you over the past few years.

 

Ruby Taglight

Yeah, I’d say in terms of sort of establishing my own aesthetic with making, I think, I mean, this is quite jewellery specific, but it’s quite easy to get into the middle ground of selling sort of medium priced, simple jewellery that you know, is going to sell. And I think it is a challenge to stick, I suppose I don’t know, I’m saying stick to your guns a bit and say like, this is what I want to establish myself as and this is the brand, and then sort of not lowering your prices, because you don’t think things are going to sell for your services, and just sort of holding yourself in that high regard. Because I think people know in their mind what their value is, and pricing yourself too low, they’re gonna skip right over you. And just sort of Yeah, being confident that you are a valuable designer, I think.

 

Lee Hornsby

Yeah, even though that’s specific, I think lots of people can apply that to whatever they’re planning on doing. Like making sure that you’re, you know, if you do end up being a freelancer, you know, knowing your rates, what they should be, and kind of being confident about them, or at least building the confidence around them, as well as any obviously, like yourself products that you’re trying to put out there on the market. Qiangli, I’m just conscious of time, but I am going to come to you. What would you say would be has been your biggest challenge, do you think?

 

Helen Qiangli

Yeah, I think my is more practical. Because I’m building up my brand is the biggest challenge is hard to develop the income by finding the outlets for my work and how to build a rapidly reputation that has very difficult for the start. Before I thought that, as long as I do my work that we’re Well, finally we’ll have one day people will see my work and they will not wait, maybe it will be popular. But the fact is, people need to have the chance to see my work first. So I think that reputation is just a long way to go. And I’m still on the way of doing that. But I think what how I started to, as to takes more opportunities, like the computations and the extensions as much as you can and to try to get this as a chance to show your work. And also it can be I think that as the brief of your design or project, maybe the commentation is your client, you just design something based on the brief. And then just treat this as a practice. And no matter you win or lose, that’s also very good practice. So through these expansions and competitions, people started to know my work and start to see the more opportunities and contact me. So I think that’s just the first step. And then the challenge will be how to keep going or how how you can keep being creative and to produce better and better collections. So I think for all the designers, all different fields, need to keep creative is also challenging. But I think a very important thing is to just not be paid, just not sure hurry, be patient. Sometimes I’m stopped, but I think that’s also just give some time to refresh.

 

Lee Hornsby

Thanks, generally, yeah, that idea of patience has come up a few times actually with other people in slightly different contexts. But it’s definitely important one for people to bear in mind. We’ve got a few minutes, we have actually had one question from, from the audience. There’s a couple of couple of actually that have just come in. And we’ll see if we can get through them. And if not, I apologise in advance. One is quite specific – I’ve got a little bit of an answer to this as well – but if anyone wants to come in on this, then that’d be great. So someone is studying production design for Stage and Screen? Does anyone have any advice specifically for them with that, so designing sets and props is quite specific, which they’ve mentioned. So they don’t really know where to start. And I think this might touch on a couple of what you’ve maybe said, Hold on in terms of reaching out to people whose work you admire and things like that. But I don’t know if there’s anything you want us to come in. And quickly on that.

 

Helena Greening

Yeah, I can have a go at that. I mean, one thing I’d say is definitely if you haven’t already look at the screen Skills website, because they do sort of career maps. And that was really helpful for me, I know, they’re sort of sound like Oh, career map, but it’s really helpful sort of look actually where you can go and how you can start on different things. I mean, like I said, with sort of my stuff, even though it is more production and film specific, I would still look in every single credit, that’s what I started doing. Anything you want to and you’ll see the credits on it, look at the websites, where they’re working, try and work out their emails, that’s sort of what I tried to do is, if you can find the end of the email, try different few variations of someone dot last name, first name, and just go for it, you know, try and get in touch with them. And that’s sort of the way to do it. Really, I don’t know if there there might be more specific courses you can do. But I would sort of start by trying to reach out to people and just having a look at where you feel like your career is gonna go.

 

Lee Hornsby

Thanks. And yeah, a specific piece of advice that I would recommend for for that person as well as if you if you do log into our student membership you can get, you can get to our Creative England crew and film database as well, which you can register on. And that might be a good opportunity to kind of hear about what is going on within set design that you might be able to get involved with. And also we’ve got people within that team. And we’re happy to do kind of CV and portfolio reviews as well, particularly for entry level people. So do do have a look there and register.

 

I am going to draw proceedings to a close and just take a few seconds just to say a massive thank you to to all of our panel today for coming along and sharing some of their stories, experiences and challenges there at the end as well. I hope that everyone who’s watching has been able to kind of at least feel like they’re not alone. And that people have gone through this process before, particularly as you’ve been at university and thinking about kind of next steps. And yeah, hopefully given you a bit of inspiration really as to how you can get to where you want to get to. And that’s pretty much it. So thank you, everyone for coming along. I’d say thanks to our panel. Thanks to all of the audience. We have recorded this session as well. So you are able to watch this back if you desire. And we’ll be announcing our next breaking in events, which will probably be very, very early in 2023. But watch this space, and you’ll get some emails about that over the next few weeks. I imagine so yeah. In the meantime, just thanks again to all our panel and thanks to everyone for tuning in and have a lovely evening.