Easter break – time for my personal projects

It has come to my attention that Easter break is over. It’s hard for me to call it a ‘break’ – it felt pretty busy. Here’s what I’ve been up to:

Filming the GLAD conference in Ellen Terry

There was a conference that needed to be filmed about teaching Art and Design in UK universities, which was quite interesting to attend – I got some insider information how the Art and Design courses are trying to cope with the new Tuition fees situation, what their marketing and business approach is, etc.

In terms of filming, I was operating two cameras – one that was static and kept for ‘backup’ shots, and another one that was focused on filming the speakers in a more closeup style. The other girl from Media Production stage 2 was operating another closeup camera in the front rows (I was in the back) – so we got some nice shots, and I think we did pretty well on this task.

I need to write more about the day in a separate blog post.

First job interview in the UK

I applied for a job with the Admissions and Recruitment office at Coventry University, and was invited for an interview. I had crafted my written application and even though I didn’t have relevant experience, I think it had grabbed their attention and they wanted to check out what I am about. Unfortunately, they informed me on the next day that I wasn’t successful, and even though I kept a professional and relaxed attitude on the interview, the answers I gave didn’t match what they expected from a successful applicant.

A very good thing about applying for a job with the University was that they offered to send me written feedback on how I did at the interview. It was a very detailed and extremely useful description of my strong and weak moments, what I need to improve etc. I was very grateful to receive this feedback, especially as it was my first interview in the UK and I need to know what I’m doing wrong so I can improve my chances for other jobs I am applying to.

(Hey! I am searching for a part time job in or around Coventry , so if you know someone looking for a technical / media / web assistant– or you are looking for one yourself – here’s my CV – please give me a shout at hi@rumenazlatkova.net, or on Twitter – @Rumena_Zlatkova.)

I have a new fan

As I wrote in my Social media usage blog post, I am an active Last.fm user. I have a ‘friend’ (the inverted commas are because I don’t know him in person yet) there whose music taste is very similar to mine, so we are exchanging track recommendations almost every day. Sometimes it’s also videos, interesting links, etc. So at one of these occasions, I sent him the link to the short film we made last term, which I think made him curious, and since then he’s been following and commenting my Daily uploads on Flickr, sending me links to short films, etc.

It feels really good to have someone who’s appreciating your work and is even taking the time to add a comment. In these ‘busy’ digital times where everyone is just browsing, clicking links and moving on to something else (maybe with the occasional ‘like’ if the website has such an option), I feel honoured to have someone actually comment on what I’m doing. He’s probably reading this post right now, so here’s a shoutout to Ziggy 🙂

Exploring the area in search for nature’s miracles

I am lucky to live in Coventry’s suburbs – which makes it easier to access the countryside than to go to the city centre. Nature has always been a very important part of my life, so I was feeling a bit down for not keeping my connection to it for the last couple of months. Especially after I started recording sound around our house in Coventry and what I thought was a quiet neighbourhood turned out to be yet another area with cars – the microphones were picking up more traffic noises than anything else – I knew I needed to find a more peaceful and quiet area where no cars can be heard.

I found some great places around Allesley village, plus I met a lovely old couple living there who even invited me to tea – so whenever the weather allowed it (and I was lucky this April was very sunny), I set off either on foot or with my bike to explore the Allesley countryside (always with the camera of course). Here are some of my findings:Focus on yellow

Up

Then on Easter, we kept the family tradition and instead of staying at home and stuffing ourselves with food, we set off for a long walk. I had found a small forest an hour and a half away from home (I had actually only seen it on Google Maps), and I really wanted to go there – here is what I found along the way:

Is storm coming?

Little purple something

I got so excited about these flowers, that I set the camera to a continuous mode and made big series of photos. I am thinking about turning these into a stop motion video, and I have even found a music track for it:

And yes, Moby is giving away some of his music for free use in student and personal projects on mobygratis.com.

What is more, he has teamed up with Saatchi & Saatchi and Vimeo for a video contest, so filmmakers can try and make a video for one of his new songs. More details about the contest (deadline is soon) can be found here:
http://vimeo.com/saatchiandsaatchi

Redesigning my website

I spent a few days looking at other personal / portfolio websites for inspiration and designing my own home page. Last two versions of it used the WordPress platform for content management, but now I want to focus on a less bulky solution and something that’s easier to maintain. So I am designing it as simple HTML pages with a very minimalistic design, with emphasis on the content – most of the work I am showcasing there will be hosted on sites like Flickr and Vimeo and I will just embed it on the website. Plus, I am planning to hand in this project for my final 161MC website assignment – I think it matches the criteria outlined in the brief.

While planning the design, I had a very tough time struggling with the website navigation – I wanted a very simple but straightforward menu with subcategories and separate HTML pages for each project I am showcasing, with big previews and focus on the visual previews. Around this time, I stumbled upon some very cool Windows Phone 7 presentations and design guidelines, so I was inspired to produce something as simple and useful as the WP7 user interface. Here are some of the elements that inspired me:

And here are a couple of websites I found with interesting and minimalistic approach to navigation:
http://www.madebytj.com/
http://jamesmli.net/portfolio.php
http://www.giantantmedia.com/archive.php
http://riotindustries.com/

Finally, after days of browsing around, I found the perfect example of a personal website. It is almost 100 % the idea I had, but was struggling to decide how to best execute it. Note the simple yet effective design and the emphasis on typography:

Jan Reichle

I still don’t have a final version for my website design, so I won’t post any screenshots here yet – instead, when it’s ready, I will write a separate blog post about the design process and the final result.

Two more excellent marks for my University modules

I received the last two marks for 161MC and 162MC – 77 % and 78 % – which I am more than happy about. I still haven’t read the feedback for 162MC, so I’m looking forward to it. These continued the row of Firsts I got this year, with the only exception in the essay for 105MC where due to poor referencing I got 56 %. I hope I keep my grades high so the University can renew my Academic scholarship 🙂

Other university projects – I have to admit, I’m a bit behind

To be honest, I haven’t spent much time on the TV studio project, and haven’t been following the discussion in the Facebook group. I don’t know why – but I just kept putting it off for the last minute. The same is true about my Add+vantage assignment – it’s due for next week and I haven’t even started working on it. So while some projects got all of my attention, these two were left behind. I do work well under pressure, so I think I will be able to cope with them in the next couple of days, so fingers crossed 🙂

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