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Archive for the ‘Stories’ Category

Roger’s Journey: tackling technology in just 12 weeks

It is easy to feel left out when trying to understand the rapidly changing technology around us. Especially when you don’t have access to a computer or someone in your life to support your learning. Gaining digital skills, can help people feel more connected to what’s happening in their community and more confident both at work and doing everyday tasks.

Since 2011 our team of staff and dedicated volunteers have run an informal weekly drop-in class which has welcomed people of all ages from Knowle West and across Bristol to learn more about computers, the internet and technology.

A regular attendee of the class is Roger, who bought his first smartphone at the age of 75. He was referred to us by the charity LinkAge as he was hoping to meet more people. Roger has now been attending the weekly drop in for over three months and has grown in confidence in using technology in his everyday life.

Here’s how he tackled technology in just 12 weeks:

Week 1

Roger’s first session. We started with a chat about what he wanted to learn. He brought his new smartphone and we worked together to show him the basics (charging, unlocking, answering calls).

Week 2

We continued to support Roger to get comfortable with the phone, moving onto messaging, adding contacts and understanding the operating software of the device.

Week 3

Roger downloaded his first app. He then found apps for news, sport and billing for his phone provider. That afternoon he joined us at our Celebrating Age event and tried a virtual reality headset in our technology taster session. We introduced him to south Bristol social groups including a local history group and retired men’s woodworking group.

Gallery

Week 4

One month in, Roger started to learn more about browsing the web and being safe online. We supported him to resolve an issue by contacting a company via their help pages online.

Week 5

We introduced Roger to Learn My Way, a free website which provides online courses in using computers and navigating the internet. We also continued to help him get the most out of his smartphone and he started to watch sport on an app when out and about.

Week 6

This was Roger’s second week progressing through the Learn My Way online courses. He also continued to browse the web with our support.

Week 7

Roger received a letter prompting him to renew his driving licence online and we helped him through the online process. He brought in photographs of his fishing success stories and we discussed how he could digitally scan them and share them online.

Week 8

We supported Roger to check his pension and savings accounts securely online. Together we also researched social clubs and art classes in his local area.

Week 9

Roger learned how to travel the world on Google Earth. We virtually toured a restaurant he visited in Malta over 20 years ago.

Week 10

We continued progressing through the Learn My Way online courses and Roger shared the news with us that he had joined a running rugby group.

Week 11

This week saw more web browsing and we started learning about online shopping.

Week 12

Roger won a ham at a local raffle so he researched cooking tips and recipes using online video tutorials.

We’re really proud of the progress that Roger has made and we’re looking forward to learning new things with him each week. Our drop-in sessions are free for the first six weeks and then just £3 per session.

We’re always keen to welcome new members and volunteers to the class, so if you’d like to refresh your digital skills or start from scratch get in touch and join us.

Celebrating Women of Knowle West

2018 marks 100 years since the right to vote was extended to some women in Britain. Activities and celebrations will be taking place across our city and country this year and we’re keen to make sure that the women of our community are recognised and remembered.

Through our recent projects exploring local history and celebrating the hidden talents and skills of local people, we’ve seen that many women in Knowle West have made great things happen in their community and beyond, and had a profound impact on the lives of others.

Beginning on International Women’s Day (8th March 2018), we’ll be gathering stories about amazing Knowle West women and creating a special Women of Knowle West gallery at www.knowlewest.co.uk

Illustration by Joff Winterhart

Do you know an inspiring woman or group of women from Knowle West?  If so, we’d love to celebrate them!

She could be well-known or known only to you. Maybe she’s a friend, relative, or neighbour. She could be someone you’ve never met, an inspiring woman who has passed away, or a historical figure.

We’re keen to hear about:

– women living, working or volunteering in Knowle West (past and present)
– historical figures with a connection to Knowle West
– groups of women
– women of all ages and backgrounds

Share a story

If you’d like to share a story, please get in touch with us and tell us:

Your name and contact details
The name of the woman / group you’d like to celebrate
Why they’re special to you (100 words or less)

You can e-mail us at enquiries@kwmc.org.uk, call 0117 903 0444 or text 07520 634144.

Everyone who sends at least one story will receive a free photoshoot session later this year!*

Terms

Stories: Stories will be published at www.knowlewest.co.uk. They may also be displayed at Knowle West Media Centre (for example, in our annual showcase event) and feature in publications created by KWMC (such as our annual report).

Privacy: We understand that some women may appreciate being put forward for the collection but may wish to remain anonymous or keep details of their story private. We may need to seek permission from a woman or group of women before their story is included, or edit the story you have submitted to protect their privacy.

*Photoshoot: everyone who shares at least one story before 31st May 2018 will receive a free photoshoot session. We will offer at least two dates for you to choose from and dates will be confirmed soon. Photoshoots will take place at KWMC and will last approximately 15 minutes each. You will need to come ready to be photographed: make-up and styling is not included.  After the photoshoot you will receive digital copies of photographs taken during the session.  KWMC will retain the copyright of these pictures; you are welcome to print them or use them for personal use but we ask that you contact us if you would like to use them for other purposes (such as for business).

Texting: The text number is a text-only number and calls will not be connected. You will be charged your standard network rate.

Illustration credit: Joff Winterhart

Change Creators: XLR Collective meet Life Coach Sam Holman

This week the XLR Collective looked beyond the launch of their campaign to challenge gender harassment, Hack a Heckle, to consider their hopes and fears for the future.  Campaign Leader Will explains more…

17th July 2017, KWMC

This week’s session started early, with three of the collective meeting Daniel (Communication Coordinator for the Young People’s programme) for a chance to plan the social media strategy for Hack a Heckle. Our primary sites are Facebook, Twitter and Instagram, but we will also be utilising Soundcloud, Bandcamp and YouTube throughout the campaign. The four of us agreed on things like tone of voice, post frequency, and different types of content.

We were then joined by Euella from Rife Magazine and we explained about the Collective and what we had done so far during the course of the leadership programme. We spoke about the [Hack a Heckle] campaign in detail and what we wanted to achieve at the end of it. Ella was really interested in what we were saying so she decided to record an interview with us and we hope to partner with her and Rife more during the campaign.

Gallery

After the rest of the collective joined us at the Media Centre, we were greeted by Sam Holman, a life coach and careers advisor from Holsam Life Coaching. She spoke to us about letting go of internal fears and visualising success. Sam taught us an alternative to SMART Goals which allowed us to think deeply about what we want to see, hear and feel when the campaign is over. It also made us think about any negative effects, either personal or professional, that success can create and how we can limit these during the campaign itself.

Using a piece of string to represent our life, Sam then made us pinpoint different stages of life and think about what our fears are at present, where they may have originated from and what advice an older version of us would give. This definitely gave an alternative way of looking at our current situations and has given the group some fresh ideas of how to move forward with the campaign and where it might go afterwards.

Written by Will Sissons

Follow us at:
www.facebook.com/xlrmusicuk/
@xlrmusicuk @change_creators
#xlrcollective
Insta: @xlrmusicuk

Check out Holsam life coaching here:
http://www.holsamlifecoaching.com/
https://www.facebook.com/holsamlife

Women in Film: From Her POV Week Twelve

Catch up with the young women on the From Her Point of View training programme, as their time with us is nearing its end. Hear from Kerrie, one of the young women taking part in the training who is also acting as Press Agent for the films…

Week Twelve

It’s week 12 and we’re back from our Easter break straight into post-production. That’s right, both films have now wrapped! Before I tell you about what we got up to this week, I just wanted to backtrack a little to last week, where I have a little anecdote to share around my experience of filming with the Black Cherry crew, whose last day of filming fell on our Easter break from usual sessions at Knowle West Media Centre.

I’ve only ever been on a set once before in my life, as an extra, but have always been fascinated by the energy they create and have around them. It can be by its very nature a hectic and overwhelming place to be, but I personally love being around the whole atmosphere. Being on an all-female crew set is extra special in this respect: it felt very empowering! Though I wasn’t able to stay for the duration of the shoot, I learned a very important lesson: never offer to look after your sound recordist’s car keys if you know you will be leaving set in a hurry. I realised when I got home, and my dad had to drive back up to set and return the keys to Holly, Black Cherry’s producer!

Back to this week though, where Thursday evening was spent watching the rough assembly of Black Cherry. As with watching Blood Warriors’ rough assembly, it was brilliant to see the film start coming together, and everyone was full of praise and helpful critique for going forward and finishing the edit. I marvel at Redi and Sookie’s patience and how easy they have made the editing of both these films look given how frustrated I got over our foray into editing a few weeks ago. [I] thought if both rough assemblies were anything to go by, these films are going to be very special indeed!

Friday’s session saw us recall Tara’s words around film festival submissions, to give us a platform onto thinking about where both teams might want to go in terms of [their] publicity strategy moving forward. Both teams started researching potential festivals, working on crew bios, thinking about tag and log lines for their films and setting up social media pages and profiles. The films aren’t yet ready to screen, but we’ve learned it really helps to plan ahead and we’re all inspired by the potential and possibilities that are ahead!

Next time, we review and grade footage and enter a brave new world of virtual reality…

This programme is supported by Creative Skillset’s Film Skills Fund, with BFI’s Film Forever National Lottery funds.

Women in Film: From Her POV Week Eleven

It’s Week 11 here at From Her Point of View and filming is underway. Catch up with Kerrie, one of the young women taking part in the training who is also acting as Press Agent for the films…

Week Eleven

So, filming is underway, how cool is that? If that wasn’t enough, Blood Warriors have wrapped! Unfortunately I was unable to attend any of their shoot days but all the team tell me they had an incredible time, and if the photography from the day was anything to go by, the ladies have created something they rightly should be very proud of. Much of their filming took place down on Dean Lane at the Skate Park and beyond, where they had amazing weather!

Team Black Cherry were also setting up to film following Blood Warriors’ wrap this week. Unfortunately again I was unable to attend, this time due to my four wheels and the nature of their interior locations. I was thrilled to be attending their final day though, over our Easter break from official sessions at Knowle West. More on that next time…

With filming almost under our belts, we returned to KWMC on Thursday for a session with Tarah Judah: writer, programmer, broadcaster, and Director at Bristol’s very own 20th Century Flicks. Over the course of her career, Tarah has served on several selection committees and juries for film festivals, including: IFFR, Berlinale Forum, Kurzfilmtage Oberhausen, CIFF, Glasgow SFF, MIFF, Revelations Film Festival Perth, Encounters Short Film Festival Bristol, MIM, and the AACTA and ATOM Awards.

Those impressive credentials in mind, Tarah was the perfect candidate to speak with us about festival submissions. As has been a trend with my participation in the programme, I know nothing about film festivals, so this session was an eye-opener and if I’m being honest, a little overwhelming!

It seems to be a really daunting task, submitting one’s work for a panel of experts to critique and decide whether they want to show it. And it is daunting, but Tarah suggested that proper research and preparation is the way to negotiate the bumpy ride to festival submission. Have a sense of your film’s identity and where you think it might belong on the circuit. Cast your net as widely as you’d like but be aware of each festival’s rules: some may not take a film that has already been screened elsewhere and so on. Costs also come into play for some, especially the bigger, more prestigious festivals.

Tied hand in hand with research is having a plan for what you want for your film which will guide where you place it: for example, some festivals have prize money, others filmmakers are drawn to for the prestige alone.

Whichever festival you choose, know that it is often a difficult road, particularly for novice filmmakers so a thick skin is a must. More than that, never lose your conviction. New talent and ideas is how this industry will keep ticking over, and it was heartening to hear Tarah speak so passionately and enthusiastically.

As well as Tarah coming to speak to us, we also watched a rough first edit of Blood Warriors! It was amazing to see the film being completed and start being polished and you’ll see after our Easter break this feeling once again abound when Black Cherry wrap…

This programme is supported by Creative Skillset’s Film Skills Fund, with BFI’s Film Forever National Lottery funds.

Women in Film: From Her POV Week Ten

Week Ten in the From Her Point of View was a milestone: the two groups began shooting their films! Catch up with Kerrie, one of the young women taking part in the training who is also acting as Press Agent for the films…

Week Ten

Well folks, the week was finally upon us: time to put everything we’ve learned so far into practise and get down to the nitty gritty business of why we amazing women were all brought together: to make two short films!

Before production commenced though, Noomi [Yates, Programme Coordinator] and the team at Knowle West Media Centre held a special event: an opportunity to and network with guests – women who are at the top of their game in the film and television industries.

There was also a panel discussion exploring some of the issues female filmmakers come across.  Those of us on the From Her Point of View programme were also invited, to be a part of the networking and to highlight what the programme is all about. Unfortunately, this Press Agent was ill and unable to attend the evening, which made me sad and relieved in equal measure. I say relieved for the pure and simple reason that I’ve never been great at networking or approaching people to start conversations. I’m not great at selling myself to people or having confidence in my abilities, so I probably would have been the shy one in the corner waiting for folks to come to me; not a great series of traits at an event like this!

Having said that, I’ve learned a lot about myself and how I can be better thanks to the example set by these amazing ladies. If I’m to get to where I want to be and get my foot in the door of a creative industry like this, I need to have confidence in myself and what I’m able to do, so in that sense I’m incredibly sad to have missed the event. I’ll be brushing up my skills for any more networking events that come my way.

There wasn’t a session on Friday, due to the fact the ladies had films to shoot! Stay tuned for next week where, along with some filming updates, we had a lesson on submitting our films to festivals…

This programme is supported by Creative Skillset’s Film Skills Fund, with BFI’s Film Forever National Lottery funds.

Women in Film: From Her POV Week Nine

This week’s blog from the From Her Point of View programme was a mix of some final pre-production preparation and an insight into post-production editing, with a little help from the puppetry shorts complete last week! Catch up with Kerrie, one of the young women taking part in the training who is also acting as Press Agent for the films…

Week Nine

Week Nine was a rather exciting one here at From Her Point Of View, in that the ladies are very nearly ready to begin shooting their films! Initial auditions for both films have been held, with callbacks and more to come.

I was thrilled to see that the Blood Warriors production crew had such an amazing response to advertising their auditions: there were upwards of twenty young women of all different looks and personalities from different backgrounds and with different skillsets. Myself, Ellie and Rosa  all remarked how surreal but brilliant it was that somewhere in this room Blood Warriors would find their three leading ladies.

The auditions felt pretty relaxed, using some of the techniques Esther had taught us about Intention and Obstacle, but tying these in with games and scenarios to see how the actors interact with one another – important given that Rosa’s film [Blood Warriors] has a central three-way friendship that underpins it. I was blown away by the level of talent and rather sad I wasn’t able to attend call-backs!

The auditions process for Black Cherry was much more intimate: involving a read through of Kam’s script and being asked a few questions, all on film. The auditions I attended were brilliant, but I think it was decided that they needed more time to focus on finding their leads, specifically [the character of] Ange. That in mind, more auditions were pencilled in for this evening

Now with initial auditions out of the way, Thursday’s session involved the final nuts and bolts of pre-production prep: shooting dates were locked in for both films, shot lists and storyboards finalised, call sheets [were] put together. Blood Warriors had sorted out their location for their first day of shooting and were busy putting together an event to publish on social media to attract extras for the crowds. Black Cherry were also coming together to go through their next steps ahead of shooting, including catching up on where things stood in relation to sets, costume and locations, before heading off to meet more of their prospective cast members and audition them!

Friday’s workshop saw us reunite with all the puppet brilliance we’d created last week, to have a go at editing! We had to [look through] every single piece of footage, known as rushes, find the shots we liked best, and edit them into a unique film. This was probably the only time in the history of the course so far that I found the workshop difficult, given that I personally found the software really fiddly and intricate to use that by the end I hadn’t produced anything I was happy sharing with the group. That being said, I did enjoy learning about the process and will practise more in future.

This programme is supported by Creative Skillset’s Film Skills Fund, with BFI’s Film Forever National Lottery funds.

Women in Film: From Her POV Week Eight

This week’s blog from the From Her Point of View programme features a lesson in puppetry: both the creative scope it can lend to a project and practical puppet making techniques.  Catch up with Kerrie, one of the young women taking part in the training who is also acting as Press Agent for the films…

Week Eight

Week Eight brought with it the bonus of an extra session on Wednesday, a newcomer to the Blood Warriors crew, and our first session outside of Knowle West Media Centre! We headed to KWMC: The Factory, a space for all kinds of creative enterprise, including furniture making, signage, installations, exhibitions, and bespoke commissions.

We POV ladies would be receiving a masterclass in puppetry from Marc Parrett, whose company Monster World specialises in the making of all kinds of puppetry and animated theatrical props. Marc began by showing us a few of his creations, including a fuzzy felt mouse on rollerblades, a dog with a chainsaw in place of a head , a miniature version of Audrey from Little Shop of Horrors in bud form (the bigger, more maniacal plant, Audrey 2 is also a specialty!) and a smaller version of the puppet used in Bristol Old Vic’s 2016 production of The Snow Queen, which I was overjoyed to realise I’d watched. I’m a massive fan of theatre, and the design of sets, props and puppetry, like the kind Marc does, really excites and interests me.

I loved Art at school, but haven’t actually made anything arty or crafty for a good few years, so just on the basis of those two things alone I was incredibly excited to see what Marc had in store for us. On the other hand, my disability means I don’t have great co-ordination which is a bit of a challenge when doing a workshop like this. I needn’t have worried though, Marc was ever patient and accommodating.

We all started with two things: newspaper and tape. Marc talked us through the various stages of creation, and eventually after much folding, cutting and sticking, we each had the bare bodies and heads of our respective puppets. We could accessorise and animate them as we saw fit and the variety of individual characters we ended up with was pretty amazing, including a granddad, a manic chef, a punk rocker and a mummy!

After our creations were complete we did a little filming, just of all of us sitting round together having a mess around with our puppets. This sparked a plan for our second day…

The plan? Make a  short film featuring our eclectic cast of puppets!

Day Two with Marc was spent coming up with ideas for the film and delegating jobs when we were set on our vision. It was decided to emphasise the newspaper print aspect of our puppets and shoot in black and white, and we settled on the puppets being on a cruise where all kinds of shenanigans ensue, including a run in with a sea monster!

Some incredible props were made by the ladies, including a dining room table, a chandelier decorated with nuts and bolts and motorised fish main course, as well as the boat and waves. I gave Marc a hand with the sea monster, making the mechanism to move the head, and painting our creature.

On Day Three we filmed!

It was so much fun and I think we were all really proud of our achievements – and how much we achieved in such a short space of time with no set brief. Being let loose to have a bit of fun and create something from nothing is really liberating and I think I once again rediscovered my love of being arty, even though my disability sometimes means this is a little bit trickier for me!

This programme is supported by Creative Skillset’s Film Skills Fund, with BFI’s Film Forever National Lottery funds.

Women in Film: From Her POV Week Seven

This week’s blog from the From Her Point of View programme features an insight into production design and filmmaking theory. Catch up with Kerrie, one of the young women taking part in the training who is also acting as Press Agent for the films…

Week Seven

Week Seven was a pretty exciting one, as we are getting ever closer to the crews being able to commence shooting on their films!

Thursday’s session was a mix, partly devoted to more pre-production prep: talk about locations, shot lists, shooting schedules, props, production design and script drafts abounded. Team Blood Warriors were also abuzz with excitement about finalising their upcoming audition workshop at the weekend to find their three leading ladies! We also had a masterclass in Feminist film theory, exploring such things as how the “male gaze” dominates the film industry and how the “female gaze” differs… one might say incredibly appropriate for International Women’s Day, right?

Being the publicist on the project, I had an idea of conducting/filming a mini interview with each of the ladies, for our readers to get to know us all a little better and what attracted us to want to be involved in From Her Point of View. Florence, Blood Warriors’ Director of Photography, even bought her camera in and we had an awesome black and white photo shoot of team and individual portraits.

Gallery

Production Design

Friday’s session saw us joined by Carrie Love, for some insight into production design. Carrie has worked as a freelancer in a vast range of TV and film projects and been everything from a runner to prop-maker, designer and Art Director. She spoke with us about her creative process when she designs the look and feel of a set and how it might be useful for [our] Art Department to make themselves a spreadsheet for the duration of shooting, to make notes of anything they need for particular dates, scenes and so on.

Being involved in this side of the industry is probably the one I find most appealing beyond writing, but I’ve never found myself as the kind of person who is good at the practical side of making things and I’m not much better when it comes to the programmes on a computer that let you do […] this kind of thing!

That in mind, I watched in adoration as both teams set about making props to dress their sets – Black Cherry were working on posters for [their character] Ben’s room, record sleeves, and patches for Ben’s costume, while Blood Warriors were also working on posters for bedrooms and BMX competitions!

Next week I found I would be more hands-on as we ventured out to KWMC The Factory, where all kinds of building and making type magic happens. Our kind of magic? The puppetry kind…

This programme is supported by Creative Skillset’s Film Skills Fund, with BFI’s Film Forever National Lottery funds.

Women in Film: From Her POV Week Six

This week’s blog from the From Her Point of View programme features an introduction to visual storytelling and a run-down of animation techniques commonly used in film and TV. Catch up with Kerrie, one of the young women taking part in the training who is also acting as Press Agent for the films…

Week Six

Week Six saw us ladies delve into the realms of visual storytelling and animation. As has been the awesome thing about this course, it’s given us the opportunity to learn so many new skills and once more I was a complete novice (been a bit of a habit this, eh?) to animation beyond appreciating the final product and not really knowing much about the depth of the process it takes to put one together.

First though, we began with visual storytelling. This is essentially about the choices the creative team make and techniques they use that allow them to tell their story and convey their message in the best possible way. For example, do they have dialogue? No dialogue? Music? Do scenes refer to earlier ones, or foreshadow later events?

Shot Choices will often be important to your storytelling and we focused on wide shots and close ups. We explored their significance to a film’s tone (for example, wide shots are useful for comedic scenes) and how such choices affect our reaction to the scene.

Films we looked at in relation to many of these techniques included: Braveheart, No Country For Old Men, Harold & Maude, Up, and Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind. We also looked at a couple of commercials, including one for furniture that threw us all a total emotional curveball! 

As an aspiring professional writer, I often find it difficult to think of my work in visual terms instead of words on a page. After this session though, I began to think that if I shift my focus and try to imagine these words on film and how certain “scenes” look rather than just read on the page, I might become a more rounded writer and better storyteller. I was even beginning to think I should try my hand at writing a screenplay, a desire I’d only briefly indulged during our screenwriting session a few weeks back. The session generated some lively discussion of some of our favourite techniques, directors and styles, and once more left me with a raft of works to check out, as it seems I have lived a very sheltered film viewing life to date!

Introduction to Animation

BAFTA winning Bristol-based filmmaker and animator Emma Lazenby joined us a little later on in Thursday’s session, to give us a crash course introduction to animation. This included a little history and a run down of the types:

3D stop motion (everybody say: Wallace & Gromit!)
2D Computer cutout
2D Computer
Cell Animation
2D Drawn

We also had a practical where we got to try our hands at PIXELATION, which was great fun!

Sadly I was absent for Friday’s session, but team Black Cherry seemed to have a lot of fun experimenting, so I was informed ?

Next time, it’s Art Department’s time to shine as we are joined by Carrie Love to talk us through Production design!

This programme is supported by Creative Skillset’s Film Skills Fund, with BFI’s Film Forever National Lottery funds.

Contact Us

Knowle West Media Centre
Leinster Avenue
Knowle West
Bristol
BS4 1NL
+44 (0) 117 903 0444
enquiries@kwmc.org.uk

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