Arts Award Leadership – The Review of ‘The Echo Shop’ Project (Arts Award Unit 2E)

Arts Award Leadership – The Review of ‘The Echo Shop’ Project


What happened on the project?

For my arts award Leadership I chose to create a short community film whilst leading a group of 5 students from The Herford Academy. They would film and interview member of ECHO and organisation from Leominster that help people with learning disabilities, mental health issues & physical impairments. I briefed the students when we first started in the morning about what we had to achieve and gave roles out and asked them to swap over at certain intervals so everyone had the chance to have a go on all the equipment.

During the day of filming we spent a few hours in the shop capturing cutaways, but I had to demonstrate how to the camera worked, as the participants from The Hereford Academy needed to recap how to use the camera. With everything fresh in their minds they were able to film the entire day. They Spent ½ the day filming cutaways of the shop and then conducting interviews for the other ½. I then took all the footage away and watched through it all jotted notes down on how to arrange the film in the editing stage. I edited the film over the course of a few days and uploaded the final result to my film portfolio on Vimeo.

What was produced/ the end result?

The end product for the project was a Short Community Film which can be viewed online at or by a DVD provided.

What did you enjoy most?

During the whole process of the project, I enjoyed editing the film the most, as I specialize in editing, this gave me the opportunity to be creative and make the film. It’s all about placing the pieces of the interviews to create the story in the edit, with all the interviews that the students conducted whilst being led by myself. But I did enjoy the filming process with The Hereford Academy participants. I felt that I had done a good job, but it was my first time leading a group so I done the best I possibly could.

What did you find most difficult/ complicated?

I found being the leader for once was a huge obstacle for me to overcome, but I had to overcome this problem very quickly otherwise the project would fail and the film wouldn’t be as good as it is. The participants trusted me as their leader, which gave me confidence to excel in the project.

We came up with a problem in the filming, where we had all sat down and wrote out questions for the participants to ask the interviewees. We targeted out questions towards the volunteers of the company and members of the workplace of ECHO. We then realised that we missed out questions about the participants of ECHO whilst filming so we quickly tweaked various questions.

What was the feedback from others?

I asked the participants from the Hereford Academy after the full day of filming, with all the new knowledge about filmmaking fresh in mind I presented them with a questionnaire about the event.

The feedback from the participants in my group was very positive. 2 of the students quoted that “the Experience” is what they most enjoyed about the day.

3 of them said that “Sound” was the skill that they learnt most about at the ECHO film shoot.

Everyone agreed that they benefitted from working with a community group, which was ECHO.

All 5 students agreed with the question I asked, “Do you think that your trainer gave you the chance to voice your views & ideas on the film shoot? They all said “Yes” their opinions were heard on the day as it was their film.

80% of the people found the film shoot “fun” “inspiring” & “Creative”.

40% found the day “challenging.”

20% found it “useful.”

Everybody agreed that I was clear & communicated effectively.

What do you think about the feedback?

The feedback that I received back from the participants, I was very pleased with. I feel that the students really took away something from the film shoot. 2 of the students said that “the Experience” was what they most enjoyed about making the film. So I feel that I gave the participants the best chance & opportunity to work on this project.

Also I feel that most of them found the day “fun” “inspiring” & “Creative” that makes me see that I done a good job and I led them all well. I’m proud that they all enjoyed themselves and their taking something away with them.

What have you learnt about leadership and communication?

I learnt from leading the project is that you have to know every aspect of what you’re doing, and also see it from your participants’ perspective.  You need to clear have a plan of action which I had. I knew what I was doing throughout the day, which is shown in Task 2 B in the project in the form of a schedule. I know what gets the participants going as being a young person myself. I was able to tap into what I would do to motivate myself, but then using that method on the young people, so it became easier in a sense.

I learnt from the project that it was a bit difficult at first to understand the participants from training, but when it came to the film shoot the group knew that I was the leader. So they all knew my role in the project and they all saw how important it all was. I found that having a group discussion at the beginning of the day was a great way to make sure the group knew what exactly they were all doing.

What have you learnt about planning?

I learnt that planning in a project such as this is key to keeping on track and I found that out first hand. I found in previous film project I’ve worked on that not having enough planning can crumble later processes of the filmmaking experience. You may not know where and when or what you’re doing. But in this ECHO film project I have provided plenty of evidence which has helped me throughout the whole filmmaking process, from the idea of the film to scheduling to time and places and even editing. It all adds up if you lack any form of planning as it may cause you a problem at a later stage.

What have you learnt about your art form?

From my chosen arts form I learnt how to lead a group of young people on a film shoot as well as how to approach interviews with people with multiple disabilities. These were 2 tasks I had never done before so I am glad that I had the chance to work with these the people involved in the project. I realise that this has opened some doors in the future for me now. I have proved that I can lead a group of young people.

What would you do differently next time?

Next time I would like to see that I can work with young people, but try not to make the mistakes that I made in this making of the film. If I were to take on the project again, I would do a little more research into the organisation & prepare a few backup questions for my interviews. Next time, I would like to have a more detailed lesson plan prepared before teaching the participants. The training I delivered was successful; however a structured lesson plan would give me more confidence teaching.


Finally, I feel that the Leadership Project on The ECHO Shop was a success and I’m proud of all the work that was been produced & it couldn’t have been done without the hard work of the participants from the Hereford Academy.

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Arts Practitioner Interview (Arts Award Unit 1 D)

For this task I will be interviewing local arts practitioner Toni Cook.  Toni is a freelancer who works with members of the community on media projects. As well as facilitating community engagement, Toni directs and produces short documentaries. I had the opportunity to be on various shoots with Toni during my traineeship at Rural Media. Working with Toni has given me an insight into what it’s like to be an arts practitioner in Herefordshire.

I worked with Toni on:

Rainbows Nursery

Y – Zone Bikers Gone Wild

The Aconbury Centre

Interview with Toni Cook:

Could you explain what a freelance filmmaker is?

Being freelance means that you work for yourself, you are self-employed. For me it means that I can work with a wide range of artists, practitioners and organisations. Sometimes an organisation might bring me in to deliver a certain project or just part of it because I have a specialism that they don’t have or sometimes it can be just because they need more people than they have working for them. It is important as a freelancer that you work for a number of people as if you only work for one organisation that you are not technically self-employed.

Being a freelance filmmaker in my mind means someone who goes off and makes their own films, their key art form is film and that is where they excel and are most interested. I would not describe myself as a freelance filmmaker as I do not do that. I am a freelance drama practitioner, director, facilitator, creative arts consultant and sometimes in my practice I am lucky enough to use film as a way of working but I am not a specialist! You have seen that for yourself.

Why do you do it?

I do it because I love it! I am a creative person and am most happy when working in a creative environment. I love to work with people, I love to laugh. I enjoy working with young people, particularly those who are seen as troubled. I love to hear people’s stories and try to work in a way in which I can thread them into something interesting.

What role do you take on a film shoot? What is your speciality in Film?

My film experience has been peculiar as I on my first shoot I was the director (admittedly with a huge amount of support from producer and dop) My speciality is the story, directing actors, drawing out the emotion rather than being good at anything technical although I am quite good at putting up tripods.

I have also worked alongside John Humphreys as assistant producer on the Amplifying Voices project which was great as I could use my organisational abilities to make everything happen for the filmmaking team.

How did you get known as a freelance Filmmaker?

I approached RMC when I moved to Hereford with my CV which was lacking in any film work although I have worked in drama and theatre for many years.

Do you think there is much opportunity locally in Hereford?

There is not a huge amount as it is a small city and funding is difficult to come by and there are also a number of companies and freelancers chasing the same work although I think if you are good and committed then opportunities can be found.

What type of training/experience/skills do you need to work in your profession?

Theatre degree. Some in house training with RMC on using XM2s, animation stuff.

Skills-get on with people, turn up on time, be reliable, be able to listen, lead a group

Could you give me any advice on how I could become an arts practitioner?

  • Get out of Hereford for a bit and go and see what’s happening somewhere else
  • Develop your editing skills so that you always have that to fall back on and it is still linked in with what you do
  • Make people remember you for good reasons.
  • If you feel shy or embarrassed, pretend that you are not.

From the interview I went & researched varoius courses related to filmmaking. I researched MetfilmSchool, Newport University & University of Worcester. I’ve found various places that could suit my needs:

Met Film School in London:

The Met Film School is London’s leading provider of practical filmmaking courses, based in Ealing Studios.

Course Overview

The 25 week programme consists of three terms. During Terms 1 and 2, you will be trained in all key aspects of filmmaking through a combination of intensive practical workshops and a series of filmmaking exercises, escalating in scale as you go through the programme. Following the learning from the foundation programme in Term 1, you will learn advanced skills in screenwriting; cinematography and sound; fiction directing and producing; documentary production; editing and postproduction during Term 2. In Term 3, you will make your own film and perform key roles on set on other students’ films.

Students who demonstrate exemplary communication and teamwork, management, planning and organisation skills, initiative and film sense are awarded the Met Film School Professional Practice Certificate, and access to our Industry Placement Scheme.

Full-time: 05 November 2012 – 26 April 2013, £10,000

Minimum Age: 18 at start of course

Entry Requirements: Our Practical Filmmaking course is open enrolment and there are no entry requirements.

Documentary Film & Television – BA (Hons)

This course is a three-year adventure in filmmaking! Our hands-on approach develops your practical skills in the use and understanding of cameras, sound, editing and lighting, stimulated by practical challenges, talks, discussions and screenings. This course will further broaden your potential as a filmmaker by developing vital research, writing, interviewing and pitching skills.

Year of Entry: September 2013 (also available for September 2012 entry)

Course Code: W614

Duration: Full-time: 3 years OR Part-time: 6 years

Entry Requirements: Applicants are viewed individually on their merits and portfolios (where appropriate) are an important part of the selection process. A typical offer is 280 points, with 180 points from 2 A levels

Campus: City Campus

Full Time: Yes

Part-time: Yes

 University of Worcester

Digital Film Production BA (Hons)

The course invites a range of creative practice using time-based digital media techniques. You can explore camera, sound, editing, animation and image manipulation and experiment with directing, producing, screenwriting and even performing. You will engage with contemporary debates through examination of the historical and theoretical contexts of contemporary practice.

The majority of the work will take place in purpose-built spaces such as the Digital Arts Centre which includes a video studio, sound studio, individual edit suites, large computer suites with a full range of professional digital image and sound manipulation software, meeting/production spaces and a dedicated range of specialised film production equipment. There are also screening facilities, drama and performance spaces and a range of specialised teaching rooms available to the course.

260-300 UCAS Tariff points

Shortlisted applicants are invited to attend for interview and to provide a portfolio for consideration 260-300 UCAS Tariff points
Shortlisted applicants are invited to attend for interview and to provide a portfolio for consideration260-300 UCAS Tariff points
Shortlisted applicants are invited to attend for interview and to provide a portfolio for consideration

260-300 UCAS Tariff points
Shortlisted applicants are invited to attend for interview and to provide a portfolio for consideration

260-300 UCAS Tariff points
Shortlisted applicants are invited to attend for interview and to provide a portfolio for consideration

After the interview I found myself thinking that directing and producing films is a really good skill to have but I think that I am more suited at doing camera operating and editing. I feel that camera work is suited to my own skills set and after working with Toni, I would much rather concentrate on building a career around camera operation and editing as opposed to directing and producing.

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The ECHO Shop – The End Product – Arts Award Unit 2D

The Echo Shop – End of Filming – 22nd May 2012

For my Arts Award Leadership I decided I would create a community film whilst leading a group of students from The Hereford Academy the film I thought that would be a good idea would be The ECHO Shop in Leominster.

Last week on the 18th May we filmed all necessary footage from the film; I was pleased with what the students filmed, we all spent a whole day up at Leominster. It was a great experience to lead a project on my own.

I did have some difficulties whilst filming but they were easily overcome, I had the students holding the shots for maybe 1 or 2 seconds but for it to be successfully used I the film it need to be held for about 5 seconds, it helps so there are clear points to cut in and out for the film. This would make the editing stage a fair amount easier. Also whilst filming interviews with the group we realised that we hadn’t tailored the questions correctly, we found out that we targeted them towards volunteers and not to the participants so we swiftly pencilled a few more down, and once we all settled in I found myself asking more questions.

The questions that we asked to the people that worked at Echo were:

  • What is your name and what is your role at Echo?
  • Please tell us a little bit around Echo
  • Why is Echo so important?
  • Why are the volunteers so important at Echo?
  • How can people get involved at Echo?

The questions that we asked the participants and volunteers were:

  • What is your name and what is your role at echo?
  • What is Echo?
  • What does Echo sell?
  • What do you do for Echo?
  • How does the money help that Echo makes and where does the money go?
  • What do you get for participating in the shop?
  • Do you enjoy and what do you get out of volunteering/participating in the shop?
  • What do you get out of Echo?
  • What does Echo Mean to you?
  • Do you advertise the shop in any way?

With all the filming done I thanked all the students for helping out and I asked them for feedback so I gave out questionnaire feedback forms, which they filled out. They will be displayed as part of my Arts Award at a later stage.


The ECHO Shop – End of Editing – 7th June 2012

For my Arts Award Leadership I stated that I would create a community film with a group of young people from The Hereford Academy I would lead them throughout the filming stage. The short community film I chose for the Arts Leadership task was The ECHO Shop in Leominster.

Over the past few weeks I have been busy doing various edits and workshops throughout Hereford. I had the chance this past week to look over the footage and see what is useful and what is not. But I did have faith in the group to deliver good footage. Short community films that get created through Shoot Out have to range between 3-5 minutes long so I knew my guideline. I had a rough idea how the film was going to look at the end.

So 1 week later after the all Jubilee I focused myself on the edit. I found myself watching through all the interviews again, I jotted down a path of action and how to lay out the film.

I found it rather easy to create a story from the footage, once I had a rough edit finished I found myself looking at a 5 minute film (not including the credits). I knew this was an ideal time to take a break from the edit for a while.

I then re-engaged myself to look thoroughly through for any repetition in the story, which this eliminated about 2 minutes from the timeline which made it more to the point. I became very sure about the story being complete which led to a new day. This made it time to hide all the cuts in the story and change over in people’s interviews. The students shot plenty of cutaways so there was no lack in material which was a great thing. Usually in some films we suffer with the fact that we have not enough cutaways.

As I was layering all the cutaways over the film I became disappointed with the fact that were wasn’t enough story to cover all the great cutaways the students from The Hereford Academy had produced. But for the film I had to choose the most relevant and nicest of shots. I had a way of squashing a few more shots in my creating an introduction to the film. This gave the film a certain feel which showed you what it’s all about.

Finally the last piece to the puzzle was the music I had put a track down, but it didn’t do the film justice so I used part of the music to divide the film. With everything fallen into place the film is now online for the world to see on Vimeo. I feel that the whole process had been a huge success I am so glad that I had the opportunity to work with the students and lead them to creating a spectacular film.

The final product of the film is just below.

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Behind Barricade – The End Product

This is final blog relating to the Behind Barricade short Documentary Film; on 14th May 2012 I finished the project. So I will be reflecting over the whole process.

Over the 3 weeks since the previous blog, I have tightened up my film and seeked advice from my mentors to improve the film. I was advised to cut certain parts as they dragged and made some people lose some interest which drew a concern to me. I then went back to the edit and eliminated at least another minute out of the film, which led to reshuffling a scene around. At the end of the day, I wanted the film to be the best to its potential. The Original Creative film Barricade has its own heights of success, but my aim from the start was to be better than the fictional film. My opinion is that it is better, but that is for the audience to really decide.

Then, once the film was all finalised it was time to insert name plates for the interviewees of the film. The pros and various participants took main roles in the Documentary of dictating a story. I wanted to add something nice to the credits so I overlaid it over the end sequence to show what people thought of the project at certain stages of the week. So with each piece falling into place, only one element didn’t seem right. That was the music in one of the sections with cutting out some of the footage, the music in my opinion didn’t fit the place anymore so a quick scout through ‘Apple Loops’ for a new piece for the film, it needed more pace so keep it from lacking interest.

Finally with that changed, I found my film all done and dusted. I had to watch it through to check it for gap and bugs. I knew some glitches had made its entry into the final edit, but it became out of my control, I was unable to find the source of the problem. It’s more of an issue that I know they are there, but you as the audience may not even see them. With that out of the way I had to export the 11 minute long film multiple times, 1 directly from the ‘Final Cut Pro’ Project file, which stands as the master file. A 480p, 720p and 1080p formats. The next step was to upload it to Vimeo, which averaged at a 3 hour upload.

We decided that we would lock the film on Vimeo. This limited the activity of the film for a while, which gave us plenty of time to pick the spot to screen the film to the participants. The decision came to the 23rd May where we saw our spot to screen the film to the members of the ‘Hereford Hub’ and everyone was surprised as it was came out of the bloom, each person was entranced in the film to see it from another scale. From day 1, they would see it from their own eyes, but to visualise it from somebody else perspective, was the magic of film.

With Behind Barricade open for the world to see it’s an amazing piece of work to showcase what really happens behind the scenes at a workshop.

I found the filming process a joy to learn and capture each moment, so it’s a great memory. But I was so on the ball I found myself recording too much footage, which was the first mistake. But in a way I got to re-experiment with all the footage in the editing stage.

I love editing so this was a task I was looking forward to doing, I found it very difficult at spots, but again it was a great task to learn from and experience. I loved every moment of making this film I think this will stand as one of my best films I have ever made with ‘The Rural Media Company’. This raised the bar of films I’ve made and to meet that height again will be a definite challenge for sure.

A once in a lifetime feeling, I feel sad that the project is finally closed, but I’m glad it’s finished as well. I don’t think there is anything else I can do to make it any better. That’s my official sign off from Behind Barricade. From my experience, making this behind the scenes film, it made me think that I could make more, I enjoyed it. There is a lot of time and effort required for the job which I am willing to give.

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Arts Award Unit 2B: Planning Practical Issues

This is my Schedule for the 18th May 2012 Echo Film Shoot I will have devised a plan for the day where the group of young people from the Hereford Academy would split in to 2 groups. Crew 1 will film cutaways for the morning and then they will swap over to do interviewing for the afternoon. Crew 2 will start off finding people to interview then proceed onto filming the interviews which then they transfer over to filming cutaways for the film in the afternoon.


Contingency Plan

This is my Contingency Schedule just in case I have problems on the day and I find out I don’t have enough participants to cover 2 crews or other various problems. So I have created a separate table with the schedule on for a single team. The day will be simple with the whole morning dedicating to cutaways and then to fully focus on interviews in the afternoon. This will seem to be an easier task to control.



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The Echo Shop – Introduction

For my art Award leadership task I will be leading a group of young people from the Hereford Academy to create a short film about the ECHO shop in Leominster.

On the 18th may myself and my mentor Dave will both be heading to the echo shop situated at 40 west street Leominster to film two short community films about echo and the group of 11 young people.

I will lead the group and advise them how to shoot the film and what are good shots and what are bad. We will all conduct interviews with members of echo and volunteers.

Echo is a charity that offers opportunities for disabled people. It gives disabled people a chance to take part in a variety of activities in their local community. Echo work with people with learning disabilities, mental health issues and physical impairments.

I chose to work on this community shoot as I knew this would be a clear challenge for me, as well as the student participants. There are a few aspects that I had to learn and never worked with before stated in the bullet points below.

  • I haven’t lead a group of young people which is the point of the task, but something I hadn’t done before
  • Also I hadn’t filmed a community film as the leader of the group before.
  • I haven’t interviewed people with learning disabilities, mental health issues and physical impairments before, so this was something new to explore. But this will become more of a challenge as this is my first time whilst in charge, so I’ll have to learn and develop an approach quickly.

My job role in this film is to direct the young people and help them film a community film, as a group leader I will instruct them to film various objects within the shop like fabric and various product that the members of echo create. Also I will brief them on how the day will be set out and how the day will be scheduled. And tell them how to construct an interview.

The aim of this project is to make a professional short documentary about the Echo charity with young people. Through working on a professional shoot, the young people will build on existing filmmaking skills and develop new skills such as team work, confidence and initiative.

The participants I am using for the community shoot are students from The Hereford Academy; they range from 13-14 year olds. I will have a maximum of 5 young people in my group. From the training sessions that Rural Media had delivered earlier in the school year, the young people already know how to do the basics of using the camera. On the community shoot I will be giving the young people the experience on how it feels to be on a film shoot and how to deal with all sorts of situations they may encounter on a professional film shoot i.e. unpredictable clients.

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Behind Barricade – The Grading Process

It’s been two full weeks since I got the project back online, and I have done so much since then.
After the last blog, I had a plan set for what I was going to do. First of all, I had to finish the edit. I had many 9 – 530 days of full on editing sessions. I had the full film edited within a week and a half, the time limit was for the film at this stage was around 13 minutes which was quite good in my opinion, but I would still cut more out as I’d tighten up the film at a later stage.
With that said I knew from day 1 that I wanted to have fun in the grading process, I would colour correct any mistakes that I committed, and I knew very well I had in various interviews I forgot to change white balance and some were ever so slightly off. Sometimes in shots I had to change some very blue shot to white which was more of an experiment, but I enjoyed the challenge. Various shots that seemed fine to eye I decided to give them a bit more colour my upping the levels; also I put an effect on a lot of the shots to soften out the skin. For the interviews after correcting mistakes I had a look through the pre-set colour grades and I took a shine to the “Blockbuster” theme, so part of the film was straight forward of dragging and dropping on the blockbuster effect. I have attached various pictures of the film with the grade. But after that the problem was rendering the film which took around 2 hours to complete. It looks spectacular. This film is now in the final stages of being completed. In my opinion it will be done in the next few weeks.

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