Thursday, 28 November 2013

How Do I Get My Name onto The IMDB? - How the System Works

Insert Your Name Here
The Internet Movie Database, or IMDB, is the principal portal for finding people who work in film and broadcast media. It's where you go to look people up. Gone are the days when you had to dig through back copies of Variety to find out someone's track record - knowledge is now just a click away. Being listed is important. Anyone who isn't listed, effectively does not exist.

But how do you get onto it? Specifically, as a recent graduate, trying to building yourself a reputation and an online presence, how do you get your name included in their database? Here's how the system works:

Tuesday, 26 November 2013

How Do I Find a Job in Media? - Our Graduates Reveal the Secrets

How do graduates in digital media find that crucial first job? And the second? And how do you build a career? Last friday a dozen Bucks graduates who are currently working  in the creative industries came back to their alma mater to talk to our undergraduates about what it takes to find work. They They discussed many things, but the recurring theme was employment - and how to find it. Below are some of their tips for graduates looking to find work.

Sunday, 24 November 2013

How Do I Get My Book Published? - Ten Rules to Make a Success of It

So you've got a great idea for a book - now you want to know - how do you get it published? The good news is, it has never been easier to get into print. The bad news is, the economics of publishing have never been worse. Plus, writing a whole book is going to be a major effort, so you don't want to waste your time on something that no-one wants to read. So what is answer? Like so many things in media, what you need is a good pitch. Below is our simple guide to getting it right and ensuring that a good publisher will (hopefully) pick up your first book.

Saturday, 23 November 2013

Student Showcase - Our Talented First Year Animators

Every animation course begins with a bouncing ball
Our new Animation & VFX course has been up and running for just six weeks now, but our freshmen animators are already doing excellent work. Their first formally assessed brief was to do a short piece of abstract animation set to music. In order to pass, the students had to be able to demonstrate that they had mastered all the basic 3D skills: modeling, texturing, camera, animation, lighting, render and final output.

Below is a small selection of some of the films which came out particularly well.

Thursday, 21 November 2013

Graduate Panel on Friday - Who's Coming?

Some of the companies our graduates have worked for
Friday 22 November is the launch of our brand-new Graduate Panel - aimed specifically at careers in the creative digital arts. The panel will take place on Friday November 22nd from midday until 15.00 in the General Lecture Theatre (GLT).

Who will be there? Our guests are all Bucks graduates, all working in digital media, who will be returning to the Uni to share their insights into how they forged their careers. They were themselves students at Bucks, so they know better than anyone what it takes to turn a degree into a career. Below is a complete list of who's on the Panel. Bring a notepad, and get ready with your questions.

Wednesday, 20 November 2013

Open Day today at Bucks!

Open Day at Bucks New University - come and see us!
Today, Wednesday 20th November 2013, is Open Day at Bucks. Open Days are a great way to meet the Tutors and Course Leaders (for Animation & VFX - that's me and Dave Creighton) here at Bucks, find out about our courses, and also explore our campus.

Tuesday, 19 November 2013

Seven Rules to Make a Group Project Work

Group projects always sound like a great idea, in theory. In practice, things rarely go to plan. Why do they go wrong?  Usually it's due to a lack of individual responsibility. Everyone in your group will tend to think that, where there's a job to be done, someone else will do it. The result is paralysis - nothing happens.

This is a problem for all group projects, and students film projects are no exception. So, save yourself some pain and heartache by following this step-by-step guide to making a group project work. These are the rules to live by.

Monday, 18 November 2013

Bucks Graduate showcase - the digital art of Andy Thomas

Andy Thomas is a talented artist who graduated from Bucks New University in 2002 and, since then, has forged a successful career in the digital arts. He now works for the global multi-national URS, running their digital media team. We asked him to talk a little about how he got started, and what students need to do to get hired in today's competitive job market.

Sunday, 17 November 2013

Hair Simulation in Maya 2014

Rapunzel - great hair!
One of the best new features of Autodesk Maya 2014 is a big step forward in its hair simulation capabilities. The new tool is called XGen, and it comes free with Maya 2014. It was developed by Disney/Pixar and was used on their recent film Rapunzel, to generate the heroine's gorgeous, bouncing tresses.

Saturday, 16 November 2013

HOW DO I GET A JOB? Graduate Panel, Friday November 22nd

How do graduates find work? Getting that first job is always the toughest step, and also arguably the most important. Next week on Thursday 21st November is the Jobs & Careers Fair, and the very next day is our brand-new Graduate Panel - aimed specifically at kick-starting careers in the creative arts. The panel will take place on Friday November 22nd from midday until 15.00 in the General Lecture Theatre (GLT).

Who will be there? Our guests will be Bucks graduates, many of them working in animation and digital media, who will be returning to the Uni to share their insights into how they forged their careers. They were themselves students at Bucks, so they know better than anyone what it takes to turn a degree into a career.

Friday, 15 November 2013

Cartoon Movie - pitch your animated film idea

Cartoon Movie is the main international forum for independent film-makers to pitch their animated film ideas to producers, distributors and sales agents. In other words, it's where talent meets money to make great movies. The deadline to pitch an idea in concept is fast approaching - November 22 is the last day for submissions.

Thursday, 14 November 2013

Jobs and Careers Fair at Bucks on Thursday 21 November

Next week, on Thursday 21 November the annual Jobs and Careers Fair is coming to Bucks. It is a big event, aimed at putting graduates and employers together, part of the University's focus on employability. The fair, which runs from 11am to 3pm, is not aimed specifically at Animation & VFX but it is sill well worth going along to find out what kinds of jobs are out there, and also what employers are looking for in graduates.

You can read more about it at the official page here:


Wednesday, 13 November 2013

Student showcase - the animation of Jack Strood

Animation by Jack Strood for GPSL
Jack Strood is one of our talented animation students here at Bucks. During this past summer he worked on a series of animated videos for Global Publishing Solutions, a company that commissioned some short films as part of a marketing campaign to get its message out to prospective clients.

Lots of companies find it hard to explain exactly to clients what it is that they do - especially in the technology sector - and animation can be the perfect medium to make complex ideas seem clear and easy to understand. We asked Jack (who did the animation) and Alex Hudd (who did the audio work) to talk about the project and how they got involved.

Tuesday, 12 November 2013

How to Go Viral on YouTube - Anton Alfimenko shows how it's done

Anton Alfimenko is one of our talented freshmen students here at Bucks, having come all the way from Kazakhstan to study on our new Animation and Visual Effects course.

Anton impressed us at all his interview last Spring, for which we used Skype to reach him in distant Almaty. One of the most impressive parts of his digital portfolio was a short film he made titled "Super Fergie", a Nintendo games parody starring a digital Sir Alex Ferguson as a cartoon character winning endless football competitions and prizes. Needless to say, Anton is a huge Manchester United fan.

Monday, 11 November 2013

How do you make an animated TV series? - Blue Zoo reveal the secrets

Q Pootle 5 by Blue Zoo
Last week Bucks New University students went to the Blue GFX Expo at London's South Bank - a treasure trove of visual effects industry lectures and workshops. Among the excellent presentations was a talk by Adam Shaw of London's Blue Zoo, who created the animated TV series Q Pootle 5. In effect, his lecture was a fully-fledged workshop in how to put a TV series together from start to finish. So, if you have ever wondered - how do you get your own TV series off the ground? - here's how they pulled it off.

Sunday, 10 November 2013 - Online Training Videos - Free for our students! supplies a huge range of online training videos - which are now free to access for all our students at Bucks New University! All you have to do is log in to Blackboard, click on the tab - and you're in.

Saturday, 9 November 2013

Framestore's Diarmid Harrison-Murray on Skyfall, Daniel Craig and Adele

Diarmid Harrison Murray was the keynote speaker at last week's BlueGFX Expo at London's South Bank. He was there talking about the title sequence for Skyfall, which he directed, tackling the project with a small team at Framestore, one of London's leading visual effects houses.

Below is a rough (and hopefully accurate) transcript of his talk, in which he explained how he managed to pull off the animated titles for the latest installment in the world's most successful film franchise.

Friday, 8 November 2013

Movember Animation Challenge

Salvador Dali shows off his Mo. Photo: Wikipedia
It's Movember! Animators, it is time to start growing your Mo! Movember is all about raising awareness of (and money for) men's health. So, see if you can get your friends and family to sponsor your efforts.

Thursday, 7 November 2013

Assignment Hand-ins - an Animator's Guide

E4.08. The Helpdesk of Doom
Confused about how to hand in your first assignment? Worried you will miss the deadline or fail to fill in the right form? Check out our step-by-step guide to make it all painless and super easy.

Wednesday, 6 November 2013

Bucks ranked in top 12 among "Creative Universities" in the UK by Huffington Post

Gateway media hub - opened in 2010
One of the best things about teaching at Bucks New University is the huge range of media disciplines that are gathered around our High Wycombe campus. In recent years Bucks has been re-inventing itself as a major creative hub, following the huge £40million investment in the Gateway media building that houses a wide variety of creative arts. That investment is now beginning to pay off, and recently the Huffington Post recognised this by ranking us number 12 among creative universities in the UK.

Tuesday, 5 November 2013

What Does an Invoice Look like?

Universities like to talk about employability but we have not always been very good at preparing students for the practical nuts and bolts of the world of commerce. Here at Bucks we're changing this, providing practical guidance for the world of work not just in terms of creative and technical skills but also important practical ones like - how do you invoice a client? Of course, it's obvious when you know how - but terribly confusing when you don't. Below is brief summary of what's involved.

Saturday, 2 November 2013

Meet Blue Zoo - Britain's largest TV Animation Company

At the recent BlueGFX Expo at London's National Film Museum on the South Bank, Blue Zoo founders Tom Box and Adam Shaw gave an excellent presentation about their BAFTA-winning young company - now the biggest TV animation co. in the UK.

Tom and Adam were very enthusiastic presenters, clearly excited about their company and about the future of TV animation in Britain. They also offered some excellent insights into how animation graduates might go about getting a job with their fast-growing studio. Below is a rough transcript of their talk, plus some of the questions they answered at the end.

Friday, 1 November 2013

Rocketseed - our latest commercial project

Recently we have been tackling short commercial projects, working with some of the recent Bucks graduates, such as Monika Dzikowicz, Lydon Fleisig, Dave Berry, Paula Gillin and Allan De Leal.

Our latest film follows from our most recent project: "What is Wrong with the Global Development Oragnisation?", which is now competing for prizes in festivals around the world.  This short film - about the problems faced by all organisations trying to help out in faraway places - has now got an IMDB entry, so our students can now link to their own IMDB profiles.