Social Media and Your Career(CIUWk06)

We live in a time of technology and an overabundance of social networks, which makes promoting one’s business or artistic creations easier than ever. Social platforms can be used not only to gain exposure but also to get feedback, find inspiration, assemble teams for certain projects, integrate into similar communities and more. Depending on your product or goal, there are different strategies that may help to reach that goal. There are also some interesting psychological factors that affect people’s behavior on social media.

The number of social media users is a rising 2.55 billion people (Statista, 2016) and Dubai’s community is no exception. In Dubai there exists a multitude of Social Marketing agencies which help promote popular social platforms and increase a business’s revenue, it is also a cheaper and more effective alternative to advertising (webdesign, 2015).

When it comes to art, social media can be the gateway to the public. According to Darius Himes, assistant of the Fraenkel Gallery of fine art photography, “For the majority of artists, success will ultimately come down to their effectiveness in marketing” (Black and Black, 2012). Two of the top platforms for artists are thought to be Instagram, for its image based sharing,  and Tumblr, an easily customizable and media friendly blog type website(bigtomisin, 2015). I can personally say that these are the two social networks which I use the most for artistic inspiration. However, the challenge comes in attracting the right audience to your page and developing communication with your followers. Social media can be treated as part of work as every follower is a potential business relationship or friend and can greatly benefit you as an artist (Mueller, 2015). Strategies of promoting art through Instagram include timing your posts as there are peak hours, managing the quality of posts, using the right hashtags and even posting WIP images (Experts, 2016).

There are also a few professional rules to keep in mind when using social media, these include identifying your goals and choosing the appropriate social platform, presenting your content professionally and targeting the correct audience (Zimmerman, 2014). And of course, overcoming the fear of not being discovered enough or not attracting enough followers, because really, what is there to lose? There are also professional networks such as LinkedIn which focuses on exposing your work to potential clients.

Interestingly enough, as a person’s success grows, people tend to change their attitudes towards that person. For instance, people are easily influenced by  someone extremely popular on social media such as Ashton Kutcher and are prone to adapting his ideas and behavior. However, people may also develop a negative attitude towards someone who is perceived as a success if they feel like that person doesn’t act like famous people are supposed to act.

There are countless advantages to using social media as an artist and if operated correctly, can be a major key to growing one’s business. With a strategic plan and enough involvement, social platforms can attract many potential clients and followers who truly appreciate your creations.

 

References

Statista (2016) Available at: http://www.statista.com/statistics/278414/number-of-worldwide-social-network-users/ (Accessed: 22 June 2016).

webdesign (2015) Promoting a UAE based business using social media marketing. Available at: http://www.webdesignagencydubai.com/2015/07/09/promoting-a-uae-based-business-using-social-media-marketing/ (Accessed: 22 June 2016).

 

Black, L.M. and Black (2012) 6 social media tips for artists and gallery owners. Available at: https://www.americanexpress.com/us/small-business/openforum/articles/6-social-media-tips-for-artists-and-gallery-owners/ (Accessed: 22 June 2016).
Mueller, J. (2015) An honest look at social media for artists. Available at: http://www.artsyshark.com/2015/08/18/an-honest-look-at-social-media-for-artists/ (Accessed: 22 June 2016).
Experts, A. (2016) How to promote your art on Instagram. Available at: http://www.agora-gallery.com/advice/blog/2016/04/05/promote-art-instagram/ (Accessed: 22 June 2016).
Zimmerman, C. (2014) How artists can use social media to discover and promote their voice. Available at: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/carlota-zimmerman/how-artists-can-use-socia_b_4756824.html (Accessed: 22 June 2016).
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Inclusive Design(CIUWk05)

This week’s lecture focuses on the issue of discrimination in the design field, this includes race, disability, gender and sexuality among others. In projects ranging from website layouts to video games, designers often fail to avoid stereotypes and discrimination, be it through implicit association, ignorance or intent. Implicit association refers to subconscious attitudes towards groups of people distinguished by gender, weight, race religion etc. Now, inclusive design focuses on the ability to create projects that appeal to a wider audience and do not pose obstacles in the form of discrimination. One of the important aspects is creating media that is not only appealing to a bigger portion of the population but also accessible to those with disabilities such as hearing and vision impairments.

As an artist, it is important for me to be able to create designs which do be mindful of cultural and ethical factors of the design. One of the cultures prone to misinterpretation and prejudice are Native Americans; their roles in video games are reduced to either warriors, mystics or victims with otherwise very rare appearances in games overall (Williams, 2014).  Therefore, if I were to create a character inspired by the Native culture, it would be crucial to do extensive and in depth research on this culture to ensure an accurate representation. Similarly, a study on how video games reinforce black stereotypes revealed that “the media have the power to perpetuate the stereotype that blacks are violent”, according to professor of communication and technology Brad Bushman (Neuhauser, 2014).

The given lecture also talks about competition and gender equality so I decided to delve into the subject of female careers in the animation industry, as it is what I will eventually be doing. I discovered that there is, in fact, an organization called Women in Animation whose goal is to bring more attention to female creators in the industry (Flores, 2015). Statistically, as of the year 2015, the percentage of women making up the animation workforce is a mere 20% and during the past 15 years only two women have solo produced an animated feature. WIA aim to increase the employment statistic to 50% by the year 2025 (Mayorga, 2015). It is also interesting to point out that women generally outnumber men in animation schools and part of the reason that this is not the case in the job sector is that there is not enough support for women and also they often receive alienating treatment from male colleagues (Amidi and Articles, 2015).

This article has helped me better understand the various forms of discrimination possible in the creative industry and has taught me how to avoid those situations. I have also learned about the Implicit Assosiation test and how various project are made user friendly for people with disabilities. I also got a better understanding of where women stand in the animation industry and how real the gender gap is.

References
Williams, M. (2014) More than Shamans and savages: American Indians and game development. Available at: http://www.usgamer.net/articles/more-than-shamans-and-savages-american-indians-and-game-development (Accessed: 17 June 2016
Neuhauser, A. (2014) Available at: http://www.usnews.com/news/articles/2014/03/20/video-games-may-reinforce-racist-stereotypes-study-finds (Accessed: 18 June 2016

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Flores, T. (2015) Women in animation Org launches gender equality initiative. Available at: http://variety.com/2015/biz/news/women-in-animation-takes-on-industry-parity-1201621608/ (Accessed: 18 June 2016
Mayorga, E. (2015) Annecy: Women in animation present gender disparity data. Available at: http://variety.com/2015/film/festivals/annecy-women-animation-marge-dean-kristy-scanlan-1201522706/ (Accessed: 18 June 2016)
Amidi and Articles, M. (2015) Crashing the boy’s club: Women speak out about gender inequality in animation. Available at: http://www.cartoonbrew.com/artist-rights/crashing-the-boys-club-women-speak-out-about-gender-inequality-in-animation-118417.html (Accessed: 18 June 2016

 

Interview Techniques(CIUWk04)

This week’s lecture on Secret Interview Techniques talks about the importance of being properly prepared for a job interview and the various possible questions that may be asked. According to the article, presentation is very important; that is to say, the way one is dressed and how one behaves during the interview. It is important to demonstrate confidence, passion and an interest in the company and position one is interviewing for.

From the experience I have had with interviews for short part time jobs, I can say that I find them extremely stressful.  As a future animator and 3D artist, I must be prepared for the possible questions that I may be asked during an interview to avoid anxiety. For the position of an animator, employers tend to ask questions about the portfolio such as its weakest and strongest points, as well as the strengths and weaknesses of the animator him/herself. It is important to show that one is fit for the position so the answers to these questions must highlight one’s positive attributes (Admin, 2015).

Animator Charles Alleneck who has been in the industry for many years and has worked on films such as Harry Potter, The Chronicles of Narnia and Rango (AnimationMentor, 2016) highlights the importance of knowing your potential employer. This shows an interest in the company you are applying for as well as their projects (Alleneck, 2015).

Interviewers also tend to ask industry specific questions. For example, if I would apply for a job in the video game industry, I might be asked what games I enjoy playing, what I would make better about that game and what I think the best game of all time is (Mitra, no date). One of the most important characteristics to demonstrate during an interview which was emphasized in all the articles is passion. Especially for creative jobs, it is super important to express enthusiasm in the profession as the best work comes from doing what you love.

I found the article and the research that I’ve done beneficial for my future job applications and I believe that with enough preparation and practice, interviews will cease to be such a stressful experience for me. I now have an understanding of what to do during an interview and even know the possible questions which may be asked in my particular field.

Sources
Admin, B. (2015) Animator job interview questions & answers | digital design career zone | bubble jobs. Available at: http://www.bubble-jobs.co.uk/digital_design/interview_qas/animator/ (Accessed: 10 June 2016).
AnimationMentor, N.E. (2016) Animation mentor. Available at: http://www.animationmentor.com/mentors/charles-alleneck/ (Accessed: 10 June 2016).
Alleneck, C. (2015) Interview do’s and don’ts for Animators. Available at: http://www.animationarena.com/interview-dos-donts-animators.html (Accessed: 10 June 2016).
Mitra, S. (no date) SHARAD MITRA. Available at: http://laidinpeace.blogspot.ae/p/game-job-interview-questions-and-how-to.html (Accessed: 10 June 2016).

Copyright and Contracts(CIUWk03)

The article for this week talks about copyrighting; what it is defined as, the aspects it covers, the possible issues related to it and basically all there is to know on the subject. Arriving from John Locke’s Labour Theory of Property,  copyright protects intellectual works such as writings, film and art. It should be noted that copyright only protects the result of an idea and not the idea itself. Copyright grants the owner a collection of rights in regards to their product including reproduction, introduction to the public and adaptations. Contracts are the medium through which copyrights are granted to an individual or a group of people. A part of the article which I found interesting and which was a revelation for me was how in the video interview they discussed the copyrights of logos in film. I have always assumed that it is illegal to display any company logos without their permission or sponsoring but that is not actually the case and no such laws exist.

The article mentions that freelancers usually own copyright to  their creation. Since I plan on becoming a freelancer, I decided to research that particular point. It is true that generally the freelancers owns the copyright, furthermore their creation can only be used for the purposes agreed in the contract. However, there are exceptions when the company signs a special contract and retains full rights for the product, such as when designing a logo(Schlackman, 2016). These exceptions are categorized as ‘work made for hire’ and it states that the employer, be it a company or an individual, is the owner and author of the work(U.S Copyright Office, no date).

In the video game industry, copyright for a game and all its components is usually owned by the company producing the game. For example, Valve Games claims to own all rights for its games such as Half-life and Portal, including thew characters and logo ( Valve Corporation, 2013)

Copyright is a subcategory of the laws protecting intellectual property, which the World Intellectual Property Organisation defines it as ‘creations of the mind, such as inventions; literary and artistic works; designs; and symbols, names and images used in commerce.'(WIPO, no date) Patents are another subcategory and this his made me curious to what the difference between copyrights and patents is. The answer is that unlike copyrights, patents relate to physical inventions and give the owner the right to introduce said invention to the public while retaining limited protection for it(Trademarks, 2011).

I have learned that there are many aspects to copyrighting and it is not a simple idea or mutual agreement between individuals. It is important to know the full outline of the rights granted by a contract with the employer to ensure protection for my creations. I will apply this knowledge to my future career as well as advise others when needed.

Bibliography

Schlackman, S. (2016) Freelancers or employers: Who really owns the art? Available at: http://artlawjournal.com/freelancers-employer-owns-art/ (Accessed: 3 June 2016).
Office, U.C.S. and WorksMadeForHire (no date) Official U.S. Copyright office – information circular. Available at: http://worksmadeforhire.com/ (Accessed: 3 June 2016).
WIPO (no date) What is intellectual property? Available at: http://www.wipo.int/about-ip/en/ (Accessed: 3 June 2016).
Trademarks (2011) Trademark, patent, or copyright? Available at: http://www.uspto.gov/trademarks-getting-started/trademark-basics/trademark-patent-or-copyright (Accessed: 3 June 2016).
Valve Corporation (2013) Valve. Available at: http://www.valvesoftware.com/legal.html (Accessed: 5 June 2016).