Inspired by... blog

41 posts categorized "Film"

17 February 2014

Reader spotlight: Lucy Tammam's designs at the Baftas and LFW

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I've often seen British Library collection items and thought, I'd wear a dress with that pattern on it. Then I dream of all the designers I would ask to make that dress for me. Lucy Tammam is one of these designers.

Lucy specialises in hand-crafted ethically sourced bridal and evening wear. Last night at the Baftas, Nat Luurtsema (nominated for her short film Island Queen) wore a Tammam white silk crepe lace gown. Check out the Twitter reactions - they're hot! Lucy designs have also been showcased at London, Paris and New York Fashion weeks. Rising star Eleanor Tomlinson was spotted wearing a Tammam coat at LFW this weekend.

Lucy has used the British Library for both inspiration and business support. Hear her story below as part of our Made with the British Library video project spotlighting how people are using the Library to create something new.

30 September 2013

Webinar series for creative businesses with The Design Trust

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I've come across a lot of creative businesses run by small teams or one individual. It's a common challenge for these businesses to create new work and take care of the business side.

Elizabeth Carrick, designer of womenswear label Blonde + Ginger, said her biggest challenge is "Needing to do everything yourself and trying to be good enough at it all! I love the designing and the creative side of the business but I need to develop my skills in other areas, such as marketing. You are never going to be great at every role you need to do but you can’t afford to not try your very best."

This afternoon I ran into Eleanor Lewis-Bale of letterpress label Marby & Elm. She's been so busy doing business admin like invoicing and packaging that she hasn't had time to explore and be creative. She finally made it to the Library to look at our typography collection for inspiration.

To help creatives get organised, learn business essentials and stay sane(!) we've partnered up with The Design Trust to deliver a FREE webinar series. These are perfect for pre-start and start-up creative businesses including freelancers, sole traders, practitioners in design, crafts, fashion, photography, video and film.

Webinar 1: Create your business plan for your first year
Thu 17 Oct, 11.00 - 12.00
You can write a business plan to get finance or funding, but also to plan ahead and prioritise your workload.  Think of a business plan as a roadmap for your journey. In the end you will have the tools to create a business plan that you will be proud of and will be using regularly.

Webinar 2: Your first 10 steps in marketing
Thu 31 Oct, 11.00 - 12.00
We'll look at how to do practical market research and why niche marketing is essential for small businesses. You'll get loads of practical tips and marketing actions that you can use to help get your business started on the right track

Webinar 3: How to cost and price your work 
Thu 7 Nov, 11.00 - 12.00
Pricing your products or services isn’t easy. You might not know how to do the maths, or you find it hard to put a value on your creative ideas. This is a step-by-step session on how pricing and costing works. Learn about different models, international pricing, discounting, premiums and more. 

*Webinar 4: First steps to creating your brand and choosing a business name 
Tue 19 Nov, 11.00 - 12.00 
Choosing a business name is a big part of the creative and business process. But naming your business (or even just a new collection!) can be tricky.
We'll cover how to create your own brand based on your values and ideal clients.  We'll share case studies and practical tips. *Part of Global Entrepreneur Week  

We'll end the series with an event at our Business & IP Centre on Selling creatively online (save the date 7 February, booking link coming soon). 


27 September 2013

Enter our short film competition on British accents and dialects with IdeasTap

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The British Library has one of the largest sound collections in the world, covering the entire range of recorded sound from music, drama and literature, to oral history, accents and dialects and wildlife sounds. 

We are opening up these collections for filmmakers to play with as part of our annual Spring Festival short film competition. 

In partnership with the wonderful people over at IdeasTap, we'll be launching The Sound Edit: British Accents and Dialects short film competition at the London Film Festival on 16 October at the BFI. You are welcome to attend!


 The brief:

Calling filmmakers, photographers and animators!  

We are offering you the exclusive opportunity to write a treatment for a film or multimedia photostory, working with a selection of sounds from the British Library's accents and dialects sound collection – with cash prizes for the best project ideas. 

The VoiceBank was created between November 2010 and April 2011 as a result of the British Library exhibition, Evolving English: One Language, Many Voices. During the exhibition visitors to the gallery were encouraged to make a sound recording to help the Library capture contemporary English voices.

Contributors recorded  a word or expression they felt was special in their variety of English (the ‘WordBank’) and/or reflections on their relationship with their accent (the ‘VoiceBank’). In total 15,000 recordings were made and  the Library is now in the process of cataloguing and making these sounds available for research. 

You will have exclusive access to a selection of 24 downloadable sound recordings. From a Pakistani/Yorkshire accent to saying "code" for "cold" in Nottingham to the word "meekin", defined by a small group of friends as being indecisive, there is a wide variety of accents and words to play with. 

We want you to use the sounds to create a new short film celebrating Britain’s rich landscape of regional accents and dialects. Challenge stereotypes, focus on local  identity or our present day-to-day lives. Force us to listen, concentrate and connect meaning to voices. You can use the sounds directly in your film or as inspiration for your narrative. Your film cannot be longer than three minutes. 

A shortlist of 10 IdeasTap members will be awarded £500 each to create their film. The final 10 films or multimedia photostories will go before a panel of industry experts, who will select one overall winner to receive £1,000 and a screening at the British Library Spring Festival.

You can download the sounds and find out more on the IdeasTap website. The deadline is Friday 29 November 2013.


Evolving English: One Language, Many Voices British Library exhibition

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06 September 2013

Inspired by... Exotic prints and drawings

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We are continuing our Inspired by show and tell event series (previously we've featured maps, artist's books, and zines) and this time we'll be showcasing Exotic Prints and Drawings. 

Our international collection of prints and drawings spans 500 years and work from India and other parts of Asia are particularly exquisite. From slick stingrays to opalescent octopuses, brilliant birds to feisty foxes, plus a rainbow of fascinating flowers - I, along with our visual arts curators, have hand-picked some of our most beautiful items for you to enjoy and be inspired by.

Find the perfect image to transfer onto a dress, manipulate for an illustration or animate for a short film.  

You will meet our visual arts curator Malini Roy and hear about the stories behind these rare items. My colleagues from the Business & IP Centre will also be on hand to tell you about our business services if you're interested in commercialising your ideas. 

Come see these gorgeous collection items for FREE on Wednesday, 25 September from 13.30 to 15.00 at the British Library Learning Centre. This event is perfect for practitioners in fashion, film and design but all curious creatives are welcome! Book now. 

If you can't make this event, there are more beautiful items to be seen at our Fashion Forecasting workshop

Here's a sneak peek at some of the items that will be on show. My favourite is the stingray. I would love to wear his colours and stripes on a frock. 


Natural History drawing, NHD 7; [Anon]; stingray; watercolour c.1802 South Indian/Tanjore style  Creative commons


Natural History drawing, NHD39, [Anon]; bird from Srinagar; watercolour c. 1794 Punjab/Pahari style  Creative commons


NHD45_2 [Anon]; Peacock flower; watercolour c.1840  Creative commons

30 August 2013

Interview with Jared Fryer - Filmmaker and founder of Cinema Jam

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The other day I overheard a passionate conversation between a film director and an actor in the British Library café. (There are spots in the café that amplify sound, so beware if you’re trying to break up with someone.)

A significant percentage of our Readers are working on film, TV and radio.  Here filmmaker Jared Fryer tells us about his creative work and how he’s using the Business & IP Centre to turn his event Cinema Jam into a business.

Cinema Jam founder and filmmaker Jared Fryer

Happy Friday Jared! You founded Cinema Jam – can you tell us more about it? 

Cinema Jam is an exclusive community of film directors, producers and freelancers, based around a monthly event called the Jam Session. We screen some of the best new films (mostly shorts) from around the world to an intimate industry audience and invite experts to share their knowledge with the group.

What made you start it?  

There is often a real sense of camaraderie on a film set. As a group, you put in really long hours under high pressure doing physical work to achieve a common purpose. The intensity of it brings people together, like being in the army I guess, only lower stakes and better food. And then when the film wraps – poof – everyone goes their separate ways. Cinema Jam was originally created for the simple goal of continuing the sense of community that forms on a set, and it has now grown into something much bigger than that.

What kind of feedback do you get from members?

Our members – Jammers – enjoy being part of this community because it offers a chance to find inspiration, keep up to date with new ideas and meet future creative collaborators in a relaxed, non-networky environment. 

Ha! Jammers - I like it! So, you're interested in turning Cinema Jam into a business - how have you used the British Library Business & IP Centre?

The British Library first helped me in developing Cinema Jam when it connected me to my mentor Malcolm Snook through the Institute of Enterprise and Entrepreneurs, who I signed up with at last year's Global Entrepreneurship Week.  I've since done preliminary research on setting up a business at the BIPC and will be meeting with an advisor there for a one-on-one about the best ways to take advantage of the excellent resources the BIPC offers.

What made you want to become a film director? (Dear Readers, if you are involved in making and researching films, we can help you in lots of ways!)

As a child I used to love the movie Home Alone and always wanted to be Macaulay Culkin (minus all the family trauma of course). And then I got into theatre and realised the real fun was in creating the stories myself.

What do you think are the biggest challenges for short film makers at the moment?

There are two problems: getting funding and getting distribution. But these really come down to the same issue, which is that there is not really a market for short films. There are individual cases of people and companies who are passionate about short film and do a brilliant job of matching good shorts with their audiences - like Dawn Sharpless at DAZZLE Short Film Label - but systemically there isn't a sustainable way to pursue a career solely in the short format. This may well change as new online platforms continue to develop, or short films may always just be something people make for their own sake or to build a showreel.

Check out Jared’s short film Draw the Curtains, made through the programme Generation Campus at the Moscow Film Festival. 




18 August 2013

Interview with Michael Jacobsen author of The Business of Creativity

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Entrepreneur and businessman Michael Jacobsen is becoming a regular at our Business & IP Centre, advising creative practitioners on how to keep rooted in business essentials and inspiring them to innovate and grow. He is the author of the popular book The Business of Creativity - An expert guide to starting and growing a business in the creative sector. Want to earn a living doing what you love? Check out Michael's book. Or come to the Library and meet him! He’s literally mobbed after events – people are so keen to ask him questions and learn from his experiences. He kindly gave us this interview:

What do you think are the biggest challenges today for small businesses in the creative industries?

Businesses in the Creative Industries need to realise that they are, in fact, in business. If you wish to make your life’s work your passion and your passion your income stream, you need to make some adjustments to your mindset and your structure.

A lot of Creative Sector businesses think they are selling their soul but the reality is - why not continue your gift to the world and earn your living from it at the same time? It’s just a mindset shift!

What advice would you give recent graduates from fashion, graphic design or film?

Don’t leave with an employee mentality. If you want to get a job sure, that’s fine, but don’t think that is your only option.

In Britain there is so much assistance available to you to start a business (which can involve being a contractor or freelancer also). Have  a good think and work out what you want to do with your life, but count this as a real option!

Students are taught to get jobs and are rarely encouraged to work for themselves! This is a mistake!

What is your take on the creative industries sector in the UK? What are its strengths and weaknesses?

The UK Creative Sector is the best in the world. Look at William Shakespeare, Emily Bronte, Indigo Jones and in this century James Dyson, Jamie Oliver and Simon Cowell.

The business community and the City need to realise that the Creative Sector is investable, and the reticence to get fully behind it (as they do the tech sector ) is a weakness and is hampering the growth of a sector that produces major financial returns and is one of the oldest sectors in the world!

Which entrepreneurs do you follow?

I love True Entrepreneurs who take risks and are all consuming passionate about their work. I love Elon Musk, Founder of Paypal, Tesla Motors and Space X. He is a major risk taker and fervently passionate about his companies’ vision.

I also really rate Simon Cowell. He has not only made a successful brand out of himself, but he has changed the face of television globally. People may not all like his shows, but the fact is he is a risk taker and has made a success of it in terms of finances but also in terms of legacy! 

You co-founded Dirty Dancing – The Classic Story on Stage. Are you a dancer too?

I have a trainer and do Pilates and Yoga also. I think if I do them daily until 2025 I may be ready to do the Dirty Dancing ‘lift’!

Michael is running a masterclass on his book The Business of Creativity on 26 September at our Business & IP Centre. For more information and to book your place click here.



12 August 2013

Happy Birthday ZOMBIE Collective!

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ZOMBIE is a collective of five graphic artists and illustrators: Joely Brammer, Rebecca Jay, Alice Lickens, Maggie Li and Frann Preston-Gannon. Together they work on a range of creative projects and workshops. They took part in our first Spring Festival and created a giant illuminated manuscript with typographic collage. This summer they celebrated their third birthday. Here are some highlights from the party and on what inspires them.

ZOMBIE Collective Happy 3rd Birthday_3

ZOMBIE Collective Happy 3rd Birthday_1

ZOMBIE Collective Happy 3rd Birthday_2

You guys know how to have fun! What happened at the party? 

The party was a celebration of three years of Zombie Collective therefore it was perfect occasion to let our hair down with friends, family and clients past and present. It was great to organise an event where the main purpose was to have fun! Joely made a Z shaped piñata which refused to stay attached to the ceiling and Maggie baked a Z shaped cake. It was all in the spirit of a children's birthday party so we included a craft table where people could make their own props such as moustaches, beards and crowns and then have their photo taken in the Zombie photo corner.

ZOMBIE Collective Happy 3rd Birthday_4

ZOMBIE Collective Happy 3rd Birthday_5

What have been your biggest achievements and challenges over the past three years? 

Over the years we've worked with some great people including the British Library, Tate Britain, Design Museum and the Hayward Gallery. Our biggest achievements to date have been our nautical themed show Fathoms Deep at the Hayward Gallery in May 2012 where we curated a show of 20 people and transformed their shop into a nautical setting. Our most recent event was at Pick Me Up, Somerset House in April 2013. We were selected as a collective to exhibit in the graphic arts fair which attracts a huge international audience. For this we created a 3D Ideas Machine which dispensed small objects to inspire creativity and new ideas.

It was challenging when we first started as new graduates unsure how to approach being a new collective. What we've found over time is that our different strengths help each other to tackle our creative challenges. Whilst it can be challenging to work in a group, and particularly as we don't share a studio space, our collective skills have been invaluable to the success of events.

ZOMBIE Collective at our 2012 Spring Festival - ILLUMINATE! A Celebration of Illustration (Buzz Films)

Where do you find inspiration? How does digital content inspire you compared to seeing the real thing?

Joely: Digital content is fantastic due to its accessibility.  At the click of a few buttons you can find a wealth of inspiring materials and reference points which you can then share quickly with others. I recently saw the Souzou: Outsider Art from Japan exhibition at the Wellcome Trust. I had seen the digital content online which had lead me to visit the exhibition. The intricacy and pattern making in some of the pieces was simply lost in the online versions.

Alice: I spend a lot of my time thumbing through books and old type catalogues to pick up the next idea. Hunting out things on the web is also invaluable and it’s great to keep an eye on new work that’s coming out as well as plundering those weird and wonderful internet finds like Bulgarian stamps from the seventies and all those amazing things that you wouldn’t get to see otherwise.

Maggie: The internet and digital content have been indispensable when it comes to my work as I often have to research subjects I know nothing about under tight deadlines. It’s vital that I can access information quickly and the wealth of content online makes my job easier in a way. Having said this nothing compares with seeing original artwork and artefacts. I like to think digital content opens us up to more things and generates curiosity to go out and see the real thing, which can only be a good thing.

What are your plans for the coming year?

We're currently in talks about putting together a new exhibition in the new year. Alongside the show we’re planning a series of events such as talks from industry professionals and portfolio surgeries to help out fresh graduates and young illustrators. We’re also delighted that Frann, Maggie and Alice will have new books released in 2014 from Anova.

Photos courtesy of ZOMBIE Collective 


08 August 2013

Shirin Sahba's Mughal-inspired paintings

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Beijing-based artist Shirin Sahba takes you around the world with her enchanting paintings. Her work is inspired by Mughal art so naturally I thought of the connection with the Library’s vast Mughal collection. Here she talks about her inspirations.

Shirin Sahba_Flora+Fauna

Shirin Sahba_Flora+Fauna detail

Shirin Sahba_The Falconer

Shirin Sahba_The Falconer detail

What is it about Mughal art that really inspires you?

My Persian heritage and a childhood spent in India deeply influence my aesthetic. I have always been attracted to the ornate beauty of the architecture, textiles, and illuminated manuscripts of that era. I especially adore miniature works with their stunning unity of pattern and colour, and the elaborate and painstaking detail with which they were so exquisitely rendered.

You are an active Pinterest user, how does digital content inspire you compared to seeing the real thing?

As an artist in this new and exciting digital age I think it is very important to harness the creative resources we have on the internet. But it is really only a supplement, and I feel it's necessary to discover ample real-life visual inspiration as well, I do this in part by traveling and exploring the world for myself. Pinterest is a great way to collect or bookmark the things that visually inspire me. These online tools can be very helpful - their immediacy and ability to foster relationships. I have even had a few collectors find me via Pinterest!

With online restrictions in China, is it difficult to access digital content for inspiration?

It can be a challenge for sure, but I usually find a way. Art, possibly because of its flexibility with interpretation, is one of the few things that transcend censorship. Thank goodness!

Your artwork was used for the award winning documentary film "The Gardener". What are your thoughts on how art and design influence film and/or vice versa?

I see the two as inextricably linked. All forms of visual art inform and inspire one another. I have always been incredibly inspired by old films of the 1950s and 60s, and often use visual references from my favorites. Film-maker friends also tell me they look to paintings for inspiration. Mohsen Makhmalbaf is a legend, and his award-winning film "Gabbeh" remains one of my favorites of all time. Each scene is like a painting unto itself... So you can imagine how thrilled I was when asked to do a painting for his latest film, "The Gardener"! 

Shirin Sahba_The Gardener

How does your blog Limonana help your art business?

It was through my blog that I realized how my audience is actually a global one. It's given me a voice, and in turn access to an audience that subscribes to see my work. It is so exciting because it becomes a sort of international gallery that transcends walls and allows all people to view and appreciate the work without the intimidation. I've met so many interesting people this way, both online and in real life.

What are your plans for the future? Might we see you and your artwork in the flesh in London?

I'm taking it day by day, painting what inspires me in the moment. This past year I've had offers for exhibitions in Spain, Italy and Beijing. I would absolutely love to show in London. It is on my top list of favorite places to show, so hopefully soon!

Shirin Sahba_Into the Mint

Images courtesy of Shirin Sahba