Studentlyf.com – An entrepreneurial idea.

The Idea

This blog post details the business plans for a student advice website called “Studentlyf.com”, a vlogging/advice website that helps students going to university with topics such as budget tips, recipes, lifestyle and instructional videos. The unique selling point for this idea is that students who make content for the website would be paid a flat rate for their videos.

Through my experience the move to university is seen as one of the big transitions in life, and when that happens, you want to have as much help and advice as possible. When our target audience seeks help, they go online because of the free exchange of unbiased information that can be obtained there. Here is a video that explains this more.

http://youtu.be/ZUDEDmUgQ9M?list=UUCmFc7vnDPKAaGTjkhrrwcw

The Market

When looking at this issue and how students obtain information, they would usually type their line of inquiry in Google.com. This search would spill up various websites that would give information with one being StudentRoom.co.uk.

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This website has been established now since 2007 and is forum-centric. The problem that this site has is that there is an expansive set of posts about many topics, which date back to the websites inception and is therefore out of date. If the student has a limited amount of time then why go through years of information to get to the right source?

More Google searches into the subject gives us StudentBeans.com, a news website which has irrelevant stories and nothing giving a student serious advice on this transition but it has very focused advertising and offers which we can utilise to identify potential revenue streams.

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So where can students get their information from or where do they look first of all for the information about this dramatic change. One phenomenon that has come over the Internet is the rise of the “Vlogger” in which people talk to a camera or webcam and dispense advice about life or their personal feelings. These people, who predominantly post on YouTube, have gained a following such as Zoella and have become quite influential to a generation.images-1images-2images

YouTube has a high percentage of Internet traffic going into its site, as demonstrated below, and is the first placed video sharing site on the list.

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Getting the message out there.

To promote this website, We would identify universities in the local area of Birmingham with strong media courses so that students who have a passion for making content can also make videos for us. If we use Birmingham City University as an example, we can see that there are more than 5300 creative students are learning at the campus. These students are our video makers and our target audience so we need to talk to them directly to give them the unique selling point of being paid for their thoughts and advice on the student experience.

For example, Birmingham City University’s media scheme has many opportunities available online and are always looking for more employers to   help their students get real life media experience.

We shall also be attending fresher’s fairs and setting up stalls in student unions highlighting the message of paid work for vlogging. From these events, we shall collect names and email addresses of interested parties to start a mailing list and a newsletter. If we pick a university with a strong media faculty such as Birmingham City University, then we shall start using the communication with the potential content provider as a ‘commissioning process’ of which a media student will be aware. The provider can then use this professional work for their CV. The newsletter will serve as an indicator of what we are looking for inclusion to the site over the next few weeks or months.

Relevant Experience

In order to produce this website, I will need to start to create video content to get the ball rolling. I have experience in this area and will have no problems generating content. I will need the help of a web developer and a forum moderator to make the online pages and thereby show a passion to make this project a success.

Strengths and Weaknesses

Strengths

• Defined target audience of students
• Payment of a flat rate for the creation of content
• Subjective information being delivered by students who have experienced the university life which sets us apart from the competition
• Encouraged interaction with business, student and audience will help us gain a reputation for good information sharing.

Weaknesses

• Starting this website from scratch, so we will have to gain popularity
• Initial promotional costs by going into universities and delivering the selling point face to face.
• The business model will not make money for 6-12 months.

Future Development

If this website and idea is successful in it’s initial 6-12 months, we can expand into other areas of the country using the same promotional tactics detailed earlier on. The website will also look into endorsements and advertising revenue that affect students which Studentbeans.com have on their site.

The Plan

• Hire website developers and moderators to create the online website.
• Make an initial set of ten videos, which highlight the issues of university students
• Contact universities and colleges about promoting the website on campus.
• Create contacts from said promotional campaigns
• Identify potential advertisers and endorsers to put on our website

Any comments about this enterprise idea would be greatly appreciated and you can contact me via this blog or email me on James_Greig@live.co.uk or the twitter is @James_Greig.

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What I have learnt this year….

So the second year at Birmingham City University has come to a close and so what have I learnt this year? Well this year, I changed to television and focused my time on the technical. Throughout the year, I have created content that has to have a professional feel to it and knowing what I know now, I wondered how I survived without this knowledge.

I am talking about lights, lenses, ISO etc etc.

The whole time I had been wondered about if I had high end specification gear, I could create professional quality material but I was relying on the automatic settings of this stuff but really what I should be doing is looking at the equipment I already have and properly learning the specific details and the craft of film making. This made sense when I started using DSLR cameras instead of Z7 and Z5 cameras. With the DSLR, you have more control over the device and not relying on the settings given to you. I have learnt the proper application of f stops, ISO, apertures and shutter speeds to create less noisy shots and proper HD quality camera work. I have also learnt how to light a scene through the use of red heads as well. I feel the knowledge I have obtained over the past 9 months will give me a solid grounding for what is going to happen in the 3rd and achieve some proper cinematic quality content.

I have also learnt the value of preparation to meet deadlines and achieve goals. My work schedule has stepped up a gear in this second year and opportunities have been competitive for all the media students so preparing for all aspects of this new career has heaped me in so many ways. My time management has greatly improved as well as my researching and how I source information. Each research report or essay I have had to complete has to have a certain amount of academic hours behind it so planning each moment of each day to complete it has helped me and set up a schedule to get this done on time. This year hasn’t been easy to say the least but it has forced me to change my work ethic and achieve good things through what I am learning at university.

Into The Future Evaluation

For the module MED5103 Professional Media Practice, we had to create and participate in a media-networking event which was named ‘Into the Future’ to enhance our networking skills.

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For the event itself, I was assigned to guest management in which I had to deal with speakers for the event as well as members of the industry who took an interest in attending. I decided to use my contacts within the industry to secure someone who can inspire and talk about the future of media. I had been working for Little Miss Creative for several months and invited Selina Brown to talk about her company. I knew that she was on the look out for new media talent and so I told her to engage with students to improve their networking skills. This process of linking with people via networking expands the confidence of the student and helps them find work or experience with the given company. Many students returned to me on the day and commended me for bringing Selina along and they were passing on their CV to Little Miss Creative so they can gain work experience from her company.

For the next part of the event, I had to create a poster that shows my research over the past 2 years while at Birmingham City University.

POSTER

During this time, I had been looking into the various ways gender has been presented in the media. I collated 3 areas of interest of which I had completed reports for and displayed them under a unifying message of “How gender is represented on screen?”. I feel that having a poster that has a general title and an eye catching theme would draw people into conversation about the poster and my theory work. I also re-read all the topics covered in my poster so that when the time came, I would speak with confidence and potentially impress the readers of the poster. I also found that leaving my contact details on the poster would help viewers reach me if I wasn’t there and help them engage more with work online via my portfolio. Having a place to advertise myself at this event helped me boost the engagement with my online profile and I will continue to do this in the future.

My contribution on the day was to ensure the safe arrival and hospitality of Selina during the day. I made her aware of all the events that were happening on the day and provided her with information. This showed a professionalism, which reinforced her impression of the students at the university.

Proper TV work

Last weekend, I finally got some good TV work through social media. I joined a group for which they were looking for work in TV. One post came up for Birmingham and I applied. They were so impressed with my CV that they took me on for the day.

The shoot was for a segment within Soccer AM in which the sport of Futsal would be promoted. Futsal is traditionally  a version of 5-a side football in which the ball is smaller so the player must be more skilful with the ball. 

The shoot was with 2 companies, CC-Lab and We Make. These companies were looking for a runner for the day and boy was it tiring. The job had lifting, lifting and lifting but I learnt about technologies that are used everyday in the industry. I put together tracks for cameras, jibs for elevated shots and took apart scenery for the show to look good. Also, the attention to detail in regard to lights was remarkable. All erroneous light from outside was eliminated by Black cloth including on the roof. It was the Director who told me that you need to control the light on a shoot or else you lose a lot.

I found the experience a good one (if not tiring) and it is the running experience I needed to be included for my CV and go on to bigger and better things.

 

TV Studio (Final)

This is the final blog post about the TV Studio module I had to do as part of the course at Birmingham City University.

Within this part of the course, I had picked a couple of roles in which I could use my skills to the fullest.

First of all, I decided on the role of ‘Head of Music’. This meant I was responsible for all the music commissioning and creating for the final show. I researched into the processes and identification of how music defines a show. I found out that the main theme defines the start and end of a show with audiences using it as a buffer to go and do other things such as eat or prepare a hot dink whilst the music plays. The identification with the music must also reflect the demographic that the show is targeted towards.

As the final show was a youth based factual show about the internet news and goings on, I decided to make a purely electronic theme tune which could be desiminated into various lengths for inclusion into key parts of the show such as main titles and into break segments. I used a electronic sequencer called a Tenori-On to develop the music and then break it down into various component parts so that titles, ad breaks and programme list graphic could be made matching the music.

I found out though that making all the music myself would be very time consuming and vast so I looked into the process of music commissioning. This would lighten the load and hopefully would not be expensive.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sVc_xRaWZug

TV Drama (Final)

So here it is…

This post should has been coming for the last few weeks but the final piece hasn’t been uploaded to youtube yet so I waited until now.

The drama piece that we created was ‘Checkmate, a original production that had so many elements that we had learnt over the past few weeks. The piece depicts a man’s attempt to cover over the murder of his mistress. The main conflict comes from the scene featuring him in a police interview situation ‘lying’ to the officer. The story then unfolds via flashbacks to a conclusion of murder.

My final role within this drama was cameraman/editor. There were two main production days with pickups at other dates. The time I had with the cameras was enjoyable and I applied more advanced knowledge that I was taught by the tutors and through other online sources.

The main thing that I learnt over the weeks is Lighting and lens. The fact that we have control over lighting and it can be used to dramatic effect was the one of the things I got from practicing the tutorlage of this course. Also, the type of lens that you use has a effect on the lighting and general quality.

With this in mind, I have learned how to gauge and set up lights for a location and studio shoot. The studio lights were wide and varied so set up time was the most consuming of the process. We tried to achieve a darkish atmosphere with the shadow of the police officer being cast on to the main actors presence to define that she is always watching him. I wanted to try various other techniques such as pans and tracks with the cameras. The camera within the studio was easy to use for these processes and doing the eventual track was easy to do.

The location scenes had less light to control then the studio shoots. Once again (and I must get used to this) Stability was a problem.

When I sway stability, my insistence on not using a tripod will be the death of me…..having seen the rushes, the camera is a little shaky. I have invested in a monopod so I will not be leaving home without any form of stability device in the future.

On the location shoots, I learnt that using fast lens with a low f-stops gave me more lighting options then the usual kit lens that I use. The 18-55mm f4.5-F5.6 would not cut it so using a 50mm f1.8 gave me more light options.

The final effect you can see below so enjoy!

 

 

 

 

Sky Scholarship

I am writing this new post to highlight something awesome that has happened this week.

I came to Birmingham City University bot only because it is the top media university in the country but also because of it’s links with the industry that I hope to work in. Every year, the university runs a scholarship program in conjunction with Sky Television in which 3 students are picked and invited to Sky HQ in Isleworth to learn from industry professionals. 

Fully paid and accommodation is paid for.

and they picked me!

The whole interview and application process was a great experience for me and I look forward to the future now with greater expectations. I think it is great that Sky have seen something in me and I have what it takes to succeed.

In other news, this week was awesome and I am celebrating tonight!

To read more then go to http://www.bcu.ac.uk/pme/school-of-media/applying-to-us/sky-scholarship