People You Should Know

People You Should Know

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This week's big interview

Want to be a filmmaker, a writer or a critic? Adam Scovell (an ex-student) is all three!

Click on "Adam Scovell" for his big interview...

We'll be bringing you 30 second videos with tips and interviews from industry experts in creative, digital, science, engineering, hospitality, trades...

Check back each week for the latest!

One of our first interviews is with Joe, the CEO and Founder of Culture City TV. We learned that filmmakers like Joe are much happier behind the camera than they are infront of it... Here are the outtakes:

https://www.wevideo.com/hub/#media/ci/566512382

(We reckon Ant & Dec's jobs are safe for now...)

12562723_10153973312545530_913993824_o.jpg

This week's big interview

Want to be a filmmaker, a writer or a critic? Adam Scovell (an ex-student) is all three!

Click on "Adam Scovell" for his big interview...

Adam Scovell

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Adam Scovell on writing for The Times, doing it your own way, and avoiding becoming a "scabby" brand...

Hi from us!
Who are you and what do you do?

My name's Adam and I'm a writer and filmmaker currently studying for a PhD in Music at the University of Liverpool. I've written for The Times, The Guardian and around twenty other digital and print publications, primarily about film and art, and had my own films screened at FACT, Manchester Art Gallery, Oxford University's Romanticism society and a few other places too.

Working for yourself can seem like a daunting leap into the unknown. How did you start working for yourself while you were still studying?

In a sense I'm still studying and I think, especially in tougher financial times, there's a definite symbiotic link between the two: in other words, working for myself is naturally less stressful and more viable to build upon creatively with the backdrop of being a paid academic researcher. It's not permanent for sure (my funding runs out after three years) and I will inevitably have to move towards the more traditional models of working for yourself at some point but, for now, it's a great place to be in.


Why is it important to get out and meet other creative entrepreneurs and is that hard? Where are the best places to find supportive networks in person and online?

Entrepreneur isn't the right word for what I do personally as it leans everything towards financial goals as a chief drive. I'm certainly not an entrepreneur of any sort and think most artists of any media worth their salt would baulk at the word; you can make money from your own practice without slipping into that strange world of buzzwords, social media strategies, promotional campaign, brand recognition scabbiness. I'm lucky enough to make my creative work of and for itself because of my academic funding (no compromise, no strings, no "it needs to represent our brand" faux-creative middle-management bafflegab) and really can't envisage making it any other way.
From talking to people who have made a success of their creativity, they've been uncompromising about their own work and haven't buckled even when times were hard. They've just stuck at it through thick and thin. It's less common now though and I think compromise is generally negative upon the quality of work which should be the primary concern. Most of my projects have actually come from talking to people online though. You'd be surprised how far you can reach with a polite email.

If you could go back and give yourself a piece of advice while you were still at college, what would it be?

Read more. You'll only be playing catch-up when you're older, when you realise how important it actually is and how influential it can be on what you do.

One of the hard parts of being self-employed is knowing how much you're "worth", how much to charge for a piece of work. Nowadays, there's a lot of pressure on writers and filmmakers and musicians to work for free, for the exposure. How do you make sure you're paid enough for your work?

That's a good question and luckily one I don't have to answer currently as my income is from my research rather than purely artistic work; most of my projects are for the sake of themselves which, at least as an initial drive, all creative work should be (the money should come naturally alongside that in time if the work is good and I don't believe that's as naive a view as it's often portrayed to be). Again an incredibly lucky, if transient, place to be in. I think going back into the university system is actually a good way to challenge the free-work mentality as it gives you a financial rock and the thinking space to be as uncompromising about your work as you need to be. I stopped writing for one of the very few websites that paid me a while back because they were turning my writing into the driest of copy and now I'm currently working my way through my first book deal. I honestly believe there's a link between the two in terms of mentality.

For writing in particular though, most local websites will not be paying as their own income depends on a menial handful of advertising revenue. Not the best of situations for sure as it recalls the methodology of a pyramid scheme only one that works through the tender of words in exchange for the myth of "exposure" equalling some fantastical financial reward that never really arrives, though there's little choice as so many people want to work in the creative industries and most companies take advantage of that huge resource of passionate people. I'd actually recommend starting your own sites if writing is your media, even if it's just a blog. Equal amounts of exposure if you stick at it and any potential advertisement revenue directly coming to you.

What has been your proudest achievement or most exciting piece of work so far?

Ironically it's probably a project that made me £0. It was a film collaboration with the writer, Robert Macfarlane, in adapting a short book of his called Holloway. We managed to get Radiohead artist, Stanley Donwood, to supply us with artwork that he produced for the book, it was scored by one of my favourite current musicians, Richard Skelton, and even had support online from the publishers Faber & Faber. A project entirely for creative purposes but one that brought my practice to a much wider audience and honed it which is invaluable really.

**We love Adam's passion and his determination never to be a businessy person just because he's working for himself.

If you feel like Adam and want to start creating stuff without compromise, but with a little bit of help... Join the club and see what we can do.

To find out more about Adam's films and words, go to his website: http://celluloidwickerman.com**

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Adam Scovell on writing for The Times, doing it your own way, and avoiding becoming a "scabby" brand...