The Dragon’s Den

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Once upon a time, long long ago, there were five maidens who all hailed from different lands.

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There was Francesa of Brescia, a Mistress of Ideas.

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Angelika of Deutschland, Mistress of Management.

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Maria of the República Portuguesa, Mistress of Scribes.

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Lucy of Great Britain, Mistress of Creation and Design.

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and Natalie of the United States of America, Mistress of the Quill.

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Together they combined their talents to create a parcel, a parcel capable of withstanding the harshest conditions, and with which one could carry sustenance over any terrain, while retaining an upmost fashion sense of course.

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They worked tirelessly on this parcel, and when it was completed, prepared to release it to the nearby townspeople, to better enable them in their travels and encourage proper nourishment.

A little less of this.

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and a little more of this

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And so they prepared.

Financials, Market Strategies, Research, because in order to bestow upon the townspeople this creation of splendor, they had quite a few obstacles to overcome….

The worst of them being, the dreaded and ever deadly…

DRAGON’S DEN

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The maidens had to battle 7 Dragons.

You see beyond these Dragons lay the only path to reach the townspeople, and so the maidens had to devise a plan to defeat them, for the betterment of mankind.

And so they got together, to devise a plan.

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It took days upon days, until finally they agreed, there was no way they could take these Dragons by force, if they were to emerge victorious, they must sooth the Dragons with their intellect.

And so they created their Business Pitch.

A collection of information on their philosophy, product, research, target customers, marketing, and financial planning.

They were ready for battle.

It was time to journey forth.

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As they approached the deadly Dragons, the feelings were grim. Were the maidens well armed? Had they trained enough? Worked hard enough?

But the time for training was over.

The battle had begun.

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The Maidens commenced the attack, hoping to beat down the Dragons with all they had prepared. They were only given 5 minutes to fight, and in this short amount of time, not much damage can be done. The Maidens worked hard and strong, but before they knew it, the 5 minutes were spent, and the Dragons now had the opportunity to retaliate.

They attacked the Maidens with everything they had, their questions piercing straight through the Maidens defenses with little effort.

“Will the product withstand refrigeration?”

“Do you really see parents purchasing this for their children?”

“Are you sure you’re marketing to the correct target group?”

But the Maidens remained resilient, they were not deterred.

In Fact, they were more determined then ever,

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And even though the Dragon’s had fought very hard, the Maidens had still emerged…..

VICTORIOUS!

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They had survived their first Dragon’s Den.

They were prepared to move forth and introduce their creation to the townspeople.

And they were better prepared for any new obstacles they may encounter.

And most importantly, they would be better prepared for the Dragons in their next encounter!

WE HAVE A PRODUCT!!!!!! Oh Yah! & we prototyped it.

So, we have finally decided on a product.

I don’t think you heard me….

WE HAVE A PRODUCT!!!!

And when I found out we were far enough to start prototyping!??!?

You see, we’ve been going back and forth on products for a few weeks now. We worked on philosophies, business strategies, lifestyles, general public needs, and still we couldn’t settle on one product. We went through shirts, bags, spoon holders, kitchen utensils and even a whole kitchen line! We went from having 1 product, to 2 products, to 4 products, to no products, and now we finally have ONE WHOLE PRODUCT!

I mean, I’m so happy I could dance.

Our group has finally decided to make, *drum roll*

a LUNCH BAG!

Now I know, a lunch box, sounds pretty lame, but hear me out.

You see, as a person who takes my lunch to school everyday, because lets face it, the food here is not exactly 5 star, I have found there is really nothing I would want to buy to carry my lunch it. I mean, here are a few examples of whats out there.

And thats what you find when you google “lunch boxes for adults”, seriously.

So, we decided to do something a bit better. A lunch bag with a simplistic and almost vintage style, minimalistic, with just enough room for what you need. It can easily slip into a bag or be used as one on its own, with a waterproof lining and a washable canvas material, it will last quite a while, with age only adding to the cool factor.

and thats not the only styles we have!

Remember those classic brown paper bags? The coolest kids didn’t need a lunch box, cause a classic brown paper bag was where it was at. And now, you can have that same classic look, in reusable canvas!

So keep posted for when these bad boys come out.

Cause you’re going to need to grab all your friends and be all like,

Cause this product is going to be so big, people are going to be running to the mall all like,

But don’t worry, cause all you guys reading this blog have the IN. Just let us know how many you need and they’re yours! Cause the second you get one, you’re gonna be all like,

So stay tuned! They’re coming out and they’re coming out soon!

Imagine a Spectacle

 

Danny Shine “Everything is Ok”

Now, I have been on a networking mission lately, a quest if you will, because if I have taken one thing to heart from our classes so far, it’s the importance of networking physically and virtually. In the last few months I have come across several opportunities for creative work, none of which I would have encountered had I not been on said quest. One has been the opportunity to compose and work sound production for “Imagine a Spectacle” A theatre production by a former MACE graduate Rafau Sieraczek at The Space in London.

This years production is based off the ideas of Occupation. What occupation means politically, physically, and mentally. How an artist, musician, performer, activist, and everyday person responds to space and their relationship to it. The show involves a combination of modern dance, parkour performance and film, interviews with Tony Negri an Italian political activist with a great interest in occupation, and a discussion with Danny Shine at the Speaker’s Corner in Hyde Park.

I had the opportunity to meet Danny in Hyde Park for a tech rehearsal the week before our opening performance. After we had solved our technical issues, we took a walk down Oxford Street so he could show us different methods he uses to “Wake Up London” and get his message across. We entered a couple stores while Danny held up a sign saying “Everything is Ok” and watched how the managers and security personnel of said establishments reacted to our being there. All I can say is the reaction was not good, and far more dramatic than you could ever expect. It was definitely interesting to see how people react when something disrupts their daily routine.

The experience has certainly been one to remember, and has come about solely through my mission to network with as many creative people as I can find while I’m here in London. Through this opportunity I have also met several other creatives with whom I can see collaborations with in the future. The social media focus I’ve gained through the Design Thinking Module has really advanced not only my contact book, but my awareness of the creative opportunities that are out there. I would strongly advise any student to really focus on their internet personas, and take advantage of the opportunities that can arise through their virtual connections.

The final performance for “Imagine a Spectacle” is on November 18th, this Sunday at 3pm. And if anyone is interested in attending feel free to contact me with questions.

Ken Robinson, Education Reform, American Education Costs, & My General Ranting on Creative Career Prospects

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Of all the things I could have possibly gathered from my education in Design Thinking so far, I have caught Ken Robison fever. In the past weeks I’ve watched every Robinson lecture I could find online, and as I write this now a copy of his “The Element: How Finding Your Passion Changes Everything” current resides on my desk. I have found a way to quote Sir Robinson in every class I take at Kingston, and I’m sure the next time I open with one of Ken’s ideas, I’ll be met with a “God, why don’t you just marry the guy already?” My answer? “I would, but I don’t think his wife would appreciate it.”

I have never thought of education in the ways that Robinson has explained. Yes, there is a definite need for education reform, and yes, as an artist I do believe that creative education is a vital role in shaping the mind. However “education reform” has always be explained, to be rectifiable by funding and enhanced professor quality, I had never heard the solutions Ken Robinson suggests, and now that I have, I see them as the only possible pathways.

In 6 years of university education, multiple classes on education, and a multitude of educational and creative related budget cuts, bestowed upon the State of New Jersey by our adored and loved Governor  Chris Christie (I hope you caught the sarcasm there) it is hard to believe that not once have the beginnings of public education been explained to students. It’s as if public education is this fixed system, that through hard times can only be rectified through funding. If you aren’t pleased with it’s turnouts, then you’re expected to put up quite a lot of dough in private schooling, which can cost you as much as a University education, which is of course to follow.

The average cost of private schooling in America is roughly $10,045, according to the “Council for American Private Education” in 2010, however this number can range anywhere from roughly $6,018 to as high as $17,316. A YEAR.

This means that at the end of a 4 year high school education, parents can anticipate spending over $40,000 before their child has even stepped foot in a University. If their child intends on attending University (which is the inevitable goal of private education) they can expect to pay about $21,447 dollars A YEAR for a public In-State University OR $42,224 dollars A YEAR for a Private or Out of State University, according to CNN Money in 2011.

Now, lets do the Math.

Assuming the prospective student has attended a private high school for ONLY 4 years due to a deteriorating public education system to increase their chances of getting into a good University.

And they happen to live in the SAME state as their prospective University.

They can expect to pay MINIMUM (including books and board):

$40,000 + $21,447 x 4 = $125,788.

Yah, really.

Lets not even discuss food, transportation, or any other educational or living expenses, the thought is just too much to bear.

Now with the average starting salaries, according to simplyhired.com, being at about $46,000 after graduation, which I truly find hard to believe, (I think the number is far lower).

And the average loan repayment of the above minimum cost estimate (assuming the $40,000 is already paid by University graduation) is $17,082, A YEAR, according to the University of Michigan’s Office of Financial Aid. This does not leave much to cover the cost of living.

And ALL OF THIS is assuming the graduating student CAN EVEN FIND A JOB, which according to the”Huff Post Business” in 2012, about half did not.

Now picture yourself one of these prospective university students, knowing full well what payments await you when you graduate, what do you study? You may be a talented dancer, actor, musician, or writer, but with a degree in the arts the expectation of finding a job after graduation is even less than half, holding the 2nd highest unemployment rate with 11.1 % of all graduates with artistic degrees, the chances are you’ll be spending many of your post graduation years in your parents basement, bartending at the local student hangout. But hey! In America they tip, so maybe your perspectives aren’t that bad.

But, if you haven’t spent your high school years fantasizing about living in a cardboard box, you’ll probably study something practical, like healthcare, computer science, engineering, or accounting. All subject areas with excellent employment rates, all not relatively creative.

And so where are the creative prospects? The majority of students are steered away from the thought of creative careers throughout their life’s education, through budget cuts and job perspectives, why induce a child’s creative potential when the outlook on creative careers are so grim? For God’s sake don’t hand that child a trumpet! Do you want him to starve?? Here, let him play with this nice calculator, he’ll love it.

And so this rant may have started with the need for education reform and focus on creativity in the classroom to push out the next generation of great thinkers, capable of solving the devastations we’ve brought upon the planet. But it ends with the need for affordable education with incentive to focus on the arts, available for everyone, if the education is not available, whats the sense in reforming it?

-end rant-

Frieze Art Fair

On October 12th, we attended ‘Frieze Fair’ in Regents Park, London. Considered the contemporary art event of the year, with over 170 works from Tokyo to New York, this was truly a haven for those keen on experiencing the up and comings in todays art world.

Multiple pieces were not only thought provoking, but aesthetically stimulating, one in particular was the live crime scene production, where the audience followed along by script. However, many pieces I felt, fell on the border of what can be defined as art. Although the crime scene was entertaining, could this be considered art, or theatre? There were also multiple “interactive” pieces that required audio or visual assistance though various screens, was this art, or film? And furthermore, are auditory, theatrical, and cinematic crafts considered art? Or can only “artistic elements” be found in these crafts? Were the purpose of these pieces to lead to such questions? Or should we just shut up and appreciate the visual stimulation without thought of definition? Just as we debated in our “Contemporary Issues” module, attempting to define the “Creative Industries” only lead to lack of definition, so perhaps “Contemporary Art” is beyond categorizing as well. Perhaps the only defining matter, is the emotional response from the audience. And as with defining the “Creative Industries”, if consumer response is the tier of relevance, then is there any point in debating?

Maybe this guy has the right idea.

(Found him at the fair, he reminded me of how I’ll probably feel after completing a one year masters program.)

Personal opinions aside, these artists deserve recognition and their moment in the spotlight. They have accomplished both artistically and professionally, a balance that must be held if any creative entrepreneur seeks to succeed in today’s world. Talent can only get you so far, an understanding of the business world is crucial in taking you the rest.

 

London Design Festival & Start Up Weekend

Beginning this Post Graduate journey, the Creative Economy department designed an Orientation and Start Up weekend to stimulate the mind with various degrees of creativity. This kicked off at the London Design Festival in South Bank, where students indulged in new and innovative arts from the “Cream of the UK and International Designers”, at the Royal Festival Hall. Image The location was of particular interest to me, and after the show I found myself wandering around the concert hall, where there was not only a multitude of concert information to be found, but more art throughout from the festival. This allowed me the opportunity to plan several returns to the Royal Festival Hall, where I found there will be a multitude of excellent performances throughout the year.

The next day began with what could have possibly been the most mind grueling weekend I have had in quite a while, the Start Up. Now when I first heard that we were going to get a business plan up and running within 48 hours, worthy of being pitched to investors, I seriously considered faking an illness. As a person whose education has been mostly comprised of various aspects of music and performance, who has never taken a business class, the task seemed quite daunting. However, I was pleasantly surprised to find it was not as scary as it seemed ( a surprise I hope continues throughout the program). I found the thought processes taught by our workshop leader Eewei Chen to not be boring or straightforwardly dry as I had anticipated, but thought provoking, creative, and imaginative. This project not only allowed the students to get to know each other, but allowed us to utilize our strengths collectively to accomplish our goal. Personally I found the strengths of the individuals in my group to be quite varied, and although at first I thought this may have caused conflict, our multitude of skills collaborated quite efficiently. I believe it was our varied strengths that conspired the completion of our unique design, and I am defiantly proud of the work my colleges and I accomplished. I know this will be an experience I will remember long after I have left Kingston, and I’m sure glad I didn’t fake that illness.

http://www.londondesignfestival.com/events/designersblock-2012-southbank-centre-0