Tuesday, 22 November 2011

28th November-creative callout!

This is a message to all those creative people who reside in Lincolnshire, East Anglia and South Yorkshire...
We're on the hunt for talent!
On 28th November at Sparkhouse Studios, Lincoln we'll be hosting a get-together of employees past, present and future and would love to meet more of you. It's a chance for us to tell you what we've got planned and your chance to share your own ideas.
There will be a sneak preview of our internet TV channel which will run as a pilot page very soon ahead of (we hope) major funding in 2012. And some drinks and nibbles, too!

Just send an e-mail to info@erminestreetproject.co.uk and we'll send you an invitation. We're looking for writers, directors, editors, actors... in fact anyone who thinks that they could play a part in shaping ESPTV. Preference will be given to those who have completed some form of training in the field that they would like to work in, but we're here to find talent in all shapes and sizes. Just as long as they live in the areas that ESP cover, of course.

Hope to see you there!

Tuesday, 4 October 2011

"My World" launches into its second term

Now the school term has begun in earnest, our special schools project, "My World" has begun its next phase at St Christophers, Lincoln, and the Pheonix School, Grantham.
We'll continue working with the fantastic students and teachers and hope to be every bit as successful as last term. It happens to be rather fun, too!
This may well be the last time we run this project in its current form, but we hope to create some after school or holiday activities instead that can include kids from every background and ability from all over the county.
Will keep you updated on that.
And of course, more news will follow on the rather big plans we have for our internet channel, too!

Wednesday, 14 September 2011

We've kept you waiting long enough...

OK folks, we've been teasing you for long enough...
We're embarking on an ambitious project that will create a new internet channel for the region and beyond.
This will not be your normal community channel- there are plenty of those in the region who do great stuff.
This will be an On Demand service that will employ a core team of cast and crew working in a "Repertory" style, creating new and exciting content weekly.
We have short films, serials and documentaries all ready to go. Very shortly we shall have a pilot page up and running on our current website, prior to the launch of a dedicated channel next year.
As ever with ESP, all participants will be paid and Sharon is heavily involved with securing funding and investment for this venture. She has recently been selected as one of 12 participants in Ogunte's "Make a Wave" pre-incubation program which will mentor her in pitching and business planning.
We are confident that we can make this a sustainable business, free from a reliance on grant funding in the long term and making a difference to the region and the industry as a whole.
As well as drama and documentaries, we shall showcase the best in local sport and entertainment, from bands to stand-up comedy and focus on special interest hobbies from time to time.
So much to share! So much to do! Watch this space and we shall have more news very soon.

Monday, 22 August 2011

Interesting times ahead...

Well, it's been an eventful few weeks, some good news, some bad.
We sucessfully completed the first stage of the "My World" project at St Christophers School and the Pheonix School. Now looking forward to the autumn term where we should be making more fantastic little films. The kids and teachers alike got a great deal from the weekly sessions and its great that our funding will stretch to one more term. We might be able to get some clips and photos up here soon.

The bad news is, our recent funding bids for other projects have been unsuccessful, but all is not lost. We are still on track for a very ambitious project (sorry for being a little secretive at the moment but all will be revealed soon...)that will happen in the next few months.
Sharon learnt today that she has been picked to be one of 12 woman social entrepeneurs that will be mentored over the next six months to enable their businesses to gain investors. The mentoring project is called "Make a Wave", run by Ogunte and sponsored by, amongst others, the RSA. The ambitious project that we have in mind for ESP has potential and we're all very excited by what lies ahead.
Coupled with a possible funding pilot project with another organisation we believe that we are going to make a huge difference to the cultural output of the region and be creating quite a few jobs on the way.
We will tell all soon, I promise!

Monday, 4 July 2011

Low/No Pay becomes headline news

This is going to be great publicity for this issue.
Such a change in attitudes to the whole debate in the last two years which is fantastic. What I hope is that many more companies like us spring up and show how creative industries can pay workers a wage for their time.
A good day for the future of the industry!

Thursday, 5 May 2011

My World project begins

This weeks sees the beginning of the "My World" project, taking filmmaking into Special Schools. Lincolnshire County Council have kindly supported us on this venture and we will be working on two short films in two special schools in Lincolnshire until the summer, and then taking another group in each school after the holidays and making another film.
We're glad to have on board Steve Pitwell, a local filmmaker who already works with children with special needs and he will be leading these projects for us.
Special thanks also to the Saville Turner Holistic trust who are also supporting us on this venture.

Wednesday, 23 February 2011

E-mail problems

We're having some problems with our main e-mail address right now. Try sending to martin@erminestreetproject.co.uk for now and hopefully our main e-mail will be working properly soon.

Tuesday, 15 February 2011

Easter Workshops- Update

Thanks to the lovely people at Lincoln University we have a venue for our first Filmmaking Holiday Club.
We shall be holding it at Sparkhouse Studios, Lincoln from 11th-15th April, 10am-4pm.
It's open to all young people aged 11-18 and priority will be given to children with learning/behavioral disabilties or physical disabilities.
12 places will be available at a cost of £150 for the full five days. Full details and a booking form are available- just send an e-mail to info@erminestreetproject.co.uk

Monday, 17 January 2011

The Internet- Social Mobility or Social Immobility?

I've recently started a big drive to get myself and my various businesses out in the social networking arena. The internet is a wonderful tool for this and it makes me sad that it wasn't available when I started my acting career in '96.
It's got me thinking though, about whether it's really been a good thing. Is the internet a wonderful open market where anyone, from any background can realise their dreams? Or is it a place where dreams are constructed with the promise of new opportunities that never materialise?
If we look at this from the point of view of an actor, for example; has the internet opened up the world of acting to a huge new group of people from every background, reflected in the work we see on mainstream television and in our theatres up and down the country?
I’m not convinced. Opportunities certainly exist in abundance. Low budget films, fringe theatre, even television can offer unpaid work to anyone, regardless of background or training. For some, it’s the only way to gain experience and build a CV.
The problem is that these opportunities aren’t in fact open to everyone. They are solely open to those that can afford to work unpaid. For those saddled with huge debts after drama school, or those that have financial commitments it becomes a struggle to equate one’s art with one’s bank balance.
The Arts in particular are prone to that particular problem. The image of the impoverished actor; chained to a profession that does not sustain them financially but purely creatively is held in high esteem.
There are those who can still claim to be nourished purely by the Art but it reflects a very narrow cross section of our society. Are we heading towards an age before John Osborne where a theatrical career was only for those that could afford it? Are drama schools to become finishing schools for the elite?
There is a huge gap between those who can earn even a modest living in the Arts and those who earn nothing. Some of this unpaid work is genuine collaborative enterprise; creative minds getting together and working towards something new and exciting. This is balanced by companies that can trim their wage bill by employing those that purely need the experience, driving down the cost of an actor to zero. We see it in other walks of life where competition for jobs is high and unpaid internships abound. You cannot stop the personal freedom of one job candidate undercutting the going rate of the next. Or can we?
Is this a necessary evil of a supply and demand labour market? Can perceptions be changed? Are some jobs destined to become expensive hobbies instead of careers? Should we care? Are the National Minimum Wage laws in the country robust enough? Or too harsh on those that purely want to enjoy the artistic rewards and not the financial ones?
My way through this minefield is to find the money to pay every contributor that works on an Ermine Street Project CIC production. I don’t have any personal funds to bankroll it myself, so it’s pretty tough. But my ethos is that nothing worth doing is meant to be easy. I have nothing against collaborations but there comes a time (maybe when you’re galloping towards forty) when you have to make a decision on how you want to live your life and make a difference.

Tuesday, 11 January 2011

Easter Workshops

Fingers tightly crossed for a good outcome in the latest round of funding applications to finally get "My World" off the ground after Easter. In the meantime, we're hoping to run a week long filmmaking workshop in the region for children with physical disabilities in the Easter break.
Exact date and venue to be confirmed, but it will open up the world of filmmaking to even more young people. More workshops that run in tandem with our work in Special Schools are planned in the summer too.
With other projects such as "Witchcat" on target for an autumn shoot and various film festivals in the pipeline we're going to be very busy.