November 2016

24 November 2016

Creative Cafe Sharing – Magic Memories

On the 17th of November the Creative Cafe of Autumn 2016 came together to celebrate though a wonderful night of music with workshop leaders Caution Collective.

We’ve compiled a gallery of the best shots from that evening. We’d like to congratulate:

  • Sienna, Millie and Kyann for their beautiful version of A Thousand Years
  • Sky for shining bright as any star with her emotional original song Lone Soldier
  • Claydon for his lyrical prowess and skilled song structure
  • Alexandria for getting us in the mood for Christmas with her cover of O’Holy Night
  • Robin for breaking our hearts with his dramatic rendition of Close Everydoor
  • Lem for wearing his heart on his sleeve in Do the Right thing
  • Carmen for being a total superstar singing Let it Go with her Uncle Simon
  • Melissa for her emotional, catchy and masterful song Floating
  • Adeline for her dedication and for saying it simply but brilliantly with Path Ways
  • Martelle for her synchronicity and natural bluesy tones in her original song Home
  • Taysia for blowing our socks off and giving her all with Funny
  • Lady K for picking up the beat and her clever original rhymes in How Crazy must I be?
  • Jervai, for his mellow tones with So Sick

And last but not least Christella, Simon, Tila, Tavelah, Cherie and Kyrann from Caution Collective for all their hard work making the Creative Cafe happen.

We hope this is experience is one you will always treasure, we certainly will.

View more from this excellent Creative Cafe

21 November 2016

9 Top Tips to Boost your Acting Career with Lladel Bryant

Lladel Bryant is an entrepreneur, actor and the creative heart here at the Geraldine Connor Foundation. Recently nominated for the BEAM Award for Male Actor of the Year I asked Lladel for his top tips for aspiring actors ahead of his return to touring with Zodwa Nyoni’s extraordinary short play Nine Lives.

Lladel on stage starring as Ishmael, a refugee awaiting his fate in Leeds after fleeing homophobia in Zimbabwe
  1. Be Proactive– Acting is a tough game, Lladel recommends any aspiring actor to look at what’s happening around them and get involved, this could be in the form of a degree, workshops (such as Creative Cafe and Creative Lab) or even setting up your own YouTube page (more advice on that from Kerry here).
  2. Produce your own work– Struggling to find a role? Why not make your own? Producing your own short films, scripts, monologues or other projects will give you a greater insight and appreciation of the entire industry and potentially provide another career path! Lladel is now staking his claim as the Enterprising Actor in the hope that it inspires others to be enterprising in their creativity whilst also learning P.R skills, web development and marketing. This can advance any creative’s career options, you can follow his new page The Enterprising Actor here 
  3. Have an Artillery-Pick up some monologues which you can rattle off without hesitation, anything from Shakespeare to the Harlem Renaissance. Not only is this a great experience for learning lines, it shows a real discipline. Be prepared to show off your skill at all times, one day you might just bump into someone who knows (or is) the casting director for your favourite show.
  4. Don’t stress!- Whether auditioning, learning lines or waiting backstage stress kills focus and when you’re off kilter it shows in your work. Of course, it’s natural to feel the pressure in these moments, try looking into relaxation techniques, whether it’s running or meditation there will be something that works for you.
  5. Find Your Own Technique-specifically when learning lines, any actor has their own process. You may find it useful to use a Dictaphone or camera, or to write out your lines or use symbols. Try out different things, once you find your rhythm the process will become easier.
  6. Get into the Groove!– According to Lladel every character has their own theme music, take the time to identify the right songs for each character. You’ll be surprised how much the rhythm of the music will help you to develop the characters walk, talk and mannerisms embedding the character in your mind ready for the big debut.
  7. Move Your Body!-93% of communication is non-verbal with 55% made up of body language alone, meaning how you use your body is just as important as the script. Try researching Bio-Mechanics and learn how to convey your character’s history through movement, famous examples of this include Richard III or John Hurt as The Elephant Man.
  8. Research Techniques– you don’t need to be classically trained to become an actor but it’s worth spending some time picking up the tricks of the trade. You might be surprised at the how interesting and helpful you find it and it’s easy to find the key points online without reading lots of thick books. Try starting with Laban’s work on Movement Psychology or Stanislavski.
  9. Find Your Calling-This is probably one of the most difficult steps but as you pursue acting you might find you are drawn to a particular form. Lladel’s passion is revitalising Shakespeare through short form films for social Media, you can see some of his work over at ChickenShop Shakespeare.


For more information on the upcoming Nine Lives tour, including cast and synopsis please see here:

Lladel on stage starring as Ishmael, a refugee awaiting his fate in Leeds after fleeing homophobia in Zimbabwe

18 November 2016

Celebrating Creative Cafe with Caution Collective!



Over the last six weeks the #CreativeCafe Participants have Learned the Art of Singing, Song-writing and Performance.
Last night all their hard work and practice culminated with our Creative Cafe Sharing. The amazing individuals of the Creative Cafe had their chance to Shine by putting together a Wonderful night which included everything from Covers to Original songs, Broadway Classics to Disney and much more.

We’ll soon be putting together an album of all the shots of the evening.
In the time being we just wanted to say how proud we are of our participants, how grateful we are for your support and a huge thanks to Caution Collective and Leeds City College for making the Creative Cafe possible.

Thank you

The Geraldine Connor Team

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10 November 2016

9 Quick Tips to Make You a YouTube Star!

Vlogging (Video blogging) is a fantastic way to show off your talents to the world, be they musical, comedic, presenting or something else entirely. They’re also a great creative outlet, tons of fun and a good way to make and stay in touch with friends.

Maybe you’ve never thought about Vlogging, or maybe you just don’t know where to start. Either way, this is the post for you!

1) It’s All About You

So, take the time to think about why you’re doing this.

If you’re keen to be the next Dermot O’Leary or Holly Willoughby then work on your presenting, keep it family friendly and concentrate on getting those subscribers. If you’re more interested in topping the charts concentrate on quality audio and video, networking with other musicians and so on.

Most importantly! Be yourself, love it or hate it this is what your audience wants to see and they WILL notice if you’re putting on an act.

2) Setting the Stage

Starting your Vlog is an exciting time; you’ll finish your first video and your heart will tell you to immediately upload it and wait for the viewers to come in.

This would be a mistake.

Take the time to think about presentation:
-Consider your YouTube name, what do you want it to say? Is it easy to remember? And will you still be happy with it in 3 years time?
-Make sure your YouTube page is fully set up, including an introduction and customisation, it’s a small thing but to your viewers it will make all the difference.
-Consider creating a simple logo and jingle, if you’re not artistic ask a friend to help out.
-Consider your theme, if you’re planning to be a comedy star then make sure your bio and profile picture is fun!

This is your big internet debut! Be Prepared!

3) Patience is a Virtue

So, you’re all ready to go! By this stage you’ve already put a lot of work in. But I’m afraid you’re only half way there, time to be patient.
It’s going to take you a while to get used to your new friend the camera lens and let’s face it your first few videos won’t be your best.
Don’t expect to become a star overnight, follow our advice and in time you’ll be as popular as Snowmen at Christmas. Remember, as with any great trend, it’s going to take people a while to catch on.

We can’t stress this enough. STAY. WITH. IT!

4) Recording and Editing Like a Pro

On average, it takes 6 hours to record and edit a 5-minute video, with approximately 1 ½ hours prep, 1 ½ hours to film and 3 to edit.

When filming make sure your camera is stable, your lighting is good and your background is consistent (no filming at sunset or in a busy café).
A Golden rule of recording is to keep going. If you fluff a line so what? Say it again! Stop recording and you’ll lose you’re nerve and the piece will come out looking awkward and unnatural, making the edit difficult.
When it comes to editing your video, you may already have software on your laptop, if not there are some great free downloads or free 1 month trials to try. Have a look around and see what suits you, you might start with; Lightworks, Video-Pad, i-Movie (Mac), Final-Cut Pro (Mac) or Adobe Premier Pro.

As you become a tech wizard you’ll learn to record with editing in mind. As a general rule, when starting out keep things clean and simple, you’ll pick up the flashy stuff later.

5) Finding your Tribe

Whether you want to inspire, make people laugh or just have fun there will be a tribe for you, the key is finding them.
Try looking for similar Youtubers then subscribe to their videos and start interacting with them. Their subscribers may note your comments and come to your page to check out your videos.
Treat other Youtubers as inspiration, but never copy them, be original and do everything in your own style, maybe one day you can arrange a collaboration and help each other out!
When you start to get subscribers be good to them, thank people and respond to their comments
Finally, don’t forget to link up to your social media, chances are your high school music friends have a youtube page and there’s probably a twitter page for local musicians who will give you some free promotion!

Remember to Fly your Freak Flag high, if you don’t nobody will find you amongst the trees. 

6) Be a Tease

So you’re ready to launch your video into the big bad world of the internet but wait! Nobody knows it’s coming
When it comes to promoting your videos it pays build up the hype, for example if you film a video on Wednesday take a selfie and upload to twitter to let people know you’re filming, when you edit (perhaps on a Friday) post your best 15 second clip or a blooper then finally share the video on Monday. This way your audience are anticipating your next move and you’re always on their minds.

Give your Audience a Sneak Peak. Trust us it’s Tried and tested.

7) Keeping it Interesting

This is one of the most difficult aspects of running a Vlog.
Firstly think about what is current, right now it’s November 2016 so comedy vloggers are having a field day with Bonfire night and Donald Trump. Meanwhile the hype for the 2017 remake of Beauty and the Beast is building, if you’re a singer why not consider a cover of a Disney classic?
Sometimes you may be able to pick up on these trends via youtube, for example Pokémon Go was a common theme amongst Vloggers during July.
However, don’t be tempted to step too far away from your theme, if people follow you for dance tips they don’t want to hear your political views-save those for Twitter.
If you find yourself getting stuck for ideas keep a notebook to write down any inspirations for Vlogs, perhaps you’ll have a great idea for a Christmas Vlog in May, don’t let yourself forget it!

Keep it current, trending and relevant to your theme!

8) Consistent Content is key

Maintaining a blog can be hard work so be realistic about how often you can post.
Once you get subscribers they will expect to hear from you at regular intervals, if you don’t update frequently then these individuals will eventually unsubscribe.
If you can keep your updates regular (for example every Monday), it demonstrates your dedication and professionalism both to your subscribers and to head-hunters and employers you may wish to attract!
Schedule time to create your videos and edit, if you know you are going to be busy try and film ahead of time or, at minimum, post an update apologising for missing a post and talk about your plans for the next one.
Similarly, if you have a free period and can film extra videos don’t be afraid to save them for a rainy week, you never know when you might catch a cold or just need a break.
Another great tip is to have a series of themed videos which will keep subscribers coming back, for example you might have ‘Chloe’s Christmas Countdown’ or ‘Martin’s Monday Moan’.

Schedule it, Plan Ahead and Have a Theme.

9) The Boring but Important Stuff

It goes without saying but don’t post any personal details online, be mindful of things like envelopes in the background which might reveal your address to a nosey viewer.
Remember copyright laws, whilst Adele’s latest track might be the perfect accompaniment to your video it will eventually be noticed by Youtube, your video will be taken down and your hard work will be for nothing. Instead use royalty free tracks, you can find playlists of these on Youtube or online.
Stay cool. Youtube is a platform for free speech, but if you’re going to swear or deal with sensitive issues follow guidelines and use warnings. Remember, if you’re going to be controversial then you need to be prepared for the backlash.
Finally, be aware of lurking Trolls, these individuals can be a pain but often go away if not engaged. Try not to take their words personally but if you feel like you are being bullied or that their speech is inappropriate make sure you report it to Youtube.

Stay Safe, Stay Legal, Stay Cool.


Last, but Not Least, Remember this Vlog is for You, Enjoy It!


Edited by Kathleen

With many thanks to Kerry Maule for providing the expert tips and tricks in this post.

Kerry started her comedy Vlog ‘Kedsaid’ on Nov 6th 2014 whilst studying in New Mexico

Kerry is a presenter at Made in Leeds TV. During her time studying Broadcast Journalism at the University of Leeds Kerry won several awards for her TV and Radio presenting including Best Female Presenter 2014 at the NASTA (National Student Television Association) awards.

Kerry recently filmed our Creative Café for Lowdown Leeds! You can watch it here:

Get in touch with Kerry on Twitter! @KerryMaule

7 November 2016

Sarah Sarhandi and the Both Universe Performance

Earlier this year we worked alongside the wonderful musician Sarah Sarhandi to stage Both Universe, a unique collaborative cross-disciplinary performance between British and Pakistani artists.

In this work Sarah expresses her story of joint British and Pakistani heritage through music, dance and film, describing the piece as “a dance between polarities, artists, masculine and feminine, dream and reality, light and dark, countries and culture”.
Head over to project page below to view the promotional video for the performance which was staged at Alchemy Festival on the Southbank and at Kala Sangham in Bradford.