productive, but chilled

2016, lifestyle

Hello!

In the past couple of weeks, I’ve had three deadlines and a lot of stuff to do, so managing my time has been a particular challenge. But I’ve found a way that helps my productivity sky rocket so I thought I’d share!

Working with 100% focus, no distractions and complete silence doesn’t work for me – I get really tempted to do anything but what I’m meant to be doing and I spend the whole time thinking about everything else I could be doing.

In the run up to a big hand in of a research workbook, I knew I had a lot of work to do. I sat on the sofa in the living room whilst my flatmates played GTA, my iPad set up to one side with YouTube playing, headphones on and just slowly worked away at my workbook.

With having YouTube on in the background and being with my friends, feeling like I was only working at 60%-70%, I worked for five hours straight and got about 15 pages (of what would become a total 41) done. I continued this success with more ‘chilled productivity’ sessions and got the whole thing done and uploaded with plenty of time to spare.

Since then, I’ve done pretty much all of my work with YouTube on in the background, or in a coffee shop or with my friends in the room, rather than in complete silence and isolation. I feel like it means I can work for longer without feeling as tired and what I make in the end is of higher quality too because I wasn’t pushing myself to make it.

Obviously this only works if you allow yourself enough time to work that way and it doesn’t work for every kind of workload – I have a lot of coursework based assignments but if you’re wanting to do some intense revision, having YouTube videos on in the background you probably won’t absorb any information, but it can still be applied in other ways.

If you have the kind of workload that allows for ‘chilled productivity’, I thoroughly recommend it because in the end, I enjoyed making my workbook and I liked making the pages look as creative as I could. And I caught up on so much YouTube in the process, I’m nearly not behind anymore!

And to anyone that says the quality of the work won’t be as good because you’ve not paid full attention to it – I got a first for this assignment and my workbook was the highest part of my marks.

Different things work for different people, but everything I’ve ever seen about revising or being productive has involved putting your phone to one side or not letting yourself listen to music, when depriving yourself of these little pleasures aren’t always certain to make you more productive. It takes a lot of experimenting before you can find out what’s right for you!

Another thing I’m thinking about trying in the New Year to help my productivity is bullet journalling but I have no idea where to start right now, so if you know anything or have any tips please do leave it in the comments!

Thank you for reading,

Sophie xx

 

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Summer in the City Day 3! | Update Mondays

2016

Hello,

The fact I’ve merged these two posts together is down to the fact that I was so tired last night when I got back that I never got round to it. So I thought I’d do these two posts together to make up for it!

SitC Day 3 was shorter than I’d have liked it to be in an ideal world, but it worked out for the best in the end.

I waited to get in at 11, as I had the previous two days and when the doors opened, I wondered casually (as opposed to all the girls running and screaming) towards The Midnight Beast’s stand, to buy myself a t-shirt and one as a present for Lucas (because I’m a good girlfriend) and then, me and the friends I’d made wondered pretty aimlessly around until we decided we wanted to go and queue for the Short Film panel.

We went an hour and twenty minutes before the panel started, but we also were the first people in the queue and got to be front row so… totally worth it.

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The panel was hosted by Elliot Gough (far right) and featured a few of my very favourite YouTubers and filmmakers so I was really keen to hear what they had to say.

The thing with a lot of these panels as that you do end up hearing a lot of the same things – if you want to make it you just have to keep making things, churn out loads of content and keep practicing. At the end of the day, it’s all storytelling.

Sammy made a good analogy that getting into the industry was like climbing up the steps of a ladder and YouTube, in a way, is building a new ladder to climb up. And to further the analogy, it’s much harder to climb up the ladder when millions of people are trying to.

They reiterated that you need to be constantly making things and putting stuff out there, whether it be with writing or any skill. Hazel Hayes then said that showing promise can be more important than having loads of views or subscribers.

Short films can work as proof of concept or as a shorter form of an idea for a feature film, a series or a generally bigger idea and a lot of these filmmakers works was originally an idea for a feature film or something that they thought could possibly be continued but they wanted it to be rounded off and seem complete as well, so the YouTube audience wouldn’t be left feeling unfulfilled.

And in terms of management or getting funding, it’s best not to have a “baby” project. If you put so much into an idea that you’re then reluctant to let it go and don’t have any other ideas, it’s unlikely that anyone’s going to take you seriously so be working on a few things at once.

One thing I figured out whilst listening to that panel is that I’d really like to write something that’s very dialogue heavy – I really like writing dialogue and it would be nice to have that challenge and write about something that matters to me.

It was a really great panel and I’m glad it was the last thing I went to at SitC. After the panel, a bunch of us wondered around a little bit – having another look around the convention (like we didn’t know it inside out at this point!) and then went for lunch. And it was at this point that the others went to another panel and I went to the hotel to pick up my suitcase and get the train home.

I was absolutely shattered from the weekend and I didn’t want to be fighting with rush hour London on a journey home where I knew I’d be struggling to stay awake. I’m glad I left when I did because the underground journey was easy and there was a train at the station ready to leave in less than ten minutes when I arrived at Waterloo and I was home by 6, eating Chinese and watching Robot Wars by 8.

A lovely, relaxing evening to end an absolutely brilliant weekend.

And I suppose, I don’t want to ruin it really by saying I haven’t worked out or written a single word at all this week. I’m struggling with motivating myself and being able to think positively right now – depression is a difficult thing and it’s so hard to let myself fail when I’m so scared of failure but here I am, failing. Sorry.

Thank you for reading and I hope you’ve enjoyed my posts about Summer in the City,

Sophie xx

 

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Summer in the City Day 2!

2016

Hello!

Today was a literal day of up and downs (I’ll explain that joke later) and SITC has been a whirlwind so let’s go to the beginning of the day!

Creator Day is always such a chill and calm day that the Saturday always feels so much busier – it was insane how many more people were there today but we got in and we went straight for the sofas we’d been sat on yesterday just to chill and figure out a plan. Then some people went to a panel, some to queue for meet and greets and I went with Emily (emilysingsandthings on YouTube!) to watch her open mic performance (which was absolutely brilliant, but the way!).

After that I went to queue for KickThePJ’s filmmaking panel and this is where it started going a bit wrong.

My phone just bricked. The screen went black, I tried plugging it in, I pressed all the combinations of buttons, I unplugged it, plugged it back in, I tried everything. When I realised that my phone had broken I went straight into panic. I got really anxious, I was trying not to cry (unsuccessfully) but I stuck by it, I went to the panel (I was front row, not that I have any evidence for it because my camera memory was full too!) and instead of going to queue for another panel that I really wanted to go to, I went back to the hotel to try and sort out my phone. I plugged it into the computer and I pressed buttons and clicked things and iTunes did something and now my phone is fine. I have no idea what happened but I reset something and it was fine.

And from there I chilled on Skype with Lucas for a bit to calm myself down and eat lunch and then headed back to SitC to get to main stage for the night.

And that went well – I got really close to the front and we ended up one row from the front for Jack and Dean but I saw Bars and Melody, the YouTube awards, Jon Cozart, Ricky Dillon, Bethan Leadley, The Gabbie Show, Dodie Clark, Tris and Connor (drummer and bassist) from the Vamps and Jack and Dean. So a pretty good night! Dodie was absolutely incredible and Jack and Dean’s show was hilarious. I’m so glad I went back for it!

Then this is where ‘up and down’ comes into it – my key for my hotel room stopped working. It wouldn’t work when I swiped it to call the lift but then someone else let me in so I assumed it would be fine, got out on the 7th floor and the key wouldn’t work on my room. I went down again and the woman at the desk reprogrammed my key and it wouldn’t work on the lift again, she let me up and surprise, surprise my key wouldn’t work on my room! So down again I went (see, up and down… get it?!) and the woman reprogrammed a couple of keys and came up with me so I could definitely get into my room so I could finally eat the take-out chips I’d bought!

All in all it was a good day, PJ’s panel was so inspiring and the notes I made were really nice, filmmaking related tips such as; work with like minded people who believe in the project, developing a character for a short film (when you’re limited on time) means you have to focus on the elements of them that are important for the story and not irrelevant facts and in terms of inspiration, watching lots of stuff, listening to music, living life and just trying to make stuff is the best way to approach it!

Today was stressful and involved more crying than I expected it to but overall it was good, I’m looking forward to the short film panel I want to go to tomorrow but I’m also really excited to go home and order Chinese and watch Robot Wars and squish my bubba.

Maybe I’m too sentimental, but I love my squish.

Thank you for reading and bring on the final day of SitC!

Sophie xx

 

Also, Jack and Dean took this photo after their main stage performance.

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Time to play Spot the Spoofy.

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Creator and Industry Day | SitC Day 1

2016

Hello!

I was so nervous when I arrived at Summer in the City this morning, I nervously wondered around looking at all the stalls and not talking to anyone and being very scared – I was absolutely terrified.

But then I went and chatted to Sammy Paul, who I met at MCM and we’ve chatted on twitter a couple of times since and I calmed down a bit – I felt a bit more comfortable and I braved going to speak to a couple of companies – I chatted to CoHost and Book Break and I went over to the Penguin table (the book publishers that is, not a table of arctic birds) and I wound up auditioning to be a Penguin audio book reader person? I just had to stand in a booth and read a 500 word excerpt from a book that hasn’t been published yet but I actually felt really comfortable doing it, I really enjoyed it! There’s a second stage at the Penguin Offices and if I’m successful I’ll get to go – all very exciting!

After that, I went to a panel on Monetisation, learning things such as: I should learn to invoice things, don’t get your YouTube channel banned and be very honest with brands and your audience. But in all seriousness, it was a very interesting panel that raised some really interesting points about brand deals and the ethics behind them.

I also made a note that everyone on the panel was so genuine – Luke Cutforth and Dodie Clark raised some really thought-provoking points and both had some very subtly hilarious reactions when Nash Grier was mentioned.

When the panel ended I went and sat and ate the sandwich I’d bought from Tescos last night and chatted to a couple of girls who noticed I was sat alone. Then I pumped into Pete Bucknall, the wonderful petesjams on YouTube, and he complimented me hair and we had a proper good chat and it was absolutely lovely.

And I resumed wondering, met up with a friend from uni and made some more new friends before going to a panel hosted by Sammy Paul (upon his recommendation when I saw him earlier) with a bunch of people who have really important roles behind the camera – Matt Ley (animator), Paul Neafcy (writer), Elliot Gough (editor), Becka Hewett (producer) and Ciaran O’Brian (director of photography/camera op/lighting/everything). It was very interesting to learn more about each person’s job and whilst I’m no technically good enough, it’s really riled up my passion for editing because at the moment I really enjoy it.

It’s all been very interesting and inspiring!

What I made notes on in that panel was that networking it a really important part of making short films, especially on a budget and on YouTube, leaving edits for longer doesn’t make them easier to finish, being critical of yourself and others and learning from it is a positive way to build on your skills and try not to make things personal and ‘yours’ if it’s not your project.

All very important things to note and made me really excited to start working on some short film content with my friends!

Once that panel had ended, I went and said hello to Hazel Hayes (who remembered me from her shoebox meet up!) and Dodie Clark (who also remembered me from MCM!) and then I hung around with the people before coming back to the hotel, going to get chips and coming back to the hotel again!

It’s been an amazing day and I can’t wait for SitC Day 2 tomorrow – tomorrow’s post might be a bit later because the main stage acts don’t finish till later in the evening, so I’ll write an update post as soon as I can!

Thank you for reading,

Sophie xx

 

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Writing fiction on YouTube/Writing a Sitcom?

2016

Hello!

A Thursday post? What is this? I’ve been doing Monday/Wednesday/Friday so over a month now?!? I also said I’d write a post every day whilst I was at Summer In The City, the UK’s largest YouTube convention, in London!

So I’m settled in my hotel room in London (which is the first hotel I’ve paid for myself, actually pretty proud!) and, as the convention doesn’t start till tomorrow, I thought I’d write a little post about writing for youTube – a little bit relevant!

I have been thinking about and wanting to write fiction on YouTube (whether that be short films or a series or something) ever since I started the channel properly in 2013 and so far, I haven’t done anything more than vlogging. So far I’ve not had the idea that really makes me want to write a script but I’m working on it.

Lucas has had an idea for a film or a series and he’s currently working on the pilot (and I told him I’d help with the writing but I’ve been working on my book and balancing projects is proving difficult!) and it’s a really good idea and we’re thinking that we’re going to get our friendship group, affectionately known as Hamwic and Chill and professionally known as Hamwic Productions, to work on it when we’re all back for uni.

One night when our friend Simon was round, the three of us were joking about writing a sitcom about our friendship group, Hamwic and Chill, because it would be really funny and contrary to popular belief, I’ve been working on it a little bit! It might come to fruition at some point in the next year but I can’t make any promises!

I’m lucky that all of my friends are driven in a similar way and have the skills that we could actually make a really high quality film. I know sound guys and video technicians and a fashion student and an SFX make-up artist (my sister has a new make-up instagram called luckett_mua I highly recommend it!) and I think I can go as far as to call myself a writer so between us we could probably make a pretty decent attempt at a film or a series!

I’m so inspired by filmmakers like Sammy Paul and Hazel Hayes on YouTube and I’m lucky enough to have met both of them at different points and I’m hoping that maybe one day I could be considered and regarded in a similar light on YouTube or even outside of it!

Summer in the City is hopefully going to motivate me even more to make these sitcom/film aspirations a reality but alongside trying to rewrite my book… I can’t be promising any kind of content in the immediate future!

But I am getting better at actually uploading content to my YouTube channel – in three weeks I’ve managed to completely catch up on three monthly vlogs and July is live pretty early (compared to other people doing the monthly vlog thing). Please give it a watch if you’d like to see what I’ve been up to – I really like this one!

Thank you for reading (and watching!),

Sophie xx

 

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