APP OF THE MONTH: Audacity

Posted Leave a commentPosted in App of the Month, Business Skills, Creative Industries
Name Audacity
Product Description By far the best, cross-platform, professional, audio editing software available online and the best thing? It’s absolutely free!
Availability Available from the Audacity website
Key Features ·       It’s available on pretty much every single mainstream operating system.

·       Use it to record live sound through a mic, mixer or direct recording of digital sounds.

·       Import sound files from anywhere and everywhere and export your audio files in multiple formats at once.

·       Provides an excellent sound quality: 16-bit, 24-bit and 32-bit. For those who have no idea what I mean, sound quality is measured in bits kind of like how image quality is measured in pixels.

·       It supports loads of plugins (or a programme which can be added to a piece of existing software to serve a specific function or purpose).

·       Really simple editing functionality where you can copy, cut, paste and delete as well as saving all your individual editing steps so you can undo and redo every minor detail to your heart’s content.

·       They have loads of special effects available right at your fingertips including fades, reverbs, distortion, track repair, click tracks, noise reduction and so much more!

·       It is super easy to use with loads of quick mouse moves and keyboard shortcuts to manipulate your tracks simply and quickly.

·       Built-in analysis to allow you to visualise the different frequencies of your tracks.

Prices and Plans It is completely free software promoting free speech!
Biggest Pro Other than the fact it’s free, it comes with a frequently updated, easy to use and incredibly detailed user manual! Take a look at the online guide for Audacity here.
Biggest Con If you’re not knowledgeable on sound editing vernacular you might find some elements of this software tricksy but if you’re looking to upgrade your skillsets just get googling and YouTubing and reading that online guide and you’ll be a sound editing whizz before you know it.

Whether you’re setting up a podcast (like us), editing sound for a movie, a music track, a theatre show or an installation, whatever it may be, this is the best one available and will come at no expense to you and your company! It’s also a great new talent to add to the CV.

What do you use Audacity for? Let us know in the comments below.

 

Bad Day Good Story: The Fallen Soldier

Posted Leave a commentPosted in Bad Day Good Story, Entertainment

“The cars we drive say a lot about us.” – Alexandra Paul

It was an idyllic summers day. I had just finished a long and hard job full of eighty-hour weeks and rainy days (as are the qualms of working in outdoor theatre).  It was time to sort my life out before my next contract which was merely one week away.

The morning had been a constructive one.  First thing I drove to Warwick to drop off my car for her MOT before continuing to the office to retrieve my remaining belongings and say my final goodbyes.

It was 9.30 am.  The sun was shining, and I had already achieved so much!  Nothing to do now but wait until the garage rang and informed me that Lisbeth (my green Nissan Micra) was ready to collect.  Time to treat myself!

I headed for Jephson Gardens book in one hand, Magnum in the other and set up camp under the dappled shade of a beautiful beech and began to read.

I hadn’t felt this completely relaxed in months.  Ice cream demolished and first chapter smashed I lay back, cushioned by the grass, completely at peace…

… then my phone rang.

“Ruth?” It was my mum. “I’ve got some bad news.”

Bollocks.

I quickly fell from nirvana and back to earth with a start.

Whenever my Mum says “I’ve got some bad news” it was serious.  This means someone I love is dead or dying.

I trod carefully. “OK?”

“It’s Lisbeth.”  My heart plummeted right through the bottom of my stomach.  “She’s not gonna make it through her MOT.”

* * *

Lisbeth was my first car.  The car I learnt to drive in.  She had been with me through thick and thin.  Trips to and from college during the week and parties for 18th birthdays on the weekends.  My uni companion, accompanying me to Edinburgh, playing the moving van for countless students ferrying possessions from flat to flat, a key member of Cobweb Theatre Company carrying costume, props and sets, the late-night taxi service for emergency cake runs and the best hotel when long, late-night drives were too much. Then essential to my stage management freelancing career, cruising from venue to venue, company to company, theatre to theatre, an essential asset and a firm friend. And now, she was gone!

* * *

I had a few more days with her before the MOT certificate expired. A few more drives.  A few more mixtapes to blast out that killer stereo system.  And then the mighty Lisbeth breathed her last.

But that wasn’t enough for me, I needed something to remember her by.  A keepsake.

I left the house, screwdriver in hand, ready to remove her number plate.  Something I could keep forever.  I popped the caps off to reveal the screws and took a firm grasp on the bottom of the plate… and it fell off in my hand.

Hmm, on the other hand, it was probably time.

PRESS RELEASE: Runt of the Litter presents Little Things You Learn

Posted Leave a commentPosted in Press Release, Theatre
Tuesday 28th September at 7pm
Wednesday 29th September at 7pm
Tickets: £6.50 | Concessions: £4.50
Running Time: 45 minutes

Audience warnings: Single bad word, flashing lights.

When four strangers that were once siblings are reunited by an unfortunate event, they are plunged into a fantastical world. A place where their memories are a reality and their childhood is revived. A safe space to explore what happened all that time ago. Little Things YouLearn uses children’s imagination as a vessel to explore attachment in its many forms.

This whimsical world is a visual feast of colour and makeshift storytelling. Little Things You Learn is a reverse coming of age tale stooped in nostalgia, full of bittersweet accounts that will make you both laugh and cry.

12 Instagram Grid Layouts to Make Your Profile Look Amazing

Posted Leave a commentPosted in Digital Marketing, Marketing, Social Media

It’s important to create good looking Instagram profiles, that way when someone organically sees one of your posts and clicks through to take a closer look you want to give your visitor reason to drop you a follow!

And there are loads of different methods, all of which take a varying degree of planning:

 

  1. The Same Filter Method

 

An easy method to tie your Instagram account together. Pick a filter which you feel suits your brand and every time you post, use that filter on your pictures. That way, whatever they are, you tie them together in a similar vibe.

Check out: @bclivingmuseum @stellamariabaer @dannystheatrelife

  1. The Diagon-alley Method

Tricky to plan, this involves taking 3 linking posts (whether this be in colour, quote or subject of photo, etc.) and creating your posts so they appear diagonally on your feed.

As you can see, @adesignkit uses patterns, quotes and pictures. @lisamessenger uses quotes alongside differently themed pictures whereas @wehaveawish simply use colours to create a diagonal line in their feed.

This can be tricky because when planning this to create the diagonal you really have to think about what posts you’re putting out in what order to create that visual.

 

  1. The Checkerboard Method

Think like a chess board, here you have two types of visual content and alternate which one you post each time to create a checked pattern in your feed.

@thalia_arts_company have done this by posting their most recent show logo followed by a photo. @bossbabe.inc alternates between quotes and photos. Here at @theartzbiz we have adapted this to suit our brand so we post a photo and then content on patterns and blocking of our brand colours to create the zig-zag.

 

  1. The Row-by-Row Method

Stack your posts like you’re stacking shelves in a supermarket, row by row. You can really play with this method, get those creative juices flowing to decide exactly how you’re gonna form your rows.

@bobthedragqueen uses colour to pull together their fabulous headshots. @gregorygeipel takes architectural pictures of buildings and either uses similar backgrounds or a single panoramic split into three separate posts to create his rows. @musical_theatre_quotes uses the logo of the musical they are drawing quotes from in the centre which are then displayed in inkeeping branding on eitherside.

Remember to keep this theme looking slick you ideally have to post all three at the same time which could mess with your posting algorithms but makes your profile super appealing to anyone visiting.

 

  1. The Column-by-Column Method

Like the row-by-row but it’s more like you’re building the foundations for the roof of the acropolis, or composing a visual newspaper article.

@mysimplegram almost creates a row and column system with two thematic photos around quotes or images on a white background. @valleygirlstanning provides two columns of quotes and one column of photos. @traumaandco always keeps their central column with exactly the same formatting and puts alternative content either side.

So long as you post the same three type of content in the same order each time the columns will remain the same, they will simply shift to the right each time which means no need for three posts at a time.

 

  1. The Rainbow Method

Create a picture-perfect profile by using all the colours of the rainbow in your content! This really helps spread a little joy to your followers and beyond!

@ilonaverley plays the long game in their rainbow profile uploading 3×3 grids of photos using one colour as a focus then follows it with the next colour in the spectrum. @sarah_peretz does her rainbow effect row by row seamlessly blending from colour to colour. @thecheerfulchica posts differing colours from image to image, slightly less stringently than the others but still to gorgeous effect.

 

  1. The Colour-Coded Method

Similar to the rainbow but picking out one colour which suits your brand! So every post has the colour theme in common.

@birmingham_mag consistently uses beigy tones to tie in their paintings and artifacts. As managers of museum and art galleries across Birmingham, it helps that many of their pieces are already displayed on a white background. @museumoficecream has gone with vibrant pink which has a way of bringing immediate happiness! @blackdrop.co goes for classic monochrome pictures and infographics to make their profile look chic.

 

  1. The White Border Method

Using a white border around your images on Instagram negates the problem of trying to fit all your posts into a square. I have photographer clients who find this really helpful as often they develop their work in a bespoke size which would have to be edited again for Instagram, so instead they surround their images with a border in their properly proportioned form.

You can create columns (like @yellowbellyphoto), rows (like @yukastudio) or combine the two for a cool looking pattern (like @jonnycartwrightphotography)

 

  1. The Grid Method

In this method you take a single image and split it into squares using special apps like 9 Grid for Instagram. This can leave some pretty weird single images appearing in people’s newsfeeds, but it makes your profile really striking! So, if you do get users to click through, you’re bound to get them to hit that follow button.

@showupprods has recreated a poster for their Halloween showcase in their 3×3 grid. @theskullcrown.co uses 2×3 grid photos in black and white to show off their awesome bespoke jewelery. Whereas @theatricalthoughts are reimagining the grid. Their quotes work as individual images but come together in grid format to create a beautiful design.

Be careful with this method though as it can really mess with your impressions and interactions as, generally speaking, your posting content less often, but when you do you post 6-9 images at a time which will not be equally viewed.

 

  1. The Educational Infographic Method

An Instagram profile where the main focus is to enlighten and educate visitors. As you can see our select profiles use brand colour alongside illustrations, quotes, hashtags and information so that users can come away with a clearer understanding of what their profile is about and maybe even learn a little something in a fun and visual way in the process.

You can check out our selected profiles here: @artofmanetta @letstalkaboutmentalhealth @themindgeek

 

  1. The Branded Thematic Method

This is where companies use 2 or 3 content types and post them with consistent business branding, whether that’s colours, font, logos etc. You’re not creating a pattern here but by keeping your content thematic it pulls it all together to give a great overall aesthetic.

@museum_of_comedy posts their chalkboards, comic headshots and collages of photos in their feed. @chronicleswardrobe use great infographics, gorgeous illustration and great colour theming to tie in their profile to their brand. @blondetheatre black and white photos and tongue and cheek pop art in black, white and shocking pink making their profile look sick!

 

  1. The Collage Method

Use a bit of everything! And mix it all up into your own profile design.

Take the following Instagram accounts as inspiration: @nelsonmouellic @schoklenderklein @the_oa_

 

Remember, in general you should plan your Instagram Posts for the maximum impact. Instagram stories are for more spontaneous moments.

So, why not make it as beautiful as possible?

Are you proud of your Instagram profile? Link us in the comments so we can check it out!

Art for Everyone: The Little Known Studio

Posted Leave a commentPosted in Art, Exhibition, Start Ups

This weekend, whilst visiting a friend in Essex, I set out on the Leigh Art Trail.

You’ve still got the weekend to check it out if you’re in the area. From Landscapes on display in Kitchen showrooms to prints in fashion stores and some more conventional gallery spaces showcasing everything from three-dimensional depictions of the Southend Pier to beautifully embroidered pieces inspired by traditional tattoos, (prepare for cliché) there really is something for everyone! But get a move on because it wraps on 19th September!

But I digress. It was here I had the pleasure of meeting the brilliant Andy Downes in his gorgeous little gallery meets studio space on Leigh-on-Sea High Street.

The Little Known Studio is currently presenting Dave Nevard, who grew up in a family of artists, and takes inspiration from artists like Picasso to developing a new and exciting interpretation of modern expressionism. Alongside this Andy Downes, a self-taught artist, shows a selection of his vibrant and experimental portraiture delivering insightful, moving depictions of his subjects every time. This perfect pairing provides visitors with a brilliant array of work combined to create a perfectly complementary display.

Andy’s work has also recently been recognised by the Leyden Gallery in London and is part of their 24th Platform for Emerging Artists exhibit, which is running right now! Visit the Leyden Gallery Website to learn more.

But this is just the tip of the iceberg with Andy. Not only is he a brilliant artist in his own right, but he has a dream… to make art completely accessible to everyone.

Pre pandemic, every month he would provide up and coming artists the opportunity to present their work within his gallery even hosting a monthly mingle to promote and discuss the artwork on display.

Then, as if pre-empting what was to come, on the 22nd March (a day before the lockdown was announced) Andy launched what must have been one of the first lockdown online exhibitions from The Forum in Southend-on-Sea. Check it out on YouTube!

Now the world is opening up Andy is embarking on his most ambitious project yet.

As well as his studio in Leigh, he will be expanding soon into a warehouse in Southend-on-Sea, a much bigger space with beautiful big windows, perfect for workshops and exhibitions.

And Andy has transformed this space himself! A plumber by trade, this once dark and dusty room has been given a lick of paint, received a mass delivery of easels and even had a toilet installed to properly enable the facilitation of classes and arty activities in the future.

He intends on encouraging anyone and everyone to use his space and explore the many wondrous possibilities of art creation. During our conversation he depicted an idyllic scene of a family: Parents and Kids, using his new studio to paint alongside each other, learning new skills together.

He is starting an artistic revolution in Essex by reimagining what a modern creative community should be and long may it continue! Everyone should be following him on Instagram because he is incredibly inspiring, and I can guarantee whatever his future may hold it is bound to be bloody brilliant!

What do you do in your business to create creative opportunities for your local community? Let us know in the comments!

APP OF THE MONTH: Repost: For Instagram

Posted Leave a commentPosted in App of the Month, Marketing, Social Media

With the monotony of the current uncertainties of life it can be difficult to constantly come up with new content, so why not Repost a previous bit of media that has done really well… and now it couldn’t be easier!

Name Repost: For Instagram
Product Description This app does what it says on the tin! Simply allowing you to easily pull and repost your existing content from Instagram.
Availability Available on the Apple App Store
Key Features ·       It allows you to repost or archive content from Instagram

·       It supports all types of Instagram content including Stories, IGTV, Reels and regular posts

·       Once you have signed into your Instagram you can repost media from private accounts

·       You can add an overlay with attribution details if you want to

·       Your previous caption is automatically copied to your Instagram clipboard

Prices and Plans It is completely free, just one of the reasons that it is the best option for reposting out there! You can upgrade to Repost Plus which removes ads, allows for custom icons and takes out company tagging from the copied caption for only £2.49 per month or £17.49 for the year (a 41% saving).
Biggest Pro It is super straightforward and only takes three simple steps:

1.     Search Instagram for the content you want to repost

2.     Tap Options (…) and select “Copy Link”

3.     Open Repost and the content will magically appear!

Biggest Con It’s not currently available on Android! Super annoying for none apple users because this is by far the best Instagram Repost app. If you are on android and recommend any Instagram Repost apps then please let us know in the comments below!

There are loads of these sorts of apps available but this is easily the best (and cheapest) one.

I’ve done the legwork so you don’t have to so if you’re looking for an easy way to repost on Instagram, this one is the app for you!

Mommy’s Dead and They Buried Her in Moscow | Nervous Theatre

Posted Leave a commentPosted in Edinburgh Fringe Festival, Reviews, Theatre

Aug 6-30 | On Demand | C Arts | Get Tickets | Learn More about the company

Three siblings are desperately questioning whether or not there is more to life as they navigate love and death, wondering if there truly would be more to their existence if they could move back to their vibrant hometown of Moscow or ‘What if we’re just three miserable people who would be miserable anywhere…?’

Told in an empty theatre and filmed in a single shot this show does an amazing job to replicate the feel of seeing something live on a stage without actually being there, more so than anything else I’ve seen this pandemic.

This talented group of actors and musicians have a knack for modern storytelling finding an original and exciting way to reimagine Chekhov’s Three Sisters for a young audience whilst still maintaining the cynical witticism of the text.

Integrating music and focusing on the siblings with no other cast is a clever way to maintain the core values of the script, looking at the family relationships and asking if there are really helping or hindering each other.

Remarkably complicated direction comes across as simple and effortless thanks to the brilliant cast and beautiful design.

An electrifying company who I hope will attend the Edinburgh Fringe Festival in real life soon! I will be queuing up for tickets!

The Arts Business Top Tips:

  • Reimagining old pieces for a new generation (especially canonical works like Chekhov) is a great way to attract the attention of the press or a traditional repertory audience, especially when it’s done this well. Once this crowd is attracted, others will follow! It’s although worth mention how tricky it is to make Chekhov this accessible. I remember reading his back catalogue at uni and it can be pretty dry, to say the least. I’ve never felt more connected and come out with a clearer understanding of his work than I have watching this production, so well done Nervous Theatre! An exciting new company that I will be sure to keep a close eye on!

Spontaneous Potter: The Unofficial Improvised Parody | The Spontaneous Players

Posted Leave a commentPosted in Comedy, Edinburgh Fringe Festival, Reviews

Aug 22-29 | Varied Times | Gilded Balloon | Learn More about their UK tour

For anyone who doesn’t know (or has spent their entire life with their head in a cardboard box) J. K. Rowling lives in Edinburgh and it’s where she wrote the majority of the Harry Potter series. This is why, unsurprisingly, ANYTHING Harry Potter related does very well in Scotland’s capital!

And what does really well at any fringe, theatre or comedy festival? That would be Improv!

So, basically, The Spontaneous Players are onto an absolutely winning formula here. With some simple marketing and the existent following of this comedy troupe they are bound to sell out every fringe! It doesn’t really matter if the shows any good…

…which it is! It’s brilliant.

Just pick a title, which in our case was Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince Andrew, and away we go.

The clear experience and unity of this group shines through in their performance. They have a great knowledge of the films and books (bar one which is used as a hilarious gimmick). They’re a little too focused on gags rather than story so it did drag in places and they need to work on the corpsing, but it’s great fun and well worth a watch especially if you’re a fan of the Harry Potter universe and even if you’re not!

The Arts Business Top Tips:

  • In general, to produce content or products around existing ideas that are still in copyright you need to pay a licensing fee. This is unless you create a parody! Therefore, it is well worth learning your parody laws. Parody is viewed as an art form in itself, and iconic Fandoms like Harry Potter, Game of Thrones or Doctor Who, already have a following which is an existing market and audience for you to tap into. To learn more about Parody Laws check out this awesome article from the Copyright User.
  • Location is key! Harry Potter has strong links with Edinburgh which is why it works well in the city. The Spontaneous Players have previously performed Spontaneous Sherlock also iconic in Scotland as Arthur Conan Doyle, author of the Sherlock Holmes Series attended the University of Edinburgh. So, think about your location and use it to your advantage: for example, I live in Birmingham which is renowned for being home to J. R. R. Tolkien who wrote the Lord of the Rings.

Fantastic Creatures of Edinburgh and Where to Find Them! | Edinburgh Treasure Hunts

Posted Leave a commentPosted in Edinburgh Fringe Festival, Tourism

Aug 6-30 | Varied Times | Edinburgh Treasure Hunts | Get Tickets for the Tour which is on all year round!

With Edinburgh like a home from home for me, I am constantly looking for new experiences to remind me about the beauty of this city and see it through fresh eyes, which is exactly what this Treasure Hunt did!

This experience involves reading a map and navigating the streets of Old Town, a great way for tourists to learn the ins and outs of the city and get their bearings, to try and spot things which may otherwise go unnoticed.

I loved it! Never before have I spent so much time looking up trying to solve puzzles and take in the intricate details the city holds. And I have certainly not noticed just how many griffins feature in the stonework of different buildings!

Edinburgh Treasure Hunts not only offers a Fantastic Beasts tour, but it also has a Secret Sherlock Challenge and A Pirate’s Riddle to solve!

A unique twist on a ‘normal’ tour done which is very cleverly compiled and executed.

 

The Arts Business Top Tips:

  • Is there a way you can put a unique twist on a product or service to make it stand out in an already saturated market? There are so many tours available in Edinburgh, but this one has managed to sell out the Edinburgh Fringe which is a simply astonishing achievement! So, if you work in an already thriving industry think about a simple detail that could make your offering different and (especially in the case of this tour) wildly saleable.

Tom Brace: Eat, Sleep, Amaze, Repeat | Play People Productions

Posted Leave a commentPosted in Edinburgh Fringe Festival, Magic, Reviews

Aug 11-14 | 5pm | Underbelly George Square | Learn More about his upcoming UK Tour

 

In any other year, there is no way Tom Brace would be in Underbelly George Square. But this year at the Fringe is different. This year has given the underdog an opportunity in the big venues, to play to the biggest crowds they’ve ever performed in front of and to grow their following and reputation. It’s a delight to see and it’s exactly what the Fringe should stand for.

This is why seeing Tom Brace was an absolute joy!

A family entertainer who is redefining what a magician is for a new generation, incorporating personal videos through projection, TikTok Challenges and loads of opportunity for audience participation.

Tom has a wonderfully relatable and infectious personality which creates instant engagement with the audience. A new kind of magician for the new normal.

 

The Arts Business Top Tips:

  • Just go for it! Especially at a time where no one else is. This Fringe has been like no other. With limited in-person performances, it means smaller acts who might ordinarily have been in smaller venues desperately flyering for a crowd have received upgrades. Regardless of whether the audience is there because they have chosen your show or because there is literally nothing else on it has still worked out as being great exposure for the performers, especially if you have provided a great quality show like Tom Brace.