Off the wall

Today we had a talk about the Aldgate project that we were doing last year.  I wasn’t sure if this was continuing, but it is.  Even if it’s not part of the syllabus any more, it’s continuing.  Just in an official, non syllabus type way.  The whole class wasn’t involved and I could see why because there really wasn’t enough time for everyone to talk.  There were a few groups with loads of students and a few of them didn’t get a chance to say anything due to time constraints.  Although with some of the nervous performances I saw I think that was probably a relief to most concerned, mainly the audience.

The first thing I noticed before we went on was all the people that read their speech directly from a piece of paper made me switch of relatively early.  I wondered why they didn’t just hand out a memo for us all to read at our leisure.  With one group I had trouble working out what their project was about.  This was due to one guy having his head down in a piece of paper and mumbling incoherently.  I shouldn’t be too harsh, because our group consisted of three big personalities with quite unusual idea and unlike all the other groups we were completely unprepared.

Marrianne went on first and talked about her project of bricks falling down from a wall and revealing things from the past that we can voyeur at.  Andrei talked about having a projector attached to the underside of a bridge reflecting people walking by with dinosaurs and girl scouts green screened on the image.  And I talked about projecting Jack the Ripper and Sherlock Holmes on a building.

This created a lot of discussion from the panel and even other students, more than any other project, for three very good reasons.

1. We all had big personalities.

2. The projects that we are doing are quite funky.

3. Not being prepared meant we didn’t read from bits of paper so our talks were quick and organically worked with the crowd.

This last point was also part of our undoing.  Because we couldn’t get my film to work and I completely forgot to actually say what my film was about.

Paul mentioned this so I explained my shadow puppet theatre show based on Jack the Ripper and Sherlock Holmes and explained why Sherlock Holmes had affinity with Aldgate through The Bruce Partington Plans, which was a story by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle and for the Sherlock Holmes TV series with Jeremy Brett.

We were questioned about whether the projections would be the same each time or would there be some variety, how would be get a building, how did the technology work (yes we got asked variations of this question loads of times) and loads and loads of other questions.  I think this happened because we didn’t cover all of our bases, but it did strike the main people as something they could get their teeth into.  They’re part of the Whitechapel Gallery so they know plenty about installations and off the wall ideas (pardon the pun).  One of the students asked us what the course was and seemed interesting in doing it as his MA.  I’ve never been one of the cool kids before.  I rock.

All in all I learnt a lot more from this than I thought I would.

1. You need to be prepared.

2. Don’t read from a piece of paper.

3. Be fun and dynamic.

4. Have interesting ideas.

5. Never end your presentation by saying, “I’m Iron Man.”  No one will get the reference and everyone will stare at you.


About Mike Belgrave

I am Mike Belgrave, stand up comedian. animator, outsider music musicologist, shambolic ukulele player and music video director extraordinaire.
This entry was posted in Animation, Animation MA, London Met, Public Speaking. Bookmark the permalink.

3 Responses to Off the wall

  1. All very good. Andrei, Marianne and you did very well. I thought you answered all of the questions brilliantly. Just a couple of things, sometimes a question is just wrong and (with confidence and experience) you can say that. Also, I thought the amount of preparation you had was just right. You cannot prepare for the audience if you do not know what they are like and so more preparation would have just caused worry and stress.
    Well done all!

  2. mariannekittinger says:

    Great recap, Mike! So true about the other presentations… I thought the best one (other than ours, of course) was by the foundation students who should have less experience than anyone at this. Did anyone see the presentations that came after ours?

    • mikebelgrave says:

      I never saw any of the others and agree with you about the foundation students having the most clear presentation out of the rest by a long mile.

      Oh and Paul I should have made myself clear. I agree that for the talk we had just the right amount of preparation, but we could have been better prepared for the display. We should have made sure the video would play.

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