How to Create an Animation Channel on Youtube

Rocket Child Youtube Channel Cover Art - Jessica McLeod-Yu

rocket child youtube cover art blog

A few months ago, I started creating Youtube videos. Previously, I only used my account as a viewer, or to upload little animations. However, I’ve been researching how some people have used their channels as their own private TV station in order to make video as their full time jobs. Curiously, I figured that I would give it a go, though I wasn’t sure what kind of videos I should make. 

In my research, I learnt that there is a Youtube Animation Community. However, the irony is, not all of them can actually animate, at least not in the same capacity that I can.  So what makes them so trendy online?

The way people are able to generate an income on Youtube, is often by ads. Every time you’re forced to watch another annoying ad on a video, the channel earns a percentage (a few cents). Therefore, with more views and subscribers, one is able to turn cents into dollars, to potentially thousands or millions.

I remember in 2009 when the kids at school watched “Charlie the Unicorn“. The story was ridiculous, however you could really see the time and work put in by the creator, Jason Steele. Yet, what happened between then and now to cause the qualities of videos produced online to change from animations to moving comic book style?

Footofaferret‘s explain the reason very clearly in his video about the History of Youtube Animators.  It turns out that the Youtube algorithm greatly affects the materials people make, and the ways that they do it. When the Rick Roll meme was popular, a lot people started creating misleading Click-bait videos, causing Youtube to change their rules. The website started to reward the creators who produced more longer videos with a greater view retention.  In other words, viewers who watch the whole video as opposed to clicking and leaving. 

This affected the animation community greatly.  From my own experience, an animated project can take months or longer to create off screen, such as the planning to the laborious task of production. Meaning that one could no longer upload an incredible 3 minute animation every few months and expect to earn. 

These new earning regulations caused the Youtube animation community to adapt and change their mode of production. In order to create more videos, the quality of animation was sacrificed with more emphasis on storytelling and anecdotes. sWooZie is probably the most notable ‘Youtube Animator’ (I’m using the term Youtube Animator to refer to this particular style of youtube videos as opposed to animators in general.) In this early video that he produced, sWooZie uses DeviantArt Muro (a free drawing software), and a video editing program, which I think is incredible seeing that Muro isn’t suited for animation at all. He then uses his expressive personality and storytelling to bring the piece to life.

Since then, many other people have jumped on board creating their own ‘storytelling animations’ for youtube. There are some mixed opinions about it. Some people really enjoy these types of videos, while others feel that it’s unfair that these people to get more recognition than more skilled animators.

For me, I don’t grudge these people for their online success. However, it does perplex me, since I am a traditional animator who likes to create quality hand drawn works.  It’s hard for me to judge what will work or not, since I am new to the Youtube scene… as a creator, as opposed to a viewer. So I figured that I’d just give things a go and see where it takes me.

As a way to learn how to produce quality videos faster, without disrupting my usual work flow, I’ve been creating Speed Drawing videos and Tutorials showing my work process.

As well as a drawn series about how I walked the Camino de Santiago while handling type 1 diabetes. The production for this is slower, since I’m hoping to find funding and support from relevant medical parties to help produce it. That being said, I have already heard feed back from some people saying that the discussed topics have been helpful and interesting. I really hope to continue creating more videos.

The benefits of using Youtube is that it is the 2nd biggest search engine in the world, meaning that as long as some one uses a search term relevant to your content, they can find your video, as oppose to Facebook or Instagram, which are formatted as feeds based on time relevance. (Meaning that your posts will get buried and lost.)

That being said, I don’t know anyone personally who is an experienced Youtube creator to ask for advice. The Youtube website itself doesn’t have an online forum neither, (that I know of), to ask for advice on how to expand my brand awareness and connect to more people. If anyone has any advice on growing an authentic audience, without paid promotions, I would greatly appreciate it.

For you, the reader; do you have a youtube channel or know someone who does? Let me know your thoughts below in the comment box.

Rocket Child Youtube Channel - Jessica McLeod-Yu

How I Became A Citizen Of The World

"How I Became A Citizen Of The World", Jessica McLeod-Yu

"How I Became A Citizen Of The World", Jessica McLeod-Yu

Following my previous articled About how my choice of hair colour responds to my personality, I felt inspired to write another article about a different aspect of myself: How I became a Citizen of the World.

I was born and raised in Sydney, Australia with English as my first language.  I have a very multicultural gene pool. My father is from China, and on my mother’s side, her father comes from an Australian, Scottish, Irish background, and her mother comes from Trinidad and Tobago in the Caribbean.  We don’t know the much of our family tree on that side. However, Trinidad has a diverse immigration history with mixes from the native people, African slaves, and the Spanish, French and British colonialists. It’s hard to really say what mix I’m made of.  Playfully, I call myself a ‘Whatever’.

When I was younger, I found it hard to fit.  I was proud of who I was and for being so unique, yet many Australians didn’t believe that I was Australian, nor could they believe that I was born here.  Australia has an incredible number of multicultural citizens, and immigrants. However, I don’t think the people were used to having a single person with so much genetic variety, and with that, I felt lost.  I was Australian, yet I didn’t fit in completely.

I remember in high school we had a small homework task to write a report on belonging.  Though it was an easy task in theory, I felt crippled.  I didn’t feel that I belonged, and I was ashamed to admit it.

When I was 14 years old, I started studying Japanese as my compulsory language class. I had always loved Anime and thought that learning the language would let me be able to watch anime without subtitles.  I loved my classes.  The Japanese language was hard to learn, yet it was so different and exotic.  Everything was completely new and so much fun to learn.  As the years went on, I became determined to visit Japan.

When I was 16, I went on my first 2-week overseas exchange trip.  It was a life changing experience for me, and the moment when I caught the incurable Travel Bug.  I can’t begin to describe the joy and wonder I felt learning about the culture of Japan, but most importantly, I found myself in the company of a group of international exchange students. For once, it was ok for me not to be categorized as a specific nationality.  Instead, we were all International and Citizens of The World.  It was outside of Australia that I felt… Australian.

From that trip, I met my first international friend. Eliza was from Canada and we kept in contact as email pen pals for the next few years, and in time, my international friendship circle would grew.

I had always had a longing that I belonged ‘somewhere else’.  I would follow the stars at night and feel home sick for a place that I’d never been.  I was determined to explore the world and find the place where I belonged. Since then, I went back and studied in Japan, France, Italy and Spain to name a few places, where I met so many wonderful people, who would become a part of my life.  It was like a became a different person when I was abroad.  My soul soars when I travel, and I feel a great power and sincerity to connect with others.  Just the idea of it makes me feel so elated to learn of new cultures and to make friends and speak to them in their own languages.

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I’ve come to understand that there is no one ‘place’ where I belong, nor one particular nation that calls to me.  Instead, my heart sings when I connect to all the places that I go.  It is within this international community that I feel comfortable and accepted to embrace and express the multiculturalism within me.  In fact, I consider all of these experiences to add to me and my identity, instead of just identifying with the genetic heritages that I was born with.  I feel that there is a level of importance and kinship that is born through my selection and assimilation from meeting people and experiencing their lives, and with that, I’ve become more.

I call myself an artist and I believe that the arts have a power to emote, question and connect with people beyond borders.  I have always had this desire to connect to the world.  I want to inspire and help people and leave the world better than when I arrived here on this planet.  This is a vocation and personality trait that I have within myself, yet I wasn’t sure what work opportunities exist that would allow me to pursue this path.

This coming year I will be going to the Australian National University in Canberra to study a Master in International Relations.  This will be a new experience for me, but I feel inspired.  My new dream is that I would like to use the skills and knowledge of my artmaking as a vehicle to communicate concepts, ideas and influence on a boarder international scale for the benefit of others.

How Does One’s Hair Affect Their Personality?

Jessica McLeod-Yu

"I am who I am", Photoshop, Jessica McLeod-Yu, 2019

I just wanna be myself
And I want you to love me for who I am
I just wanna be myself
And I want you to know, I am my hair

Lady Gaga

My name is Jessica. I am an artist, storyteller and animator.  I take inspiration from street art, nature, architecture and fairy tales.  My artistic aesthetic is bold, colourful and full of zeal and vitality. Its eye catching, engaging and fresh.  I am so incredibly passionate about expressing myself that it goes beyond the canvas and into my how I dress, and the way I choose to live.

Those who know me will recognise my Blue and Pink hair.  It’s part of my brand and how I choose to represent myself.  It’s such a playful and distinct way to represent myself and make myself memorable when meeting people.  It gives me a lot of joy to express outside, how I feel on the inside.

I’ve always been a tomboy and I’m fit and athletic.  When it comes to clothes, l prefer to wear clothes that are comfortable and sporty and choosing what I like from the Male and Female sections, as opposed to being limited in my gender.

From a young age I noticed that some people judge how one looks without really knowing nor understanding the person, especially towards gender stereotypes.  On occasions when I dressed up ‘fancy’ I noticed some boys would treat me better because I was pretty yet treat others who weren’t as dolled up badly, and on the other hand that some girls would get jealous towards me and treat me badly.  I always wanted to show my worth though my personality and that which I do.  Yet, I found this insincerity disturbing. How these people would behave differently towards me, and others, based on whether they thought we were attractive or not.  Therefore, I found that dressing in a more casual androgynous way allowed me to get to know people better, and to learn whether we liked each other or not based on our personalities and abilities, without the burdens of attraction or jealousy interfering.  Human beings are fascinating creatures.

I feel as though there are contradictions within society.  Now more than ever there are more options for online shopping, and greater varieties of clothing designs, and the opportunities to express one’s self through social media.  There is a greater push and trend to express one’s self, yet at same time I find that the opposite exists.  Stand out, fit in.  Look unique but follow the dress code.  There’s a fear to keep up impressions, to get more likes online.  Then, there’s the fear of being judged for standing out and being the nail that gets hammered down.

It’s such a confusing world for me, and I often find it hard to know where I fit in.

I think a lot of women feel pressure to wear makeup in their lives, and even feel ashamed to go out in public without it.  Or they feel pressured to dress up and be sexy and wear uncomfortable shoes.

I like dressing up everyone once in a while, and I like wearing costumes.  However, I don’t like that it’s an expectation for some people.  This is the face that I was born with.  Even if I was ugly, I feel as though I should be able to go out in public with the face that I have, because that’s the way I am.

I like being different, and like the choices that I’ve made for my personal appearance.  Yet, I still feel the pressure sometimes.  Sometimes I wonder if I get disqualified from job interviews for dressing in a non-conforming way.  I don’t know.  I get anxious when I think about it.  I can’t change myself.  I am who I am, and I can’t pretend to be ‘normal’ or like everyone else, because I am not.  So much of who I am is driven by the desire and will to change the constrains that exist within society that people assume to be ‘normal’.

I sometimes wonder, what would happen if I dyed my hair black again, or dressed differently?  I would still be the same person on the inside, wouldn’t I?

The truth is, I love being who I am, and having the courage to express myself though my own style and artistic creativity.  I think it’s a beautiful thing where one is able to be themselves and to be the change they want to see, and to inspire others by showing that it’s Ok for them to be them.  What I would truly appreciate the most in the world, is finding a place where I have the freedom to be me.

Writing this reminds me of Lady Gaga’s song: “Hair”, I think it’s a good example of how something so cosmetic as their hair can represent so much of who they are as a person.

MIAF2018 – Festival Video

I work as the Assistant Director at the “Melbourne International Animation Festival“, which just ran for 10 days last week. Out of over 4000 submissions, we screened +400 films in 45 curated programs. MIAF is the greatest hub for screening independent animation in all of Australia.

My role was to lead the crew and run the festival, which included organising special presentations from Filmmakers and industry professionals, liaising with special guests, Filmmakers and festival attendees, general administration, and more.

This video is an overview of MIAF2018.

A Conversation with Hannes Rall, and the Nangyang Technological University

Looking at the current state of animation in Singapore, in terms of independent animation, a very eclectic yet still Asian style has emerged, simply because Singapore is just so cosmopolitan and that really shows in the work of the students. One could say that nowadays there isn’t a localised style anymore, because everybody on the web could look anywhere they want, but I still firmly believe that your own real lifestyle not only the online world severely influence what you’re doing. – Hannes Rall

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Last year in October, I had the privilege of flying over to Singapore for a week to visit the Arts Media and Design department (ADM) at the Nanyang Technological University(NTU), on behalf of the Melbourne International Animation Festival, which was this year’s school of focus for the festival. I also had the privilege to meet with Associate Professor Hannes Rall, notable German independent animator, and one of the founders of the animation department.

The whole week was an intense experience absorbing and experiencing the rich diversity of cultures, religions and languages compacted in this dense cosmopolitan, and literal jungle, that is Singapore.

I was met at the airport by Assistant Professor Bernhard Johannes Schmitt, stop-motion animator from Germany, and together we crossed to the opposite side of the island to NTU. The campus itself is in its’ own town within a humid rain forest and home to between 35,000 – 40,000 students and faculty.

The ADM building was an impressive architectural structure.  A popular site for wedding photos, this modern structure appears as though it was carved out of the hill, blending its metal beams and glass walls with a grass roof and the surrounding forest. I was pleasantly surprised to see how well equiped the inside of the building was, especially for an art school, housing a Motion Capture Lab, Stop-motion studio, recording booths, and drawing spaces among other specialty creative rooms within the greater design department.

Through out the week I was also guided by Bernhard, Hannes and Associate Professor Gray Hodgkinson, New Zealander CGI teacher, where I learned more about the history of school and the direction of Singaporean animation. I also had a chance to interact with several students, witness their art practice and review their works. Notably, on the ground floor is a small cubicle village, reminiscent of those at PIXAR. Final year students are allocated a space where they are able to work on their end of year projects. I saw shower curtain doors, pots and pans, mattresses under their desks, and shoes and slippers lined up outside their little corridors. It was funny, yet interesting to see the dedication of the student where their life was in the studio. There they’re able to focus as individuals, yet be close enough for open communication amongst their teams, which certainly shows in the excellent quality of films produced.

One afternoon I had the opportunity to interview Hannes about the evolution of the animation course and the Singaporean animation scene.

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You came from a history with graphic design before moving into animation. How did you first get into academia from there?

At the time there was already a kind of pioneering class at the State Academy of the Art Institute in Germany – there I studied under Professor Ade who also founded the Stuttgart Festival of Animated Film. He was teaching in the framework of graphic design with a class already specialising in animation. And so I did the program and then started a career which combined and consisted of independent animation as well as taking commission work in comics, animation, illustration, storyboarding, quite a wide range of things.

At some point towards the late 90s, about a decade of professional experience under my belt after graduation, I felt it would be a good time to venture into part-time teaching. So I did that with two institutions in Germany until 2004. In 2004 I saw an advertisement on Animation Blog Network which was looking for full-time faculty to start a new school within the University, NTU here in Singapore. I thought that sounded pretty cool because I would be able to participate in really building a program. So I thought okay let’s give it a try. I did my first two semesters, really liked it and I think my work was really appreciated here, so I decided to stay.

Since you were starting the school from scratch, who were you teaching with and what were the main focus points that it started off with?

The starting point for the school was to bring for the first time the idea of teaching design and animation and film and so forth, all of these so-called applied Arts to University level, which didn’t really exist before in Singapore. For that reason it was important to create a curriculum which brought together all the aspects of university, so-called well-rounded university education with a specialist approach also in the various disciplines so that the goal was that the students will have a good academic general education but to really be able to later on be hired and employable in the industry. The idea was also to create a school that would focus on the students finding their own artistic voice.

We always had the idea to bring together the traditional and the digital and create a seamless combination and to enable the students to choose their emphasis or their focus during their studies according to their own interest and strength. In the beginning we were about 5 people in the animation faculty. Through the years some people come and some people go, but overall, I think we always try to keep a balance between the more traditional side of animation – people who are very experienced and good in drawing design production design, character design and so forth and people who are strong on the technical side who are very capable of implementing things in CG and in different technologies.

It was always very clear to us that we wanted to basically offer the knowledge of all major disciplines in animation and techniques to our students, so – including stop motion including drawing animation, but also all the various computer techniques. We have been confirmed by our industry partners that a strong artistic foundation is very important.

We spoke yesterday about how in high school the students have two routes to go down which is the JC and the Polytech routes. Could you explain a bit on that?

Hannes Rall: During what could be the equivalent of High School in the US, there is a split of the students into various schools according to their academic level of achievement and also to their choices in order to go into a more vocational training, which would be the Polytech. The JC route is where normally the academically higher achieving students will go. The major differences between these two types of students who are both coming into ADM is that the Poly students frequently will be familiar particularly with the technological aspect like specific software, for example, Maya for computer animation. The JC student wouldn’t have that technological background. Sometimes the JC students bring in smart new ways of thinking and new ways of looking at concepts. They can be very smart and capable on either side in each way. It cannot really be said that one type of student would outrank or kind of be better than others, so it seems that over time it levels out somewhere. It is very often the case that there is a slight majority of Polytech students that would be going into more technical specialised effects like visual effects for example. For our program a specific challenge because we need to be able to close that gap as much as possible by ideally providing a pedagogic environment where you can challenge the more experienced students a little bit more and also create some interactions there where the more experienced students can help the less experienced ones. I think it’s quite unique to Singapore and university education in these fields in Singapore.

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Talking about collaboration, a lot of the students prefer to work in groups for their final-year project, can you talk about the dynamics of that?

Usually they do graduation films, though we also allow the exceptions to do related projects like graphic novels, or concept art related to a specific topic. We don’t force them to do either single or individual or group projects, it’s up to them in the end. In terms of group work; its a very good training experience for something which happens on a macroscale later in the industry. The dynamics are very interesting. Ideally naturally one person evolves as a director of the whole group and in the same way other members of the group would find their respective roles as technical director or like more producer holding the whole thing together. I think that has been a very good rehearsal in many ways for them also to figure out their later possible roles in the industry. We had one person several years ago who was very good at doing the producing of a group. She was not the person who did the major artistic input, but she moved on to become an assistant producer first with Lucasfilm in Singapore and then went on to be very successful with her career as a producer. There’s not a clear inclination of group projects being better than individual projects or vice versa because I think we have seen really extremely good projects over the years as well as very successful individual projects. The big advantage of individual projects is that there is no discussion in that sense. There is a focus there and no artistic vision needs to be discussed, at least not amongst the larger group. The downside is if you’re working on your own and you’re not really in control of what you’re doing and the scope of your project, it’s easily can become overwhelming. We as professors and as mentors try to prevent this as much as possible from happening, by always keeping close watch over the project. We meet on a weekly basis during the semester with the student which allow us to track the progress and also alert the students if their plans are a bit too ambitious.

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As far as the working environment, you have really impressive studios here, quite noticeably, the students have their own cubicle village downstairs. How did that kind of community culture start?

In the beginning we had a more conventional environment for our final year project, so the cubicles are exclusively for the final year. That happened around 2010/2011 where we completed a big renovation of the area which also included the addition of the motion capture studio and the motion studio. So we thought of this idea of having all of these cubicles for the student which would be very good to create a friendly atmosphere. I think the final year projects really took off and improved a lot since then, I mean I would not say that’s the only factor; hopefully, but that’s really some parts of it. This particular animation is such a laborious and focused effort, in terms of workload I would say  it exceeds in many other disciplines so we thought it would be very good to have an environment for the student which allows them to focus on their work but also as a community which allows communication and collaboration so groups can have their cubicles close to each other which is actually very often the key to the success of group project; because they need to communicate constantly so the artistic vision stays on track and that it doesn’t get lost. The students always get very excited to get their cubicles and it’s something which we’re really happy about to have that environment.

Where do you see the future of Singaporean animation within the Asian context of the animation scene?

I think actually what has emerged since we started the school here and also our other major government initiatives and other schools here in Singapore is that the skill level is continuously increasing because people are educated better.  They’re learning more things, they’re more open to all kinds of influences. I think it would be safe to say that ADM has played quite a crucial role in forming and building the foundation for thriving independent animation seen in Singapore. I think it is quite natural that this very open worldview has kind of wrapped up in a positive way the works that are being done.  When I came here for my own research and with my artistic background I took a huge interest to learn about the different cultures here, the difference Asian cultures which are existing peacefully in Singapore and to see what other artistic traditions there are, and how could the students integrate that into their own work.

On the commercial side of things or industry-related side of things. Some animators are fillers for the industry while doing their own independent films, whereas others go full-time into the industry.  Since I came here in 2005 two things have happened; I think there’s a wider range of international and local companies that are being present in Singapore. There are also a lot of our alumni who are working in these companies, which is a very good development because a lot of our graduates are now in positions where they could also introduce our current graduates ways to find work.


After our interview, I asked some of the students and alumni about their experiences studying at NTU. These are their responses:

TESTIMONIALS

  • Current student Jasper Liu specialises in preproduction. He loves the medium of animation and chose to study at NTU for its variety of subjects such as storytelling, character design, motion and drawing, its’s also a great environment to meet like minded people.
  • Giang Do is an exchange student from Vietnam specialising in 2D hand drawn animation. Giang chose to study at NTU for its great facilities and notable teaching staff, and sees animation as a medium that is able to blend illustration and Fine Arts with narration.
  • Graduate, Darren Lim, said that a decade ago there wasn’t any other opportunities to study animation at a university level and is really grateful to have had the chance to study at NTU. He favours a “2.5D aesthetic” and works as a creative designer at Finch Company GoBear making digital graphics and animated ads.
  • Ronald Fong was so amazed by the CG effects in Sam Raimi’s Spider-Man that he chose to study at NTU as a 3D artist. He has since gone on to work as an animation lead, storyboard artist and director at various companies and has since co-founded his own animation company, Masonry Studios.

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Within the week, I had further opportunities to meet the students and discuss their work. I presented a few talks about the animation climate in Australia plus notable highlights and films from the Melbourne International Animation Festival (MIAF) 2017. The rest of my time was spent going through the archives of student films from the past 10 years in order to curate this year’s School of Focus program. Though intense, I was very satisfied with things that I’ve learnt, and the warm hospitality that I received.

For the last 2 days of my trip, I left the self contained town of the university campus, and went to the city centre to explore and see more of Singapore. The area that I stayed in was called Little India. During the day I ventured out exploring the streets. The narrow and crowded sidewalks somehow managed to squeeze in kiosks and booths ranging from electronics to dried flowers. In an arcade I met some locals who recommended me their favourite food stalls (Indian, Thai, Sri Lankan and Chinese), though the thing that stood out the most to me was being able to buy coconuts bigger than the size of a child’s head for the equivalent of 2 dollars.

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On the other side of town, I visited a Cat Cafe, China Town and the harbour where I saw Singapore’s iconic Lion fountain and Marina Bay Sands Hotel. The luxury of that area was overwhelming, where I accidentally found myself in a high name brand shopping centre with a river running though it like Venice. What really stood out for me was visiting the Gardens By The Bay, especially the 2 massive green houses in a shape of a bra. The rainforest dome houses a man made mountain with different climate controlled areas for different types of plants. It was an amazing contrast to the metropolis outside.

As I reflect on this trip, I think back to Hannes’ words in the opening paragraph, that the Singaporean experience is a unique eclectic collection of cultures mixed and coexisting on tiny island. Though situated in Asia, it takes many western influences as well that are as much a part of its evolving culture. After seeing the excellence of the work produced by the students of NTU, and speaking with Hannes and the faculty, I look forward to seeing the continuing growth of the Singaporean style within the world of animation.

Art Law Basics – Part 2

Art Law Basics -part 2

Originally Posted 23/04/2013

 Art and the Law? Part 1 
Starbucks Logo

Design art is different to copyright because it patents the shape, pattern and ornamentation
of the design, enabling the designer/ company to monopolize that particular design for 10 years.

Trade marks or ™  patents names and logos.  It is important to register your business name or domain main before someone else takes it and says you stole their name.

When enabling people to use or hand over patenting  rights you need a contract. Contracts can be oral, in writing, partly written partly orally or implied by people’s conducts or actions, but the best way is a written contract.

Contracts are like promises, which are legally binding and hold consequences if broken.  They are used to flush out issues and let each party know what is happening, without misunderstandings.

Licensing (giving permission Assignment rights (ownership)
Written contract yes yes
Verbal contract yes no
Retain ownership yes no
Time limit yes no
Royalties payed yes no
Geographic area yes yes
Moral rights yes yes
moral rights chart

Business structure

This was the area that I got a bit lost in, so I hope I can explain it ok (@.@)

You can either structure yourself as an unincorporated or incorporated business, which means is your business run by you as an individual or is the business an entity in itself.  Some examples of an unincorporated business (who works for profit) are sole traders, partnerships or joint venture and for incorporated it’s proprietary Ltd company and co-operative.

A person who is a hobbyist can earn income and doesn’t have to pay taxes, but at the same time they can’t deduct expenses from tax.  If they happen to make over a certain amount then they have to become a professional.

 The next point that was addressed was being an employee in a company compared to a contractor from another company/ or free lancer.  If you are an employee you have to work a certain amount of maximum hours, you have payed leave, workers compensation, tax and superannuation.  Also anything you create at work is copyrighted by the company you work in compared to as an individual.

Finally, the last point was on using your art for prizes and competitions.

  • They have their own terms and conditions
  • Are you eligible for it?
  • Is there an entrance fee?
  • What happens if you don’t win? (Do you keep your copyright?)
  • Do you license or assign your copyright
  • Non-exclusive licence
  • Moral rights
  • The use of your name and personal information (Do they give you credit for the final product?)
  • Warranties
  • Attendance at events (at your own expense)

 

Here’s an example of how artists can be tricked into signing off the ownership of their copyright. Presented by Catherine Moffat a lecturer at the University of Newcastle, Ourimbah campus:

Say for example, some of your friends are in a band and want you to design their logo, in return they will pay you a few dollars or buy you a few drinks, or something like that and because you’re friends, you say ok.  All is going well until your friends make it big and start touring, meaning that the original logo that you designed is now being printed on merchandise such as CD covers, t-shirts, hats etc…  After seeing this, you then ask your friends if you could get some royalties, but they then tell you that they have signed their rights off to their recording company.  The recording company then says that you have no rights to the image anymore because you sold it off for those few beers in the beginning.

The moral of the story is when agreeing to design something for your friends (or clients), make a licencing contract in writing, which states that you still own the copyright, but you give them permission to use your image.  If one day they get famous or use your image for profit, they would then have to pay you back royalties.  

Art Law Basics -part 1

Preface:

Today I came across a situation where some people wanted to print and sell some T-shirts with a logo on it, thinking that it was perfectly fine.  However, is it? 

Two years as part of my Professional Practice course for my Bachelor of Fine Arts, I was required to blog about certain lectures such as the place of art within the law.  Inspired by the above situation, i’m going to re-blog my original articles for anyone wanting to know more about art and the law.


Art Law Basics -part 1

Originally Posted 22/04/2013

 Art and the Law?

<== Copyright: Am I even allowed to use this picture??

This week’s Professional Practice lecture was a bit special and was attended by the fine arts and design students on how consider the legal side of their practices, which was presented by Robyn Ayres from Arts Law. Arts Law is an organisation based in Sydney who gives advice to artists based on legal and business issues.

The first issue discussed was on Intellectual Property and copyright.

Copyright:

  • Is automatic and doesn’t need to be registered
  • © symbol acts as a warning to other people
  • When written “©Name of work, owner, date
  • Gives limited rights to creators over a limit of time – all their life and 70+ years after death (in Australia)
  • Can’t copyright thoughts, concepts or ideas, only the physical work or product
  • Can be owned by one person or by multiple owners
  • If employed, copyright goes to the company, not the individual
  • If you sell work, the copyright is still retained by the artist, unless stated otherwise
  • Copyright can be exchanged via a contract
  • Can give others permission to use copyrighted material with a licence.
  • Permission includes: copying, re-producing and using pieces of the work
Then we talked about Intellectual Property and it’s relationship to the internet and that having a website incorporates many opportunities and risks.  Websites can’t be copyrighted as a whole, but is broken down in to pieces such as pictures, text, animations/ film, music and computer programming (which is also included as text).
Advantages of a personal website:
  • Personal space on the web
  • can have an online presence
  • retain control
  • can customize your space and features
  • can show up on search results
Disadvantages of a personal website:
  • Cost to run it
  • need technical knowledge to build it
  • Needs to maintain it and keep it up to date
Advantages of using social websites:
  • Be able to connect to people via the social network
  • Find people with similar interests and connect/ build communities
  • easier to use compared to building your own website
  • can share and promote your ideas and works 
Disadvantages of using social websites:
  • Loss of control
  • Privacy issues
  • Signing over certain rights when entering a contract (terms and conditions)
  • Lack of customization
  • losing yourself as an individual within a large community 
Terms and Conditions offered by social networking websites:
  • Terms and conditions is a contract
  • Every website as a different set of terms and conditions
  • They are in accordance with the law.  Bigger companies often abide by US laws as opposed to Aus laws.
  • What permission are you granting them?
  • How will your work be used?
  • Policy infringement and the consequences
  • You’re responsible for your own copyright

Tips:

  • Online infringement is easy, so look out for it.
  • Use the © symbol on your works
  • Some features enable you to disable the right click so people can’t save your images
  • Stream V.S download when you have videos
  • Upload low resolution images of your work
  • Watermark your images
To be continued in part 2…

“Personal Branding; The art of good business”

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“Personal Branding; The art of good business” – Directed Study Reflection.

As some of you may know from one of my previous blog posts, I created this website for one of my university courses (Directed Study).  I didn’t set myself a specific outcome, but rather treated this project as an experiment to try bunch of new things and see the results.

My aim included:

  • Defining myself as an artist by defining my own brand
  • To create a professional online portfolio
  • To create social media accounts and establish a stronger web presence
  • Collaborate with other artists
  • Learn employment skills to use in the work force.

 

Looking back, I have successfully achieved all these goals.

Screen Shot 2014-11-24 at 6.44.02 pmOne of the obvious outcomes is the creation of this website. I used a visual style template to set everything out and an ordered structure.  Not only that, but the WordPress back room features make maintaining the website easy to use and manage, and the support forum was very helpful whenever I had questions.  I even learned about analysing web traffic and statistics to know which posts were popular, and who my readers are.

What I would change in the future is the web layout.  At first I though that the highly visual and graphic template was a good choice, however I think it’s too confusing.  There are too many elements going on that a first time visitor might not realise what my website is for (to be a portfolio).  So next time I would make the home page simple and to the point was a visible menu bar.

I also learnt that all social media websites function differently.  Some are easy to use, while others are complicated.  Also, each social community has it’s own features and systems which affect the activity and interaction of my accounts.  While I know that all the sites are different, i’m still trying to figure out what makes them different, and how I can use these systems to my advantage.

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I’ll combine these next two points together since they’re so similar.  Collaborating with other artists and defining my own brand.  A few month ago my friend Manon and I collaborated and did a performance artwork together called Kamikaze Sisters, which I wrote about in a previous post.  This work was about showing our creative styles in both our daily lives and through our artistic practices.

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I am pretty versatile and work in a variety of creative mediums ( Drawing, modellingphotos and installations, writing, animations and more), so during this time, i’ve been working on unifying all their styles into a singular brand.  This is also a continuous process since i’m still developing and growing, however this experience has taught me to reflect on what I consider to be my style and which mediums I like using the best.

In some ways I feel as though my art is very scattered and confused like my website layout, yet in others I can see unifying themes.  Because I’ve done so much already, I don’t think the solution is doing something new again, but rather refining what I have.  Picking and choosing which aspects of my art that I like, and discarding what I don’t need.  This is another project that will take some time, but it’s good to keep in mind.

Over all I’m satisfied with all the work i’ve done so far with this project.  Because of it, I’ve been able to go further than I have before by learning more about myself and my goals for the future.

Don’t worry though, just because this class is over, doesn’t mean my blog is.  Thanks for reading, and stay tuned for future updates.

-Jess

27 thank you

Kamikaze Sisters – The Worlds of Two Girls Collide

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It feels weird writing this post so long after the event, but I need to do it for uni, so here I go.

Back in September my friend, Manon and I collaborated and did a performance artwork together in two of the shop window at NANA gallery, Newcastle.  Now you’re probably wondering “what is a performance artwork?”, so i’ll explain that first.  In this particular instance, the artwork isn’t something static like a drawing, but an action; something that only exists within the time its created (it needs to be documented via photos if you want to see it again).

So what exactly was our action?  Well, Manon and I are artists who both have our own individual styles, (she sews and I draw and write), in this artwork we wanted to show how the life style of the artist can be as important as the finished works themselves.  So one of the days we went in and worked within the windows.

This is what the blurb and invitation looked like:

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Manon Marguerite and Jessica McLeod-Yu present:  “Kamikaze Sisters – The Worlds of Two Girls Collide”
Inspired by the movie Kamikaze Girls, a story where two girls of different styles come together and become friends.
These two girls will install their artworks in two shop windows, one representing the artist’s atelier, and the other as a commercial public display.  To exhibit not only the artworks produced by the artists, but also to present the idea of the artists’ image and lifestyle as a part of their discipline.  Both of the artists work in different mediums and have their own individual aesthetics, yet they both work towards a common goal of creating their own brands.  
The exhibition will be on display from the 23rd – 30th of September, however on Thursday the 25th both Manon and Jessica will perform together within the Shop windows from 11am – 12pm

And here are some shots I took while setting up:

It’s was had to take pictures in the day because of the glare, however Manon managed to take a photo at night which I think looks heaps better than in the day.

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For me, this whole project was an experiment for uni to learn new ways of identifying my Artist Persona and discovering new ways of presenting my art in a new spaces, though I have to say that the process was very tiring and time consuming (preparation included).  To be honest, I don’t think the Fine Art world is for me, but at least I can say that I tried it.  As I said before, this was an experiment to see what would happen.

Also, I had a lot of fun getting to know and working with Manon.  She’s an awesome girl who did more than her share of work, especially when she packed up my stuff when I went to hospital, so working together with her was definitely my favourite part =)