Saturday, 1 July 2017

Unit 15: Developing A Small Business - Task 1

UFilms (Formerly known as SRC Infinity Productions) was started as an enterprise business within Stockton Riverside College. Originally we offered services including; photography & design, editing and filming -  However after discovering that lack of demand for our photography & design department, as well as the scaling down of our business with employees, we started to focus our resources on one organized front as we expanded into the general public with our rebrand from SRC Infinity Productions to UFilms.
As UFilms we focused on the planning, capturing of footage, editing and then depending on the scale/client distribution serving as a company capable of offering all stages of the production process.
There are eleven members of the team that make up UFilms, some have more general roles serving in the areas of planning or practical work (filming/editing) depending on what they specialize in.
Some have more specific managerial roles such as Danniella Cooper who serves as the operations manager.
Danniella would overlook all operations of UFilms, ensuring all were completed to a high standard and on-time for clients. She would often organize meetings and ensure communication between all production areas was going smoothly.
Another more specific role belonged to our accountant Jess Bramfitt.
Jess managed all our incoming and outgoing money, chasing up debts when needed. She created all of our invoices and issued them to our clients, clearly outlining the price they would have to pay for the services we were offering and when it would be needed to be paid buy.
Finally when looking at my own role, that was more specifically focused on a particular area also. (Although I often helped out in both pre-production and filming on occasions - As well as managing my own project which I will discuss in more depth later)
As part of UFilms I was manager of Human Resources and also served as Wellbeing Manager as part of this role.
My duties included ensuring that all members of the team remained upbeat, productive and positive to ensure they are happy and more engaging with their work.
To do this I created a weekly group exercise which I entitled 'Feel Good Thursday'.
The idea of 'Feel Good Thursday' was that every week we would gather and each member of the team would get their own designated Thursday i.e. the first week was dedicated to Taylor Henderson so it became his day.
The group would then gather with their pre-written messages explaining all the positive things they like about the person and the memories/times they have shared.
This became very successful and I was told by many of the participants that they felt happier and more motivated to work afterwards.
All of our profits are taken in cash from our customers and our current charging rates are £8 per hour per camera for filming and then £8 per hour of editing.
These prices were chosen as they were much cheaper than any competition we could find and due to our business being run on a student level we may lack the professional standards whether that be due to experience or available resources such as equipment and editing software.
The first income we gained was from a college based initiative with external clients donating money and supporting students and their up and coming business ventures.
We had to pitch our business to a panel of judges in a 'Dragon's Den' style setting, they would then listen to competing business for a large total of £100 to be given to them.
The team of myself, Danniella Cooper, Taylor Henderson and Kane Smith were successful in our attempt and gained the grand total (We are still currently chasing £30 of the total due to tight college policies and poor communication on their part)
Other projects we completed following this and gained a consistent income flow for included; the filming of performing arts shows, promotional content for Stockton Riverside College and working on promotional content and the filming of shows for loyal clients at Page2Stage.
When looking at our promotion and how our business is marketed itself, we use many social media platforms to promote our business and its services including; Instagram, Twitter and Facebook.
I primarily ran our Facebook page which proved to have the biggest reach when compared to our other social media platforms, with 334 likes and posts gaining reaches as high as 2000+ views.
Another asset of our business is our resources. We are equipped with all appropriate equipment needed to capture the content requested from our clients including a variety of cameras, tripods, booms, cranes, tracks as well as editing software to piece together our footage into a final project.
All of this equipment is provided to us by Stockton Riverside College free of charge and can be used as and when we wish as part of the Creative Media - Film & TV course.
It is stored within a Green Room studio (With its own Green Screen wall) which again we have access to and has been used in the past for numerous UFilms projects including a music video for Cherry Head, Cherry Heart - Road to Rome and festive Christmas themed photos for the staff and students  of the college.
UFilms has had many successful ventures including the previously mentioned Dragon's Den pitch.
Other ventures that ended with similar success included another Stockton Riverside College run exercise focused around Equality & Diversity. We had strong competition from many other parties participating but overall we won with our educational video entitled 'Educating Grandad'.
It focused on the grandfather of a family and his 'old fashioned views' and ultimately ended with the Grandad understanding the error of his ways thanks to his more accepting and educated family explaining the issues with the comments he was making.
Another competition we were successful in winning the public vote of was run by an external group named CUTFilms.
We created a social action piece focusing on the negative effects of smoking simply named 'Smoking Kills'
We showed a character go outside to smoke, he opened a box of cigarettes but instead of cigarettes inside it was filled with bullets.
The character then takes the bullet, loads it into a gun and puts the gun in his mouth and then pulls the trigger.
The gun clicks several times with the messages 'Every time you smoke you risk your life' before ultimately there is a gunshot sound.
This powerful piece was received very well and with strong promoting on our social media and support from sources such as Stockton Riverside College and The Newcastle Film Festival we were successful in gaining the most votes.
When looking at the failures of UFilms I don't believe we have failed to provide a client with a product ever but we have had our downfalls and issues which have caused major issues to occur sometimes resulting in delays.
Our main downfalls which have caused such issues is the lack communication and enthusiasm of team members.
This lack of enthusiasm from certain members has made the work-load for others much heavier, adding in some cases more time before the product can be completed.
Communication is also a big issue as sometimes UFilms members have struggled to work as a large team and ensuring that everyone is on the 'same page' with information.
An example would be the filming of a wedding video.
A member of UFilms was in charge of communicating with the client however due to mis-communication, the team planned to arrive on the venue a day later than the wedding was actually occurring.
Thankfully on the morning of the wedding this mistake was noticed and resolved without the clients awareness but it was a very near miss to something that could have been a major failure to UFilms.
Despite these issues, we all began UFilms with little to no experience and have gained much more knowledge and experience in the field we hope to soon work.
I personally feel as though I have improved my own communication skills within the team and have learnt to 'find my voice' as a team member and to express things I believe to be important.
I have also learnt much more the financial and business side of the industry, understanding more so the importance of budgeting, credit control, invoices and similar necessitates which I had little knowledge about prior to beginning the business.

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