Thursday, May 26 – our first full day in London. It was not one of sight-seeing, but instead, filled with three opportunities to learn and experience how the British run different media outlets. The head haunchos and workers of th1ng & th2ng, WARC, and the London Film Academy greeted us and gave us tours, information sessions, and seminars on their respective companies.
At 10:00 a.m. we traveled to th1ng & th2ng, an animation and mixed media production company who create advertisements for ad agencies and the like. th1ng is dedicated to animation, while th2ng is dedicated to live action. Our group was not sure what to expect before entering the facility, for th1ng & th2ng gives off the ‘hole-in-the-wall’ appearance – squeezed in-between residential apartments and a cash-back shop. The narrow stairwell once inside the door still held no promise for us, but as we got closer to the second door just before their lobby, murals of beautiful paintings danced on the walls. Once in their cozy lobby, we were greeted by the receptionist who ended up being one of our tour guides. It was here where we found out that th1ng & th2ng was a labyrinth of 6 floors, with each floor being its own designated space for the various workers. There was the ‘hang-out/break’ room, the cut-up animation room, editing suites, studios, procedures, and drawing/animation boards.
We learned many things from this tour – that the term ‘grading’ does not just mean an academic letter, but it is also the technique used for color correction due to varying lights in photographs in order to match the tone of the ad. The main software for animation that th1ng & th2ng uses is Adobe After Effects, for it is user-friendly enough to figure out and utilize.
We were given a tutorial of their website, which we had previously explored as an assignment during the semester. The bulk of warc.com is researched driven, with consumer insights to make it more useful for the customers. It has been in existence for nearly twenty years. WARC is run by 56 employers – a fairly small organization, but they still manage to stay as current as possible with events and new ideas…all written from a marketing perspective.
At this point we were all starting to feel the effects of the jet-lag, as well as being confused by the sudden weather changes. It would rain…no, pour…for ten minutes, and then miraculously the clouds would part making way for the sun. It was so unlike the states that it was almost distracting.
Our last scheduled ‘tour’ of the day was in southern London, at the London Film Academy. We took the tube (the equivalent to New York City’s subway transportation system), down toward the South Kensington stop. We narrowly escaped experiencing our first British thunderstorm, with rains pouring down just as we went hopped through the doorway.
The London Film Academy was a much older building and structure than we had been used to. Here, we went through a three hour interactive seminar (from 2:00-5:00 p.m.), learning about the academy itself as well as how films are marketed and sold to the public. The length of the courses offered at the Academy vary, but all student enrolled are required to create a ‘diploma,’ – in other words, a portfolio of their work.
A lot goes into marketing a film, and many factors must be considered. We were taught that there are mainly four quadrants of people who are considered when figuring out how to sell the film itself: the young male, the young female, older women, and older males. Older women are said to be the most reliable when it comes to film producers and marketers relaying on the audience, which made all the female students in the room proud.
Like the term ‘grading,’ from Th1ng & Th2ng, we learned that ‘dating’ also has a duel meaning. The term ‘dating’ in a film sense, is deciding what month to release the film in question. This depends on many factors, one of them being current events in the world, or country.
The rest of the day was left to ourselves. Many of us were longing to see the city of London, since our day was occupied with structure and the scheduled media appointments. Some of us ventured off into Piccadilly Circus (the equivalent to Times Square in New York City) to explore and get dinner. I was part of the Piccadilly Circus adventurers, and ended up staying there for the rest of the night. The energy was high and exciting – we had the city at our feet and still many days left of seeing the sights and visiting more media companies.