Do you know this chick?

Here’s a little teeny tiny treat!  Last week as we were setting up the camera for filming at Pleasley Colliery, a small wren landed right next to us.  We had just seconds to spin the camera around and grab a bit of footage before the little fella flew away. Sadly not enough time to get the microphone attached!

A Star Finalists in ‘Nottinghamshire’s Best’ Business Awards

We ended last week on a high as we found out we’ve made the final of Nottinghamshire’s Best Business Awards 2011 in the ‘Most Promising New Business’ category.

The awards are facilitated by the Derbyshire and Nottinghamshire Chamber of Commerce, to recognise the importance of celebrating homegrown business talent, and we’re thrilled to have made the final cut!

The award ceremony is on 23rd September, and we’re already really excited. You can find out all about the awards on their blog, which is a stomping good yarn!


Mansfield Learning Partnership

On the 6th of April the team at A Star Media attended an event hosted by the Mansfield Learning Partnership held at the Civic Centre for post 16 learners. This was an extra special day as our very own team member (Katrina) helped to organise the whole event!

The aim of the day was to raise awareness amongst young people about the range of opportunities available to them locally. The event focused on employability, enterprise, apprenticeships and further education as well as the vision for the future of Mansfield.

To make the day even more interesting, the students were able to interact with real business owners including our video production team. So after relaxing with a cup of tea and a biscuit (perks of the job) we waited patiently for our young entrepreneurs to enter.

At the end of the event feedback was given to detail what they felt they had learnt (apparently business owners like to talk). Lucky for A Star Media one courageous student volunteered to assist in a presentation with Katrina. Even though he expressed his concerns about his public speaking skills we were more than impressed.

The day was a smashing success even if we do say so ourselves, and we continuously look forward to supporting the students in Mansfield and working alongside the Mansfield Learning Partnership!

Film to the rescue!

Recently the BBC covered the story that more cyclists are using helmet mounted cameras to capture footage of drivers being generally naughty on the road.

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Lucky for the cyclists now using the footage from these little cameras the police are taking their complaints seriously and the footage has led to arrests and prosecutions againsts bad drivers.

It’s just another example of film building trust with users, if people don’t believe what you’re telling them, show them!

Letting the Cat Out of the Bin –The Power of Online Video

You’d have to be living under a rock over the past couple of days to miss the media attention given to the film of a cat being thrown into a bin in Coventry.

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At A Star Media our Video Production Nottingham team love animals, and we think the treatment of this poor cat is just plain horrible, but would the story have had the same hype if there was no video?

From posting the film on Facebook and Youtube the spread of the video and the story was pretty much instantaneous, and the reaction from the public on social media helped to fuel the fire, causing the story to get picked up by national news agencies making headline news and becoming the most shared story on the BBC news website.

It’s yet more evidence to show that a story, which may have only made the local papers without the video, has been shot up the news value scale with the addition of film. Would we even have heard the story if there wasn’t any video? Probably not, as the owners wouldn’t have had any idea how the cat got in the bin in the first place.

It just goes to show that the addition of film makes a big difference to how stories are created and spread, and we’re just waiting for a host of ‘putting a cat in a bin’ spoofs to appear on YouTube. In the meantime, it gives a whole new meaning to cat litter (boom boom).

Sound is important, but not always.

In any video sound is always important, in fact when the video production is taking place you always have to ensure the right sound is being recorded. This could be either speech or ambient sounds. Then you’ve got to make a music choice, music can turn an average film into something amazing. Just think of the all the great films you’ve seen at the cinema and the epic music that goes with them. So in video and film, sound is pretty important.

But what if your audience can’t hear?

Well that’s just the situation the A Star Media team found themselves in when we were contacted by John Smith, a profoundly deaf stand up comedian. John conducts his side splitting comedy using BSL (British sign language) to get deaf audiences giggling. John has taken his stand up tour on the road across the nation since 2005 with huge success and fantastic reviews.

He contacted the Video Production Nottingham to help create some comedy sketches for use in his latest DVD. This exciting project meant we had to change our own perspective on film-making. We always consider our intended audience during the video production process. With John’s audience being BSL users, our filming had to take this into account. A fantastic experience with a very funny guy meant we produced two fantastic sketches that we be mastered shortly, all incomplete silence. The funny thing is, such is the strength of John physical comedy, anybody can understand what’s going on and get the joke.

If you’d like to know more about John Smith and his BSL comedy, called Beautiful BSL, we encourage you to check out his website

The sketches will be available on his website and ours shortly.

Motivating Mansfield’s Post 16 Learners

Last week I had the privilege of sharing the story of A Star Media at Mansfield’s first ever Youth Conversation.

The event, organised by the Mansfield Learning Partnership, gave post 16 learners the chance to discuss their career choices and how they were finding their education.

I was invited to give a motivational speech at the beginning of the day, a pretty daunting task when times are so hard for everyone, especially for young people when the future looks so uncertain.

I decided to talk about my time in education, and how my career choices changed from wanting to be a teacher, a nutritionist and a journalist to eventually becoming an entrepreneur.

Katrina giving her presentation

Katrina giving her presentation

I didn’t really know what I wanted to do when I was at school, and I wanted to let the young people at the event know that it’s okay to be unsure about what you want to do, and it’s okay to change your mind.

I think young people are under so much pressure to achieve academically and it’s really good that the Mansfield Learning Partnership is offering local young people the opportunity to learn vocational skills.

It was really good to see so many young people taking an active stance in their education, and proving everyone wrong when they say teenagers don’t know how lucky they are!


One of the County’s Star Start Ups

A Star Media, were named as runners up to the New Enterprise of the Year at last week’s Nottingham Post Business Awards.

The duo beat off fierce competition to reach the finals, and were the only business from Mansfield to be nominated at the prestigious event.

The team at A Star Media

John and Katrina get their finalist certificate, awarded by BBC Presenter Nick Owen

Director, John Starkie, said ‘we’re so proud to have got this far, the other businesses at the awards have started with tens of thousands of pounds worth of investment. We started the business while we were still at university from nothing. It just goes to show how far we’ve come in the last eighteen months.’

Established in December 2008 A Star Media have worked tirelessly to grow their business during the economic downturn, building a reputation of great quality and excellent service.

Business Director, Katrina Atherton, who was awarded Chad Young Business Person of the Year in 2009, said ‘we were really in awe of the other business people at the event, but the judges must have seen something in us to put us through, we’ll keep working hard and hopefully win it for Mansfield in the future!’

Inspiring Young People

The video production team at A Star Media are always trying to help young people aspire and achieve. We’re passionate about helping youngsters really think about their career choices and encourage them to investigate future jobs.

Our Business Director, Katrina Atherton, has worked with numerous organisations to help with events in schools designed encourage such activity. Recently Katrina has helped judge enterprise events for Formation Training Career Champions, Maverick Minds and Young Enterprise.  Giving up time to lend expertise at such event in schools provides young people with real insight into the working world.

A Star Media actively promotes and endorses all such activity. That’s why we wanted to introduce everyone to a fantastic organisation called Pods4Jobs. Pods4jobs is a fantastic website which encourages students across the UK to actively seek out information on different career paths. What’s brilliant is that to do this they must visit a business and conduct a video interview. All the pods are then uploaded to the Pods4jobs website for any young person with internet access to see, providing a unique and valuable insight into career paths that may otherwise remain unknown.

If you feel like creating a pod or know someone that might be interested please get in touch with Pods4jobs. Don’t keep it a secret, spread it around and share the love. Our video production Nottingham team will be promoting Pods4jobs in the local area and creating pods ourselves to share with the world. Watch this space for more details.

Have a look at the Pods4jobs website

When the going gets tough, most of us grumble before we get going

Running a business isn’t always easy. Sometimes people don’t pay on time, deadlines are tight, and you’re responsible for keeping everything running smoothly.

Saying that, we wouldn’t be running our own business if we hated it would we? And while some things can get us down, the rewards of having great clients and doing what we love every day is well worth it.

This week we’ve been working with a fantastic project in Derby called Women’s Work, they help female substance misusers involved in street sex work. We spent the day there on Monday, including going out from 10pm to midnight on their outreach programme, offering a hot drink, help and advice to women working on the streets.

Street sex workers in Derby get support from Women's Work

It really wasn’t what we expected, and the women who accessed the service were so open about their experiences and really frank with what they encounter from day to day, from mental illness, drugs, domestic violence and contact with the police.

These women really were vulnerable, and stuck in a cycle of drugs and prostitution which saw them working nightly on the streets, selling sex for as little as £10.

We came away with huge respect for the people at Women’s Work who are tackling issues that most of us like to avoid, and being upbeat and inspirational at the same time.

So next time it gets tough, the computer crashes, or my phone battery dies half way through a call I’ll probably still complain, but I’m going to try harder to appreciate what I’ve got.