Friday 15 May 2015

Meet the five teens that are taking over the world... and totally rocking it! (Winners of Project Remix)

Hello, readers! Last week I wrote a post all about the exciting Project Remix, a competition inspiring young people to embrace their talents and get creative. I was lucky enough to attend the Project Remix Awards Ceremony at the British Library a couple of weeks ago, and after we heard the announcement of the winners I put my blogger face on and interviewed the lucky few who had been selected, to find out how they had heard about the competition, what it was that inspired them, and how they think we can inspire other young people to embrace their creativity and limitless talent. I wanted to find out if they thought there were enough opportunities available for young people, who wanted to pursue competitive careers in the creative industry.

*DISCLAIMER*. Sorry for the absolute RUBBISH quality of my photos. They were taken on my phone. I know bloggers are meant to have swishy cameras to take great photos on, but I don't. Sorry :)

While I was standing there, watching and listening to the winners' entries and their speeches, I was overwhelmed at the talent and confidence that they showed to a roomful of strangers, who were viewing their work for the very first time. It was amazing to see how extremely proud they were at the work they had produced, and the pride they so clearly felt at being able to create something that said something good about teens, for once. They all clearly recognised that they weren't only the winners of a competition, but a living legacy for all young people and a showcase of the potential that so many adults don't acknowledge young people as possessing. Having battled to get into the adult-dominated publishing industry since the age of 13, I know what it is like to be underestimated and discriminated against because of your age. I know what it feels like to have your creativity undermined and undervalued, and for people to judge you at face-value. I imagine that many of the winners standing there would have felt exactly the same way at some point or other in their lives. It was so great to know that, for once, the talent of young people was being recognised and valued. Speaking to the winners just made that clearer to me.

Jacob Simpson, winner of the music category, is planning on continuing his theatre learning into university whilst pursuing his music as a hobby. He has contributed in a variety of performances with various theatre companies and has composed a range of music covering multiple genres. In 2015, a film Jacob co­wrote and acted in won a Golden Owl Award for best Community Group Film in the older category. When he first heard about Project Remix, he thought it sounded 'really unique and really fun' and automatically knew he wanted to get involved. When I asked him if he thought there were enough opportunities for young people who wanted pursue their creativity in the arts industry, he replied 'Definitely for music, I don't think there are enough opportunities for young people. If we had competitions that outlined and celebrated the fact that young people can create music, that would be brilliant. I know there are writing competitions and sites like Movellas, but there are not as many opportunities for young musicians.'

Next I was lucky enough to speak to Grace Haddon, who was the winner of the creative writing aspect of Project Remix. She said that she has 'never been a fan of real life. There weren’t many dragons or ghosts as I was growing up in Leicester, so I had to make do with creating my own. Years later I still haven’t managed to kick the habit!' When Grace was thirteen she was massively into D​octor Who,​ which prompted her to write her own adventure stories. In fact, Grace first heard about Movellas through the fan fiction competitions on the site, and this is what prompted her to enter Project Remix. She explained, 'I really enjoyed taking the themes and the settings and 'remixing' it.' For Grace, Project Remix was the first writing competition she had heard about specifically aimed at young adults, and that is what inspired her to partake in it.

Georgia Oliver was the winner of the comic strip category, and she was the only competition winner who had been a member of movellas before Project Remix. In fact, she is an ambassador of the site, so she knows better than anyone the amazing creative power many teens possess. She explained, 'I created my entry to challenge myself to produce a piece of art that communicated a specific emotion, whilst still telling the story clearly. Each element of my entry was illustrated by myself digitally, and then merged onto one document after completion.' She pointed out that 'the opportunity to draw something and possibly get something out of it was amazing'. When asked about opportunities for young people to get into competitive industries like illustrating and graphic design, Georgia told me that, 'with the internet, I think it's getting better. But I still think it would be great to have more opportunities. Movellas is definitely a step in the right direction. The amount of opportunities that are given there, with the prizes and feedback are priceless.' 

I next spoke to the book trailer winner, Megan Long, who hilariously described Malorie Blackman as 'bae' in her acceptance speech. Megan is passionate about pursuing a career in the creative industries and she has self­funded courses in film making and radio broadcasting in order to take some positive steps to achieve her goal. She explained, 'I have also made it my own personal mission to spread positivity and encourage young people to value and love themselves, as the most important relationship that you’re ever going to have is with yourself!' Megan described her decision to enter the competition as a 'no-brainer'. She told me that 'it's very difficult to get into the creative industry because it's about networking. What Project Remix is doing is so special. It is very unique because it is an amazing opportunity and hopefully we'll see a rise in opportunities like these.'

Unfortunately I didn't get to meet the final winner, Christina Louise Hitchmough, who designed the winning book cover. However, she described Movellas in her winner biography as 'one of the best things that has happened to me. It has given me the chance to express my love for writing and creativity.' Christina described herself as a 'fangirl', and for her she simply wanted to express herself in a way 'that would attract the attention of the readers, using simple online or downloadable photo editors.' I was blown away by Christina's entry, which was simply incredible.

I think that, more than anything, what these five young people show us that is for teenagers there are very few opportunities nowadays for them to truly express themselves. There are probably thousands of young people whose creativity goes unnoticed, with no mediums through which to tap into their potential. Project Remix is, undoubtedly, 'a step in the right direction'. Project Remix not only to communicates to young people, but to adults also, that teenagers will not remain silent. They will continue to express themselves, and the hope is that as they continue, the opportunities for them will proceed to emerge and multiply. 

Read all the entries below:

Running From Shadows by Grace Haddon:

The Fault in Our Stars Music (ProcrastinatorJ) by Jacob Simpson:

Wonder (Meganissleeping) by Megan Long:

'Fangirl' Comic Strip (Picachunicorn) by Georgia Oliver:

Fangirl (C.H. Potter) by Christina Louise Hitchmough

Congratulations! These were all amazing and well-deserved winners. It was also lovely to meet you all!

Until next time :)

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