How to Write a Brilliant Creative Brief workshop lives up to its name
Learning new skills is a great investment, but how do you know which classes are worth your time? The Connect2Classes team are helping you figure it out by trying out workshops from their top course providers themselves and seeing who earns their stamp of approval.
First up was Seattle’s School of Visual Concepts (SVC), an industry-leader in delivering classes taught by working professionals in marketing, branding, design and content creation.
Michael Duarte-Pedrosa, VP of Sales at Connect2Classes, recently participated in the How to Write a Brilliant Creative Brief workshop at SVC. If you work with any creative team, learning how to develop a quality creative brief is an indispensable skill. It helps define the problem and create the framework to solve it.
“SVC provided an intimate class of nine students made up of designers and marketers from the Seattle area. The experience was as brilliant as the course title would suggest,” said Michael.
“This particular course was led by Hillary Miller, a VP from a Seattle-based advertising firm. Her delivery was playful and the course content was practical,” Michael shared. “We all left with real world examples, along with simple tips and tricks to developing a great creative brief.”
“Hillary made her lessons relatable. She suggested that we approach each brief from the ‘right altitude’. It’s like reading with aging eyes — one needs to hold the passage at the correct distance allowing your eyes to focus on the letters and words,” Michael learned.
“If you or your organization have not used creative briefs previously or have lost sight of why you should, this workshop will equip you with the tools and motivation to do so.”
SVC has created an exceptional learning environment with a beautiful facility, a responsive administrative team, and professional guest instructors — all evidenced by the exceptional student reviews and enrollment in multiple courses.
Watch for our full series of Connect2Classes tested courses in the coming months.
About Connect2Classes — We are a marketplace for professional and life enriching classes, workshops, and learning immersives — connecting voracious learners with the best local expertise. In Seattle, Online, and San Francisco!
For me, getting to experience a class from my own course marketplace was a welcome change from the office, but selecting an intro to welding course at the HazardFactory was downright intimidating. I brought one of our team members, Michael Duarte-Pedrosa, with me to do some bonding while learning a completely new skill together.
Michael pointed out that we had clearly left the cubicle behind when we emerged from the car and were greeted by a landscape metal with instructor Mckenzie eager to begin sharing her wealth of knowledge. We jumped right in by donning safety gear and then a surprisingly entertaining discussion on welding, theory, safety, and equipment. As the welding mask slides over your head, you realize that this is really going to happen — you are going to melt some metal!
Our task for the night was assembling a three-part welded souvenir to develop different welding skills under the watchful eye of the HazardFactory’s expert instructors.
“The art of welding, for me, has always been a little mysterious and frankly, a little intimidating,” shared Michael. “The few hours we spent indulging in the trade at the HazardFactory was great team fun and demystified it for me. I now feel I have enough knowledge to do it again on my own, the welds may not be pretty yet, but I did it! I can’t wait to go back for more.”
The feeling of accomplishment, once a project is finished, is incredibly powerful. Having something that you physically created after just learning is very empowering and you feel like you’ve accomplished a lot. Surprisingly, the welding workshops are suitable for adults and children; they recently hosted an 8-year-old birthday party that created a metal pterodactyl sculpture.
If you are an organization looking for a team-building event, look no further, the HazardFactory delivers with a wide range of workshops suited to your needs. One of the workshops will have your team working together to design and weld a metal bridge that will undergo real-world structural integrity testing.
My favorite part of the night was when Rusty took my little welded triangle and hung it from a crane with 500 lbs. dangling from it, I was cringing as he hoisted it up and felt like superwoman when it held. I can really see how this kind of accomplishment is great for team building.
Unless your organization has some closet welders, this activity as a team event is an equalizer, allowing all players, men, and women, big and small, young and old to contribute and learn while working toward a common goal. Besides working together and developing your teamwork skills these events are absolutely loads of fun!
Whether you are interested in indulging a simple curiosity, learning a new skill for some home repairs, creating industrial metal art, a springboard to a new vocation, or interested in taking your team to the next level, molten metal at the HazardFactory is where it’s at!
Owner and Art Instructor Charlene Collins Freeman Tells Her Entrepreneurship Story
Dreams do come true…
But you have to push them uphill first!
Facebook recently showed me a memory from about seven years ago. In that post I announced that I was teaching my first art classes. I was so nervous!
It was at a consignment store in Kenmore full of used furniture and bric-a-brac. They were closed on Sundays and were therefore willing to let me teach in the shop. I had three people sign up. I had no idea of how to develop this into my dream career, a full time teaching artist.
Wow, that was just 7 years ago. Seems like a life time ago. Since that time, I began teaching at many community colleges and several art schools, I’ve had literally hundreds of students, the majority of which have become dear friends. I’ve take students to Italy, France and England every year for sketchbook travel adventures.
And now I have opened my own school. Wow. Just wow!
The school is Cloud 9 Art School, located in a lovely house at 18414 103rd Ave NE in Bothell.
I have a line up of excellent teachers, all professional artists, who bring their passion, encouragement, and expertise to their students at Cloud 9.
We offer classes for kids, teens and adults in drawing, painting, sketching, jewelry, meditation, mindfulness, and even knitting. Parents can drop kids off on Friday night for art classes instead of hiring a babysitter. We offer workshops for Girl Scouts to earn badges and we create travel adventures to inspire joy and creativity.
We will continue to add new classes and workshops for a variety of media so stay tuned!
We are a joyful community focused on creativity and discovering our world. Cloud 9 Art School is committed to being a place where children, teens and adults find inspiration, learn, and have fun in a relaxed, professional studio environment.
About Connect2Classes — We are a marketplace for professional and life enriching classes, workshops, and learning immersives — connecting voracious learners with the best local expertise. In Seattle, Online, and San Francisco!
Connect2Classes creates custom experiences for shared learning
In our fast-paced world, we’re always looking for new ways to connect with loved ones. The key is finding activities that everyone can enjoy together.
At Connect2Classes, our focus is on both individual and group learning experiences. CEO Dallas Jasper says, “We love it when our students reach out to us for help envisioning the ultimate bonding experience! We get calls and emails from parents, co-workers, and groups of family and friends who want to do something unique and transformational together.”
With so many truly stellar teachers and master craftspeople operating in the Seattle area, there is an amazing pool of expertise to draw from. Cooking, arts, and technology classes are especially popular in group learning. Team building and morale events are attractive to local businesses and organizations.
“We are happy to work with any group to design a shared learning experience that caters to everyone’s interests and passions,” Dallas says.
Kristine Shields, a Grade 7 Parent Representative at The Bear Creek School, wanted to organize a unique event for moms and their pre-teen sons to come together and celebrate Mother’s Day.
“I wanted to try a group class for a special event and keep the cost reasonable,” Kristine says. “I had not seen on the list of classes one that fit. When I reached out to Connect2Classes, they had a wonderful suggestion and made the class logistics so easy.” The class was Moms and Sons Private Chocolate Cooking Class, a chocolate-making class followed by a picnic dinner for 18 mothers and sons at Dawn’s Candy & Cake in Lynnwood. “The young men had loads of fun and really engaged in the chocolate project,” Kristine states. “The moms had fun with each other and connecting with our boys. The location was so agreeable to me bringing a picnic dinner. Their flexibility and friendliness along with the skills they had to teach us made for a really fun night. ”The event proved to be very impressive for the other parents, including the school’s Early Middle School and Middle School Division Head Jenn McDonough, who is the parent of a seventh grade student herself. “All the parents sent thank you emails and said they would really want to do it again. I was a little nervous before the event, but I would totally do it again,” Kristine continues. “Everyone who signed up came and even my son said that it was more fun than he thought! Connecting with kids is deeper and so much more fun with a shared activity. It’s also great for community building within the school.”
Interested in designing your own perfect group class experience? Tell us who you want to bring together and we can help you create an event to remember.
Click to request a private class.
Edmonds Community College and Edmonds Arts Festival partnership creates opportunities for students
We’d like to feel younger, right? If you’ve been following the hot new Younger Next Year movement, you know that one of the six ways to stop much of the decay of aging is to get out into your community and join the activity. Studies have shown that people who are engaged in their communities live years (sometimes many years) longer than those who stay isolated at home.
As one Community Education program discovered, that principle is true at the institutional level as well. “We applied the Younger Next Year concept to our entire program,” says Marianne Legg, Program Coordinator for the Community Education classes at Edmonds Community College.
“We used to have our community education offices in the center of Edmonds and were a part of many community events. Eighteen months ago, our building was sold and we moved away from downtown. We felt so isolated,” states Marianne. “We began looking for ways to put the community back into our community education program.”
As the program discovered, seeking relationships in the community rejuvenated their class offerings and they were able to give their students some unique opportunities. And students, who might not have known about the school before, discovered it through a community partner.
As bonus, the community as a whole has benefited from partnerships with the school. Take this spring’s Creating Public Art class, for example, which partners the college’s community education program with the Edmonds Arts Festival to make 4-by-8-foot banners to hang at the festival this summer.
“We were blown away that the Edmonds Arts Festival wanted to work with us,” Marianne enthuses. Every June, this world-class Festival draws around 50,000 visitors to buy art and enjoy free entertainment and great food. “Hanging your banner at this festival is major exposure for anyone interested in a career in the visual arts,” she says.
Students will be able to create their own designs under the tutelage of a nationally-recognized illustrator. They’ll produce six banners which the festival can use for years to come; so, the Festival benefits as well.
“Yes, win-win-win is our goal with these partnerships,” Marianne says. “We feel everyone comes out ahead when we all work together on mutual goals. And our students get opportunities they wouldn’t have without taking advantage of the partnership.”
The Certificate in Event Planning is being offered in conjunction with the Edmonds Arts Festival which offers on-the-job training in organizing a major community event. “This is a fun way to learn the intricate details of community event planning from people with thousands of hours of events experience,” says Marianne.
The planning that goes into putting on an event like this festival includes marketing, artist booths, volunteer management, scheduling, fundraising, a juried art exhibit, a children’s art exhibit, entertainment, catering and more.
Certificate students will be able to pick their areas of interest and work with the directors of those departments. “Because our students are not just volunteering their time but are in an active learning relationship through us, they get an experience that no one else can,” Marianne says, adding, “This really is a great opportunity!”
Marianne notes that while community education “isn’t the literal fountain of youth, it can offer a sense of real community involvement that can help keep our students younger for years to come!”
Preparing your kids for their future may seem daunting, but picking activities that nurture their creativity, imagination, and ingenuity can help set them on their career path.
Automation will replace more and more jobs in the coming years, but new jobs are being created that we couldn’t have imagined. In a rapidly changing marketplace, innovation will become even more critical to career success. According to an IBM poll of 1,500 CEOs, creativity was picked as the best asset for an organization’s success.
But, creativity, it turns out, is on the decline. A 2010 study of about 300,000 creativity tests going back to the 1970s found that creativity has decreased among American children in recent years. Children are less innovative and imaginative, as well as being less able to articulate their ideas than in previous decades.
There is good news, thankfully. Creativity skills can be nurtured through hands-on, interactive processes. Creativity is often about resourcefulness and being able to work within constraints. Innovation comes from being able to evaluate available resources and combining them in novel ways.
Laura Vida of Seattle’s Frog Leg’s Academy believes the kitchen is the perfect environment for kids to get a taste for creativity. “Cooking is a great way to develop creativity because it can be so many things. I’m amazed at the endless amount of ideas and transformations that we can do with food,” says Laura.
Silvana Junge, owner of Silvana Desserts, agrees that cooking is a great way for kids to develop self-confidence through the combination of creative and technical skills needed to create in the kitchen. “My kitchen is a big lab where kids play with math, science, and chemistry,” says Silvana. “They mix and match flavors, color, and textures using their imagination, senses, and intuition to create something totally unique.”
Creativity skills learned in one area, say visual, culinary, or performance arts, can translate to other areas. Once a child, or adult, develops a creative habit, ingenuity becomes a regular source of motivation and inspiration for them.
Christi Cruz of Wedgwood Drama Studio says that “when young people are encouraged to take risks, try new things, and stretch their growing wings in a supportive environment, they gain experiences they can carry with them as they take their next leaps in life.”
Spring break learning experiences for kids and teens are an excellent way to encourage a deep dive into creativity and innovative thinking while maximizing fun. It might even spark a lifelong creative passion in them!
Find camps from cooking to baseball now at Connect2Classes.com and take advantage of our $10 spring break coupon.
The Women’s March on Washington was organized in the weeks leading up to Donald Trump’s inauguration. It grew into a global phenomenon with marches organized all over the U.S. and across the world with millions of people marching for women’s rights on the day following the inauguration on January 21, 2017.
But how do you prepare for the march of a lifetime? An excellent protest poster is one way to get your message across. The School of Visual Concepts (SVC) Co-Director, Larry Asher, says his colleagues, Fiona McGuigan, Erica Sklar, and Annabelle Larner realized there was a unique opportunity to help people prepare for the marches. Protest art has been the foundation of many social movements, so SVC opened their letterpress and printing studio to help protesters create their own poster works of art.
“We were all a bit shell-shocked after the election, and we wanted to take action. We realized that we had the people and resources to enable something positive and active,” explains Asher. “We wanted to do something to advance the causes of decency, truth, and human rights while exercising our creative talents.” On January 15, 2017, they held the Seattle Women’s March Poster Making event.
Asher says that they pulled the kid-friendly event together quickly and spread the word on social media. While they only expected 100 people, they hosted roughly 350 poster-makers on the day of the event and had to turn people away. The artists created more than 500 protest posters in total and carried them to the marches they attended. “It really lifted up people’s spirits and made us realize that none of us are alone. But we’re not the star of the show, the protest artists are,” stated Asher.
Don’t feel left out if you missed that event! There are numerous opportunities to collaborate with SVC in the coming weeks. One poster design course runs from May to June 2017 for advanced students with existing portfolios of work. It is called Protests, Posters, Printing & Persisting.
“This isn’t just a class. It’s a cause. This workshop is for designers with a conscience and a desire to improve their poster design abilities, while being mentored by master poster artists, Jeff Kleinsmith and Sasha Barr, over a five-week period,” explains Asher.
Jeff Kleinsmith has been Sub Pop Records’ art director for more than 20 years. He has designed hundreds of posters and album covers for bands you’ve definitely heard of, and ones you probably haven’t. His work has appeared in numerous design books, magazines, and gallery shows, and is also in the permanent collection at MoPOP and The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.
Sasha Barr has been an art director for Sub Pop Records since 2007. In addition to his work in the music industry, he also does design work for Amigos Skateboards and runs his own design company, The New Year. His clients of note include Vans, Converse, Giro, Northwest Folklife Festival, Bumbershoot, and the Washington Lottery.
Master photographer Bruce Hudson starts off each of his classes by asking students why they want to learn photography in-person, rather than through tutorials on Youtube. The answer varies for each set of students in his popular 7 Steps to Better Photography Class, but the answer is most often that hands-on learning offers an experience that is more practical and useful. This is the answer Hudson is looking for!
With over three decades as a full-time professional photographer, Hudson’s experience has been vast and rewarding. His portrait work has given him the opportunity to photograph presidents, governors, celebrities, and hundreds of clients from Japan to Jamaica, Tuscany to LA, and all over the great State of Washington. His background in teaching, he was the high school band director at Tahoma High School in Maple Valley, WA from 1978 to 1982, compounded with his photography expertise, led Hudson to teach classes to photo enthusiasts and then eventually to develop Hudson’s Photo Workshops.
“Photography is a powerful medium for recording history, telling a story and preserving heritage for generations to see”, says Hudson, at the beginning of every class he teaches. The popularity of his classes quickly grew organically although their initial success was a bit of a surprise to Hudson. “My son Josh gets all the credit for convincing me to start the photo workshops. But, get this: we actually received several hate emails from some of the local professional photographers in our area, who were upset that we were training more competition! They compared it to a magician sharing secrets to the public!”, Hudson explains.
In reality, with digital cameras being the new norm, budding photographers are interested in the craft and looking to expand their knowledge which Hudson believes is a good thing! The majority of students enrolled in Hudson’s Photo Workshops are parents and grandparents learning to take better photographs of their kids and grandkids; or hobbyists, such as hikers, who want to capture some great images along the way. The workshops, offered at Hudson’s studio in Tukwila, draw students mainly from the Puget Sound region, however students from Spokane and Bellingham, and as far as Vancouver, Canada have sought out Hudson’s expertise.
Hudson’s Photo Workshops offers a four-hour introductory class that emphasizes learning the basic function of today’s modern DSLR. The class also covers artistic strategies, lighting techniques, tips and secrets for making subjects look great, and a tutorial on how to take a typical snapshot and turn it into a work of art. “My goal with every class is to share a ton of information that will take my students’ photography to new heights and put them in control of their camera, well beyond basic point-and-shoot”, says Hudson. Students are given the tools needed to operate their camera in manual mode for the ability to control the technical and artistic outcome of each image captured.
As Hudson’s Photo Workshops have gained popularity, requests for advanced classes and trip-based photo shoots have evolved leading to the creation of an entire suite of classes. From 7 Steps to Better Photography and Advanced Level Photography: Artsy or Techy, to Beginner Photoshop, there is a class to fulfill the learning needs of any aspiring shutterbug! 2017 will also see the addition of a week-long photo cruise expedition to Alaska and a Mediterranean cruise to put skills to the test on the road!
Benefit from Hudson’s expertise and indulge your passion for photography by enrolling in an upcoming classes. Visit Connect2Classesto register today and build your photography skills to see where they can take you in the new year!
We used to think that human brains are vessels to be filled with things they need to know. But we all know that lecture-based teaching often puts learners to sleep! Thankfully, there has been a renaissance in learning in recent years. For example, project-based learning is now of major interest for both kid and adult learning. Learning, it turns out, is an individual effort that relies on a person’s passion to learn new things. Experiential learning is the process of learning through experience.
Tell me and I forget. Teach me and I remember. Involve me and I learn. – Benjamin Franklin
We must be involved and engaged to truly learn, and if you want to learn new things, or want to help a loved one learn, knowing how we learn best will help. It can also help people discover how much they love to learn and create, which as we know, makes us all happier!
What fuels our passion?
Learning happens naturally when the subject matter is something we’re intrigued by. Know someone who loves home improvement shows? Gift them a woodworking or remodelling class!
How do we learn best?
Some of us thrive while reading or writing, but many of us are visual or kinesthetic (learning by doing) learners. Young learners, in particular, can struggle in school where they need to sit still, so show them how much they love to learn with a class or workshop tailored to their interests.
How do we learn tangible skills like cooking, arts, crafts, or DIY?
There has long been a tradition of teaming masters like chefs and artists with apprentices to learn their craft. Many of us need to watch skilled practitioners and learn skills and tips step-by-step.
How do we remember what we learn?
While we might immediately forget a chapter we read in a how-to book or even the content of a video, hands-on learning experiences allow us to learn while getting feedback from experts.
What can we learn that will make a difference to our lives?
Improving career and business skills, as well as life skills like relationships, benefits us enormously. It’s so important to stay current, even if it involves learning about something we’ve never heard of!
We’d love for you to give the gift of experience this holiday season! Gift certificates are available! Great gifts for far-flung loved ones, or even for a class you can take together! One of our grandmothers decided on sushi-making classes for her 12-year old grandson – what can you choose to wow those you love?
We talk a lot at Connect2Classes about how so many things are changing when it comes to preparing for a career. With so many classes, workshops and online classes available, people now have more options than ever when it comes to developing their careers. For one thing, traditional college, or at least 4-year degrees, are becoming less important in some industries. What really matters is what you can do, which can be demonstrated via a portfolio of work. If you’re a developer, it’s working apps or games, or even code samples. If you’re a designer or artist, having a strong portfolio of game art is the way to get you noticed. There are other options, as well, like project management, writing, and customer service. You can even start your own business or game studio, or work as a free agent.
If you’re into games to any degree, then a career in the games industry might be for you. In this article we will look at the roles available in the game industry, as well as some of the skills you might consider developing if one of these career paths is of interest to you. If you’d like to know how much you could expect to make in any of these careers, check out the Game Developer Salary Survey 2013.
One thing to know is that people in the game industry tend to work very hard. and hours can be long, especially during ‘crunch’ time (when a title is about to launch). Still, game companies can be very fun places to work, especially if you enjoy spending time around other gamers in a highly creative setting.
Executive Producers might be responsible for a portfolio of games, and create budgets and launch strategies. An MBA or degree in business administration or management is helpful, and a wide array of experience in the games industry is mandatory. Producers are typically limited to one game and are responsible for project management, scheduling and budget. They guide the overall course of game development and make sure all the pieces come together adequately. Courses or certificates in project management or game production are nice to have, but not always required.
Market Research is where it all begins, by looking at the overall landscape, understanding competitors, and defining audiences for a game. It might also include making recommendations about launch strategy and may even affect the concept and design of a game. Market researchers typically have degrees in business, statistics or social science. Player Research is related to the experience of game play and might involve game usability testing or play-testing. Most player researchers have advanced degrees in psychology or the social sciences and may be experts in human factors research. Data Science is an emerging area related to data collected on players and game play. Data scientists analyze collected data and make predictions about future player behavior or help development teams with predictive models to accelerate game play. Most data scientists have backgrounds in computer science and are skilled with databases, algorithms and machine learning.
Game Designers are central to any game project and responsible for designing the overall story and game play elements. They maintain game design documentation and ensure that other elements (art, sound, writing, etc.) are cohesive. There are many professional programs available that focus on this area. Mechanics or System Designers are focused on specific game mechanics, which can vary according to the genre of the game. Level designers are responsible for designing specific tasks, missions or quests, and design both obstacle and reward systems to accompany them.
Concept Artists are responsible for conceptualizing the game’s story, settings and characters. A background in fine art is typical, but there are also programs available that focus on video game art. Character Design and Modeling (or Animation) is the field focused on developing characters and character detail and illustrating them in 2D or modeling them for 3D. Level Designers on art teams are responsible for implementing the overall look and feel of a game into individual levels. UI Design is responsible for the overall user interface including the HUD (heads-up display) and other status mechanisms.
Game Music and Sound Effects
Audio Producers and Managers are responsible for all audio content in a game, and may manage various people. A background in sound recording is useful, or a certificate in sound design for games. Composers write original music for games, much like film or tv composers write scores. Sound Designers are focused on all of the ambient sound in a game, and work to uphold the game’s vision through sound.
Game Storytelling and Writing
Narrative Designers are responsible for the overall story and for ensuring that the narrative plays out through all the various elements of the game. Any sort of creative writing background is useful here, and experience with games, in particular, is mandatory. Education in game design theory and game mechanics is also helpful. Writers are typically given projects to work on, like writing content for quests, or character dialogue.
Game and Systems Development
Game/Systems Architects are responsible for overall technical design of a world and may recommend or develop a game engine, as well. A background in computer science is typical for this role, and specific education in game development is also useful. Game Developers and Programmers are typically assigned to some aspect(s) of the game and may work on one or several components for a length of time.
Quality Assurance positions are not terribly well paid, but they are frequently entry level. You’ll be playing games to find glitches or bugs, or even issues with usability.
Character Models are used as a basis for concept art or 3D models. A standard modeling portfolio is just about all you will need, though games-specific experience is also appreciated. Voiceover Actors supply the voices for characters. Any voiceover experience could be relevant, but you will need a demo reel and will have to audition. Motion Capture Actors are agile and disciplined people who take direction readily.
Marketing and Advertising
Marketing roles in game companies can cover a lot of territory, from strategic planning to communications, event/trade show planning, marketing and advertising campaigns, and social media. If you have experience in other digital-related fields it’s possible to parlay that experience for the games industry, especially if you’re an avid gamer yourself.
Customer Support roles are some of the most important, and some of them are entry level positions.
Community Managers monitor and moderate social media, forum posts, knowledge bases and other locations where game information is shared. They help resolve disputes and often provide input on the player point-of-view to development teams.
It’s never been easier to educate yourself for a career in the games industry. Playing a lot of games is helpful, of course, but there are also many classes and workshops that will help you learn specifics. If you’re really serious, consider a degree or certificate from a school that specializes in game design and development.