Cardiff Character: James Clarke

Creative director prioritises work-life balance during the remodel of his video production business three years after its inception

Image credit: GreenNova Productions. James is working to remodel his video production company, solely focusing on security and defence clients – a unique selling point and a first for a Welsh video production business

It takes a lot of courage and ambition to build your own business, especially in the final year of an undergraduate degree. James Clarke, 23, creative director at GreenNova Productions, understands the pressures all too well when he started the company with fellow University of South Wales graduate, Christopher Deakin, three years ago.

That said, a diverse portfolio of clients from Rolls Royce to One Gym, has strengthened the young company’s reputation and proves that starting a business straight from the classroom is a viable option.

“Everything with starting a business from fresh, having no experience, it’s all a learning curve,” said James while sipping coffee in his living room in Thornhill.

His passion for photography and filmmaking stems from childhood, when he received his first camera as a Christmas present. Watching his dad, uncle and grandad take pictures at annual airshows was also an inspiration.

“Everything with starting a business from fresh, having no experience, it’s all a learning curve” 

Before taking the plunge last November to work in the business full-time, Bridgend-born James worked part-time in a camera shop to help pay the rent. Meanwhile, he spent every spare moment working on GreenNova’s rapid progression creating content such as music and promotional videos.

“I was working part-time in a camera shop to help pay the bills,” said James, moving to his home studio bursting with video equipment and awards celebrating company achievements. His 18-month-old miniature dachshund, Frank, also made an appearance. “Spending four days a week in my part-time job and all my free time doing this,” says James. “I was working seven days a week, four weeks a month, 52 weeks a year – I did that for a few years.”

What resources are available to Welsh startups? James shares his knowledge and gives advice on the best resources to kickstart your business. 

Now, intertwining business and a personal passion, James is working to remodel the business, catering mainly to security and defence clients – a unique selling point as he claims GreenNova will be the first Welsh video production company to do this – and has already developed some high profile contacts including the Department of International Trade. 

“Working with these huge brands, creating content that’s going all over the world to these military personnel – it’s a dream,” he says.

Behind the scenes

As well as Frank at his side and drinking lots of tea to get through the working day, James also turns to airsoft (a softer version of paintballing) at the weekends to relieve work stress. A variety of social activities is also something he likes to introduce around the working week. 

“Christopher and I do try and keep everything balanced,” says James. “We’ll go to the pub, go karting, watch the rugby, things like that.”

“Working with these huge brands, creating content that’s going all over the world to these military personnel – it’s a dream” 

The next act

Although repositioning the business and the commissioning of a new website is a big project, a career in producing feature films is also on the horizon for James as he looks at a few scripts to develop. Within the next 12 months, producing short films will also be on the agenda; feature films to follow soon after.

James explains. “It’s good to work with clients, but it’s also good to do films that are not for clients because it makes you realise why you entered the business in the first place.” 

Originally published here on Alt.Cardiff

8 Key Characteristics To Look For In Graduate Recruiters

It’s that time of year where a new class of graduates will be hitting the job boards in search of their first stepping stone into the world of work. But, in this day and age, it isn’t easy for a graduate to land a job straight after graduation.

The job market is fierce with tough competition and hundreds of candidates all going for the same position (not to mention it’s virtually impossible to secure a career in a chosen field of study).

That’s why many become attracted to the abundance of graduate recruitment consultant roles filling up the job boards; a majority promising in excess of up to £30-35K in the first year with all-expenses-paid trips to Ibiza or Las Vegas, lunch clubs to Michelin star London restaurants, and incentive prizes such as iPads and Rolex watches.

You’re inundated with new CVs everyday: some holding a glimmer of hope, others failing to hit the mark. You have consultant roles to fill and a tight deadline to fill them by, but don’t forget about the personality traits in what makes a great recruitment consultant. We’ve come up with eight key characteristics below to help you through the interview process…..

  1. Money-motivated with financial goals?

    It’s good to ask candidates about any short and long-term financial goals they may have—a deposit on a flat, a family trip of a lifetime to Florida, a dream wedding in the Surrey countryside: it’s a crucial part of the interview process as this will determine their level of self-motivation and aspirations to succeed.
  2. Able to communicate over the phone?

    Granted, it’s difficult to determine what candidates are like selling over the phone, don’t be afraid to incorporate some practical tasks in the interview process. Admittedly, it takes time out of your day, but you’ll be thankful later on—you don’t want to babysit someone who doesn’t know how to hold a conversation with key stakeholders.
  3. Have what it takes to be a top sales leader?

    You want a recruiter that’s a natural born leader; someone who strives to win, takes risks, promises results and isn’t afraid to show others how it’s done. Think of some scenarios you can incorporate into the interviews and get their responses. Furthermore, why not ask for examples on how they’ve exceeded expectations, and how they went about doing it?
  4. Resilient with a thick-skinned mentality?

    Recruitment isn’t all incentive prizes and trips abroad; it’s a tough industry with plenty of rejection to go with it, and candidates need to know this from the get go. Don’t shy away from saying exactly how it’s going to be day-to-day—it saves them (and you, too) from having to deal with a culture shock on their first day. Place much emphasis on the long hours, tough targets, next to no lunch breaks and having to wait around after 5pm to call candidates after the working day.
  5. Thinks outside the box?

    Conventional ways of doing things can certainly bring the results you need, but stepping outside the general comfort zone of searching through LinkedIn profiles shows a candidate is forward-thinking and can take ownership. Ask for some examples on how they managed to think outside the box and the results they achieved by doing this.
  6. Determined and ferocious?

    What makes them self-motivated enough to jump straight on the phones in the morning? An excellent recruitment consultant needs a determined work ethic to get anywhere in the industry. Sometimes it’s just not enough to hit the targets; you need to go above and beyond to really reap the benefits.
  7. Happy to research their sector?

    There’s nothing worse than a recruitment consultant that doesn’t know anything about the sector they’re working in. Knowledge gets you a long way, and you want new recruiters to carve out the time in researching the top influential companies and their managing directors. Maybe discuss their dissertations, the research methods they adopted, and how they could incorporate this into sales leads.
  8. Organised and able to multi-task?

    Finally, a consultant manages a number of accounts as part of the day-to-day tasks. Organisation and carving out enough time for each one is paramount. Candidates that can keep on top of daily to do lists and are able to work well under pressure will get a good head start. Think of some scenarios to mention in the interviews, and get their responses in how they would cope with managing multiple projects at one time.