We’re Sam Malik and Fi Howard – the Projects Manager and Coordinator for Contact’s music and drama projects including programmes like Studio School, Level Up and Drama Drop.
It has been a long 18 months of online and blended workshops but creating the Monday Mic Night series is something that really stood out to us from the fun we had filming to the great reception every episode has had. We thought we would give you an insight into our process and how we created a brand new concept for Contact!
Let’s set the scene… or green screen
In a black room stands an illuminated green screen – it’s audience; a small crew, talented artists and lots and lots of lights.
This was the setting for four days of filming in March of 2021. With the cancellation of numerous live events and an abundance of talented young artists to showcase, a new idea was formed. When we realised that live music events were unlikely to place before late Summer, we knew that something needed to be done to give artists the chance to perform and for audiences to be able to watch them.
Taking inspiration from existing on-demand content and working with our funders Youth Music, we wanted to create dynamic videos that would reach audiences beyond people that already engage with Contact. Using Space 2 in Contact’s newly renovated building Sam Malik and Fi Howard set to work with a large green screen and the incredible team from Modify Productions. Each day we managed to fit in two artists for recording and fuelled ourselves with meal deal sandwiches, mini chocolate brownies and easy peelers.
The first episode was the incredible spoken word poet Old Grey who really set the tone for the season. His lyrics were an endless stream of imaginative and poetic wordplay that sparked our creativity when it came to the visuals of the project. Next up we had two Contact favourites with melodic and catchy tunes – HMD and Chi Prophecy, an alumnus of our Level Up project. (Read more on Level Up here).
The fourth episode switched it up with current Level Up participant Martha Pryer with her powerful and thought-provoking song Don’t Call Me Pretty which was followed by another powerful women OneDa and her song No Play that proved the most challenging (but rewarding) to create the visual graphics to match her unrelenting style and speed of her music.
In episode six and seven we decided to slow it down a bit with more Level Up participants and Saturnalia stars 2b.Frank with his laidback track lemon and then onto Joash with his track Six Feet – proving that there’s more to his music than what the world already knows.
Finally, episode eight stars North Manchester’s very own Persia with Body Anybody. You may recognise her if you ever went to Freestyle Fridays or Media Drop. An eerie melody and a trap beat with gritty lyrics that ended season one with a bang.
We had a great time recording, editing and releasing this season of Monday Mic Night and we hope you have a great time watching them too. Keep an eye out for the second season coming to YouTube later in 2021 and also come along to Monday Mic Night: Live when it kicks off with events at Contact again soon!