Thinking outside the box and coming up with new and creative ways to make it in the industry is a great way to get your name out there and kick start your career!
CK Goldiing broke into online TV presenting in 2013, and now fronts a number of online music & entertainment brands. In a world’s-first challenge, CK Goldiing, originally from Sheffield, arrived in London on July 7 2015 with just £100, a bag of clothes and his camera. With these modest resources, the presenter and photographer’s mission was to provide 100 unsigned London musicians with stunning new press photos for their promotional efforts with musicians paying him what they felt was right for the shoot.
What was your inspiration behind #100Musicians?
Luckily, I’m one of those humans whose imagination never shuts up – creative ideas and I generally get on famously. In truth, I simply woke-up one morning and seventy-percent of the idea just landed in my lap. The remaining thirty-percent came after a little refining. Ultimately, however, at the time I devised the project, I was a little frustrated with seeing the same things, people and places – so I was looking for an excuse to ‘escape’ Sheffield for a little while. #100Musicians clearly heard my call. Thanks, imagination!
Your brand motto is ‘Be Yourself, Better’ can you explain what that means and why you chose it to represent your brand?
Thanks for noticing. I’m a huge believer in ‘energy’, and by ‘energy’, I mean everyone is just a colossal mass of vibrating stuff. Some folk radiate positivity, and some radiate negativity. I’ve come to understand that whatever your energy setting, you’ll pull identical energy towards you. I’m naturally super-happy, especially when food is around, so it’s no coincidence that I generally only encounter fun, kind spirited people with glorious quirks. I’ve always admired people who are unashamedly themselves, and much to my eternal delight, I regularly work or hangout with many of them. ‘Be Yourself, Better’ is just my way of recognising all those heroes doing their own thing shamelessly, every day.
What was the best experience during #100Musicians
I traveled to London having no idea what to expect. I expected to experience difficulty, challenges, fun and adventure… but what I wasn’t expecting, was to develop an entirely new appreciation for humans, or more specifically, strangers. A family reaching-out to me and basically saying, “oi, nutter, no idea what you’re doing this for, but there’s a bed here whenever you need it!” was quite remarkable, and I ended-up staying with them many times over the six moths.
An X-Factor talent scout taking me out for an incredible meal was obviously nuts. Oh, and what about a Time Out Director inviting me to all his monthly music gigs and stuffing twenty quid in my pocket one evening? Gent! Ooh, ooh, ooh… and then there’s my angel, Loretta – a radio DJ & music manager I reached-out to early into the project. If you go to her house and look at her sofa, there’s a permanent CK-shaped dent in it from the countless nights I slept on it. Yes, I was just overwhelmed by how kind, generous and caring strangers could be, and best of all, I still see, text and email so many of these wondrous people. And let’s not forget the stars of the project, the 100 musicians themselves. I’m so proud of the great music projects I’ve seen them release since our paths crossed. The actual 100th musician, Amy Gillespie, honestly, her new EP takes my breath away.
During a college talk I recently gave, I said, without any hesitation, that all the TV, radio and press coverage #100Musicians attracted was incredible, but if I had to choose between that and the personal relationships I experienced, the press coverage wouldn’t stand a chance.
What was the most challenging aspect you faced during #100Musicians?
Probably the constant battle I had with myself when it came to asking for help. As mentioned, I encountered amazing kindness from people who helped me along – one band in particular, Redwire, were amazing. One evening, they said, “CK, you’re great at social media… if you help us with ours, you’ve got a bed here anytime you need it.” This was an unreal proposition, especially as they lived in central Camden – a place I fell in love with early into the project. As I stayed with them and other people throughout the project, I never wanted to become a hindrance, so while no one at any point said, “okay CK, I’ve seen enough of you now, get lost!”, in my head, I wondered is that’s exactly what they were thinking. Alas, sometimes, money was really low, so I had to suck it up and just ask for help… and on every occasion, I experienced the same warmth and kindness as before. In the six months of the challenge, not once did I sleep on the street.
What have you been up to since #100Musicians?
My newfound obsession with strangers influences a great deal of my current online content. I decided to launch a YouTube channel, featuring the down-to-earth talents I regularly meet and work with – including a psychology expert, a TV voiceover artist, an internationally-exhibited artist, or the random group of actors I overheard chatting in a pub and decided to impose myself on.
I often feel obliged to remind anyone who cares, that I’m a writer, producer, presenter first… and a photographer second. Since completing #100Musicians, I’ve written the format for three new projects, all of them underpinned by human interaction, but most critically, none of them resemble #100Musicians. One of the formats is mind-blowing, terrifies me, and has never been done before. I’ve revealed the project to about six people I trust implicitly, and their responses were all identical: they gasped, smiled, then asked if I’m nuts.
What advice do you have for anyone that wants to work in photography?
You’re not important and lie to everyone you shoot.
Let me explain.
I get many referrals from the wonderful humans I shoot, because after shooting with me, folk leave in a better mood than when they arrived. If I’m honest, I find the mechanics of photography deeply tedious, there are few things that bore me more. My superpower is human relations – making people feel comfortable/good about themselves. I approach every shoot with an unflinching belief that I’m the least important person there, and this approach guarantees the timeless, authentic, honest portraits clients commission me for.
My signature move during shoots is to lie to my client – I can’t get enough of it, lying makes me happy! At the start of each shoot, I often say things like, “do whatever you want, couldn’t care less where you look, I’m just checking my settings, these shots don’t count!” ha, what a load of crap! I say this knowing it makes people relax and the minute they relax, the magic shot happens. Obviously I get caught out from time to time when I shoot someone who has heard/read about my lies. Cringe!
My final tip is ‘don’t listen to anything I’ve said above or at least, listen to it if you want, or experiment and find a technique that works for you if you prefer’. You must remember the ‘lie to people’ technique is trademarked to me, and will cost you £30K to lease.
Where do you see yourself in 5 years time?
Hopefully, banking several £30K cheques every week! Okay, the £30K thing is a joke, sort of. As mentioned, I’m a writer/presenter first, photographer second, so let’s revisit this mind-blowing idea I touched on earlier. By complete chance, I recently found myself in a room with two obscenely talented film & media graduates. As we chatted, they asked me what I do. I told them. We got on incredibly well, so I revealed my idea. They loved it instantly. They asked if they could be part of it and offered to put together a production plan, including a fully-budgeted treatment. It turns out that in order for me to execute the project on the scale I want to (it’s based in America, you see), it requires £30-40K minimum. Oh good, I’ll just nip to the ATM now, shall I?
In the short-term, I’m open to finding a TV agent who shares my commitment to creating inspiring, non-celebrity based content that is one-hundred percent about humans and the incredible journeys, experiences and dreams we all live and breathe. An agent will better enable me to engage commercial partners, and ultimately, allow me to be ‘that guy’ who creates remarkable, authentic, real-life adventures that provoke audiences into laughter, tears, and ultimately, a place of positivity and happiness. For now, however, I adore being an independent creator who has the pleasure of chatting to fine platforms like The Big Music Project. Thank you for this feature! I don’t suppose you have a spare £30K, do you?
If you want to find out more about CK Goldiing’s #100Musicians project, click here.