As the end of the semester neared, I was presented with the final assignment for my Multimedia Production course: the Video Storytelling Project. While searching for newsworthy events happening on the UW campus that I could potentially cover, I stumbled upon the last Puppy Play Date of the school year.
The UW Wellness Center hosts a ton of events to help students manage their overall wellbeing. This includes physical, mental and emotional wellness. One of their most popular events of the semester is the Puppy Play Date. Certified therapy dogs are brought into Coe Library where they await cuddles, pets and kisses from dog loving students.
Given that college kids will use about any excuse to procrastinate during finals week, I figured the event would have a good turnout. I’m also a huge lover of dogs so it didn’t really feel like I was working on an assignment while collecting content for the video. This event’s lighthearted and fun nature made it perfect for this project! Although next time I think I would have done a pre-puppy and post-puppy interview with someone to promote and showcase the effectiveness of the event.
Going into it, I was excited for the challenge of combining all of the different skills I learned throughout the semester: interviewing, audio storytelling, using effective visuals. The list goes on! Something that was very helpful to me while shooting the video was the overall mood that came with the anticipation of playing with the dogs. This positive vibe made it easier to approach people for interviews and get the information I needed for the assignment.
My main struggle in the process was trying to upload the video to YouTube. I attempted to do it directly from iMovie, but had no luck. After a few google searches I found my way and got the video on the web! Something I was surprised by was the simplicity of iMovie. I had created short videos using the program in the past, but had never added music or titles which ended up being a breeze!
In the future, I could see myself making promotional social media content for the company I’m working for. Additionally, I help to plan the Student-Athlete Advisory Committee’s anual award show and will undoubtably be able to implement some of what I’ve learned in this assignment to the event’s promotional video.
It was really awesome to see so many students smiling and laughing while interacting with the dogs in the midst of the chaos of school. I even found myself a little less stressed after playing with the pups!
My professional instagram account: @jackieamcbridecomm
After hearing that we were able to create some digital media content to promote our past blog posts, I was thrilled! I’ve always enjoyed messing around on different online graphic generator, and now I was able to do it for an assignment!
Prior to this assignment, I had used Canva to create invitations and programs. As far as Instagram, i had never used it professionally, but regularly posted on a personal account.
I think consistency on an Instagram feed is really important from a promotional standpoint. Although I don’t follow this rule on my personal account, i know I take organizations that douse this tactic way more seriously. I implemented this strategy by making all of my posts use the same fonts and colors, but switched up the layout of the posts.
Even though I enjoyed my time creating the graphics, I struggle knowing determining how many word I wanted in the actual post versus the caption. I would often make this really cool and informative graphic and then realize that I had no information left for the caption.
My biggest surprise while working on this assignment was the lack of professionalism and consistency on my personal account. When determining where I was going to post the content I created I reviewed my personal account unfit and decided to start from square one on a new professional Instagram.
Moving forward, I would like to be the social media coordinator for the organization I’m working for. I think that I have a knack for creating this type of content and would love to use the strategies I’ve learned in different types of content like videos, Instagram stories and live streams.
Armed with a dated iPhone 6 and portable charger, I headed to the Wyoming Union Gardens for my first live tweeting experience on Thursday, April 18, 2019. Two folk rock bands were set to hit the stage that night; The Two Tracks of Sheridan, Wyoming was headlining and The Locals opened.
My goal for the night was to create at least 10 quality tweets from a public relations standpoint and post at least one video from the concert. I was able to reach both goals in a span of about two hours. The live tweets from the concert can be found on my twitter profile!
I plan to pursue a job in public relations after college so I thought promotional live tweeting would be good practice. While comprising the tweets, I did my best to offer valuable information, but still connect with and foster a good relationship with my publics. In this instance my main public was college aged students who enjoy live music, although the audience was narrowed because I was tweeting from my personal account.
The live tweeting experience went pretty smoothly for me, but there were a few awkward moments. First off, I felt slightly out of place at the event, which surprised me as I’m extroverted. Most of the audience members were in full concert mode – sipping on craft beers and socializing with each other. Then there was me, sitting in the front row with my eyes glued to my phone screen. Fortunately, I became more comfortable as the bands jammed on.
On the flip side, I found myself happy about the awkwardness when reflecting on the event. I’m not typically one to attend events, especially concerts, on my own. This assignment allowed (shoved) me out of my comfort zone which is something I really value! Although, next time, I may take a seat more towards the back.
Live tweeting is a very practical skill in the public relations field so I’m gad I got a little practice in. I plan to use this skill and others to emphasize an online professional presence on various social media outlets. This is so important because of how much you can engage with your followers!
Next time, I would do two things differently. The first, I would interview someone who helped organize the event and secondly, practice using the application beforehand. I hadn’t logged on in a long while and accidentally tweeted one of my tweets as a reply to The Two Tracks’ twitter page so it only shows up under the “Tweets and Replies” tab.
In sum, here’s what I learned:
It’s okay to be the werido on their phone in the front row, no one is looking at you anyway.
Randomly live tweeting an event on your personal account will result in some confused friends and followers.
Do your research on the event beforehand in order to make the actual tweeting smooth.
Ask yourself, “Would I stop scrolling to read my tweet?”
Although I was unable to include any memes and gifs in my series of Tweets, it was a lot of fun documenting a night of Americana/folk rock! Hopefully I’m able to apply this new skill in the future.
Since starting college, the quality of my weekend meals has degraded drastically. I find myself reminiscing on my mother’s Sunday morning breakfast almost weekly. That’s why I’ve resorted to hitting up Laramie’s breakfasts spots on a regular basis.
Most college students probably find themselves in the same situation as me: hungry and motherless. After resorting to someone else’s cooking, given your cooking abilities are as limited as mine, you’re faced with the decision of where to eat.
As broke college students, the places we choose to spend our money must be worthwhile. There’s nothing worse than paying for overpriced food that doesn’t leave you satisfied.
No fear! With this list of Laramie’s top five best breakfast spots and an interactive map to guide you on your quest for food, you won’t have to spend a fortune for a yummy plate.
In addition to the convenience of knowing the best breakfast joints, the options this map features will ease the stress of finding a table for Sunday brunch. If one restaurant’s wait is too long, there are four other great places within a 6 mile radius.
“I can’t tell you how many times I’ve gone to get brunch and been told there’s 45 minute wait. I’m hungry now!” said UW student Faith Waitsman.
17th Street Cafe is the ultimate spot for breakfast in Laramie. Their menu features the classic breakfast staples like pancakes and bacon, but the true gold is found in their breakfast quesadilla. Served with homemade green chili, the quesadilla is plenty big to feed two people – major bang for your buck! The cafe is also conveniently located right across the street from the dorms on the UW campus.
Prairie Rose, my mom’s personal favorite (which says something), is a smaller restaurant in downtown Laramie. I’ve always appreciated the restaurant’s offering of coffee while you wait, but the hospitality doesn’t stop there. The service is top notch and so is the food; although, if you want a cinnamon roll, you should consider getting there sooner than later. The sweet pastries are well known around town and often sell out by 11am.
If you’re more into coffee shops than full on restaurants, Turtle Rock is perfect for you. The outdoor seating is lovely in the spring in summer, but the inside is a peaceful environment as well. Their seasonal specialty drinks go well with the scrambler bowls. Being coined a coffee shop doesn’t reflect the quality of their food, as they go way above and beyond Starbuck’s muffins and scones.
The Chuckwagon gives me serious cowboy vibes, highly appropriate for any UW student. The inviting barn-like exterior matches the homey feel of the inside. Chuckwagon’s overall feel extends to the breakfast, all of their food tastes home cooked in the best way possible.
“The breakfast burrito at Chuckwagon is to die for,” said Waitsman.
The Grounds, similar to Turtle Rock, is a great study/breakfast combination spot. I love the iced white chocolate mocha with a blueberry scone. Many customers like to play the complimentary board games for a study break or post breakfast activity.
Laramie has some undeniably delicious breakfast joints, but these top five offer the best quality food for great prices. Next time you’re missing your mom’s cooking and want a great meal grab a friend and chow down.
“Breakfast is the most important meal of the day, thankfully Laramie kills it in the breakfast department,” Waitsman said.
I brought up the idea of interviewing my stepdad, John Cacianti, over pizza on a Saturday night. He seemed to light up when I asked him, flattered that I wanted to hear his stories. I was excited too! I had known that my parents took part in some interesting adventures in their youth, but the conversations never seemed to dig very deep.
“Train hopping” and “riding the rails” would come up in family discussions around the holidays, but I wanted to know more – this was the perfect opportunity.
Fortunately he was blessed with the gift of gab which gave me a lot to work with. Cacianti and I did two takes of the interview as the first was a little awkward. After the second take, I knew I had something solid to work with.
After previously doing audio recordings with strangers, this one, with my stepdad, didn’t feel too stressful. Although my experience helped, one challenge I faced was finding a place to put my recorder where fidgeting was inaudible. My interviewee tended to tap his finger against the table, which I asked him to refrain from doing the second time around. After this fix, the interview went smoothly.
This was my first time ever editing audio, but I actually enjoyed it. I found a lot of satisfaction when the transition between separate clips of audio meshed well! This wasn’t always the case because more drawn out speech made those transitions harder to edit. My least favorite part was converting files.
Taking my stepdads portrait was pretty comical. Directing friends in how to pose for Instagram photos translated well into this situation, although he was a bit more stiff than my usual subjects. I remembered to take quite a few pictures – the first 15 were mostly practice shots to allow him to feel relaxed.
I had a hard time tying the freight train story into the portrait. Cacianti leaned against a wall, sat on a tree stump and held our family dog, Alfie, in the photos in order to diversify my options. In the end, I chose an outdoor shot that included some rustic tones in the background to evoke feelings of adventure.
Reflecting on the assignment, I was surprised by how well it went. I expected the editing to be a bit of a road block, but it turned out to be pretty fun! If I could do this assignment again, I might do one more take of the interview and collect a loner ambient noise clip. There was such an improvement between the first two takes; I’m sure a third would’ve been even more polished.
The biggest takeaway from this project for me was the importance of making the subject feel comfortable. I will keep this in mind when implementing audio into my future career. I hope to work in the public or media relations department for a nonprofit organization. A big factor of nonprofits’ success are donations and an organization is more likely to receive donations if they can target their publics’ emotions.
Creating a podcast where those benefitting from nonprofit work can share their hardships and triumphs is a practical PR plan to increase publics and, in turn, increase donations. This form of audio may even attract people not previously involved with the organization which could stand as an entirely new public.
I look forward to experimenting with audio and hearing more of my stepdad’s crazy stories!
There’s always been a market for vintage and thrifted fashion, but the industry has grown into much more than a way to find unique pieces of clothing. Although there are some fans, other people find the negative stigmas surrounding second hand shopping to be true.
Those in Laramie who are in favor of used goods often shop at thrift chain Nu2U. The company has two stores, Nu2U and Nu2U Sports, both located in downtown Laramie.
Nu2U employee Star Siedenburg said Nu2U’s business goes beyond accepting donations and reselling them. The store features a consignment resale program with over 10,450 members and frequently makes donations to those in need with the goal of contributing to the reduction of waste and supporting the community.
“It’s so awesome how the whole community regularly brings their clothes here. We’ve cut down on a ton of waste in town,” Siedenburg said.
Fast Fashion vs. Thrifting
The fast fashion industry makes clothing that is trendy and inexpensive. Environmental activists think lowly of the practice and encourage buying second hand instead. According to Attitude Organic, shopping mall staples including Forever 21, H&M, and Victoria’s Secret all partake in the selling of disposable clothing, sacrificing quality, ethical labor practices, and environmental consciousness.
Additionally, according to The Green Hub, a sustainable fashion and lifestyle magazine, eighty billion articles of clothing are purchased globally every year. This vast amount of material requires a multitude of resources, all of which are minimized when purchasing previously used clothes.
Siedenburg explained that Nu2U tries to do its part by donating extra articles of clothing to the Clothing Cottage in Laramie. Also, any clothing that is not fit to be sold is restored and sent to clothing banks in Africa.
Another point of interest for thrifting is the price differential. With profit in mind, fast fashion retailers will often charge high prices for clothing that costs pennies to make. Thrift stores like Nu2U, however, sell clothing for a fraction of their original price.
“I like the discounts of thrift shopping and its uniqueness. Now that I live in little old Laradise, I never shop at chain stores!” Emily Dyson, Nu2U shopper, said.
Avid thrift shoppers feel that buying cute clothing and supporting sustainability are not mutually exclusive. They admit that rummaging through racks of random clothing in thrift stores may take more time, but they consider the benefits to outweigh the costs for the sake of the environment and their wallets.
“Thrifting is a great hobby! It’s super fun to go see what’s out there and it’s a good opportunity to be creative with what you buy and wear,” Katrina Norris, Nu2U regular, said.
The Joy in Minimalism
Beyond shopping, many thrift stores like Nu2U, offer consignment and donation programs. This process starts with people bringing in used clothing, then employees pick (depending on brand, quality, and season) what they find up to par for the store.
At Nu2U, upon sale, the seller receives fifty percent of the store chosen price of the item. There are also donation options for those simply wanting to do a quick closet clean out.
Following the popularity of the Netflix series “Tidying Up with Marie Kondo,” minimalism has been on the rise. Kondo’s philosophy on organization features asking yourself if the item on the chopping block sparks joy. If the answer is no, ditch it! When asked about Kondo, Norris said she tried to implement the strategy in January, during her last purge.
“Clothes and possessions aren’t permanent. Purging is so cool because when you’re tired of something, you can go get something else that does bring you joy,” Norris said.
As they say, one man’s trash is another man’s treasure!
Step In and Stand Out
Upon walking into Nu2U, customers are faced with walls of fringy leather jackets and racks of funky dresses. By accepting so many clothes through consignment and donation, the shop has an ever changing supply of one of a kind pieces.
“My absolute favorite item I’ve found thrifting is a sweatshirt with the word ‘ski’ stitched across the front. There’s also a little man skiing on the front of it!” Dyson said.
Every item that is accepted through consignment as well as some donations are housed in the upstairs portion of the store. They live there for about three months and then move downstairs to the fifty percent off section. The purpose of this is to give buyers the best chance to find items that they love.
Nu2U’s pursuit to offer the Laramie community a source of uniqueness will continue until the donations and consignment stop. The business is hopeful that items once loved by previous owners will continue to feel truly new to you.
“Life is too short to care whether or not you’re spending ‘enough’ money on clothes. Who wants to look the same as someone else anyways?” Norris said.
After hearing about this event from a friend, I was confident that I could get some unique and interesting photos. The element of water played a part in this shoot that I was yet to experience. I had to stay a ways away from the pool for safety reasons and to keep my camera dry. The rule of thirds used in this photo makes it aesthetically pleasing – plus it’s a super fun one! I felt lucky to capture such a special moment.
David Milam routinely comes in on Fridays to needle athletes so I stopped by the training room to see if I could capture a sports feature photo. The mood was tense because Johnson was in a good amount of pain while being needled. I felt a little insecure and odd taking pictures of someone experiencing such discomfort, but managed to quickly get a picture exemplifying leading lines.
This was one of the easier pictures to capture because Chen was already so still. I was informed that the machine in the photo was similar to an x-ray, only more powerful. I didn’t want to ask, but I was secretly worried that the rays would interfere with my phone/camera and break it somehow. Fortunately the phone is still in one piece! As far as the picture, I like the way the color of her shirt stands out against the table.
After hearing about the Jackalope Jump, I tried to brainstorm photos I could take other than the actual jump. I thought it might be cool to capture an image of someone registering and anticipating the plunge. After asking if I could stand behind the volunteer’s table, I was feeling bit awkward. The pictures I was taking of Winn were coming out blurry because of the lack of natural light and then – AhHa! – he made a joke and I was able to capture a more interesting photo with emotion and the rule of thirds.
After doing some studying on campus, I saw that the athletic nutritionists were in the building. I decided to pop my head in and was pleasantly surprised to see them working on the body fat scans. Photographing older professionals was definitely out of my comfort zone and I feel more confident with this shoot under my belt. This photo uses balance as the creative device.
That’s a Wrap!
I expected to feel pretty awkward photographing strangers. That held true! I consider myself to be outgoing, but this assignment was undeniably nerve-wrecking. Looking back, I think I would prepare more. My lack of planning mixed with the stress of shooting strangers in a new environment left me with average photos. With more preparation I should be able to attain a more complex top 5!