By Kaley Pomeroy & Ellory Cogswell, Production Assistants
Self-care–a term that’s taken 2019 by storm. Let’s be real, 2017 and 2018 too. You can’t really escape the term if you have any type of social media account. In fact, you could even be out with your friends on a Friday night and the music you’re yelling over is preaching about self care. Weird times I know. The good news is that we all finally recognize that self care is important, not only for our own sanity, but in order to produce the best work for others.
Nowadays, the most often talked about aspect of self-care is that it looks different for everyone! But what exactly does this mean for people who work in the creative industry? A lot of the time, people think “creative” is synonymous for people who jump on pogo sticks while drinking a local IPA on tap and somehow simultaneously petting puppies, then calling it “brainstorming”. Even in Mad Men, creatives are portrayed as overconfident and childish.
In reality, when you’re a creative, your mind is always working. You’re always thinking. Even when you don’t think you’re thinking about work… you are. As creatives, we draw inspiration from our everyday lives, whether we’re doing it consciously or subconsciously.
So how are we, as creatives, supposed to practice self care when the answer goes beyond getting up from our desk and taking a walk around the block? (Granted, it is never a bad idea to do that.)
While we all love our creative friends and spend a lot of time around creative people in general, it’s important to make an effort to surround yourself with friends who aren’t creatives. A room full of creatives can quickly turn into a discussion about work. We find ourselves at parties thinking of ways to reverse the crippling effects of climate change utilizing social media paradigms. While we recognize that creativity isn’t just restricted to people who work as creatives, spending time with your friends with other majors will give the gears in your head a little break. It will pull you out of the inevitable spiral of creativity that a room full of creatives have the ability to foster.
Unplug unplug unplug. It’s easy to forget how attached we are to our phones and technology in general. Unplugging makes us more mindful of our surroundings and our mental headspace. It can also physically separate you from your work, as smartphones have made working on the go almost too accessible.
While social media has proven to be an amazing tool for both networking and personal branding, a lot of pressure is associated with keeping up with social media accounts. This pressure can manifest into unhealthy mental spaces. Challenge yourself to take time to meditate–whatever that looks like to you.
Schedule time to disconnect from your work. It can be easy to keep going, especially when you’re on that creative flow. Know your limits and learn when to take a break–it’ll help your creative flow too. Sometimes a fresh perspective on a project comes from stepping away from it!
Make realistic goals for yourself so you can achieve the feeling of accomplishment. In creative environments, you can sometimes feel like you’re running in circles and not getting anything done even though you’ve been working for 8 hours straight. Setting goals you know you can achieve helps avoid discouragement when you’re overwhelmed and have a lot on your plate.
By Lindsey Reed, Lead Editor
In visual storytelling, there are many important components to make it a “good production.” Good audio, proper lighting and a sharp image are all crucial, but all of that renders useless if there isn’t a good narrative. It’s important to pull the audience into the story and get them to engage with the video.
But how does one “narrative”
A good story starts long before you pick up a camera. A producer should do the necessary research to ensure that the story in pursuit is captivating enough to get people to watch. A narrative can be difficult to find, but the easiest way to gage if a story will be viable is if there is a conflict. We are all familiar with the natural progression of a story arc and at the height of it is the conflict. This isn’t to say that the conflict must always be negative, but it’s the point of tension that creates a dynamic story.
Find the “golden egg”
So, you’ve found a good story that has a hook, now what? After interviewing your subject, you’ve got to sift through roughly 45 minutes of interview for only 5 minutes of screen-time. To most effectively find the “golden egg” among countless minutes of footage, find the parts that speak to you. Trust your intuition as a filmmaker to know what will hook your audience. 97.3% of the time that same thing that captivates you will captivate them.
Make yourself a dank scramble
After you’ve got your golden eggs, it’s time for structure. While a character arc is a simple formula to create a good narrative, I’ve found a quick-and-dirty way to form your story. Professor Randy Olson developed the And, But, Therefore narrative structure, a simple formula to create a story. First there is the set up (and), followed by the problem (but) and ending with a solution (therefore). Olson confirms that the But, or the conflict, is what starts the story and everything before that is all introductory and contextual.
Lucky for us, conflict is all around. So go find your next story; it could be right under your nose!
By Bella Davies, Junior Art Director & Marin Motylewski, Designer
The AHM Creative Team is excited to launch their newest Allen Hall project. With hopes of promoting inclusivity and creativity throughout the SOJC, we are crafting to life a collaborative, multimedia piece that highlights the various student groups in Allen Hall! We are hoping to influence a new wave of creative energy, driven by the movers and shakers that make up Allen Hall.
The SOJC is made up of students with various backgrounds, skills, talents, goals and campus involvements. Between Super-J, Public Relations, Media Studies and Advertising, Allen Hall offers a plethora of student groups and a wide range of creative potentials. From Allen Hall Media to Allen Hall PR to Allen Hall Advertising (and every student group in between), each of these dynamic teams create unique, authentic work for the University of Oregon and Eugene community.
We want to showcase Allen Hall in a new, fresh light. We believe in a strong potential to view Allen as a cohesive, creative space, despite the division of majors and various student groups. We hope to emphasize the importance of digging into each other as resources, pursuing collaboration and picking eachother’s brains before sparking a competitive nature. Already a dynamic, creative environment, we believe that Allen Hall should be a place of awareness and appreciation for the work that each student group is putting out into the world.
The AHM Creative Team is asking that each student group create and submit visual representations of who they are as an Allen Hall student group and what sets them apart. We are providing each group with a list of questions, encouraging creative thinking about how to approach and execute these questions. We are hoping for a variety of methods for execution, including, but not limited to, written bullet points, longer copy, hand drawn visuals, digital illustrations, etc.
As the Art Directors for the AHM Creative Team, we are excited to take what each student group has given us and bring to life a graphic print that will live on the walls of Allen Hall. We hope this graphic becomes a reminder of creativity, inclusion and the collaborative use of student groups within the SOJC.
By City of Springfield Photography Team
While working with the City of Springfield, our team of photographers have dealt with many different forms of adversity while shooting. Ranging from lighting to teaching our clients how to model, there are many conditions while shooting that we had to prepare for. While there are many forms of adversity, we have had to overcome the following four: client restrictions, lighting, teaching clients how to pose for portraits and time management.
When you first arrive to the shoot, you need to listen to your clients and abide by their rules and restrictions. If you are ever questioning or hesitant about taking a certain photo of a specific item, area, or individual, you must ask. It’s common courtesy, and it can help you build a stronger and more trustworthy relationship with your client.
After you have established trust and understand the client’s shooting barriers, it is important to adapt to the shooting environment. Most client’s workplaces are not going to be photoready with perfect lighting 100% of the time. We suggest bringing a tripod and adjusting your camera settings. It’s essential to understand your camera settings before dealing with a professional client. Many times the lighting in the client’s workplace will not be the best, so you need to know how to fix your white balance, aperture, ISO, and shutter speed. To improve this, try test-shooting in different environments with various lighting. When photographing clients, it’s important to have a tripod with you just incase. If you want to get a shot in low lighting and increase your shutter speed to get a higher quality photo without any noise (grain), a tripod will ensure photos don’t look blurry. If you are unsure about the client’s work environment, don’t be afraid to ask them for a pre-shoot tour. Greater insight never hurts!
It’s not always easy to take photos of the company’s employees. Many times the employees are camera shy, working in fast paced environments, and of course, are not professional models. In order to make them feel comfortable and relaxed in front of the camera, it’s important to establish some sort of a platonic relationship before taking their photo. Due to the fact that they’re not a professional model, you’re most likely going to have to coach them. Coaching includes, giving them directions on body positioning, face angles, posture and hand placement. Don’t be afraid to tell them what to do!
There will be times when you are going to be placed in a fast-paced environment, for example in a factory, and you will have a lot to shoot within a short timespan. Planning out your time with your client is an essential part to the overall success of a shoot. As stated above, a pre-shoot tour is a great opportunity to help plan out your shoot. By being proactive, you will bring your A-game because you will know what to shoot, when you need to shoot it, and where you need to position yourself to get the best shot. Not to mention, this will absolutely impress your client.
Good luck with all of your photography endeavors. Shoot your shot!
By Vicky Conroy Agency Director
From the moment I stepped foot in Allen Hall in 2016, I knew I wanted to take advantage of all the opportunities offered there. The UO School of Journalism and Communication has over 30 student organizations, each with its own focus. I saw many of my passions reflected in them and had even joined a few. But I felt there was something missing.
I quickly discovered that one of my greatest passions was multimedia and video production. After completing the Gateway to Media sequence, I registered for J409: Allen Hall Studios, a small experiential learning course taught by Assistant Professor Ed Madison. Even though I was just a sophomore and felt totally unprepared, and in my opinion unqualified, I was accepted to the course and began learning immediately.
The course required students to partner with Portland TriMet in winter 2017 to produce a video. We worked for the entire term producing, shooting, participating in workshops and editing, until we had a finished product to show the client. We developed a lot of valuable skills, including talking to clients to ensure the vision they want is portrayed, interviewing, camera operation and lighting. I loved every second of this course, and I thought maybe it could be something more.
The Making of an Agency
Maya Lazaro, the SOJC’s faculty advisor for J409, reached out and asked if I would be interested in turning the course into a student-run agency. I immediately said yes. It was the ideal situation for me: a student-run agency where I could use my public relations skills — including writing, strategy, and client communications — while feeding both my passion for videography and my portfolio by producing multimedia projects for real-world clients.
I quickly realized I couldn’t do all this pre-planning alone, so I asked my friend Matty Leech to help. We worked together to organize and plan out what we wanted the agency to look like. Then we crafted promotional emails to send to SOJC students about the new opportunity taking shape in Allen Hall.
Although I was excited for the agency to be up and running, I was honestly terrified that nobody beyond Maya and Matty would show interest. Boy, was I wrong! Our agency is open to all majors within the SOJC, so I knew we could reach a lot of students with a wide variety of skill sets. But I still wasn’t expecting the huge response we received. We had over 150 applicants in one week.
An interview process hadn’t even crossed my mind, but since there were only 24 spots available, we had to narrow down the pool. So Matty, Maya and I started the process of interviewing all our amazing applicants. I don’t just say “amazing” to be nice; I mean that we literally had some of the most talented and inspiring people apply to be a part of the first-ever Allen Hall Media team. All the students seemed so excited to be a part of making the agency into what we wanted it to be.
I struggled during the interview process. A lot. How was I supposed to interview people who were my age, or even older, and decide who to keep and who to disappoint? I knew I wanted this process to be fair, so I had to put my bias and emotions aside and do what was best for the agency. I listened to every piece of advice Maya gave me, and we selected a team of 24 students with the goal of expanding the agency each term.
We are now in full swing as far as production, and on our second term as an agency. We learned a lot during our first term in the fall as far as what worked and what didn’t. Our staff participates in workshops each week on a specific topic, such as lighting, photography and editing, to ensure they are gaining the skills to produce work our clients need. Our producers are learning how to communicate effectively with clients from the initial meeting all the way to delivery of the final product. Also, this website was designed by our amazing creative team and they are working on keeping our brand consistent and engaging for our student audience.
We are also working with the UO Common Reading program to make a promotional video about the university’s book pick for the 2019-20 season, “Under the Feet of Jesus.”
Lastly, we have partnered with the City of Springfield and the Economic Development Program to produce photography highlighting manufacturing jobs in the community that often go unnoticed.
Keep an eye out on our social media, @allenhallmedia on all platforms, to see all the amazing work our team will be doing this year!
By Katie Dawes Copywriter
The world of media is exciting, fast-paced and at times, intimidating to future and new professionals. As many transition from their academic career to a professional one, it can be challenging to navigate the new working environment. Here is our advice to future and new professionals!
Ask for Feedback
It is important to find a mentor or environment where you feel comfortable to ask questions and/or advice. It is always a good idea to reach out for informal and formal feedback. Discussing accomplishments and improvements show you are both engaged and that you are eager to learn and grow.
Build Your Network
You’ve heard it before, but it’s all about who you know. Networking is a crucial component to advancing yourself in the professional world. Making connections and building a network has evolved so much in the digital age and it is more important than ever. Social media is a great tool to connect with people and establish yourself in the professional world. Platforms, like LinkedIn and Twitter, facilitate a professional space to demonstrate skills and engage with others.
Be a Sponge
At the beginning of your career, it’s crucial to stay hungry to learn. Retain as much information as possible by engaging and asking questions. Personal goal setting is a great way to ease the transition into the professional world while still actively retaining knowledge about the industry.
Give Them Everything and More
In order to stand out at the start of your career, always be proactive in your work and anticipate your employer’s needs. Give them more than they asked for and request for new projects or assignments when the opportunity arises.