That Was Then, This Is Now.

That Was Then, This Is Now.

At the beginning of the semester, I wrote about what I expected from this class. Some skills I mentioned were branding myself, presenting myself professionally, and learning how to use and shape media for professional use.

Those were the biggest take-aways I got from this class. We used those skills in every assignment. Since we blogged all of our experiences I was able to get feedback on how my blog as a whole was portrayed as well as each post. Even though for one of the assignments I was able to use a friend, I was also able to learn how to present myself professionally in person when establishing interviews, performing interviews, and attending events.

This was one of the few classes I got to take that put multiple technical skills to the test. Each assignment was different. Yes, we had to apply the same basic skills to each, but we got to experiment with all types of media which was so fun. While I took an audio course, as well as a non-video visual course, this class taught me the most media skills when it came to content and application. Rather than just doing and editing the assignments we learned how to apply that to real-life situations and our future careers. I have previously only used (and posted) media for personal reasons like selfies, documenting things I did, and recording cover videos. I appreciated learning how to redesign my photography skills and recording skills for uses that are practical rather than getting likes from my family and friends.

A “soft” or less technical skill I picked up, other than branding myself and presenting myself professionally was that I completely rebuilt the way I did interviews. Throughout my college career I’ve only interviewed people in the sciences. That was what really first shaped the way I prepared for, and conducted interviews. To prepare I would research the topic rather than the person/people, and the questions I asked were very straight forward science, almost quiz-like questions. After this course got started I learned more about looking into a person or organization. I learned how to develop a connection with them, as well as how to develop questions in order to get a subject to open up rather than just simply answer a question. This was the first time I really learned about the pre-interview process, making someone comfortable, and even how to have a conversation with someone I didn’t know and keep the flow. This really has helped me be more comfortable in situations with people I don’t know in situations outside of interviews as well as inside.

Like I’ve said before, it’s hard to tie the technical side back to my future career as I’m heading to mortuary school in the fall and I won’t use media much in that field. However, ever since I started telling people about becoming a mortician I’ve realized that its not something that a lot of people have heard or know much about. I’d love to blog and document that experience not only to keep a record of that experience for myself, but hopefully educate others and open them up to that world. Also if I decide to go further and become a Medical Examiner or Coroner I would use my recording and editing skills to keep records of what I found. On the less technical side of things, since I’ve become more comfortable with people I am unfamiliar with, I will actually be able to use that every day as a mortician. I’ll be dealing with people in more sensitive situations, so the people skills I’ve developed will come in handy there. Also, throughout my college career and internship I’ve developed several projects over time. Since its the end of the semester, I’m going to expand my blog to include the podcast and visual projects i’ve completed, as well as the things I’ve edited for my internship. Almost like a public online resume or portfolio.

There were two assignments that I found the most meaningful. The one that I found to be the most meaningful in a professional was was the instagram promotion assignment. This helped me develop my brand even further as well as use a social media platform that I engage with daily for something practical and beneficial. It also showed me how to edit photos to be visually engaging and easy to read/view rather than filter them for beauty effects. The assignment I found to be most meaningful for personal reasons what when I was able to interview Aylin Marquez. It was amazing to get to interact with someone like her. Her life has been such a journey, and I enjoyed writing about that experience so much. She even used my article in her instagram bio! I know it doesn’t sound like much of an achievement, but its so cool to have that kind of acknowledgement. I’ve never been one to be proud of something that I’ve written, because its not one of my strongest suits, so it was really cool to see that my piece impacted someone!

If I could go back in time and give myself advice for this course, I would tell myself  to apply myself more. Whenever I think that I’m not or won’t be good at something, I tend to not try very hard which definitely reflects in my grades. Now that I know I can achieve things and have the tools and skills to complete what’s needed I wish that I had applied myself a lot more. I deserve it, my grades deserve it, and so does the course. Everything we needed to accomplish the course tasks and succeed were given to us, so I could have done much more.

Essays, Exams…Kittys! Oh My!

Essays, Exams…Kittys! Oh My!

For our final assignment we were told to find an event and document it on video. My partner and I chose the Kitty Finals Destresser. It’s an event put on by the University of Wyoming’s Wellness Center. The Wellness Center partners with Laramie Animal Welfare Society to bring in kittens (and older cats too!) so that students and faculty can relax and play with them to take a break and destress during finals! To learn more visit http://www.uwyo.edu/rec/wellness-center/educational-programming/index.html, or watch our video below!

We decided to take a promotional approach because, at least I personally believe, things like this aren’t advertised enough. This video could possibly be used by the wellness center to not only advertise these events (as they are done every semester), but also to give some background information on why the event is done.

I enjoyed the video reporting because it was a lot more fun and engaging than the other assignments. I think you feel more connected to the subjects almost, than with other reporting styles. Reading or listening to a story about something or someone leaves a little something to be desired, but when you get to watch it with your own eyes and see it happening it allows for a better connection to what is actually going on. On the other hand, the only things I struggled with were forgetting to provide more diverse shots (landscape vs. portrait mode) because I am so used to only using portrait mode on TikTok or Snapchat that it almost didn’t even cross my mind. Portrait mode just comes so natural to me. The other thing that was hard to manage was that even when I’m not nervous or anxious I have a tremor, so because I was in a little bit of an unfamiliar situation I was shaking which made the videoing experience tough.

What surprised me the most about this assignment was that it was less uncomfortable than other reporting styles. When you’re just interviewing someone taking notes takes away from the experience, and when you’re recording audio you have to make sure the levels are okay. But with video all you have to do is make sure you have a good angle, and then you can connect and talk with the interviewee. Theres nothing really in between you.

The only thing I wish I would have done differently is shoot landscape, and get closer to the interviewee. The video doesn’t look as professional, and the audio isn’t as great as I would have liked it to be. If I had used different angles and perspectives the video would have been more commercial quality and if I had been closer to the subject, the audio wouldn’t have to have been adjusted as much.

Once I graduate from mortuary school, if I decided to go further and become a Medical Examiner or Coroner, I could use video to document my processes. Also, as I’ve said before, I would love to document my journey through school to use as a tool for people who want to learn more and even possibly go themselves. Something I recently learned as well is that making videos of information helps with studying. I’ve been looking into video study guides, so I think I might start doing that as well since my courses will be much different than what I’m learning now.

 

Read It Happen Live!

Read It Happen Live!

For this assignment I had to find an event, and live-tweet the happenings in person. I chose to live-tweet the Laramie Holiday Market which is a craft-show like    market held on campus at the University of Wyoming Buchanan center for the performing arts. It features booths from local businesses, artists, and craftsmen/women. More information can be found at https://visitlaramie.org/event/uw-holiday-market.

For the tweets and photos visit my twitter at https://twitter.com/abbytaylormedia.

I am an avid supported of things like this, such as craft shows and peddler shows, so I decided to take a more promotional approach. This was cool because I could not only promote the event itself, but the individual booths as well.

I enjoyed so much about the event. So many students and others from the community attended so it was cool to see the support. Snacking and shopping are two of my favorite activities, and at the market I got to do both! So many vendors were handing out free samples. There was sausage, jams and jellies, salsa, fudge, you name it! As well as the concession stand in the Buchanan center. As I would walk past a booth I would grab a sample and continue to shop, it was great! Tweeting about this almost didn’t feel like an assignment at all because the event itself was so enjoyable. On the other hand, the only thing I didn’t like about the experience was that there were so many vendors and people that it was hard to move around. Any time I would stop to tweet or grab an interview I was in at least one person’s way. I have some social anxiety so it added unnecessary pressure to the situation.

During this assignment I learned that tweeting things as they happen is harder than it looks. You can’t pause a moment. At one point a booth put out fresh samples and it felt almost as if as soon as I was done with the tweet, the samples were gone! The same goes for interview quotes. I had to have the interviewees repeat themselves because I’m not as fast of a typer as I thought. What surprised me the most was how easy it was to get content. Once you get started tweeting, it’s hard to not keep tweeting every little thing every second. That was a big help with the assignment though.

The only thing I wish I could have done differently is talk to the vendors more. I loved getting to hear the stories about their pieces. More of that would have made more interesting content.

I plan on documenting my adventure through mortuary school using social media as well as a blog. When I finish school, i’d love to keep that going throughout my career as a mortician. Its not something that a lot of people know about so using it as a sort of diary, as well as an education tool would be so cool.

Am I Instafamous Yet?

Am I Instafamous Yet?

Instagram is one of my favorite social media platforms. If i’m not posting on Instagram, I am at least scrolling through it to check up on my friends and family. I haven’t personally  used Instagram professionally, but the magazine I intern for (Drift & Die Press) uses it every time we have something new up on the website, and I can see how effective that is by the likes and comments we get. However, I did have a ton of fun creating my photos that I posted to Instagram on Canva. I’ve used Canva before in another class, but never posted anything I made. I used a similar shade of pink to keep some continuity between my blog and instagram. If you haven’t noticed by now I love pink, so keeping that tie not only between my social media accounts but also between my personal life was important to me. The only things that were really challenging with this assignment was that I did not realize that I have a little bit of perfectionist in me, so it took me a lot longer than I thought it would to make my graphics. In the future, I imagine i’ll use Instagram to document my journey through mortuary school, because any time I bring it up people get really interested. Maybe I will blog about my journey and use Instagram to promote my posts, similar to this class! To see my Instagram go to https://www.instagram.com/abbytaylormedia/.

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When it comes to food, Houston doesn’t have a problem.

When it comes to food, Houston doesn’t have a problem.

Living in Texas, I became spoiled when it came to food. I split my time between both Amarillo and Houston, but Houston is far superior when it comes to variety and quality of the food. Below I will provide you with all of my favorite places to eat in Houston from Kolaches to Mexican food in no kind of order.

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Katz’s Deli…photo courtesy of katzsneverkloses.com

Katz’s originated in New York and was replicated in Houston. It is a Jewish, Kosher-style deli with the same atmosphere as the original. The walls are lined with photographs of the New York deli as well as celebrity autographed memorabilia from visitors over the years. As mentioned in their URL, they never close. The day ranges from family friendly to late night to cater to all audiences and the menu is one of the most extensive I’ve personally ever seen.

Favorite dish: Corned beef hash with a side of beef bacon

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Jinya Ramen Bar…photo courtesy of Commercial Architecture Magazine

Originally opened in Tokyo, Jinya is a bar in Houston with a wide range of ramen noodle dishes and appetizers. The atmosphere is very cool and modern. The lights are dim inside and the seating is done a little odd. There are booths and regular tables but down the middle there is a long table for communal seating. The menu is huge and each dish is super customizable, you can add anything or take anything you want away in whatever ramen dish you order.

Favorite dish: Wonton chicken ramen, add nori dried seaweed, corn, and extra wontons

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Pappasitos Cantina…photo courtesy of Houston Press

Pappasitos is part of a larger group of restaurants, Pappas. They have seafood restaurants, steakhouses, burger joints, and even a coffee shop. However my favorite by far is their mexican restaurant which is Pappasitos. As soon as you walk in, you can smell the grill. If you aren’t hungry when you get there, you will be once you get inside. The food is delicious. The steak and chicken are mouth-watering and the salsa and guacamole are to die for. The menu has something for everyone, spicy or not, veggie or meat, even for picky kids.

Favorite dish: Pappasitos Famous Beef Burrito

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Kolache Factory…photo courtesy of Favor Delivery

If you’re in the mood for breakfast, or just something small the Kolache Factory has you covered. However, my mom and I have been known to eat a dozen kolaches in one sitting just between the two of us. There is something on the menu for everyone. There are sweet fruit and cream cheese kolaches, savory meat kolaches, and even traditional kolaches with sausages. If you’ve never had a kolache, its basically a sweet roll filled with anything under the sun. I’d highly recommend giving it a try.

Favorite dish: Polish sausage kolache

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The Burger Joint…photo courtesy of  burgerjointhtx.com

I know burgers are overdone and done everywhere imaginable, but this is not your typical burger place. There are burgers on the menu are burgers you can’t get anywhere else, fries as well. Each burger is drastically different but you can add and take away any ingredient you want. I’ve never eaten inside but I do know they have a wide range of beer and a kids menu, so they reach a relatively wide audience.

Favorite dish: Mexi burger with queso fries

BONUS: 

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The Teahouse Tapioca & Tea…photo courtesy of teahouse beverage.com

Now, I know this isn’t a restaurant (yes they have food but people do not come for the food) but it’s easily my favorite spot in Houston. The Teahouse is the best place I’ve ever been to get boba/bubble tea. There are so many options for your drink and toppings you can add. It is a goal of mine to try everything on the menu. If you’re passing through I hope you give it a go. The watermelon ice blend is a good place to start (with tapioca, of course).

Favorite item: avocado cream blend with tapioca

 

Home is where Mom is

Home is where Mom is

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She gets it from her momma…Sami poses for a picture with her jack-o-lantern post pumpkin carving and pre-interview. Taken by Abby Taylor

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A mother’s love…A photo of Sami and Jill, courtesy of Sami Smith

I do most of my interviews with a recorder because I’m a pretty slow writer, and I don’t like typing during interviews because I feel like it disconnects you from the interviewee. I am also in a podcasting course so I am pretty used to recording audio, so it was a comfortable experience. I enjoy editing audio. I used to mix songs together after Pitch Perfect (2012) came out, so I’m kind of self-taught but it comes in handy with projects like this and in my podcasting course. I enjoyed the cutting and putting together clips, but I really didn’t enjoy listening to the recording over and over again.

Before the interview Sami was carving pumpkins, and since she isn’t a stranger taking pictures of her came pretty easy, it’s something I do on a regular basis.

Honestly, I’ve met Jill on more than one occasion, the most surprising part of the interviewing process was the stories that Sami told about her mom. In one part of the unedited interview she tells a story about how one of her mom’s coworkers asked her why she smiled all the time and Jill replied with “there’s too many good things in life to not smile all the time”, this is how i’ve always known her. You would have no idea about all of the things she went through.

The only things that I would have done differently is picked another location for the interview and used a different app. On the app that was recommended by another student in the class, if a file was longer than three minutes you had to pay ten dollars to export it. I wound up re-recording the recorded interview on another device, so the audio didn’t come out how I wanted it to and there are some sounds I couldn’t get rid of.

I am going to mortuary school in the fall, so I won’t necessarily be in the communication field. However, I could use audio to remember exactly what a family member wanted their loved one to look like for the viewing process by recording the interaction with the family member. I will also learn how to open and run a funeral home, so I could use audio for advertising purposes as well.

What’s up bud?

What’s up bud?

Freshman year seems like such a long time ago, but after visiting the Williams Conservatory at UW memories flooded back to me of the days spent studying at the tables they provide. This time, however, I was there to actually LOOK at the plants and take pictures of them. After learning about creative devices in class, I tried to apply them here. Let’s take a gander, shall we?

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Three’s company…this photo has a ton of different plants in it, but the original focal point was the tree on the left because I kept seeing eyes in a lot of the conservatory as well as pictures I had taken.

The creative device this photo portrays is mainly symmetry, but not in the traditional way. I tried to balance this photo with the tree dividing straight down the center. Though the right side is heavier, I think that it allows for the viewer to look to the left to avoid the overwhelming visuals on the right side. You could also say that this photo uses the rule of thirds as there’s an item in each third with the tree on the left, the tree in the middle, and the tree on the right.

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How Eye Roll…As I mentioned before I saw eyes all over the conservatory, and even the trees just outside of it. This is one of the first things I saw that jumpstarted the pattern.

The creative device used in this photo is texture. No zoom used here! Because I got so close to the tree (close enough to touch), the viewer may just want to reach out and touch the photo, and my goal was to not only capture the eye I was seeing, but also how much detail the bark on the tree had. Another device that could be seen here is cropping. I made sure to get close enough to the tree, so that all that was in the photo was the bark.

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Hope this isn’t too cornea…yet another thing I found that resembled an eye but rather the center of an eye than the whole shape.

The creative device used here could be focal point. Because that baby yellow point is so concentrated here it causes the viewer to look at the center of the cactus. There is also an argument for color and contrast. Because that yellow is so bright and eye-catching it draws the viewer in to look at the top of that cactus. I wish that I would have tried to center it more in my camera so that the center of the cactus was also the center of the photo.

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The little bud that could…I took this photo mainly because I liked the small plant compared to the bottoms of the trunk of the trees behind it. 

The creative device used here is mainly framing. I wanted to capture how this little guy picked the best space to begin its journey, in between where the roots/trunks intertwine with each other. You could also argue that establishing size is being used here because you can clearly see how small the budding plant is as compared to the trees growing around it.

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Orange you glad I didn’t say green?…I took this because almost everything I saw in the greenhouse was very earthy and green and I felt I needed a pop of color.

The creative device used here is contrast. With the exception of the little pink spots on the leaves to the left, everything in this photo fall under the same dark hues as one another, so the viewers eye is drawn to the orange petal in the center of the photo. Other devices used here are rule of thirds with the leaves, petal, and water and leading lines as the orange petal takes your eye to the pink and green leaves.

With this assignment I wish that I had positioned myself a little differently when I took the photos, for example the cactus above. If I had positioned that a little differently it would have made a better photo. I also wish that I had paid more attention to the backgrounds and outer edges of the photos so that the focal point were more pronounced.