Space is Hard

20180210_182211

Recently I attended the premiere of the new series Deep Six in Toronto. Deep Six is a web series that hopefully will be picked up and created into a full-length television series. I first heard about the project from a friend, Davin Lengyel, that I had met on a previous film set. He is the creator of the series and told me how it was a crowd funded campaign ran on Kickstarter and Indiegogo that relied on social media efforts. This was Davin’s passion project and had the idea since he was a child. Deep Six is the story set 250 years in the future where earth is facing its first galactic war. A space team is sent into deep space to monitor and report back to earth, but they get caught up in a battle for survival and learn that “space is hard” The series stars some well-known Canadian talent, Michelle Morgan (Heartland) Tahmoh Pienikett (Dollhouse) and Kristian Bruun (Donnie from Orphan Black)

Just over a year later after launching the campaign, the series premiered on February 10th 2018 at the Royal Cinema in Toronto. I went in support of my friend but also as a fan and contributor myself (I donated to the post production of the series). This was also a good event to network with other people in the film industry, so I got myself all dressed up and walked the red carpet.

2018-02-12 07.09

The series was well written and very character driven, a quote that was used multiple times that night and in the series its self was that “space is hard” The series was put together as a film to give people a taste of what the series will be like, that also included quite the cliff-hanger I might add that left me craving more. The show now is being shown at studio events and film festivals in anticipation of being picked up by a bigger production company that will bring it to main-stream television. After the premiere there was an after party at No One Writes to The Colonel a cozy, hip bar. This was the time that Davin and the actors and crew could relax and mingle with audience. Davin introduced me to his creative partner, Mika Collins who also played one of the main stars of the series and writer of each episode. She was a delight to talk to and could tell she is in love with the film industry and truly a talent and gave me a chance to praise her for her work and talk about the challenges of film locations (some scenes are in the Arizona desert where Star Wars Return of The Jedi was filmed). While I was talking to her, she cut me off and said I had to send her my headshot because she is working on multiple projects now and she can clearly see me as one of the characters. You can imagine how happy and nervous that made me lol.

The night was a huge success and a lot of fun. I hope that all Davin and Mika’s hard work pays off and that everyone will soon be able to see the masterpiece they created. This was a great event to network with local people in the industry and make new contacts and friends. I am looking forward to attending more events like this one in the future.

Remember Space is Hard.

Advertisements

COM0015- Blog #4: Out of The Box

index1

Over the past 8 months from taking the social media program, I was opened to various applications and tools like Dashboard monitoring, Social Mentions, Tweroid, Google Analytics and many more. If I had to choose my favorite out of all the applications and tools we explored it would be Social Mentions. It offers a variety of information when it comes to measuring and tracking brands and their social media efforts. Not only does it help give you an idea of how the company is doing from a social media standpoint, but it also offers up how much the brand its self is mentioned on social media platforms. This became my favorite tool because it provided a lot of useful information that was broken down into a simple, clean format. I will continue to use this tool going forward as I enter the social media career workforce.

Late last year I was searching the internet for top social media tools and came across this article Five Killer Social Media Marketing Tools You Need to Use Right Now. The article was published in October 2017, so it is a fairly current overview on the most popular tools. Although I have not tried all of the five tools out, I did try out the number 1 tool, Buffer. Buffer is a dashboard tool that helps you manage all of your social media platforms in one place. You are able to schedule posts and tweets at the most effective times. With this tool you can monitor the impact of a tweet or post, track reactions/likes and comments over 90 days, 30 days, etc.. I only tried the trial run of it, but it will be a tool I will take with me into the social media workforce.

Over these past 8 months I have learned more about social media, than I expected to. I was naive and thought I tweet, I post etc… what will I learn. Quickly I learned that like anything in life there is a science to running a successful social media presence. I was introduced to a ton of helpful tools and practices. I learnt the best times to post/tweet, the various platforms of social media, how to listen when it comes to social media, how to be a great storyteller, how to create a SWOT analysis, how to create a social media plan, and most importantly how to build up my social media confidence. I am so pleased I took this program and am looking forward to putting my new social media knowledge into the workplace.

COM0015- Blog #3: Networking on The Net and in Person

text_short_words_and_speech_bubbles_design_vector_543869

The biggest tool or method I have been using to network is Facebook Groups. This feature is perfect for keeping projects separate while still staying connected with the proper people. Also, it is a great way to keep your projects organized. By adding the people involved in each project you are able to open up a chat with only those involved. Sometimes we are busy and have multiple projects on the go, by using this feature you can simply sign into your professional Facebook page and see if there are any posts by your group members. It is easy to identify when someone is commenting and easy to reply and address issues.

When I was working at a Tech company in Ottawa, I used a program called Redline, which is a bug logging database. When I had an application that needed testing, I would create a project for each application and only assign access to those who were involved in each application. This way anyone involved in testing or creation of an application would be able to communicate and be recorded in one area. Testers could log bugs to the programmers with attached notes, programmers could then reply back when fixed or if they had questions. Each project I would link to their emails so this way they would be notified instantly if they had a message on the Redmine database. This tool was crucial for organization and networking on projects.

Networking in person is slightly different, mainly because you are face to face, no screens in-between. When networking in person I get a little nervous initially at first, but once the conversation starts I put out feelers for common interests and then build from there. I find quickly I am put at ease finding some common ground which helps for the foundation of a good conversation, from there the conversation can branch off into different directions, be it work related or not.

Over the next 6 to 12 months I will be networking at public events, being premieres of films I have worked on or friends in the industry. At these events I will be able to meet various people in the industry, network and hopefully make new contacts and friends. I also see myself working as a social media specialist at a company and running their social media presence. By using Facebook and Twitter I will be able to network with people with in the company as well as their clients or customers. I will be able to open up lines of communication internally and externally, bringing my employer needs and wants of their consumers.

We network day to day in person and online, which do you prefer?

COM0015: Blog #2: Social Media: Who’s Got It and Who Doesn’t

facebook-logo    c3d24-twitterlogo6

One company that benefited the most by using social media is Uber. As most of us know by now, Uber is like a ride-sharing for of transportation, like a taxi, only cheaper.  Uber was founded 8 years ago in San Francisco, offering a cheaper means of transportation by having licensed drivers who have their own vehicle, a smartphone and that can pass a background check, can sign up to become a driver. Consumers can download the Uber app to find local drivers and see their rates before requesting a pick up. They have their product, but now how to get it out there to make it a success, what can they do? They realized that the fasted way to grow a business is through word of mouth, only today’s word of mouth is found on social media. Uber created a Facebook page and Twitter account addressing what their business is and how it works. They also posted for users to try their services and then share their experience to their friends as well as sharing a code that would give user’s a free ride home.

I think Uber successfully uses social media right from the start. By having users post promotion offers for free rides on their Twitter or Facebook page helped build their customer base. With little money spent on advertising, just by using social media they have been able to become a multi-billion-dollar company that operates in 633 cities around the world. Their social media efforts didn’t stop there, they also used it as a way to interact with their market, by addressing question and concerns users had about their experiences with the company. They use their social media accounts to post offers, deals and new features. Uber also would partner with certain hashtags, for example when national Ice Cream Month happened, in certain cities users could summon an ice cream truck instead of an Uber car. Customers could have their ice cream and tweet and post with the #NationalIceCreamMonth and thank Uber, this way while the hashtag is trending, Uber is being promoted and generating business because they are linked to it.

A local company in Smiths Falls (where I live) that could benefit from using social media is HY Fund Studio. They are a photography studio that specializes in high quality photos, be it headshots, wedding, or just personal photos, but their social media efforts are lacking. They did create a Facebook page, but it has been dormant for years. I would finish setting up their page as well as set up a Twitter and Instagram account for them. Ultimately, they want to generate a bigger customer base as well as showcase their photography skills, by using social media they can achieve this. I would make sure they are posting daily, whether it be about their services, special offers, or even photography tips, to help start a conversation with their audience. I would also offer to customers to share or post their photo from their session and offer them a discount on more prints or their next session. Also, I would send out friendly reminders during the holiday seasons like Christmas and Valentines day offering their services as the perfect gift. These are just a few steps that they can make, as mentioned above the new “word of mouth” is social media.

Is your organization using social media?

COM0015-Blog 1: Tooling Around the Social Media World

tools

Although I have not been using social monitoring tools to a great extend yet, I have got a good taste of the tools that are available through taking the previous courses in this program. The tool that had me smitten the most was Social Mentions. One of the reasons I prefer it to other available monitoring tools is that it has a simple clean look to the site and with one search it compiles many useful statistics. You can see an organizations top keywords, main outlets they are being mentioned on, top hashtags and time spent per mention to name a few. Since my preferred platform is Twitter, I am also a fan of Tweroid. With this tool I can find out when the majority of my followers are on Twitter, when they are often tweeting and replying. I see this tool being helpful when I am working for an organization because it will help give me an idea of when to Tweet to best reach the majority of their clients.

When it comes to news, updates and current events in the world, my main source is Twitter. Twitter is consistently giving up to the minute updates on what is going on. I also like that Twitter will link me to other sources like CNN or take me to entertainment blogs. I use Twitter multiple times in a day to stay updated, by simply scrolling through my feed, I will see headlines that I can click on to read further or see other’s comments on daily events. A big area of interest to me is the entertainment world, so other than Twitter I am a frequent visitor to the Entertainment Weekly site. This site notifies me of up-coming films, or new roles an actor is taking, and various interviews with people in the industry. They also seem to be one of the fastest sources for updated information on the industry.

We are lucky that we live in a time were there are so many tools and outlets for us to use, and the numbers keep growing. These were just a couple of my favorites that currently work well with my day to day life, helping me stay connected and keep on top of things. Google Analytics is another great tool and probably the most popular, but I find it can be a little overwhelming with the amount of data it compiles and shares with you. I still use Google Analytics in moderation and they are continuing to advance with new tools to use, currently it is Tweroid and Social Mentions that work for me.

What tools are you using the most?

 

COM0014-Blog#7: Tell Me A Story

open_book_on_tabl_450

Storytelling is important in creating great digital content because you want to have engagement with your audience. When expressing your ideas, you need to take your audience on a voyage from point A to Point B to Point C and so on. It is beneficial to your brand to know who your audience is to know how best to tell your story. We need to realize that everything we post, tweet, blog, vlog, that we are telling a story, and the purpose of a story is to inform, engage and make our audience question.

Now that I have learned more about the art of storytelling in the digital community, I will be taking a better look at who my audience is and what type of content I am creating. I will be brainstorming longer than I normally did in the past to help best express my views in my story. Before I hit publish, I will read through my content multiple times and see was my initial view I wanted to express apparent in the content I just created, and if not then it is back to the drawing board.

I want to tell engaging stories where I get to open up discussions with my audience. I want to share meaningful insight into areas of interest to me, to find like minded people that share similar interests or to inspire others.

COM0014: Blog #6 -Customer Story

k20457125

Photo Credit: Fotostock

At this chapter of my life I am going back to school and currently working part-time at the local grocery store. Ironically 16 years ago when I started in the workforce, I started in the grocery industry, looks like I have come full circle. What brought me back? Originally, I left and worked for Wal-Mart as a Claims Manager for 10 years, later leaving for a Quality Assurance lead position at a Tech company in Ottawa until they closed down last year and moved to the States.  Here I am now, back at the grocery store. The one thing I didn’t realize that I had missed was the interaction with customers and providing helpful customer service.

One day while I was doing my usual day to day tasks, I was working on the grapes counter, reorganizing and rotate the product when a woman approached me. She asked me if I knew if this week’s batch of red grapes were very sweet, see her taste buds were particularly sensitive to sweetness. I had just recently bought some so was able to comment on them and their sweetness level. The woman thanked me for my perspective and sales pitch and put a bag of red grapes in her cart.

A week later the same woman came in shopping and I stopped her and asked her what she thought about the grapes. “You were bang on, just the right amount of sweetness” she replied and carried on her way. The following week we met again at where else but the grape counter. I warned her that I had not purchased any of that week’s batch yet, so I couldn’t give her a fair review. Her reply made my day, no my week “You know I told my husband about you and how nice you are and the fact that you would remember an old lady like me. Your bubbly personality just puts me in a happy mood every time I see you and I tell all my friends and the cashiers at the front about the nice young man in produce.”

This is one of those stories that really sticks with you.

COM0014-Blog #5 Me: Eldon Hunter

Eldon2

I Eldon Hunter am an actor. I have successfully completed 2 Drama courses and have been a film extra in 14 different movies. Since I was a small child I have always seen myself as an actor. Watching films earlier on in my life I remember being amazed at how a certain actor’s (did not matter male or female) performance could convey a certain emotion in me. I wanted to do that, to be able to convey a certain emotion for some small boy, girl, woman or man that would make them escape their reality and get lost in the film I’m acting in.

The greatest thing I can contribute to the craft of acting is my passion. I love the film and television industry. I have over 2000 different films and over 80 different shows on DVD/Blu-ray and have seen a lot more than that. Anyone who has met me will tell you about the gleam in my eye or the excitement on my face when I discuss film and television. I also have the many years that I have studied various films and acting styles and traits to help me further my craft. A little over 2 years ago I started working in background acting and slowly started to gain more experience and take on various roles. On down time I learn the “behind the scenes action” how a certain shot is taking and use that knowledge to convey a better performance.

My fellow performers and peers would say my best qualities are my professionalism on set as well as my ability to take direction. Even as a background performer each person is given a direction, some peers forget or don’t retain theirs during the excitement of it all, so I help remind them of their actions and provide helpful ways to remember so that each take it looks the same on camera.

COM0014-Blog #4- Slime Craze

Slime

I am sure by now at some point in the last year and a bit you have been introduced to the Slime Craze, where children (and some adults) use glue to create a slime like substance. It all started in 2016 when a vlogger posted a video on YouTube with a slime recipe that contained Elmer’s glue. The video became popular and Elmer’s took notice and took over the craze. Elmer’s saw that this video was popular and decided it was a great way to cash in. They soon started marketing their glue with slime, offering their own slime recipes, gearing their website to slime, promoting other slime recipes, starting the #slime on Twitter and Facebook having customers post/share their own slime creation.

Did all this social media marketing help their brand?

Yes, the proof is in the pudding, or rather slime I should say. Elmer’s saw a significant sales boost in the last quarter of 2016. Sales more than doubled in the month of December and to this date continues to soar, their 2017 first quarter showing a 9 percent growth. All these sales have meant that Elmer’s needed too also boost their production as the craze still continues. Elmer’s still to this date promote their slime generating product with holiday slime recipes, various slime hashtags and fun family videos.

Have you and you children created slime? What is your favorite recipe to use?

Sources:

Fox Business News: http://www.foxbusiness.com/features/2017/03/28/elmers-glue-ups-production-to-keep-up-with-slime-craze.html

ABC.net: http://www.abc.net.au/news/2017-08-16/global-diy-slime-craze-led-social-media-has-kids-excited-science/8812332

 

COM0014 Blog #3: Who Still Goes to The Movies?

MV5BMTg4NDI4MTA2Ml5BMl5BanBnXkFtZTgwMjUyOTYzMjI@._V1_SX1777_CR0,0,1777,993_AL_

(Photo Credit: Warner Brothers Wonder Woman Promotional Still)

When was the last time you went to the theatre to see a film? What was it? Did the theatre seem packed or almost empty? I hear from friends and the media that theatre attendance is down, but would it surprise you to know that the film industry was up 1% in 2016. The verdict is still out for 2017 as we still have our last films debuting in theatres including the next Star Wars installment this December. In 2016 all films combined earned 38.6 billion dollars, that’s not something to laugh at.

So, who is still going to the theatre?

Out of that 38.8 billion dollars, U.S. and Canada make up 11.4 with international sales of 27.2 billion (with China taking the lead). In 2016 ticket sales where mainly made up by Caucasian viewers and a slightly higher attendance of woman over men. The movie industry has looked at these numbers and saw what were the big draws to the theatres, which in 2016 were action films (Captain American Civil War, Star Trek Beyond, Ghostbusters etc.) Flash forward to now in 2017 and we see a rise in action films, particularly superhero films. Films like Thor 3, Justice League, Guardians of The Galaxy Vol 2 all debut. The film industry listened and brought the most popular genre of film to the screen multiple times this year. Did they listen to their main movie attendance of a higher female presence in their theatres? Cut to Wonder Woman. It makes sense for the industry to finally release a female lead action/superhero film. Wonder Woman opened at 100 million dollars at the domestic box office, making it the highest opening film of the year until Thor 3 recently premiered. However, Wonder Woman does claim the title as the highest grossing origin superhero film making a total of 821.8 million dollars. This is just the first of many female driven action films to come.

Sources:

MPAA Organization: https://www.mpaa.org/wp-content/uploads/2017/03/MPAA-Theatrical-Market-Statistics-2016_Final-1.pdf

Business Insider: http://www.businessinsider.com/wonder-woman-highest-grossing-superhero-origin-movie-2017-11