Exploring Grand Rapids

When my professor told us we were going to have to create our own video, I almost started crying right then and there. I knew absolutely NOTHING about making a film or editing it. The closest I’ve come to making a film is recording a video on my phone, which I’m not sure even counts. However, I could never have expected to have as much fun with it as I did.

Being an advertising and public relations major, my first thought was to create a promotional video of some sort. I didn’t think that I wanted to make an actual movie with actors and a script, so I tried to think of a unique way I could incorporate my interests into a film. Since I have lived in Grand Rapids my entire life, and I am wholeheartedly in love with the city, I decided to make a promotional video of Grand Rapids, Michigan.

I spent an entire day walking around downtown with my camera taking varying pictures and videos of the city. I tried to capture some different aspects of the city- ones that are probably very familiar, and others that may not be as well-known. Unfortunately, I couldn’t include as much as I would have liked due to the 1:30 time limit, but regardless, I thought it turned out pretty cool!

Before I started editing the film, I created a simple hand drawn storyboard to lay out where I wanted each photo/video to be placed. Then, I actually got to create the video by stringing together all of my work with the use of transitions. I also included text in the film to describe some of the different attractions I was showcasing. I used Final Cut Pro as my editing software to create the final product. This whole process took about 8 hours- including filming, the storyboard, and the editing. It was a very large time commitment, not to mention challenging, but I had so much fun doing it! I hope that you all enjoy the film as much as I enjoyed making it!

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Wilson, B. (February 22, 2017). Screenshot of Final Cut Pro Timeline [PNG]. Retrieved from Final Cut Pro

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Slideshow of my storyboard.

Below is my final product of the film, Enjoy!

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Infographic

As a writer, I know that one of the hardest things to do is choose a topic to write about. You have to find a common ground between what interests you have, how much you actually know about that topic, and if it fits the style of your writing. For me, this step can take hours to figure out. In fact, right now I am working on a research paper for one of my classes, but we can pick anything we want to research and write about as long as it is within Africa. Africa is 11.73 million square miles with a population of 1.216 billion people. How am I supposed to choose one thing to write about in the second largest continent on the planet?

Because choosing a topic to write about can be so difficult, not to mention time consuming, I created a helpful infographic that gives step-by-step instructions on how to pick one. To do this, I used piktochart.com and created a free account. The process was so easy, and actually fun! You can choose any template to start with, or a blank one, and then you just fill in the information you want. Then, if you are like me and want to use your creativity to make it more interesting, you can move things around, change the background, and style it however you like! This website was easy to navigate and fun to use; I will most definitely be using it again in the future.

So, if you are having a difficult time figuring out what to write about, whether it’s for an academic paper or your own personal writing, take a look at my infographic below. It tells you exactly what to do in order to choose a topic. As I mentioned earlier, I was having a very difficult time deciding what to write about for my research paper. I used this step-by-step process and by the time I got to step 5, I finally had a topic picked out! Once I knew what I was going to start researching and writing about, the words came flowing out of me. Not only was it something that fit all of my professor’s guidelines, but it was something that I was actually interested in, so it now became very easy to write about it. I hope this works as well for you as it did me, and have fun with it!

infographic

Wilson, B. (February 8, 2016). How to Pick a Topic to Write About [JPEG]. Retrieved from https://piktochart.com/

Brand Yourself

Being able to brand yourself is a key skill in gaining attraction from the public, including future employers and potential clients. A very helpful resource in doing this is a website called BrandYourself.com, which helps to optimize your search results under your name. Recently, I made a free account on this website and was shocked to find that there was almost no content on the internet under my name, which is terrible if I want people to be able to find me, especially as a public relations major!

Once I made the account, I went through the process of identifying which results were mine, which were someone else’s, and which ones were negative about me. Fortunately, no results came up that were negative about me, however a not much better finding was that there was almost nothing under my name. Therefore, I only had about three links to actually optimize. As a result, I received a very poor grade as you can tell in the picture below.

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Wilson, B. (January 31, 2017). Brand Yourself Report Card Screenshot (JPEG). Retrieved from http://brandyourself.com/reportcard.

Due to this poor grade, I followed the recommendations that the site gave to change my rankings. I started by boosting my LinkedIn Profile, and one of the most important things I updated was my Profile Summary. This is where you get to brag about all of your accomplishments and skills that you have gained over the years. It is also important to include what your professional goals are so that people can see exactly what it is that you are striving for and hoping to achieve. This gives them a sense of who you are as a person, both personally and professionally. I also updated my Profile Photo and my Headline on LinkedIn. I still have a lot to do in order to fully optimize my links and increase my branding, but this is a great start.