How to Write a Bangin’ Blog Post

July 29th, 2015 by Kristen Rivera

 

Step 1: Completely forgo a lede.

Who needs ‘em? You can probably guess what this post is about based on the title. Actually…

Step 1 (Revised): Write your title first.

This helps your entire blog post stay focused on the catchy, ambiguous alliteration that you just made up. If you get stuck, Google “words that start with the letter ___.” You are one click away from the creative genius of:

My Magical Myriad Marks

Don’t worry if it sounds unnatural. This is not the place for sense-making.

Step 2:  Always introduce yourself to the audience in writing.

It’s not at all hokey and will help the reader feel really comfortable and excited.

Hi! My name is Kristen Rivera and I am the production intern at Myriad Media this summer! My job consists of working as a production assistant on a variety of shoots, assisting around the office any way I can, and refilling some bomb-ass sandbags.

See? You’re so good at this! Let’s proceed.

Step 3: Pick a few key items and be sure they don’t relate to each other at all.

You want to keep the reader guessing how your brain works throughout the piece. This is pretty self-explanatory, but for the amateurs:

My first full week at Myriad, I was a PA for a two-day shoot with a 30-person crew. The experience was incredible, and it was interesting to see how the day fluctuated between “movemovemove” and “pop a squat, it’s gonna be a while” over the course of 10 hours.

It is both very difficult and very easy to enjoy your first Almeurzo Creativo when you realize you’ve eaten someone else’s Jimmy Johns that was ordered specifically for them. Especially when the stolen sandwich is very delicious. (So sorry!)

I don’t know if it’s a requirement to work at Myriad or something, but literally everyone at Myriad’s hair is fresh to death. How do they do it? How?

Step 4: Write a closing statement so powerful, so profound, so borderline tear-jerking, that your reader is left thinking, “What was this post even about?”

It’s rare that you come across an office culture so full of life and laughter and love that you long to be a part of it. Just by looking at Myriad’s website, you’ll see a family. A tight-knit group that works strongly on their own because they have the support and help of those around them. And by being in their office, face-to-face with some of the most creative and passionate people I’ve ever met, you can feel the familial bond. It is unparalleled, and I thank the team now for every opportunity I get to be a part of that. Thank you, and I look forward to stepping up my hair game for the chance to stick around a little longer.

Step 5: Share your post with Malia on Google Docs.

Time Management

July 22nd, 2015 by Chris

 

Time— despite the lyrics—is never on our side.

How many things would you like to get done that you don’t, simply because you don’t have enough hours in the day? Each day, there are things that I need to review, read, respond to, clean, fix, talk about, research, plan for, pay for, save for, or just do. I usually have a priority list of 5 to 10 items that have to get done that day—things that I actually know about and have planned for. Then, there are 5 to 10 more things that pop up throughout the day that have to get done, too. On top of that, there are 5 or 10 more things that are pressing, and really need some action in the next day or two. Finally, there’s that ever-growing list of things that need to get done, but have no real deadline. That’s the list that really gets to me.

That list never seems to go away. It’s filled with lots of things that I enjoy doing, but even more things that I probably don’t. If you know me, you know that I’m the king of procrastination. Consequently, the things that I don’t want to do are the ones that get the least attention, of course.

Only when those items cause me so much stress that they start to boil over into other people’s stress will I act on them. I know that’s not healthy for me or for my relationships, but it’s pretty much my M.O.

I recently started using a new list-making tool. There are tons of these programs, and they all work similarly. The best way for you to know if one will work for you is to try a bunch, and see which one sticks. The goal, according to David Allen’s Getting Things Done, is to get the thought out of your mind so that you don’t have to remember it and can focus on other, high-priority things. Allen says the stress from trying to remember everything is what really builds up and causes problems. The list is there to help you sort, manage, and follow-up, but it’s mainly there to remember everything for you, so you don’t have to worry about it.

Wunderlist

I read Allen’s book. It has definitely helped, but it’s no magic pill. It takes practice and diligence to write everything down. At first, I was doing really well. The tool I’m using is an app, and it works on my phone and my computer, and they stay in sync. OK, OK, I’ll tell you what it is. It’s Wunderlist. You can find it for free on the App Store. But don’t blame me if you start using it and find some fault in it. Anyway, I like it pretty well, but it doesn’t make me write stuff down. That’s the hardest part.

Eventually, I got to a point where I was writing lots of stuff, even obvious stuff, and would think to myself, “I don’t need to write everything in here, just the big picture items.” Especially since it takes so long to think about and write the tasks and subtasks out, I could have probably finished the task if I had just done it instead of writing it down.

But the bigger question is knowing when to stop accomplishing tasks.

Everything can be considered a task, I suppose. It’s fun just to be in the moment, with no plan, no objective, just seeing, hearing, and feeling whatever comes naturally. I try to do that on vacation. I try to do that when I’m having family time, totally focused on my kids, just watching and listening to them.

During those times, it’s super hard not to let that list pop into your mind and weigh you down. It can be stressful to know you have so many things to get done. But it can be just as stressful later—and disappointing, too—to realize you haven’t taken advantage of some free time to not do anything.  We are a becoming a culture of very stressed-out, very tired multi-taskers.

So I’m going to put that on my to-do list:  “Just be.”  Well… maybe later.

 

We get a lot of strangers who walk past our office and stare into our window because of all the old cameras and stuff.

window

 

Sometimes they even come in and talk to us about how they used to have one of them when they were younger. Sometimes, people even donate stuff to our window. In case you don’t live around here, enjoy this close-up look at all the stuff we have in the window.

 

Have you ever used any of this stuff before?

 

Give Sound Some Love

June 22nd, 2015 by Daniel

For a while, I have been intrigued by the idea of using natural and/or foley sound to build a musical score. Working on the Defiant Whisky piece, I spent many hours attempting this. For the bar scene, I sampled things like glasses clanking, chairs sliding and other actions appearing in the scene. I had this one virtual instrument I built called “musical chairs,” where I sampled the squeaking sound of a wooden chair being moved across a wooden floor, then mapped that sample across a midi keyboard so it could be used to play a melody. I did the same with the truck scene, using tires squealing, engines rattling and horns honking. The result was pretty cool, but a little too weird for the video.

I’ve tried this for a couple of other scores as well, but nothing’s really stuck yet. In other words, I’m still in the try-fail-repeat phase. But I thought I’d share some of what I was using for inspiration.

This guy Diego Stocco is doing some amazing stuff with sound. Here’s a tune he made using a bonsai tree.

And here’s one he made using sounds recorded at a dry cleaner.

Audio is a huge part of what we do in video production. It’s half the medium, actually. Yet it usually doesn’t get the love it needs. Let’s change that!

Processed with VSCOcam with g3 preset

It’s week three of Myriad’s Summer Internship Program. Things are going great. I’d like to introduce you to Tyler Hayes, our 2015 Marketing Intern. We hope you enjoy learning more about Tyler and his love for churros, chess, and epic frying pan flipping…All quite admirable in my book.

What made you apply for this internship? The first time I checked out Myriad’s website I was completely infatuated. Reading their story, checking out their team, and learning the company’s code made me feel like I was learning about a group of interesting and real people, as opposed to an otherwise faceless agency. I felt like Myriad embodied everything I thought was important about small businesses–essentially, placing human values and characteristics above business. Besides, their awesome video work speaks for itself. When I saw that they were hosting summer internships, my summer plans were immediately reprioritized.

  • What are you hoping to get out of this internship? Honestly, I’m most excited about the opportunity to learn from and become part of such an awesome creative family. The first time I stepped into Myriad’s creative space (the word ‘office’ doesn’t feel the slightest bit appropriate here) I was enthralled with how inviting and stimulating the area was, but I was most impressed just by the generally good vibes. Myriad constructs a wonderfully open-ended framework for their interns to take advantage of, and there’s really no part of the workflow here that I wouldn’t want to learn more about. To be a bit more specific, though, I’m very excited to learn more about effective marketing and branding strategies–especially from a creative group that is already so interesting and relatable.
  • What is your major and why? I’m currently studying graphic design at the NC State College of Design. I actually transferred to graphic design from a concentration in engineering–mainly because I thought my inclination to create or design things would be better suited to an environment without equations. I believe graphic design is, at its core, about thinking critically and solving problems, even when those problems fall outside of web, print, or app design, and ultimately I’d like to use my design experience for innovating solutions to problems in any field of work.
  • Who are some of your heroes or influencers? One of my biggest creative inspirations is illustrator Pat Perry, for so elegantly and eerily exploring human-ness in his work. I’ve followed him ever since his work hit the internet, and he may have single-handedly demonstrated to me the power of reflecting human stories and feelings in drawings. Geoffrey Agrons, a radiologist and truly pioneering landscape photographer who took the time to mentor me while I was still in my picture-making infancy. He was and continues to be the biggest influence behind my exploration into landscape photography. Outside of that, I am generally inspired by anyone who can successfully communicate feelings or ideas, in any medium.
  • What is your personal motto or mantra? I can’t say that there are any words I really live by. I’m always inclined to get pretty philosophical when it comes to questions like this, but I’ll say that I do try to look at every experience as a learning experience. I don’t believe that anything is truly a waste of time, rather, at the least, “wasted time” is just insight into what you shouldn’t be doing. I’m not sure if that makes me out to be some kind of optimist… which I’m probably not. I also think the best way to do something successfully is to first be truly passionate about it, so it’s important to learn what really resonates with you. That’s something I’m always working on.
  • What are some of your hobbies or interests? Photography is a huge thing for me–it was really the first interest to drive me towards visual art or design. In some ways I consider it synonymous with my interpretation of design. I also love reading. One of my favorite subjects of study is philosophy, which I discovered in books. I just finished Timequake by Kurt Vonnegut a few days ago which is one of my new favorite novels. It’s not a philosophy book… but it might be. Chess is another one. I play it compulsively on my phone. If I’m using my phone at an awkward or inappropriate time, I’m probably in check.
  • What inspires you? People. Definitely people. The human capacity for emotion, interaction, expression, dialogue, and self-awareness, to name a few, is the most dynamic and endlessly captivating thing to ever exist. I really love figuring out and empathizing with people, as a means of effective design but also as a result of a low-key fascination with psychology. And when I feel really compelled to create something, it’s usually an effort to better understand the subject.
  • What is your favorite food in the whole world? Churros. Fresh strawberries. Brioche french toast with maple syrup. Not at the same time.
  • Tell us the story about your most embarrassing moment. I spent the start of the very first day of kindergarten painfully trying to remove a poorly tossed wad of chewing gum from the laces of my new Nikes. In front of the entire class. For fifteen minutes. I have recurring visions of pink, gooey tendrils indifferently suffocating my dignity.
  • What is your least marketable talent or hobby (something random/weird/cool about you that not many people know?) I’m pretty good at flipping food in frying pans. I’m pretty prideful of it, really. Though I still don’t know if it’s worth the trial and error it took to get here.
  • What is your favorite film? Waking Life by Richard Linklater. It breaks down human experiences by comparing the idea of ‘waking life’ to being asleep, and challenges virtually every perception one may have about the world, the self, or other people. It’s also shot in rotoscope, which is super cool.
  • What is your favorite book? The Picture of Dorian Gray by Oscar Wilde. It’s a good example of how romanticized ideas actually work out in real life. It’s a horrible example of how to cope with mental illness.
  • What is your guilty pleasure? Breakfast at any time of the day. And sudoku, but specifically in the morning. Also plants, but I have only one plant.
  • Anything else you want the Myriad gang to know about you? Sometimes, when I’m really concentrated on whatever I’m working on, people think I look super pissed off. I promise I’m not pissed off, probably.

10419058_10203797779959896_962739790905580188_nWe began our summer internship program last week, and I must say, Myriad has a dream team on board. I’d like to introduce you to Kristen Rivera, our Summer Production Intern who is a student at Meredith College. Here are some fun facts about Kristen to help you get to know her a little more. I am eager to learn the story about the ring on her right hand…

What made you apply for this internship? I applied for this internship last spring and wasn’t selected, but instead of getting discouraged, I sought out to get as much experience as possible and reapply the following summer. After browsing Myriad’s website, I could tell this was a really cool company with really cool people. The team’s philosophy on helping others and building relationships showed me that being an intern here would be an incredibly rewarding experience- I’m so glad I tried again.

  • What are you hoping to get out of this internship? I look forward to learning about the technical aspects of production and working on set, and I am excited about seeing what it takes to be a producer on both large and small-scale projects. I also look forward to hearing the backgrounds of the employees here and learning what led them to Myriad.
  • What is your major and why? I am a Mass Communication major with minors in Professional Writing & Presentation Media and Photography. I chose this combo to get a wide range of knowledge about media and some experience with production. I get to hang out with Communication students, English students, and Art students. There’s never a dull moment and always someone new to learn from.
  • Who are some of your heroes or influencers? My parents are my role models and have taught me everything I know about treating others well and paying it forward when you’ve achieved something. One of my biggest influences career-wise is Joss Whedon. Buffy the Vampire Slayer is my favorite TV show of all time, and Whedon’s ability to address contemporary social issues in the context of vampires and ’90s hairstyles is incredible.
  • What is your personal motto or mantra? “Work until you no longer have to introduce yourself.” I think at first this sounds a little cutthroat, which is definitely not my style, but it goes to show that how you treat people and the work you put forth personally and professionally will be what others remember you for. I believe it applies well to Myriad’s “show, don’t tell” philosophy, and is a constant reminder to strive for improvement.
  • What are some of your hobbies or interests? Outside of classes and video work, I am really involved on Meredith’s campus. I serve as Chief Student Adviser, Vice President of our campus’ LGBT support and advocacy organization, and Cornhuskin’ Co-Chair for my class. Cornhuskin’ is Meredith’s equivalent of homecoming, and it involves skits, dancing, pig noses, thousands of cans, corn shuckin’, and 30-foot props. I am always looking for an excuse to talk about it, so please feel free to ask me about this weird tradition.
  • What inspires you? I am inspired by people who are so passionate about what they’re doing that when they tell you about it, it just about seems like the most exciting thing in the world. People who carry that positive energy and are always looking to learn more about the world are the people I try to surround myself with.
  • What is your favorite food in the whole world? There’s this Puerto Rican dish called Pastelon that’s essentially Caribbean lasagna. It’s layers of sweet plantains baked between layers of beef and red sauce and it will seriously rock your world.
  • Tell us the story about your most embarrassing moment. I block most embarrassing stories out of my head like mini-traumas, but if one comes rushing back to me you have my word that I’ll tell you in detail how it went down.
  • What is your least marketable talent or hobby (something random/weird/cool about you that not many people know?) I studied Mandarin Chinese for seven years (marketable) but haven’t practiced and only remember how to say “you’re my best friend” and “today’s weather is good/bad” (not marketable).
  • What is your favorite film? My favorite movie is (500) Days of Summer. I like the out-of-order storytelling and the fact that the ending isn’t particularly happy. I especially like the animated sketches throughout the film and the actions that sync with the music. These little touches are what make the movie fun to watch over and over (and over and over) again.
  • What is your favorite book? Right now I’m reading Adulting: How to Become a Grown-up in 468 Easy(ish) Steps by Kelly Williams Brown and it’s hilarious and helpful. I’ll keep you posted on how the adulting is going.
  • What is your guilty pleasure? I am embarrassed to say I do, in fact, keep up with the Kardashians. Kourtney is my favorite character (person?) on the show.
  • Anything else you want the Myriad gang to know about you? If you ever need a conversation starter, ask me about one of the following: Cornhuskin’, living in Puerto Rico, or the ring on my right hand. You can’t go wrong.

 

Tomorrow, our summer internship program begins. I have two amazing students on board, and I can’t wait! I love directing this program and have learned a lot about talent recruitment and development along the way. If you are interested in creating an internship program at your company, here are some lessons I’ve learned along the way.

Create an equal playing field.

Develop a list of interview questions that you ask each candidate. Study your questions and become familiar with what you are asking. This will make your interview as natural and comfortable as possible. Plus, something an interviewee says in response to question 1 might lead to what you want to ask in question 15. Go with it, but make sure you have the questions in front of you in case you do jump around a bit.

While all candidates are unique and you will need to ask questions about their previous experience and skills, make sure interns have an equal opportunity to compete for the position by answering a set of the same questions.

It’s easy to get caught up in conversation, but do take notes during and after the interview. When you’re interviewing lots of people, it’s easy to forget things a candidate said a week ago. Don’t rely on your memory or your gut. Jot things down on a separate piece of paper during the interview (but don’t write on their resume, it will freak them out!) Also give yourself time after the interview to write your thoughts. For this reason, don’t schedule interviews too close together. You want time to reflect after each one. Create a mini file for each person you interview and hold on to it.

Intern candidates are also interviewing you.

Every interaction you have with potential interns is a direct reflection of your company. Email correspondence, phone calls, interviews, etc. — they all need to reflect your business values. Treat applicants the same way you would treat your clients and co-workers. Even if a candidate is not the right fit this year, students progress rapidly. They might come back the next year with an application that will blow your socks off. If a candidate has a negative experience with you, you can forget about them applying again.

Word of mouth recommendations are also important. If an internship candidate has a good experience (even if they didn’t get an offer), they are more likely to share your program with a professor, friend, or classmate.

Make it easy to say no.

As your program develops, you will get more applicants. Making decisions about who to interview is tough when you have to choose among so many talented students. So, when you are thinking about what credentials to look for, make the first step of the application a place to weed out people who do not meet basic requirements.

At Myriad, attention to detail is very important. We work under tight deadlines with executive-level clients. Our production team tries not to make mistakes! For our internship application, I create specific instructions. I want to know who pays attention to details and who does not. If students don’t follow the instructions, they don’t move forward. This tip might sound a little harsh, but finding ways to automate decisions will let you spend the time you need deliberating down the road.

Finally, you need to let everyone know the status of their application once the position has been filled. Students who spent time applying to your company deserve time from you to tell them the results. It is the right thing to do, even if it is not a fun call or email to make.

Provide value.

If you want your interns to care about you, you better care about them. Why do business if you can’t create mutual wins? If your interns are directly helping your business, make sure you are providing educational opportunities and assisting in their career development, too. At the beginning of the internship, sit down with each of your interns and find out what they are hoping to get from the program. What are they interested in learning more about? What are they passionate about? What are their strengths? If you get to know your interns and create business opportunities around their interests, you will see a higher level of success.

Recruitment strategies:

Now that Myriad’s internship program is fully developed, I have started to explore recruitment strategies. These are some things that have led to a higher number of applicants for our program over the years:

  1. Develop relationships with professors and career development offices. Once our internship application is live, I send it to professors and college career centers. Many send weekly emails to students with summer internship opportunities. These mentors want to help students succeed, but they are also protective and want to make sure their students have a positive experience with your agency. So, make sure you provide detailed information about all of the benefits of your program. They can also give you great advice about how to develop a stronger program. Ask them for help or ways to improve what you are doing.
  2. Visit university classrooms. Once you develop relationships with professors and development offices, find opportunities to present your program to classes. Visit 3-4 classes during your visit to get the most out of your trip. I typically visit video and communications departments. You can also reach out to other university clubs whose students are interested in pursuing your line of work (advertising clubs, student film societies, etc).
  3. Utilize social media. Promote to groups who can help spread the word, like local meet-ups or community groups. Develop tweets and always include a link to your application that you can share with them.
  4. Enlist the help of your co-workers. Once our application is posted, I ask my co-workers to spread the word to their networks. Some of them are quite active on social media, so it’s easy for them. For co-workers who are not as social savvy, I create a list of tweets and Facebook posts for them to copy and paste. Make it easy and thank them often!
  5. Post to university job boards. I get the most responses from this outlet. It takes a lot of time, but it’s worth it. Contact university career development departments if you can’t find the job board. They will always help you out.

If you have any questions or ideas, shoot me an email. Best of luck in your search for the perfect intern!

I’m gonna say it — this season of Game of Thrones has been weak.

Though important storylines are developing, the episodes have felt light. Luckily, Sunday’s episode totally redeemed itself! Aside from the typical gratuitous sex and sexual assault themes, “The Gift” was packed with critical plot developments, top-notch acting, and cinematography that told the story as well as the writing. My favorite shots are below. (Minimal spoilers! Story-lines kept general.)

 Daenerys in Bed

dany

Daenerys in bed with her side piece.

Although Dany is in talks with a potential husband, here she is in bed with her side piece, Dario. He thinks his charm and beautiful arms will make him king, but the cinematographer knows better. By emphasizing the empty space in the bed, you recognize that he will never be her husband. He’s half out of frame, representing his lack of importance. He may dominate in the bedroom, but she won’t marry him. She needs a husband with higher status.

 

The High Sparrow’s True Intentions

septon

The High Sparrow, played by Jonathan Pryce.

Here we have the High Sparrow in an empty hall. Now this guy is shady. Neither the audience nor characters know whether he’s willing to bend his religious beliefs to help the kingdom. This includes Lady Olenna Tyrell, who tries to bribe him after a witty exchange. (Shout out to a damn beautiful scene between these two actors! I’d pay good money to see the two of them act out the entire GOT series.) Ultimately, the High Sparrow does not take the bait, and this extreme wide shot shows his true intentions: He is not going to bend. He is merely a pawn of the gods, a man of little importance in this shot, and in the grand scheme of life.

 

Tommen Stands Up for Himself

lannister

Will Tommen finally stand up for himself?

After an unfortunate series of events, Tommen is PISSED. In this shot, you recognize how divided he has become from his mother. They are on opposite sides of the table, separated mentally and physically. What is truly separating them? Take notice of the phallic lamp; dude is growing up and ready to make decisions with his lower half.

 

 

Cersei Understands Her Fate

cersi-loop2
One of my favorite moments came from Cersei realizing what was happening to her. Choosing to stay on her face for the big reveal allowed the audience to see the exact moment it all clicked. By not cutting away, the tension builds and we’re left on the edge of our seats.

 

What was your favorite shot of the episode? And are y’all finally ready for engaging episodes to wrap up the season?!

Before and After

April 27th, 2015 by Marshall

It’s been 2 years since we moved to 410 S. Salisbury St. in downtown Raleigh. Check out these before and after pictures!

“So… can you tell us what exactly we’ll be doing for the next three days?”

It was a straightforward question that everyone in the room seemed to be thinking. Will and I were in Vancouver for the Hyper Island Master Class, IMG_2958a self-proclaimed “intensive learning experience that will challenge your thinking and perception on the influence and possibilities within digital media.”

Looking back, it’s hard to express all the knowledge and inspiration that I gained from this course. More than anything, it shifted my thinking forward: What is the future of media? Though equipment and technology have revolutionized media, video at its core has remained the same. It’s about telling a great story. But technology is becoming more affordable and accessible. How can we merge video, design, and technology to shape the future, rather than simply react to it?

4 Key Takeaways from Hyper Island:

1. Trajectory Thinking: What’s Next?

If you’re only thinking about today, you’re already behind. While creating goals and plans for business, think about what’s next. At Myriad, we can make a kick-ass video in our sleep. But what about other types of media? How will we respond if a non-video project lights a fire under our staff?

IMG_7585

Zolty from Breakfast Agency inspiring us all

2. Embrace change! Embrace the future!

The future is fun! The possibilities are endless. If you get inspired, create something. In business, give small groups the opportunity to focus on quick sprint projects and see what happens. Allow room for innovation and play. Good things will happen.

3. Friction Points for Real People

Start with a problem. What are you trying to solve? Rather than trying to create the next big thing, start small and identify a friction point that can be improved upon. Then, think about your user as a real person. What do they want to gain from this experience, and how can you help them?

4. Test, Reflect, Adjust, Repeat

When playing with new technology and ideas, the most important thing is iteration. Test a project, and then step back. What worked? What didn’t? Adjust your plan and try again. Success is not defined by creating the next big thing, it’s about learning and growing. Keep your eyes open for inspiration and just fucking do it.