Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Corus Entertainment studios - review in photos

Here are some photos from our trip to the new Corus Entertainment studios in Winnipeg as part of the Career Trek experience.


brand-spankin new equipment

the engineers' office

the green room where guests wait before an interview

Carlo is one of the producer-technicians that is responsible for everything that plays on air

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Bubba B the MC - one of the coolest Winnipeggers you'll ever meet

Our Career Trek radio production class visited the Astral Media studios today in the Craig Wireless building downtown.

Waiting in the lobby the elevator opened and we were welcomed by a man in a track jacket. The first thing I noticed about this guy was his voice. He had a subtle accent about him that suggested he had been to other places other than Winnipeg.

Bubba B the MC - or Bubba B - invited all eight of us into the old elevator that brought us up to the HOT 103 and QX 104 studios in the old building in Winnipeg's Exchange District.

 I've heard of Bubba in the past and heard him on HOT 103 on a random drive home from school. I didn't think anything of him then. I thought he sounded like how radio personalities (called on-air talent) should have sounded - friendly, entertaining, and emphasized every syllable he spoke over the radio.

We brought our four Career Trek participants on a field trip to give them a feel of what it was like to work in a real radio station and in the radio industry. Bubba B was our connection to the real world and I was blown away by the inspiration we got from this dude at the microphone.

Bubba B giving live, up-to-date Winnipeg weather conditions
Bubba B was actually working while we were in the HOT 103 studio to interview him about his job and the radio industry.

This guy was super awesome - he used the analogy of HOT 103 as a spaceship and how Ace Burpee, Chrissy Troy, and LTI launch the spaceship from the ground and into space to meet the space station floating around in space. In the space station, Chris Fantini was like the astronaut-scientist who knew all about space walking and all the crazy stuff he needed to do to keep the audience listening to the show for the rest of the day. Finally, Bubba B brings the spaceship back home to Earth after a long journey through space. His job was to land it safely after all the struggles and triumph it had encountered through the day.

Bubba B was very inspirational about his own journey through his radio career. He talked about how he got started in Calgary, AB in Canada and thought he was going to get his big break. After waiting for two years thinking he'd finally get his own radio show, he found himself leaving the radio industry altogether. He was an artist himself. He wrote his own songs and recorded them too. After Calgary, he left the radio industry and forgot about his passion in music, not doing anything related to it for six years.

"Winnipeg saved me," said Bubba sitting in the radio station in front of the three widescreen computer monitors.

What he said truly inspired me and I was sure it inspired the four fourteen-year-old participants in the room as well.

He described the path to his career as tough but he kept trying. He described HOT 103 as a defining moment in his life that told him radio was clearly his passion. He remembered hearing one of his favourite songs on the radio and on that particular incident, he knew he was doing was he was supposed to be doing - being an on-air talent for a radio station, engulfed in music and creativity.

Another memorable thing about Bubba was his use of water as an analogy. He quoted Bruce Lee when he said "be like water" meaning be ready to take different forms in radio. Working in radio meant a person needed to be able to work with anything that was thrown at them. Bubba works at night but if he were to get a phone call in the morning saying he had to fill in for a sick co-worker, he knew he had to be at the studio in the morning on top of what he had to do at night.

Bubba also explained knowing the different forms water could take was essential when working with other people. Knowing when to be 'liquid' and knowing when to be 'ice' in different situations when dealing with people was important because it allowed you to deal with problems and come up with solutions. Knowing when to be easy on yourself and knowing when to be strict to push yourself to your limits would help you achieve your goals in life.

I didn't know much about Bubba B before the tour but after listening to him talk that night allowed me to learn more about the radio industry and also about Bubba B himself. Bubba was honest, relatable, and most of all, inspiring. He was definitely one of the coolest Winnipeggers I've met in a while. One thing I could tell you for sure was that Bubba was not bothered by Winnipeg's extreme cold or annoying mosquitoes - a mark of a proud Winnipeg man. Thanks Bubba B!

Thursday, April 7, 2011

Photo essay - the best edit suite on campus

I shot pictures of Edit Suite F in the basement of The Roblin Centre in the Exchange District campus as an assignment to tell a story through the use of photography.

I chose Edit Suite F because of its design and purpose. Compared to other edit suites on campus, Edit Suite F was very roomy and was a very quiet place to work, not a lot of foot traffic in the basement.

Edit Suite F had both Final Cut Pro and ProTools software, making editing of any media assignment a cinch! You didn't have to run to another edit suite to record your voice over and then run back to edit your video. This was definitely the highlight of this edit suite - and also because we spent half our CreComm lives in edit suites in general. This photo essay was something I could look at to remind me of the good and bad times of editing and the stresses and victories associated with video editing.

Sunday, April 3, 2011

Eman's social media scope - What I know so far

This is what shows up when I start typing my name - I'm popular, mom!

The two most influential social media motivators I've had the pleasure to meet were 2010 CreComm graduate, Jenette Martens and my sister's boyfriend, Johann Generao.

Both people have taught me some cool things about social media that I wouldn't have realized on my own (with the little expereince I have):

What Jenette Martens taught me:
- When using Facebook to engage your audience, make sure your message is not too long as the post would cut off your message if you didn't mind the number characters you were pumping out on the post. She is a Social Media Convener at The Winnipeg Foundation.
- Use a pre-determined profile before engaging in social media. What she meant by this is there is an appropriate time to use the company's voice, a made-up character's voice, and your own personal voice in tweets and blogs. Knowing when to use these different voices is powerful in persuading your target audience.
- Use an integrated iPhone/BlackBerry app that will allow syncing with your desktop posts and mobile posts. An app that keeps track of stats and web hits is also very useful.

What Johann Generao taught me:
- Search Engine Optimization (SEO) is very important. He works for an agency that specializes in generating web content for clients in Canada and in the U.S.
- To rank high on the Google search engine, the user (i.e. a person who blogs) must post fresh content regularly and as much as possible link media to existing sites online. This doubles your chances of being searched.
- It's not a bad idea to 'pad' your name by signing up on other social media sites even if you know you won't be using them. These sites rank higher on the results page because of the nature of the site and in turn pushes down any other news about you - Can someone say issues management tool?

This is my understanding so correct me if I'm wrong and I'll add you to the List of Legendary People Who Have Influenced Eman list.

Saturday, April 2, 2011

My Independent Professional Project: a promotional video for Red River College


March 10, 2011 marked the end of my six month project. The result was the video you just saw.

Working for Red River College's Diversity and Immigrant Student Support Department was an awesome experience with practical key learning I would be able to apply in my professional career as a communicator.

Shooting, editing, and producing a video may sound tough, but it could be accomplished with weeks of careful planning and advise from an instructor.

What worked well for me was planning weekly meetings with my client. This helped a lot because it required me to report to my client recent progress with the product, the video. I needed to tell the client how the video was coming along and the only way around that was to do the actual work.

Once you've managed your deadline and target delivery date, you could then work the small details into your project. In a sense, you were working backwards. You worked from the delivery date then managed the time you had to actually produce the video.

One of the biggest challenges of producing a video was shooting subjects. This by far was the toughest part of my entire subject. I remembered sending at least twenty emails to groups and individuals to come to Princess Street Campus (The Roblin Centre in the Exchange District Campus now) where I had the camera setup on a tripod to film interviews.

After all the interviews, filming B-roll was next on the list. This was also tough because it required organizing logistics to shoot outside of the campus. As seen in the video, we shot at The Forks Market and various places in Notre Dame Campus. Having your own vehicle proved to be very useful as there was also a ton of equipment to lug around.

The finished product was a video that was useful for the department and something that I was very proud of. The marketing manager at Red River College had approved the video last month and would be uploaded to the official college's video channel.

I was really pleased and happy to be a part of this project. The people I worked with and the connections I had made through this experience was something I'd always carry with me no matter where I go or work.

Plyometrics: energize without weights

The great Neil Babaluk and I started incorporating plyometrics in our exercise routine. I was skeptical at first but once we got started, sweat was dripping off my forehead.

According to a Wikipedia page, plyometrics was a type of exercise designed to produce fast, powerful movements that improves the functions of the nervous system better performance in sports.

The video shown above alternates from upper body to lower body workouts and focuses on building body strength and agility. Plyometrics was great to incorporate in your workout because it added a different dynamic to your everyday workout. Lots of people do regular cardio and weight training but not a lot do enough of this type of burst exercise.

There were many simple ways to incorporate plyometrics into a workout routine. I didn't even realize that something as simple as jumping jacks and push ups were plyometrics and could easily be added to anyone's routine.

I had my doubts when Neil and I started. I didn't think it would be enough of a workout to get anything out of it. Neil was always the measure to see if a routine works. We've been going to the gym for the last month and he was always wanting to try new workouts in the gym. After the plyometrics, my legs were very well exercised and Neil's calves were also worked to its limits.

Plyometrics was quick, energy-charged, and good way to re-energize a busy day at school. Everyone should give it a go!

Friday, April 1, 2011

Fear of birds

I've shared this with many people but felt like I just needed to blog about it - to help me get over it.
I'm afraid of birds.

The first thing people asked was "Really?" Then they would either laugh or let out a chuckle. I'm sure it wasn't because they found it hilarious that I  had this weird fear of birds, but because they were fascinated by it.

Then they would ask me "What kind of birds scare you?" It didn't really matter what size or colour the bird was. The fact that it had feathers kinda weirds me out. I mean I've touched a bird before. I've petted a live rooster before and touched a stuffed crow - the kind you would see in a taxidermy shop. Maybe it was the hard bodies birds had that make them not ideal to cuddle with. Then again, why would anyone want to cuddle with an eagle?

I could list ten more reasons why I didn't like birds but the main point was that I recently went to a psychologist to talk about my self-diagnosed phobia.

I took an introduction to psychology class at another college a few years back and learned that I shouldn't self-diagnose myself or anyone for that matter. But I still did - how else would I find out I was terrified of feathered animals?

Before I get into why I even considered seeing a psychologist about this issue, let me just explain that my fear of birds was not at all serious in any matter. So before you get any funny ideas of shoving a bird in my locker or bag, know that it won't affect my quality of life. I would still able to function and carry on with my day-to-day activities. A person should be concerned if his or her fear was affecting the way they live and the way they do things. The person must seek professional help once the fear takes control of their life i.e. staying indoors because of their fear, not being able to work because of their fear, etc.

The visit to the psychologist was part of an assignment in sports journalism. But the idea of getting over one's fear fell through because my instructor said the topic was focused more on the mind and not on physical activity. It was too late to cancel my first ever appointment with a psychologist and, to be honest, I wanted to see what a psychologist thought about my feelings towards birds.

The psychologist was really great. She explained to me the Pavlovian theory of conditioning where the Russian scientist, Pavlov, wore a read coat every time he fed this dog. The long and short of it was the dog salivated every time he saw the scientist enter the room wearing a red coat. The dog learned to associate feeding time with the colour red to a point where the scientist would enter the room without food and the dog would still salivate.

The psychologist said I was doing the same thing to myself. Every time I'd have an encounter with a bird, I'm conditioning myself to be scared and fearful, thinking the bird would attack me. Once I'm out of the situation, I'd tell myself how I just survived yet another close encounter with a bird when in reality, the bird wouldn't have attacked me. But years and years of my own self conditioning has led me to believe birds are dangerous and I should be fearful of them.

So what was her professional advice? She told me that I needed to get bored of my fear. She told me to expose myself more to birds. I would quickly find out that birds are pretty docile and tame for the most part. She also told me it was OK to be a bit afraid of animals I wasn't generally exposed to in an everyday basis - kind of how some people are afraid of lizards, spiders, or bugs.

The psychologist actually told me I probably shouldn't have booked the appointment as it probably was a waste of my time since I already knew and realize all the stuff she told me. For me, I just needed to hear it from a professional. The fact that I said I have a fear of birds was probably bad as it was contributing to my fear of the animal.

Going forward, I'm going to try to expose myself to more birds. Maybe I'll visit a pet store and ask if they could perch the parrot on my shoulder while I wear an eye patch. I'll also swap my ergonomic pillow with a full down feather pillow. When I eat chicken wings, I'll ask them not to de-feather it - OK maybe not that one. I still love chicken wings.