Capture Moments. Share Moments.

They say a picture is worth a 1,000 words. Going off this statement, a tweet has to be worth double to triple that. So if these simple things are worth so much, how much could a video be worth?

Videos, in my opinion, are currently the cutting edge of PR technology. A tweet or a feature story can only go so far. But apps like Periscope and Beam that show real, live video are what people find intriguing. People no longer simply want to be told a story, they want to be apart of the story.

With all of this being said, creating a video is a lot harder than people realize (unless you have a real talent, in which case props to you). Personally, I never really considered video-making part of my forte. At the end of the day, I will always consider myself a writer over the visual aspect of things. However, if I want to be on the cutting edge of the PR sphere, I cannot neglect what is staring me right in the face. This is why I’m thankful I had to produce a video for my advanced PR course.

As I said, creating a video is hard, a lot harder than I ever realized. So since I love lists and I love learning, here some lessons I learned from created my first video:
1. Prepare. Procrastinating on things will only make things worse. (Naturally, this applies to all things in life, not just video-making)
2. Have a script. There’s nothing worse than having someone just wing what they are supposed to say. I’m all for improv and having a person make something their own, but without guidelines it will be difficult to find materials you actually want to use.
3. Volume. Being able to hear the person you’re videoing is of the upmost importance. After all, what you’re trying to produce is more than just something to put on YouTube for people to watch. Videos are supposed to tell a story. You will never be able to tell your story if no one can be heard.
4. Find your lighting. Like volume, proper lighting plays more into producing videos than people realize. Glares and darkness both hurt the eyes. Beyond that, they are also distracting.
5. Watch for excess space. I never realized how important a background was to a visual until I created my first video. In so many instances, the background contributes as much to the story as the centerpiece does. Because of this, you never want any excess space to distract the audience from the focal point.
6. Branding. The whole point of a video, especially a video for PR, is to drive home your brand. Stating the name of the company (at least three times), websites, phone numbers, contact information, you name it, it should be in the video. You want the audience to remember why you made the video in the first place.
7. Have a call to action. Like any other promotional material, you have to remember what you are trying to get your audience to do. Whether it’s making a donation, visiting a website, contacting for further information, etc. Whatever it is, there has to be something clear for the audience to remember. I don’t think I can emphasize enough how important a call to action is to promotional materials.

These are all things I know I need to adjust in the video I created for PR. However, as I have learned, everyone has to start somewhere. The things I have learned I plan to implement into my next video projects. I’m just thankful my professor gave me the constructive criticism I needed to succeed in my future. After all, I love to share the moments I experience with others and videos are a perfect way to do it.

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Bears vs. the Cyclones vs. a Cyclone

First of all, I apologize it has been a quite a few days since I have posted. Life has been crazy and I will try to be better about posting in the future.

So today I attended my last Baylor homecoming football game (as a student of course). This was my fourth homecoming at Baylor and I don’t think I have had a normal experience yet. My freshman year I was in the parade for the Baylor Baseball Diamond Girls. I had been up since 4 a.m. and the weather was bad so I didn’t end up going to the game. Instead I took a 6 hour nap in my dorm room. My sophomore year I was in the parade again for Diamond Girls. Once again, I had been up since 4 a.m. The original plan was to walk in the parade and then go to the game with my boyfriend. However, plans unexpectedly fell through and instead of going to the game, he and I went to Olive Garden and made it a date night. Last year, I was in New York on homecoming. Instead of being at the game, I was seeing Phantom of the Opera on Broadway. Yeah, I’m not complaining there.

Needless to say, after missing games every year before for various reasons, I was determined to make it to this game. I am proud to say I stuck to this credo. Today at 11 a.m. I, along with my friends Kaelan and Theo (and some other very brave souls), stood freezing in the pouring rain on the 20 yard line to watch the Bears get a win over the Iowa State Cyclones.

I was completely soaked and freezing after the game, but that's okay because Baylor sic'd ISU
I was completely soaked and freezing after the game, but that’s okay because Baylor sic’d ISU

The day may not have gone as planned, but that didn’t make it any less enjoyable. The original plan was to have a pre-homecoming breakfast at my house with all my friends before going to the game. Last night, however, we were all up pretty late from the storm. Doesn’t everyone enjoy their power going out at 3 a.m.? Meeting up at 8:30 a.m. was no longer apart of the plan. Multiple cups of coffee and breakfast tacos are the reason I survived the morning. At 10:30 a.m. Theo called me and we were ready to enjoy the game no matter what.

I won’t deny it was pretty miserable to stand in the rain during the game. I was soaked, my glasses were foggy, and I was exhausted. I could complain about how “hard” being at the game was, and in my opinion Baylor did not play their best, however, seeing Shawn Oakman literally pick a guy up and throw him on the ground made it worth while.

Beyond just enjoying the game, today (and most of this week) I have been reminded of how blessed I am and the friends I have made at Baylor. It is not exactly a secret I was not an active student my first couple years of college. I have no regrets for the choices I’ve made, but something within me changed this week. The best way I can describe it is I fell in love with my school all over again. As I reflected on how hard this semester has been, I could not focus only on the bad. I was overwhelmed with all of the good that has come from this semester thus far. I began to feel the memories I have made this semester made up for the “lost” time I was not an active student. In reality, I just began to see how much I have grown and how much I have changed. I no longer saw myself as the person ready to grow up but the person who truly was trying to enjoy life as it comes.

Maybe I’m just feeling nostalgic because I graduate in 56 days, but seeing the life I have been blessed with has filled me with so much joy and happiness this week. I never would have imagined God had such an amazing and perfect plan waiting for me in college. I feel comfortable calling the trials I have been through adventures because they are.

Comparing this post to the rain and the football game, I guess what I’m trying to say is it would have been easy to be upset that Baylor didn’t put up 60+ points on ISU during this monsoon, but it does not mean something positive did not come out of the game. If anything, the Bears still got the win. Likewise, this semester has probably been my hardest semester yet. College has been so much harder than I ever thought. Yet, positive things have still come from this adventure I am on. Even if the only positive from my story is that I stood in the rain to watch a football game, everything is still worth while. Reminding myself of how blessed I am has overwhelmed me with thankfulness and reminded me of how a tough semester has still been a great one.

The rain did not stop Baylor from hanging 28+ points on ISU in the first half
The rain did not stop Baylor from hanging 28+ points on ISU in the first half

So happy homecoming, Baylor nation! I’ll always love ya!

What’s the Risk?

Last night I babysat a couple kids for a professor of mine. After everyone was in bed, I thought I would be a cultured adult and read a book instead of just watching TV. Much to my dismay, I left my copy of “The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn” at home. Without my Huckleberry, I felt I was at a loss. I raided my professor’s bookshelf for what felt like forever before I finally stumbled across “When God Says Jump” by J.R. Briggs. The title certainly seemed interesting so I figured why not give it a try.

The first few pages were nothing but quotes about risks. I was instantly hooked. An excerpt from a quote that stood out to me the most says this – “To love is to risk not being loved in return, to hope is to risk despair, to try is to risk failure, but risks must be taken, because the greatest hazard in life is to do nothing.” Those words hit me pretty hard. I knew I had to continue reading this book.

I only made it through the introduction and a little bit of chapter one before my professor and his wife got home. What I have read so far, however, has made me think. In my personal opinion, it is the sign of a good book when it makes you think.

The introduction begins with the author telling the story of how he was waiting to have lunch with a friend one day when he struck up a conversation with another man in the restaurant. In this conversation, the man told the author he had been an accountant for over 30 years. Naturally, the author believed this man loved his job. Actually, this man hated his job. He told the author he only kept his job because it was simply the safe thing to do.

I’m not sure I know many people who would say they DON’T like feeling safe. It is a natural human instinct. We want to feel secure. We say we love change and that we can embrace it, yet we want change to come on our terms. While some people could say they love to take risks, I feel what most people fear is a lack of control. We know the paths of our lives that are safe because we have been down those roads many times before. But what are we to do when the moment comes and after going left so many times, it is time to turn right?

Turning right takes courage. Turning right is a risk because it is something we have never done before. Turning right requires us to relinquish control and give it to God, without doing something reckless in the process (that’s stupidity, not risk-taking). When God calls us to turn right instead of left, that should be the moment we realize and remember we are made for so much more.

Over the past year, I have learned that I am supposed to live anything but a risk-free life. Because I am called to live like Christ, I am called to live a life of adventure. Not in the glamorous Hollywood style either, but in the all-consuming, self-sacrificing realization of why Christ came to Earth in the first place.

Jesus was the last person to choose “the safe route” during life decisions, so why do we try to play it safe? In his book Dangerous Wonder, author Mike Yaconelli says “Faith has been reduced to a comfortable set of beliefs about God instead of an uncomfortable encounter with God.” The bottom line is taking the risk requires us to follow God even if the obedience is difficult or uncomfortable. Majority of people are unwilling to do this. The risk may not make sense to us, but that is not what is important. The only thing of importance is to follow God because the risk makes sense to him.

Taking the risk will require courage and trust. Taking the risk begins now. This is certainly a challenge Briggs has placed before his audience, I will not deny it. However, I believe Briggs is on to something big. We may not all be the Katie Davis’ of the world who go to Uganda and adopt 14 little girls. We may not all be the Marc Lee’s of the world who defend this nation to the point of being killed in action. But to deny that we are not all called to take risks is a lie. For me, it took falling on my knees before the throne of God to realize the risk He was telling me to take was simply to walk away, and I couldn’t do it. I was too afraid to let go of control. I was too afraid to take the risk. I never want to be that way again.

As I continue to read through this book, I pray I am inspired to take the next risk in my life. I will continue to share my thoughts on what this book is teaching me and how I think everyone could take these words to heart. I pray we are all inspired to take a risk.

Forget and Not Slow Down

I have debated for a few days now what type of post I wanted to do next. I feel as if I am the worst at starting a post, saving it as a draft, and then never coming back to it. Plus, I have had so much on my mind lately I guess you could say I’ve been a little distracted. Still, I feel it is important to share my thoughts about life and life has definitely been a rollercoaster ride lately.

On Saturday I ran a 15k. As I said in my first post, I love running. I’m not always the best, but it is an incredible stress reliever for me. Unfortunately, about 2.5 miles in to my run on Saturday I began to feel a sharp pain in my right ankle. The best description I could think to describe it is I felt as if someone had stabbed my ankle with a knife. It was horrible.

I made it to mile 3 and the medic station. I sat down and elevated my ankle. Naturally, I thought the medics would take a look at my ankle, wrap it, give me some advice, and help me decide if I should keep running or not. I was wrong. The medic basically told me there was nothing he could do for me and I had to decide if it was worth it to keep running or not. After a phone call to my mom, I decided to tough it out and finish the race.

This 15k was easily the hardest race I have ever ran. I did better in my half-marathon (which is dubbed as the toughest half in Texas) than I did in this 15k. I was one of the last one’s to finish, and I was in a lot of pain when I crossed the finish line, but I finished.

I wish I could say my week has improved since Saturday, but it hasn’t. Work has been stressful and school has been even more stressful. Yesterday I got out class and debated skipping the rest of my classes for the day to just go home and cry. I have felt so disorganized lately, and mono is definitely still taking a toll on my body. For a person who can be as type-A as I am, I have felt disappointed in myself for not feeling like I’m on top of things. Everything has just been piling on up and it’s definitely having an effect on me. (Plus my poor Rangers lost today…)

I hate to sound melodramatic, but sometimes I feel as if October is just my kryptonite month. Constantly I feel like things go wrong for me during the month of October. I think the last “good” October month I had was five years ago. Other than that, the October’s that came before and the October’s that came after have all just been hard.

Despite feeling beaten down lately, I have been reminded of this verse –
“Forgetting what lies behind and reaching forward to what lies ahead, I press on toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus.” Philippians 3:13-14.
In all of this craziness of life, it really is easy for me to focus on how hard everything is. How I feel like so much is wrong. Yet I am not designed to look behind. I am not designed to live in the past. What is past is prologue, yes, but I am designed to look forward. This is the only way I can get where I need to go. I wish I knew why things seem to randomly get hard all at one time, but I have taught myself to say what’s life without a couple curveballs?

I never expected my last semester of college to be so stressful. I have days where 66 days until graduation cannot come soon enough, then I have my days where I question if I will even make it to graduation. I cannot emphasize enough how much I feel my faith is constantly being tested. Yet, there is one thing I can always say – through everything, I always make it out on the other side. Life may be hectic and hard right now, but I simply have to trust that God will give me the strength to carry on. Plot twist – He always will.

Surrendering Completely

“Sometimes things find you when you need them to, I believe that. And for me, it’s usually song lyrics.” -Peyton Sawyer, One Tree Hill

Music is interesting in the way it can strike us and in the catharsis lyrics can make us feel. One of the biggest smiles you will ever see on my face comes when I listen to Would You Go With Me by Josh Turner. On the other hand, I cry some of my hardest tears listening to Lost by Chris Young. I feel empowered when I listen to She Don’t Break by Josh Abbott Band and the list goes on.

One song that has really struck me lately is Completely by Among the Thirsty. Completely is a song I have listened to on Spotify countless times, but the song utterly changed for me the day I actually listened to the lyrics.

These past few weeks, especially this past week, have been difficult for me. Recovering from mono and still dealing with the chronic fatigue, random drama with different friends, and the stress of school and work on top of everything else, I became drained emotionally and physically. The worst part of all was the moment I realized I had become drained spiritually. I was missing devotionals and not spending time in prayer like I should have been. I became consumed with the world and the people around me and focused less on what God was trying to tell me.

One day I woke up and realized I didn’t want to live like that anymore. I did not want to let my situations control my life. I remembered who I was and to whom I belong. I wanted that to be the only thing that consumed my life. That’s the day I finally heard the lyrics of Completely.

As I listened to the song, it was as if the story the lyrics told matched up with my life. I was broken down and in pain, but I was trying to return to my Father. I began to let go of the treasures I held close to my heart and hand them over to God. I reached the moment where I finally surrendered everything to God and realized I was His completely. It was all I wanted.

A huge part of my journey right now is God pulling selfishness out my life and leaving nothing inside of me except a longing for Him. He showed me I may be fragile, but everything in my life is exactly where He wants me to be. I became thankful for my situation. I was thankful for to hear no. When I became filled with the Spirit, nothing else in the world mattered. I found myself praising God for being all I need and glorifying Himself in my life. Pastor Charles Spurgeon states it best when he said “If you will but desire God to be glorified and aim at glorifying Him yourself, then the joys of true godliness will come to you in answer to prayer.” Sure, there are prayers in my life I desire to be answered, but when I focus on God’s glory and not my own selfishness, my perspective shifts.

In the craziness of life, I drifted away from God. Yet throughout all my drifting I continually felt Him tugging at my heart and desiring to pull me back in. Sometimes I think we feel like we have to experience huge epiphanies for God to reveal Himself in our lives. Sometimes this may be true. But what I have found is daily God is there moving inside me and opening my mind to Himself. This time, He happened to use music to speak to me. Who knows what He may use next time.

What I am finding important in my life is to continually find myself complete in Him alone. This is the only way I can truly become the person He has created me to be. He is my redeemer. When I remind myself He is more than enough, I find peace. I may be physically and mentally exhausted, but spiritually I find strength. I am who I need to be when I allow myself to be completely His.

The Longest 8 Seconds of Your Life

Bulls & barrels, cowboys & boots and the longest eight seconds of your life. It is Heart of Texas Fair and Rodeo week in Waco, and contestants have come in from all over the nation to compete in the All American Pro Rodeo Finals at the Extraco Events Center.

FullSizeRenderLast night I had the privilege of representing Allen Samuels DCJ at the rodeo draw party. Like Rumble in Riesel, attending a rodeo draw party is something I have never done before. For all that this was a new experience, I love rodeos and this was one of the funnest rodeo events I have ever been to.

Unlike rodeo draw parties similar to that of the National Finals Rodeo, where people spend as high as $60,000 on contestants, this draw party was all in good fun. Each business had $15,000 in HOT money (basically monopoly money) and could bid as little or as much as they wanted on each contestant. I knew things were going to be interesting when bareback rider Jake Brown started off the night by going for all $15,000.

As the night continued, businesses continued to put all their HOT money on single riders. Allen Samuels, however, chose to wait for the right opportunities. We never spent more than $8,000 on a contestant. Businesses definitely knew which contestants they wanted and appeared to do anything to win. When bull rider Pistol Robinson was up for auction, it seemed every business in the room wanted him.

Since so many businesses chose to spend all of their money on individual contestants, it allowed Allen Samuels to acquire the contestants we really wanted. By the time the auction was over, we had saddle bronc rider Cody Wright, barrel racer Brittany Pozzi and tie down roper Mike Johnson.

As much as I love watching rodeos, unfortunately, I had not heard of many of the contestants. Thankfully, Allen Samuels was partnered with the Ram Rodeo representative. He and his wife have been to too many NFR’s to count and he is competing in the NFR this year in team roping. My boss and I let them decide which contestants we should bid on. I would say our strategy was one of the best in the room. Each contestant we acquired is a world champion.

IMG_7245
The auctioneers at the Rodeo Contest Contestant Draw Party in the Extraco Coliseum.

Once the auction was over, each business was allowed the chance to draw for the areas they did not obtain a contestant for. As the Allen Samuels DCJ representative, I had to draw for a bull rider, a bareback rider, a steer wrestler and team ropers. By the time I was done, Allen Samuels had Matt Dunsmore for our bull rider, Scotty NeSmith for our bareback rider, Jace Melvin for our steer wrestler and Dustin Davis and Jordan Olson as our team ropers. Out of the contestants I drew, the only one I had heard of was Matt Dunsmore. But everyone seemed happy with my picks so I figured I did a good job.

Overall, the night was insanely fun and I think Allen Samuels DCJ has a good group to sponsor. Sometimes I forget how much I love rodeos until I get back into the atmosphere. Preparing for HOT week at work has been crazy and so many times I have felt like a bull rider just trying to hang on for those solid eight seconds. Now that fair week is finally here, it may still be a crazy eight second ride, but it will be worth it. I can’t wait to go to the rodeo and see our contestants representing #23 for Allen Samuels DCJ, and I’ll probably wear my “waitin’ on Lane” shirt while I’m at it. So tip your hat to the cowboy because it’s going to be a good ride.

Think Before You Tweet

My beloved team the Texas Rangers have been a focal point of sports media the past few days. I wish I could say it is because they recently became AL West Champs, which is partly true, however, eyes have also been directed to the Rangers social media team.

In case you missed the ESPN headline, a member of the social media team for the Texas Rangers has been fired for misusing social media. On Saturday afternoon during the UT at TCU football game, the Rangers official twitter account tweeted “Fire Charlie.# bye” All in frustration at UT’s loss to TCU (final score was 50-7), the tweet was sent out and then quickly removed from the social media site. Yet in a world of smartphones capable of screen shots, the tweet survived. The team later announced that this member of the social media team had been fired.

I am sure by now everyone has heard to be cautious of what we post on social media, however, I’m not sure people realize just how much it can affect their future. More and more people are having to explain to potential employers they lost their job over careless social media posts. Even more, people (especially people within my age group) do not realize how much potential employers track their social media.

I could name example after example for these situations. I distinctly remember hearing that a member of the pastoral search committee would check my dad’s twitter regularly while they were considering him for the position. I also remember getting lectured by my cheer coach my senior year of high school because the captain posted a tad too much about her body in a Facebook status one day. To have a more recent example, just a month ago I was in a professional development lecture where the guest speaker said her current employer watched her social media for a year before hiring her. I don’t even remember what I was posting about a year ago.

So why are we so careless with our social media? People often tend to think they aren’t hurting anyone by what they post. Society views social media as a personal form of entertainment, and to an extent it is. Yet what people still fail to realize is how social media can be a top networking tool in today’s electronically consumed world. In a society consumed by Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, Instagram, LinkedIn and so much more, it is important to make sure your social media is an even playing field. Obviously all of these sites are used for very different purposes, however, there should be nothing on these sites that raise red flags.

I have both a Facebook and Instagram but very rarely do I actually login to check them. Facebook has become notorious for political debates and that is simply not me. If you wish to know my political beliefs then come with me to Starbucks, I will gladly discuss what I believe in a relaxed and non-hostile environment. But discussing my problems on Facebook is simply asking for people to become frustrated with me. This is not something I desire. Concerning Instagram, quite frankly I just do not find it interesting to see pictures of couples posting the same man crush Mondays and woman crush Wednesdays every week. I have really narrowed down what I post on Instagram to mostly travel. I don’t want people to think my life revolves around one person or one group of people. Twitter is by-far the social media site I frequent the most, yet I still get frustrated when I see my feed full of people I follow posting videos of their drunken adventures and having header photos of their “squad” flipping the camera off.

I am not saying that all social media has to be 110% professional (except for LinkedIn, that should definitely be professional), but people do need to realize that all of our social media platforms brand us in a way. Bragging about last weekend’s party and subtweeting that girl who made you mad three days ago are not ways to gain the respect of your employers. Thinking about social media in the perspective of others can really change the way you look at it.

Social media is complex and there is a lot that can be done with it. I feel it is important to remember you want your social media to make you friends, not enemies. Yet you should still be open to talking about ideas and having someone disagree with you. Social media is like the gymnastics balance beam and it is a hard beam to walk. We are all still trying to figure it out. Each platform is capable of accomplishing completely different goals, and maintaining a positive, professional demeanor will aid in achieving those goals.

I am sorry to the member of the Rangers social media team who was fired. It is a hard lesson learned, but it is an important lesson to learn. My dad told me once a wise man learns from his own mistakes, but an even wiser man learns from another man’s mistakes. Take the mistake of this person and run with it. You should never want to be in the position this person is in now. Always remember social media is how you wish someone who doesn’t know you to view you.