When you find what you love, chase it.

“Use CMU to find out what you’re good at. Whittle it down. Whatever comes from your classes, use it, and when you find what you love, chase it. Chase it for the rest of your life. Then you’ll be doing something you want to do.” – Jeff Daniels

Who would have thought that Jeff Daniels would have given me the best career advice out of everyone in this world? A man that doesn’t know me, who called me once, gave me excellent advice to give to students around the school.

But it really felt like he was talking to me, too.

I’ve spent the last six years at Central Michigan University. I’ve spent countless hours on campus, in classes, participating in extracurriculars, going to football games and taking pride in being a Chippewa.

I’ve cried more times in classrooms and in the library than I want to admit. I’ve laughed with so many friends in the dining halls, and I’ve met some really radical people who helped shape me into who I am today.

Central Michigan University was my home before I was a student here. I grew up on its campus. I broke my arm in fourth grade in Anspach Hall. I met my first mentor in Moore Hall. This place helped me grow into my own, and it pushed me to be a better me.

It’s been six years. I can’t believe that in that time I’ve gotten so many useful life skills. I know how to network. I know how to create stories worth reading. I can take a photo and make it look damn good.

It’s been six years of searching for my passion, and Central helped me find it. I love sharing people’s stories. I love being able to connect them with the community that surrounds them. I love that I have the power to do that through my words, and I love that people trust me to share their stories.

I’ve found what I love, and in 10 days, I get to start chasing it.

Fire Up Forever.


I don’t want to let you down

Joe Hertler and The Rainbow Seekers at South By Southwest

AUSTIN, TX – Joe Hertler stood alone on a small coffee house stage with a harmonica strapped around his neck, the Michigan flag draped over his shoulders and an acoustic guitar slung across his body.

In 2009, Hertler was playing solo shows at nearly empty bars for little to no money.

Almost six years later, Hertler and his Lansing-based band, Joe Hertler and The Rainbow Seekers, have a record contract. They have spent the last two months touring the country, fulfilling a dream most local bands only hope to achieve.

Read more on MLive.com.

(This article originally appeared online for MLive.com as SXSW coverage of the band. I’m turning it in for homework.)

Thought Piece 3: audio and visual elements

Chapters eight, nine and ten all discuss audio and visual elements of storytelling. All three chapters emphasize that audio is the most important part of the process. If you don’t have good audio, you don’t have a good story. Chapter eight is all about collecting audio and the stories you can tell with it. If you think of everything as a radio show, you can tell your story and then add in the visuals. Chapter nine talks about adding the visuals to the audio and keeping the audio your priority. The visuals push the audio along, but they aren’t the most important part of the story. Chapter ten discusses how to keep the visuals interesting as well. The different angles they use to tell stories are important.

In Chapter ten, the author discusses the “bread and butter” of visuals: the wide shot, the medium shot, the close-up shot, the point-of-view shot and the reaction shot. These shots alone can tell the story better because they have a variety. If each shot is shown for five seconds each, it can be a 25 second audio story, which is plenty. I also found it handy that they gave alternatives for recording devices in Chapter eight.

In Chapter nine, the story “Waiting to Die” by Liz O. Baylen of the Los Angeles Times is incredible because of the combination of audio and visuals. He’s talking about his life and the times he’s had and basically that he’s waiting to die. You see him and his family and his house and how lonely everything is.

As for Soundslides, I understand that it’s a great tool for some people to use, especially those who aren’t familiar with other programs. I, however, would prefer to use something like FinalCut or Premiere because I’m familiar with the tools. The video on Soundslides was very helpful, though. I also appreciate that the program is relatively cheap.

I was impressed to see Liz O. Baylen because she has been a great writer to follow. Her stories have always had a great flow, and “Waiting to Die” is no exception. Her storytelling in this story is very personal and I think she captures his life and death through those photographs and audio very well.

Video Shootout: Hall of Heroes

We had to do a video shootout for class, and our group ended up at the Hall of Heroes. The comic book shop right next to Central Michigan University’s campus hosts game nights frequently, including Heroclix, Dungeons and Dragons and Magic the Gathering. Check out the video for more on the store.

Thought Piece 2

In Chapter Five, the book talks about the autofocus capabilities of some lenses. It reads that most professionals prefer to use manual focus. The book teaches that zooming all the way in on the subject, then focusing, then zooming back out is the best way to achieve the correct focus for shots. Lighting is another fascinating subject. Different lighting situations will create different feels for the video.

It was interesting to learn that the focus will stay with the subject even after zooming out when manual focus is applied. This isn’t extremely surprising, though, because it is the same thing for still photos. Seeing a diagram for how a four-point lighting set up works was wonderful.

The how-to video from chapter six about tripods was very useful. It reminds people that when using the telephoto lenses, movement can be amplified on the screen for viewers. The movement can be distracting and annoying. Using a tripod reduces this movement greatly. It helps focus on subjects better without distractions.

Ken Kobre did a fine job of capturing different light types in chapter seven. He wanted to make sure people understood the different types and had great visuals for each kind.