Xcelerate 2017: Week 3

This week was a bit different because it’s the first week that I’ve helped teach two different classes in a single day. It’s definitely a lot simpler to teach the same class twice. By the time the second class rolls around, I’ve really figured out the content, and I’m able to help in more ways.

Teaching only one class a day came into play with App Adventures, my afternoon class where I was to help students put together an app game. There were a variety of factors that made me less able to help as much as I would have liked. Less exposure to the material was one of the reasons, and the other reason was that I was unable to be hands on with the program to really know where everything was.

Being hands on with the program was really the only reason that I was able to understand the game programming class I assisted last week. It’s one thing to understand what the kids are supposed to do, but it’s another thing entirely to know where they are supposed to click to get there.

Many of the concepts in this class are extremely similar to the concepts from my previous game maker classes and computer programming classes. It’s just unfortunate that the format of this particular class doesn’t allow me to work with the program myself.

Other than that, this week took me back to my roots! Lights, Camera, Action started up this week, and I’m happy to report that we stuck with the newer class format that we started last year. In this newer format, the kids are able to have a bigger role in creating their own original story. It’s definitely a bit more stressful from a teacher’s standpoint because there is less control to make sure everything is done correctly, but I think the kid’s get a better understanding of making films from it.

My group for this particular class chose a bit of a creepy story. I promise I had absolutely nothing to do with it. They made it on their own. On Monday, they split into groups and put their story together. On Tuesday, we drew up a storyboard and started filming. Wednesday and Thursday were both spent finishing up the necessary camera work. Surprisingly, my group was able to get a look at editing on Friday. It was a very eventful week.

Once the films from this week are available on YouTube, I will most likely be sharing them here. There is one more Lights, Camera, Action camp this summer, and I will be a part of that next month.

Until then, I have several other camp experiences to have! I will continue to write about these experiences as I have them.

Xcelerate 2017: Week 2

Oh boy. This week was a doozy!

During this second week of the summer camps, I was working in classes where kids were learning how to design and program their own video games. My experience in this particular area was a bit limited, but I was happy to see that it very closely resembled basic concepts of coding with html and what little knowledge I have of computer programming.

After a rough start, I was able to get on board with the kids in the class. I did this by making my own little game at the same time as them. It helped me understand why specific actions were being taken and how to go about getting those actions to work properly. I never would have been able to keep up if I weren’t working with the program myself.

It was definitely a challenging week. I found myself oddly stressed about things I had no control over. This has never occurred with me during these summer camps before.

In the end though, I just hope the kids had fun and they’re proud of the games they created. I know I’m pretty proud of the one I did at least. I called it S’mores Galore. You go around as a poorly drawn marshmallow, collecting chocolate and avoiding campfires. It’s a hoot.

Xcelerate 2017: Week 1

As a general update, I have started my role as an assistant youth instructor for the summer camps at my local community college. This is my fifth year working with the camps. This year is also my biggest work load.

I started off the camps, only working with Lights! Camera! Action! because that was my area of expertise. Last year, I was given the opportunity to explore other camps, and this year I have been given that opportunity again.

During my first week, I helped out with Camp Ukulele. It’s really inspiring to see all of these children who have a desire to learn music, and even more so, the children who already know how to play some instruments. I wish I knew how to play an instrument! I picked up on some of the teachings about the ukulele, so maybe I’ll give that a try myself. 

I will be working pretty consistently through the months of June and July. Work on my next short film may be delayed more than I was anticipating, but I will try to keep things moving. Weekly Review Wednesdays will continue as scheduled. I will try to keep updates at least semi-regular!

Social Media Management

I operate as social media manager for 2 different entities, plus managing my own media presence. There are really two very important rules to follow and that is 1) Content is key and 2) Time is of the essence. These are really the main things to remember and it is much harder than it looks.

Content is Key

When trying to create a media presence, it is important to keep posting new content. I know a lot of people snub their noses when they receive a ton of emails in the morning or when a Twitter feed is filled with nonstop updates, but that is really the only way to keep people interested. If there isn’t any new content, then people will stop checking your site. It’s as simple as that.

This is a problem that I have with one of the entities in which I’m managing the social media presence. There really is no content to be posting. In the past, I have tried going on my own and creating content to keep viewers interested, but I found myself being reprimanded by the producer for doing so. Needless to say it has severely dampened any interest I have in devoting my own time to creating content. This Facebook page remains barren with not a single post in 6-7 months and the amount of people engaged with the entity really reflects this.

Time is of the Essence

The thing about social media and the internet in general is that it has seriously decreased people’s attention span. They want their information short, sweet and to the point. Not to mention, they don’t want to have to wait days for an update like they did back in the days where postage mail and Sunday papers were the reigning means of information and contact. Viewers carry around computers in their pockets that get them the information they want whenever they want it. We have to be ready to create our content just like that.

This brings in an example from the second page that I co-manage with a second person. The production company created a program that would be airing on television, and we told viewers that they would hear from us what day it would be airing as soon as we found out. When we found out, it didn’t end up that way. Instead, a second party was told before we spread the word to our viewers, so our viewers heard from someone else before they heard from us. We ended up not making a post about it until almost 2 days after we could have and should have.

When it all comes together, creating content every day and making sure that news is delivered as timely as possible is a massive chore. Since I also manage my own media presence, I can really do a lot with it. This blog post is part of managing my media presence. I try as hard as I possibly can to make a blog post every day. I’m not going to lie. Somedays this doesn’t work out in my favor. Either I can’t think of what to write about or I have other obligations that make posting impossible. I still have to try. On my Facebook page, I try to make a post there every day as well, separate from this blog. It all adds up, and it’s no wonder that this is a career for people.

I guess the point of this post is to really solidify the fact that you shouldn’t knock the job of being a social media manager. It’s a lot more work than you’d expect.