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As the annotated bibliographies were winding down and we all are gearing up for even more writing, the iMedia class revealed their self-portrait projects to each other this week. This assignment gave us the opportunity to open our minds to new ways of expression and creativity through a non-digital self-portrait in Visual Aesthetics with Professor Motley. With Motley being our graphic design professor he decided to throw us a curveball and required us to shut the laptops off and pick up a pen or a paint brush for this assignment.

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By: Juwan Johnson

With each individual in the program possessing their own dynamic personality it was clear we all would produce something very different. We all had many visions of how we could represent ourselves in a creative way, so we all flipped open our sketchbooks and got to work. With ideas twirling and pencils dancing it was a great way to see how creative we could get.

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By: Kyndall DySard

We all definitely pushed the limits of what a self portrait is and the reflection of ourselves were made on paper, canvas, some with wire and yarn, and even a small sculpture(to name a few). With all of these creative geniuses in one place, we all cranked out some quality work! All 26 of us had a unique way of representing ourselves through art and some of us didn’t even know that was possible. Whether it be Expressionism, Realism, Postmodernism, or Formalism we all seemed to enjoy this project! We all may or may not have had a vision and but we all made our portraits come to life. Specifically, our own personal, unique lives. The tale of who we are, what we want to be, or where we came from. Some people took political routes expressing their views of the world, others took it to their passions and what makes them tick. It was entertaining to see how well people in the group know each other and how well we can spot the emotions and feelings put behind it based on the things we know. We may have even figured out even more about each other based on these portraits. For most of us we went with the happy, joyful colors but others went dark and mysterious. It was interesting to see that some of us have a deep side and some of us are just out there, on Mars! But, that’s the fun in it all. The different ways of expression help us not only figure out our creative style and our limits but also those of our peers.

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Portraits by TJ Felton & Kendra Sharpe

All the portraits held a significant meaning to each person but all together served the same goal. That is, to gain approval from Professor Motley…just kidding. But, the goal of accomplishing something many are afraid to do! Putting emotions on display and reflecting to others those things through art are not only challenging but nerve racking too. We all will remember this project and laugh because this is just the beginning. It will be fun to see how different our self perceptions will be in May! Until then, happy writing my fellow classmates!

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Let’s Get to Interviewing

By: Amber McCraw, Assistant Director of Career Services, School of Communications

As our iMedia students are winding down their semester, most of them are thinking about the future. Where will they relocate to and what paths will their careers take? Well, that process of looking towards the future includes interviewing for those future positions that can often for intimidating. In preparation for mock interviews with our students next week, I wanted to provide some quick interviewing tips.

  • Research the company you are interviewing with and the position you are interviewing for. Check the company’s social media pages, website, and even recent news articles to prepare yourself for the interview. You can also speak with any Elon alums or connections who currently work at the company.
  • Remember the interview begins the moment you walk into the office, onto campus, into the building, etc. Be kind to everyone you meet and assume that everyone has a say in whether or not you will be hired.
  • Practice shaking hands with a friend. A firm handshake and good eye contact make a great first impression.
  • Know what skills, accomplishments, and stories you want to highlight throughout the process. Find ways to incorporate those into the answers you provide.
  • When responding to questions, use the STAR method to make sure you’ve provided enough content. Situation, Task, Action, Result. This is particularly applicable to behavioral questions, which usually ask you to refer back to a specific example from your past behavior.
  • Generally, a response to a question should be between 20 seconds and 2 minutes. Use this rule to ensure you don’t leave employers wanting more in your answer nor do you talk so much that they zone out.
  • Don’t forget that you are also interviewing the employer to make sure it is the right fit for you. Always come prepared with questions to ask at the end of an interview. 3 is generally a good number, but you’ll want to have more prepared in case they answer some of them throughout the interview.
  • Always, always send a thank you note (preferably in the form of an email so it will reach them quickly) within 24 hours of the interview. Make sure to mention something specific from the interview to tailor the note.
  • There are many different forms of interviewing: in-person, over the phone, via skype, or even virtual interviewing, which is becoming more popular. Stop by my office in McEwen 101 C or call 336.278.6538 to make an appointment if you have any questions and/or need to prepare for an interview.

Don’t forget to breathe and relax. You have all of the skills necessary to succeed and all of the accomplishments needed to stand out from the crowd. Go rock those interviews!!

Eyeing the future

Nine months behind us. One more to go.

It almost doesn’t seem as if much time has lapsed since that first week of iMedia boot camp, when the class of 2017 gathered in the classroom of our home base, the second floor of Powell. It was during that first week when Professor William Moner asked the class to write responses to four questions on index cards and suggested that what we wrote could later serve as a point of reflection. Some of us heeded that advice.

Beth Pandone keeps her card on the bulletin board above the desk in her bedroom.

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“I like to write down my goals and go through with them,” she said. “This card seemed like an interesting way to keep track of my goals and how I felt in the beginning of the program.”

Although she describes her responses as “vague and basic,” the goals she described then still align with her current plans.

“I still want to create content that is exciting and creative as well as help others,” Beth said. “I think the program allowed me to build the skills needed to do this, and my capstone, which focuses on education and the environment, shows that my goals and focus have stayed the same through this all.”

Now, Beth’s interests have evolved beyond broadcasting to include digital strategy and UX research and design.

Sam Solomon carries her index card around in her backpack. Sam wrote in now-faint pencil strokes that she wants to design and she loves to be creative. She wants to use design for a greater purpose, to improve eh world. As for iMedia, she wrote in August, she wasn’t sure how it would fit into her plans, but “it is a stepping stone.”

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When the program began, Sam wanted to get better at coding. “I can say that I have done just that,” she said. “(I) still have a ways to go, but I definitely know more than I did nine months ago.”

I am now way more interested in interactive design in  general. Prior to iMedia it was hard to imagine what I could do with a masters degree in interactive media but now my eyes have been opened and my head is full of so much knowledge about interactive design.” You can see more of Sam’s design work here.

As for me, I don’t know where put my index card. Good thing I know myself and that I’m prone to lose things. I’m sure that’s why, after writing my responses, I snapped a picture of my index card with my phone. I had forgotten about the picture until I was scrolling through my library recently and puzzled for a second over recognizing my crooked script. The next surprise was how, before dozens of times when I succumbed to fits of doubt about life after iMedia, I seemed to know what I wanted.

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Our class was the second one asked to complete the index card activity, which is meant to help students to start thinking about their progression toward completing a capstone project and post-grad life.

Students often come into the program with more ambitious projects in mind, Moner said. “The reality at the end of the program doesn’t always match, but the intent is still there.”

Looking back at the index cards helps foster a sense that students really accomplished what they wanted initially wanted to. “It might not have been the exact outcome, but … you were going in the right direction,” Moner said.

When I applied to iMedia, I was all but certain I wanted to find some way to launch my own hyperlocal journalism startup. I knew I needed to learn to code, and I felt confident I would master it even though I had already had a series of freakouts while attempting to learn Javascript. I didn’t know there would be so, so many more to come. Even then, I knew I wanted my work to have a broader impact, which is also something I love about journalism. My plans and interests shifted a bit quickly after starting classes last fall. I became interested in content strategy and – another surprise to me – branding. My post-iMedia plans now align my interest in writing and journalism with my newfound interactive skills. I’m excited about what’s next.

Sometimes you have to look back to move forward. Hindsight sharpens the recognition that how far you’ve come makes it easier to complete the journey ahead. Sure, that’s a little cliché, but it’s an idea I’m trying to focus on now that I know the finish line is rapidly nearing on the horizon, but all I see ahead of me is a hill of work I have yet to complete.

“It’s never as bad as you think it is,” Moner said. “And by that I mean, when you’re sort of in the crucible that’s all you can think about, right? But from our perspective, what we see as faculty is a tremendous amount of growth, both in the skills that you have and in the perspective that you bring to new projects and challenges.”

It’s tough to focus on what’s next when you’re still mired in coursework, the job hunt, and piecing together what’s next. Still, in-between hours of studying and working, we have formed lifelong bonds with at least a few of our peers. Maybe more than we can articulate to anyone else who has never experienced this program, we learned to problem-solve and persevere.

Things have worked out for me better than I imagined. I hope that’s true for the rest of iMedia ‘17 or that it will be in the near future.

May the darkest times be when we shine brightest. May we look back on these times with more fond memories than adverse ones. May we find ourselves in the middle of a reality more rewarding than what we ever dreamed each time we reflect on the point when it all started to become possible.

An Ode to the Second Floor of Powell

As the end of the semester approaches, there is a lot of talk of plans for after graduation. For the students, this includes potential jobs, where we will be relocating, and other stressful yet exciting topics. In addition to all of this future planning, it has also come to my attention that our professors will also be relocating to a new building and a new floor that will be the home of the iMedia program. There is talk of what will be left, what will be taken, and when the move will happen. Throughout all of this, I haven’t been thinking much about it, but lately I have been reminiscing on my time in Powell. Maybe it’s the stress or maybe it’s the looming thought of leaving in less than two months. Whatever the reason, I’d like to give some insight on what next year’s students will be missing, as well as what I will miss about Powell. I’d also like a little help from The Office, because The Office was an amazing show and the way we feel about our floor is the way they felt about their office space.

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The second floor of Powell has become a home for all iMedia students. We spend countless hours here, both during classes as well as into the wee hours of the night and morning. We have almost become too comfortable here; often lying on the floor, running around, and just being silly without feeling out of place. We hang out in the lounge, take over the editing bays, and make the entire hallway our own.

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The lounge has been a meeting place for everyone, where we often eat lunch and hang out. We get to spend a lot of time here between classes and it’s almost like a home base of the hallway. We have also made sure to fully caffeinate ourselves with three different coffee machines and a tea kettle taking up most of the free counter space in the lounge.

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The view from Powell is also an incredible thing I will miss. We have a perfect view of the fountain and the space in front of Alamance Building. A lot of action happens here, which can give us a fun break from our work. The Christmas lighting was a great tradition that we got to watch first hand, which brought us into the culture of Elon. I am very happy we got to have such a relaxing view right outside of our building. It’s like we got the golden ticket of views.

 

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We also had a few parties in the hallway, which made it feel even more like a home and gave us some down time to have fun. From Pumpkin Painting to Secret Santa, we had our share of good times that I won’t soon forget.

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We have claimed the hallway as our own, as I’m sure every class does, and I hope every class after us will do. While the iMedia program will be moving next year, the excitement and passion that the students bring will remain as will the encouragement and guidance of the professors. I will miss my time spent in Powell, and can’t wait to come visit the next classes and see what they have down with their new hallway.

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My Mid-Semester Resolutions

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Miramar Beach, Florida

As I’m writing this post, I’m looking out the window at a big patch of green grass, sunny skies, and a clock that’s waiting to tell me in an hour that I’ve earned some beach time. Spring break introduces a challenge to prioritization. On one hand, studies show that taking a vacation (or a break in general) is good for your health. It not only clears your mind to improve your focus when you get back to work, but it also improves your heart health. On the other hand, I made a to-do list of about a million things I should really get done over the break to prevent my workload from being overwhelming next week, and getting all of them done means there won’t be much of a break at all.

As someone who likes to plan ahead, it can be hard to tune out stressors. At this point in the program, there seems to be a lot of stress about finding a job, finishing our projects, and keeping it all together. I decided I would take this break to reflect on what I want my last two months (!!) in the program to look like, and come up with some resolutions to make that happen.

  1. I will embrace everything I have learned about myself and media production in the program. For our fly-in, I served as the Project Manager of the Costa Rica team. The task was very challenging, but I came out of the experience feeling more prepared for real-world experience than I did upon entering the program. It instilled confidence in me that I can handle any challenge that comes my way. In addition to that, I have improved my video editing skills and my knowledge of using DSLRs for videography. I can code a site that doesn’t look like it was made in 1995! I’m still learning every day.
  2. I will focus on my time left in iMedia – not wish it away in favor of getting a job. One of the biggest appeals of this program is how marketable we can become to employers. Elon University provides so many networking and career-building opportunities for us to find our dream jobs. A good portion of our class is made up of students who came straight from undergrad, and that means -for most of us, anyway- that we don’t know exactly what that dream job looks like. There is so much room for trial and error in our job search and in the jobs we take as we figure out what that dream job really entails. My biggest resolution is to focus on what I can still learn over the next few months. That includes editing a short comedy film for Advanced Video Production, mastering Cinema 4D, and learning the Bootstrap framework. I want to dedicate my time to those things- even if it means putting the job hunt aside for now.
  3. That being said, I will still utilize the services offered at Elon. Amber McCraw compiled a fabulous list of tasks to prep for our job search as iMedia students. I will commit to completing most of these tasks before I graduate… after I finish my homework!
  4. I will express gratitude to everyone who has helped me get through this whirlwind of a year. We could not have gotten this far without the support of the iMedia faculty, staff, and our friends and family. I am declaring on the internet in all its permanence that I will write some thank you notes and emails to the people who have supported me on this endeavor. It’s such an easy way to spread positivity and brighten someone’s day, including your own!
  5. I will take that break! For now that means walking on a white sandy beach, but for the next two months I will rest my eyes for a few minutes after editing for hours or walk to Moseley and back between classes. I only have a couple of months left to enjoy our beautiful campus and I can’t let that time pass me by!

What are your mid-semester resolutions?

 

Dream Job

I recently traveled to San Francisco for a conference and was able to make time to visit iMedia alumnus, Nick Margherita. Nick is video producer at CBS Interactive creating video content for the gaming-focused website GameSpot.  http://www.gamespot.com

Nick, joyfully, told me all about his job, how he landed it, and its correlation to his Interactive Media Master’s degree from Elon.

“As a video producer, I primarily write and edit entertainment content for GameSpot.com and GameSpot’s multiple social media outlets. These videos include things like gameplay clips, op/ed features, and extensive reviews. Aside from writing and editing, I also host live streams and roundtable chats discussing the latest video games and television shows.

“When I was preparing to graduate from iMedia, my dream was to work at ESPN. I felt that this combination of video production and sports would fulfill both my personal interests and professional aspirations. So with the help of Elon’s vast communications network I was able to get my foot in the door at ESPN as a production assistant. But within my first month at ESPN, I realized that live television production is vastly different from the videos we were producing in iMedia. I often felt that my creativity was being limited, and although it was an extremely hard decision to make, I decided to leave the company and television production in general.

“When I made the decision to move to San Francisco, I did not have a job but what I did have was the confidence in my iMedia master’s education and degree.

“Still, landing a job in SF was not as easy as I’d expected. I spent about three months couch-hopping around the city freelance editing for various tech start-ups. After struggling to find consistent freelance opportunities, I decided to join a creative agency to offer my skills to a more widespread clientele. Fortunately, when the agency learned that I had earned my master’s degree in Interactive Media and was well-versed in multiple skill sets aside from just video production, my resume rose to the top of their list. Within a few weeks I’d received an offer to be a full-time video producer at CBS Interactive.

The people I work with are by far the best part of my job. It’s a group of creative individuals who are super passionate about games, television and movies both in and outside of work. I can confidently say that I am excited to get up each and every morning to work with some of the gaming industry’s most respected and brightest writers and producers. And obviously having the opportunity to create content that I am interested in is a major plus and makes work feel a little less like work.”

Nick’s advice for people considering iMedia,

“Whether you are a recent college graduate or an experienced professional, if you are unsure of what career path you are passionate about and communications and media interest you, then iMedia is the perfect solution. When my undergraduate education came to a close I was still unsure of what exactly I wanted to pursue within the realm of communications. iMedia not only guided me in my journey to discover my interest in video but it also gave me the tangible skills necessary to succeed in the professional production world. Both the program itself and its faculty and staff changed my life in an incredible way, and I owe much of my success to iMedia.”

And naturally, words of advice to our current class,

“It sounds cliché, but don’t be afraid to fail or make mistakes; everything happens for a reason. When I first left ESPN, moved to San Francisco, and was jobless for three months, I thought I’d made the biggest mistake of my life. But now, nearly a year later, I couldn’t be happier with my past decisions. I honestly feel that I am a stronger individual because of the lessons I learned from those “mistakes.” The real world can be overwhelming sometimes and not go the way you plan. But if you work hard, focus on your goals, and have a positive attitude, then you can land your dream job. Or maybe even discover your dream like I did.

“In short, cherish your time at Elon with your classmates and professors, as I miss the campus and its people everyday! Thank you for giving me the opportunity to share my thoughts and experiences, and best of luck to both current and future iMedia students!”

Information about CBS Interactive: CBS Interactive is made up of multiple online brands that include: CBS News, CNET, CBS Sports, GameSpot, Giant Bomb, Metacritic, Last.fm, etc. GameSpot provides news, reviews, and other information on video games, entertainment, and other fun aspects of “geek” culture. 

 

Thanks Nick….

 

 

Demand for iMedia Skills Continues to Grow

You’ve probably started to notice the shift. #iMedia17 has shared details about projects, offered insight about class assignments, and now, students are preparing for the end of their 10-month graduate school journeys. With just a little more than two months left before graduation, the job search is on and the pace for life after iMedia will be soon be set for these budding professionals.

And there’s a lot to look forward to. A quick internet search sheds light on how much digital and creative skills are in demand in a wide range of industries. Look further and you’ll learn more about the benefits of working in digital careers, key skills needed and the most sought-after job titles.

With help from CNNMoney and Payscale, let’s take a peek at a few iMedia-friendly positions and the job outlook of each. In the Best Jobs in American 2017 list, these sources highlight the “top 100 careers with big growth, great pay and satisfying work.” Here are 10 jobs from the list that are popular among iMedia graduates.

               JOB  MEDIAN PAY 10-YEAR JOB GROWTH
#1 – Mobile Applications Developer $97,100 19%
#14 – Webmaster $61,200 27%
#26 – Community Relations Manager $63,600 10%
#30 – Brand Manager $89,800 9%
#42 – Social Media Manager  $57,400 9%
#47 – Front End Developer/Engineer $81,000 27%
#56 – Videographer $49,600 12%
#57 – User Interface Designer $73,800  27%
#68 – Content Strategist $84,400 19%
#99 – User Experience Designer $85,900 13%

Visit CNNMoney for the complete list. For more about the Elon M.A. in Interactive Media program, visit elon.edu/imedia.