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Day 23 - Guest Blogger: Ryan Enns

I've asked a new friend of mine, Ryan Enns, to put together a few examples of what he does for a living and I must say it's very cool. At least I think so. BUT before you go any further, please, PLEASE, make sure you have a copy of Adobe Reader installed on your computer OR go download it for FREE HERE Trust me, you will want it later on!I've asked Ryan to post something for me because I think production extends beyond the editing suite and cameras, it goes all the way into construction, blueprints and building structures. Film, graphic, and design production all have similar attributes to the world of construction and when you look at Ryan's 3d work (in ADOBE READER) you will see why.

Here's Ryan.

My good friend Matt asked me to post a little ditty about me – the boss, myself – the employee, and I – the administrator. Yes, you guessed it, I work for a very small company, Workpoint Steel Detailing. I needed to get out of where I was, and get back into what I loved… steel construction. For some reason, if it’s steel, I can build it. If it’s wood or concrete, someone else can build it. Whether it’s the simplicity, complexity, or just the fact that you can weld it… I have a passion for seeing it stand on its own. Some say it’s not pretty, it’s too cold, it’s too flimsy-looking. But to me, it’s a thing of beauty and what all buildings should be built of. Architects, are you listening?

I produce steel shop drawings for local fabrication shops to build and erect every piece of steel in a construction project. This includes beams, columns, braces, stairs, handrails, ladders, etc. I take the architectural and structural drawings of a building, extract all the structural steel from those drawings, and individually draw each piece of steel on it’s own drawing for the fabrication shop to fabricate, paint, ship to the site, and install within a sixteenth of an inch. Not so easy when you start adding concrete, wood, site conditions, changes to the buildings’ design by the architect and the engineer.

The software that we use is SDS/2, a three dimensional (3D) modeling software that is designed specifically for steel. It models, bolts, welds, connects, and calculates the steel structure (YOU NEED ADOBE READER FOR THIS. VERY COOL I PROMISE) that I build in true 3D. I can orbit the model and place every piece of steel in exactly the right spot. Once the model is complete, the program will automatically generate a two dimensional installation T1 drawing which shows the framing layout of all the structural steel, and individual shop drawings  for each piece of steel. The program-generated installation and shop drawings are supplied with dimensions and text. But there is still time devoted to cleaning up the drawings and adding in additional information. C2 Every hole, weld, and dimension of every piece of material is necessary for the fabrication shop to build the exact piece of steel that fits in the project… all within a sixteenth of an inch!

After spending many years as a ticketed welder on the shop floor inhaling welding smoke, getting slivers of steel stuck in my eye, and lighting a few things on fire (including myself), there’s a reason I like the virtual world! As a structural steel detailer, I like to claim that I’m the smartest person working on the project because I’m the only one with a model! Architects and engineers are slowly coming on board with programs such as Revit, and other 3D modeling software. We can import their model into our SDS/2 program, process it, and return it to them as the completed project. Now there’s one model completely built before a shovel touches the ground. Soon, electrical, plumbing, heating and air conditioning, etc. will be doing the same. No longer are the architects dreaming in 3D, drawing their design on 2D drawings, myself reading and interpreting their drawings, recreating it in 3D just to put it back into 2D for the shop to build.

Thanks for reading. Hope this was an intriguing view through my little porthole that I call my job. Thanks again to Matt for his request to guest blog for his December marathon!

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Day 19 - Guest Blogger: Matt Morgan

I've had the chance to know Matty Morgs for a couple years now. He is a very talented designer and he's learned a lot in design and the business side of things since I first met him. Matt offers some great insight and ideas for all clients and he doesn't disappoint below. Be sure to check out his WEBSITE
*Be sure to check out a couple pieces of his work below too.
morgs1
INFLUENCING FACTORS: Understanding Pricing In The Design Industry
Your Clients Deserve To Know
The development of creative technologies we are seeing in our time undoubtedly brings on a consistent flow of new possibilities in the world of design. With the ability we now possess to collectively piece things together (and just as quickly tear it all apart), all sorts of new expressions and opportunities have emerged. As creative people, we prefer not to nail things down - Can you really blame us for not wanting to put a limit on "what could be?"
The industry, by that nature, is continually changing and quite progressive. And while this allows for much innovation, when it comes to doing business, foundations need to be laid and there are certain things that just have to be nailed down. Without doing so, prices seem rather subjective making it quite difficult for a client to know what they’re getting into. And as you provide a service, your clients will appreciate you for being honest and upfront about what it takes rather than masking your process in obscurity.
Essentially there are a few key factors which influence my pricing. Factors I believe the client deserves to know. Below, I have listed the key factors I use to let my clients in on the process and help them to understand why we charge what we do:

GOING RATE
Current trends in the industry.
It is good to know what else is available to your client.

QUALITY
Ability & experience of the designer.

Position yourself vs. what is out there.Once you decide where you fit in that bracket by gauging your abilities and industry experience (business knowledge and your ability to work with clients is just as important as skill).
With the above two considered, I am able to develop a list of standard rates which I then adjust higher or lower based on the follow 3 categories.

CREATIVITY
The originality of thought, expression & imagination.

What is the client asking for? Will this demand a lot of mental energy or is it simple to produce? Does it give off a really fresh vibe or is it as 'fresh' the sushi at the grocery store?
TIME

Turnaround alloted for & estimated hours from conception to completion.
What kind of deadlines is the client looking at? Is it a rush job or do you have ample time? And most importantly, how long is the thing going to take?
LICENSING
Nature of the final product and how it will be used.

Let's use a t-shirt as an example - if the client will be making money from your work, you should be charging more.
And when it comes to a logo/brand, this is worth more than the basic design as this will become your client's identity which will be used on stacks of product and communication pieces.
*Don't give away your source files - The client is paying for a finished piece, if they want to take your work and turn it into anything they want, they should be paying for it.

Quality, creativity and the unique requests of the client all get factored in to the going rate and we arrive at our quote.
May you and your clients stand on solid ground.
morgs3morgs2

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Day 14 - Guest Blogger: Dan Richardson

**I met Dan back in the days of college. We have both gone our own ways, but have stayed somewhat in touch. Since he has started at the cross current church, I've been watching from afar and enjoying the work they've been doing. I enjoy seeing churches trying to communicate in new, effective ways. It can only happen from trying and Dan is doing a great job. Here's Dan! drichardson

In March of 2006, I got this crazy dream burned into my heart to start a church that was solely about reconnecting people to Jesus.  I had been a youth pastor for about 6 years up until this point and just had this feeling like I wasn't aligned with who I was created to be.  After getting permission to start a new church from the church I was currently at, my family and 4 other couples embarked on a journey into the abyss of the unknown.  We called up SilverCity, secured the rent, bought a big sound system and started meeting! 3 years later, we have grown in every way possible and learned a whole lot of what TO do and what NOT to do.

As a church we love using technology and the implications it has on spreading the gospel in a way never done before in the history of the world.  But like everything that can be used for good, it brings with it some cautions that unless headed, could lead into dangerous territory.

I took a few minutes to just think through what some of the pros and cons were when it comes to technology in the church and what our experiences with it have been.  I happen to love technology so I'm biased.  With that, here are some of the pros we've experienced.

Communicates the gospel to more people, faster

I think one of the biggest ways we are seeing this happen is through Facebook. We have set up a Fan Page for our church and use it as a home base for a lot of our content.  Each week we put up our messages and announcements and whatever promos we have done during the week.  We feed our content into the page using ping.fm.  Just this September we had someone show up because they found our podcast on itunes.  Oh, and I failed to mention that they moved here from Newfoundland!

Engages the community

This Christmas we are doing something called “The 12 Days of Christmas” where we elicited the participation of the community in a project that is bringing hope to those who don't have any this Christmas.  Facebook was the platform we used to get the word out.  Here's the promo video we made for it.  It was kind of a last minute idea that was worked out in about 4 hours, from inception to completion.  But we were happy with the end result and are serving a ton of people that we wouldn't have come in contact with otherwise.

Connects people in our church throughout the week rather than just once a week

Last January we stumbled on something called Unifyer.  Up until this point were meeting once a week in the theatre and trying to make what we have called UnderCurrents work, which are our version of “small groups”.   It's a place where the communication is decentralized and doesn't have the 'noise' of Facebook.  Where before we had to rely on the bulletin to say what we needed to say and that was that, now we can update whenever we need to and everyone gets that ability.  It has totally changed the way community and connection happens at our church.  It's the continuation of real life friendships that happen on Sundays throughout the week.

All these pros are also accompanies by a few cons that we have encountered along the way.

Not everyone is technologically inclined

This is something that we didn't really think through that well.  We made the assumption that everyone was on the net or would at least try when that isn't the case.  They're not.  We're still trying to figure out how to fix this.  We had to ask ourselves a few questions when it came to this.

    1. If it's something key that if they don't get involved with they will be left out, ask yourself if you're willing to lose them over it?
    2. Or are you willing to put in extra work to make sure they aren't left out?  Is it worth the sacrifice? Technology can become what we worship rather than Jesus

It's vital that technology remains slave to your mission, not the other way around.  We love video at our church. We just got our first HD video camera in January so we've been going nuts.  We wanted to be sure that we didn't get the cheapest model out there and opted for the Sony HDR-FX7 which has been pretty good.  Not the best but better than the worst for sure.  The challenge is that we can start to think that we wouldn't be able to communicate the gospel without a camera at least in the room.  And before we know it, the camera has taken the place of Jesus.

It can turn your church into a show and remove the intimacy of just real, raw human stories.

The truth of the matter is that it's pretty easy to create a compelling story via video. There's no mess.  At least on the screen there isn't (or shouldn't be!).  The mess is in the production and the cutting and editing and lighting and script and everything else that goes along with it.  When it comes time to put it up on the screen, it should be beautiful. Here's an example of what I'm talking about.  This took a lot of work and we actually had to learn how to use After Effects to pull this off because our lighting was so hack!  The challenge is that producing stories that are slick and polished can sometimes take away from the reality of what our stories are actually like...messy.  Videos like this makes it easy to control the outcome.  Putting a mic in someone's face doesn't.  It's freaky.  But sometimes the messiness of someone's story is communicated best in a messy, non polished way.

So there you have it.  Some of the pros/cons of technology in our church.  There's so much more but this is the gist of it.  If you have some creative and inventive ways you are using it in your church, I'd love to hear from you!

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Day 11 - Guest Blogger: Geoff Edwards

*I've had the chance to know Geoff for a number of years. The man is generous, talented and knowledgeable. He has a wealth of experience in all areas of production and it's great to have him sharing a few things here. Thanks Geoff! When Matthew asked me to guest post on his blog I was a little flattered. Then I was a little concerned about making time to get it done and to not look foolish in the process. Finally, I threw all caution to the proverbial wind and got into it.

geoff_e

I am a voice actor. No, I am a multimedia producer. No, I am an entrepreneur. No, I’m a sound designer. No, I’m a video producer-writer-director-editor …my point being that I figured out a while ago not to rely solely on one skill set. So I am all of those things and the internet has helped me to flourish in each. I was an early adopter of the Internet. I built my first web site in 1996. By 1997 coming from a career in broadcasting I had figured out that for a guy with some of my skills the Internet was really a broadcasting network. This caused me to hook-up with like minded people in the streaming media business. By the fall of 1997 along with a couple of side-kicks (a comic and an animation voice actor) I was hosting a web cast that played exclusively Canadian music and that gained a varied audience around the world. I learned a enough about SEO to get my name to float to the top of the Google for several periods of time and at one time I was top of the list of ‘voice actor’ in the world according to Google. Today I work with traditional broadcasters putting a voice to commercials and TV Promos. I am a regular voice for APTN a Canadian broadcasting network. The Internet has allowed me to network and collaborate with like minded people. I work with many talented people around the world including my pal James Farr from Tulsa who is a creative powerhouse in animation and is always honing an intellectual property of some sort and has made some good in-roads into Hollywood. I play the lead character in his Xombie web series. David Bouchard is a bestselling author from BC who allowed me to collaborate with him on seven published works over the last ten years. Our latest project released this summer is a book with a DVD produced by me. And film maker Bob Fugger whose film projects always seemed to find a spot for me to make a contribution, both on camera and in post production as sound designer. I have been lucky to gather around me tools many people consider toys and to ‘play’ with them for pay. Being fully networked has allowed me to do a lot of things across Canada and around the world.

Tools I use every day? Sony Soundforge Pro, for me it is the fastest way for my voice recordings to move from production, to post, to mastered. I edit video with Sony Vegas Pro, its onboard effects and transitions’ are so easily accessible, it helps me get results fast. All my life I have been an avid photographer. I had my first video camera in 1991 and I shoot video and stills; regularly integrating images with Photoshop into video productions.

I can’t imagine retiring from something I get so much enjoyment from. So you’ll find me doing pretty much the same sorts of things for some time to come. You can follow along if you like at www.geoffedwards.ca and www.streamworks.ca

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Day 06 - Guest Blogger: Nora Baterdok

I'm introducing Nora to you. I've known Nora since an audition class with Ozone. You'll see from her story, a little passion can go a long way... I met Nora at an audition class put on by Ozone Ent. a few years ago. It's amazing how in the business of production you never who you will meet, when you will meet them and what effect that could have - just read what Nora has to say! My name is Nora Baterdok. I am an actress, originally from Edmonton, AB. From the time I was young I was fascinated by TV. I used to get my mom to buy the Los Angeles times just so I could see if there was anything about Hollywood in it. I come by my acting naturally, my mom won several awards when she was young for drama! As I grew up my life took me in other directions. There wasn't much in Edmonton for film and television. Instead I became an entrepreneur! My favorite super hero has always been Superman. You can imagine, I have always been a huge Smallville fan. At age 28 I found out Smallville is filmed in BC. I decided I wanted to move to BC and be on it! Not a small feat, coming from Edmonton, but if you don't try you never know! That is what brought me to BC in 2003. I started off with my first background job a month after I moved here. It was on the movie White Chics. I fell in love with being on set and eventually made it onto Smallville! I like to read and watch hockey. I like road trips and just meeting and talking to people. I find all forms of art interesting.

norabaterdok

I have been an actor/background performer in Vancouver for about 6 years. I have learned a few things along the way!

1) Don't take anything too personally. If you audition and don't get the part, it has little to do with you being 'good enough' or 'not good enough'. Some people will just have the right look!

2) No matter how small or big the job is, always show up prepared and be happy to be there. You never know when your attitude will give you more than 'what you know' will. People notice the bad attitudes, but they notice the good ones too. I have had this notion both do me good and BAD. Someone is always watching or listening! Everyone has good days and bad days, but try and put your best foot forward all the time.

3) Treat people with respect. When you are an actor, treat the background well, when you are doing background, treat PA's with respect. Everyone on set has a job to do and it is JUST AS IMPORTANT as the next person's job. Remember the Golden Rule. If you treat people as equals it will be noticed and appreciated. Many of the people doing jobs you might deem 'unimportant' are writing their own screenplays! Everyone starts somewhere...

4) Have something else to do. The industry is unpredictable and having another skill to market is important. When it's good, everyone is working, when it is slow...it is SLOW.

5) Have FUN! You can learn many things by watching and observing what people do on set. There are many different jobs, many different skills that can be used. If you don't know what you want to do for a living, go work on a set for a day! There is alot to choose from!

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Day 04 - The Host of The Living Young & Free Show

If you've been a frequent reader on the Hawkins blog, you've probably seen me post about Living Young & Free. I've asked Cheryl to write up a post and you need to check this out, including an episode of their show at the bottom!

My name is Cheryl Wiens. I am a Program Manager for Currency Marketing, and of my multi-faceted job description, one of my favorite roles is playing the Host of the Living Young & Free Show.

The LYFS is focused on giving the 25 and under crowd tips, tricks and hacks to get the most out of your money. Young & Free is a credit union movement that gives young people a voice, a head start and useful information. For the whole story on Young & Free you can click here.

Matt asked me to share a bit about how I got into hosting, my behind the scenes work, and what I’ve learned. And since a) I generally do what I’m asked b) I was flattered by the asking and c) I like breaking things down into 3 points…. Here we go!

My Jump into Being a Host

First off, if you compare my social network profiles, or my bio on Currency’s website, you will see that my typical “about me” section includes something along the lines of: • I believe sounds effects often describe better than words. • The concept of "inside voices" eludes me and I laugh extremely loud-often at inappropriate times... • I do the best chipmunk Christmas song impression you will ever hear. • I like CUs, laughing, and pushing buttons to see what they do • I come armed with a great sense of humour and a muppet-sized smile

To sum up, I am not a shy person, I like being loud and ridiculous, and I like to take a humorous or light approach to things. So when we started discussing the idea of putting together a show to discuss financial topics in a way that is fun and relevant for Gen Y (my generation) I wanted to be involved.

Because the show was to be a collaboration of segments from multiple people in multiple places – all of which would rotate through over time – it was agreed that we needed a host in order to lend the show some consistency, create a professionally presented piece, and to tie the segments together in a somewhat smooth fashion.

I would love to say that I bested a plethora of competition for the position, but in reality I landed the part by believing I could do a great job at it and volunteering myself (and being the only Gen Yer at Currency didn’t hurt my chances).

Behind the Scenes

What happens behind the scenes? A lot of laughter, random accents, and discussions with Tim (my boss and co-producer) on how much I am willing to embarrass myself that episode.

But before all that, we start with ideas.

Along with being the host I am also the content editor. I come up with the ideas (often with input from coworkers, friends and family) and assign them to our spokesters, complete with deadlines. As an editor I strive to come up with content that has the ability to be entertaining as well as educational, can be delivered in a tight, efficient 2 minute segment, and will be relevant to our audience. The spokesters are asked to come back to me with how they will approach their topic/assignment, I respond with either some direction for improvement or approval, and they get to filming.

Once we receive the segments from our spokespeople, I watch them and brainstorm fun transition sequences to film for placement between the segments. A lot of these concepts are tweaked or changed completely during the filming process as doing one take will give me an idea for how it can be better.

After we have filmed all of my segments, Tim edits all the pieces together and then we review the final product. The process typically includes discussion on what needs to be included and what can be cut, the artwork to be included (titling etc), and background music/sound effects.

The segment is finished, uploaded to our various players, and the process starts all over again.

What I’ve Learned (so far)

Improvisation makes for some of the best content I believe the best ideas are born out of trying other ideas. A lot of what I end up with, starts off as a joke or sarcastic comment in response to my first take.

Zero preparation or thought is not the same thing as improvisation It is one thing to be open to going “off script” and being flexible with your creative approach, it’s another thing entirely to have no script or starting point. Preparation gives you substance; with it you have something to work from, without it you’re just going to run all over the place.

Get over your fear of making a fool of yourself. It will happen. The combination of emceeing a lot of weddings, and hosting this show, has provided me with a lot of self-awareness. I realized that not everyone will “get” my sense of humour, my facial expressions look weirder than I often realize, and you can’t please everyone in your audience – and I am ok with that. When you are comfortable with yourself, others feel more comfortable with you.

Always consider your audience Whether thinking of topics for the show, or filming my segments, I always try to put myself in the position of my audience. Would I find this relevant? Would this feel overplayed? In tandem with this, and just as important…

Identify your TRUE audience This is especially important on the B2B side of the marketing and production industry. Often when you are making a creative piece for a client, you can get so focused on pleasing the client that you forget the intended audience: their clients. With the LYFS, we want our partnering credit unions to be happy with the finished product, but the most important opinion is that of our audience – Gen Y. If it is relevant, useful and entertaining to them, then I’ve done my job. If I can make them laugh in between, all the better, even if it is laughing at me.

If you have any questions or want to know more you can email cwiens@currencymarketing.ca; or find me on twitter @cherylwiens

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