Category Archives: SP18-Ex4 Informational Interview

Starting Out Small

Ragin' Rob Gaming Banner

Hello and welcome to my interview of Raging Rob, the fantastic and upcoming YouTube gaming sensation! From horror games to regular updates about his personal affects, he is sure to provide you the entertainment you seek in your day to day life!

Now obviously his channel may not be booming just yet, but still he works hard at it even though he has a 9-5 job he works Monday through Friday, and I believe one day that he will succeed in his dream of being a full-time Youtuber. I wish to meet him there someday, and to collaborate in the future! But for now, he settles for grinding his days out at work and making videos on the side. “Normally when I’m not at work, I’m trying to get things done in my normal life before I decide if I can make time to make a video or two.” adding,” Since they tend to be so long, I have to make time to edit them out as well, which may take me an additional hour to do.” These words resonated with me, as I have felt similar troubles with finding time to do many important activities in my day to day life, and sometimes it can be extremely tough to find time for anything but the necessities.

Ragin Rob Uploads

As you can see from the small red bars at the bottom of each thumbnail, I watch most of the content he puts out to support his channel (You can also do this by liking and commenting on each individual video), and I think he’s getting pretty good. He’s developing a sense of how he wants to represent his channel, and his “voice” so to speak. I asked him about this “voice”, and he had this to say,”‘Finding my voice’ was, and still is  a hard process I’m going through. It can be difficult to think of something to say in certain moments where not much is happening.” One can’t help but be empathetic to this because we all need to find our voices to become who and what we want to be in life. I’m 23 right now, turning 24 this month, and I can tell you from experience how hard this can be sometimes. I have worked on it for years and I still don’t think I’ve got it down quite how I would like it to be, but learning from my own experiences and enriching myself by immersing in other similar content to my own, and learning all I can from them. He had similar words to say, and seemingly takes on aspects from other ‘Tuber’s content such as Markiplier and PewDiePie, and I agree with taking knowledge from these 2 sources simply because they are successful for a reason. Don’t copy, but adapt.

In the end, I would like to thank Ragin’ Rob for answering a few of my questions, I know he is a busy guy so I appreciate him going out of his way to talk to me. I love learning others experiences, and I hope you have all taken a thing or two from my piece. Thanks.

Sound Advice

knobsFor my informational interview I chatted with Don Ross over the phone. Don owns and runs a recording studio here in Eugene. I decided upon doing this interview because I am interested in sound engineering and recording myself and someday hope to open my own studio. Everything Mr. Ross shared with me was very helpful and gave good insight into the realm of recording which I could look back on going forward with my own efforts. So here are the basic questions and responses from the interview, not exactly word for word. I asked him “What made you want to open your own recording studio initially?” and he responded with saying that he started out as a musician in his early twenties and had been helping out some friends with recording records and an engineer he knew suggested he try engineering. So he did that part time for awhile and later got a full time job, but that studio ran into hard times and he realized that if he wanted to continue his work in Eugene he was going to have to open his own studio. The next question I asked was “How did you manage to open your own studio?” Don replied with pointing out that he had secured clients from his previous work so that when he put money into building the studio he already had work and income right away. He didn’t just build it and hope he would find work, he was thinking ahead. Following that question, I asked “Do you mainly work with musicians or do you do more commercial stuff?” To which he replied that it’s mainly fifty-fifty between the two and, since it is a smaller market, he can focus on doing both. To which I then replied asking if he had a lot of competition due to the other studios in the area. Which then led to him saying that there are only a few other “professional studios” who have the more high end set up and equipment like Gung-Ho, Track Town and Sprout City and that the competition is mainly between the many smaller studios in the area. Which makes sense because they can charge less for studio time. I followed that by asking if he had gotten an education specifically in sound engineering or if he learned everything through just hands on experience and self teaching. He pointed out that forty years ago, when he started out, the kinds of  of programs that are around now weren’t around then and neither was the internet so, basically he was lucky to find a job where someone could mentor him and he could have that hands on experience. The next question was “What is the hardest part and what is your favorite part about your job?” Don said that he was not very fond of the business side of things like all the paperwork involved with owning a business. His favorite part of course is recording and working with clients. Don said “I enjoy the challenge and like helping musicians achieve their vision.” To me that was very inspirational. Don mentioned he has worked with lots of big names in the TV world like ABC Network, Disney and Netflix. He also mentioned he has helped on projects that have been Grammy nominated and even recorded records that have gone gold and platinum. I asked Don who are some of his favorite people to work with to which he said “Well that’s like saying, who’s your favorite son or daughter?” But he did say he enjoyed working with Sam Elliot, Mason Williams, local talent like Bill Barrett and many local musicians. I asked Mr. Ross if he had any employees and he said the only person that helps run the studio besides himself is his very supportive wife who happens to be quite tech savvy. I then moved on to asking what was his favorite equipment to use and he said he loves using all the retro recreations of classic equipment from the fifties and sixties. Finally, I ended the interview with asking what advice he had for someone who was an aspiring sound engineer hoping to open their own studio. Mr. Ross very wisely said “The biggest piece of advice is to learn as much as you can and work with people who know more than you do.” I plan to take that advice to heart. I really enjoyed doing this interview and it was great to get to talk with such an influential person with that many years of experience under their belt. Thanks for reading!

 

Blade HQ Video Editor

 

Last Monday I had the opportunity to interview an acquaintance of mine, Matthew Melancon, who is the Video Market Specialist and Video Editor at Blade HQ in Salt Lake City, Utah. I met Matthew through a mutual friend group, and while I was visiting Utah this Spring for a wedding, he showed me his projects after I explained what I was studying in college. It was a quick preview of a couple videos, but even that was enough to show me that video editing for a company like his is a job I would absolutely love to have, so I thought that following up on that experience with a one on one interview with him would be very beneficial to me. The interview wasn’t long, it was about 30 minutes with a couple of pauses and side banter, but in that time I got a very good look into what goes on when making a video, and his role in the whole process. I had a basic idea of what it took to make a video, but there is lot that I didn’t realize was involved. Primarily I thought it was cool that he also had to research market trends and suggest videos based on those. I’m not sure if that’s a common practice for the editor to do, but I thought it was informative nonetheless. A huge thanks to Matthew for this experience!

Anyways, here’s the interview:

 

Me: “What is your job title and what are your primary responsibilities at Blade HQ?”

Matthew: “My title here is Video Marketing Specialist and Video Editor here at Blade HQ. I am responsible for all video content that Blade HQ releases. But since it’s a small marketing department I do a lot of stuff you don’t expect like make memes for our Instagram page and do other graphic design work, as well as research trends and keywords that we can focus our marketing and videos on.”

Me: You get paid to make memes?

Matthew: *laughs* Yeah, only sometimes.

Me: I understand you went to school for industrial design, right? How did that transfer over into your current profession?

Matthew: Wow, uh, good question. Well I actually went to school for product design, but that’s pretty much the same thing. I guess it taught me how to use programs like photoshop and illustrator which are also used here in video editing, but it also warmed me up to a creative problem solving mindset, brainstorming and creative ideas. Basically that whole creative field transitioned over for me.

Me: Do you have any personal projects in editing outside of your job at Blade HQ?

Matthew: Not really. I haven’t felt really any need to, and I’m pretty fatigued after work. After work I generally like watching them instead of making them, I think it’s a good break.

Me: So how did you find your job?

Matthew: Actually I just found it through Indeed.com It was a sponsored listing. Websites like that are actually very helpful.

Me: This is kind of a cliche question, I know, but what is your favorite part of your job?

Matthew: Well that’s a little broad but my favorite part is watching a finished product and seeing it all come together. That and the Youtube comment section, things can breakout into chaos and other times there are some good conversations had there. This job has a bunch of unexpected results.

Me: What is the production process like with the video you make? Give me a step by step walkthrough of what goes into making your videos.

Mathew: Ok, so first everyone gets together to brainstorm ideas. We have several types of videos that we go through such as our featured 12-15 minute videos, a talk show we do, and short films. We talk about what we can do, and what it would take to execute this video. After we get all that down we go into pre-production, here we go over who is in it, when we want to start setting up and start recording, where we need to do it, basically all the logistics. Then our videographer shoots it and brings it back to me and I start editing. I do a bunch of rough cuts and go over them to see whats working and what isn’t and then I repeat this until it’s finished and I have a final product. It’s all on a very tight schedule though, we release a video every week.

Me: What programs do you use to make your videos?

Matthew: I generally use Premiere and After Effects but sometimes I use DaVinci Resolve and other times I use Audition, but the audio we get is generally pretty good so I rarely use audition. But we also use basic office programs like google docs or excel.

Me: When making your videos you use a variety of sound effects, music, and photos, where do you get your resources?

Matthew: Well most of the photos we take ourselves, but sometimes we pay for a subscription for access to stock photos if we need them. Our music we get from Soundstripe, which is a subscription we pay for. As for our sound effects I generally just search youtube for sounds that I could use that are royalty free, or other websites that give royalty free sounds.

Me: Whats the most challenging project you have had while working here?

Matthew: Well there have been a few very challenging projects. Recently there was a project where a couple of guys went into the mountains and it dropped to freezing temperatures to test some knives, and they were getting really freaked out about building shelter so the camera man stopped filming to help, and the camera also stopped working due to these temperatures so there was a lot of missing footage. I had to figure out what I could do with what I had because there wasn’t a whole lot of it. It’s interesting to hear people say things like “Wow what a good video” or even when people critique it, because they really don’t know what goes into the development. Theres a lot of improv that is done when editing.

Me: What have you learned while working here?

Matthew: The most important thing I’ve learned while working here is that you won’t get everything originally from what you want. It’s taught me the importance of working with what you have and how to go out and get things you need in a tight situation.

 

Heres another video of theres. This is the one he talked about being a challenge in the video:

Professional Interview with Chris Rhatigan

Chris’s youtube page

For my professional interview, I had a Facebook messenger interview with Chris Rhatigan, who is actually someone I knew from my hometown, which is Hawley, Pa, who has made a profession in the Multi-Media Industry.  Growing up, Chris enjoyed normal kids things like paintballing, fishing, golfing, and a variety of other things. The way he got into Multi-Media is actually a funny story. When he was in 8th grade, he was what he considered to be on the lazier side, and didn’t really find an interest in any of his classes. While he was preparing for his freshman year schedule for his first year of high school,  he spotted a class called Media. Now being young and lazy he circled it thinking it would just be a class dedicated to nothing but watching movies, but little did he know, the class actually focused on teaching students how to make movies, and he fell in love with it from then on. After high school and after realizing the community college he was attending wasn’t a good fit, Chris moved to Florida where he attended The Florida Institute of Recording Sound Technology, and his passion for multi-media skyrocketed. When I asked Chris whether or not school helped him further his interest and his education in the field, he noted that he loved school, and believe that it gave him a more professional look on video work. Chris currently works for a world-wide Cigar company, where he runs the social media and films their corporate videos. Chris agrees that the industry can be hard, and says he makes most of his money on his side jobs which include directing and filming professional musicians and capturing other miscellaneous s videos/pictures. Another struggle he faces in the multi-media industry is the inconsistent schedule, he can go from having busy weeks and months to no work at all, but in the end, the hectic schedule is worth it, but he says to make sure to find balance and always make time for yourself. One of his favorite pieces of work is “The Race”, which is a song sung by rapper Fetty Wapp. Chris said his hardest obstacle while making “The Race” was that Fetty wanted to shoot in dark allies but that’s not Chris specialty. He states, “Fetty knows I’m still mad at him for that one.” Chris says he got through by working hard and even got Fetty to do some videos at Fetty’s friend’s house so Chris could show him what he really could do with the camera. The interview ended with some advice from Chris, and his most notable advice is that to anyone who is trying to join the industry, you need to just love what you do. If you have the passion and drive, you can accomplish a career in multi-media. Some great advice he received from one of his teachers was to “Go out and shoot every day”, which he still follows and which I will now follow.  “I made a hobby into a true love of directing and I’m very grateful for it.” – Chris.

 

Friday Night Date With C++

When I scheduled an interview with a professional in the media arts field, I decided to ask a long time friend to participate with me in this endeavor. I knew he was a programmer and video game designer, so why not ask him some questions about the industry, get some pointers, and avoid the formalities. After all, I thought I knew his backstory and this would make for an easy interview. What really happened was that I got some of the most honest feedback I could have received about preparing myself for a career in media arts. He shared his stories about the business and I got a glimpse into the hard work, passion, and dedication he displayed to become successful in his field.

As a young teenager, Trevor pieced together a working desktop computer, saved a few dollars and immersed himself into the world of computer gaming. His interest soon shifted from playing the games to learning about how they function. He realized that he could pursue a job in this field and eventually contribute his own ideas. At age 20, he was offered a job in the Quality Assurance department (game tester) at Dynamix, a Eugene, Oregon based game company. His passion for testing, breaking, fixing, and debugging the games caught the eye of one of the senior programmers who decided to mentor Trevor for the next 3 years. He told me this was the single most important step in building his skill set for the future.

20180507_213044_2.jpg

As Trevor’s confidence in programming advanced, so did his collaboration with his mentors design team. When his mentor parted ways with Dynamix to move to Multitude, a San Mateo, California based game company, Trevor was recruited to join him as a junior programmer for the company. He would be working with former employees of Electronic Arts and 3DO games. This is where he emphasized the importance of being able to adapt to a much bigger role and work as a team member. He also mentioned that this is where he learned humility in this business. He wasn’t there to add his 2 cents. He was hired to help fulfill the creative ideas of the people funding the projects.

20180507_213306.jpg

As Multitude began to lose funding for gaming, it found a new path in pioneering how the internet would progress. The same voice engine that they were using to connect players to each other in one of their most successful games, Fire-Team, became a focus for internet voice chat. And so Fire-Chat was established. Keep in mind that this was before Skype and may have even paved the way for this type of communication. Who’s to say. This is when he segued to his aforementioned ability to adapt as being an important skill in this ever-changing business. Nonetheless, after working with this company until it’s demise, he had come to realize what he was passionate about, what he was good at, and what made him want to continue in this field, and this was creating games. He would never have put his all into something else.

20180507_213056_2.jpg

During his run in this career, he found it was crucial to keep a solid network of professionals with whom he could brainstorm with, seek advise, and eventually assemble, who had similar ideas to his own. He Co-founded an upstart game company in 2016 which is still in it’s building stages. While work is still being done to assure the success of his own company, Trevor is currently working in Eugene, Oregon at Game Closure which is the creator of Facebook’s Everwing among others.

In closing, Trevor added his requirements for a potential hire and these are the standards he holds highest. A person must be passionate about creating and designing games inside and outside of the workplace. They must have the ability to work with others in a team as well as a solo project. They must possess the desire to learn from people in the industry and not settle for the basic requirements. They should be ready to contribute ideas when asked, and they must be problem solvers.

Crystallized… Interview for Interactive Web Design

 

 

Screen Shot 2018-05-07 at 4.46.35 PM

I had the opportunity to sit down and interview Crystal Freeman owner of Willow Creek Creative, an Interactive Web Design company.    I have known Crystal for a little while now through the gym classes that we attended together and knew that she was in the tech field but really wasn’t sure what she did.  I started by sending her a message asking if I could set up a time to talk with her letting her know I was working on a school interview project.  I was hoping to pick her brain and possibly get a name of a company that she could direct me to.  I was more than excited to find out that she is an Interactive Web Designer and owns her own business in the field of my interest.  Also, she was more than happy to schedule a time for me to sit down and interview her.  

Screen Shot 2018-05-08 at 5.33.47 PM
willowcreekcreative.com

I started by looking through her website and few others in the web design industry and came up with a list of questions that came to mind that I thought would be beneficial for me to get answers to.  Next, I complied my questions and emailed them to her to review prior to even setting a date to meet.  After she had a chance to review my questions we connected and set a meeting date and time that worked best for her schedule.  Below are the questions I came up with and answers that she provided me with.  

This was an amazing opportunity to sit with someone who has first hand knowledge and experience of a field that I am looking to pursue.  Our meeting lasted for a little over an hour and honestly I could have sat and talked with her for many, many more if we didn’t both have other commitments.  She is extremely knowledgeable and passionate about what she does which I admire greatly.  She also made me very excited to be pursuing a career in this field and she also broaden my scope of what my career path could look like in the future.  

 

Screen Shot 2018-05-07 at 4.40.38 PM
Crystal Freeman, Willow Creek Creative

Interview Questions and Answers:

What is it that you do?  

Website design, online marketing, and business consulting.  I design and code websites, create logos and branding, create e-mail blasts and social media campaigns, and help businesses with various operational functions like licensing, IT and project management.

How long have  you been in this industry and where did you get your start?

I have been a web designer for 9 years.  I started providing real estate photography to Realtors in 2008, and built a website to promote my own business.  I networked through various chambers of commerce and started building relationships with some of the right people who helped introduce me to my main client.  People liked the website I built for myself and started asking me to help with theirs.  Most of my original clients are still with me today.

What operating system do you work with?  What tools do you value the most?

I use Windows but also test my websites on a Mac.  Most useful tools include:

Photoshop – Sizing for web is a must for SEO and website usability.

Text Editor – Great for copy and pasting content and code, editing .htaccess files, and saving custom code inserted into website themes.

Google Search – If I don’t know how to do something or am troubleshooting an issue, I search for answers via Google. I also research clients to see what is posted about them online.

CTRL + S – Shortcut on Windows for Save!!! Save your work. Save versions of it along the way so you can always go back to previous versions.

Adobe Acrobat Pro – Creating fillable pdf forms, assembling pdfs, and compressing for website view.

Secondary Tools:

Adobe Dreamweaver – For static HTML sites or for something that I am editing that needs a good Find and Replace.

CSS Gradient Generator – http://www.colorzilla.com/gradient-editor/

Google Pagespeed – https://developers.google.com/speed/pagespeed/insights/

Facebook Debugger – https://developers.facebook.com/tools/debug/

Google Drive – Getting content like images and text for pages and being able to collaborate remotely

What is your creative process?

I like to get to know the client and understand their goals.  From a design perspective, I get a feel for if they like rustic or textured design, or if they like clean (primarily white space) and modern.  I ask a million questions and listen to the answers for the information I need to start in a direction.  I figure out if a person wants the cheapest solution available or the best solution.  How can they best satisfy their short term and long term goals?  Do they have an existing website?  Do they like the look of it?  What websites of competitors do they like and why?  Then I do my research to figure out their voice and any customer reviews that might be available about their business or organization.  Do they have a logo and branding, or are they looking for that service as well?

What websites and other recourses do you use for key and up to date industry information and to keep up with the ever changing world of web designs and functions?

None. I stay up-to-date on Google requirements, but for the most part, I’m too busy working to worry about “the ever changing world of web designs and functions”.

What marketing avenue to you take to promote your business?  How do you generate new clients?

New clients come to me by referral or word of mouth (after seeing my work).  It is rare that I will convert a person who says “oh, you should look at my website and tell me what you think,” into a paying client.  Often people want free advice.  My biggest marketing tip is to produce great work and make decisions that are in your clients’ best interests.  Sometimes I will be interested in a business or industry, and I will try to earn their business through good old fashioned conversation.  I am most effective if there is a personality match where I can understand and then anticipate the direction the client is heading.

What are the pros and cons of freelancing vs being under the umbrella of a large cooperation?

I charge a higher rate than most companies are willing to pay salaried web designers.  Benefits of freelancing or having one’s own business include flexibility and choice of projects, schedule, work location, and working attire.  Benefits of working as an in-house web designer include set hours, set salary, health insurance, and paid time off, holidays and sick days.  Downsides of freelancing is that you are always at work.  I work morning, noon, night and weekends, when projects require it.  As a freelancer, you are responsible for making sales, keeping the books, paying taxes, answering the phone and cleaning the office, in addition to the creative and technical services you provide.  Switching gears can be hard, a freelancer wears all hats of the business.  Downsides of working for a corporation include set salary, lower hourly rate, having to take projects assigned to you (rather than choosing projects based on fit and scope), working in an office (commuting, business attire, small talk with fellow employees), and other inefficiencies like staff meetings.  It is possible too that the web designer will not get to work with the client directly (if you’re working for a web design firm), which could hinder the creative process and comprehension of the client’s needs, goals, and restrictions.

 What advice would you give for someone interested in this field as a career?

Don’t be afraid to break stuff while you’re learning.  I am self-taught and through trial and error, I am comfortable working on any website.  Be curious and look it up – If there’s something you want your website to do and you don’t know how to do it – figure it out!  Don’t be afraid to submit support tickets to your hosting provider or to paid theme, plugin, or other tool developers.  Get excited when you get to work on a website for an organization in a new industry.