The Finale: Self-Reflection (MMP Blog Post #10)

“Part of the journey is the end”.

One whole semester later after Blog Post #1, I have reached the end of Multimedia Production here at UW. What a ride it has been. I wasn’t exactly sure what to expect of this course heading into it, but I am more than satisfied with its content as I cross the finish line. I hoped to become a swiss army knife in the media field through this class, and I believe I did just that. I wanted to hone in my interviewing skills as well as the actual creation of content. There is a clear cut difference in who I am as a blooming media creator from January to May.

Back in the beginning, my media “soft skills” were anywhere from rusty to nonexistent. I was timid and rather fearful of approaching strangers. I went in with a mindset of, “oh, I don’t want to go up to that person and potentially be embarrassed or turned down”. Basically, I was trying to protect my pride. It was like a leap of faith for me. Once I broke the mold it became much easier over time, and I regained my love for socialization. It’s all about simply getting in there and going for it! You will always get something out of it! Since almost every assignment required me to do so, I really didn’t have a choice, which was a good thing. Overcoming my manufactured barrier made me realize that I cannot get anywhere in this field without being able to put myself out there and use my communication skills. I am very glad I realized this now rather than right after I get my first job.

As far as the most meaningful assignment to me, there is not one that stands above my feature story about Skater Guy. I have always wanted to dive into his story and the feature writing project gave me the opportunity I was searching for. It also allowed me to showcase my writing skills in a practical environment by using vivid descriptions and well-placed quotes.

Passion Project

A screenshot from MMP Post 4. Ah, good times!

 

On the other end of the spectrum, I ran into a brick wall working on the audio assignment. I had absolutely zero experience working with audio beforehand, and I found it challenging to stay focused while editing. It’s a very lengthy process and I still can’t say I have it down. If there is one area that I would like to revisit and try again, it would have to be the audio interview without question.

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Working with audio was one of the biggest challenges I faced.

Finally, if I were to give myself or anyone else advice about taking this class I would simply say: take it but make sure you pour as much care, passion, and detail into everything you post. The most journalistic love you give to a piece can only help. Passion goes to places.

That’s a wrap and one last time I would just like to say: THANK YOU for reading. I hope one day I can look back on this blog and say that this is what started it all.

 

 

 

 

Video Production! (MMP Post #9)

The end is nigh, friends…

For my final assignment in my Multimedia Production class, Zack Kilgore, Kade Russow and I teamed up for a video production project. While I am video is not completely foreign to me, it has been a couple of years since I really dived into it. Our group decided to do a showcase video of how great the University of Wyoming is and Laramie, Wyoming as a whole. We gathered interview footage from students and athletic employees to show that UW is loved by many. Then, we ventured around the UW campus and different areas of Laramie to capture the spirit of the “7220”. I even got to do the voiceover for the final cut! Check it out:

 

Shooting for this project was an absolute blast. It felt like an adventure! Getting to interact with new people has been one of my favorite aspects of this class, and there was no shortage of that over the duration of our work! Though it was difficult at first to secure a solid interview, students eventually stepped up when we brought Kade’s dog along.

I really have to hand it to Zack on this assignment in its entirety. He has years of videography experience under his belt, and it really showed! Throughout our shooting process, Zack always pitched ideas for what and how we should shoot. Then, he guided us throughout the editing process and we were done much quicker than expected. I was surprised by how smooth this operation went. Finals week project? No problem for the three of us!

I am truly proud of what we as a group created. Though I do still have to get used to hearing my own voice, working alongside Zack and Kade really showed me how important video is for an aspiring media professional. The more I can add to my arsenal, the better. Capturing moments and creating something people truly want to watch is very fulfilling as a future creator.

That’s that! The only post left to write is a reflection on this journalistic journey! That post will be up right after this one! Thank you for reading!

Instagram Promotion (MMP Post #8)

The end of the semester is nigh, friends!

For one of my final assignments, I was tasked with creating designs to promote my past work on this site and posting said designs on Instagram. The promotions were run for the Creative Devices, Photojournalism, Feature Write, Audio, and MyMap assignments. Think of it as a “greatest hits” collection.

Although I have had a personal Instagram for nearly seven years (yes that makes me feel old), I have had minimal experience using the platform for promotion purposes. I utilized the free graphic design website Canva to add elements to my photos I had previously taken for the assignments.

When creating this content, I wanted to make simple yet eye-catching designs to post. I took a rather minimalist approach for the majority of the designs which I felt allowed the pictures themselves to thrive and stop people to slow their scroll for a moment. As far as the captions for the post, I tried to use what I have learned from what large brands to do envoke clicking a link. By using dramatic wording to hook the reader, I believe the captions have the potential to give readers goosebumps. Therefore, there is motivation to continue reading the stories on this site.

I did not find this assignment particularly challenging, rather I found it enjoyable. Not only to promote some of my best work over the course of this semester but to showcase my progress as an aspiring media professional. I was surprised by how much I enjoyed the final designs. Hopefully, I can take what I’ve learned from this assignment and continue to promote my work in the future and allow people who are interested to see what I am capable of.

Only two more posts to go in the semester, let’s finish strong! Thank you for reading!

Check it out!

Earth Day Live Tweeting (MMP Post #7)

Happy Earth Day, readers!

If we’re being honest, every day should be Earth Day. I believe it should just be natural to do what’s best for our planet. After all, it is our only one. In conjunction with this awareness-raising holiday and my next Multimedia Production assignment, I was tasked with finding a live event to cover via my Twitter. While I’m aware that the name of this blog is Smith Talks Sports, I figured it wouldn’t hurt to go off-brand once to cover an important issue.

I took a very journalistic approach to this task and tweeted as such. Since being on Twitter, I have noted how beat writers for sports teams compose a tweet. Following that mold, I headed for the event and got to work. I enjoyed being out in the field and getting the chance to not only practice live tweeting, but it was fascinating to feel the ambiance of the event around me. As much as I would have LOVED to live tweet a football or basketball game, this was a great way to diversify.

As far as hindsight, I learned that asking questions is never a bad thing in this line of work, Doing so can add more depth to a story and fill in your personal blanks. I was surprised how much I enjoyed doing this assignment, despite it having nothing to do with sports! My only regret is that there was not a bustling crowd around the organizations. I had my expectations a tad too high for a Monday in Laramie. For anyone looking to help the WCC out, look no further than here.

To be honest (as we always are on this site!) using social media could take me very far down a journalistic path, should that be the one I choose to take. I could live tweet for a sports team for a living and be totally content. Personally, it just sounds like a blast!

Thank you for reading, and SAVE MOTHER EARTH!

The Burger Bible Map (MMP Post #6)

What is more American than a hamburger (or cheeseburger)? Not a whole lot, for those who don’t know. There’s something so special in something so simple: the filling taste of the beef mixed in with the other various toppings. It’s not complicated whatsoever but continues to be a staple of American culture. They’re simply delicious and easy. In fact, one cannot go very far anywhere in this country without locating a restaurant that doesn’t have a burger on its menu. It’s true: burgers are everywhere. But when it comes down to the most authentic of them all, the fast food burger is the sandwich in its most true form because it’s a cheap treat.

So, this begs the question: when in search of the best bang-for-your-buck burger, where should one search?  Everyone’s been there and now there is a testament for anyone felling a tad hungry. Look no further than right below, as I have composed the most accurate, objective burger ranking possible. I believe that I am quite qualified to talk about objectifying food because I am quite a picky eater. On top of that, I have also eaten my fair share of burgers in roughly twenty years of existence. Before we take a look at the rankings themselves, it is important to know what we are looking for. Wesley Cottrell, the head sus chef at Devil’s Thumb Ranch in Tabernash, Colorado says people look for a quality-to-price balance.

“When going to buy a burger at a fast food restaurant, people are looking for fresh ingredients without too long of a wait and something that’s wallet-friendly,” Cottrell stated.

Price, taste, freshness, quality, and unique selling point are the key components for this list. Please note, there will be no McDonalds, Wendy’s or Burger King appearing on the list. While these well-known options have consumer-friendly price points, the quality at these establishments is beyond subpar. Therefore, we are focusing on regional burger chains. Still fast food, but a tier above the norms.

“The regional burger chains do what places like McDonald’s cannot: maintain freshness and quality,” Cottrell added.

So, now that everyone’s curiosity is piqued and appetites are wet, let’s take a look at the end-all, be-all top five burger shop rankings for the United States of America.

For a quick rundown, here are the rankings:

  1. Shake Shack
  2. Freddy’s
  3. Culver’s
  4. In-N-Out
  5. Five Guys

Everything has been taken into consideration in this carefully crafted list. If you have not already, I highly recommend clicking on each pin for a further explanation of why each restaurant is placed where it is. Regional burger chains carry with them loads of local pride. Go anywhere on the internet and you’ll see people from southern California waging a digital war against Texans over In-N-Out’s double-double and the original Whataburger, respectfully. I believe that I can give a solid, objective opinion based on the fact that I hail from Wyoming, where one’s options are extremely limited. On top of that, it is easy for me to taste a burger at its core because I eat them mostly plain. This way, I can taste the ingredients without being fooled by a sauce facade. Cottrell agrees:

“The best way to determine if you like a burger or not is to get it as plain as possible,” he chuckled.

It may be hard for some to swallow the truth of this list initially, but I ask anyone who is skeptical to simply try these sandwiches in their purest form and you will not be fooled nor disappointed. While fast food is not the healthiest option in the world, these five burgers make one’s guilty pleasure feel like infinite bliss. For those who are having difficulty suppressing their local pride: at least try it. I can guarantee you will not be crucified in the street for stepping out of your comfort zone.

I hope everyone found some enjoyment in this post, as it was a blast to switch the topic up from sports and talk about something more accessible. Many love burgers and I want to help complete that love for many seeking for more flavor and something new rather than the same old routine when going out to eat. Talking about burgers is something I do frequently with friends and family, and it always turns into a fantastic, well-constructed debate. I understand that many of the listed stores are only in certain areas due to quality control, but I assure anyone looking for the best that going the distance will be worth it. Thanks for reading!

Tyrel Leman Audio Interview (MMP Post #5)

 

Tyrel Leman, a UW athlete, sits outside reminiscing about his long path toward Division 1 glory.

 

 

Whew, thank goodness the weekend is here! I had the pleasure of interviewing University of Wyoming trackster Tyrel Leman this past week. As someone who loves to talk, more specifically about sports, interviewing is a total blast to me. It helps me get the inside track (get it?) on the things I love. Tyrel had a fantastic story to tell, and I enjoyed every single moment of it. He was very generous about the whole process: letting me into his home, showing me around and letting me dive deep into his track and field experience here in Laramie. However, after the interview itself was finished came the horrid first-time nightmare I was completely unprepared for: editing the audio. I thought that since I have always been on the savvy side of technology, that editing a short interview would be a breeze, just like everything else on my laptop. I could not have been more wrong, my patience was tested time and time again, trying to get the edited version of this interview just right so Tyrel’s fantastic story was unharmed. Using GarageBand was a challenge for sure, and I hope to continue to push my limits. It took me four hours to edit a five-minute clip! The entire process was easily the most surprising element of this task. As I often say, hindsight is 20/20 and I wish that I could’ve swallowed some of my ever-growing pride and prepared better for the second half of this assignment. With that being said, I am pleased to have some more audio knowledge under my belt going into pre-production for my upcoming (and first-ever!) podcast. I now know what sounds good in the software and what does not. Perhaps there was an even easier way to mix it all together and I had no idea. The limitless potential for what I can do with audio in the future excites me.

That does it for me. I’m going to go take a nap. Thanks for reading!

Carving His Own Path: Skater Guy

The Skater Guy himself smiles for the camera before beginning his routine.

The sound of a skateboard scratching against the pavement. The bright hockey jersey. The parachute pants. The gold chain. That’s all University of Wyoming students need to paint a picture of the ever-growing legend that is Skater Guy. Often seen around campus soaking up the ambiance of the day, he is a staple of UW campus life.

Though he has become somewhat of a Laramie legend, many just know him as Skater Guy. One may believe that what is seen is all there is. Despite this assumption, the man behind the myth is filled to the brim with his origin story, tales of his skating adventures, and his core belief: skate or die.

A Product of His Time

Born in Rock Springs, Wyoming, Matt Groathouse never knew who his real parents were. Two days into his life, he was adopted and was taken to his new home of Laramie, Wyoming. Attending school all the way from kindergarten through high school in Laramie, Groathouse said that his love for skating developed in his childhood.

“Back in the 80s skateboarding was this colorful, rad thing… things on TV really hooked me on it.”, Groathouse said.

As he grew, so did his interest skating. Matt said that around middle school is when he realized that he was not alone in his desire to catch air.

“It was around then that I ended up discovering the culture of skateboarding. That’s when I realized that there were actual people and skaters that did it.”

The same can be said for his iconic outfits. Groathouse was raised on hockey, and more specifically NHL legend Wayne Gretzky and the US National Team. From there he began to collect every hockey jersey he could get his hands on, eventually expanding to other popular American sports such as basketball. Matt says that the two styles were indistinguishable at the time. He was wearing what he liked, and it has continued to this very day.

Origins of the Icon

As Matt grew up, he became more ingrained with the blossoming skating culture in Laramie. For most of his adolescence, there was no skate park in town. Skateboarding was still seen as taboo. According to Groathouse, the University of Wyoming campus was the go-to spot to shred. Up until he began attending UW, there was not just one Skater Guy, but a whole Skater Posse. The group would bunch up and ride their skateboards through campus. Although most of the group’s interest in skating was fleeting by the time Matt was enrolled at the University of Wyoming, being a student just made it easier for him to carve campus up.

The legend began to grow, and Groathouse even helped usher in a new age for all skaters in Laramie by befriending the local police force. Before he did this, skating was seen as a radical rebellion against the confines of society. Matt helped the police ease into a new, skater-free age in Wyoming.

“Skate or Die” is Groathouse’s life motto. He would rather be six under than not be able to skate.

As he continued to put his passion on display, fellow students began to notice. Several nicknames surfaced, but only one stuck.

“It just kind of developed over time. Honestly, I feel like I’ve been the Skater Guy since I started skating. Before that, people would refer to me as ‘that guy that skates around in the crazy parachute pants.’”

Other names like Parachute Pants Guy and Skater Dude surfaced but just didn’t have a ring to it.

A Passion With No Limit

Groathouse eventually graduated from UW with not one but two degrees from the College of Business, one in administration and one in marketing. He takes care of the marketing for a bill collecting company. Although this career is his professional life, it is not near as defining as his skate career.

“It’s kind of like Superman. I dress in formal clothes when I go to work, and then I change into my Superman skater clothes and skate like a maniac.”

Although he has obtained and enjoyed local superhero-like fanfare, Groathouse is and never will be skating to gain attention to himself. It’s his love for the craft and the thrill he gets while on his board.

People around him have seen this, and have the utmost respect for him.

Chayne Cates, a UW student, says that Matt’s enthusiasm is contagious.

“Everyone is always excited to see him on campus and he puts everyone in a good mood.”

Skater Guy is more than a man in a loud outfit. He is the energy of the University of Wyoming.

 

 

For more Skater Guy, check out his YouTube and his Instagram.

 

Skater Guy shows off some of his signature moves on UW campus last Wednesday.