Intern Blog: What Competition is Like

My hands were shaking, my mind was constantly going over game plans and I stared at my opponents. I hear my name called by the staff ran by the tournament. “MoonKat vs….” I didn’t even catch my opponent’s name. I walk over to the table, plug in my controller, shake hands with my opponent then I hold my breath.

It isn’t till after the first round that I breathe normally again. Win or lose, my reaction is the same, I duck my head down and shake off the experience to prepare for the next round. This was a basic explanation of my experience at a recent Smash Bros., a 1 versus 1 family friendly brawler, tournament in Hickory.

Physical tournaments take a toll on you. Just like athletics, the atmosphere and venue affect your mentality. When you are the new guy and people chant for your opponent, you’ll use it as motivation to win or it will rock you to your core.

It’s a delightful experience generally. You meet new people who you may stay friends with forever. When I competed in Call of Duty, a team based shooter, I met a lot of people. Three of those people I still talk to regularly. I met these people over 4 years ago in Atlanta.

I always get asked by people new to scene what competition is like. It’s an experience you have to be present for to fully understand. It is fun, a lot of nice people and it takes casual gaming a whole step forward.

In an upcoming episode of Esports Teamcast, I will talk about this in more detail.

Intern Blog: Why are Video Game Movies So Bad?

One day at Lenoir-Rhyne a friend who listens to the Esports Teamcast asked me about video game movies. She said I should do a podcast about it. I explained that the topic of video game movies is more of a Footcandle Films conversation.

However, it got me thinking, why are video game movies so bad? It seems so simple, the plot is already laid out and the set has been designed. Take the Assassin’s Creed movie. There had already been a slew of games released. All Hollywood had to do is take one of the games, split it into a trilogy if you can’t fit the entire plot into a feature length film and BOOM profit.

What did we get instead? A lengthy, boring movie that had more dialogue and set up than action. I feel like out of the two hours, maybe 30 minutes of it was actual assassins killing people.

The new Tomb Raider is close. I will go see it and I know it’ll probably be pretty terrible but I have hope that maybe this time we will get a half decent video game movie. Now Rampage is also a movie on the horizon but it will most certainly tank. It looks like terrible CGI action that’s been overdone in the transformer series.

If you are someone who is incredibly desperate for a video game movie to watch. This is my list of the movies that are not as bad as the others. In no particular order, the few video game movies I can sit through and somewhat enjoy:

  1. Mortal Kombat (1995)

  2. Doom (2005)

  3. Resident Evil (2003)

  4. Silent Hill (2006)

There is a fan made movie called Metal Gear Solid: Philanthropy. I like it in an appreciative way. A bunch of fans got together and funded their own fan movie and released it for free? I can’t criticize it too much. The animated films and series’ I left out because they are nostalgic for me so my recommendations will be clouded by my experience as a child.

Hollywood, please give me your money so I can actually give the world a good video game movie!

Intern Blog: Podcast is Out!

Esports TeamCast is here! My big project for my internship is this podcast. Now on the, Esports TeamCast is a series that is exploring the ever expanding world of video game competitions.

I am so used to doing live work. Lenoir-Rhyne athletics, campus radio and live streaming our Esports matches are full of doing things in one shot. There is no do overs in these areas.

The MESH took a mood shift. I have done studio work, many of my classes involve recording and post production editing, but my habit tends to stem from all the live work I do.

I heard myself as I edited my podcast. I sound as if I am on a radio show, I don’t stop. I act like there is only an hour on the tape and I wanted to get everything out before I ran out of time.

What made me realize how I should be treating a podcast is watching various podcasts as I recorded them. Part of my internship is recording other shows for the MESH and this is an opportunity to see the professionals at work.

A common theme is relaxation. Everyone seems relaxed and it makes it sound more personal. So when you listen to the next episode of Esports TeamCast and wonder why it appears to be more calm or relaxed, it’s because everyone at the MESH does a good job of showing me how things are done.

Habitat Humor

Jackson Creative has worked with Habitat for Humanity of Catawba Valley for many years. We produced a video honoring their longevity during their 30th anniversary in 2015 ( click here to view ) and helped launch their new division Habitat Repairs! in 2016. ( click here to view )  While these videos were extremely successful and received accolades when we met with them in early 2017 we decided to go in a slightly different direction.

Why the new direction?  During our meetings with the staff of Habitat they mentioned wanting to try and reach a different audience with their videos this year while not alienating their existing audience.  Basically they wanted to try and appeal to folks who might watch a video because it is funny or clever as opposed to just heart-warming or emotional. During a brain storming session the idea of re-tooling the ice bucket viral video came up and the “Nice Bucket Challenge” video was born.  Take a look and you’ll see how the goals and mission of Habitat for Humanity were still discussed but a lighter tone was set.  Before you ask, yes that’s the actual Catawba Valley Habitat staff featured in the video & they’re willing to give autographs for a small donation. ( click here to view )

Our most recent video effort continued the thread of fun, light-hearted humor while this time giving a promotional push to the Habitat ReStore.  (click here to view )  As we begin to develop ideas for 2018 who knows what theme or direction we might venture in.  My son has suggested an idea based around a competition to see who can build the best Habitat house that looks like it was constructed in Minecraft.  Yeah…I’m not sure we’ll go there.

Intern Blog: I Can’t Believe It

It is kind of surreal. Never did I imagine I’d be sitting in a studio ranting about collegiate Esports. It’s my show, I am in the hot seat during my 2nd week as an intern.

I took the weekend to edit my podcast. All the time hearing my own voice I still couldn’t really believe this was actually happening. Starting the Lenoir-Rhyne Esports program was one thing, but working with the Jackson Creative and the MESH takes it to a whole new level. I’ve always been a pessimist when it comes to video game careers. North Carolina is kind of a dry area when it comes to the gaming industry. As time goes on I see more and more jobs pop up, but I still never see myself in them.

When the MESH gave me the opportunity to see what I can do, I couldn’t help but shake in nervousness. I want to be the best, I want to show everyone what I am capable of, but at the same time I am super green at this.

That’s when the Jackson Creative staff made me feel at ease. They reassured me that the first time is always rough and things will be ironed out. It’s Sunday, Super Bowl Sunday in fact, and while writing this I can say there has been two victories.

The first victory is my involvement with the MESH. I was given a chance and I am being taught by people who have been in the industry for a long time. I am mixing my two favorite things, video games and communications into one pretty awesome internship. Still can’t believe it.

The next victory is the Eagles. Finally, Tom Brady took a loss. Sorry Patriot fans, I am sick of seeing Brady take the trophy time and time again. Sure, Brady is probably one of the best quarterbacks of all time, but he just got beat by a backup quarterback leading a team that lost 12 years ago to the same opponent.

It’s a good day and I am excited to see what else I learn and how I grow through this internship. I’ve said it million times and I will say it one more time, I can’t believe this all happening.

Intern Blog: Goodbye Canada, Hello Home.

If you haven’t been following the MESH Facebook page, then you may not know that my first week of being an intern was in Ottawa, Canada.

I am with the Lenoir-Rhyne debate team and I have travelled to many states for various competitions. This is the first time we crossed the border into another a country for a tournament.

The first big surprise was my “bosses”, for lack of a better phrase, at the Jackson Creative were so hype for my trip. I never thought the reaction I’d get was “Oh Cool! Send pictures!” It made the trip a million more times less stressful knowing that my “bosses” were supporting my debate escapade to Canada.

It makes sense though doesn’t it, my internship with the Jackson Creative is a focus on the MESH which of course is their podcasting branch. Debate is a fantastic way to practice your speech. You learn how to speak clearly, precise and effectively convey your point of view. So this definitely fits within the lens of podcasting.

You didn’t come to read about to debate though, you saw the header to this blog. You want to hear about the great country of Canada.

All through high school I joked about Canada being “America 2”. I always thought the only difference between Canada and the United States is maple syrup and drinking age. 18 year old me tried to convince my fellow graduating seniors that we should take a trip to Alberta because the drinking age was 18 (19 in some regions). My friends joked that Canada has nothing for us but maple syrup and expensive books.

Like most teenagers we bought stereotypes and believed whatever the popular sentiment happened to be. Fast forward to me in College and I began to learn more about other countries, mostly finding the truth to vanquish the fiction. That’s typically how debate plays out, fighting for what is true using facts or narratives. The easiest way to learn about a country is to visit it.

So, now you are ready, you are asking me what makes Canada different from the United States. The biggest culture shock for anyone leaving the States for the first time is the metric system. Here we are in a United States van that lists mph on the speedometer while every speed limit sign was posted in km/h. Let’s just say our coach drove a little slow just to be safe.

The next shock was the niceness. We’ve all heard the jokes about Canada apologizing for everything. While they don’t apologize for everything, they are polite. From the hotel to the restaurants to the video game store that I spent a little too much money in, every single employee and bystander respected space. People got out of your way, I had someone ask me if I need directions (I guess I looked like a very confused United States dude-bro) and I never encountered a jerk. Of course they exist, jerks are everywhere, but when I didn’t experience one in 3 days, the stereotype is probably deep rooted in some truth.

There is a lot of tiny details that you wouldn’t find in the US. Road signs, for example, are in French and English. In most cases cigarettes and other tobacco products are on the shelf instead of behind the counter.

Much more was left to discover but alas, it was time to go home. We were only in Canada for two days and it wasn’t enough, but I have unfinished business in Hickory. Now that I am finally back in my community it’s time to use what I learned in debate, and in Canada in general, to better my future productions and creations. Goodbye Canada, hello home.

Blog: Fresh Ideas & Rotten Tomatoes

If you’ve been anywhere near a movie theater in recent years you’re all too aware of the fact that we’re living in an age of sequels and reboots.  It’s no surprise that if a film makes halfway decent money those responsible will immediately start planning a follow up (often before the movie even leaves the big screen).

With that being said is it possible to still find original fresh ideas?  I would say yes but sometimes not without a cost.  Take for instance the recent film Blade Runner 2049.  Wait…you say…that’s a sequel.  Yes – that’s true.  The original came out over thirty years ago in 1984.  It set a standard for science fiction visuals and effects. Many film enthusiasts herald it today as a masterpiece.  YET when it was released in 1984 it was panned by critics and audiences didn’t give it many of their dollars at the box office.

Now let’s return to Blade Runner 2049 which opened in theaters on Oct 9th, 2017.  An interesting comparison arrises. It cost millions to make, critics love it which results in a high Rotten Tomatoes rating…but audiences weren’t keen on handing over their cash to see it.  The film, I would offer, is actually an improvement over the original.  I’ll cite better acting, superior plot and once-again ground breaking effects and cinematography as my reasoning.  Instead of making a by-the-numbers sequel director Denis Villeneuve made an original piece of art that works as a standalone film or as a companion to the original movie.  I imagine this will once again set the standard for future sci-fi projects and possibly finally earn the often nominated but never awarded cinematographer Roger Deakins his first Oscar.

What does all of this mean?  Sometimes it might take the public awhile to catch up with your creative output but don’t fear.  If you love your work, that’s gratification enough…and there’s always the hope that someone will pay you for a sequel eventually.

Intern Blog: Goodbye. For Now.

Is this the end? I don’t know. Perhaps it is the start of a new chapter of figuring out who I am all over again. Great. If you haven’t already noticed, today is my last official day as an intern with Jackson Creative. I say, “official” because I have a few little things to finish at home, but coming into the office on top of final exams would be impossible.

I’m not so afraid of the fact that the year has flown by, but rather that it seems it hasn’t quite hit me yet. Now, I slowly prepare myself to take another giant leap into the adult world. Jackson Creative has allowed me to work with such a wide range of multimedia that I feel surely confident that this is what I want to continue to do. The job market, however, is one step forward and two steps back. I fell oblivious to the fact that I had applied for several “sham” jobs that weren’t at all like the exaggerated front the job ad described. I don’t really care to hop into a fast food job really. However, my eye remains open in the realm of video production and creative marketing.

I am blessed for all JC has taught me. I’ll admit the several days I walked in so clueless on what to do that it seemed I had almost forgotten how to walk. That is part of the learning process I assume. I feel more confident in the field now, as well as editing. I have a strict knack for attention to detail and a sharp eye for getting a great shot. It’s surely come in handy with my college journalism classes.

Well I do hope this isn’t goodbye, really. Whether someday down the road JC is looking for another member of the team, or perhaps I’ll somehow get my name out there again with more content and creativity, only expanding to everything I have learned so far.

Intern Blog 11: Final Countdown

Well, I really don’t know what to say. Monday starts my last week as an intern with Jackson Creative. It’s hard to believe that almost 5 months have already gone by. The client video draft was sent off on Wednesday for review which means I’m no longer in rage in spending a large portion of time searching for the almost perfect song. I think we finally got it his time, and I’m proud of that.

I mentioned to a friend earlier on how rewarding it was to cross something off of your to do list. Yet, as rewarding as it may be, this short lived victory only lasts so long. My daily planner has come to my aide time and time again – so as long as I remember to use it – and as one thing is crossed off, another thing is added. There are so many things a soon to graduate senior has to do that my daily block of writing space has spewed over into the next day(s) which is throwing my OCD for a loop. That, on top of applying for a number of jobs, is a bit of luggage to carry on my back.

In school, I’m preparing for a SOURCE presentation that will present on the importance of podcasting in relations to an expanding multimedia world. I am a firm believer that utilizing multimedia to engage customer relations and boost interactions is a key marketing strategy for companies, especially building companies. As media is rapidly changing, as is the way we think. Now we have the opportunity to jump ahead and shape that by utilizing media across a variety of platforms.

As most of you know, I have been producing my own podcast show with a good friend of mine. It’s called ChattermouthTV if you wanted to check it out. Audio is something new for me, so I am pretty proud of how much I have learned.

Now, back to work. The team is working on a behind the scenes video of The MESH, so stay tuned.

Until next time,

– David

Intern Blog 10: Slow Down!

Late April is the absolute worst for students. Were getting closer and closer to the end of another school year and seniors, like myself, are anticipating commencement to take our diploma and pray we get a better job than the ones we worked in high school. There’s a quick summary of what the last few weeks have been like.

Regarding Jackson Creative, I cant’ believe I’ve already been here almost 5 months. I especially can’t believe that this internship s drawing closer and closer to the end. That, on top of projects, on top of applying to every job under the sun I’m remotely interested in and then sorting through whats real and what’s a scam has resulted in weight piling up on my shoulders. Ahhhhh… stress. Easter break will hopefully come in handy with catching up on projects and getting back on track with a full grasp of things. That is… if I can motivate myself… not that I’m worried.

The client video is going great so far. Finally found a song that fits with the story we are trying to tell and the team and I are finalizing some shots prior to adding graphics. Monday’s meeting was full of fun, creative ideas which inspired many more. It’s going to be a fun learning process trying some of them out to add to our video. Stay tuned, because it won’t be long until the video is out for all to see.

Oh yeah! A behind the scenes video about our podcast, The MESH, isn’t too far away either.

Take care and happy Easter,

– David