#Independent

So, I know it’s only been a few weeks but I think this past week has been my favorite part of my internship so far. On Friday, we had a kid’s event in the Adventureland Theater and I got to run sound all by myself. It was super simple though because we were basically just playing tracks and using two microphones, so it was pretty much just fader up/down and mute/unmute the whole time. However, on Tuesday I did get to help set up for a concert that we were having a few days later in the same room. We transformed the room from a simple stage set up to a stage ready for a full band. I helped extend the stage, put together a drum kit (for the first time ever, actually), set up mic stands and XLR cables for the mics, and watched one of my coworkers program lights for the set list.

The part that I really loved happened over the weekend. We had another middle school service, and this time the band was doing an acoustic set. Instead of a full band (vocals, keys, drums, acoustic guitar, bass, electric guitar, and tracks), we just had vocals, two acoustic guitars, keys, ambient tracks, and a cajon. One of my supervisors is actually the worship leader for the middle school service, but he’s been out of commission lately because he fractured his knee. He’s been one of the main people teaching me the ins and outs of the Student Center, but this week he was out of town and left things in my hands. His girlfriend, Bri, also happens to be a worship leader, so she’s been filling in for him on stage. So this weekend she was basically my only lifeline if things got a little sticky from the sound end. We were both nervous because she’s still new to the church and isn’t entirely familiar with the room, and of course neither am I. Plus, there’s only so much she can help troubleshoot and guide me with once she’s onstage. Thankfully, we were both able to work together and everything went relatively smoothly. The only problem we encountered was that the acoustic guitar player’s guitar signal was super patchy and we couldn’t get it to cooperate. After some trouble shooting and testing different guitars, we realized it was his guitar and not the connection. Since it was an acoustic and relatively intimate set, we just let him play rhythm guitar unplugged alongside the band. 

I was really stressed when I first found out that I would be running sound essentially on my own, but to my surprise (and honestly, probably everyone else’s too), things went great! Bri was able to help me set up everything, and once we were up and running I was able to slowly but surely adjust everyone’s in-ear mix and find a good house mix that suited the acoustic vibe. I had been extremely nervous as soon as I found out I was on my own, but it turned out to be an awesome weekend!

Evaluating Stetson Traditions

Today I had my first meeting with my internship supervisor and another advisor at marketing office to talk about my first major assignment that I’ll get to have creative liberty over. For the most part I’m greatly excited, yet nervous about venturing into this realm of graphic design that I’m not completely used to. Since most of my background is in photography and less about graphic design I’m hoping to push myself outside my comfort zone and learn more by being actively involved.

For my first task of the assignment, I am creating several drafts and sketches of possible layouts for the upcoming Yule Log Lighting that Stetson hosts every year in the winter. Joel and Sonja have encouraged me to research the previous years Yule Log Lightings and how it was promoted in the schools publications, and I haven’t found as much information as I’d like in the schools archives. In most of the student publication articles that I found the same activities are held in December with little variation, including candle lighting, Christmas carols, and  the Yule log lighting.

Of the most odd traditions of the Yule log lighting, they usually serve hot chocolate and cookies at the event, which I think isn’t the best choice considering we live in Florida and don’t get much cold weather. Despite this impractical drink choice, I’m looking forward to learning more about it and coming up with some ideas for the project that will give me a clue what to include on the flyer without it being so long that the reader loses attention.

On that note, I leave this entry with a few budding ideas and the hope that I can explain it well enough with a few scribbles on notebook paper.

I Finally See The Light

Okay so anyone who knows me knows that as far as the AVL world goes, I specialize in audio and only audio. Sure, I can do some graphic design and snap a few quality photographs like the next person, but as far as lighting….. it’s a no from me. I’ve never really paid attention to the lighting aspect of this business, because honestly I just never really cared. I guess I just didn’t think it was as important. This week, my entire mindset was catapulted out of the window. 

One of my coworkers is kind of a lighting genius, and he let me get my hands on Vista this week. He started out with showing me a lighting program he set up for the song “The Greatest Show” from The Greatest Showman. I don’t say this often but, I was SHOOK. The theater lit up with bold reds and blues and it literally transformed the entire vibe and feeling of the theater. The flashing of the lights synced up with the colossal beats at the beginning of the song, and it was honestly so breathtaking. I’m pretty sure my jaw actually dropped while I was watching it. The crazy thing is, we were just in a giant empty room with a song playing! There were no people, nothing was going on onstage, it was just the song blasting and the lights doing their thing. I don’t think my coworker realized this when he was showing me, but this setting was exactly what I needed to realize the power and effect that lighting can have. That song is already catchy and commands attention, but synced up to a room full of colorful lights takes it to a whole new level. The layout of the theater definitely helps as well, because there’s a ton of light fixtures scattered between the ceiling and stage area. 

There’s an additional aspect of lighting that I really didn’t consider until this week: haze. We always use haze machines during on stage performances, but I never really gave it any thought. I just thought it made the room a little foggy and dramatic, and that was the point. To put it briefly: I was wrong. Yeah, haze adds a nice foggy effect but I never realized what it does for lighting. Without haze, most lights are just shining bright and pretty, but they don’t really travel. Adding a layer of haze in a room allows the lights to cut through it with colorful strobes and rays, and the haze just swirls in the spotlight. It. Is. Gorgeous. I can’t believe I never noticed that the haze is really what makes that all possible.

A couple days later I actually got to play around with Vista in the main auditorium, and honestly it’s really cool. It’s a super user friendly program and everything is visualized, which I love. I can clearly see which light is doing what, and when it’s doing it. I learned how to make patterns, gradients, and how to gradually turn on certain lights to make different effects. Later, I got to help set up the lighting for an event we were having, which needed to be different shades of green. I loved that I finally understood the method of how lighting works, and it’s definitely something I’ll pay more attention to in the future. 

An Odd Start

Getting this internship has been a crazy rollercoaster and a lot of hoops to jump through, but now that everything has settled into place and I’ve secured my spot as an intern at the Stetson marketing office I’m excited to get started and learn more about my future career options if I decide to minor in marketing.

Since I wasn’t originally planning to take on an internship in my first semester here at Stetson, I’ll have to admit that I’m considerably underprepared and don’t have a great idea of what I’m getting myself into. Despite this and my impending fear of being unable to meet these standards with my lack of experience, I’ve been able to convince myself that it’s okay that I haven’t done a lot in the field of marketing. After all, the entire reasoning for an internship is to gain experience and learn the ropes of the field with hands-on projects under the guide of someone with more experience.

My first hands-on task given to me by my supervisor, was to go around campus taking student life pictures with the camera he entrusted me with for the day. He said the goal of it was to asses my skill level and how I can improve over-all during my internship. I agree that this will benefit me, but it was insanely difficult to take student life pictures when there was nothing going on around campus at the time and the most exciting thing I found to shoot was a group of kids reading. I think I found it difficult since my main area of photography is events and candid photos that show energy, excitement, and emotion.

Even so, I think it did push me to try to make something out of nothing and that I learned more about my own personal photography style. I haven’t given him the photos yet, but I’m hoping my low energy shots are enough for the assignment.

Is This Thing On? Yes? No? Maybe?

I’ve got to say, this has been a wild past few days. I started my internship at Journey Christian Church as a tech intern, and it’s honestly been kind of amazing. There’s a large auditorium where the main services are, a kid’s theater called the Adventureland Theater, and a Student Center that all have their own unique tech set up. One of my supervisors gave me a quick run down on all of the different systems, and I definitely got a little overwhelmed at first. There’s so much to learn! We use Vista for our lighting, ProPresenter for all of our visual projections, and we have 2 DiGiCo sound boards and an Avid Venue Profile. 

This week I started in the Student Center. The middle schoolers were having their own weekend service and I was able to help run sound for the band. I got familiarized with the DiGiCo board (which is awesome, by the way) and learned a lot of the basic set up routine for the room. I set up mic stands, learned how to check and change batteries in the microphones and packs, and learned how to mix everyone’s in-ears. During rehearsal, I got to experiment with the board a little bit and learned how to EQ each channel and eventually find a good mix that suited the room. I definitely had a few hiccups and missed some cues with making sure everyone’s mic was on and unmuted, but I think for my first try it went well. My favorite part was learning to adjust everyone’s in-ear mix, and also learning how to solo each channel in my own headphones to be able to hear a specific instrument. 

During the actual service I ran the TelePrompter, which displayed all of the lyrics and chords for the band to follow along to on a tv against the back wall. This was done through ProPresenter, and it’s definitely one the easier features of the program. This required pretty much no training, as it’s just pressing left and right arrows to advance to the next or previous slide. The only hard part about this was making sure I was following along with the band and not getting distracted. Interestingly enough, it’s harder than it sounds! 

For my first week, I think things went pretty well. I get along well with everyone on the team and I really like what I’m doing so far. I’ve learned so much already and already feel so much more comfortable with a lot of the equipment than I did when I first walked in. I’m excited for what’s to come!