Flicker Teaser Trailer Reveal

I have a really cool thing that I want to share with you all. I mentioned in passing in my last post the massive project that I have during spring break. For a while now, I’ve been planning to film with my friends a pilot episode of a television show that we called Flicker.

It all started last semester when I took a class that focused on writing dramatic TV shows. My team decided to work on one of the my partners’ ideas. We ended up liking the concept so much that we wanted to make it a reality.

This semester, one of my partners, Alex, decided to use this show as his senior project. It’s been amazing to see it come together. Alex and my other partner, Daniel, have worked very hard for the last few weeks.

Let me tell you a little about Flicker.

Flicker tells the story of three guys, Aaron, James, and Thomas, who return from a no-tech camping trip to discover that the United States has been hit with an EMP attack. Their lives change forever when the electricity that they have come to rely on is completely eradicated. Along the way, the guys discover a woman who is much more than she seems. They must learn to survive in their harsh new environment, while facing threats including bandits, thugs, and rogue government agents.

Check out the pre-production teaser trailer:

Production for the pilot episode starts on Wednesday of next week. I’ll have only about 3 1/2 days of relaxing spring break before I have to back at Liberty for 10+ hour shooting days.

I’m really looking forward to getting to work. I’ll definitely post the full episode on here as soon as I can.

Until then, if you would like to help my team out, we have started an Indiegogo campaign to raise money. Mostly, we’re just trying to fund catering for our cast and crew and also some set design stuff. The link below will take you to the page if you’re feeling generous.

https://www.indiegogo.com/project/flicker-pilot-survival/embedded/16224135

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Come back on Sunday for a special episode of my podcast. I have a guest this time. Her expertise is in Star Wars, so it’s one you don’t want to miss.

Why I’m (sort of) leaving Facebook

It’s March 1. I know it’s a little late for New Years Resolutions and major life changes, but to be fair, this is something I’ve been planning for a while.

I’ve had a Facebook for a little longer than I’ve had this blog, but I think it’s time to quit. Facebook, that is. I’m keeping the blog. And it’s mostly because of the blog that I’m leavingĀ  Facebook.

I feel like Facebook has become something of an addiction for me. I check it every day, and I start to feel nervous when I haven’t checked it in a while. Which is absolutely ridiculous. I know that on a subconscious level, but I still feel the lure.

But more than Facebook being addicting; it’s also an incredible time-suck. If I’m not careful, I can spend hours on Facebook between looking up news articles, reading about my friends’ lives, and watching stupid videos. It’s not so much the news articles or my friends’ posts that bother me. It’s good to keep up with those. No, it’s the stupid cat videos and dumb listicles that do nothing but waste my time that I’m tired of.

I don’t need to read any articles about “10 things employees have done to get back at their bosses” or some such nonsense. I don’t need to watch yet another video of a cute animal. These might be good in moderation, but when I spend hours reading and watching nonsense, it just makes me feel like I’m wasting way too much time.

Now, I’m not actually quitting Facebook entirely. But from now on, I’m going to use in a much more efficient and thoughtful way. First, I’m limiting my mindless wandering on my personal page to just the weekends. Those are my rest days anyway, so I’m not trying to be productive. I don’t mind watching dumb stuff then.

Next, I’m going to be using my author page a lot more. I’m well aware that success these days has almost as much to do with quantity as quality. I made the page for a reason: to help build my personal brand. But the way I use it doesn’t do me any favors. I’m going to be actively searching out and posting actually good content for my author page.

And a few memes. I am a millennial, after all. We can’t just not post memes.

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If this seems like it’s coming out of the blue, it’s not. I’ve been thinking about this for a few months. Leaving Facebook (mostly) is actually part of a larger plan to revamp my writing practices.

It’s been bothering me that I haven’t been writing as often as I used to since I arrived at college. Writing makes me happy like nothing else does, and I’m pretty sure that my mood has suffered for not doing it as often as I’d like to. I know that I can spend more time on it if I just don’t have as many distractions.

I’m also pretty terrible at self-promotion, so that’s another thing I’ll be working on. I recently learned that, for people my age, Snapchat is almost more popular than Facebook. I know that for authors, Pinterest is a big part of their promotion. Now, I do have a Snapchat account and a Pinterest page, but I never use them.

I just checked my Pinterest account and I have 300+ notifications. That should let you know how long I’ve ignored it.

So, now I’m making a schedule for posting to my Facebook author page, Pinterest page, learning Snapchat, and probably Instagram. The Facebook page and this blog will be the main two platforms, but posting more consistently to the other ones should help with coming up with content for the main two.

Finally, I’m going to be posting MUCH more consistently to this blog. Yes, I know I’ve said that before, but now I have an Excel sheet to back it up. For now, the schedule will be once a week on Wednesdays at about noon. I have a lovely (read: long and incredibly boring) 4 hour break in between classes on Wednesdays, so that’s probably when I’ll make most of those posts.

I’m also starting a podcast that I’ll be posting here on the weekends probably. So you might get 2 posts a week. The podcast might be too labor-intensive to do every week, but I guess I’ll find out.

 

Do you still use Facebook? Why or why not? Let me know in the comments.

What happens in Vegas… is archery?

I recently returned from an amazing trip with my archery team. In Vegas. Yeah, I went to Las Vegas, Nevada for an archery tournament.

The road to Vegas for most people begins with way too much money and boredom. For me, that road began in Kentucky. For the second year in a row, my team competed in the US Collegiate Archery Association’s indoor tournament. This was two weeks after the semester started.

Now, last year when I did this, I had just joined the archery team in September, and my first competition was this one in March. It was incredibly nerve-racking and was made worse by the fact that literally all of my equipment with the exception of my hat was less than two weeks old. That, and my string broke when I got there (I had an extra, thankfully).

But I still did fairly well. I actually shot the best round of my life, a 207 out of 300 (pretty good for my division). Overall, the Kentucky trip last year was a blast, and I was looking forward to going on this year’s trip.

That is, until things started changing. First, we were told that the competition was being moved from March to January. Which meant that we had a whole lot less time to practice than we normally would. This was made worse because I planned to take time during my Christmas break to practice, but then I had toe surgery and couldn’t stand up for very long for two and a half weeks.

For those of you who don’t know, archery is rather difficult to do sitting down.

Then, we found out that this year’s Kentucky event wasn’t going to be part of the nationals like it was the year before, but instead, was only going to be a true regionals. The top 8 shooters in every division from every regional competition would be going to Vegas.

I had to ask twice to make sure that my coach was talking about that Vegas when he was telling the team this.

evan-and-me

My teammate Evan and me shooting. I’m on the right. (Pic by Meredith Dissinger)

I was ranked 5th nationally last year, and my goal was to stay there. I actually ended up doing a lot better, out-shooting myself by more than 100 points, and I moved up to 4th place. Which secured my place on the Vegas trip.

As you can imagine, I was over the moon, and I was really happy that two other members of my team also scored well enough to join me on the trip.

Which was, of course, only two weeks away. *Cue 80s-style training montage*

I was in the range every other day when I could be, and I competed in a local shoot for two days longer than I needed to just to make sure my form was perfect. Because I’m an idiot and a glutton for punishment, I bought brand-spanking-new arrows and got them fletched the day before we left.

So I shot like a blind monkey for the first day of the shoot, but I’m getting ahead of myself.

before we left.jpg

It was too early, but at least the sunrise was nice.

First, we had to fly to get there. Now I like flying. Most of the time. However, waking up at 5am Virginia time, flying all day across three time zones, competing two hours after we landed, and not finishing until 12:30am Vegas time. Yeah, that was less than fun.

The good news is that I apparently shoot better exhausted. Because after a whole day of phenomenally bad shooting (due mostly to the aforementioned brand-spanking-new arrows), I started shooting really well in the shoot-offs.

champions

My team standing with our bows and plaques. (Pic by my coach, Mitch Reno)

That is how I managed to come into the competition in 4th place and leave it ranked 2nd in the nation. The shoot-offs started at around 10pm Vegas time. My body thought it was 1 in the morning, so why I was able to stand up, much less shoot as well as I did is a mystery. I just kept praying as I shot that I wouldn’t just fall over in the middle of it.

That could have been… messy.

The rest of the shoot wasn’t as eventful. We did get to watch the World Cup of archery, so that was pretty cool. We also went to the trade show, and I picked up a sweet new quiver.

new quiver.jpg

Sweet new quiver

The trip didn’t end there, of course, but I’ll save for a later post the story of how my coach got us lost on the way to visit the Hoover Dam, so we just decided to run around in the desert for an hour. This post is a little long anyway.

I’ll end it by telling you that we left at 10pm Vegas time that day (Sunday), got back to Liberty at 11am on Monday, and I immediately had to go work for my other club until 8pm. Yeah, I don’t think I woke up again fully until Thursday.

If you’d like to here a little more about the trip and archery general, you can listen to the interview that another member of my team and I did for my friend’s radio show.

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Below are a few more photos from the trip if you’re interested.

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Freshmen are babies now… and other things that make me feel old

When I got to college I quickly fell in with a group of other freshmen honor students. We had lots of fun and thought that we were adults. We looked up to the junior and senior honor students that we hung out with sometimes. We called them the Bigs.

I am one of the Bigs now.

getting old.gif

I had this realization the other day while listening to some freshmen discussing one of their classes. They were complaining about a class called Biblical Worldview. They thought it was hard.

*Laughs maniacally*

For context, when I got my concussion two years ago, I wrote a paper for that class that I actually don’t remember writing. I got an A. I’m a pretty smart cookie, but it’s not an exaggeration to say that you can pass that class with half your brain tied behind your back.

But these freshmen were telling each other how different it was from high school and how much harder it was. All I could think was, “Oh you sweet summer child.” They have no idea what they’re getting into.

I keep wanting to sit down every freshman that I see and tell them all the mistakes I made and how to avoid them. I want to hug them and tell that everything is going to be okay, that they’ll get used to this, even though it’s hard. I guess what I’m saying is that freshmen are giving me maternal instincts I didn’t know existed.

The other thing that freaks me out a bit is that kids that I worked with when they were eight and nine are on Facebook talking about exams in high school. It’s hard for me not to keep seeing them as the fuzzy-headed little cuties that would run up to me and hug me around the waist because that’s all they could reach.

giphy

Is this what getting older feels like? If so, I don’t like it. I want to go back to when my biggest worry was whether or not I would manage to finish my two page Evangelism paper in time to go see a concert.

Forget all this internship searching and worrying about my future nonsense.

My blogging class is wrong about everything

Yes, I’m taking a blogging class. No, I don’t know why.

Well, actually, I do know why. Journalism 358 is on my degree completion plan. What I really don’t know is why I have to take a class all about blogging if they aren’t going to teach me anything that has to do with blogging.

I’ve read most of the book for the class (nothing else to do in a four hour break between classes), and that is actually pretty useful. I might have learned a few things, not many that I didn’t already know from almost four years of blogging. For some reason, even though we have to read the book and take quizzes on it, the professor goes entirely against it most of the time.

We were allowed to pick any topic we wanted. Of course I chose the world of YA reading and writing. But we’re not allowed to do book reviews. Or talk about our opinions. Or do writing advice. Or ask the readers questions at the end. Or basically do any of the things that you would normally associate with blogging for that audience.

frustration

See, this is supposed to sort of be about writing the news. That way they can say that this is a journalism class. But my target audience, young adults and teens, are not going to want to read about news in the publishing world. It’s hard enough to get this audience to read anything. But if they do, they need personality and fun.

Not perfect AP style.

In all of the big, successful blogs that are not specifically news blogs that I know of, the posts are written in a relaxed style with lots of first person and opinions. Even a lot of the news blogs have a lot of opinions. In this class, we’re basically banned from having opinions.

I feel like, if I am going to be forced to write in a way that is going to bore my audience to death, then I shouldn’t have been able to pick this topic. But the professor did approve it.

I should have stuck to politics like I originally planned.

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I think that the problem is that my professor seems to have a warped idea of what makes a successful blog. He keeps telling us about this restaurant blog that he wants to make with his wife. He’s had the domain name for a long time (more than a year, I think), but it languishes unused. He thinks that he needs lots of interviews with people and perfect AP style writing. And I know he will likely never refer to himself or his opinions.

But I think that most people read those kinds of blogs exactly for the opposite reasons. They don’t want to read a news article about restaurants. If they did, they would have searched for one. Blogs are for opinions and personality. News has it’s place, sure, but it’s more interested to read a blog post about someone reacting to the news than actually reading the news.

There are news websites for that.

It’s the personal touch that makes blogs interesting. And I feel like I’m being robbed of that for this blog.

But if you’re interested, you can click here to view our (did I mention it’s a team project?) introduction to the blog, which would have been a whole lot better if I’d been able to use the word “we.”

Hey, at least my partner picked a cool name for the blog.

got that going for me..gif

Tips for guys on dating sites

I want to preface this by saying that I like guys. That’s the reason I’m on a dating site. I’d kinda like to find one of my own. If you’re a guy reading this, know that I’m not going to be mean (sarcastic, oh yes), and I really do want to help.

And boy do you need help.

Having spent a few weeks on Christian Mingle, I’ve noticed a few trends among the fellows whose profiles I have viewed. Below are a collection of my tips for guys who are trying to find that special lady on a dating site.

1. NO ONE looks good in a low-angle picture.

This is probably the most egregious assault on the eyes that I have noticed. I don’t understand what it is with guys and low-angle photos. Do you think that you’re going to look bigger and more powerful?

Because you don’t. You look dumb. Let me illustrate.

The below picture is me from today. I took it from a straight on angle.

jan-19-2017

I don’t normally take selfies, but I wanted to show my mom how the new shirt she bought me fit.

It’s not the best picture. My phone doesn’t really take good pictures. But it doesn’t have to be perfect. I look good enough in it.

Now let me show you a low-angle photo. Same basic smile and same outfit.

crap-pic

Blegh!

It’s not attractive. It’s never attractive. No one wants to look up your nose. Even if you don’t have them, this kind of photo makes you look like you have three chins.

So fellas, if you’re looking for Mrs. Right, avoid the low-angle photos.

2. Just have YOU in your main profile photo

I don’t know about other dating sites, but Christian Mingle lets you choose several photos, but there’s one main one that everyone will see. This ought to be your best photo, and more importantly, it needs be to just you.

There will be plenty of other photos that can show off your cool car or how fun you are with your friends. Your main profile photo is not the photo to do that in. I can’t tell you how many times I have clicked on someone’s profile, just to find out that the person I thought I was interested in was not the correct person out of the ten in the profile photo.

No one likes guessing games. Girls don’t like having to guess which guy she’s looking at. So just stick to you in the profile photo. Because if it’s more than one person, chances are that girls are going to decide to pass on you just to avoid the detective work.

3. Show your FACE in the profile

It’s a stereotype that guys are more visual than girls, and that’s true to a certain extent, but girls are looking for someone easy on the eyes as well. It’s all well and good to be attracted to someone’s mind and heart, but if we’re not also attracted to you physically, well… You’re probably out of luck.

Do not make your profile photo a picture of you on your bike in a motorcycle helmet, no matter how cool it looks. Don’t make it a picture of you, but from really far away, so that your face is indistinguishable. And for the love of God, do not make your profile picture a photo of your abs. We like abs, yes, but your face needs to be nice too.

This goes back to point I made in the last one. No one wants to go digging to find out what you look like.

Also, as a side note, make sure the photo you’re submitting fits the specs of the site. I have had to click on many a headless man to see what his face looks like because he didn’t bother to make sure I could see it. Crop your photos!

The take-away here: Faces are important.

4. Do not make your profile photo a picture of you and another girl your age

I don’t care if it’s your sister. I don’t care if it’s your cousin. I don’t care if it’s the best picture of you ever taken. Having a girl (especially just you and a girl) in your photo will make me think you’re unavailable.

This actually goes for all of your photos, and not just your profile photo. Especially if you don’t write a caption explaining who the girl is, that makes your profile an automatic no-go.

Again, crop your photos. We’ll understand a cropped photo.

Another side note: Maybe don’t make every picture a photo of you with your mom either. That’s… um, a tad bit weird.

5. Don’t lie on your profile

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Biden memes will long outlive the Obama years. And rightly so.

If you aren’t a brain surgeon, don’t say you’re a brain surgeon. If you are in brain surgery school, that’s cool. Just don’t call yourself a brain surgeon. There are few things that ladies hate more than lying.

By the way, it’s possible to lie in your pictures. If every photo of you is you with your very attractive friends, and you’re not a particularly attractive guy, then you’re probably relying on girls thinking your friends are you (or at least, that’s what we’ll think). And that’s obnoxious.

Look, I get it. I’m not a supermodel. I don’t always like how I look. But don’t try to hide who you are, whether that’s in how you look or what you’re like as a person. If you’re on a site like this for the right reasons, then you want someone to message you and eventually fall in love with you for who you are, not who you’re pretending to be.

6. Fill out all the questions

In the same vein of “girls want to know who you are,” go ahead and fill out any questions that the site asks you. Don’t be afraid to be yourself.

Sure there have been times when I’ve read something someone wrote that made me uninterested, but there have been many more times when I just couldn’t find out anything about them, so I decided that it wasn’t worth it. Don’t give a girl a reason to turn away.

Personally, for me, politics is very important. I’m quite conservative, so I likely wouldn’t be able to date a liberal for very long (maybe a little bit, if he was really cute. Just being honest here). I have found myself reading someone’s bio and made it to the politics section and found nothing, and then I just decided not to keep looking.

You want to give the ladies you want to attract a reason to be attracted to you beyond the physical motivation. Like I said before, girls aren’t as visually-oriented as guys are. We need the physical attraction, but we also need to be attracted to the mind and heart more.

7. Smile!

Don’t look like you’re depressed to be there. Everyone likes to see people happy. I won’t begrudge you your sexy, debonair, smolder stare, but don’t make that every picture.

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Unless you’re Grant Gustin, of course.

8. Do NOT make a joke profile

Most of these I’ve seen are from younger guys. I’m sure they think it’s funny. But yeah, not so much for people who are really looking. Or maybe I don’t share your sense of humor.

Just don’t do it, okay? It’s super annoying.

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That’s about all I can think of right now. I sincerely hope this list is helpful for some guys. And girls, if you find yourself violating any of these tips, then you might want to change too. I’m sure girls have their own annoying issues on dating sites, but I wouldn’t know. I’m not looking for a lady.

I want a manly man.

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Yeah, like that.

Do you have any dating site tips? Let me know in the comments.

Things I’ve learned to value in 2016

The year 2016 is fast approaching its glorious end. It’s been a wild year, but not a bad one, mostly, for me. I’m not sure the world is better off than it was at the beginning of the year (then again, we’re getting rid of Obama, so…), so here’s to 2017 being a little more, um, sane? And here’s a list of things I’ve learn to greater appreciate this year.

1. My left big toenail

Of all of the body parts to cause me massive amounts of problems this last year, my left big toe has probably been the most consistently annoying. It’s been a problem for the last couple years, but the last couple of months have made me wish the little bugger would just fall off and stop hurting me.

But see, I’ve also come to realize that there’s a reason that we have toenails. Mine was only just starting to come back before my doctor unceremoniously cut it back off again a few days ago. So that means I have lived a few months with no big toenail. And let me tell you, it sucks. When people step on your toes or you stub a toe, yeah it hurts, but it hurts a whole lot more when there’s no nail to protect it.

So now, I still want the darn thing to come back and not look really stupid (fat chance). I value it more, but I also resent it more.

2. Non-insane politics

It’s not just me, right? This last year was crazier than usual? I mean, I know that I’m only 20, so I don’t remember most election years. Maybe they’re all like this. Who knows, maybe it’s always been this way, but I became politically conscious around 2008, and I don’t remember this much insanity then.

This past election was like a reality TV show, which I realizeĀ probably had something to do with the candidates. This was the year the media really showed who they really were, and a good portion of America collectively said “Screw you, we’ll take the psycho you don’t like.” I have to wonder how many people voted Trump out of spite alone.

Dear God, please don’t let this happen again next election cycle.

3. Positive people

In a year that was full of negativity, it was a blessing to find people who were trying to stay positive. I clung to people who could see everything that was going on this last year and still smile about it. Those who could still laugh at all this made this year a little more bearable.

Speaking of laughing…

4. SJWs

I know what you’re thinking, how could you learn to value social justice warriors? The answer is easy: they’re flipping hilarious.

I mean, have you seen the way they reacted when Trump won? The looting and burning wasn’t so funny, but the TEARS and the WHINING, bloody hilarious. I learned a new word in 2016: Shadenfreude.This was year they all collectively lost their minds, and It. Was. Glorious.

10/10 would tick them off again.

5. Books

I miss books. Being in college, for me, usually means not reading a whole lot. I’m the kind of person who can’t just sit down and read a few pages of a good book. It’s finish or bust, and finish sometimes means staying up till 3 in the morning. I can’t really do that when I have an 8:15 am class the next day. Sleep is a good thing. Which reminds me:

6. Sleep

I’m a college student. Do I need to say more?

7. Classes that start after 9 am

My class schedule sucks donkey balls next semester. I have 8:15 classes EVERY DAY, and I am not a morning person. I’m hardly human before 10 am. I’ll also be spending more money on gas, because I’ll be damned if I’m going to wake up at 6 am to catch the hour-long, bumpy shuttle to Liberty’s campus. I like living off-campus, but not being able to walk to class in the morning is a bit of a pain.

The only good news is that I’ll be done by 2pm every day. I am seeing a lot of naps in my future.

What have you learn to value more in 2016? Let me know in the comments.