Wednesday, April 26, 2017

What is a Stage Manager?

When I explain to people what my majors are I often get the question, "What is that?" Everyone has a general understanding of what Public Relations is, however, very few have heard of International Theatre Production. I usually respond with, "It's all of the backstage stuff," and people can accept that, when in reality it is so much more. 

International Theatre Production covers a wide range of lighting, sound, scenic design, costuming and stage management. Most people have one or two sections that they focus on throughout their training. I am focusing on stage management. 

The stage manger is responsible for the cast and is the right-hand man or woman to the director. In short, the stage manager will help run auditions, keep track of all paperwork, take blocking notes, cue the show and keep the actors in line. 

Most often, the stage manager is the only person left once the show opens. Directors and designers will move on to their next show and it is the job of the stage manager to maintain the creativity of the show after the creative people have left. 

During the show I am currently working on, our phenomenal director, Michael Licata, has been very organized and patient with me as I am learning to do this job for the first time. This experience that I have had with this show and my stage management class is what drove me to change my Theatre major to International Theatre Production. 

I have been pleasantly surprised with how many stage management skills are interchangeable with PR. I look forward to continuing my education in both majors and becoming a very versatile employee!

Monday, April 24, 2017

Measuring Relationships with your Communities and Neighbors

As I mentioned in my previous blog, relationships are vital to having a successful career. Not only do relationships boost you as an individual, but relationships are beneficial to companies as well. Good relationships with a target market can create a loyal audience and a successful business. Below are a few tips to maintaining and measuring those relationships.

1. Agree on Solid Measurable Goals

Make sure that your entire team is on the same page regarding what goals you have for this project.

2. Define your Publics

Who may play a role in your companies success? Make a list of anyone who may be a stakeholder for your business. 

3. What are your Benchmarks?

Compare yourself to businesses similar to yours in other towns. Ideally, you want to benchmark against your competition. 

4. Set your Audience Priorities

Who and what is most important to measure?

5. Choose your Measurement Tools

There are different strategies to measuring results:
  • Relationship Surveys
  • Local Media Analysis

6. Analyze the Data

When analyzing data, be sure to consider:
  • When it comes up for a vote, it's too late to change anything
  • How your company is viewed by an outsider
  • Nonprofit Measurements
  • Government can plan ahead
  • Campus Opportunities
As we all learn, relationships are very important to the success of a person or company. In order to ensure that your company stays successful, make the target audience your top priority. By following these steps, you will be on the right track to pleasing your audience!

Saturday, April 22, 2017

It Really is All About Who You Know

As we grow up, it is extremely important to not burn bridges. When I applied for my first job, I had no experience but one of my references was a friend of the owner, so I got the job. The longer I am in school, I realize that it is valuable to make connections with everyone you know. Someday, that person could be a CEO or hiring you for a job you really want.

The fact that connections are so important has taught me some lessons. I am not a quick to dismiss a relationship or quit on a project because I know that I might need those people for a reference someday. People are satisfied with my work because I am aiming to please them.

Relationships are your key in the door of the job you want, however, don't become absorbed with another person. A connection can make a great path for you in your career but you also need to have skills and a personality that sets you apart. Your relationships may get you the job, but you have to maintain it. Nobody wants to hire someone that isn't actively seeking to go above and beyond everyday.

My advice is to make and maintain as many relationships as you can. While you are working on those, work on making yourself the absolute best candidate so that your references will be the last thing getting you the job.

Friday, April 21, 2017

International Play Festival

This past month I have had the opportunity to stage manage "Prometheus: The Beginningin the International Play Festival at Ohio Northern University. It has been a blast to work from the beginning of this project and watch everyone grow throughout the rehearsal process. 

As much fun as it is to watch my cast grow, I have also learned a lot about the professional theatre world. I got the chance to work with our guest director, Michael Licata, who has worked on Broadway shows. Michael has been very professional and I have learned what directors expect from me. 

The International Play Festival will be running Thursday, April 27, 2017, to Sunday, April 30, 2017. The two shows will rotate every other day, starting with Prometheus on Thursday. I am so proud of what my cast has accomplished this past month and I hope the audience enjoys all the hard work and creativity the cast and crew put into the show. 

If you aren't busy next weekend, consider stopping by The Freed Center to see the show!

Monday, April 17, 2017

What are KPIs?

In the book I am currently reading, the author often uses abbreviations for business terms. One that is reoccurring is KPIs or key performance indicators. The book, "Measure What Matters", discusses measuring a company, different types of measurement and tips and tricks for a successful program. KPIs are a huge part of measuring your company's success.

KPIs often measure engagement. KPIs can be used to determine what is important to your audience, making that important to you. Once your company has set goals, KPIs keep track of if you are meeting those goals or not. recommends using the SMART technique.

1. Is your objective Specific?

2. Can you Measure progress towards that goal?

3. Is the goal realistically Attainable?

4. How Relevant is the goal to your organization?

5. What is the Time-frame for achieving this goal?

With these helpful tips, I hope you are able to use KPIs effectively and grow towards your goals!

Thursday, April 13, 2017

Easter Break

One of the things I love about going to a private college is that we get a lot of breaks. Larger schools may have a fall break, Christmas break and spring break, but we get extended weekends around every holiday as well as seasonal breaks. Towards the end of the year, it is really easy to get burnt out and have no motivation to do anything. This makes breaks especially nice so we have a chance to catch up on our sleep, spend time with people we care about and come back refreshed.

Every year, my church has a sunrise service and breakfast on Easter Sunday. After church, we have lunch at my grandparents' house and visit with family. Even though my cousins and I are all college age, my grandmother insists that we have an Easter egg hunt every year.

For the past two years, I have spent Easter evenings at my boyfriend's house. We typically eat dinner, play euchre and watch whatever sports game is on TV. I see my boyfriend's family a lot because they live close to ONU, but it is still nice to spend a relaxing day together.

This year, I will be working on Good Friday and spending the rest of my vacation at home cuddling my cat. I am hopeful that this small break will be enough to motivate me to push hard through the last three weeks of school.

What are your Easter plans? Do you have any special traditions with your family? Comment below!

Wednesday, April 12, 2017

Helpful Apps to Get Rid of Clutter

When you enter your late teens and early 20s years, there is often a lot of moving that takes place. You might be moving into a college dorm or apartment. Most times, you won't be in a living facility for more than a year. As you prepare for these days of living off of the basics, there are a few apps that will help you minimize the items moving with you. 

1. letgo

This app allows you to post and buy secondhand items. Pieces range from house appliances to clothing. Letgo also allows you to verify sellers that you have bought items from before. 

2. Poshmark

Poshmark is an app mainly used for clothing, shoes and accessory sales. You can follow pages and selling items will appear on your feed. 

3. BookScouter

Do you have multiple textbooks that you will never use again? BookScouter will purchase your textbooks from you. All you have to do is enter the ISBN number and the app will give you a price they would buy the book for. 

4. Decluttr

If you are anything like me, you have purchased DVDs and CDs that you have not used since the creation of the iPod. Decluttr allows you to sell movies, CDs and electronic devices. 

I hope that you are able to try a few of these apps and make some money in the process!

Monday, April 10, 2017

The Seven Steps to a Perfect Measurement Program

As I mentioned in a previous blog, measuring your company is very important and can save you money in the long run, but only if you are measuring correctly. Below, are seven steps to the perfect measurement program as described by Katie Delahaye Paine in her book, "Measure What Matters". 

1. Define your Goals and Objectives

Why are you launching this plan or pursuing this strategy? Typically, marketing goals fall under sales, message or public safety and education. The flaw with most objectives is that they combine the categories. Try to be as specific as possible with the company's goal. 

2. Define your Audience, Environment, and your role in influencing them

Keep in mind that your advertising is seen by more people than just your target audience. Examine all the possible target audiences and determine what will benefit the most relationships.

3. Define your Investment

What will this strategy cost? What is the goal return on investment? Do not overlook the free tools available to you. 

4. Determine your Benchmarks

Paine states that ideally a company will compare themselves to their goal company, a peer company and an underdog who is just beginning. Also, compare this strategy to your company's past performance. 

5. Define your Key Performance Indicators

What are the metrics you will report with? Each objective may require different measurement. Remember awareness is not the same as visibility. 

6. Select the Right Measurement Tool and Vendors and Collect Data

You should collect three types of data: content analysis of social or traditional media, primary research via online, mail or phone and web analytics. 

7. Turn Data into Action

Data does not mean anything unless you are actively using it to improve your company. 

Now that you have the perfect measurement program, watch your company grow!

Friday, April 7, 2017

The Snapchat Story not just for Snapchat

Snapchat, created in 2011, became a widely used social platform by millennials. As time went on, people of all ages began to use Snapchat and fell in love. 

Snapchat has a feature called My Story, where an individual can post a photo for all of their friends to see for the next 24 hours. The addicting part of this feature is that you can see who has viewed your story. The introduction of My Story has increased Snapchat usage, making Snapchat competitive with Facebook, Twitter and Instagram for most popular platform. 

Not long after the creation of My Story, Instagram added the same feature. You can edit and write text over your picture and it will stay visible for 24 hours. When Instagram introduced this feature, an outrageous number of millennials posted to their Instagram story with their Snapchat username as a mockery to Instagram. It took almost a month for users to even consider using their story on Instagram. Now, Instagram stories have become a regular for adults and celebrities, however, it is rare to see a young person post on their Instagram story. 

When Facebook discovered that adults enjoyed the story feature, they introduced the same thing to their site. Now, you can edit and write text over images that will be visible on Facebook for 24 hours. Sound familiar? I haven't seen anyone on my personal Facebook use the story feature, but I presume that will come eventually. The Facebook generation might not know how to use it and it might not be as simple from a desktop, which most Facebook users use. Whatever the case, Facebook has some work to do if they want to be competitive with Snapchat. 

Often, it doesn't take long for our generation to experiment and accept new features on our social platforms, however, Snapchat appears to be the most popular and used story feature to this day. With Twitter as a millennial-driven platform, they are the only site refraining from introducing this feature and they seem to be the smart ones for doing so. In this case, no one can beat Snapchat for the feature they created. 

Wednesday, April 5, 2017

Break Out of Your Comfort Zone

Moving out of a comfort zone can be really challenging. As a child, my family moved every two to three years until I started school. You may have experienced a change like this when you moved into college. You could've been afraid that you wouldn't make new friends. You moved into a new space and are going to a new school. For me, change became a natural part of life. My past of constantly moving has taught be how to be ready for change, accept it when it happens and to find comfort in the change. 

When I was growing up, I don't think my dad knew what career path he wanted to take. I was born in Tiffin, Ohio, where my dad was a minister at a local church. At the time, Tiffin was experiencing an epidemic of unsafe circumstances and my parents decided to move. 

Next, my parents bought a house down the street from my grandparents in Findlay, Ohio. My dad was now working as a truck driver, and I was working on learning my alphabet before my big brother. 

A different job came along and we traveled to Anderson, IN, where my dad worked as a youth minister. My older siblings started school in this city and I started preschool. However, the school systems in Anderson, IN, were falling apart and my parents decided to move again. 

At a young age, my family moved so often that I wasn’t sure where “home” was. During this time, I learned to value my relationship with my parents and siblings. I realized that they were the one constant thing that I would have through all the changes.

Somewhere along the way, we ended up in Findlay, Ohio, for a temporary stay at my grandparents' house while my parents were house-hunting. 

When I was near the age of four, my parents bought a house in Jenera, Ohio. My dad started truck driving again and I started school at Cory-Rawson, where I would graduate 13 years later. While living in Jenera, I made some of my closest friends. 

After my 10 years in Jenera, I discovered that moving doesn’t mean you lose the friendships that you make. It taught me to appreciate the technology I have to keep in contact with my friends that are farther away.

In junior high, a new opportunity came by and my dad began preaching in McComb, Ohio. We bought a house next door to my crush at the time and that is where my parents, and occasionally myself, are living today. 

As you can see, starting over was my thing. I am confident that my siblings and I will be able to take any changes to come with ease. When we are young, we experience many changes, whether welcome or unwelcome. It may be challenging to place yourself out of your comfort zone, but that is all a part of learning and growing as an individual.