All Set For Offset

So this weekend Bord Gais Energy Theatre plays host to Offset. A creative conference that has received rave reviews from practically any digital media person I know. It seems the event to fill up on inspiration and ideas.

And for the first year, I have had the bucks to attend. Yew! I can’t tell you how excited I am not just to be attending but also because I can afford it. Bexter Productions is going great and work keeps building along with my excitment and goals. I think Offset is the perfect event to help me to really immerse back into that digital creativity world.

Digital media and related industries have a very unique mindset. At home I am surrounded by incredible artists in the form of my dad, sister, mom and sometimes myself. But as a creative discipline I believe how the idea forms and how the work is carried out is very different to digital media work. Don’t get me wrong I am not saying art and digital media creativity don’t go hand in hand which of course they do. All I know is, in my brain it feels like I use a different part or style when carrying out pieces of art and creating digital media pieces. This is why I wanted to go to Offset in the first place. I wanted to invgorate that side of myelf. Which I suppose highlights one of the biggest issues with starting my own business, I work from home with my cat Fin for company. I also have the pleasure of dealing with amazing clients but not fellow digital media-ers.

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So Offset here we come! So far it has all gone incredibly well. I got my butt on the bus today so I wouldn’t be wrecked for the first day of Offset. The journey went smoothly and the day only got better from there.

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I picked up my comics from Forbidden Planet (an incredibly important ritual I have when I land in Dublin) and headed to my accomodation. The city seems to be busy busy at the moment so I ended up booking Kilronan House which may not be super close to the theatre but boy am I glad! My room is gorgeous and the staff amazing! They even printed off my Offset ticket which, yes, I managed to leave behind in Galway, ahem…

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Then it was exploring time. I wandered round Dublin and hit my favorite places. Although, I have to say it was a little strange to be back for a long weekend. Seems like a million years ago I was at college up this direction. I had a blast and yum in Nandos and again was lucky enough to deal with a real sweet guy who couldn’t have been nicer. Goes to show in any industry, customer service is key. A great stroll back up past St. Steven’s Green and super awesome chill time.

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Let’s hope the rest of the weekend will be even more magical! Will keep you all posted.

Getting to Grips with the Unreal Work Day

I am having one of those days I call the “unreal” work day…But first of all, hi everybody! I’m baaaaaaack! Miss me?! Ironically I am delving back into my blogging 3 years after I first begun this blog. I was a bit shocked when I first read that after looking in; talk about feeling old in the ever-changing digital world ;)

Anyway, now that I am done patting myself on the back, back to the subject at hand, the “unreal” work day. I have a habit of saying, “oh I some “real” work done today.” They are the days were you sit down and do actually work that you actually have for instance updating a website for a client or writing up that report, etc. Then there are days were you’re at your desk all day and walk (or in my case close my laptop and go down stairs) home wondering what you actually did. You feel like you did loads but you don’t have anything tangible to show for it; no marker or goal reached.

Stop yourself right there, that was not an “unproductive” day. Quite to the contrary, that is what I call an “unreal” work day. Those days were you’re sorting and readying yourself for a “real” work day. A day were you get all those niggly things that have been pestering you for some time out of the way and make room for “real” work. It’s an in-between day. A day of infinite possibilities. It’s the day you sort your shit out. So therefore it is an entirely necessary day.

When you reach a day like that I have found you have two options:

  1. Fight it and go nowhere
  2. Go with the flow

Put in pretty stark terms like that it is very easy to decide which would work best, as always it’s option no. 2. Your brain is crying out for a nice thing called thinking space. It is in this space that ideas are born, that you find a quicker way to do what needs to be done, that you make lists that means you’ll actually get somewhere later in the week, it is a chance to breathe.

This screams of Procrastination you say?! Well yes, yes it certainly does. Believe it or believe it not, but like everything in life, procrastination as part of a balanced work life (you know the one where you actually do work you lazy bum!). Life in general is all about balance something we seem keen to forget. Our employers expect us to be productive from 9-5, we expect ourselves to be able to accomplish that. See my post DayDreaming Believer – Procrastination Master for more on procrastination as a good thing.

Moral of this post – have an “unreal” work day or morning or afternoon or moment. It sure as hell works for me because when I sit down to do “real” work, I have far less distractions and more importantly I don’t feel like I am trying to torture myself and I enjoy the work I do.  By enjoying the work you invest in it. If you invest in it, it’s bound to be better than before. If you hate your work then I am sorry to break it to you there is no magic formula or potion to make you fall in love it so start exploring your options!

Future For Ocean Warriors?

I started this project because I felt it was one that could continue to grow even after college was finished but there have been times I have wondered whether it really will continue. Maybe it would just die off?! Well it seems like there is going to be a bright future for Ocean Warriors.

My hope is to continue the partnership with Irish Surfers Against Pollution and Clean Coasts. Furthermore, I have been contacted by Karin de Jong of The Black Fish, an organisation working towards sustainable fishing in Europe, to assist them in their tour of events in September 2013. I have been invited to take part in an eco-education program at Fin McCools Surf School. Also, Aidan Monaghan, a primary school teacher in Dublin 15, has requested I give a talk at the school for their Water Day.

- Abstract from my report’s conclusion

Ocean Warriors First Newsletter!

Today I released Ocean Warriors first newsletter which I designed and sent out using MailChimp. I had used it before for my dad’s exhibition invitations so it seemed like the logical choice. You can view it and subscribe to it here: http://eepurl.com/zPSZD

Newsletter Page One Newsletter Page Two

 

Video Gallery

One of the things I took away from the mid semester presentations was that I should utilise the footage I captured and make lightly edited interview videos of the different people. So, in order to display all the videos on the website, I made a new page for them and then installed a lot of video gallery plugins to see which was best. I found the article on this article on wpmu.org really helpful.

In the end I went with TubePress as it perfectly suited my needs and is really handy as it pulls the videos in from a playlist I have on YouTube.

Video Page of Ocean Warriors Website

Report Writing

As part of the Final Year Project, we have to write an academic report of a minimum of 5,000 words. It took me two days to write and is 41 pages long and 6,862 words long. More importantly, it done!

Me Holding My Report

Search Engine Optimisation

The Ocean Warriors has been live for a while now but I noticed that it is still hard to search for on the likes of Google. So I started looking into search engine optimisation (SEO). It seems a bit complicated but I got the gist of the basics like good markup, use of meta tags, alt tags and markups. I have to say though I am definitely not understanding the search engine spiders and all that jazz. Thankfully I don’t really need to either.

From my research I found this plugin called WordPress SEO that’s really good. I know the SEO for WordPress sites is pretty good and practically there already but I thought this might give me a boost. It gives you great tips and allows you to enter all the meta and keywords and what not for every page and post on the site.

I also signed up for Google Web Tools and submitted my sitemap and posts sitemap to it too. I figured every little bit helps! It has paid off too with Ocean Warriors dominating nearly the entire first page when you search for Ocean Warriors Ireland.

Ocean Warriors Ireland Search Results on Google

Stickers!

I decided to get stickers printed. I know in the surf world how popular stickers are. They’re put on everything from cars to signs. I also thought I could make an event out of them in the form of a sticker bomb. Unfortnately, I had planned this on the weekend my boyfriend was in hospital so I didn’t get to do it. I still think they’re a great promotional item as people love to feel like they are getting something for nothing when really they are doing you the favor.

Bumper Sticker

Also it led me to create a slight alteration to the logo for some promotional items by turning it into the website name with the .ie.

 

Compassionate Timeout

I got a phonecall late wednesday night from my boyfriend living in Galway that he was in the hospital. Naturally he became my first priority and I went down to Galway to be with him and help him recover after leaving the hospital. This means I lost 3 days of being able to work on my project. This wouldn’t have been an issue a month ago but as we had no exams this time had been set a side for intensive work on the project. So these 3 days have definitely impacted on my project in a noticeable way. I still plan on doing everything I set out to do but it may mean a view less interview videos.

Social Media Wizardy

I have been doing a good hour every day engaging with Ocean Warriors on Facebook and twitter and trying to improve the numbers as well as become the hub for relevant information about the environment, ocean, coast, etc. Part of this was to design a nice twitter background:

Twitter Background

I also started thanking people for joining and linking to the site wherever possible.

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