Archive for July, 2008

So now with the excessive drought we are all looking for a little rain to relieve the pain…. Today was not one of those days! It rained a couple of times this morning, but never terrible. So we went out to practice around 2:30 and went up in the lifts. Mind you I am 40 feet in the air on a metal lift, uncovered with no protection. Also remember that we just got new cameras which are worth more than… well my life! haha. So anyway, about fifteen minutes into practice it begins raining lightly. About 30 seconds later it comes a torrential down pour!! I mean it was raining so hard I could not see the ground from the top of the lift! However they decided to continue practice and if they go we go! Also, in order to save the cameras all extra towels were allocated to covering it up! Needless to say I got SOAKED! From my head to my shoes! It was terrible! And  with rain of course comes lighting, which doesn’t mix well with the forty feet of a metal “lighting rod” I’m standing on! Finally after about ten minutes of it my boss, who was in another lift today, told us to come down! Thank goodness! It continued raining for about forty five minutes with the team huddled under the metal shelter freezing! Then after that it cleared up and we went back out for a two hour practice! A very LONG and miserable day!

Just another day in the life of a GT Football Video Guy!

Advertisements

Farewell Video

Posted: July 30, 2008 in Church Videos
Tags:

Hey Everyone!
As most of you know this has been a rather sad and changing week around ONEWAY! As indicated in an earlier post our Youth Pastor and his wife have been called to further God’s Ministry in Alabama. This is the video I created for tonight’s special farewell service for them! Unfortunately I wasn’t able to be there because of GT Football. Anyway, as I was sitting around thinking up ideas for it I decided to go “Old School”. First we started with Katelyn Turner, our host of the 5B4 introducing the video (Katelyn did a Great Job Again!). Then we had it pause and brought in Casey and J! For those of you who don’t know or are to young Casey and J was the Announcement Show we had many years ago! No editing, no planning, no scripts, no special effects no anything! We simply went outside before the service and hit record on the camera. Generally the episodes included a lot of tackling and stupid stuff! Great Times! So anyway, I gave them a general script of what I wanted said, then they ran with it and did a great job! I filmed interviews all day Friday, Saturday and Sunday (which was quite hard without Scott and Holly finding out! Especially since Holly was at the church all day Friday and Saturday!) I have an eternity of interviews that I had to edit down to this really short video! It turned out pretty good though!

So here it is,

Well, Summer Classes are finally over, although I can’t complain much! I must say, I actually throughly enjoyed all of them! I should have been doing Summer Semester the whole time!

Today began Football however! It was a SCORCHER! However, I did come prepared this year! I purchased some Chilly Pads yesterday and carried a small cooler with ice, water and bottles of water! It wasn’t that bad, and was actually barable! I had the hard schedule today and filmed for two hours and fifteen minutes striaght! Without a break! It was a little tiresome!

We also got all new equipment this year (P2, HD). And have switched Football Editing systems. So everything today was a little crazy learning the new system, especially after over two years of the other method on a daily basis!

I forgot my camera so I don’t have pictures, I’ll try and grab some tomorrow!

So tomorrow begins another year of football with Georgia Tech. This will be my third fall working in the Video Department for the team and I am somewhat looking forward to it! I am not looking forward to the things I’m going to have to miss over the next two weeks because of it, but I guess we all have to make choices at some point in our lives, although this choice is more made for me! :). Anyway, tomorrow is a meeting at noon, then we begin practicing, daily, on Wednesday!

Alright, back to studying, I’ll talk to you all later!

Busy

Posted: July 28, 2008 in Misc.

Hey everyone,

Just a forewarning that I probably won’t post much until Wednesday this week. It is a crazy busy week with Finals, Football Starting up and a couple of other projects I’m working on. Finals are over on Wednesday so I should have more time then.

I got to spend most of this weekend with the ONEWAY crew which was awesome! It will be the last time I am home for quite a while due to Football so it was great to get to see everyone. They did an amazing job with the Dramas (as always) and of course Bible Quiz. I really wish I could be going to San Antonio next week! This will be the first National Competition I’ve missed!

Anyway, I’ve got to run, so I’ll catch up later!

Today I begin my look at some of Disney’s top Guest Service secrets and how they can be applied in other situations. The first of which is Understanding Your Guests. (If you’re not interested in Guest Service you may wish to skip this series.)

The first thing you must do in order to have outstanding guest service is to well, know your guest (aka: Market Research)! Some of the techniques to understanding your guests can be surveys at the point of exit, maybe once a quarter, once a year etc., having a dedicated “listening post” in the facility where guests can come to ask questions, make comments and find out more information about the organization; comment cards available for guests to fill out and place in a box or give to someone in the “listening post”, and of course having your employees observe and report back what they are hearing the guests say, what they are reacting to and how they are reacting to them as well as the collection of opinions from the guests through casual conversation.

Another technique to use is statistics and usage diagrams. How much time are guests spending in each area of your store? How are they getting there? Are they passing other displays and items to get there without stopping? When do they go to the magazine section, when they first enter or when they are about to leave? These techniques can be applied in any organization. Possible questions and data that can think of for the ministry I work with are: Where are guests sitting in the auditorium? Do they focus more on the IMAG screens or the live presenter on stage? Where, prior to the service, do they spend most of their time: talking with friends, playing video games, eating? What time do most of our guests show up to the building? How long do guests usually hang around after the service is completed?

Another technique is to have Mystery “Shoppers” to go into your stores, rides, hotels etc. and experience it from the point of view of the guest. Are they being treated well? How long did it take for someone to greet them upon arrival?

Focus groups are also a huge part of any major decision. Maybe you are planning to add a new section to your store, a new amusement ride, a new community outreach service. Yes, managers and leaders can sit in a room all day and brainstorm great possibilities to these, but without bringing in a group of people who will actually be using these services you are missing an important element.

With surveys however you must conduct them often. A survey completed four years ago about what guests like will be hugely different than what guests expect today. Surveys and data also cannot be hidden away in a drawer but must be used to develop new standards, improve old ones and develop new policies and procedures.

It is also vital to gather data at numerous points along a guests journey. As Disney puts it, a guest is going to give a much happier response when they checkout after a week of fun than they will 30 days later when the Credit Card bill comes in!

The Guest Compass

Another important focus to understanding a guest is to split them into four different areas: Needs, Wants, Stereotypes and Emotions. Lets take a high end clothing store for our example. What a guest needs is fairly obvious, new clothes. What a guest wants however can be a little more tricky- maybe they are wanting to impress in a job interview or maybe wanting to impress someone on a first date. Understanding wants, not just needs, can help lead you to better understanding your guests and how you can provide for them. Next are stereotypes, how do the guests see your company (store)? Being a high end clothing store an obvious stereotype would be “rich” or “high class”. Understanding how your store is seen in the guests eyes can help you see what they expect. Maybe they expect to have higher service than a lower end retailer and an environment that says “high class” with lounges, amazing decorations with top of the line clothes. The last point is the emotions. What emotions are your guests experiencing when they come to the store? When they first come in they may be amazed by the exclusive decorations, then they are impressed by the rapid and intelligent staff who help them find a suit, however when they get home they may feel remorseful for purchasing a $400 suit!

Next time I will continue with developing a Service Theme and Service Standards.

Previous Guest Service Series Posts
An Introduction

To Scott:

Posted: July 24, 2008 in Leading a Media Team
Tags: ,

Well, as most of you know by now, our youth pastor, and my good friend, has been called to further God’s ministry in the town of Birmingham Alabama. Words can’t express the type of amazing relationship I have been able to develop over the last six years with him. When I first came into ONEWAY, a youth group of thirty, when I was fourteen, I knew only one person. I sat in the back of the room and wondered “why on earth am I here! I’m never coming back!”. However to look at me know and how far I have come is truly amazing! In just seven years I have gone from knowing no one in the Youth Group to being the Production Director in charge of several amazing volunteers running media for a youth group of over 160 members! The first real memory I have of really feeling like I belonged in ONEWAY was on a Wednesday night, at the Old Youth House many years ago. Back then we had this tradition, a tradition where Scott would hand the microphone to someone in the audience and ask them to close out service in prayer. Now this was back in the days when I still didn’t know a lot of people, and I will admit I was one of the people who pretended like I was in deep thought and never made eye contact with Scott at the end of service knowing that time was coming! However this night, somehow, he decided to call on me to close in prayer! As nervous as I was I have to say that it was then that I felt like a truly belonged at ONEWAY (Scott, I’ve never told you this :).

I also still remember the phone call that began my entire video and production career. It was a Tuesday afternoon and Scott called me and asked me to be at Church early on Wednesday to help with Casey and J. (For those of you younger than about 10th grade you probably have no idea what I’m talking about, but they were old school video announcements). I thought that I was going to be in the video, maybe a “co-host” or special guest. Oh no, when I arrived Scott stuck a camera in my hand and said “film” (ok, maybe a few more words than that). Now remember at this time I had no video experience, no production experience no anything! I’ll never know what led Scott to call me for that position. However that one night turned into six years of being in Production for ONEWAY (I don’t believe I ever sat in the audience during another ONEWAY Service!) Not only did this phone call trigger my time as Production Director for ONEWAY, but it started a chain of events that has led me to where I am today! So Thank You Scott for that Phone Call :).

However our friendship extends far beyond the walls of the ONEWAY Sanctuary. He is always there when I call him, always listens (ok, he at least pretends like he is listening haha) and is always interested in what is going on with my life outside of running the media department. I can remember the MANY trips I have taken with him and the group and the amazing times we have had. The first major trip was to San Antonio for National Teen Talent. Now this was right after I had become “Production Director” for ONEWAY, so I still didn’t know the ropes. However Scott let me tag along on the trip to make a video documentary. Upon arriving we had been upgraded to Suites in the hotel. The suite included a King Size bed and a fold out. Guess who got stuck on the Fold Out? Jared Green and I! And on the King Size? Josh Underwood and Scott! (Those of you who know all of us this will be very comical!)

I think I could go on and on with stories about us, from short trips to Mama Smith’s house in Alabama to trips to Indianapolis and Mexico! However I won’t bore all of you who don’t know us with those.

To Scott:
Thank you! You will never know how huge of an impact you have had on my life! I’m not the type of person to come up to you and tell you all of this but you are amazing! I will admit we have had our times of “anger” with each other, but we have never let it come between our friendship. You have always been there for me, and at least pretended to listen to my endless stories of video, football and school (Ok, you’ve done a pretty good job :). I have really missed getting to do our Thursday Pizza Hut runs the last two years and spending countless hours at the offices coming up with crazy ideas. You are going to be an amazing Pastor in Birmingham and the lives you are going to touch will be enormous! However, this in no way means the end of our Friendship! I will be coming to Birmingham quite often to visit and expect you to visit me as well! This thanks extends not only to you but to your entire family. Holly is an amazing Youth Mom ;), from her wonderful talks such as on Date Nights, her countless hours spent decorating the Youth Rooms and yes, even the countless hours spent riding behind her in the car on the way to Panama City beach and Myrtle Beach (oh and Holly, I remember the beeping power converter you didn’t care for to much!!). Of course there is Kaden. Unfortunately I haven’t got to spend as much time with him as I would have liked to over the last year, but hopefully I will get to see him enough down the road so he’ll remember me!. He is going to be an awesome kid and hopefully the next Media Director for your new group. And who can forget Mama Smith, Mr. Smith, Julie, Mitch, Cindy, Jada, Grant and Anna! They are amazing and I consider them my second family! Mrs. Smith’s hospitality and friendship whenever I would have the privilege to visit where awesome! The shrimp I will not soon forget (and hopefully won’t have to!). I could go on and on so I’ll draw it to a close (for now). I hope that your new church realizes what an amazing person they are getting! You will be able to do so much there and be a blessing to so many lives! Of course I will always be close by to lend a helping hand to your Media team. Training, leadership tips whatever you need! And you are always invited to come visit me at Tech or where I end up in the future! And of course this doesn’t mean we can’t still talk on the phone often! We will ALL always be here for you if you need anything (though it may take some motivating to get BJ to go that far :). Seriously, whatever you need call! You’re only a few hours away.

So thank you, thank you, thank you! You are awesome and God has really blessed you!

See you soon,

Blake

(This is the only Picture I can find of us! From two years ago at the Lake)

So when you think of Dubai (assuming you know where it is), you think Desert. You think of a city spread out over a sandy, dusty, hot and barren land. One thing you do not think of is a Ski Resort covered in snow year round with an average temperature of 28 degrees! However that is precisely what you will find emerging from the Mall of Emirates (One of the Largest Malls in the World)

Ski Dubai is a 22,500 square meter building with its floors covered in real snow all year long. The inside features five different runs that very in difficulty from easy to very difficult. It has the only Black Diamond Indoor Ski Slope in the world. It has a huge free style area for snow boarders. The slopes tower to a height of 25 stories with several ski lifts. Ski Dubai is intricately themed as a Mountain Ski Resort with finely detailed forest decorations and a “ski lodge” at the top of the “mountain” with coffee and warm snacks.

Ski Dubai (The Large Metal Tube)

Inside Ski Dubai

One of the Many Slopes in Ski Dubai

Looking up Ski Dubai

Check out more of the Dubai Architecture Series:

Burj Dubai
The Dynamic Tower
The Burj Al Arab Hotel

All Information and Photos from HERE