Archive for the ‘ Georgia Southern University ’ Category

Everything I Learned At Georgia Southern: Senior Year

In my final four weeks as a Georgia Southern student, I’m going to look back at how each year has defined my life and has led me to where I am today. This is part four of the four-part installment.

In F. Scott Fitzgerald’s “The Great Gatsby” he wrote, “Gatsby believed in the green light, the orgastic future that year by year recedes before us. It eluded us then, but that’s no matter – tomorrow we will run faster, stretch out our arms farther…and one fine morning…we beat on, boats against the current, bourne back ceaselessly into the past.”

A few months ago, one of my classmates realized that he once lived in the same apartment I have dwelled for the past three years. When people move into previously occupied spaces, we rarely think about the previous tenants, because the space becomes our own.

I remember very clearly the day I moved into 734. It was a hot Saturday in August, and there were boxes upon boxes of new things that had been purchased specifically for my first apartment. That day, my Mom had to work, and I had to move in alone. With the help of my friends and their families, things got done pretty quickly, and soon enough, everything stayed where it was put.

Over the past few years, there are countless stories these things could tell. Living room pictures could speak about palate nights, when we put big blankets on the floor and our friends slept over. The kitchen silverware would remember Thanksgiving Dinner’s and Community Breakfast’s, as everyone would chip in with something to eat. Even the bathroom towels can recall nights when we celebrated too much, and were forced to clean up.

The first thing you notice when you start packing is not so much the things, but the items taken off the wall. As the pictures frames, posters, and personal belongings go out, all that remains is an empty room. It is such a strange feeling, because we grow comfortable with this place that we call our own. You see, the home we have built is not with glass, concrete, and stone, but with the people that occupy the frames we pack, capturing moments that live on forever in the snapshot.

In College, you take a lot of classes and learn many lessons along the way. Yet the things you remember are not the campus activities or responsibilities managed, but the quiet moments when you needed a family that was ready to help at a moments notice. You see, in life we rarely have the opportunity to know people as intimately as we do now. Here, we have true friends who can finish sentences before we start saying them. It takes years to form such relationships.

Robert Herrick once wrote, “gather ye rosebuds while ye may, old time is still a-flying, and this same flower that smiles today, tomorrow will be dying.” Four years ago, this moment seemed an eternity away. Many of the people and things that once defined my life have faded into the past, but I remember and appreciate them all for changing me in that moment.  While many of us will remain friends, moving on to do great things, our relationships will never again be what they are today.

When people go in and out, life becomes like a moving truck.

Some things we keep and some we discard, while others get lost along the way. But through each experience and encounter, we learn something about ourselves, as everything we touch defines who we are becoming.

Someone else will soon live where we lived, as others did before. Our very existence will fade into obscurity as the people that knew us leave this town to live their lives as we do now. But for an all too brief moment in time, these walls were ours, these moments we shared, and our life soon again is redefined.

As we drive away, our rearview mirror bourne ceaselessly into the past, there is a portrait of every single being who touched our lives. Some are clearer than others, as memories guide us across the years to moments we never forget.

For those, I am eternally grateful.


Everything I Learned At Georgia Southern: Junior Year

In my final weeks as a Georgia Southern student, I’m going to look back at how each year has defined my life and has led me to where I am today. This is part three of the four-part installment.

There is this uncomfortable feeling that sets in as you become a junior. It is not something one can identify with a moment or experience.

Instead, a general sense of foreboding creeps in as you begin to wonder what will happen next in life. You have made your college friends, while leaving behind the high school relationships that did not matter. There is enough distance between you and the past to enjoy the present, but something around the corner becomes a constant bother.

I was not sure who I was entering my junior year. While I had forged my identity with friends, there were parts of my life that were not satisfying at all. For too long, I had served my own self interests before thinking about the way they impacted other people.

When that emptiness set in, it made me wonder why I came to college in the first place. Was it because I saw it as the next step in my life journey? Because my family expected me to attend? Perhaps it was neither. I started asking myself, what passions make me get up in the morning, excited to start the day?

For me, it was creating film.

After producing a big project upon graduating from high school, I had just finished directing my first feature documentary. It was winning some national awards and getting into film festivals.

The thing about film work, though, is a demand for consistent quality and frequent output. I knew that if I wanted to get where I wanted to go, it would require extra work and longer hours. Just because one project was successful did not guarantee that people would pay attention to a 20-year-old.

Soon, the activities that exclusively involved my friends would be adjusted to advancing my professional career, slowly breaking away from the social life I had come to enjoy. There were skills to learn and opportunities to build.

To better prepare my professional presentation, I became a Southern Ambassador, learning to sell a message to strangers. To better manage a group, I was elected to Delta Tau Delta’s Executive Board, working with our national office to keep the local chapter running. To become a better steward, I joined Student Government Association as the Publicity Coordinator, getting involved in my campus community.

While these things never replaced relationships, a burning passion for my future had grown over the course of the year. As it came to a close, I began to realize everything I came to enjoy about being a college student would soon fall away, as the “real world” started creeping its way into my life. There were bills to pay, tasks to manage, and events to juggle.

I realized that uncomfortable feeling was transition, moving from youth to adult responsibility.

Everything I Learned At Georgia Southern: Sophomore Year

In my final weeks as a GSU student, I’m going to look back at how each year has defined my life and has led me to where I am today. This is part two of the four-part installment.

Towards the end of my freshman year, me and several of my fraternity brothers started talking about getting an apartment together. Being the meticulous person that I am, we went to every complex in town to look at flyers, units and compare features to decide what would be the best place to call home. We thought it would be nice to stay put for the next three years, but certainly didn’t plan on it.

Though visiting each other frequently, we went our separate ways for the summer, soon to discover a new fall season upon us. Compared to my freshman year, it was a much different experience this time around. Despite the fact that I was moving again, it wasn’t to an unknown territory or quantity. It was with the people who I had grown to know well during the past year.

For the first few months, we pooled our money together for groceries and a “family dinner” every night. In fact, we shared pretty much everything, from cookware to laundry detergent, with no arguing. Our close, intimate circle grew bigger, as the friends of our friends grew to be part of our circle.

We were practically inseparable. Without many campus responsibilities and intensive classes, we were able to spend countless evenings together, going out or staying in, while experiencing countless activities in each other’s company. We began to know each other better than any of our friends in high school. Together, we took weekend trips and distant journeys to places like New York City, moving as a single unit.

Somewhere around February, we started to realize that the end of the academic year would mark the halfway point in our college career. It didn’t seem like it could be so, because we just started the year before. Friends began to be accepted into their upper division majors, while others didn’t meet the qualifications and had to readjust their life goals, all within a matter of weeks. It didn’t seem right or fair to make so many big decisions in such a short period.

At the end of the year, we had a luau party that everyone went to. After a few too many drinks, we all went swimming in the pond next to a house on Cawana Road. The mud was thick as we walked around in it, and suddenly, someone had the bright idea to start throwing the mud around. Soon, we were all drenched in the thick, black substance. No one was angry, though, not just because we were drunk, but because we had become more than friends – we had become a family.

It didn’t matter what choices we had to make or what directions we were heading, because in that instant, we had each other. While I knew we would continue to be friends, soon we wouldn’t have time to spend evenings together, travel, or have family dinner.  Because for the first time in our lives, no matter where we lived or what we did, it was time to start growing up.

Everything I Learned At Georgia Southern: Freshman Year

In my final weeks as a Georgia Southern student, I’m going to look back at how each year has defined my life and has led me to where I am today.

The first thing I noticed was the license plates. There were so many people from different parts of the country, with backgrounds much different than mine. In the parking lot of Johnson Hall, I moved in by myself because my Mom had to work. Collecting my things into the orange bins, I realized things were going to be different than in my town of 150 people.  At home, everyone knew me and all of my life history. Here, I was just another freshman.

I went to a fraternity party with a friend of mine from high school. Never even considering Greek Life, I found it interesting, but didn’t plan to do anything with it. After a long night of partying, the president at the time convinced me to sign up for rush; he even filled out my online registration.

In the “interview process” you go through during Rush, I overheard someone with the same interests. We went to IHOP for a late night snack and hit it off quickly. While I didn’t end up getting the bid that what I wanted, I made a friend that would end up sticking by me.

After a failed Greek attempt, I hung out with my friends from high school. It wasn’t bad. They were my friends after all, but I wasn’t challenged or experiencing growth as an individual. Everything was the same as it was, just in another place.

Soon after, the fraternity reconsidered their decision and invited me to join. So began the process of becoming Greek, and my life changed forever. Suddenly, I started to see things in a different light, looking at people in different ways, learning to get along with people that I wouldn’t have ever thought about hanging out with otherwise. I started to participate in community service, leadership activities, and considered getting involved in other organizations my brothers took part.

Some of them were great, and others weren’t for me. Unlike high school, where you had limited choices, here there was the chance for opportunity and diversity. The absolutes in life were no longer as clear, with new ideas and viable alternative lifestyles that I had never experienced.

While Johnson Hall doesn’t stand anymore, the principles that surrounded my first impression still stands. In college, you meet a lot of different people, some who accept you for who you are presently, while others recognize that together, you can become something better.

College becomes like a moving bin; you put things in, you take things out, and sometimes, you don’t have help to guide you. But along the way, you discover that being here means more than what you are.

It means where you happen to be going.

The Long, Winding Road

This is my final editorial for the year in The George-Anne Daily, the unedited version (100 words were trimmed for print). They asked me to write a piece to wrap-up the year, so I tried to cover the events, while paying tribute to those graduating. I hope you enjoy it.

Some of my best friends are graduating in a week, leaving the 30460 forever. This is the great tragedy of life, I suppose. We have a short time to really become a part of another person’s life before that era is over. Suddenly, your best friend is a person who represented one part of your life, but no longer is in it. The relationship becomes less important, while the moments you shared linger.

This year, our campus community has shared many of these moments. Ten of us began the semester attending the Presidential Inauguration, witnessing history in person. In these difficult times, it reminded each participant that a new page turns each day, some more significant than others. Bill Ayers, who became a household name in the past election cycle, re-discovered that everyone is not willing to turn a page, sparking a great controversy on our campus. While he was unable to speak at Georgia Southern, and all students were not able to attend the Inauguration, we learned that Eagles enjoy having a conversation about these topics.

We witnessed the first broadcast of the Statesboro Film Festival, a new creative avenue for students and community members to enjoy each year, while watching last transmission from Michael Guido. The Sower has left his seeds to the soil, ours to cultivate. No matter what your story may be, there is an opportunity for you in our town to tell it and find listeners.

Georgia Southern reached a record spring enrollment at 16,664 students, an increase from 804 last spring. Each year, more and more people are discovering that special something we have here, even though no one can really put a finger on it. As prospective students have toured our campus this semester to capture this spirit for themselves, the Regents’ System has ended guaranteed tuition for incoming freshmen. I hope this change will not prevent prospective, future Eagles from discovering the conversations and opportunities for expression in our town.

These represent only a few moments in our time together. There are countless others that I will never know, because we did not share them. These are the nights you shared with your best friends and significant others, the moments we talk about when stories are told. Indeed, for many of us, it is hard to grapple with the concept of staying in Statesboro without our closest circle at our side.

People come and go, the times change and we grow, as every encounter defines the person we are becoming. As these moments come to an end, it is not necessarily bad, but simply the end of one era and the beginning of the next.

Raise your glasses high for a toast, to the times we have shared, the comrades we’ve lost, and the moments yet to come, because there is a long, winding road ahead.

Impressions from the 2009 NAB Show


There is a recurring theme occurring across the entertainment spectrum: as a content producer, if you’re not ready to take your productions to mobile platforms, very shortly, your content will become obsolete. This theme was ever apparent at the 2009 NAB Show in Las Vegas, NV, where each vendor clearly demonstrated this quickly moving trend in the broadcasting industry.

The days of programming for Sunday at 8:00 PM are dying, no matter how hard the networks try to fight it. I attended an extremely insightful session with Stephen J. Davis, CEO of the Family Entertainment Group, where we discussed this in an engaging Q&A format. While his company does work with traditional programming methods (they have a new show coming to ABC Family this January), he recognizes the fact that social media is going to be a critical component of promotional platforms in the future.

Utilizing the Internet for promotion, this type of mobility will require content producers to accept the fact that we must be placing content on the web as part of our distribution model. We as professionals must maintain the quality of our productions, just as we were creating it for primetime or a theatrical release. Today, we’re sharing the same outlets as amateur creators on YouTube. In the near future, it is not going to be about budgets or production length, but how traditional advertising methods can be integrated into programming.

Product placement is back to stay, as viewers don’t want to sit through advertisements that aren’t masked as entertainment. Most of our most popular television shows are using it today, and not all successfully. Take “90210,” which plasters Dr. Pepper around everywhere. It’s even part of the script. As an aside, this really breaks my heart, because I respect Gabe Sachs and Jeff Judah, the showrunners, more than about any other duo working in television (though, they are leaving the series at the end of this 1st season, so I wonder if they had much to do with it).

Anyway, as people quit watching scripted television on scheduled airing, the cost of production requires product placement models to keep costs under control. It will require creative executives to find ways that it can work, without being obtrusive to the show. Working on Theater of the Mind, I am reminded of the beginning of radio and television history, when companies like Maxwell House sponsored specific hours of television and radio with an advertisement at the beginning.

After NAB this week, I am a lot more willing to move to mobile platforms, and think that I will do some experimentation with Di Passaggio before we go to DVD on Amazon later this year.

The second emerging trend goes back to the home; this, of course, is the advent of 3D Television. Now, I know that I just waxed on for a while about mobile platforms, but 3D Television is coming. With everyone demanding mobility, there’s got to be a way to keep people watching television in their homes. Industry leaders, such as Sony, were demonstrating these technologies. Alioscopy actually had a “glasses free” 3D TV, but it gave me a headache looking at it (I apologize, you can’t take a 3D picture with a 2D camera, but you can see some of the artifacts):

Glasses-free, 3D television by Aliscopy

Glasses-free, 3D television by Aliscopy

One thing is clear; content is still king. No matter what format consumers demand as a delivery option, the material delivered must be watchable and entertaining. While YouTube and other such services are popular, people ultimately want to see a film or a television series.
They simply want to watch it their way.