Viral Video: Ellen on Bic for Her
When I walked into the first day of Alex Stonehill and Sarah Stuteville’s Advanced Multimedia Storytelling class, I had no idea what my subject for the quarter would be. Then as the class went around the table, pitching possible stories for a short documentary, I remembered that I already knew a great subject – my friend Rachel Jackson, who quit her day job a few years ago to start a business making, performing and teaching puppets.
Most of the puppets Rachel uses wouldn’t look out of place on the Sesame Street set, but their behavior might be. She tends not to do family-friendly shows – the first time I saw one of her performances, it was in a musical where at least one of the songs featured a chorus of large plush genitalia. She describes her working genre as “creepy-cute,” with the inherent cuteness of the puppets playing off darker material.
Rachel and her stable of puppet personalities made a great subject for my first stab at a video project, and even if while filming I got a lot of first-hand knowledge about what not to do, hopefully this video gets across some of the love she has for what she does.
Ok, reality check. The point-and-shoot camera is dead but we are taking and sharing more pictures online than ever before. On our smartphones and computers we are amassing huge collections of photographs, very few of which will ever leave their virtual home and appear in the physical world as a printed image. And yet, we all love to get a scrapbook, a framed picture, a postcard. There is just something more lasting about holding a picture in your hands than receiving another mindless mass album share via Facebook. Plus, let’s not forget: there are actually people out there who do not stare at a screen 24/7 (often they are called “your grandparents”) but would really appreciate to get the occasional picture update and show it to their friends.
How to you get your pictures on paper? Well, you guessed it: there is an app for that. In fact, many apps. Really, a lot. I know this because we just had twins and had to send out quite a few thank you cards all around the world. Since everybody wants to see baby pictures, I decided to test some of the top postcard apps and send out some smartphone snaps as printed cards.
So just in time for the holiday season, here is my rundown of postcard-printing and delivering apps from least to most favorite. (There are others that let you send out fancy customised greeting cards as well but I’ll keep it simple and just focus on the postcard apps, because really, all people want to see is the picture.)
At this year’s Northwest Entrepreneur Network’s Entrepreneur University Flip the Media partnered with Jenni Hogan, CEO of TVinteract, to hear “Prime Time Pitches” from local start-ups. This article is the fifth in a series of six profiles of up-and-coming entrepreneurs in the Pacific Northwest.
The youngest company we spoke to at NWEN, with only 2.5 months under its belt at the time of the interview, was Priya Life. But that didn’t limit the passion shown by co-founder Brianna McDonald.
“Yoga has saved my life in so many ways,” explained McDonald. Her deep connection with yoga, and the practitioners who teach it, clearly motivates her day-to-day at Priya Life.
The challenge she is out so solve may on the surface seem common to many business owners out there: create additional revenue streams for the business (in this case, yoga studios that Priya Life hopes to have as clients). But their deeper mission, says McDonald, is to improve the quality of life for yoga instructors without relying on corporate influence.
The business model for many yoga instructors dictates that they are only paid for the time they spend in front of students. When they are sick, injured, or just wanting to take a vacation, they are faced with a dilemma: ignore their needs and work, or potentially fall behind on their financial commitments.
Priya Life will start by making premium quality yoga apparel and gear for instructors to sell through their studios. But the newcomer hopes to grow into a resource for instructors and provide tools to help them expand their businesses. Their website is currently a “Coming Soon” landing page, but keep your eye out for this passionate startup.
Have you experienced the special bond between student and instructor that McDonald describes in the interview? Will Priya Life revolutionize the business model for yoga studios and help yoga instructors everywhere? Let us know what you think in the comments.
This post was originally published in the University of Washington College of Art’s & Sciences December Newsletter
As Benjamin Franklin pointed out centuries ago, nothing is certain but death and taxes. Yet while people complain endlessly about taxes, they clam up when it comes to discussing death.
Faculty and students in the UW Communication Leadership (CL) graduate program, based in the Department of Communication, have been working to change that. The result is Death Over Dinner, a web resource that encourages people to host dinners for family and friends to discuss end-of-life issues. To date, Death Over Dinner has been the impetus for more than 1,000 dinners in 17 countries.
“You might ask, ‘Why would I have this conversation over dinner?’” poses Michael Hebb on the Death Over Dinner website. “The dinner table is the most forgiving place for difficult conversation. The ritual of breaking bread creates warmth and connection, and puts us in touch with our humanity. It offers an environment that is more suitable than the usual places we discuss end of life.”
Hebb, an experienced restaurateur, has spent years exploring the dinner table as a tool for social change. Having organized themed dinners on a variety of social issues, he wondered how digital media might be used to leverage such events. As a visiting fellow in the CL program last year, he and CL associate director Scott Macklin co-led a course that served as a directed research study to explore the possibilities.
“We knew we wanted to construct a course around social ritual and digital media,” recalls Macklin, “and we decided we needed a theme for the conversation.”