Where are you located/working?
I’m located in the northwest suburbs of Chicago. I work part-time at my day job as a handler at a dog daycare and then I work in the social media world full-time from home.
What is your current role/project?
My current position/role is that of a content creator. I post daily, original content across multiple platforms including TikTok and YouTube. I write, film, edit and act in my videos as well as schedule posts, negotiate brand deals and manage my accounts.
What is your proudest moment in your career thus far?
I think the proudest moment of my career thus far was hitting 100,000 subscribers on my YouTube channel. Longer form videos are definitely not my go-to or strongest style of content. When I started becoming popular on TikTok it was (and still is) a big challenge to move your audience to other platforms. Building a different type of community around longer form content on YouTube has been challenging, rewarding and taught me how to connect with an audience in a different way that’s out of my comfort zone. Hitting 100K subscribers was an amazing moment!
What person, course or experience most influenced you while at UWO/in RTF?
Not a traditional answer but I remember taking 250 and 260 in the same semester—the courses where you learn how to use the cameras and basic editing. I was doing a group project and I don’t consider myself technologically savvy so I let my partner take the lead on the filming part. The cameras and all the settings straight up intimidated me! When we went to upload the footage in the editing lab I remember my partner making not the nicest comment abut how “their shoulders hurt from carrying the weight of the team”—meaning he had done all the work. That made me feel awful! So I took it upon myself to sit there and teach myself how to edit and did the back end of the project myself. I was very proud of it! But the comment was such a reality check for me. I never wanted to feel like I wasn’t being hands on in my own major ever again. Just because I was overwhelmed or intimidated didn’t mean I wasn’t going to step up and learn it. It was an overall good learning lesson and shaped the rest of my time in the program to be super involved and productive.
Beyond that, the advanced editing class I took later on in my college career helped me understand the layers of a scene. Rather than slapping clips and footage together in any order and exporting a project, the class helped me understand storytelling and timing. I work in the comedy space so timing is everything and can determine the success of the video. I use those skills in nearly all my videos that I post for my content creator job.
I also got lots of practice in the studio production class learning how to do paperwork and present ideas like we did for TV shows. I get the opportunity to sometimes work with huge brands and they ask me to submit treatments, set layouts, scripts, etc. all the time. Without that class, I wouldn’t really know what the heck to be putting down on paper but I’m sure having those skills in my back pocket has helped me secure deals in the past.
Also, have to shout out and thank all the RTF staff for letting me run around the studios and radio station for 4-plus years! They always saved my butt when projects didn’t get recorded right, I locked myself out of edit bays, and they let me pitch and produce my ideas for TV shows…y’all were super trusting!
Any fond memories you wish to share?
So many memories! I remember I used to hang out in the editing lab SUPER late at night with the news crew when they were getting prepared for Friday’s show. They were such a funny group of people and we would sit there and joke around, and I would get no editing done whatsoever. I wasn’t even on the news crew at the time!
I remember being in studio and blocking out the scenes for the Christmas special I directed my super-senior year. That was a detailed project to take on and it was such a long weekend of filming but so worth it to have that crew come through and make an amazing product. Plus, we were wearing Santa hats and making fake snow… in September. I had all my months confused that semester!
There was the time in a class for my minor where we had to do Foley work over movie scenes that were provided. A fellow RTF alum Teala Kalepp came over and we were just running around my kitchen with a microphone, banging pots and pans together, recording sounds—so fun and random!
Also, I just remember it being just crazy to leave the studios after a long day of filming and walking to my house thinking, “wow I just made TV with my friends. And now I’m gonna go home, eat dinner, do homework, and do it all again tomorrow.” It was surreal!
Finally, what does it mean to you to be honored with a 2022 Outstanding Young Alumni Award from UWO?
It means a lot to me to be honored with an Outstanding Young Alumni Award. As someone who graduated with no real career path prospect right off the bat, I can’t believe how far I’ve come and how much my career has developed in these past couple years. More than that, I loved my college experience immensely, so to come full circle and be recognized is really special. UWO and the RTF program provided me with the skills and confidence to do what I do and be competitive in my field. Nearly all the ideas that make up my work come from my life experiences. My time at UWO, in-and-out of the classroom, has given me lots of material! So thank you! I’m so lucky to get to do this job that I do and I’m a proud alum!