Blueforest Gives Back Finalist: Pinecone

Over the course of the last month, as we reviewed applications for the BlueForest Gives Back contest, our staff has had an opportunity to learn more about over 20 Triangle area organizations working to make a positive impact in our community. So many worthwhile causes and so many people working to help others! We’ve have the opportunity to talk to staff and volunteers of the finalists, learning about their history and mission. We’ve been really inspired by the hard work and dedication of these folks and the work they do. Thank you to the 25 organizations who participated in the process.

Over the course of the week we’d like to share with you a little about the organizations who made it to the final round in this year’s contest. Introducing…Pinecone!

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PineCone, the Piedmont Council of Traditional Music, Inc., is dedicated to preserving, presenting, and promoting all forms of traditional music, dance and other folk performing arts. PineCone offers a wide variety of programs for anyone who loves music, particularly roots music (Americana, folk, bluegrass, etc).

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PineCone does this by presenting more than 150 events each year, including more than 30 concerts in Raleigh, Cary, Wake Forest, and Durham. They also have participatory jam sessions for bluegrass, Irish, and Shape Note music. Many tune in to their weekly radio show on 94.7 WQDR. PineCone is also the producer of the Wide Open Bluegrass festival, coordinated in partnership with IBMA, the City of Raleigh, and a local organizing committee.

We love that PineCone preserves and promotes traditional music in our community. They know that root music is important and transcendent, as shown in their Bluegrass Camps for Youth. Roots music expresses where people come from and where they live. Supporting PineCone allows for tradition and roots music to continue to thrive.

Check them out and learn more at https://pinecone.org/

Blueforest Gives Back Finalist: Triangle Literacy Council

Over the course of the last month, as we reviewed applications for the BlueForest Gives Back contest, our staff has had an opportunity to learn more about over 20 Triangle area organizations working to make a positive impact in our community. So many worthwhile causes and so many people working to help others! We’ve have the opportunity to talk to staff and volunteers of the finalists, learning about their history and mission. We’ve been really inspired by the hard work and dedication of these folks and the work they do. Thank you to the 25 organizations who participated in the process.

Over the course of the week we’d like to share with you a little about the organizations who made it to the final round in this year’s contest. We’ll start this week with The Triangle Literacy Council! 

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The Triangle Literacy Council (formally, Wake County Literacy Council) is celebrating its 45th year of helping adults learn to read. Through various programs such as the adult one-on-one tutoring to ESL and GED prep, adults have the opportunity to advance their reading, speaking, and comprehension skills in English. Their goal is to help those who struggle to perform important daily tasks because they do not have these skills. They have many programs including Project LIFT, a family literacy program for family caregivers with children under the age of 5 whose first language isn’t English to foster English language and life skills learning.

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The Triangle Literacy Council also has programs for at-risk youth, incarcerated adults, and families all designed to promote comprehension of literacy and help end the cycle of crime and poverty that strikes uneducated individuals. Their Juvenile Literacy Center focuses on assisting at-risk youth to help them come to know success with improvements with their reading, writing, and math skills.

What we love about the Triangle Literacy Council is that they understand literacy is fundamental to survive in today’s society and they strive to give everyone the access they need to learn how. With their work they help improve many aspects of our community. They focus on reforming and teaching individuals to improve lives with lasting impact through their many different programs.

Check them out and learn more at http://www.triangleliteracy.org/ 

 

Blueforest Gives Back finalist: The Justice Theater Project

Over the course of the last month, as we reviewed applications for the Blueforest Gives Back contest, our staff has had an opportunity to learn more about over 20 Triangle area organizations working to make a positive impact in our community. So many worthwhile causes and so many people working to help others! We’ve have the opportunity to talk to staff and volunteers of the finalists, learning about their history and mission. We’ve been really inspired by the hard work and dedication of these folks and the work they do. Thank you to the 25 organizations who participated in the process.

Over the course of the next week we’d like to share with you a little about the organizations who made it to the final round in this year’s contest. We’ll start this week with The Justice Theater Project!

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The Justice Theater Project (JTP) is a professional theater company with an ambitious mission – to build public awareness of the needs of the poor, the marginalized, and the oppressed through the intimate and impactful medium of the performing arts. Since 2004, JTP has learned how to connect the public to important issues and vital resources through main stage productions, outreach and collaborations with many local and statewide organizations.

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Along with their regular productions such as Langston Hughes’ Black Nativity, they hold summer camps for youth in Southeast Raleigh, Downtown Durham and in North Raleigh. What is most important to the Justice Theater Project is to bring people in to join these discussions to create community awareness.

What we love about Justice Theater Project is that they start an important conversation about current issues in our society and our community. They never turn anyone down who can’t afford a ticket. They have many different focuses, presenting a diverse number of social issues through the performing arts to allow audiences to understand realities and discuss social change.

Check them out and learn more at http://www.thejusticetheaterproject.org/

The Blueforest Judges Meeting!

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The judges (learn more about us here) have finally gotten together and discussed all the applicants for Blueforest Gives Back. After meeting together for the first time, it was time to get down to business. It was a challenging process as we looked individually at each applicant. We were very excited to see nonprofits we know and love and also organizations new to us. There was great analysis of every applicant’s strengths and weaknesses.

We looked at all 25 applicants individually, fully analyzing all the information we could. Many factors went into our criteria such as community presence, social engagement, and impact of the organization’s message. Some organizations are doing well on their own while others could use a helping hand. We gathered useful information about each nonprofit and their influence locally.

Despite a long conversation and tough decisions, we were all luckily on the same page about which applicants are the finalists Blueforest Studios will be working with. Check back here for an update!

 

Appearing on camera? Here are 5 tips!

About to appear on camera? Got a case of the heebie jeebies? We’ve got you covered. Here are 5 tips that the pros use to make sure you look and sound great.

#1 Sit on your coat.

If you are wearing a coat or blazer, sit in your coat to avoid the dreaded ‘coat bunch’. This will keep you looking neat and slim.

#2 Wear the right clothes.

Here are a few general tips on clothes. Avoid white clothes if possible. Some cameras will not be able to handle the white fabric well and you will look like a glowing orb. If you are appearing in front of a green screen, don’t wear green. Avoid tight checked patterns and thin stripes. These can also throw some cameras for a look and give you a weird Moire effect.

#3 Know how to do an interview.

Repeat the question. Most interviews don’t include the interviewer in the final edit. So if they ask you if you if you like your job, don’t say, “yes.” They can’t use that. Rather, say “I love my job! I get to do what I love every day.” or “I hate my job, I’m so miserable and depressed.” Whichever one is true.

Only answer the question you are asked. If you are asked about where you work, just tell them where you work. You don’t need to tell them everything you do at work, they are probably going to ask you that in a moment.

If you have a bad interviewer, they may ask you more than one question at once. Not to worry. Just answer the first question, then ask them to repeat the 2nd question.

#4 Don’t try to memorize things.

Lot’s of people make the mistake of trying to memorize what they want to say. If you do that, 9 times out of 10 you will come across as scripted and mechanical. You are probably being interviewed because you are a passionate expert in your field. Just answer the questions in the way you would in a casual conversation and you will sound much better.

#5 Relax and Amplify.

You may be a bit intimidated by the bright lights and strangers standing around. Just take a deep breath and speak slowly. But you also have to remember that you will come across on cameras lower energy than you think you are. Smile and amplify your energy level just past where you think is too much. That will sound just right on camera!

So there you go. And last but not least, don’t forget to break a leg!

Meet the Judges Panel for Blueforest GivesBack!

Now that our First Annual Video Giveaway Blueforest Gives Back has officially stopped accepting applications, we are excited to announce the judges panel. These judges will be responsible for reviewing and voting on which local nonprofit will be the winner of our giveaway!

Introducing…

 

Jay Shapiro

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Jay Shaprio is the voice on many of our projects. He is an outstanding voice talent and semi-retired Senior Technical Writer with over 30 years of experience designing, writing, illustrating and narrating processes, procedures, tutorials, and both internal and customer-facing product documentation and audio communications.

 

 

Michele Reynolds

DSC_3933Michele Reynolds is an expert in social work and is currently working at Springmoor Life Care Retirement Community, a nonprofit organization that provides retirement services to older adults. She has extensive volunteer experience and she enjoys working with Meals on Wheels and Race for the Cure.

 

 

 

 

June Sadler

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June Sadler is a filmmaker with many specialized skills in photography, short films, documentaries, music production, performance and writing. Currently she is working on The Future People, bringing together children of diverse backgrounds to empower them to become peacemakers.

 

 

Ammon Ehrisman 

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Ammon Ehrisman is the Blueforest Creative Director, bringing over 15 years of experience creating HD videos and graphics for businesses throughout the country. He has produced many diverse and unique award-winning videos for clients while here at Blueforest and he enjoys volunteering with his church.

 

 

 

 

Kathy Langfield

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Kathy Langfield is the VP Operations of the Blueforest Team and keeps us all on track. She is a professional MBA with a background in business, nonprofit and environmental fields. She has worked for Blueforest Studios since its inception as Atlantic Creative and Kathy oversees finance, operations, and marketing. She is on the Meredith College Alumni Board, Triangle AdFed Board, and long time Special Olympics of NC volunteer.

 

 

 

 

Marguerite LeBlanc

Marguerite LeBlanc is the bookkeeping part of the Blueforest Team since summer of 2012. She has worked for nonprofit and for-profit organizations ranging in size from two to several thousand employees including local and national nonprofits and several publishing companies. Her experience includes fundraising, sales, marketing, event planning, and office administration.

 

Our judges will be reviewing and choosing the top 10 finalists within the next few weeks, so stay tuned!

Everyone’s Favorite Day for Commercials: The Big Game

My favorite commercial in the last several years comes from the “Big Game” of 2011. I’ve been a humongous Star Wars fan since my parents took me to see the films in the 90’s when they were being digitally remastered and shown in theaters again. If you’re reading this you probably know which commercial I’m already talking about.

 

Volkswagen truly captured the same childhood imagination (and desire for learning how to control The Force) I felt at that age. I’d like to think I’m going to buy a car that can turn on with the press of the button in hopes to do this to my future children.

 

Of course, who could forget the sweet story of friendship told in a minute time frame by Budweiser last year? I’m a sucker for anything with dogs in it but this is a legitimately beautiful piece of work.

 

Sure I’m bringing this up because Sunday will bring commercials filled with humor and sincerity. But does this only have to be during one day of the entire year? Absolutely not!

 

We take pride here at Blueforest Studios in creating content that is both engaging and informative. The most engaging way to capture the attention of your audience is to tell a story.

 

We certainly think adding a pinch of humor also works too.

 

So as the new year continues to roll on consider us for your marketing needs. We are storytellers that want to tell your story!

 

And if you are part of a non-profit in the Triangle area reading this consider applying for our free video giveaway! The window for submissions is closing on the 31st of this month. To check out more information visit our blog post from December here: http://blueforeststudios.com/blog/blueforest-gives-back-triangle-nonprofit-video-giveaway/

-Dustin

Help Wake County Children this Christmas

Blueforest Studios is partnering with the Meredith MBA Program to bring a little joy to children in Wake County this holiday season. Kathy Hughes Langfield started arranging group stocking stuffing events about 10 years ago and is very pleased to be able to continue to help the children of Wake County.

We are working with the Salvation Army to help children in our area have a Merry Christmas. The Salvation Army has been serving Wake County since 1887. With the support of individuals and organizations they are able to provide necessities and even holiday gifts to people who need a little extra help.

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The Meredith MBA Program loves to give back and will be hosting a stocking stuffing event on December 7th. Appropriate items can be dropped off a Harris Hall or at Blueforest Studios at 5809 Departure Drive, Suite 108, Raleigh, NC 27616. Items will be accepted through December 5th at noon.

We usually put the following items in the stockings:

Very Small Toys
Puzzles
Pencils
Markers
Small Notepads
Socks
Knit Hats
Crayons
Erasers
Matchbox Cars
Small Dolls
Playing Cards
Flash Cards
Toiletries

If you’d like to contribute any of the above please drop your items off at the Harris Building or at Blueforest Studios by December 5th!

Here’s to a great holiday season for all!

Want to stuff your own stockings? Reach out to the Salvation Army.

Learn more about the Meredith MBA Program.

Press Release: Raleigh Production Company Adopts Humanitarian Role in Community

View the official press release here.

Blueforest Studios is a company that realizes there’s more to business than making money. The Raleigh-based video production company places an emphasis on maintaining a benevolent reputation, both in and out of the workplace. Their efforts to stay involved and active in the community include volunteer work for charity, donations to non-profits, and a general practice of selfless, healthy office activities.

Blueforest’s most significant local contribution is monthly participation in Meals on 6386194_origWheels, an organization that delivers food to elderly and disabled citizens with limited mobility. Each month, two or more staff members take their turn delivering meals to residents of Wake County that are in need of this form of assistance. Employees at the company are happy to take a couple hours out of their day to give back to the community and meet fresh new faces in the process. Video Producer Vann Dwiggins expresses his high regard for Blueforest’s altruistic labors:

“It’s encouraging to be a part of a company that not only cares about it’s employees, but about the general public. I enjoy coming to work even more knowing that my role here can occasionally help others that are in need.” 

In addition to their participation in Meals on Wheels, Blueforest Studios donates half the proceeds from their monthly training seminars to select nonprofits in the area. For example, August’s event sponsored Passage Home, a nonprofit dedicated to aiding the poverty-stricken residents of Wake County. This is just one of several nonprofits Blueforest Studios engages with, including the NC Lighthouse Foundation and Cause for Paws. 

unnamedThe team is dedicated to maintaining an office environment that’s conducive to a healthy and inspired work-life. They do so in a variety of ways, such as watching motivational TED Talks at quarterly staff meetings. One such video provided five methods for living a happy life: random acts of kindness, journaling, exercise, meditation, and counting gratitudes. These five actions have been illustrated on posters that grace the walls of Blueforest’s office as encouraging reminders for the staff and visitors. Through their efforts, Blueforest Studios hopes to make even the smallest of difference in their community, as well as influence others to give back. 

About Blueforest Studios

Blueforest Studios is an integrated video production firm located in Raleigh, NC that serves the mid-atlantic region and beyond. Their work features the RED camera that will deliver 4K and UltraHD footage. They place an emphasis on storytelling to connect with their audiences through high-end animation and live-action videos. 

About Meals on Wheels

Since 1974 Meals on Wheels has been giving our community’s most vulnerable citizens their independence by serving 1,300 healthy meals a day. Their outreach to the elderly and persons with disabilities in Wake County improves nutrition, reduces isolation, and helps our friends and neighbors stay in their homes.

Nonprofit Storytelling Seminar

Screen Shot 2014-08-19 at 1.31.11 PMWe were so happy to host our first seminar in a series of monthly events that we’re offering here at Blueforest Studios. The seminar focused on how nonprofits can convey their personal stories in an compelling manner in order to inspire interest and make a lasting impression on anyone they may encounter. It also raised money for the nonprofit organization Passage Home. We want to give a special thanks to our guests who were able to attend. For those of you that are intrigued but were unfortunately unable to make it to the session, here are some of the highlights!

What Makes a Great Story?

To start with, check out why we believe storytelling is so influential!

Storytelling is a multi-billion dollar industry in the United States. On average, Americans spend:

  • $10 Billion /year on Movie Tickets
  • $18 Billion/year on Home Video & Rentals
  • $130 Billion/year on the Television Industry

Why are people so interested in stories that they’re willing to plunk down major cash for the opportunity to hear a good one, but are 100% uninterested in the average nonprofit pitch?

unnamedWe asked our guests to write down what the single most important element of storytelling was. Answers were varied and we had a lot of great responses, however the MOST significant aspect of storytelling is “What’s at stake?”

To exemplify this, we looked at a popular scene from No Country for Old Men. Take a look at the following clip and try to figure out what makes it so captivating.

In this scene, the viewer is brought into a state of uneasy anticipation. I admit, I was on the edge of my seat waiting for what came next. Everything about this scene, from the pacing to the camera work to the set design, comes together to create anxiety about what’s at stake – this old man’s life. It’s a remarkable example of storytelling that not only creates a lasting impression on viewers, but also compels them to want to see more.

How Can I Find My Nonprofit’s Story?

We looked at two examples of Nonprofit pitches and discussed how they dealt with the question, “What’s at Stake?”

Each time you give a pitch for your nonprofit, you have an opportunity to either bore your audiences or leave a lasting impression. The way you can achieve the latter every time is by raising and then answering the question “What’s at stake?”

Here are a series of questions you can ask yourself to begin adding more richness and interest to your nonprofit’s story:

  • Why did I personally get involved with this nonprofit?
  • Has this nonprofit directly impacted my personal life?
  • Was there a particular moment when I realized how the nonprofit affected something I value dearly?

If this seminar sounds like something you could have benefited from, be sure to look into our next event – a LinkedIn seminar on September 10th. Half the proceeds from this event will go towards the NC Lighthouse Foundation. You can register here. Be sure to come prepared with your laptops or tablets for a hands-on learning experience!