Welcome to My Portfolio!

Hey guys!! This is very exciting for me, and all of us, I’m sure because of all the hard work that has gone in to our projects and portfolios. Basically, as I explained in my presentation, my capstone project is a combination of two things that I am passionate about: social justice and witty prose.

I decided to create an ad campaign for a hot new beauty brand, Glossier that revolves around a coalition between the brand and Planned Parenthood. I set up my portfolio primarily in the aesthetic of Glossier, featuring a detailed description of the campaign and my decisions behind the ads and social posts. I then have my page with all of my mockups, and my magazine article which is the main piece of writing in my project, and also have a page that includes published clips, and a link to my writers evolution essay to explain my professional development, and then a page for anyone to contact me if they are interested in my writing!

I hope you guys like it!! WOW IM GRADUATING IN LIKE 5 SECONDS!!



Project Lightbulb Moment!

I have to admit that this project has been giving me a lot of anxiety. I was really pushing my comfort zone, in that, I am at my core a writer, and can write about anything if given the task, but the task of conceptualizing an ad campaign and actually coming up with the idea on my own was particularly daunting. Finally today I sat down with my mentor, a friend who worked in advertising the past two summers and will be working in advertising upon our graduation, and really got out all of the things I had been thinking about, and everything I wanted the campaign to look like, while really not knowing how to begin. She explained to me that the best thing to do is look away from all of the research and notes I had taken, open a blank page, and write three sentence of what the campaign will look like. We talked about quotes we loved and could build off of, and I decided that I wanted to go with a partnership between Glossier and Planned Parenthood, because at the end of the day, that was the best and most reasonable cause that Glossier, based on its motto, would get behind.

She then showed me an Instagram post of Planned Parenthood that stated, “we’ve got you covered.” And there was the lightbulb moment. Glossier can cover your face in a face mask, while Planned Parenthood has got you covered for all women’s health issues: Glossier’s got you covered!

The campaign will live on social through Instagrams from the Glossier founder, Emily Weiss and influencers, banner ads, a print ad, and will be covered by Allure, a Conde Nast publication that covers, among other things, trends in beauty. The idea is that for one month, for every Glossier purchase, 25% of the proceeds will go to planned Parenthood, and customers will receive a mini face mask, and will be encouraged to post an instagram with the facemask with the hasthag #glossiersgotyoucovered.

example of what a sample post would look like

Finally I feel like I know what I am doing! All it took was a little help from an advertising queen, and now I am on my way towards what I hope to be an awesome campaign.

The Job Hunt

Since I arrived at school for my senior year, there is one ritual that has consumed a good hour and a half of every day, and that is the job search. Every day I go on all of the big magazine publisher’s career sites, LinkedIn, and Ed2010, a site that posts positions for aspiring magazine editors. Some days I will find my dream job, and some days nothing. Then I get all excited, I apply to my dream job, and think that someone will see it in my resume and my cover letter that I am the perfect fit. But then I remember that I am still 2 months away from graduation and most of the positions I am applying for will be filled in two weeks. And then I sulk, and wonder if I am ever going to cross that threshold of beginning my career path, and have any idea about my future stability post college. I scan my resume and I know that I have great experience, and I know my cover letter is cute, funny and sounds like me, but alas, I am in a sea of women who have great experience, and personal cover letters.

At this point, I am a little discouraged but I have to keep the faith, and I have to keep applying and reaching out. This project, if well executed will be an awesome thing to show of to potential future employers, and beyond that, will prove to myself that I can do something beyond just write magazine articles; I can do it all: the full spectrum of a campaign: social, editorial, and an ad. I have wanted to explore this territory for so long and I hope that executing this, and executing it well, will if nothing else, boost my confidence when it comes to the job search and give me something new to try to brag about 😉

Is Makeup Anti-Feminist?

As I was discussing my project with Julie, which involves a makeup brand engaging in some kind of multi-modal campaign that revolves around female empowerment, I found myself stopping short as I was speaking. I was talking about how the brands motto was all about real women, “beauty in real life,” can be found on their homepage. And then it goes on to say that there products are “for what girls need in real life.” Which really got me thinking. How can a brand, that appears on all other fronts to be empowering women, who has a blog that interviews strong women, be empowering if it is arguing that makeup is something that women need. Is makeup something women “need” for themselves? Or is makeup something women “need” to look appealing to men? While I can say all I want that wearing makeup makes me feel strong or sexy or the prettiest version of myself, am I really wearing it because our patriarchal society tells me I’m ugly if I decide not to? And by this logic, is it impossible for makeup brands to really empower women, because the very nature of their existence is reliant on women’s consumption of makeup? I’m not sure where I stand on the subject to be honest, and I’m by no means boycotting my mascara, but it’s definitely a concept that made me feel slightly uneasy about my project endeavor… to be continued….

Writing Communities: Professional and Academic

Hi! My name is Sophie Burton and I am a senior from Minneapolis majoring in Communication Studies, and, in addition to Writing, I am minoring in Crime & Justice. Throughout my writing career my writing communities have been primarily academic, however, through my magazine editorial internships over my summers in college I have gotten a taste of professional “writing communities,” which are very different. In college, my writing communities have been my English classes and the Gateway class, and in each, because they were very small and because we did a fair amount of peer review, I felt that they acted as their own small communities and that I felt a strong connection with the other writers in the classes. There was a lot of constructive feedback, and investment in each other, as we all really wanted each other to succeed. As I entered the world of magazine publishing, the art of review was very different. At my first internship, I was very much a part of the writing community in that each piece that I or anyone on my team wrote was passed to every member of the team for top-editing. This wasn’t exactly as conducive to constructive higher-order criticism but it did make me feel like I was a part of each published piece. At my internship this past summer, I got very little feedback and would often find my piece was changed without my knowledge, in the interest of publishing on time rather than prioritizing my interest of growing as a writer. This pushed me in a different way, in that I had to sift through the changes that were made and decipher why they had been made and what I could do in the future. Ultimately, I have found my academic writing communities to be much more supportive, gentle, and constructive than my professional writing communities, however, each have allowed me to grow uniquely, and develop thicker skin in different ways.

How Much Can A Font Say About You?

As I continued to play around with different formatting options of my eportfolio I realized that I had probably spent three hours of my life merely choosing a font. It needed to be the right color, the right size, clear enough to be able to read but loopy enough to add some fun, spaced the right amount, and aligned correctly on the page. Now, I know I’m a bit of a perfectionist, but I never thought that I would be spending three hours deciding upon something as seemingly minuscule as a font.

The thing about this project though is that, to me, and to all of us who are trying to make these eportfolios into accurate representations of ourselves both as writers and as people, the font actually does matter. Every decision we make for our portfolios ranging from font, to the other pieces of writing we choose to include, is equally essential to our presentation. With these portfolios we attempt to paint a picture of our personalities, through various choices such color scheme, and images and for some of us, even music.

The first piece of myself that I chose to include as the consistent background of my eportfolio is a photo I took this past summer of my sister blowing bubbles in our back yard at our lake house. Maybe it was the sunscreen caked over the camera but for some reason, it turned out blurry. Yet, the blue skies, the green grass, the sparkling lake, and the bubbles make the photo absolutely idyllic. On my home page I tried to think of a few words that I could use to describe myself and that would relate to the photo. Three words instantly came to mind: Thinker, dreamer, writer. I then built my portfolio off of these elements of myself, allowing them to guide every content based and stylistic decision I made.

Screen Shot 2014-12-10 at 1.32.17 PM

I am very proud of the final product, proud of the patience I had with myself while agonizing over fonts, and ultimately think that my final project is reflective of my initial vision for the portfolio, and more importantly, of me as a person.


Some Advice: Go for it

Dear future minor in writing cohort,

You have decided to follow your passion for writing, and for that I congratulate you! Here is what you need to know about this program. You are going to look at the first writing assignment, (if it is still the Why I Write Project), and think, “how are there no guidelines?” “What do you mean no specific page limit or requirement?” You will wonder as you are trying not to bite your nails as the anxiety creeps its way into your head. You will be daunted, but, from a survivor of this nail biting experience, I can tell you that there is no reason to be. Instead, you should be excited.

For this project, and essentially for all of the projects in this class, you are the primary dictator of what your “assignment” will be. It’s a new concept, I know, but it is one with endless possibilities. Take the opportunity to dig deep within yourself and ask yourself the hard questions: What does writing mean to me? What piece of writing was I most intrigued by? What medium have I always wanted to explore but haven’t yet gotten the chance? Don’t be afraid to dive in unsure of where your piece will go. Try something new, and if you hate it, try something else new. This is the class where you get to try. So take advantage of the opportunity to learn something new about yourself as a writer, while simultaneously being inspired by all of the other passionate writers you are surrounded by. Use them as a resource, take their comments to heart because the fact that they are in this cohort means that they care.

Another element of this class you should take advantage of is the revision process. I thought it was strange at first to go through a draft that I had just written and make comments in the margin, but as weird as this may feel at first, the process allowed me to isolate sentences and sections that I was genuinely proud of, unsure of, and that I knew would ultimately be revised. Take the peer review workshops as a time to appreciate other styles of writing. In many instances I found myself wanting to incorporate some elements of my peer’s writing into my own.

In one sentence: absorb everything you can from this class, dive into new writing expeditions even if the destination is unknown, and you will do wonderfully.

Man cliff diving into the ocean

All Thanksgivings Ever

I have had the same thanksgiving, give or take a few details, since I was born. My family isn’t very big on tradition, but Thanksgiving weekend is one that hasn’t and will never change. The festivities start on Wednesday, which is Grandparens Day/Special persons at Breck School, the school that all of my siblings and cousins and I have attended. I have always played the role of the coordinator. I am always the one making sure that all of the grandparents get to each kids class, on time, and that all of the grandkids are happy with the class that each grandparent attended, a job that is much easier now when I don’t actually have classes to go to. I speedwalk through the hallways like a crazy person, smiling at old teachers, and the adorable preschoolers walking in a line to snack. Finally, at noon, the day is over, and we all go out to lunch. Wednesday night we watch a movie and go to bed early to get enough rest for the rest of the week.

Then the actual day of Thanksgiving arrives. We lounge around the house for a while until we are beckoned to my grandma’s house to help her set up. Around noon, when all of the tables are set, my grandma and I sit down to write the questions. The questions, a tradition that the adults dread, began about 10 years ago. My grandma and I write questions that each member of the family in attendance is to answer honestly, and anonymously. The questions have ranged from “If your life was a movie, what would it be titled?” to, “What is the hardest decision you’ve ever made?” When the hors de’vours are put out, each adult is handed a pen, a clipboard with the questions and told to spill. Then during dessert, I proceed to read each person’s set of answers, and the family is to guess who answered each question. Spoiler: this is never difficult, and the person’s name is almost always blurted out after the answer to the first question. We laugh at the younger ones answers, and sit and discuss the elder’s answers curiously, eating what seems to be an endless supply of my mother’s chocolate chip pecan pie.

But the traditions don’t end on Thursday, oh no, our Thanksgiving is essentially three days long. Friday morning my dad drags us all out of bed, as we groggily slip on our wool socks, long johns, hats and mittens… because it is time for the most intense family game ever played. It is broomball time. My uncle, who initiated the game around 15 years ago, brings the brooms, the ball, and the red pennies. And for an hour and a half it is war, as cousins check each other against the boards, and deck each other ruthlessly, while my girl cousins and I stand in the middle of the ice, with the goal of touching the ball once before the game ends.

After the buzzer goes off and the Breck high school hockey team kicks us off the ice, we all pile into everyones car, and head over to my aunt and uncles for the Channukah party. Yes, we have our Channukah party over thanksgiving, an idea that came about when kids started leaving for college and this was the only guaranteed time the entire family would be together to exchange gifts. We sit around the fire eating potato latkes and spinning the dreidel, as my grandpa delivers gifts in the goofiest manner possible. With most of the kids in college now, we hug and say, see you soon, which could mean see you in December, or for some, see you next thanksgiving.

This three day Thanksgiving tradition is a lot of family time, and when I was younger, I often wished that I could spend my Friday like the rest of my friends, shopping. Now, being away from home for most of the year, I wish that we could all stay at the Channukah party, spinning dreidels and laughing at my grandpa, forever.

Making the Shift to Digital

Surrounded by a sea of kindles at the beach, last winter, I remember feeling quite smug with my, however old fashion, paperback book. I liked the way it felt in my hands, the way it smelled, and being able to fold over pages, to see how much left of this novel world there was for me to explore.

I felt similarly about converting to the digital realm of writing. I had always been satisfied by a typical academic writing scenario in which you wrote pieces for your instructor, and potentially a few peer reviewers in your class whose faces you knew. For the first month of this class, the idea of writing academic blogs that were really, for the whole world to see was scary. So was the idea of publishing an eportfolio that could be searched on the internet, or posting a haiku on facebook that could be linked back to my name. All of these Web 2.0 interactions in an academic setting scared me. But do I think that I have grown from being forced to engage in them? Absolutely.

Yes, we are much more technologically advanced than our parents who still struggle to take photos on iPhones, but as Clark addresses, we as millennial students did not grow up exposed to digital texts in an academic setting, and thus, we resist that integration. My sister, on the other hand in her fourth grade class is using ipads to create google powerpoints. She has grown up with the idea that new media technology has a place in the classroom. She could teach me a few things about various technologies and sites that I have never even come across!

Ultimately, as Clark addresses in one of the  final lines of her article, “We need to work to help the profession embrace digital rhetoric not as a fad, but as a profound shift in what we mean by writing, by literacy, and by cultural communication.” Although the shift to eportfolios and public domain is frightening for us millenials, it is the direction in which our culture is going and we must grapple with the fact that academic writing no longer involves simply student-to-teacher sharing, rather our writing might be shared with anyone who happens to click on our page.

Storyboarding for the Non-Artist

The very idea of storyboarding, or coloring pictures of how I want a project to eventually look like, is super intimidating to me. For one: I do not draw. I am truly terrible at it and was always that kid who was unable to draw inside of the lines (literally). Secondly: I am a terrible planner. I have broad ideas of how I want things to go but when it comes to planning things in detail, which storyboarding entails, I really struggle. I am much more the type of person to start playing with Wix, try out a format, realize I don’t like it, try again, realize I hate it, and keep trying until I get a format that I truly love. Starting out by showing how I want things to end up seems ridiculous because of how confident I am that I will change my mind.

That being said, I did force myself to draw a storyboard for my ePortfolio of one potential layout that I think represents my personality, and presents my pieces in a creative yet accessible way. I used a premade format and inserted my own photo (one of my sister blowing bubbles at our lake house this summer), inserted new text, and new names for tabs, however it is still very much a work in progress. Here is my shot at it:


Drawing of ePortfolio StoryboardFirst shot at Wix version of ePortfolio


For my remediation project, my “storyboard” hardly resembles a storyboard in that I opted out of the picture drawing deciding that a thorough text based outline would be more efficient in conveying how I want my iMovie to look. I included a rough script of text that I want to be shown on slides and different photos and video clips that I want to accompany them.

Working off of my story board and actually beginning to use iMovie has presented a new challenge. I have loved working with iMovie thus far, but after playing with it for a while, inserting different movie, tv, and news clips and intense background music, the product that I came up with ended up looking more like a movie trailer than the ethics class presentation that I had initially intended for it to model. Going forward I think I am going to have to keep trying out different fonts, sounds, and images in order to ultimately decide who I want the audience of this movie to be.