BLUE Ocean Film Festival | P2

⌚️Time for  a Change- a Reflection

In my previous post, we explored a few of the reasons why I accepted an internship with BLUE Ocean Film Festival as well as a few of the smaller projects I have completed for the event during the my first couple of weeks with Make a Difference Media.  Around this same time,not only was I taking a full course load and working as Teachers Assistant for 2 professors, I had a regular job building the website for Patel College.  Anyone who knows me will tell you I give 110% 120% of the time.

12647442_10153187435706673_8646521592862947777_nI am very proud of what i managed to accomplish during my time at PCGS. I started with a broken website, zero social media presence, old flyers, no followers and an ugly blog. I built this blog.  Over the course of a single year (while also taking classes) I mixed, merged and converted almost all of the media distributed by and about the school. The network and newsletter (bi-weekly) became a collaborative effort and a resource for sustainability professionals and partners. During my time, the web presence of Patel College increased by 11,000%+ across all platforms and looked fresh everyday.  Nevertheless, I was starting to become burned out and beginning to get cabin fever. I’ll cover more of this in Part 3, but the point I am making here is that  BLUE Ocean Film Festival became my new focus during a time when I needed change.  I wanted to shift my time and energy towards a project where my hard work would be noticed and appreciated, while making a difference.  An internship can become just this.  It can end up being by becoming the culmination of all of your hard work, wrapped up into a task which has great meaning and a substantial impact.

These days, I am happy with being just a graduate student about to graduate.  I did what I could to make the school better.  Time to transition and shift from talking about change and doing my part to make sure it happens with a quickness.  My internship became a guiding light.

Explorers of The Seas Deserve More Respect

blueocean-experience The ocean is a dream for most of us. For the film makers who submit to BLUE, it is home.  We are all so lucky to have access to such a robust body of works. Everyone chooses for themselves their level of involvement.    Personally, I believe deep sea divers deserve the same amount of respect as astronauts and the oceans, at least the same amount of respect and awe as deep space.  Humans know more about deep space than we do about our oceans.  BLUE Ocean Film Festival has been the platform and the event for showcasing this importance around the world.

Every year, BLUE Ocean Film Festival receives well over 300 film submissions.  Each of these films are reviewed by a carefully selected panel of judges and board members in order to choose the finalists across several categories.


Web Content Restructuring and Ticket Booth 🎟

During my third week of working with BLUE Ocean Film Festival we began making manyapp much needed changes to the official website.  This included updating around 60 pages with new information for the 2016 event, updating the Global Advisory Board and adding our new guest speakers and creating a new phone app for St. Petersburg for both iPhone and Android platforms to replace the old one.


In previous years, BLUE had a ticketing problem which had to be solved quickly.  In previous years, attendees had to perform the entire checkout process for every single ticket they purchased.  This was not sustainable.  Not only was this an annoyance but it created an accounting nightmare.  So, I got to work on a solution. I needed a shopping cart which could hold multiple items, be able to embed it into the site as well as the Facebook page and automatically require the names of the ticket holders before checkout. It is more complicated than you might think.


I spent close to a week building this new ticket booth.  I learned a lot while making it. We went with Eventbrite  in the end because it had been used before and added some payment processing abilities that were over my head.Never the less…I’m not sad about it.  I have a nice portfolio piece.

You can view a demo of this here.

First Version of BLUE Ticket Booth


Skyline of St. Petersburg, Florida

🎟Get Your Tickets to BLUE Ocean Film Festival Here.🎟

Giving Credit Where Credit is Due

Sponsors and Partners of BLUE 2016

None of this would be possible, of course, without the sponsors and partners of BLUE, of which I will close this post in acknowledgement. In the past 6 months with BLUE I have built out several different iterations of sponsor graphics, sliders, banners and web widgets. My favorite version of our sponsor directory can be found here in this demo model I whipped up to share.  Screenshot below:

Interactive Sponsors and Partners Directory (link above)


Up Next!

Stay Tuned for Part Three

In my next post, I’ll show you how all of this work begins coming together as we get closer to the event.   I will show you how BLUE Ocean is making an impact locally in downtown St. Petersburg and Globally with BLUE On Tour.


Get Involved and Spread the Word

If you use social media and enjoy being involved in world changing projects, friend and follow BLUE Ocean Film Festival on the following platforms.  Reach out to us if you would like to volunteer towards the efforts set forth and do your part to help increase ocean literacy worldwide.



Google +



Stay Tuned for Part Three

BLUE Ocean Film Festival | P1

BLUE Ocean Film Festival & Conservation Summit

Getting Serious for the Oceans

I believe that media can make a difference. I know that communication is as much visual as it is verbal, if not more. For part one of this series, we will explore the ‘if not more’ and begin a short tale of how an internship can ignite a flame under an entirely different side of yourself, previously uncharted. I call this side ocean.

But seriously…

giphyInternships do not just magically appear for anyone- not usually.  You must put in the time and effort towards finding an opportunity which best suits your goals.  Luckily our Internship Coordinator is in constant pursuit of opportunities for us, but it still requires a lot of work to find the right opportunity.  For my Capstone Experience for both masters degrees ( Entrepreneurship/ Sustainable Tourism), I sought an atypical internship experience. I wanted to work for a cause locally while having an effect, globally. In other words, we can all do our best locally to create or inspire noticeable change on a global scale. What better way to put my experience to work for the oceans and in turn, for humanity and all living creatures? What better way to set an example for younger eyes?  Scientists say that we know around 5% of the world’s oceans but in the age of crowd-sourced knowledge, this library is growing exponentially. Normal human activity is naturally disruptive. Naturally, I aim to disrupt that.

Where I am Coming From

I like to recycle experience.  I like to make stuff with data and code with Anthropology on my mind.  At first, I imagined something educational, impactful and simple to love. I pulled from my experience.  Since 2010, I have worked in close collaboration with scientists on sailboats, before enrolling  to USF, called Beautiful Nation Project.  Within Land Surveyors United community, members annually collaborate on the day of the summer solstice for Survey Earth in a Day, remeasuring the entire surface of the planet in a single day with great accuracy. I decided to get involved with an incredible cause in the form of an annual international film festival, as an intern. My mission is a BLUE one.

Where I am Going

00blue-ocean-film-festival-logoMany of you have likely heard about the BLUE Ocean Film Festival and Conservation Summit, but I’d bet most of you haven’t thought about how much work goes in to actually making an event like this happen.  In the coming weeks, I will unfold this story in my blog posts for Patel College of Global Sustainability and give you all a bit of insight into what I am doing to help make BLUE 2016 to be a success.

About BLUE Ocean Film Festival

BLUE Ocean Film Festival 2015 in Monaco

BLUE is an event administered, planned and executed by Make a Difference Media founders Debbie and Charles Kinder.  The first BLUE Ocean event occurred in 2007 in Savanna, GA.  Since then, it has become an internationally recognized catalyst for change and education regarding ocean conservation and ocean literacy.  You can read more about Blue Ocean Festival here, but I would like to briefly point out how the “5 Elements of Blue” factor into global sustainability.

BLUE Headquarters Downtown St. Petersburg, FL

The five elements of BLUE come together and create a truly unique event which:
• Honors the world’s finest ocean films through the best-in-class film competition.
• Brings together the world’s esteemed leaders and ocean luminaries.
• Presents the world’s most comprehensive underwater film & photography professionals.
• Showcases Science and the Arts for the stewardship of the ocean.
• Changes the way the world sees the ocean.

This year, the festival just happens to be in St. Petersburg, FL on November 10th-13th.  You can get your tickets here on Eventbrite and even become a volunteer by submitting the forms found here.


How Did I Find This Internship?

It all started with an introduction from the wonderful master of coordination, Rhiannon, to the Co-Founder and CEO of Make a Difference Media, Debbie Kinder.  We met one day in Rhiannon’s office to discuss the types of help needed to get the film festival planning underway. At the time, I had been webmaster for PCGS for close to a year and Mrs. Kinder had seen all of the work I was doing for the college.  The three of us had a brainstorming session and discussed a possible internship, helping BLUE with things like website redesign, social media management, marketing  and content administration for the upcoming event in November.  I was given the initial task of wrangling all of the existing and past social media footprint and developing a plan for how to best reengage followers, reconfigure existing media assets and ultimately reinvigorate participants and followers for the new year.  However, this opportunity came during a time when there was a film submission process in action and over the years the process for submitting films had devolved into something quite difficult and time consuming to manage.  BLUE needed a new method of receiving films for review, so my first action item was to build them a way for film creators to upload their videos directly into a single Youtube channel for review.  This was difficult due to the fact that Youtube had recently disabled the ability for channels to allow community-style uploads.  This meant I would have to build it with the Youtube API as a massive workaround. In fact, I have been told that the only other web app known to exist like this is used by Sundance Film Festival.  You can imagine their excitement when I built this for them.

Screenshot of Video Uploader for Youtube

Next on the list was taking inventory of all media assets such as video submissions from previous years so that I might make them fresh again. We wanted to celebrate all of the wonderful submissions from previous film festivals to let contributors know that we haven’t forgotten about them in addition to providing some examples of the types of films we accept.  In short, we needed a way to sift through the Youtube Channel videos outside of Youtube.  So, I built a way to filter and jump to specific videos using a Google Spreadsheet at the database.  You can see and play around with a demo of this project here, if you like.


Up Next!

In my next post, i’ll tell you why I left the Patel College as webmaster in order to convert my internship into a full time job.  I’ll show you more of my work geared towards improving media outreach and helping BLUE reach their goals- helping the world thirst for knowledge about the oceans and how we can collaboratively mend the wounds we’ve dealt the oceans inn exchange for so much life.


Get Involved and Spread the Word

giphy1If you use social media and enjoy being involved in world changing projects, friend and follow BLUE Ocean Film Festival on the following platforms.  Reach out to us if you would like to volunteer towards the efforts set forth and do your part to help increase ocean literacy worldwide.



Google +



I will leave you with some action shots from BLUE 2015 in Monaco and a shot of my new office, at the Don Cesar in St. Pete Beach.

New Headquarters at Don Cesar Hotel St. Pete

That’s all for now. Thank you for reading.