Biola awards iPad to winner of “My Journey” video contest [Updated]

Biola IMC recently revealed the winner of the “My Journey” video contest which allowed students to share the story of their journeys to Biola.


Freshman Olivia Blinn won the Biola IMC “My Journey” video contest with her stop-motion entry, composed of over 500 images. JORDAN NAKAMURA/The Chimes

Amy Seed, Writer

Biola University’s Integrated Marketing Communications announced freshman math and journalism major Olivia Blinn as the grand prize winner of its first “My Journey” video contest on Nov. 22.

Out of a total of five qualifying entries, a panel of judges chose her video as the winner because of its relevance to current students, said Jenna Bartlo, media relations coordinator for IMC. The grand prize was an Apple iPad.

Winning video incorporates stop-motion photography

Blinn’s video featured her journey to Biola as a decision between six schools and a difficult choice to move 2,000 miles away from her home in Minnesota.

“Sometimes my story doesn’t seem that exciting I guess, but at the same time, I think it’s like, for me to look back on it now, it’s a really big testament to God’s faithfulness and his leading in my life,” Blinn said.

Her video used a stop-motion technique and featured roughly 500 still photographs. Blinn said one of the more frustrating parts of putting together her video was completing a photo shoot, realizing she disliked some of the photos and having to start over again.

Story relevant for prospective Biola students

Blinn said that one part of her story she hopes will stand out to prospective students is that moving 2,000 or more miles away from home to attend college is manageable, even if it is difficult.

“I feel that how I came to Biola was definitely God’s leading,” Blinn said. “Every step of it was seeking his will, and him just really coming and finding me as I was seeking after him. So it was like, wow, this was a really cool opportunity to get to share how God works and how awesome he is.”

Video grabs judges’ attention

Judges for the contest included Bartlo, along with IMC video producer David Baxter, IMC video production coordinator Emily Pardy, film professor Michael Gonzales and student representative junior Jordan Crabtree.

Judges evaluated the videos based on their creativity and the entrant’s ability to communicate their story effectively. Tone and length were also two characteristics they considered, Baxter said.

“Olivia’s video really grabbed your attention right away,” Baxter said. “The stop-motion style she used was unique and showed that she had really put some creativity and time behind her entry. It definitely made you interested in what she had to say.”

Story highlights difficult college choice

Blinn’s video was unique because it is unlike student stories IMC has shared in the past, Bartlo said. Blinn’s dilemma of choosing between different schools is an experience many Biola students share.

“One of the unique things about Olivia’s video is that a lot of students come to Biola and it’s not necessarily a tragedy that brought him here, but it is a tough, difficult process,” Bartlo said.

Blinn already involved in photography

Before she found out about the contest, Blinn already had photo shoot ideas in mind that would represent her journey to Biola. She said she entered the contest because she felt like it was a good opportunity for her to continue experimenting with stop-motion.
Photography is nothing new for Blinn, a visual journalism major who started her own photography business two years ago. Her focus is portrait photography, and she plans to use her new iPad as a portfolio for her work.

The contest ran from Sept. 14 to Oct. 31, and a voting period for students was held Nov. 9-11. Roughly 200 students voted for their favorite video outside the Caf during that period.

The final judging period began Nov. 15 and ended Nov. 19. The five judges cast their votes, and the majority student vote counted as a sixth vote when the final judging took place. Among the student body and the panel of judges, Blinn’s video was the favorite.

Other entries impress

Other qualifying videos were submitted by juniors Drew Pick and Ian Mayta, along with seniors Matthew Rongey and Stephen Hernandez. Even though these entrants did not win the grand prize, their experience inspired them to continue telling their stories.

“I have really been challenged/inspired to be more intentional in communicating to others what I have been saved into, i.e. my testimony,” Hernandez wrote in an e-mail interview with The Chimes. “Especially being an artist, I think it further challenges me [to] communicate God’s truths in light of my giftings.”

The contest was put on by Bartlo and Brenda Velasco, manager for internal communications and public relations through IMC. This was the first official year for a “My Journey” video contest, but the department has produced videos of student journeys to Biola for the past three years.

IMC plans to continue the contest in the future with the hope of gaining entries from Talbot students as well, said Bartlo. The contest was open to graduate students this year, but only undergraduate videos were received.

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