Growing up, I was consistently fascinated by one story my grandfather used to tell me about Bjarni Herjólfsson, the Norse-Icelandic trader who is said to be the first known European to see the coasts of North America after getting lost in a storm on his way to visit his father in Greenland. The story of Bjarni is simple: after seeing the coast of modern-day Newfoundland, his crew begged him to stop so that they could explore, but Bjarni was adamant to keep sailing to Greenland. After arriving, he shared what he could with other sailors, and eventually sold his boat to Leif Erikson, who would take Bjarni’s boat and knowledge back to North America.
There is a lot of cultural background one would need to understand in order for this story to be as impactful as it is, but my interest in Bjarni purely comes from a place of admiration; I loved the idea of someone who facilitated change rather than seeking it out himself. As I got older, this interest morphed into various avenues, such as my love for film and television score composers, whose work is meant to highlight the performance of others and enhance the overall story. If my writing has any place within this industry, I realize that it operates similarly. My goal in anything I write is to feature great work that has impacted me and to work to get those stories that matter to the people who need them. Media and audience research is the way that I have found to not only show my own passion for media, but to lay the foundation to eventually inspire change in the way that we distribute and consume media on a transnational and interpersonal level.
Outside of the three scripts I have featured, my portfolio does not feature any creative writing, but that does not mean that there are no stories in my portfolio. If anything, my portfolio highlights the stories I love most and my ability to gauge what kind of writing is needed for a particular situation. I think you can see how similar themes and concepts pop up throughout all of my different styles and conventions. Whether writing things like my undergraduate thesis focusing on the fanbase of the Norwegian web series Skam and the series’ rise as an international media property due largely to fan labor to a review of the Swedish/Georgian film And Then We Danced, a film whose international distribution I personally advocated for and watched occur firsthand from its premiere, I specifically focus on bridging my love of intercultural and linguistic dynamics with my passion for media. Speaking generally, I care about how and why we select the stories that we do for distribution, and how post-digital technologies, legislation, and social factors both assist and prohibit consumers of media from engaging with these texts and the subsequent fan cultures this disparity creates. The way that I have found best able to facilitate any kind of change, even on an interpersonal level, is to continue to research trends intensively and craft every piece of writing, no matter the genre or convention, with a specific audience in mind.
I thusly broke up my portfolio in distinct sections based on each ideal audience. My first set of work featured is my abstracts from my independent research, all dealing with the intersection between post-digital transnational media flows and fan studies, including my thesis on the Skam franchise and its implication as both an international media property and transnational fandom. The second subsection of media flows highlights some of my less academic research pieces, all pieces of either audience analysis projects or pitch materials. The other major section of work deals with media analysis, which through a series of essays focusing on archival media, sociolinguistics, and post-digital properties shows my process of interpreting a piece of media in those three different contexts. My last three sections showcase my scripts, film reviews from the Cannes Film Festival in 2019, and multimedia pieces I have written, most of which also relate to transnational media flows or (in the case of the scripts) operate within specific melodrama genre conventions.
All of these pieces together represent my body of work in media studies, and I enjoyed writing every piece in this portfolio. The reason I made sure to have a variety of genres and formats is because this portfolio is the culmination of my goals as a writer: to shift my voice within each discipline in order to best facilitate storytelling and highlight great stories. Ultimately, writing is a tool that I have worked hard to improve, and I hope to be able to continue to enhance my skills as a writer as I continue to go further in my academic and professional career. I am still not entirely sure what I ultimately want to pursue professionally within media and audience research, but it is in this uncertainty that I find the most comfort from the Bjarni story I loved so much – as long as I keep sight of where I want to go and where I feel like I need to be, I do believe that I can at least be a small part of necessary change.