The Spanish Game of Thrones

I spent a 9 days in Spain where I got to visit four Game of Thrones locations. In honor for the upcoming season, I want to share where and how to go see some of the most famous places of the series in Spain:

Dorne aka The Alcázar of Seville

Visit the oldest royal palace still in use in Europe, which is also a World Heritage Site. It is also the place that is the location for the fictional place of Dorne from the popular tv show, Game of Thrones. It is in the city center and is very popular. I already wrote about how there is a cafeteria and plenty of gardens to relax and spend a couple of hours to see beauty.

About three hours away from Seville is the The Alhambra in Granada.

This is where the show originally wanted to film Dorne. However, the Alhambra is the biggest and most visited monument in Spain with about 9,000 visitors a day. It proved too expensive for the show to close it down for the several weeks needed to film and so they “settled” with The Alcázar of Seville. Still, visiting the four palaces and hearing the history of the Alhambra is well worth it and to see what could have been for the show.

The Tower of Joy aka Castle of Zafra

Rent a car and take a two and a half hour drive from Madrid to the castle that is the place for the famous Tower of Joy scene (well at least the exterior). It is a 12th-century castle located in Guadalajara. You have to go through a very rocky road uphill, take it slow but eventually you will see the castle. Reenact the scene from season 6 (I got to direct two other fans playing the parts, a geek’s dream come true). The castle is privately owned and unfortunately you cannot go inside the castle but there is tons of history. There is a board in Spanish that explains it. If you are a fan of the show and the books, it really is a thrill to see the chosen real life location for such an important even in the stories.

Italica aka Season 7 will reveal

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The Roman city and well preserved amphitheater, the third largest in the Roman Empire at the time is the setting for an unknown setting for season 7. I went a month after they finished filming in the early winter, 2016. Not much is known about this location but being a 45 minute bus ride from Seville, there is still a lot of history to learn. Only after the show airs will I (and the rest of us fans) learn what Italica was used for. Until then, we can only speculate. I theorize it has something to do with Daenerys and her dragons.

There are so many places in Spain that the show uses to film. I was happy to have gotten to see three locations and the Alhambra. All of them are historic in their own right, for centuries standing and hase it’s own stories. For us fans, there is an added element to be where the show’s fiction becomes slightly real.

Avoid These 3 Mistakes When Writing Surveys

not-see-1404401_1280Creating surveys to better your business can be really beneficial. Making sure your survey is easy to read, to answer and avoid confusion is key. Here are three big no-nos:

Double-barreled questions

This is really unnecessary and annoying, right? Basically, don’t ask two questions and force them to give one answer. It really doesn’t save time, it can even hurt your results. For instance, for your restaurant, do not ask: Do you wish we had more chocolate options and service was nicer.

Instead you can ask:

  1. Do you wish we had more chocolate options?: Yes or No
  2. Do you think our service could be improved? : Yes or No

Leading questions

They really are the worse, don’t you agree? The point of a survey is that you want to learn an unbiased opinion or experience. Leading questions don’t allow that to happen. It can be hard trying to plead your case to something. However surveys aren’t about that. You want to know the truth and you can handle the truth!

Bad Example: We spent a lot of time and money on our website, was it easy to use?: Yes or No

Good Example: Was the website easy to use?: Yes or No

Avoid double negatives

That wont do you no good. If you had to reread that last sentence, I prove my point. To make an effective and quick survey (the faster it takes them, the more inclined they will participate), you need to be very on point.

Bad Example: Long lines are bad, aren’t they?: True or False

Good Example: In your opinion, the wait line is too long: True or False

If you avoid these three mistakes, you will get the most out of your survey. There are other things to help your survey. Being aware of these three is a good place to start when you first create your survey. The takers will not be confused or annoyed. You get the answers you need to make the most effective changes to progress your business.

*Originally from my internship at Qrvey.

The Appeal of Anything Quick

clock-1527700_1920Why would someone want to give out a survey? Particularly for a business, it can help better their services for customers. Perhaps you would get more customers if your prices were slightly lower. You might find out that people tend to come to your store on Tuesdays rather than on Saturdays. Basically, you make a survey to get results. All of these can help you and your business do better.

So how do you get people to pay attention to you? The obvious choice is creativity but another key is quickness. The chances of anyone taking longer than three minutes out of their day to listen to you is getting slimmer. Therefore, anything that can help you get your message out there quickly is an asset.

Enter Qrvey: the free, quick survey making tool. Now, how much time do you want to take making a survey? Chances are, not a lot. Most survey makers at Qrvey take less than 4 minutes.

How much time does someone want taking a survey? As short of a time as possible! Again, with Qrvey, it takes about 60 seconds, that’s it!

No one’s time or money is wasted. The qrvey maker first has to narrow down what they really need to know. Then they can send it out to as many people as they want. The qrvey taker takes less than a minute to contribute. The results are given easily and quickly. Everyone’s a winner.

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For you and your business, how much time do you want to go over all the answers? Analyzing results and quantifying them is not the best part of surveys. Qrvey takes care of that too! All the analytics, the most popular answer, popular times people took the survey, who answered what, all of this is give to you simply and quickly.

Don’t forget that Qrvey takes care of all the steps with you and for you for no charge! From making the survey, sending it out, taking it, organizing the results – we offer it all for free! You don’t have to spend any money and spend very little time to help your business! The best things in life can be free!

So take two minutes out of your day to create an account and start your own survey, now.

*Originally from my internship at Qrvey.

Never Too Late To Improve Your Business

improve-businessWhen the recession hit, a floral company in Chicago took a dive in clientele. Weddings cut back on their costs, hotels’ weekly décor changes were put on hold, and therefore flowers were not in the primary list of needs. The company went through a lot of changes. They closed their studio and moved everything into the director’s home. Over the years, things started to look up but the company could have used Qrvey’s free services to improve business. Here’s how.

With a prospering business of over 15 years in a metropolitan city, Parisian Floral Design had made many connections with prestigious  organizations, clients and hotels. When they all decided to cut back on costs, the company could have used Qrvey’s quick surveys and learned from the analytics without spending a dime. How? Quick–I mean really quick–1 minute surveys could be sent out to the client right through a follow up email after a consultation. Communicating with clients is key to improve business and Qrvey allows you to do that.

This isn’t like the common “customer satisfaction” surveys you might be familiar with. Qrvey allows you to use a template or you can create your own to  see the priorities and affordances clients have. And these surveys don’t have to be about how to improve your company specifically, they can be about how to improve business with your clients. It could ask three easy questions: how soon they think they will use the shop’s services again, how big they anticipate their next order to be and if they were happy with their current order. In less than 60 seconds, Parisian Floral Design could have gotten a heads-up that their orders were going to decrease as the recession hit.

The surveys could cater to individual clients; one hotel might have always liked big floral arrangements while another was known for it’s simple smaller arrangements. Customizing what the company knew about their preferences, they could find out what was still in their budget.

Using the ranking option, they could see what their clients were prioritizing: cost, look, monthly or weekly changes. They could also send out information on what kind of flowers and plants last the longest and are most cost efficient through a qrvey and see what the hotels are more inclined towards after they received the information.

Qrvey is an application trying to help businesses learn how they can make money while not wasting any. We aren’t reinventing the wheel but with our blogs, we hope to educate people on how much surveys can help. Qrvey is also the leader in giving all their templates and simple, yet rich, analytics all for free.

We might not have been around in 2008 but we are here now to help you improve business. Check out our infographic here on how Qrvey’s free services allow companies to learn and offer more to their clients.

*Originally from my internship at Qrvey.

A Day in Seville

For any Game of Thrones fans, there is a must see in Seville: The Alcázar of Seville, where the show films scenes for the fictional Dorne. I went in December and even though I did not see much of the gardens, the vast gardens and beauty are undeniable. Learn it’s history, have a meal in the cafeteria and read a book in the gardens. You can easily spend two hours there.

The famous Cathedral, Catedral de Sevilla is where the son of Christopher Columbus is buried and is known to be one of the largest cathedrals in the world. It is also right next to The Alcázar of Seville.

Then go to Plaza de Espana, it is simple yet radiantly beautiful. There are canoes you can rent to around the water, pony and horse rides or you can simple walk around.

At night, be sure to go to a Flamingo dance, it is well renowned and Seville is the place to be to see one.

Seville is a relatively small city so it is worth walking around and taking your time. There is so much to see and do but these four things are a must.

A Day In Barcelona

One day in Barcelona is nearly impossible, there is simply too much to do and see. However, if you only get one day, I do have a few recommendations so you can get ideas for the next time you go to Barcelona (because you will want to go back).

First, take a guided walking tour through the city’s Gothic Quarter which is where the beginning of Barcelona. Learn the history and how the city was founded and used since the first century.

If you don’t want to do that, do make a note to go the address, 10 Carrer del Paradis which preserves Roman columns.Not many people know about this free sight of 2,000 year old columns. The boards next to the columns tell the history of the city. The columns now are located in an apartment building and where the Hiking Club headquarters are.

Around the Gothic Quarter, there is a delicious small cafe called the Chocolate Box that has the richest hot chocolate. Then head over to the Basilica of the Sagrada Familia. For over 100 years, this unique church has been under construction. I paid an extra fee to go up into one of the tours to see the views and go down 400 steps. I think it is worth it to see the vision that architects, Francisco de Paula del Villar, and Antoni Gaudi had. The goal is to have this church finished by 2024 and with tourist tickets, it can help achieve it.

On the other side of town, there is the Park Guell, it is massive but has different picnic areas and a museum which will be good to finish up your day.

I admit, there is so much more to see and do, there are numerous other museums, churches, a cathedral. I spent only three days there and still one saw less than half of what the city has to offer. On my last day, I decided to walk everywhere, I walked over 29,000 steps, it was exhausting but well worth it. I saw numerous neighborhoods, saw tourist areas and watched locals go about their daily lives.

Having only one day in Barcelona is not enough but this list is just a taste of what you can see and learn from this wonderful city.

Hasta la próxima vez barcelona.

Back From The Dead: TV Shows Are Coming Back Thanks To Fans!

The power of the internet is unquestionable. The power of the fan however, that is just as important and yet, not recognized as much of an influencer. Cult favorites are coming back with a force and they can thank fans and the internet for that. In the last couple of years, shows that had a small but very loyal viewership expressed outrage and heartbreak that another channel or studio listened. Yahoo picked up Community after NBC pulled the plug. Hulu resuscitated The Mindy Project after Fox cancelled it. HBO even listened to the fans and finally gave The Comeback it’s, well comeback!

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Then there is the necromancer, Netflix. The Killing would not be killed, Arrested Development got a second change, even Full House rose from the tv grave. But perhaps, the biggest story of the ultimate show revival is Gilmore Girls: A Year in the Life. Since the show’s creators, Amy Sherman-Palladino and her husband, Daniel Palladino left after season 6, everyone could tell the magic was not quite there. Cast member, Jackson Douglas once described on a podcast that it as getting a heart transplant but the fans, cast, crew and even the studio couldn’t really live with this change. And so the beloved show was cancelled and done by season 7. For nearly a decade, fans continued the discussion of what could have been if only Amy and Dan never left and of course, wondering what were the final four words of the whole series? Podcasts were created, from Gilmore Guys to even my personal one. Fan’s investigated on the incomes and expenses of the characters, fan fiction of Lorelai  and Luke and of course Rory with one of her three loves (and yeah it was almost always about Jess).

featured-imageNetflix started to see the demand, the appeal, the love and the need for Gilmore Girls to get the conclusion that the fans and creators deserved. So it is returning with four new hour and a half episodes. We will see how they coped with Richard’s death, we will see how they utilize Twitter and how they feel about Obama, John Oliver and so much more. Everyone’s favorites are returning, from Sookie St. James, Lorelai’s best friend to class mates of Rory’s from Yale.

In the past, it has been rare to have a show be brought back into our lives with new episodes after cancellation. Maybe it’s the lack of original content, the fear from the studios to try something new, or maybe, it’s to give the fans an ending they deserved from a premature cancelled show. From Prison Break to The X Files to Twin Peaks, we have our favorites coming back and we are welcoming them back, zombified or good as new.

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*Originally written for gnovisjournal.org

The Challenges In Art, Work And Life

“When you have no money, you become more creative.” That was a comment made by filmmaker and podcaster Kevin Smith at a Q&A I attended a few years ago. Restrictions don’t mean that things cannot be done; it just means you need to work harder and think outside the box. Sometimes money is not the toughest factor. Many countries have to deal with strict guidelines made by their government on what they can and cannot portray in their art. In Darcy Paquets’ book, New Korean Cinema, he writes about the many restrictions the Korean government places on their filmmakers, yet they have become a model of how to continue to tell fascinating stories and defy their government without actually getting anyone into trouble.

The host movie posterThe Host is about a family who try to find their youngest after Americans put everyone’s life in danger. As a viewer who has no background in Korean history or culture, I noticed there were scenes in this film that depicted customs explaining a little background on their upbringing and mindset. The grandfather is so respectful to authorities, and he bows down when the police come in one particular scene. He tells his children repeatedly not to be disrespectful to the government or to their older brother who had it the roughest and so forth but Paquet’s book allows more insight in the history and customs of Korea that explain why he acted in such a manner. The circumstances of how certain generations were brought up in such a strict regime influences the film while still captivating it’s international viewers.

a-separation01The Korean film industry is not the only one that deals with  restrictive content. For example, a similar situation is that of the Iranian film industry, where there can be no sex (including kissing), no violence, women must cover up from head to toe at all times, no bad language, and no insult to the government. Imagine doing that with Hollywood, they would be out of business within a month! However, they have succeeded in making films that are powerful and universal, such as the Oscar winning film, A Separation about a couple going through a divorce. Matters of class, parenting, money, and marriage are all discussed without breaking any of the rules. It still holds as one of the best films ever made because there is something relatable for everyone. This film connected widely with the human experience of being a parent and the duties outside of just being a son or daughter.

Restrictions, especially government restrictions, do not mean that art is dead. These two examples of films that have won audience and critical praise prove that true art cannot be denied.

References:

Paquet, Darcy. New Korean Cinema: Breaking the Waves. London; New York: Wallflower Press, 2010.

*Originally written for gnovis.

How to Get Your Content Seen

tree-200795_1920It’s not easy to get heard but social media is a provided outlet. It is becoming the way the majority of people turn to for information, especially updated and new information. In fact, recent research shows that over 60% of Americans get their news through social media. Just think of job searches. How many of us wait for the local paper to see their classified listing? Majority of us will check Indeed, Twitter, Official Websites, Monster.com to find out who and where is hiring.

But social media is not an exact science. It requires a lot of experimenting to figure out what works for you. Here are some tips:

Post regularly:

Twitter is used to be purposely up to date and to be posted often. It has been proven that the more times you tweet, the higher chances are to get viewers and even followers. So don’t be afraid to tweet an enormous amount of times (at least 4 times a day!). Facebook is a bit different but you should still post daily.

Tag, you’re it!

Don’t forget that sharing or tagging others involved in the content also helps. It provides more exposure to anyone who follows them!  

#s help

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Popular hashtags such as #TravelTuesday, #FlashbackFriday, #KnowledgeIsPower and daily trending hashtags offer you creative ways to share content. Also, people who weren’t looking for you might find you through the use of popular hashtags.

Think outside the Twitter and Facebook box

Putting your newest content in your email is another great exposure. Websites and apps that are meant to find random things based on interests also prove to help. These include Reddit, StumbleUpon and Tumblr among other apps.

Be Quick About It!

Remember to try posting at different times. Also, be quick and to the point. Respect others time and they will acknowledge it.

Marketing has grown and the cost has gone down but with that means more content is out there. Getting people to pay attention to you has been made harder because it has become easier to reach out to people. That doesn’t mean it’s time to give up.Experiment, we have and continue to do so.
Do you have any tips? Tweet me your experience and suggestions!

*Originally from my internship at Qrvey.