Ask Mike: The Bicoastal Episode
Written by Sarah Scott
In the newest episode of the Ask Mike podcast, host Mike Taylor, CJE, interviewed yearbook editors from opposite sides of the country. The first interview is done with Saugus High School, Saugus, California. Editors Megan Puettmann, Olivia Tessalaar and Ashley Dredge (collectively known as MOA), shared their thoughts on creating their 2020 yearbook. Taylor’s second interview, recorded the next day on the other side of the country, covered the same topic with editors Owen Barno (also known as Freedom Boy), Parker Ridaught and Brianna Auker of Freedom High School in Tampa, Florida.
You can listen to both interviews in “The Bicoastal Episode” of Ask Mike, available at walsworthyearbooks.com/podcasts or wherever you get your podcasts.
“I’m really excited to see what products we create,” Puettmann said. The Saugus staff traditionally had two editors-in-chief, but the trio of friends are all co-editors this year.
“I feel like when we work together, we all play off each other,” Tessalaar added. “I was scared we’d be too nice to each other, but I found out this weekend that that’s not going to be a problem.”
Taylor was impressed with the yearbook leaders because of the way they handled a change to their theme. The leaders of a yearbook workshop had their doubts, so the three tweaked it at the workshop until they had the right theme for the year. Their different approaches to finding a theme worked in their favor.
“We have such different personalities,” Dredge explained. “Compared to those two I’m very different.”
The editors shared their fears for the year. Puettmann expressed concern about following in the footsteps of the previous year’s well-loved book and editors.
“I think the reason we had a creative block was because … we thought ‘we’re never going to be able to top this.’ But we want to do something different,” she explained.
“I think we were so focused on this idea that we needed to outdo them,” Dredge said. “Until we realized we need to go with our own vision.”
“If we’re making a product that we love, and that we pour our heart and soul into, and we don’t win an award or whatnot, It’s something that we love and we created together. And that’s the legacy we created,” Tessallar said.
Editors-in-chief Barno and Ridaught and photo editor Auker sat down with Taylor at a Florida yearbook workshop. All three were editors last year, which they hope to build upon for an even better book this year.
“I think the biggest thing we want to change this year is our creativity,” Barno shared. He wants to avoid falling into repetition or creative ruts.
“We’re each of the mindset that we’re grateful. Because not a lot of people get a second chance,” Ridaught added. Because of their experience last year, he predicts they’ll be able to stay ahead of errors.
Auker wants to avoid relying on graphics to hold their book together. “This time, we’re relying less on a visual element and more on a style,” she said. They’re aiming for a more clean, professional look to their 2020 yearbook.
You can hear this episode of Ask Mike at walsworthyearbooks.com/podcasts or wherever you get your podcasts, including Apple Podcasts, Spotify and Stitcher. You can also catch an interview with Ridaught and Barno in the upcoming issue of Idea File magazine.