Friday, December 10, 2010

Facebook Photo Bombing Update

Since my last post I sent messages to the accounts of Ted Wheeler and Berbati's Pan inquiring about the photo bombing incident.

A staff member of Ted Wheeler's named Katrina promptly responded to my message, informing me that she dealt with the issue as soon as she noticed it (within about an hour of the tagging).

" I discovered the photo bombing, untagged Ted and then blocked & reported "her" for spam, " she wrote. "Ted gets lots of friend requests from people he doesn't know and since he usually accesses FB via phone, generally just accepts the request and moves on. Unfortunately, this has led to a few instances where the "friend" was a spammer and later he or I delete & block."

Berbati's has not responded to my message and last night I noticed that they had been tagged in more photos of the same model, which were once again appearing in my Newsfeed. Either they don't mind or they don't keep very close tabs on their account.

Of course having photos of scantily clad women showing up on the page of a nightclub is hardly the same as having them on the page of a politician, and it's not surprising that Ted Wheeler has a system in place for dealing with such things, while Berbati's (which, for all I know, may benefit from the extra traffic driven to their page and arguably wouldn't suffer comparable negative consequences to those of a politician) either intentionally allows other accounts to tag them in such photos, or simply isn't worried enough about their social media image to monitor it.

Thursday, December 2, 2010

Facebook Photo Bombing Targets High-Profile Portland Locals

This evening I logged into Facebook and noticed a number of pictures of a scantily clad woman accompanied by a link (I did not click it, but it claims to go to the site for which the woman models) in my News Feed.

I was surprised to see them, as I did not recognize the women, nor am I friends with anyone whom I would expect to post such pictures on the site. I quickly realized that a couple of local users with whom I'm friends, Greek restaurant and night club Berbati's Pan and State Treasurer Ted Wheeler, who is known for his avid social media use (last year, while serving as County Chair he broke the news of a ski-related back injury on Twitter before contacting any traditional media) had been tagged in the photos posted by another account, presumably belonging to the model in the photos.

I can't be certain if the breast-implant laden Asian woman in the photos is truly the 23-year-old UO student and self-described "Kind,Understanding and a simple woman" the profile claims, nor can I be certain whether it is this woman who is behind the account at all, but I was struck by how simple this marketing strategy is, and how surprising it is that I haven't noticed anyone using it before.

This tactic is essentially the Facebook equivalent of Napster bombing, though it seems not to work the same way in terms of targeting a specific audience, unless "her" goal is simply to get as many Portlanders as possible to view her pictures, and, if she's lucky, her profile.

Successful Napster-bombers would tag their music with the names of popular artists whose music at least resembled or shared commonalities with their own, thus reaching the ears of music downloaders who were likely to enjoy their music.

I am, presumably, not this model's target audience. I have little interest in viewing pictures of random nearly nude women on the internet, and, while I'm sure there are exceptions, I suspect the majority of Ted Wheeler and Berbati's Pan's Facebook friends are not looking for such pictures, either. Would it not be more effective, I wonder, to tag high profile models in the photos, rather than a middle-aged white male politician and an inanimate and un-sex-related business?

Furthermore, Ted Wheeler and Berbati's Pan (and all the other people tagged in the photos) will probably un-tag themselves (and perhaps unfriend her, as well) the next time they log in, leaving only a small window for all these people's friends to see the pictures in their News Feeds.

I suspect as this strategy catches on, more public figures and businesses will change their Facebook settings so that their friends can't tag them in photos without their approval.

Thursday, September 23, 2010

Facebook's down! Quick, post it on...everything that's not Facebook

The web is abuzz this afternoon with news about Facebook's technical problems and users' thoughts on the situation.

The site seems to be in working order again, but its problems earlier today caused quite a stir.

Mashable, the best source I've found for this type of news posted this article today. The Huffington Post reported the story here. And even the Wall Street Journal blogged about it here.

But what I found most interesting was my Twitter feed, which is still full of insights and jokes (being retweeted like crazy) about the social media site and the impact of its complications. Some gems:

@CarlosMiller: "How come when Twitter goes through its weekly crash, nobody on FB really gives a damn, but when FB crashes, Twitter goes all up in arms?"

@OPB: "BREAKING NEWS: Facebook is down. Worker productivity rises. U.S. climbs out of recession." and 20 minutes later "Top Tweet! Can it become true? @ BREAKING NEWS Facebook down. Worker productivity rises. US climbs out of recession. "

@alexpriest: "Facebook fail whale: cc @"

@bcoz79: "First thought on being down was, "I should post this on !""

@alquaeda: " is down. Not sure if we did that, but we should claim credit anyway. Hitting the infidels where it hurts, etc."

@intuitivebridge: "Facebook is down....It just, you know...doesn't feel like it can go on anymore. It's not you, It's facebook. Really."

@mattwaite: "Irony: Hearing about Facebook being down on Twitter. Shoe. Other foot. Yeah." and "Dear internet: While Facebook is down, why don't you go on over to @ and get your learn on. Just sayin'."

I'm sure there will be plenty more to come.

I think what we saw today really underscores the importance of having multiple social media sites. While some sites may become obsolete, the trend of moving on to the new "best" site and abandoning (or never even trying out) all others, saying "I don't have time for more than one" may be unwise. Particularly with the availability of tools like Hootsuite and Tweetdeck, it's easy to share information across multiple platforms.

I was certainly glad to have Twitter today while Facebook was down, not just so that I could find out what was wrong with Facebook (and what people in social web thought about it), but so that I could still share information with a broad audience and find out what's going and what people are reading/watching in my social web.

Friday, July 2, 2010

Opportunity Knocks X2

A couple days ago I was starting to feel a bit discouraged and was fearing it might be almost time to start applying for restaurant jobs again.

In some ways I really enjoyed the years I spent as a line cook, but I never made much money or had any benefits, and my arms were always covered in burns (in a lot of my wedding pictures there's a real beauty that a panini press left on my left upper arm ), I had a lot of lower back pain from all the lifting, and I often didn't get home from work until after Robert had gone to bed. I think the frustration that stemmed from that lifestyle is a big part of what motivated me to finally get really serious about school.

I know that Robert and I can manage on his income if we really have to, but it would mean making a lot of sacrifices. I'm trying to save us money by being really meticulous about keeping track of our spending and by cooking a lot so that we won't have to eat out, but once my graduation money runs out, it will take more than that to keep us afloat.

I also want to gain valuable experience and keep developing my skills. I've enjoyed getting to sleep in these past couple of weeks, and I really needed some time to recover from the residual stress and exhaustion of my last term at UO, but now that I'm finally more-or-less caught up I'm starting to feel anxious. I'm not used to having so much free time, and while I've managed to be pretty productive, I really haven't had to use my brain very much. I keep feeling like I must have forgotten to do a bunch of important stuff.

Fortunately, my persistence in applying for jobs and internships finally yielded some results in the form of two email responses.

About six months ago I was searching for new media internships in the Portland area and came across one at the Oregon Jewish Museum. I was particularly interested in this because over the past couple of years I've done a lot of genealogical research and have gotten in touch with a lot of relatives whom I had never met, and learned a great deal about my Ukrainian Jewish ancestors who fled to Boston in the early 1900s. I'm really interested in continuing my research and in learning more about Jewish history and culture, and I thought it would be very rewarding to get involved with an organization that helps to preserve these things and to educate the public about them.

After not hearing anything for months I assumed that I wasn't going to, but then I got an email from the museum's marketing director informing me that they now had openings. I called back right away and left a message, and then wrote him a detailed email. He wrote me back the next day and we scheduled an interview.

I went in to meet with him yesterday at noon and he said that he thought my skills would be very useful. The museum recently moved to a larger space and has a lot more going on than in the past. They need help with a lot of things that interest me including expanding their social media presence and making a video trailer to show before film screenings. It doesn't pay, but I think it will be very valuable experience for me and it sounds like it will be a lot of fun, too.

I also responded to an ad for someone to help with online marketing for an independent film and got an email back from the executive producer. I spoke with him on the phone and he said that I was the only applicant whom he had responded to because I had mentioned specific things he was looking for in my email. He told me a bit about what they need, which for now will mostly be setting up and maintaining accounts on as many social media sites as possible (something I have a lot of experience with). I'm going to meet with him in person on Tuesday to discuss things in more detail. This will be a part time position, and I'm not sure yet how many hours it will be, but it does pay! I think it will also be a great opportunity for me to get to learn more about the independent film industry.

I'm sure that I will need to keep looking for additional part-time work, but I am feeling much more optimistic now and am really excited to be starting on two different things that both really interest me and will actually make use of my education.

Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Life as a Recent Grad/Unemployed Person

Having gotten more-or-less settled in my new home, I finally have time to feel like an actual unemployed person. I am now among Oregon's roughly 41,300 unemployed, some of whom are good friends of mine and a great many of whom are talented media professionals. At least I'm in good company.

I've been checking Craig's List multiple times a day and have updated my Linked In account and made multiple versions of my resume in Google Docs. I've applied for about 10 paid positions and 6 unpaid internships. Not a lot of progress. There just don't seem to be a lot of interesting jobs that I'm qualified for and I know there's tons of competition even for those I feel I'm perfectly suited for.

I'm trying not to sweat it too much yet. I've been back in town for less than two weeks. Shortly after moving to Oregon in 2004 I was unemployed for four months and then finally found a job that I stayed at for three and a half years, only leaving when I moved to Eugene to finish school. I know the unemployment rate is higher now, but now I have a degree, more skills, more experience, and more confidence. I am certain that something will come along if I don't give up.

In the mean time I'm trying to be productive and find ways to make my new household more efficient and sustainable. Robert and I spent the weekend unpacking and organizing, and have gotten most of the house in pretty good shape. Since I'm free during the day, I have time to do things like tending the garden, cooking healthy meals from scratch, walking to the store, and coming up with systems for saving money and avoiding waste.

I'm hoping that meeting with a career counselor next week will help me to strategize at the very least. I'm also planning to look into temp agencies. Robert and I will have to take a good look at our finances and figure out how long we can manage on his income alone, which will determine how long I have the luxury of looking for jobs that I actually want. At least summer is the busy season in his industry and the weather is pleasant enough to keep my spirits up for the time being.

Saturday, June 19, 2010

Post-grad Recap

I've barely had time to think since graduation on Monday. My parents and sister came out from Ohio and my mother-in-law drove down from Washington to attend the SOJC graduation ceremony.

There were about 400 graduating seniors from the program. I hadn't realized how many of us there were! I only knew about a tenth of them, almost exclusively Electronic Media majors. I'm glad I went, but by the end I was certainly ready to get out of the sun and have some lunch.

After obtaining some nourishment my family and I went to my house where we divided our efforts between packing up my belongings and preparing for the celebratory cookout my roommates and I had planned. We had people coming and going until about 1am. It was a lot of fun and I'm really glad I got to see some friends before I left. I could never have pulled it off without all the help from my family! Throwing a good party, I can handle. Preparing to move simultaneously, not so much.

Tuesday morning we had a fairly leisurely breakfast at Keystone Cafe before my parents and sister headed for the coast. My husband and my mother-in-law and I went to the DMV to get a trip permit for my car, which I hadn't been driving on account of my expired tags. She then helped us finish the after-party cleanup before beginning her long return drive to the Seattle area.

Robert and I then finished loading up our Volvo wagons and cleaned my near-empty bedroom to the best of our abilities. I wrote notes to my roommates and to my new sub-letter, and then we headed west to meet up with the rest of the family in Yachats.

It was nice to see the ocean and to have some down time with my family, but I had a hard time relaxing. After dinner I attempted to attend a production meeting via Skype, but finally gave up after getting disconnected about a half dozen times.

In the morning we got bagels, then began driving north on 101. We made a brief stop at Devil's Punchbowl, which was less crowded than the last couple times I'd been. We had thought about stopping at Three Arches, one of our favorite spots on the coast, but Robert and I were eager to start unpacking and the weather had become pretty dreary, so we headed east at the first opportunity.

I've been back in Portland for just over two days now. It's hard to believe I actually get to stay. I have to make a trip to Eugene next week to pick up the rest of my things (mostly books) and I'll be down there periodically to work on Broken over the summer, but Portland is my home once again and I am thrilled to be back here among this city's wonderful people and culture.

I still have a lot of unpacking and organizing to do before I can fully dedicate myself to the job search. I am checking Craig's List frequently, and trying to apply for at least one position every day. In a couple of weeks I'm meeting with a career counselor. I'm very grateful for the graduation money I received, which I hope I can stretch until I find some paid work.

For now I'm going to do my best to take it easy and enjoy my family's last few days in Oregon and try to get settled so that I can be as productive as possible next week. Here goes nothin'.

Friday, June 11, 2010

The End and the Beginning

I finished my last final project around 1am, which was earlier than I expected. I was thrilled that I got done in time to meet a friend for a couple of drinks before my long walk home (late night public transit would make this city so much more livable).

I think I pulled more all-nighters this term than in the rest of my college career combined. I can't remember what it's like to wake up feeling rested.

I wish I could relax today, but I've got to go to the DMV to renew my expired tags, and clean the house in preparation for out of town guests and for my sub-letter, who moves in next Thursday.

My sister, whom I haven't seen since I visited Columbus a year ago, flies into Portland tonight and my husband will bring her down tomorrow. They will both be staying with me for a few days, which I am very excited about. My parents, whom I last saw on the same trip to Columbus, and my mother-in-law get into town Sunday. We're having dinner at Agate AlleyBistro, my favorite campus-area restaurant. The SOJC Commencement ceremony is at noon on Monday (follow Twitter hashtag #jgrad10 for updates) . Afterwards I'm having a cookout to celebrate and to say farewell to my Eugene friends.

After a day at the coast with the family I will begin my life in Portland as a job-seeking graduate! I am both excited and terrified.

I've been applying for lots of jobs and internships. So far I haven't had any callbacks regarding paying positions.

I got a voicemail asking me to come in for an interview for one internship in Portland, but I wasn't able to go because I wasn't finished with finals. I called back and left a message saying I could talk with them on the phone or come in next week, but they haven't returned my call.

I interviewed for another internship over Skype this morning. I really hope I get it, because the work sounds like it would be right up my alley. I think it would be a great opportunity for me to develop my skills and get professional experience.

I don't know if having a degree will help me get a job, but I do know that my experiences at the J school and with the University Film Organization over the last two years have given me confidence in my abilities and have helped me to figure out what I enjoy doing and what I'm good at, as well as what my weaknesses are and what I need to continue to work on.

My greatest fear is that I'll end up working in food service again with no benefits and no intellectual stimulation. I really hope I can find work (paid or not) that will enable me to continue learning and doing projects that I care about.

I know that I have to commit myself to making that happen no matter how busy or tired I am. If I am forced to take a full time restaurant job in order to pay the bills, I have to make sure I don't lose sight of my aspirations. As stressful as being over-committed can be, I know that not doing work that I'm passionate about is far worse.

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Adrenaline Film Project

My team for the Adrenaline Film Project didn't get into the competition, but I was asked to be the lead mentor assistant, which was a great experience.

One of my primary duties was driving mentor Jeff Wadlow around to the sets of the various groups. He would watch what they were doing, then make suggestions or, if they were really in trouble, run the show until they got back on track. I got to learn a lot just by being there for the process.

I also really enjoyed getting to spend a lot of time with the student coordinators Tomas Valladares and Stephanie Strahan, with Rom Alejandro, another mentor, with the other festival organizers, and all the teams of filmmakers who competed.

Some friends of mine from the University Film Organization , Brian Leonard, Jonathon Wheatfall, and Doug Potts, did get into Adrenaline, and made a post-apocalyptic short called The Hut, which has great set design and lighting.

I think it was a fantastic idea to hold the first Cinema Pacific festival during the first year of the new Cinema Studies major at UO. Students are so excited about production right now. I think this was a wonderful opportunity for local filmmakers to see great films, learn new skills, to meet one-another, and to see what they can accomplish in a short period of time!

I think all the participants have a renewed interest in making short films, and many have told me they plan to join the UFO, or to get more involved with it than they were in the past. It's perfect timing for us, because we are currently in pre-production for a short, and could really use more skilled, passionate people to make it happen!

All the Adrenaline films will be up on YouTube soon.

To see all the tweets from the event search the hashtag #UOAFP on Twitter.

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Begin Final Term

It's the third week of my last term (if everything goes as planned) at UO.

A video I made last term about park acquisition for my internship with My Eugene is now online with a piece written by another intern, Erik Maurer.

Lately my life seems like an endless string of pre-production meetings, which I am totally loving.

For my Documentary Production class, taught by Jon Palfreman, I'm working with two other students on an 8-10 minute piece about nuclear power in Oregon, which we will attempt to get on OPB. We were having trouble getting in touch with our sources for the first couple weeks, but we finally did our first interview today, have another scheduled for Sunday, and are working on scheduling a third.

In UFO we are starting to plan a short film written by our treasurer, Brian Leonard. I will most likely be DP and Art Director on it, which will be a lot work, but also a lot of fun.

Brian and another UFO member, Jake Schamber, and I have also formed a team to participate in the first annual Adrenaline Film Project at UO. I'm really excited about it. I love working with Brian, and am looking forward to working with Jake for the first time.

Monday, March 22, 2010

Playing with Text in Final Cut Pro

When I was still getting comfortable with the basics of Final Cut Pro, I didn't dare take the time to try to get creative or do much experimenting--it was hard enough trying to find all my clips and get them into the timeline in order.

I've gradually started playing around with various features. I think customizing the text is one of the easiest things you can do in FCP that really changes the feel of a video.

I wish I knew more about text design. I've never taken a typography class or really studied it on my own. I learned a bit about typefaces in the Visual Communication class I took at Portland Community College a couple years ago, and I recently watched Gary Hustwit's documentary Helvetica, which was really enlightening.

I've been aware for a long time that text has a significant impact in visual media, but there are so many options, I've always been a little overwhelmed by the idea of trying to do much with it.

As a teenager I was a big fan of Courier typeface, I think largely because I associated it with typewriters and DIY culture. I still have a fondness for it, but it's not appropriate everywhere.

It's hard not to love Helvetica. It's so modern and easy to read. But it's also EVERYWHERE.

In FCP the default font is Lucida Grand. It's a simple sans serif font and is quite readable, but something about it bothers me. It looks lifeless somehow: it's like Helvetica with less personality.

When I finally got around to using different fonts in FCP, I knew I wanted to make sure my text was easy to read, but I also wanted it to stand out a little. I didn't want something distracting, but I also wanted it to be a little more eye-catching than Lucida Grand, and less common than Helvetica.

After a little experimenting I settled on Stone Sans. I wanted a sans serif font that stood out a little. I think it's really easy on the eyes. It's very uniform and looks both bold and comforting at the same time.

According to, the Stone typeface family, designed by Sumner Stone "solves the problem of mixing different styles of type on the same page. Most combined type styles, because they aren’t designed to work together, often have radically different characteristics such as cap heights, stem weights, and proportions."

I guess I picked a good one to experiment with.

The more I look at it, however, the more I feel like I'm watching credits from a cartoon show. Maybe I've just been looking at it too long, or maybe it's time to try a different one.

Here, I use the Blogger default font Georgia in "small" size.

Monday, March 15, 2010

New Film Blog

I just started a new blog: Oregon Film News. A variation of my UO Cinema Studies program news package is up!

Almost Spring

Finals week begins tomorrow. I, fortunately, only have one final left: my History of the Motion Picture Part 2 exam. I'm going to a study group with some other students from the class tomorrow night. The exam is Tuesday afternoon. I have a UFO meeting that night and we have a short shoot on Wednesday. Besides that, all I have to do is finish editing a video for my internship, and then I can head up to Portland for the break!

I'm really looking forward to spending time outside and being active after the ridiculous number of hours I've spent in the computer lab this term. Next term I'm taking a 10k training class. I think I'll feel a lot better with regular exercise scheduled in. I've been feeling really stressed out and lethargic for the last month or so. I'm going to need to run a lot over spring break to prepare!

I'm also taking History of the Motion Picture Part 3, TV Documentary Production, and 2 J408 workshops: Mobile Media Production and Lighting for Video.

In addition to classes, UFO, and WMTM, I'm also planning to participate in the Adrenaline Film Project in May. Brian and I are planning to work together, and are looking for a third person (hopefully someone with good Final Cut Pro skills). Someone is coming to talk to the UFO about it on Tuesday. I'm really excited about it.

I'll be really busy, but I don't think it could possibly be more stressful than this term has been.

Monday, March 8, 2010

Latin American Cinema

I have just begun my Latin American Cinema (J467) take-home final essay exam.

I've really enjoyed the class, but I think the subject is far too broad to adequately cover in a single term. The other two foreign film classes I've taken focused on much more specific topics: a single country (Germany) and a single genre within a continent (Asian Fantasy Cinema).

Gabriela Martinez, who teaches the class, is very knowledgeable and I think she does a great job of leading class discussions. I know far more about Latin American culture and history than I did a couple of months ago, and have been exposed to a lot of films I probably never would have seen otherwise. That said, I am really struggling with trying to keep all the details straight. It's difficult for me to remember what happened in which country. All of Latin America is a lot to cover in such a short time.

I think I have retained the most about Mexico and Argentina, both of which we covered early in the term. I remember a fair amount about Brazil, which we also spent more time on than the subsequent countries. Most of what we covered in the second half of the term (Chile, Bolivia, Cuba) is a blur.

I think we could easily have spent the entire term focusing on Argentina and the Dirty War, or documentaries from the continent, and it still would have been a lot to grapple with.

Writing these essays is going to require a lot of reading and reviewing of my notes. I hope that by the end of the week I will be able to say something intelligent about three of the six topics I have to choose from!

Sunday, March 7, 2010

the Oscars

I watched the Academy Awards tonight for the first time in many years, and while most of it seemed unnecessarily drawn out, it was worth it.

I was thrilled to witness the first woman ever to win the award for best director and then immediately afterwards to see Kathryn Bigelow return to the stage to accept another for best picture! I, sadly, have not seen the Hurt Locker yet, but may go see it tomorrow at the David Minor Theatre.

I was really happy that Christoph Waltz won for best supporting actor. I was really impressed by Inglorious Basters, and thought Waltz' performance was amazing.

I haven't seen Crazy Heart yet, but was happy to Jeff Bridges win for best actor. I really enjoyed his acceptance speech, too. He apparently wasn't acting in the Big Lebowski!

I was dumbfounded when the show ended and Barbara Walters came on the screen saying that this would be her last Oscars special. I guess it's not shocking that she's retiring now, and I watch TV so rarely I would never know the difference, but it's certainly hard to imagine the medium without her!

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

Men in Film

It may seem ridiculous to discuss "men in film." Isn't it obvious that men make films? Aren't most filmmakers men? Why would we need to use the qualifier?

We assume that filmmakers are men unless we are told otherwise, and most of the time it is, unfortunately, true.

I like to think that we are making progress. Maybe Kathryn Bigelow will win an Academy Award this year. Maybe people will start thinking of filmmaking as something that people can do regardless of gender.

When I go to University Film Organization meetings or take film-related classes, I see that at least half the people present are women. Women clearly do not a lack an interest in filmmaking. Women have the desire and they are making the effort to learn the skills.

So why are "women filmmakers" such a rarity?

Certainly in the past there have been a lot of barriers. My grandmother wrote in her diaries about her love of film. She went to the movies multiple times a week in the 30s and 40s. When I was growing up everyone in the family went to her to ask whether a film was worth seeing. Years after her death, we go to movies together in her memory.

Early in her life she wrote of her desire to act, but eventually decided she was too shy and gave up on the idea. She was a talented writer, but never in her diary did she write of a desire to write a screenplay. The notion probably would have been laughable. She also loved photography. She kept a huge collection of family photos and always had a camera ready at family get-togethers. Would she ever have had the audacity to dream of being a cinematographer?

My grandmother worked tedious secretary jobs until she married my grandfather and spent the rest of her life raising their five children. That's what women of her generation did.

Today most women work. Too many women are still stuck in pink collar jobs, but many women have positions that they wouldn't have dreamed of holding a few decades ago.

Why have so few women made it as filmmakers?

A few months ago I attended What is Film? in Portland. It was a really interesting and informative conference, but I was really struck by how few women speakers were present. All three of the keynote speakers were men and most of the panelists who work in the film industry were men. Many women were in the academic panels on the second day. This suggests that women can find their way into positions where they get to talk and write about films, but most of the films are still made by men.

Lately I've spent a lot of time looking for production jobs and internships on Craig's List, both in Portland and Eugene and I've been shocked by the number of listings that use male gender pronouns such as "cameraman" and "sound guy." The people (presumably men) posting these ads may not be deliberately excluding women, but their oversight has an impact.

I am certainly hesitant to apply for any such position.

Will a woman be considered based on her experience and abilities or will these producers automatically assume that she's not what they had in mind?

If a woman is hired by someone who thinks of a position as something a man does, will she be scrutinized? Will he assume that any mistake or shortcoming is the result of her gender? Will she have to work twice as hard to prove herself?

If these filmmakers assume that people with production skills are men, what other areas does their sexism permeate? If they do hire a woman, how will she be treated? Will she be seen as a novelty? Will she be sexually harassed? Will she be given "pink collar" duties like making coffee for the men? Will her input be taken seriously?

If a woman feels men on the set are being sexist will anyone take her complaints seriously? Will anyone back her up?

I wonder if the men who post these ads ever think about these things or if they care. I wonder if they know that they may be the gatekeepers preventing another generation of women from becoming filmmakers.

WMTM Update

On Monday night the We Make the Media non-profit group held another meeting. This time some members of a smaller group focused on investigative journalism, also from WMTM, joined us. This group headed by OPB's Emily Harris came to find out whether our groups shared enough goals to merge. Last night she sent out an email announcing that they have, in fact, decided to merge with us. Exciting news!

As usual, we had a lot to cover and it was a struggle trying to keep things on track. Twenty-two of us attended the meeting, and most had a lot to say. Colin Lovett, our chair, did a remarkable job of keeping us on schedule, which I really appreciated, because I had to leave right at 9 to get back to Eugene to finish a project.

A non-profit lawyer came to the meeting to briefly introduce himself and tell us some basic things we need to consider. He's going to come to our next meeting to answer more questions.

We still have a lot of research and planning to do, but we've certainly made a lot of progress.

Friday, February 26, 2010

Finals week will seem like nothing after this.

After many consecutive late nights in the editing lab I finally finished my multimedia piece. As it turns out, I need to make a lot of changes to it, but I think it was the best-organized and most consistent solo video project I've done so far.

I only slept about three hours last night and then got back to campus to do add some final touches. I was there from 10am until past 1am.

In class today our instructor informed us about what days we're doing our finals (six minute newscasts). I'm going Tuesday, which is the first day. Our script rough drafts are due tomorrow, and I haven't even started mine yet. Before I can get to that I need to finish a paper for History of the Motion picture.

Despite having virtually no life outside of school, I always feel like I'm behind. No matter how far in advance I start on a project, I always seem to end up pulling an all-nighter (or a few) to get it done. I don't know if I'm exceptionally slow or if I just need that pressure in order to make final decisions. Maybe I just make too much work for myself. I think I tend to get over-ambitious, especially when I'm shooting. I always seem to shoot way more b-roll than I need and it takes me a really long time to capture and sort through it all and then I struggle to keep it organized. I hope it will get easier.

I came home to try to get some rest for a few hours before I get up to do more homework, but I'm not sleepy on account of too much coffee and stress. I don't have time to sleep for long and I'm so exhausted, I wonder if it's even worth taking a nap.

If I can just get through the next five days, the worst will be over. I just have to finish this paper, write my script, put together all the video I need for my newscast, write two more papers, and do my newscast, and then all I have to worry about is final exams for History of the Motion Picture and Latin American Cinema, which by comparison to what I'm going through now, don't sound too bad!


Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Red-winged Blackbird

I'm really glad I chose a topic (parks) for my multimedia project that enabled me to spend a lot of time shooting outside!

Here's a cool little guy I saw at Golden Gardens who may or may not make it into the final cut of my project.

I Live at the J School

I feel like I have no life outside of the J school these days. No time for a social life, and often skip other classes to work on Electronic Media projects. Would never get them done otherwise!

This weekend I took one of the J408 workshops. This one, taught by Andre Sirois,who also taught Video Production last term, was on sound recording and editing.

We went over equipment, such as different types of mics (some of this I remembered from previous classes, but the review is always good), cords, headphones and digital recorders.

We also watched some videos about how sound works and went over different ways it can be used.

We took digital recorders and mics on our lunch break and experimented with recording different types of sounds, then returned and uploaded the files. Andre showed us how to do all kinds of stuff in Soundtrack Pro and then gave us some time to experiment with it.

He later emailed us a packet he put together with lots of helpful info, which I'm glad to have, as I was way too tired to retain all the details at 8am Saturday morning after a long, busy week with many late nights.

I fell asleep before 9 (unheard of) Saturday night and slept for more than 13 hours! I felt really rested for the first time in weeks. It seems I'm at the J school past midnight at least three nights a week.

I spent most of Sunday and Monday shooting b-roll at parks for my multimedia package. I've done a lot of editing, but have a long way to go. It seems like I always have a hard time figuring out how to organize my sound bites until the last minute when the pressure's really on. I'm kind of overwhelmed at the moment. I really hope it all comes together. If nothing else, at least I should be able to make my audio sound good this time!

Yesterday I registered for Spring classes. It will be my last term if everything goes according to plan! I'm really excited for Documentary Production with Jon Palfreman. I'm really looking forward to working on a more in-depth project. I also really admire Palfreman's work, and feel very fortunate to have the opportunity to learn from him. I hope that there will be more creative freedom in this class than there is in Reporting for Electronic Media.

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

More News

I turned in my second news package today. I think it turned out a lot better than the first, though I still struggled to get it down to two minutes.

From a technical standpoint, I think it turned out pretty well. The biggest issue I'm having is getting the audio levels for all the different clips properly adjusted. the variation seems to be much more exaggerated when played on a TV than on a computer.

In terms of content, I think my story was pretty well focused and organized. I was really happy with the sound bites I got from my interviews, and I felt like I had a better sense of how to "write to" the bites this time. I still couldn't fit everything in that I wanted to, though.

I did my first stand up for this assignment. I really dislike being on camera, and I think I come across as kind of stiff and awkward. I hope it will get easier if I have to do more of these in the future.

I'm thinking about re-editing the piece and making it into something more to my taste.

I'm now starting on my last project for this class, which is a three minute multimedia piece using video and still images. I think I will feel more comfortable with this format, but it may require more planning.

Sunday, February 7, 2010

Struggling with Broadcast Reporting

A week and a half ago I completed my first news package for J432. It was possibly the hardest project I've ever done.

I had a number of technical problems (mostly with mics not working properly), which made the footage from two of my six interviews unusable. I always record audio on two channels, using both the on-camera mic and another one directed at the subject (usually a lav), so that I will have some ambient sound in addition to the voice, but also as a back-up, so that if the some of the audio from one is unusable I will still have something. Maybe I had the levels too low on the on-camera mic, or maybe there was too much ambient noise, but I had no usable sound. Will have to be more diligent about using headphones for sound checks, and not just relying on the camera's audio meters.

Working alone, I'm finding is very difficult. I enjoy writing questions and conducting interviews by myself, but lugging all the equipment is a serious physical challenge, and the amount of time it takes to set up is substantially longer than it was when I worked with a group or even a partner. I sometimes feel overwhelmed trying to make small talk with interviewees (not one of my strengths) while I'm setting up and trying to make sure I'm not forgetting anything (white balancing, checking audio levels, etc).

I also struggled with focus. There turned out to be a lot more to the story than I initially realized, and I couldn't fit everything into my two-minute piece. I had to leave out a lot of information that I thought was important, and really struggled with writing a voice over that filled in the information I couldn't pack in with sound bites.

I also found writing in TV news style really challenging. I hadn't done formal news writing in a while prior to this class, and writing for broadcast is a truly daunting task for me.

I almost never watch television news, partly because I don't own a functional television, but also because I usually don't like television news. Trying to emulate something that I generally find to be formulaic and insincere is pretty frustrating.

I do really like some radio news,particularly what I hear on public radio, but I don't think much of it adheres to the style my instructor expects me to use for these assignments.

Radio Lab host Jad Abumrad, for example, probably doesn't sound "authoritative" enough, and sometimes speaks in a manner that some TV news viewers might find offensive.

Personally, I think he and co-host Robert Krulwich do a fantastic job and I really value their work. I love to listen to them and trust them because they seem sincere and unpretentious, and to be genuinely interested in the information they present.

They cover topics that I know very little about (but am often curious about), but make them accessible and interesting for a general audience without making me feel like they think I'm not smart enough to understand. I also like that the show is creatively produced,using music and sound bites to aurally illustrate ideas in way traditional news shows would never dare.

I can't think of any daily news shows on radio or television that I have this sort of appreciation for. Maybe that's the curse of daily news. When something has to be done immediately, I suppose there isn't much room for creativity or really trying to draw your audience in in a sustained manner. Of course the short format of daily news is also extremely limiting.

I find short format really unappealing. I really enjoy doing a lot of research on a topic, and producing things that are visually interesting is really important to me.

I suppose it's good for me to get experience with this kind of work, but I'm really looking forward to next term when I'll finally be in Documentary TV Production.

Monday, January 11, 2010

It's Going to be a Busy Term!

Week two of winter term has begun. I don't have any Monday classes, but managed to stay busy today.

The weather wasn't bad so I walked to campus. I submitted another application for office space for the University Film Organization. I really hope we get it. We really need a physical space! Also did some online planning for a group assignment and then headed over to Cafe Yumm for the first My Eugene meeting.

I'm really looking forward to getting started with my internship It sounds like it will be really flexible, so I won't have to worry about time conflicts, which is great for me, because I'm often busy with UFO and We Make the Media activities. There are seven other interns, all of whom are J school students, and we each chose a couple of assignments we're interested in working on. Additionally, we each submit three events to the calendar per week, so if anyone knows of any cool stuff going on around Eugene, please let me know about it!