Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Chelsea & Cory Love Story

I write during the holiday slow-down on this blizzarding third to last day of 2010 with a recap of a love story video I finished a few months ago.
Chelsea and Cory are good friends who together make the best example of partners in crime that I can think of. I was living in San Francisco during the time they met and fell in love but did witness a bit of their early affections while back in Reno for winter break, at Burning Man, and other occasions. Which is why it was great to hear the details of their meeting during a sit down interview. I will always have serendipitous magical feelings when I think about this video. But the number of magical movie moments that occurred that late summer evening I drove out to Washoe Valley with my camera (a bullfrog's home, purple potato harvest, finding a lizard, shooting bow and arrow) I get the impression is nothing out of the ordinary for a weekday night with the Canons. While I was looking for music Chelsea had mentioned they both love Johnny Cash so I googled "Johnny Cash love song." The first song that came up blew my mind! Not only is the sound perfect I had tons of footage of them together in the grass to work with. *Sigh* some things are just meant to be... Meet Chelsea and Cory Canon. Their love will last "As long as the grass shall grow."

Chelsea & Cory Love Story

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Moments of Inspiration!

When I was in San Francisco at the start of this month I got to meet with USF professor David Silver. How nice! I wanted to plant the seed of our What's Good in America Today project in his head and see what he thought about it. We had a lovely lunch next to some sociologists in the faculty dining room, a secret spot I somehow didn't really notice during my three whole years there.

It was one of those certain conversations where there are too many things to talk about because everything is interesting. After having a similar kind of conversation with an uncle this past weekend, now it makes me appreciate how awesome and important those moments, and people are. You can go from unsure to totally fueled, positive and inspired in a mere moment!

Then the bus rolled up right as we were leaving, and both heading the same direction we ran and hopped on just in time. Silver had just a $5 bill but called out to fellow bus-riders for change. Someone in the back did, and a man next to me cheerfully said, "A community effort!"

And for a photo with this post, this sorry one which somehow is the only I took during my weekend in San Fran. Turns out it's kind of perfectly fitting though, since it shows muni and USF.

Sean Uyehara, San Francisco Film Society Programmer

I interviewed Sean Uyehara at the animation film festival. The perspective he offered was shockingly academic, and very interesting. Sean has been with the San Francisco Film Society for 5 years.

Lis: How did your interest in animation begin?
Sean: I’m interested in movies…and one thing about animation that I think is especially interesting is the way that it implies the relationship of the production world of film to an audience. One thing I’m interested in about movies in general is not only how they create meaning, but how they create authority. There are certain ideas we think about what goes into the making of a movie that communicates its meaning. So when we see a Hollywood blockbuster we have an imaginary history of the production, right? Like we think about studios and important directors and big, industrial processes... With animation there’s usually this idea of the hand of an artist and the trace of what was there, and this sort of subjectivity is being produced. And it occurs on all kinds of different levels. So that’s mainly what I’m interested in. When I look at different forms of movies I’m interested in how they bring this kind of cognitive framework and this interpretive competency that goes along with it that we develop in a shared way.

Lis: Why do you think that is so interesting to you?
Sean: (haha) Because when you think about that then you start to realize that the different forms of communication that we have come with different vehicles of meaning and authority and voracity and authenticity and all these things that relate to how we understand the world and each other. So what it means for me to be sitting here and speaking to you directly has a completely different context and authority than what it means for me to make a video and send it to you. So, there are certain ways that people have access to different kinds of meaning and stuff. What I’m interested in investigating on a basic level is how we develop our shared competencies for understanding each other…And there’s a lot of ideas that go into that: ideas about narrative form and structure, aesthetics, grammars and techniques, so there are a lot of different things that sort of come along with different modes of communication... Like it would be odd for me to tell you a story right now, unless I were telling u a story rhetorically, whereas it’s not odd for a lot of these films to be narrative. And so we have certain expectations when we enter into this kind of relationship. I think about viewing movies as that- as the production and development of a relationship.

Lis: What goes into the process of you deciding what to show?
Sean: The point of the animation festival to me, (and the point to me doesn’t mean it
S the point for everyone, people have different ways of accessing the festival) For me what I’m trying to do is I’m trying to present an array of all of the different ways that animation is produced and articulated. So hopefully what emerges, if you come and you look at a lot of different works, is you see the different fronts where animation styles and techniques are being produced and being disseminated and then you sort of get a sense for where we are currently in terms of mode of communication.

Lis: It seemed to me while watching some of these movies that animation has the power to capture emotion and feeling. Do you have any thoughts on that?
Sean: Well I think that it’s not unique in being able to capture emotion or feeling…but one thing that is often residual in animation is the idea that what’s being communicated to you is the idea of an artist- a specific artist: because what one tends to see in animation is sort of the direct subjective intervention of somebody. That’s not really the case always- it often can be but it’s just one of those things where I think that the way that emotion is communicated through animation appears to be very direct and subjective to a person. So its apt- not because of the form per say, there might be certain things about the form that allow it to do that... but what it is is what we think were seeing and what we expect to be understanding and comprehending is imbued or tinged with this idea of the process of drawing or the process of doing this frame by frame manipulation which is an artisan, artisanal process- there’s a craft that you feel like is on display.

Lis: And it’s not the same with live action?
Sean: I don’t think so. We understand live action to be more of an objective process in general- not that it’s correct, that socially in general we agree that a camera records things independently of the desire of the maker. You can set up a camera in a place but the camera is going to capture something independently of the hand of the artist. That’s different than the idea of drawing something, or working on something in a frame-by-frame mode. When you understand it to be produced differently you think it comes with different meanings.

Lis: Any thoughts on the current state of animation?
Sean: One thing that animation has gone through is this sort of intense relationship to computers. One thing that’s been happening for a few years now is that that relationship is falling back. It’s not becoming as important. So one of the things that’s happening with animation is that there was this idea that computers and software were becoming almost like what cameras are to live action - that there’s this objective idea of the computer producing something independently of the artist. But I think that that’s being sort of captured and taken back and people are doing more 2D animation or they’re using computers in ways that allow them to express themselves more directly.

Monday, November 15, 2010

Memorable Shorts: SF Int'l Animation Fest 2010

What follows are the short films from this weekend's San Francisco International Animation Festival that in my opinion were most fantastic and that I think in one way or another stick with me forever.

I Forgive You (Pierre Mousquet, Cauwe Jerome, Belgium 2009)
Played as part of the Best of Annecy Program. An animation style reminiscent of The Simpsons. Two wrestlers fight, plot turns unexpectedly and the result is hilarious. San Francisco crowd chuckled with glee.

Jean-Francois (Tom Haugomat, Bruno Mangyoku, France 2009)
So beautiful. Hand-drawn. Noteworthy for its unique well lit drawings, and music. You feel like you are watching a video of a book. A swimmer remembers his past... Played as Part of the Best of Annecy program. Unfortunately this trailer doesn't show you much besides a bit of the drawing style. Try to watch somewhere.

Jean-Francois (Teaser) from Cube Creative on Vimeo.

I am Simon (Tunde Molnar, Hungary 2009)
Absolutely amazing. A wise voice within a dog. So well done you feel what it's like to be this dog. Noteworthy for unique drawing style, 1st person scenes of dogs running that make you feel like you are the one running. This 30 second trailer gives you only a taste of the drawing style. Try to see this somewhere.


Wisdom Teeth (Don Hertzfeldt, USA 2010)
Humor in simple animation at its best. Wisdom Teeth was my own introduction to Don Hertzfeldt's work, but Hertzfeldt, a Fremont California native, is wide known for his humorous, simple hand drawn short films. He has twice been nominated for Academy Awards for Rejected and Everything Will be OK. According to Wikipedia, he hasn't ever worked any jobs besides on his own animation. This year the San Francisco International Film Festival awarded him the Persistence of Vision Award Lifetime Achievement Award, at age 33. Wow. While watching the delightful Widsom Teeth I asked myself, but why is this SO FUNNY?? Everyone in the theater was cracking up. It's only simple line drawings, how could it be so very humorous? Well, there all different kinds of humor, probably the humor in this is of the variety of the unexpected, suggested my friend Adam. It's true. The more preposterous turns the plot takes, the funnier. Check out Don Hertzfeldt's site, Bitter Films.

Topi (Arjun Rihan, USA/India 2009)
Takes place in 1947, at the division of Britain's Indian empire into two nations: Pakistan and India; a time when 10 million people were uprooted and one million were killed in communal violence at the borders.
A portrait of a young boy at a train station with is mom. This animation tells a very simple story, and makes me think about the idea that very large, complex ideas or periods of history can be translated or taught well via simple, well-done animation films. No, by learning this way we do not learn the details, facts, dates and numbers, but we do learn a little of the feeling of what it was like then. Animation has that capability. In my opinion the learned feeling will stay with you more than the facts and dates and numbers.
Very powerful. Watch in full below.

* As the credits rolled I noticed Original Music by Ludwig Goransson. I had the chance to meet Ludwig and film him at work as a Composer on the show Community for a project I was working on in Los Angeles. He is very talented.

The Gruffalo (Jakob Schuh, Max Lang, France 2009)
Shown as part of the Children's program. Pretty darn cute. Animals take us on a tour through the forest. Nothing super unique about this one, but it's a pleasure to watch and if I had kids I would definitely be excited about having them watch this. And Helena Bonham Carter Plays the voice of the mother squirrel. Trailer below.

Kool-Aid Man in Second Life
While I was not an immediate fan of this one because as at least at this point in my life as a rule I am not into doom and gloom future-themed- art (yes I think we should think of the future as full of butterflies and love and I did NOT like Blade Runner) this film has stuck with me. I enjoyed the unexpectedness of the whole arrangement, and it disturbed me to a point where I will remember it forever. Exactly what it sounds like, and then some. Watch in its tres bizarre entirety below.

A Conversation with Jon Rafman from badatsports on Vimeo.

Komaneko's Christmas "A Lost Present" (Tsuneo Goda, Japan 2009)

I LOVE handmade animation. You can just tell when something has so much time put into the craft. It's like homemade pie versus store-bought. Well, there's probably a better analogy for that. When watching this kind of animation, each extra attention paid to detail just makes you giggle with delight. This little Christmas animation is so cute you might cry while watching it, as my friend Katie admitted to. Tsuneo Goda is the animator, who is also quite famous for his Domo animation creation.
Watch in full below!

Komaneko Christmas from Kurt Hanson on Vimeo.

Phew. That's a lot of talent in one blog post.

Sunday, November 14, 2010

Mai Mai Miracle at the San Francisco Int'l Animation Festival 2010

Since I'm a fan of Spirited Away, I was looking forward to seeing Mai Mai Miracle at the San Francisco International Animation Festival this morning. Mai Mai Miracle is directed by Sunao Katabuchi, who is a protege of Hayao Miyazaki's and worked as his assistant director on Kiki's Delivery Service. Miyazaki, who has received much critical acclaim for at least a dozen films and is considered the Walt Disney of Japan, is one of the few Anime directors who has managed to make films that have a worldwide appeal; and there are reflections of Miyazaki in Katabuchi's style.

I asked SFIAF Programmer Sean Uyehara why he included the film in this year's line-up, and about anime genre in general. One reason Uyehara, who has been a programmer with the San Francisco Film Society for 8 years now, loves Mai Mai Miracle is because he sees his 7-year-old going through the same themes that are explored in the movie. "I think it's a good film. And it represents something that's an important part of animation: Anime...One common theme in anime is exploration of that time of life between youth and adulthood. A lot of Miyazaki's films are about pre-adolescence. Which is interesting because a lot popular films usually focus on adolescence. Pre-adolescence is that moment when kids are figuring out their personality, how they fit in socially, feelings of empathy, how to deal with anger and disappointment...They are starting to understand how they affect others and others affect them."

I also asked Sean about the differences between Miyazaki and Katabuchi's work. He said that in Miyazaki's work "Usually the spiritual or dream world is as real as the actual world." In Mai Mai Miracle, there is more distinction between the two and "it's more about imagination than it is about mysticism," said Uyehara.

Mai Mai Miracle is a 90 minute delight for adults and children, presented beautifully.

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Saturday, November 13, 2010

Heart Breaking and Beautiful: Anita Killi's Angry Man

What is it about animation that can capture emotion and feeling so well? I suppose it's just the theme I have been talking about: subjectivity. Because so much attention to detail is paid by the creator to every single frame in animation, there's a lot of room for her/him to display the kind of feeling she means to, and the world we see on the screen ends up being the animator's brain poured out into an animation.

Whatever the case, Angry Man created by Anita Killi of Norway, shown at the San Francisco International Animation festival last night as part of the Best of Annecy program rendered me the most heartbroken I have ever been by a work of art, maybe ever. I kept thinking while watching it this had to be because so much thought was put into the the look and the sound of it...The scene has been created so well. Now I see after researching Anita's website that she has never used computers for any of her work. Every bit of Angry Man is hand-made. It's no surprise Angry Man of Troll film AS has won awards across the world, including Short Film Special Jury Award at Annecy 2010, Best animated short film at the Chicago International Children's Film Festival, the 2010 National Film Board of Canada Public Prize, and was nominated for an Amanda Award: an award given annually at the Norwegian International Film Festival to promote and improve Norwegian film, as well as made the King of Norway cry.

This film is about domestic abuse, but shouldn't be misrepresented as only that. This is an incredible moving work of art. "It is of comfort to be able to combine artistic film with important issues. The issues shouldn't just be sad or heavy. But if the audience are moved it can open up for a good conversations or the feeling of having learned or experienced something important," says Killi on her website on the subject.

Angry Man starts with a little bird who says, "To everyone who has a secret..." What follows is a portrayal of an "Angry Man" inside the father of a young boy who thinks it's his fault that his father is so angry. Eventually we hear the birds whisper, "Pass it on." Thus the tagline of the film: Some secrets shouldn't be kept secret. Killi says on her website: "Through the years I've been more and more aware that my projects should have a proper message so it would feel right to spend years to create some tiny minutes of film," and "I primarily want to work with film for children that also should inspire the adults. Children are vulnerable and ear easily affected and that's why filmmakers should have a great responsibility as conveyors, messengers and educators. Quality film for children are sadly often of lesser priority than artistic films for adults which is of abundance."

Thanks Anita. Can't wait to see what's next.
Check out the Anita's film company, Troll Film AS, here

Friday, November 12, 2010

Here Come the Waves: The Hazards of Love Visualized at the SFIAF 2010

Here Come the Waves: The Hazards of Love Visualized, a 4 part visual representation of the Decemberists' 2009 album The Hazards of Love was meant to only be a one-time show- a backdrop for a performance of the album start-to-finish in LA. Everyone liked the result so much the film is now being shown in festivals all over. Last night it opened the San Francisco International Animation Film Festival, which runs until Sunday. Andrezza Valentin and Guilherme Marconde, husband and wife team who worked on the third of 4 segments, were in attendance to introduce and close the film. This was the first time they had seen it without the band playing in front of the screen.

I thought about how different it would have been to see this playing behind a band rather than sitting in front of the screen without any distractions. As it started I was thinking about how this setting for viewing gives more power to the musician AND the animator, because the viewer has less senses to get lost in. The music and the animation complimenting each other force you to succumb to what's happening in front of you. The animators take the wheel, you relax and let them take you on journey through all dimensions. Guilherme confirmed my thoughts during the Q&A at the end of the hour. He said though it was a little more nerve-wracking since there was more attention on his work, he enjoyed watching it without the band playing in front of it. Seeing it at a concert means it's a party atmosphere, with lots of energy and a less immersive experience.

Since each frame is paid so much attention to in animation, it's insanely subjective and the end product means it is arguably much more of a direct reflection of the artist than other mediums. One of the many delights of this hour long wonder is that 4 different directors worked on 4 different parts, which means you experience 4 different styles of animation back to back. And when the Decemberists talked to the animators about the film they asked them not to animate based on the lyrics and the characters in the songs but rather on the the feelings they had while listening to it. During the Q&A Guilherme and Andrezza spoke to their creative process. "Sometimes we will listen to the music and ask each other, "What visual does this sound make you think of?"

During the show I started pondering why I was feeling so much nostalgia. Perhaps because most children watch a lot of animation. But there's something else: Oftentimes animated movies or videos create worlds made up of simple shapes and colors that looks visually like a child would think: simply. I talked to Guilherme about this idea after the show. "Animation like this is so abstract that everyone can draw their own meaning from it," he said. That idea makes me think that animation has the potential to be a spirituality. Simple shapes and music allow you to draw meaning where you like, and you can leave feeling immensely full.

The switching back and forth between CGI, stop-motion and hand-drawings makes you notice the differences between each medium. I guess I am a traditionalist-- when the hand-drawn stuff comes on constellations in the sky make shapes of animals that are then dancing with each other, and it feels like childhood and your ideal romance. Stars play a big role in all four sequences because a theme of the entire thing is the seasons. I thought about the ideas that go with stars: the delight, the twinkle, the mystery, the wonder, the sparkle, the HOPE. Stars signify hope and things that are bigger than ourselves. Shooting stars are obvious signs of hope. That's how this animation spectacular feels too.

All of this delight and guess what? These animators do this work as a SIDE JOB. Such brilliance it kind of boggles your mind that they can't even make a living doing it. Most of them do marketing work to make money. I asked Guilherme about this idea. "When you get paid for it you have to do what they want," he said. "If you do what you want, you don't get paid for it. That's just how it tends to work," he said with a chuckle. As a result he enjoys watching this work, because he did it from a place of passion.
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Saturday, October 16, 2010

Sheila Leslie

Perhaps I should have posted this video when I finished it about a month ago, but since early voting begins today, this seems more appropriate.

You know how sometimes you can be close to someone, but not really know much about the work they do? Being close friends with Sheila's daughter Emma, I have known Sheila for awhile now, but it wasn't until I sat down to interview her and work with her on this video that I really got to know her.

I can start by saying this video is one of the easiest I have done, and that doesn't speak to its quality. I actually think it is some of my best work. The thing is that Sheila is so well spoken, so genuine, and so thoughtful yet concise with her words that she made my job easy. According to Sheila she had to become skilled at speaking in a concise and thoughtful way while working for non-profits talking to news people. "When you work for a non-profit that is your only way of getting the message out, so it better be good," she said. It was refreshing to sit down with a politician who is not at all calculated or pretentious, but rather speaks her mind and her heart. She's smart, honest and loves what she does, so talking about it is easy. Thanks Sheila. Nevada needs you!

Meet Sheila Leslie. She works hard for Nevada. She is also running for State Senate. If you live in Washoe Senate District 1, it would be wise to vote for her today. Or sometime before Nov. 3rd.

Sunday, August 22, 2010

Brad & Sara Love Story

Ever since I figured out I wanted to creatively tell peoples' stories through video, I have wanted to tell an engaged couples' story. I just always have thought what a cool time in your life it must be to reflect on love and life and the person you want to spend the rest of your life with!

I knew Brad from Project Moonshine was engaged to a mysterious lovely lady so I met them and asked if they were interested. I don't think they really understood what I meant at first, wanting to do their "video portrait" and maybe they thought I was a little crazy, but with open minds they gladly accepted the offer.

I shot this in two days: Day 1 we met at the Nevada Museum of Art so that I could get some nice B-roll of them to lay over the interview. The plan for shooting was that I didn't have much of one besides just to film them being themselves (with direction to try and ignore me and the camera) walking around this very cool building (designed by architect Will Bruder). It was fun to shoot them here because this is where they fell in love (watch video for details)! And the non- plan for shooting worked out well too because they were naturally embracing and being a cute couple the whole time-I hardly gave them any direction at all.
Day 2 of shooting was at their house, which is cool because the way their house is layed out is a metaphor. Brad has his "nerd lair" in the basement with all of his music stuff- instruments, playlists, computer, stereos, speakers, and tons and tons of CDs and records (Brad is one of the only people I know who still buys CDs). Then the middle floor of the house is the Brad & Sara floor- where they spend most of their time together: kitchen, family room, bedroom... And the top of floor has all of Sara's things: books, music, DVDs, pictures, and shoes. So naturally I interviewed Brad in the basement, Sara on the top floor, and them together on the main floor.

I thought this would be an easy edit into a 3 minute-ish lighthearted love story video, and I was wrong. I didn't know Brad and Sara really well before these interviews, and that's also what made it cool. I learned as I Interviewed, which made the story all the more real and genuine for the camera. Brad is very effusive and their love story is ever deeper than I imagined, so basically I fell in love with their story and was so inspired by what I captured on my camera that I spent a lot more time editing that I thought. (Which is becoming a theme for me...efficiency Lis efficiency!) The result, which I am very happy with, is below. Enjoy!

Meet Brad and Sara. They love each other. A lot.

Sara & Brad Love Story from lis bartlett on Vimeo.

Monday, July 12, 2010

Prescription for Writer's Block

I like what writer-director Rodrigo Garcia has to say about uninspiration or writer's block.

Writer's block is very many different things...Sometimes you're just writing too soon- meaning you are too tired from the last thing you were doing. [Or] you haven't replenished enough: you haven't seen enough films, heard enough music, gotten out into the world, gotten out of town...You have to energize. And ultimately the final thing is you sit down and you write no matter what. Sometimes I will dictate a scene into a recorder. Writer's block is not a virus; it's you. If you don't get yourself out of it, then that's it--that's where you're going to live.

Garcia said this during an interesting Creative Screenwriting Magazine podcast where he, producer Julie Lynn and Samuel L. Jackson discuss working on Mother and Child.

Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Jason Boegle

Remember back to being a little kid, sitting on the carpet of your house watching Sesame Street as your parents went about their adult routine of getting ready for the day? Remember that feeling of fascination and comfort you got while watching and learning things like how numbers work or the perspective of garbage truck drivers? I was reminded of this feeling while spending an afternoon in the field with Jason Boegle. Jason is crew supervisor for the people who pour and rake asphalt onto our streets, put up stop-signs, and paint the lines for crosswalks. Really exciting? No. The simple and mysterious ways that make the city go 'round? Yes.

Jason's humble personality makes him the perfect one for this job. He's been with the city for 15 years, working his way up. He likes the work that he does, he works hard, and after work he goes to his Fernley ranch and practices team roping -- also something he excels at. One year he won the $50,000 prize at the Reno Rodeo. Admirers say his calm demeanor is the real key to his success. Meet Jason Boegle.

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Colin Loretz

In March I started working at Reno Collective, where I met Colin. What strikes me most about Colin is that as a web developer / entrepreneur he could live in any major city, but he chooses to live in Reno - because he likes it here. Not only does he live here, but he works hard to make Reno a better place. When I asked him why he does this, he seemed thrown off. "A rising tide lifts all boats," he said in our interview. He wants everyone to succeed at whatever they're trying to do, simply because he wants to live in a place like that. Colin is definitely a leader, having founded Reno Collective (with Ed Adkins), Reno Wordcamp, and Ignite Reno, but he doesn't ask for much spotlight. He seems to lead from the back- which makes him all the more interesting....Meet Colin Loretz.

Monday, May 24, 2010

nice flight

Sunday was the last day of my 10 day mini-tour of the east coast. Leaving Washington D.C. I was inspired and filled with love by seeing old friends and new places.

Delta flight DL1239 from Reagan NATL to Salt Lake City boarded and I found my window seat at 36F next to a cute father-daughter pair (who had been on a vacation touring the capital for her 12th birthday). The captain made an announcement or two and we rolled onto the runway.
I peered out my window as the plane lifted up and tilted gently back and forth over the Potomac River through crisp, voluminous white clouds. Whoever was flying the plane was having fun doing it. I felt like the pilot was taking us on a tour of the sky!

I thought to myself, "Man when you're filled to the brim with love it overflows into the people and places around you...I bet the pilot is loving flying this airplane right now."

We continued on flying through the cottony sky, the plane turned in a circle and lifted up higher until we were above the clouds. I stared out the window in a dreamy daze for like 2 hours I think. For the rest of the flight the captain kept us updated on upcoming turbulence, landing time, routes, etc. It was the best flying experience I have had in a long time.

When we landed I told the pilots this and I also took their picture.

I still think the future of travel is speed trains...but nice flight boys.

Monday, May 10, 2010

Professor David Silver

I was lucky enough to be in David Silver's Davies Forum on Digital Literacy class my last semester at USF. That class is the reason I even have this blog! What I most noticed and appreciated about Professor Silver's teaching style then was how much he asks questions instead of gives answers. Somehow as a student a professor's questions and curiosity empower you to think and learn more... And he's so curious that it in turn makes YOU curious about what he's teaching, no matter how you felt about the subject otherwise. You see his curiosity and you think, "Wow this must be really interesting."

So I was thrilled to interview Silver about his approach and philosophies on teaching, and living in the bay area. If you know David Silver you know that two of his main focuses are: gardening, sustainability, and green; then analyzing, creating and studying media. I had fun editing the video and putting the pieces together because though these are separate concepts, they also fit together very nicely and Professor Silver has made a point of meshing them into one: green media.

Oh, and I could not have told his story well at all without the use of fantastic photos from his prolific, well-organized, creative commons-ed flickr account.

Meet David Silver.

Sunday, April 18, 2010


Jónsi, his band, the 59 productions team, and the rest of his artistic crew, are very talented. If you have listened to his album, watched the making of videos on his site, or watched the music video for Go Do, you know what I'm talking about. Before I got to see him live at the Palace of Fine Arts on Friday I knew it was going to be awesome. But it was INCREDIBLE. Here's a tiny taste.

Back home, after playing the album for my mom, she said, "It seems that through his music he's giving people a sense that we CAN create a brighter future."

That night, together as performers and audience, we experienced the creation, or maybe the acknowledgment, of inspiration and hope. Somehow Jónsi's music reflects this sense of possibility. I suspect all of his performances are like this. For his current tour, there's a place on his site for guests to share their experience of his shows. It's no coincidence phrases like, "transcendentally beautiful," "truly magical," and "the soundtrack of my life," are what make up those comments. Some commenters admit to crying. I know I saw my own life before my eyes during the show, the word catharsis comes to mind. I left so personally inspired.

At the end of the second encore, after two standing ovations, the Jónsi crew came up and bowed together. The performance was so perfectly orchestrated, this was the most raw moment of the whole night. As they stood at the end of the stage closest to the audience, Jónsi and his team seemed genuinely surprised and appreciative of the roaring applause from the packed house. How special it is when, after an artist gives and gives so much, you can give back, say thanks and express your appreciation in such a simple but meaningful way.

Thursday, April 8, 2010

Meet Jason Geddes

Jason Geddes is Environmental Services Administrator for the City of Reno. The City created that position in 2007, and Jason is the first person to have it. As Environmental Services Administrator, he serves as the environmental awareness / sustainability liaison for the city council. Prior to this he was the Environmental Affairs Manager at the University of Nevada, Reno. That position, and his current position as Vice-Chairman of the Nevada System of Higher Education's Board of Regents, allowed him to play an integral role in the design and building of the awesome new green building, the Joe Crowley Student Union at UNR. It was great touring the building with Jason, having him point out some of the key features that make the building green, and also reflect the great state of Nevada. Jason is a Nevadan through and through, who was born in Winnemucca, raised in Gabbs, went to Sparks for High School and UNR for college. Meet Jason Geddes.

Friday, March 12, 2010

Star Athlete Ricci Kilgore-Ailes

Meet Ricci Kilgore-Ailes. Ricci has had a dream since she was 8 to be an Olympian. She lettered in 5 sports in high school, and qualified for Olympic trials her freshman year of college for pole-vaulting. She was almost there. Then in March of 2000, 3 months before trials, she was in a horrific car accident where she was ejected from the car 60 feet into oncoming traffic. This tragedy left her paralyzed from the waist down. One would think her dreams were over. In December of 2000 , Ricci took up mono-skiing. Flash forward to 2010 . Tonight Ricci will participate in the opening ceremonies for the 2010 Paralympics. Keep dreaming Ricci...

Sunday, March 7, 2010

A Day at the 2010 Nevada Interact Media Summit

Saturday I attended the Nevada Interact Media Summit, and wow I'm glad I did! It was informative, thought-provoking, and overall fantastic. From the get-go at 9am, I was thoroughly engaged by Erin Kotecki Vest's keynote. Maybe it's because of interest, or study, or intelligence, but some people just understand how to exist productively (and market) in online social networks. Erin is one, who also describes with ease and humor how you can be one too. She talked about social networks and marketing, including a lot about twitter. She said things like, "If you don't join the conversation where it is, it's going to happen without you", "Don't be a wuss", and talked about the importance of engaging the "magic middle"-- tweeters who have a network and community. I majored in media studies at USF, so analytical, in-depth discussing about media is not new to me, but I finished 1.5 years ago and oh how refreshing it was to be in this setting again. Thanks Erin!

Next I went to hear Camilla Downs's interpretation of Facebook. The audience seemed to be mostly made up of people older than me who weren't introduced to Facebook in their college years like I was-- people who wanted to understand how to best utilize Facebook for marketing their businesses. I went to see Camilla because my struggle with Facebook is that since it has solely been a place for friends, until now, I struggle with how I should be using it for professional contacts as well. I feel a constant battle between being myself and marketing myself (As the day went on I realized these can and should be the same thing...) Camilla gave some insight-- "Do [on Facebook] what fires your passion!" She also talked about the value of Facebook fan pages and groups, where it's advantageous to use keywords and keyword phrases since on Facebook you dont have to pay for SEO. I also learned from Ms. Downs that you can connect your blog and notes section on Facebook easily so that every time you create a new post on your blog it automatically goes to your Facebook page as well.

At 11 a.m. I heard Mike McDowell's perspective on new media. I had heard he gives a good talk. He did! His presentation was well-organized- he presented complex ideas in a digestible fashion. He started by saying how we have gone from a "broadcast model" of media to a "many-to-many" style. Instead of just receiving information, now we toss it back and forth to each other as it becomes the news. He made sense of social networks by equating them to a dinner or cocktail party. "We don't go to a dinner party to hear a speech- we want to have a conversation, engage...that's why the broadcast model is dissolving..." and, "You don't want to hang out with people who are always selling. Ask their opinion!" He encouraged blogging. "Blogging gives you a human voice. Establish yourself as a thought leader!" I also liked an explanation he gave of the value of [online] social networks. "The problem with social networks in the real world is that our connections are hidden." Online, it's all laid out in front of us. See a friend has a friend you'd like to know? Connect. McDowell also made a point about Twitter I like- that even if someone is just talking about mowing the lawn, it's interesting to us because it makes us feel connected (And as we all know, in the end, human connection = life) . And McDowell helped me understand my struggle between marketing myself and being myself, between professional and personal. "I don't think there's going to be a distinction between personal and professional ever again." It's a matter of streamlining the two, he pointed out. AHhhhh! Realization. Thanks, Mike.

At lunch I skipped out to take a test for a part-time job with the 2010 census. (Want one?) If I can make money while going door-to-door talking to people about their lives, I'm there. What a way to learn about peoples' stories, gain perspective on the current time we're in and get ideas for documentary...
About 30 of us Nevadans showed up for the test. The Grandma next to me (I'm not being smart she talked to me about her grandkids) reminded me how to multiply decimals beforehand, and I scored a 98! Which made me feel smart.

Back at 3 p.m. for the How Interactive Media will Change Journalism discussion including panelists D. Brian Burghart, editor of the Reno News and Review, Beryl Love, editor of the Reno Gazette Journal, and Kirk Caraway, creator of, moderated by Tracy Viselli. The future of journalism is a fascinating topic for obvious reasons, and I think a polarizing one. The group seemed to go back and forth for the hour about what has changed, how much it has changed, how much more it is going to change and how much it will have to change.
They all seemed to believe professional journalism will exist forever in some capacity. It is just a matter of how it will be monetarily sustained. Now people are used to getting things for free. Will this change? "When will be the iTunes moment? We are waiting...People will pay for something if it has value, if it is not commoditized..." Beryl Love said on his prediction that some sort of micro-payments for articles will ensue.

Burghart noted how journalism has changed a lot, but also not at all. Sure there's a new online community, but there's also the community that has always existed at the Reno News and Review office. People come into the office all the time, in person, offering their opinions. Caraway has the perspective of working in the newspaper industry since age 9 on his parents newspaper, and remembered editing the old fashioned way, and also when the Internet first came out and it took him a week to realize how powerful it could be. He just started a new site,, a nonprofit news service and community journalism site on which anyone can post news, photos, and videos.

As for me, I am of the perspective that there will always be an element of slowing down to consume media the old-fashioned / paid way. Lately I am on the computer all day while articles and videos zoom past and I do my fair share of zooming through them, but sitting down to read the newspaper the paid way (whether on my kindle or in paper form), watching the Oscars, or the Olympics, or going to see a movie in the theatre, means slowing down for me. There's something else these all have in common-- they're communal. They involve spending time with other living breathing individuals. Reading doesn't, but perhaps reading something physical means spending time solely with yourself, instead of reading something online while you are scattered thinking of how you should tweet it, link to it, share it in your status update, or email it... As Love pointed out, his mom reads the RGJ online from across the country, but still cuts out physical articles that mention him for a scrapbook for when she dies. The ratings for the Superbowl, the Olympics, and the Oscars are all up this year. Avatar has made $2,603,189,342 to be the highest grossing film ever (with Titanic next at only $1,835,300,000). The Superbowl set the mark this year for the most watched telecast ever (

Other take-aways the panelists discussed include: there's now an accountability and a conversation that exists in journalism because of the digital realm that wasn't there before; the consumption of news is far greater than ever before...; and that "In the end, people get what they want...When they don't get what they want, things change..." - Love

I ended the day mind-boggled at Colin Loretz and Annie Vranizan's 50 Apps to Fuel Your Online Business Seminar (See slides here).
Together they presented 50 Apps in 50 minutes, and in a way that was easy to understand! How do they keep all of this information in their brains?! Some people are just special. Most of the apps I have not used and most of them I now feel like I should use. The friendly man next to me saw the overwhlemed look on my face and assured me not to worry, that I didn't need ALL of them, no matter how cool and worthwhile they all seem.
Here are the ones I noted that I should definitely use or look into, and Colin says he'll post the list in full with descriptions, URLs, and prices ASAP on his site soon...
Tweet Deck, Wordpress, Readability, RescueTime, Ustream, Audacity, Buzzword, GoogleVoice, SurveyMonkey, Toodledo, Scribd, Snagit, Tweetie, Adium Chat...

Thanks Nevada Interact 2010! I leave you now informed, inspired, and having written my first in-depth blog post in quite some time.

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Know Your City Employee: Corey Dalton

For our second episode, we feature Corey Dalton. What I find interesting about Corey is that while his work as City Network Manager is all done behind the scenes, it also plays a huge role in keeping the city running. But he doesn't feel underrepresented, he takes pride in doing what he does behind the scenes. Corey was also my first introduction to the sport of falconry. He has his own site about his experience in the sport.

Meet Corey Dalton.

Monday, January 11, 2010

Mall Santa

Mall Santa from Skema on Vimeo.

The 1st SKEMA production.

Know Your City Employee: Dave Barrett

I recently started interning with the City of Reno Television Production Department. Together we came up with the idea for a new show that airs on Reno 213 in town, and on youtube. It's called Know Your City Employee. The idea is that we feature City Of Reno employees who also have interesting hobbies outside of work. It's a way to see where your tax dollars are going, and to get a new perspective from someone who maybe you have seen or who's job title you have heard of, but were never sure about what they did exactly or who they were.

Episode 1 features Dave Barrett, Parks Maintenance Supervisor and pilot.