Friday, August 31, 2012

Movies and goals.

This summer I stayed at Ithaca working for campus center and event services.  I was very busy and worked over time for five weeks.  This left little time to watch movies and television.  This semester I want to start watching more television and movies again, but at the same time I want to broaden my horizon.  Looking at Mubi amazed me by the size of its collections with classics that I really need to see like Chinatown.  Also coming into the school year I bought American History X and The Boondock Saints 1 and 2.  I really love all three of the movies.  What I love about American History X is how it switches between using color and black and white.  I think it is a really brilliant way to tell the story.  My goals for the class are to create the best projects I can.  I am hoping to be able to write some scripts for some of the projects and see where they end up.  I am very excited for the class and I can't wait for the projects to get underway.

Goals for the class and what not

Since a lot of others have been posting about their summer and expectations for the class and what not, I figured why not? I'll do it too. Like everybody else in the class I have an interest in movies and obviously I have an interest in making them and being apart of that process. Unlike quite a few of you guys, my summer wasn't spent on a movie set or as part of an internship somewhere. I just worked at a grocery store all summer so I'm definitely ready to get back into making some cool stuff again. Now for my goals in the class it's pretty straight forward. Really all I want to do is improve on what I've already learned. Intro to Field taught me some basics but I'd really like to dive in and see what I can really do. I've done a few projects but I would definitely like to do many more.

Learning from Breaking Bad

As a movie and tv enthusiast, I like to look for techniques or ideas that I can implement into my own productions. One of my favorite TV shows is "Breaking Bad". "Breaking Bad" not only has a great story and writing, but the technical achievements in the show are stunning as well. One of the things the show succeeds at is editing and camera work. The editing is used in such a way that it takes advantage of close-ups in crucial moments and points in the dialogue. Watching through season 5, this becomes apparent through repeated viewings. It is not as simple as shot, reverse shot. The editing has a specific rhyme and reason that picks up the beats in the dialogue. This is one of the ways I have learned through watching. I hope to take some of the techniques I've learned from some great productions and to use them in some of what I will possibly make.

"Making films is solving problems"

I really have no idea what to think coming into this class; sure, I've spent my time in Park's multitude of introductory level classes and found a love for field production, but this is something entirely new.  Now that I have a little of a background in the area, it's expected that I also possess some basic level of knowledge about all stages of the field.  Some things are fuzzy from last year (attending class on painkillers for a contusion and sprain in your knee doesn't really help you focus), but it is with absolute certainty that I can say that I enjoy what I do.  However, scheduling Fiction Field 1 into my semester for Fall 2012 was a bit anxiety-inducing.  Not only do I doubt my own ability, but what's to say that I won't have a terrible class, limited skills, or an awful professor?  What will I do then?

Fortunately, I didn't have to give that much thought once I was into the first class.  Almost immediately, I felt comfortable in the lab with the group around me, and Arturo's words caught my attention from the start.  I was particularly drawn to one statement, which I went to great lengths to remember: "Making films is solving problems."  Now, there's something I could latch onto and think deeply about.  This quote really hit home for me, because it seemed so incredibly relevant to my life and what I'd like to do with my future.  It is my greatest dream to somehow work within the communications industry to bring about change for the better, or at the very least bring notice to overlooked yet important ideas.  I've had a passion for filmmaking and editing for several years now, only to be enhanced within Park's walls, and to hear words that so profoundly state what I want to dedicate my life to is perhaps the most reassuring thing I've had said to me all week.

I'm no longer worried about this initial leap into a new level of work and intelligence; as a matter of fact, I'm quite looking forward to it.  I want to have my skills and thoughts challenged and provoked by new lessons, despite knowing that I will inevitably make mistakes and get down on myself for slips in my work.  Hopefully, by the end of the semester, I can look back and say that I've made progress on my journey to making films that solve problems in the world.  As long as I can do that, and be happy with said progress, I think that Fiction Field 1 is going to be one hell of an awesome class.

Watching More Movies

         I spent my entire summer working as a camp counselor and had no time to watch television or movies. When I had free time at camp, I would often sit with my friends and talk about movies. I soon found it hard to engage in conversation because I realized I hadn't seen many movies. For example, a thirty minute conversation about No Country For Old Men came about and I just sat there awkwardly because I was the only one that hadn't seen the movie. I compiled a list of movies I wanted to see which includes No Country for Old Men, but I never took the time to watch the movies. Some other movies on the list include True Grit, There Will Be Blood, Tree of Life, The Birds, Deer Hunter, Children of Men, Silence of the Lambs, and many others. Recently I watched The Big Lebowski for the first time and thought that everything about the movie was excellent. I'm a big fan of the Coen brothers and the cinematography and writing was excellent. The all star cast made the movie amazing and the absurd characters give you a view into the strange world of bowling. I also saw Wes Anderson's Moonrise Kingdom last week in an indie movie theater near my house. The film was truly amazing in all aspects. Wes Anderson's unique cinematography was unlike any movie I've ever seen and it made me want to go out and film something in a way that has never been done before. Edward Norton, Bruce Willis, and Bill Murray put on a great performance as well. Like The Big Lebowski, the characters in Moonrise Kingdom were absurd and nontraditional by any means. The child actors in the film were amazing and when I searched for some of them on IMDB, I learned that many of the actors hadn't had much past acting experience in movies. Two more movies are off the list and I plan to watch a movie every day after I finish my school work. Over the years, I re-watch movies that I own on DVD but I need to expand my interests and make an effort to watch the classics and learn more about movies. I plan to create a never ending list of movies gradually watch as many movies as possible. In my film analysis class, we watch movies that break the norm and classic movies that every film student should watch. I'm exciting to see those movies and expand my knowledge in the world of cinema. I'm open to any suggestions as well.

-Matthew Clifford Hadley

The Summer I Spent Working in a Factory...

And learning as much as I did in my first year of college.

This summer I worked at Pepperidge Farm (famous for Goldfish, Milanos, and various other types of cookies).  It was second shift, which if anyone has ever worked second shift, it is from three in the afternoon until 11 at night so imagine shifting a day based on nine to five hours and transposing them into my hours.  As a college student, I went in thinking I "deserved" a good job for having gone out and begun an education for myself. I thought maybe they would have me be an office assistant or work in the computer department helping out with menial tasks.  Unfortunately, I was not given a "glitzy" job, or even a white colar one at that; for 8 or more hours a day, I stood in line with people twice my age and did various jobs from assorting and packing cookies, to stacking boxes, sometimes well over two thousand 15 pound boxes.  Some days, I would lay on my stomach underneath a four hundred degree oven cleaning out the grease pools and cookie crumbs that come out the bottom of said oven.  Other days, I would receive verbal assaults from women, who had been working there since before I was born, in more than five different languages for not doing a job that met up to their "standards".   If you've ever worked in a factory you'd know, no one is anyones friend, everyone will cut you down to get ahead and get a better pay for themselves and their family.  I found myself coming home at night emotional and physically drained.  My back felt like that of a 50 year olds and my soul and my will was being ripped and torn apart.  Most of the days, we stood for 8 hours at a time or sat on stools with no seat backs in the least ergonomically sound positions imaginable.

Once I began the job though and saw all of the hardships, lousy pay, lousy work, and lack of future in the job, I started thinking.  I thought about how fortunate I was.  Some of the people that I worked with and shared the exact same job with were parents of kids I graduated high school with.  While my parents always worked in cushy Management level jobs with more than adequate pay grades, my friends and their families lived off of pay that I made as a "summer job".  It also made me feel guilty for ever questioning not going to college.  Growing up, I was always told by parents that I would go to college, that I would do more than what they did when they graduated high school so it would be easier for me than what they had to go through.  I was ignorant back in those days and felt the need to be different, against the grain, but I was really just a spoiled kid from the suburbs who never had to really work.  Sure I worked a summer retail job in high school 20 hours a week and thought I was awesome because I had $100 more than what I had before, but I never gained anything from those jobs.  I was never pushed, never required to try hard or to be taught any lessons on hard work.  In a retail setting, everything is wait until something happens.  When you work in a factory, it's don't stop and be the reason that everything gets messed up. There's a lot of pressure in that philosophy; you screwing up can cause the whole line to go down, to lose product, lose revenue, and possibly affect not only your own job, but someone else's.  There's also this sense of hopelessness when working in a factory; you leave a sunny world to a building the size of football stadium with no windows, hot, thick, heavy, dense air that doesn't move, and smell of anger, frustration, lack of hope, and cookies.  Every single time I walked into the production floor, I began to notice that I just began to lose hope, as if it sucked you and would never let you back out into the real world.

Now the fortunate end of the story for me is, that I got to leave.  It was only a summer job.  It was only 3 months of my summer so I could make extra money for school.  I felt as if I was above everyone there solely because I didn't have to stay there.  As time progressed though, I began to have the utmost respect for the people that went there.  They gave there lives up everyday from three in the afternoon until eleven at night for the sole purpose of feeding America's fat stomach.  For them, this job was their purpose in life, it put food on the table for their family and a rough over their heads; it was their version of the American Dream.  With the cards they were dealt in life, they made the best of there situations and did the best possible job they could knowing that there was no room for them to grow, to move up and better themselves.  That was the end of the line for them, and they knew it.  But, for whatever reason, that didn't stop them, that didn't deter them from coming in everyday and working hard.  I learned that you can never stop, because you can easily be replaced, that you have to be what you say you are and back it up.  I learned to appreciate what I was given in life and that I was able to leave that voluntary prison camp to come to a place of knowledge and do something that I love for the rest of my life.  I learned that at the end of the day, we are all equals, not one person is better than the next person because of their earthly status and wealth; that what truly matters in life is to find a life that makes you happy, whether it be working a crappy job so you can support a family that you love, or doing something that you love even though you aren't getting paid a ton of money, or even making no money and spending your life as a missionary to improve others situations.

The experiences I gained working this summer were experiences that I never would have learned anywhere else.  I realized that even when I'm working at school and have a video to finish, a paper to write, a test to study for, or even a book to read, that things could always be worse, that I could be doing something that I don't love for the rest of my life.  I now understand the importance of being here at Ithaca,  it's not about being with friends, or going to class, or even getting rich someday, its about learning more about something that you love so that you can provide yourself with the opportunity to do it the rest of your life.  So you can fit into your designated spot in the world and flourish, not only for the progress of your own life and career, but for the progress of mankind.  We're all on this earth to fulfill our own purpose and I realized this summer that I was put on this earth to work in the film industry.  What that means yet, I really don't know.  Where I'll end up, you're better guessing for yourself than getting an answer out of me.  All I know is that I have to work hard a create things for myself and things will begin to clear up, that I will find my purpose, and that I will do everything I can to excel at it.

Tyler Chadwick

Working Summer

I spent the majority of my summer at work. While most of my friends got to spend time at the beach or on vacation, I sat in a studio for six hours a day. Since my senior year in high school I've worked at the local cable access channel in my hometown. And while I love my job, being from a small Massachusetts town (of about 12,000 people) in the suburbs right outside Boston, there isn't a whole lot going on.  That's not to say I had a bad summer. I got to do some of the things I love- filming, editing, and producing shows for the station.
My favorite show I made was for a local non-profit organization called Lovelane Special Needs  Horseback Riding. It is an organization dedicated to helping kids with disabilities through horseback riding. As a kid I was an avid equestrian- I rode for over ten years and competed in horse shows, so this was something that I found really interesting. This program hosts a charity event in my hometown every summer called the "Run for Lovelane" and this year it is dedicated in honor of a girl named Susan McDaniel. Susan was a rider at Lovelane, and a resident of my town. Unfortunately, Susan died a few years ago, and since she would have graduated with the class of 2012 this past Spring, the Run was dedicated in her honor.
I spent an entire day filming the event, getting interviews, BRoll, and more. By the end of the day I had over three hours of footage total. It was a lot to sort through, but I really enjoyed all of it, especially since it was for such a good cause. I really wanted to do something good for this family, and the organization, and I have plans to film more for them in the future.
Doing something important for something that mattered to me was, in my opinion, the best part of my summer, and I wouldn't have traded it for any vacation.

Run for Lovelane 2012- Video

A Screenshot of the Weston Media Center Posterous Website

Revisiting a Classic

After attending my first few Park classes of the semester I realized that I quickly needed to get back into the swing of things. After being on campus the previous two weeks at football camp, I felt the need to transition back into academic mode. What better way to do that as TV-R major, then dust off some old films.

On the way to our first away football game earlier this afternoon I popped in a DVD copy of Shawshank Redemption. From the first scene, a flashback of the crime that main character Andy Dufresne committed, I remembered how great this film really is. One specific thing that caught my eye throughout the film was the range that actors Tim Robbins and Morgan Freeman showed throughout the film. Robbins starts out as a scared first time inmate, or a "fish." Robbins posture, facial expressions,   and general aura is sullen and beaten down. Throughout the film as Robbin's character Dufresne gains confidence and starts to find his niche behind bars. He proves that his brain is more powerful from other inmates brawn. Morgan Freeman, who plays Red, a longtime inmate also has an extensive character ark as well. The film starts out with Red, a confident salesman behind bars who can attain legal and illegal items from the outside world. He is friendly and cold at the same time, keeping newcomers on their toes. As the film develops so does the relationship between Red and Dufresne. This relationship is closely examined throughout the film which was masterfully directed and written by Frank Darabont. Darabont's depiction of life behind bars gave the inmates humility that an everyday person might not realize. I really enjoyed it even though it was my 5th or 6th time viewing it.

One film down, plenty to go. I look forward to posting in the future.

_Michael Vulcano

Summer Internship

After completing my freshman year at college, I was able to find myself an internship for the summer.  I worked for a company called Pro Dynamix.  This company was an athlete marketing company based out of West Jersey.  They marketed athletes ranging from the high school to the pros.  Most of there work involved making highlight videos, but they also helped high school students with college recruiting.

My first assignment I did for them was a highlight video for a football player named Mike Daniels.  Mike Daniels had been a client for the company since high school, and was recently drafted by the Green Bay Packers.  The high light was requested by a Green Bay Packers fan page/blog.  They wanted a highlight video of his college and high school play that they could put on their site so that the Green Bay fans could see who Mike Daniels was.  After that I spent most of my time doing smaller projects for high school and a couple college athletes.

Overall it was a very good learning experience for me.  Not only did I feel I became more capable as an  editor, I felt I learned a lot about working in a professional setting.  Having to continually produce content that is top quality and better was very stressful but it helped me grow and develop my skills.  I also learned how to pitch ideas and sell people my ideas.  Was very happy with the experience and am looking forward to more internships in the future.

Kofi Boundy's 1st Blog Entry

As I enter my junior year at Ithaca College, I feel a sense of accomplishment and determination. With the finish line close in sight I can accept the fact that college is more than halfway over, but nevertheless, the fight continues! This summer I was fortunate enough to nab two separate internships at two local radio stations. Through my hours spent with these internships, I was able to gain a great deal of knowledge, experience, and wisdom.  As well as meeting some really cool people.  As the summer came to an end, I and a friend got an opportunity to be an extra for a "Wendy William's Show" commercial (daytime talk show).  Even though all I did was walk in the background, it was awesome to see the amount of production and preparation that went into a 15 second long commercial.  Anyways, being back at Ithaca, I can say I am excited to see what is in store this school year.
-Kofi Boundy


My friends and I have agreed that the best word to describe Trainspotting would be Intense. It is a stimulating film filled with young degenerate heroin addicts, vivid hallucinations, and a creepy dead baby, which has haunted me ever since I first watched the film last weekend.

What first drew me to the film were the actors. Ewan McGregor, the top billed actor in Trainspotting, is also the lead in one of my favorite movies, Moulin Rouge, so I was very curious to see his performance in this piece. Also amongst the cast, I saw Jonny Lee Miller, the actor who is playing Sherlock Holmes in the new CBS series, 'Elementary,' which is airing this fall. Knowing this, it became absolutely necessary to see the film.

Going into this film, I thought Trainspotting was going to depict the carefree lives of a group of Scottish youths who liked to live fast, go to clubs, and dabble with drugs, while all negative side effects would be shown in more of a comedic manner.

Boy, was I wrong.

This movie took me for a ride. One scene in particular that left an impression on me was the heavy hallucinatory scene where the main character, Renton, opts to take his last hit of heroin. Being a bad hit, this hurls him into a delirious state where he is shown thrashing and screaming in his bed while seeing terrifying images such as his friend's neglected deceased baby crawling on the ceiling and later turning its head a complete 180 degrees. It is an absolutely horrifying moment that still gives me chills when I think about it.

This scene in particular horrified me not only for its content, but also for its relation to a moment that I witnessed on a set. I do not wish to give too many details to give the actor some privacy, but one of the scenes that a production I worked on shot was a party scene in which one of the actors had to pretend to take several hits from a bong. Fake weed that was legally bought was placed inside the bong, however, these 'Scooby snacks,' or synthetic weed, had more of an effect than regular weed. The actor started to have hallucinations similar to what I saw in Trainspotting and it was an intense scene to witness. However, everything turned out all right and the actor was not harmed or even fazed by the situation, which was reassuring. He showed up energetic and ready to work the next day wishing to continue filming like nothing ever happened.

Although some of the scenes in Trainspotting can be quite disturbing, it is a thought provoking and powerful movie that I highly recommend.

Learn From Watching

As I was reading through all of the previous posts from the past few days, I came across Olivia's and definitely understood what she meant by trying to watch new movies as much as you can. Like her, I myself try to watch a decent amount of movies every week and get exposed to different genres and different types of films. The only problem with this is that once I entered Ithaca and got exposed to the world of film (as well as the amount of time one must put into it), I discovered that I had less and less time every week for free time, which was when I would watch my movies. I guess that was a trade off that must be made though. In order to make movies in the future, you have to put in countless 17 hour days on set in the rain, snow, and shine.

Anyways, all of the movies I have ever watched prior to working on sets over the past year had made a huge impact on me and have influenced me in films I made in and outside of production classes here at Ithaca. Whether it be camera angles or movements I see in a hollywood film, or high key lighting I see in some sort of indie film, I can always take away something from almost every movie I see and apply it to my own work. I feel like that is the best way to learn. By watching those who are more experienced than you work in their environment, whatever it may be on set. Cinematographers, gaffers, sound mixers, directors, something can always be learned and the more you learn about the broad range of topics related to filmmaking, the better off you will be.

So now this year I am going to do my best to commit more time to watch any kind of movie that I can in my free time and work on applying anything that I see to my own work and learning from the mistakes of others as well as my own mistakes.

And We're Back

I love Ithaca.

This summer I decided to stay in Ithaca. My summer days were filled with giving tours to prospective families and my nights were filled with friends, some old (but how old can they really be?) and some new. Probably the most important thing I did this summer was explore. I went into town, I met people that live here, I went on hikes and runs, but more importantly I broke out of the South Hill Bubble in which we live. I now see this town not just as a college town, but as one of the most beautiful places I've been. Ithaca really is different without students. I'm not saying one is better than the other because both are amazing- but they're just different.

Everyone is back in Ithaca and excited for the semester to start. As excited as I am, a part of me is going to miss this summer, not just because its the summer and the weathers warm, but because of everything I learned here while not being in class.

These first few days of classes have helped me snap back into "school mode." I thought it was going to be a rough transition but it's going pretty smooth so far. I'm more excited than ever to dive into all of the projects that I'll have but I'm going to miss some of the free time this summer gave me. This semester I'm really going to focus on putting my all into everything and producing a quality product. I'll be putting my best foot forward whether it be in Fiction Field or Intro to Business.

I know this doesn't have a tremendous amount related to our class in it, but I'll get there eventually.

Musical Adaptations

As a drummer, I find myself listening and tapping along to music on a constant basis. There is never a time when a there is a song (or multiple songs) stuck in my head. I like a wide range of music, but mainly stuff I can drum along to. I was a band geek in high school, and lead drummer when I was a junior and senior; this meant that I had to help out with our biannual musicals. At first I was very bitter and disinclined to participate, but I quickly found a soft spot for musical theater, and medleys from musicals and movies that we played in concert.  My favorite was the percussive score from the Pirates of the Caribbean films.

Because of this, I began watching film adaptations of famous musicals, as well as attending many shows. I am very interested in taking part in film adaptations in the future, as well as possibly producing, directing and/or editing music videos.

Here's a short list of my favorite musical films:
Grease (only the first one, the sequel was garbage)
Most Disney animated musicals (Lion King, Aristocats, Jungle Book, Beauty and the Beast, etc.)
Little Shop of Horrors (I recommend this to anyone who has not yet seen it)
Sweeney Todd (a great Johnny Depp/Tim Burton film, yet a little graphic for the weak stomached)
Wizard of Oz (such a classic)
Rocky Horror Picture Show (it's even weirder than the title would suggest)

I could go on, but I'll keep my list for now to the ones more people have probably heard of.
More to come in later posts if others share my strange infatuation :)

The End of the Beginning

As a returning junior I find myself to be in an interesting place in life. I am halfway done with college and while I have learned a great deal, I feel like it went by in a flash. For the first time in my life this summer I was actually caught off guard by how fast my life is changing. I am not in my safety net of high school A/V classes and clubs, I am halfway through my education at a top school in my desired field. There are people around me doing fantastic things, I had several friends intern for NBC during the Olympics, some did work on some big name television shows, and one has been performing stand up in the NYC comedy circuit with comedians that I deeply admire. I am no longer a kid who wants to "end up making videos of some kind", I am a twenty year old who is not so far from having the chance to professionally do so. I am past the point in my life where I can slack off and half ass an assignment, the costs of that outweigh the benefits by an incredible amount. When all is said and done I will have paid about $200,000 for my four years in Ithaca and I doubt I will ever say, "you know, I'm really glad I half assed that project so I could get to hang out with my friends a few hours sooner than I would have had otherwise." I cannot afford to squander this opportunity to learn from the best my school has to offer. I believe that this realization is the most important one I have had in my life. I am dedicating the next two years to continually besting myself. I am going to find out if I have what it takes to live up to my goals, what it takes to make the life I dreamed about in high school a reality. I am going to put everything I have into these next two years, and this class will be no exception. I am entirely different person from the one who I was at the beginning of freshman year, so I can only imagine how much these next two years will change me. I am anxious, I am excited and I am ready. -Alex Kelly

Thursday, August 30, 2012

P.S. Keep Reaching For Your Dreams

Image from

"Dear Gerry, you said you wanted me to fall in love again, and maybe one day I will. But there are all kinds of love out there. This is my one and only life. And it's a great and terrible and short and endless thing, and none of us come out of it alive..." ~ From the movie P.S. I Love You

There's nothing like meeting up with friends and sitting down for a movie night... even on a school night. So, with our bowl of yogurt covered raisins and glasses of water in hand, my friends and I squished eagerly on the couch and watched P.S. I Love You last night. As you can imagine, for those who have seen this movie, there were tears and many exclamations of "awe" throughout the film. As the credits started, one of the girls who had just viewed the movie for the first time said, "Well that stinks. She never fell in love with someone new! What a horrible ending!" Now, I have seen this movie probably ten times, yet this was the first time that it occurred to me that Holly (the main character) never did find a replacement man. Not very romantic, I suppose. Yet, why was I still so satisfied with the ending?

This really started shifting the gears in my rusty summer-dulled brain. In the romance genre, we are so used to what I would dare call the "cheesy princess love syndrome." Girl faces some problem or obstacle, Prince Charming shows up, and suddenly everything is okay and they ride off into the sunset. Or vice versa. In any case, there is always a "happily ever after." Yet, the typical description of the modern "happily ever after" includes some kind of true love between two people that is expressed in a way that is so unbelievable as to be believable because we all wish it to be reality. Hey, I love my Disney movies just as much as the next person, but at some point one has to acknowledge that those endings either don't exist in our world, they are very, very rare, or they do exist but in some other happier dimension. P.S. I Love You gives the audience an ending that everyone can relate to (whether they like it or not) because there is a reality to it. It is an ending that is rarely ever seen in romantic movies. She doesn't fall in love with another person, but as I started thinking about it, she does fall in love with something else entirely.

This is what I love about storytelling. I love finding themes or messages in books, movies, poems... you name it. I hope that someday I will have accomplished such a feat in my own work. Anyway, at one point during the movie, Holly states that, "... there are all kinds of love out there." It is so true. In the end, she fell in love with designing shoes. She had a passion and a direction in life that she discovered on her own (or you may believe with the help of her dead husband). Holly made it through all the obstacles of losing her husband, her job, even her friends and she didn't need a Prince Charming to do it. Okay, so maybe she thought Gerry (her deceased husband) helped her, but really it took her strength and determination to direct her life towards a goal.

This is such an encouraging idea. We are all pushing forward through life trying to reach our passions, our loves, our goals. Some yearn to direct, or produce, or edit, or even act (yay!). Others yearn to do biology research, or find a cure for cancer, or run a theatre company. Whatever it may be, we are all on a path that requires sweat, blood, tears and most of all passion. The end of P.S. I Love You showed me that no matter how bleak the future may seem or how big the obstacles appear, if we just keep pushing onward, someday we will find love. Not in the form of another person per say, but maybe in the form of success in our dreams, or contentment in how we have achieved some of our goals.

So good luck to students everywhere starting a new year in school! I hope you can persevere like Holly as you journey to reach your own version of a true "happily ever after," whatever that may be. Push down mountains and swim across oceans because when the road seems impossible is when we find the strength to find the possibility in it! I know I will never stop dreaming and pushing forward.
~ Amber Capogrossi

Film Crunch Time

During our first Fiction Feild class we discussed "crunch time" or the time when you need to stay up for hours and work  extra hard to complete a project.  I've learned over this past summer that there is no "crunch time" like "film crunch time."  I'm sure we've all had our fair share of late night essay writing and pre-test cramming, but it wasn't until this summer that I truly had to push myself to the absolute maximum to make a deadline.
This summer I was fortunate enough to study at the Hanyang University of Seoul, South Korea for approximately a month.  During my time in Korea I took a course called Cross Cultural Documentary Studies.  The goal of this class was to make a short documentary in only a month.  Like any class, I thought that despite the time extreme constraints with good planning and hard work my group and I would be able to ease through, get our sleep, and not have to go crazy and stay up for hours the night before.  Initially our group was ahead of the game.  We came up with our topic and began research.  We got a Korean translator and began to set up interviews.  Our planning was nearly perfect, wasting no time.  We simultaneously collected b-roll of anything and everything we thought could be useable.   Finally we were able to conduct all our interviews.  Just like that we were done shooting.  "Wow a whole week and a half to edit, we'll be done with time to spare" we thought.  
In post-production I served as Co-editor alongside my friend Colton, also from Ithaca College.  The days pasted as we spend hours and hours sorting footage and translating interviews.  Soon we found ourselves editing into the night just to keep on track.  Suddenly our perfect schedule had fallen apart. Even with the extreme amount of time we had allotted to edit it wasn't enough.  Before we knew it we had two days left until the project was due for a screening!  Unlike many other classes assignments where teachers can give extensions and accept late work, we had no such room for error.  The final projects were due for the screening the day before we got on our planes to go back home.  It was "crunch time" in those two days I stayed awake for 37 hours and edited for approximately 23 of them, only interrupted to eat and attend my other classes for Hanyang in the morning.  Eventually after many sleepless nights and more "Hot 6 Energy Drinks" than I could count we had finished and come up with a great piece.
It wasn't until my first serious film project that I learned what real "crunch time" was…film crunch time.  The hours and hours I put into the project had produced a 13minute 27second documentary I was proud of.  I feel this experience has taught me a lot as a film maker and also a lot as a student.  I have learned the value of having a plan and keeping organized.  I have learned that in this field of film, documentary, and television punctuality is key.  However most importantly I have learned that a deadline is a deadline (invest in energy drinks accordingly).

The Six Word Story

After class on Wednesday, I began to think more about Hemingway and the six word story. Upon doing a little research, I read that Hemingway’s six word story is a type of flash fiction. Additionally, Hemingway published a collection of flash fiction stories in the form of In Our Time, which I’m now interested in finding and reading. 

As someone who occasionally suffers from writer’s block, the six word story seems like a great way to get one’s thoughts out on the page and help promote creativity and succinctness. I want to practice writing six word stories so I can have some ideas for potential short films I would like to make.

Furthermore, I noticed that a teaser poster for the upcoming Metal Gear Solid game featured a tagline in the form of a six word story imposed over the protagonist, Snake. The use of the six word story on the poster is unique, as most games simply display artwork from the game with the title and a release date. This poster does none of that; instead, it shows the protagonist, the six word story, and the game developer’s logo in the corner. This seems like a fascinating way to generate interest in the game while not revealing too much of the plot, which I think it will leave fans of the series eagerly waiting for more information on the new title.

Back in Production Class

While everyone always feels a little disoriented coming back to their classes for the first time after summer break, I didn't expect to be so intimidated by my production classes this semester since I'm a junior. Of course, I've taken production classes before - but not since my freshman year.

Everything I learned in Intro to Field Production and Intro to Media Production were extremely helpful and provided a great foundation for me to begin my studies as a Television-Radio major. I, also, worked on two ICTV shows - one field, and one studio, and though I was only a PA I definitely was able to utilize and build on the things I was learning in my production classes. Of course, at the end of my spring semester freshman year I registered for Television Production and Direction and assumed that the following semester I would sign up for Fiction Field Production (as that was what the old curriculum called for at the time). 

However, things did not go my way. I ended up having to drop Television Production and Direction as certain things in my personal life were preventing me from having a heavy workload. I figured I would put of P and D, since production classes require a lot of attention, until things calmed down. But they didn't and I ended up having to refrain from taking not only P and D and Fiction Field, but from doing any extra curricular activities such as ICTV. Essentially, my focus and my passion for the media industry was put completely on hold for a year. 

Naturally this felt like a huge setback for me, but I'm definitely ready and prepared to get back on the horse, as far as production classes go and taking both of these classes this semester. It felt intimating being reintroduced to all of the technology and to be back in the studio for the first time since I was a freshman. I can't wait to be back at it!
- Melanie Saitta

College is a like a Roller Coaster

When I began college in  Fall of 2011, I heard from many older friends that College was similar to riding a Roller Coaster. After completing my freshmen year, I realized what they were talking about. To give evidence to their comparison, I have for you a roller coaster from Six Flags Magic Mountain in Santa Clarita, California. X2 or XTREME 2 is, in my opinion, the craziest and most entertaining ride at the park. Not only do you began the ride going up backwards, but on the first drop of 90 degrees you are facing the ground beneath you. The seats rotate 360 degrees and near the end of the ride you are surprised with spitting flames.

I chose this ride because it is not only the most thrilling, but also because it has a number of different similarities to college that I found interesting. For starters, the beginning of the ride begins backwards as how most freshmen begin college. Since riders are backwards, they have no idea where they are going. This could compare to freshmen beginning college because most freshmen enter college not knowing exactly where they are headed. Some begin their major and switch, while others begin exploring their options, and eventually decide where they want to end up.

The next aspect of the ride as riders facing the ground beneath them at a 90 degree angle. As with most college students, this would compare to the fact that once students choose their major, it starts with a straight path or "faces" you to the path of your choice. With the edition of loops, 360 degree rotations and fire, these are most commonly compared to as the obstacles and struggles that come with school. With hours and hours of studying and gaining the experience, following your path through college will bring you loops, rotations, and make you tired and stressed to the point where you will wish you could spit fire, in a metaphorical term.

However, the ride always comes to an end as this would symbolize your graduation. What makes this similarity interesting is the ride finishes as it began with the passengers riding backwards. I came to the conclusion that this metaphor could describe how once you graduate from school, it isn't always easy to find a job. Again people do not know where they are headed in life prior to graduation and find themselves trying to find the path that best fits them and the life they want.  

Spy Movies

I loved The Debt

The Debt (2010) is about three retired spies and a fatal secret from their past resurfacing. The cinematography: excellent. The plot: engaging. The acting: top notch.

Helen Mirren executed her lead role flawlessly and convincingly.

But rather than review this movie. I'd like to talk about spy movies. I love spy movies. As a kid, my brother and I watched every James Bond movie and even classics like Where Eagles Dare.

I'm not exactly sure why, but I can feel a distinct style developing for recent espionage movies. Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy, The Debt, The Bourne Trilogy (Quadrilogy now?), Taken, The Good Shepard, and The American are all movies that come to mind when thinking about the recent trend of slow-to-start, cold, gritty and beautifully shot spy movies.

All of these blockbuster spy movies rely heavily on star appeal. Stars like Colin Firth, Helen Mirren, Matt Damon, Liam Neeson, and George Clooney are all cast in hopes of Academy Nominations.

The lead spies are usually rogue intellectual types, with either a moral or selfless mission. Spies are never meant to be self serving. If they were, the film would simply be labeled as a gangster or crime movie.

This recent trend I'm referring to runs counter to the old kind of spy movie which placed an emphasis on the luxury, the gadgets, and traditional war movie. In the past, James Bond was watched by people envious of his lifestyle. Now, spies are more often depicted as living on the run or with some kind of deep internal conflict. It's less about good v. bad, and more about internal struggles.

Mission: Watch Movies

Growing up, I had a best friend who's house I basically lived at during the summers and on week-ends. Even as we got into our high school years, we remained eachother's go-to sleep over person. This led to more movie marathons than I can begin to count. However, once a movie was added to our list, it rarely came off, which resulted in watching the same movies twice, three times, or even hundreds of times. Honestly, I can't even tell you how many times I've watched the same 15 Disney movies growing up, and even now. Sometimes these nights would have themes, such as Disney night, Kiera Knightley night (yes, I know she's a terrible actress, no, that doesn't mean I don't know every word to Pride and Prejudice), and even Richard Harris night.

Now this wouldn't be as much of a problem if I watched movies with anyone else. Except, I really don't. Which means I haven't really branched out in terms of movie watching. Especially old movies. The few classic movies I've seen, I've loved, and I would like to watch more, but I just never quite got around to it. And if I did want to try watching something new, more often times than not it would be added to the back end of the movies for the night, and we would fall asleep long before we got to that point.

So this semester I've decided to make it a point to watch two movies a week that I've never seen before. Whether they be classic, new blockbusters, old blockbusters, independents, whatever. If I have time, I'll watch more. I'm also going to keep a running notebook filled with the titles, key characters, little summaries, and interesting production points from each movie so I don't forget which one's which, or what character belongs where. If anyone has suggestions, feel free to send them my way, because unless it's Disney or The Heathers, I probably haven't seen it.

The Good, The Bad, The Ugly

And so we end up back on campus for another year at Ithaca. I must say, I am very excited for this class. Even the six word exercise got me excited because it was something I never would have thought to try and do in order to accomplish the task of telling a story. I was very interested in this because it was so out of the box. So yes, I am very excited for this class.

Anyway, the title of this blog post is in reference to internships. There are good ones, bad ones, and then just the plain ugly ones. I'm sure you can figure out which ones are good and the others, well, not so much. But I'm going to tell you anyway how my summer went:

I start my summer really excited because I got an internship at the Jeremy Kyle Show in Manhattan. I had to say, I was the most excited I could be because it was my first internship in college as a production intern. I got there super early because I was so excited because I knew that I would be able to take something away from it and have a great experience. Well, let me tell you: I got an experience alright, but not exactly the one you are thinking of. I ended up pretty much becoming a slave. I had to build cabinets, chairs, paint rooms that were rarely used, go on runs, go on extra runs to get a receipt, etc. The list goes on but I'm not going to get too into detail. So like I said before, I ended up a slave. I got nothing out of this internship that I was able to use in the future, except for the fact that I had to make approximately 1000 phone calls over the course of 2 months. So I guess that may have helped with the being on the phone fear that I never had.

It was possibly one of the worst experiences I have ever had. The part that made me the most angry was that I saw posts on Facebook about all of my friends interning elsewhere talking about how great their internships were and how they got to work in the control room and how they got to work on the set and work with someone that actually worked there. Yeah, not me; I had to build cabinets and go all the way to the other side of Manhattan to go buy a lamp.

So I would think that it is obvious that all of my friends got "The Good" internships and I got "The Bad" AND "The Ugly."

Hopefully, if I'm lucky that is, I will be able to intern at a place that will actually let me experience something worth while and help me in the future.

A New Year

So as we all enter another year of our academic lives many of us set goals for ourselves, mountain tops to reach and pitfalls to avoid. For me, I would like to avoid what I did last year for my production class. I "half assed" a lot of the projects I did and that left me feeling unsatisfied. Since I had five years experience already with production in part of middle and all of high school I figured I could breeze through projects and I'd be fine. I made some decent films, but had the worst growth as a student,  which can make you feel pretty bad. I regrettably allowed my passion for producing stories to fall by the wayside for unimportant reasons. So one of my goals for this class is would be push myself even further than I have in the past, and not just keep going with the flow. This is going to be one busy semester! So to everyone else reading this I wish you the best and go after what's important to you!
-James Majeau

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Abraham Lincoln Vs. Zombies

Watching movies that look stupid hilarious on Netflix is something that I constantly do. Movies like Leprechaun In The Hood and Killer Klowns From Outer Space are so poorly made that I can't help but watch them just to laugh at the poor editing, the idea itself, or the terrible acting in it.

Abraham Lincoln Vs. Zombies is not based off of the new movie Abraham Lincoln Vampire Hunter. It's a completely different idea and concept. This movie starts off with a very corny scene of Abraham Lincoln as a boy having to kill his mother because she is a zombie. It then immediately goes to Abraham Lincoln when he was the president, and how he is able to kill the zombies by cutting their heads off with a sickle.

Zombie movies are a favorite of mine, and comparing it to a great zombie movie like Dawn of the Dead, this movie was horrible. The zombies were constantly clueless that anyone was there, and they only knew that someone was there if a gunshot went off. Yet throughout the movie people were constantly shooting their guns at the zombies.

With all of that said, I did get a few cheap laughs out of this corny movie. I would recommend this to anyone who loves to critique horrible movies or likes to watch movies really late at night when their is nothing else to do. Or if you were like me and too cheap to go and see Abraham Lincoln Vampire Hunter.

Sunday, August 26, 2012


Welcome everyone!. The following project structure is intended to provide you with a methodology to be both specific and help you track the progress and meet your milestones. Since individual projects vary widely some points might not apply. However, you can use it as a roadmap to define/clarify your goals and go back to it frequently and methodically.
It has four distinct phases:

This phase helps you understand the big picture and the opportunity to achieve the main goals of your project; to take an idea from conception to completion in the most effective manner.
Brainstorming, sketch scenarios, analysis and feasibility assessments.
Define the requirements, scope, timeline, budget (your time and resources) and benchmarks for the project.

  • Produce a final script with the discovery result.
  • Develop a production plan and a storyboard.
  • Present a timeline and a budget estimate.

Don't be afraid to make mistakes! invent associations, structures, forms, silences, sounds.

During this phase, create the look and feel of the story. Develop the story requirements, the creative components, the technical design and the infrastructure that supports the project.

Creative Design:
  • Storyline and character creation
  • Script
  • Storyboard
  • Art Direction
  • Audio Design
  • Production Design
Technical Design:
  • Equipment requirements
  • Set/backgrounds/location/plates
  • Lighting diagrams
  • Special efx design
  • Models, costumes and makeup
Develop and integrate all the creative, technical and information components.
  • Research, research, research!
  • Location Scouting
  • Set design
  • Casting
  • Graphics, 3D video/audio production needs
  • Technical integration

  • Lighting
  • Rehearsals
  • Systems testing
  • Problem resolution 
  • Cinematography
  • Sound

  • Media Management
  • Editing
  • Sound Mixing
  • Color Correction
  • VFX
  • Title Design


Live environment:
  • Projection
  • Audience Test performance and feedback

  • Implement promotion/communication strategies

That's all folks!
1-Quality: the true nature of things, the peculiar and essential character

All Illustrations custom made by Rich Powell