Books I have on reserve at the library right now:

  • “The Life and Death of American Journalism”
  • “LA Candy,” by Lauren Conrad (leave me alone!)
  • “I Don’t Care About Your Band,” by Julie Klausner
  • “On The Road,” Jack Kerouac

Books I currently have borrowed from the library:

  • “Oblivion,” by David Foster Wallace
  • “Pledged: The Secret Life of Sororities” (Again. Screenplay research continues.)
  • “Rabbit, Run,” by John Updike (on CD; will be listening to on the drive to OU tomorrow to visit a friend)
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An elaborate joke

This is a bottle of wine I had Camelot Cellars make a special label for as a joke for the CCS:

We're fancy

In case it’s hard to read, it says “A Grand Occasion” at the bottom. A very formal bottle for a very informal group.

The Classic Cinema Society

I don’t think I’ve blogged about this yet, and that really surprises me since I tend to document most details of my life for all the Internet to see here.

Not every Friday, but most Fridays, a very special and extremely exclusive club meets to take in a classic film. That is to say, Rachel invites Eileen and me over to watch old movies. So far, we’ve watched:

  • “High Society”
  • “Rear Window”
  • “Wait Until Dark”
  • “Ninotchka”
  • “Laura”

Aaaaand last week we watched some crazy musical we agreed looked like two movies smooshed into one. I can’t remember the title. Am I forgetting any? Rachel and I also watched “Whip It” one night when Eileen couldn’t make it, and once we took the club to the Drexel to see “The Ghost Writer.” But more often than not, we meet at Rachel’s and eat dinner together and catch up on how our weeks went, followed by an old movie. Rachel has an awesome array of classic movies and old movie star posters and memorabilia. She’s always adding to the collection too, and she’s running out of room on her DVD shelves.

“I had to rearrange the genres recently and at that time Ryan had to let me know that ‘Midnight Cowboy’ is in fact NOT a western,” she said.

Last Friday I had the Flip Cam I got to borrow for my social media training, and I asked the ladies if they minded terribly if I shot some test video. They were both good sports, and were even more so when I asked if I could put the footage on my blog. And they each agreed AFTER viewing it. Below, see the CCS members try to select a movie from Rachel’s DVR.

I think we should do fake, snarky reviews of all the films we watch and have a series on YouTube. We could sit around looking pompous, drinking brandy and speak all indignantly about “cinema today, oh goodness!” …I have too much time on my hands.

Eileen and Rachel know much, much more than I do about old movies and they can gossip together about dead movie stars while I try hard to learn names and faces. It’s like my very own history of film class, really.

Tomorrow, while Eileen toils away on her masters thesis and portfolio, Rachel and I will be taking a field trip to the Shadowbox Cabaret. This is something I’ve been keeping quiet about, but I’m too excited to keep it in anymore. After the show tomorrow, I will speak with the head guy at Shadowbox about the possibility of an internship. Remember that sketch comedy writing workshop I raved about? He’s one of those guys. I e-mailed him a couple weeks ago to ask if the Cabaret ever takes on (unpaid) interns, because I would love to be a part of the production. He offered me two free tickets (for attending the workshop) and said to talk to him after the show. Tomorrow night I’ll set up a time with him to discuss about how, and where, I might fit in among the team at Shadowbox. I really hope I get to do it; if I really want to write comedy, the Shadowbox is absolutely the best place in Ohio I could learn. So, more on that soon, I hope. Wish me luck.

Contest entries sent; bring back some money

I’ve made some headway on the screenwriting front in a few different ways. I entered a couple contests, wrote a lot over the weekend and have found some allies in my writers’ group who seem to want me to succeed. That feeling makes a difference.

First off, I entered “Paper Cuts” in the Nxt Stage Film Festival in the web series category. I shipped off a DVD yesterday along with my entry fee, a completed entry form and a postcard they’ll send me to let me know they’ve received it. I don’t see much info on when the festival is or when I’ll hear if I’m accepted or not. That makes me feel a little anxious about the contest’s legitimacy and all, so this could end up being more of a valuable lesson than a career changer. We’ll see.

I also entered the Sixth Borough Screenplay treatment contest I mentioned earlier this month. I elected to receive early feedback, with the option of re-submitting to the contest after making any changes. The winner of that contest will be announced Aug. 15. That was the contest that recommended I register my concept with the WGA, which I did; now I can write more freely about my screenplay, because I have documentation of creative ownership. Or something. If someone took my idea, I could legally use my registration with the WGA as evidence in my favor in a court of law. This will not happen, but it’s a load off any writer’s mind, I’m sure.

This past Sunday, I added several pages to the screenplay itself while sitting at the Lennox Cup O’ Joe with Eileen, who is right in the thick of completing her masters’ thesis paper. We sat there for a few hours, each writing, only looking up to ask occasional questions and moving only to order still more coffee. This might not sound like the best quality time, but you don’t know Eileen and me. I did take a break for a moment to crowd source on Facebook and ask my friends to name one of my characters. I got more than a dozen suggestions for female names, one of which I ended up using. I’m hanging on to the rest.

Finally, I went back to my writers’ group at Kafe Kerouac on Monday night. Even though I made some changes to my treatment, I didn’t bring the revised version. I should have though, because it turned out some new people showed up, including SNP’s own Donovan Campbell! It’s a small city, you guys. The people who were there last week asked about my progress and I promised to bring my outline next time.

“It’s like 8 pages long and messily written,” I warned them.

“That’s okay,” said Mike, the owner of the cafe. “I like discussing ideas more than I like correcting grammar.”

You kind of get that idea from talking to him, too. I also had a great conversation with two other members I hadn’t spoken to yet. One is an actor who gave me his card and wants me to send my outline directly since he’ll be absent next week. The other is a playwright who seems to be just the right mix of riotously witty and slightly jaded, ala Garth Bishop from SNP, and who is becoming reluctantly interested in writing for the screen as opposed to the stage. We are Columbus, Ohio’s own Algonquin Roundtable and I just fell right into it like a pig into a mud pit.

Last night I started working on an online portfolio, where I will be putting all the multimedia work I create. I wish SNP had saved the one and only video I did for them, because it would be most professional platform my videos have seen yet. But, alas. There’s only so long you can hang on to a video of four wailing infants and their bewildered, but ridiculously attractive, parents.

In the tradition I’ve maintained on The Sleeper Hit, here are the costs I’ve been met with in my pursuit of happiness (coffee consumed not included):

Nxt Stage entry fee, with postage: $31.22

Sixth Borough entry fee: $30 ($20 + $10 extra to get early feedback and the chance to re-submit)

WGA: $20 (standard non-member rate for any work)

I’d better not enter much else for a while. This stuff adds up quicker than I thought.

Look what I found

I came across a CD of the radio work I did in college. I listened to it and it wasn’t as bad as I was afraid it would be. So I imported it, and I am making YouTube videos of them all so I can have them on the interwebs forever and ever. I’m glad the CD, the only known copy of my limited audio work, wasn’t all scratched to hell. Thank you, Radio Gods! And thanks to Muskingum University and the professors I had that made me work hard. I am really glad I have this now.

My dad will be so thrilled when I plaster his mug all over the radio interview I did with him about one of his books that came out that year. Woo hoo!

More to come.

Social media training nuggets

Last week I attended a social media training for work, which lasted three days. I learned a lot there, and I wanted to share the tips I found especially interesting about producing video content for the web. They key, you see, is to make something “spreadable.” No one wants to share a boring video of your company’s president rambling on about a mission statement. If you think that kind of thing’s going to go viral, you are in for some major disappointment.

One trend in online video marketing I’ve noticed, which was discussed at the training, is the use of flash mobs. I, personally, love watching flash mob videos, and it kind of annoys me when companies use them to sell crap. However, you’ve got to give them points for creativity. Take this one by Coca Cola for example:

That’s kinda cool. Another example we saw in class was the college tour video; the one Yale made for recruiting was stuffy and institutional. But the one they asked students to make? It made me think Yalies might have a pulse after all. They made it funny, wrote a clever song for it and breathed new life into a pretty lame genre.

More tips for making videos:

  • Keep it short; the average YouTube video runs about 3 minutes. If it’s under a minute, all the better. Also noteworthy: Keep your intro and your credits short because those still add seconds to your final time.
  • Delete every official person you feel must be in your video. They mustn’t.
  • Make a point; don’t make ten points! And make it fast. This isn’t like writing a term paper, you don’t have an introductory paragraph, three body paragraphs and a summary.
  • Cross promote; Blog about your video, put it on Facebook and Twitter.
  • It can be simple; Animoto is a free online tool that lets you make a video out of still shots, text and royalty-free music. Bonus: There’s an app for that, and it’s free.
  • Be patient; it might take a while to spread. Not every video instantly catches like wildfire, and that’s okay.
  • Let someone else tell your story. If you don’t have the resources or ability to make the video you want, hold a contest and let the video you want come to you (See crowdspring.com below).

Other cool links we learned about (video related and other):

Quirky.com: This one’s so cool; people come up with ideas for inventions, and then people contribute to the ideas and influence them. If enough people agree to purchase the final product at a set price, the product gets made. People who influenced them get a cut of each sale. Social product development.

Crowdspring.com: Need a one-time design job, like a logo, done? Set your deadline, what you are willing to pay and pick the logo you like best. If you’re a graphic designer, check this site out for freelance opportunities.

Glassdoor.com: See what employees have to say about the companies they work for. Search salaries, reviews, etc. A must-have resource for those on the job hunt.

addict-o-matic: Find out what people are saying about health care reform, your company or any other topic.

Spokeo: This one might freak you out. Hardly any of my information’s on there, but a lot of people in my training were terrified to see what info of theirs was available. You can have it removed by clicking on “privacy” at the bottom of the page.

Delicious: “Social bookmarking”; save stuff that interests you online and share it with other users.

Diigo: Highlight, bookmark and share stuff on the web. Another organizing tool, much like…

Evernote: You can download this program as a desktop application or as an iPhone app. Use it to save ideas, things you see online, organize lists, etc. Brandon told me about this one a long time ago.

Onlinevideocontests.com: One of many online resource for finding contests. Prize money!

Manyeyes.com: Making data visually engaging, which can be a difficult feat. We loved the bubble charts this site generates. Downside: any data you upload onto this site automatically becomes public.

Wordle.net: Make a tag cloud of whatever text you copy and paste into this site, be it your top 30 tweeted-about topics or the opening paragraphs of your dissertation. Our company discussed the possibility of making one of these designs into our next magazine’s cover. They’re that awesome.

Namechk.com: See what sites you can still register your company’s user name on. I was maddened to see that there’s already a YouTube account under the name TheSleeperHit. It’s totally dormant, too. Figures.

Saintseneca & Co.

What are the odds of three kids who went to high school together in southeastern Ohio going to the same college, staying friends and starting a band in Columbus with a girl who plays the violin? They’ve got to be slim to none, but Saintseneca beat the odds and we’re all very glad for it.

Meow!

I blogged briefly about them a couple months ago when I mentioned sharing their EP with my uncle, but until last night I’d never seen one of their shows. I’m friends with a couple of the guys on Facebook and one of them posted an event page for their show Saturday night. They played with three other acts and I had a great time. It was at one of the famed music houses around campus, and one I’d never been to before. All four bands/performers I saw were acoustic and I guess on the folk side of things; First was a band called Meow that was pretty good. They kind of reminded me of Great Big Sea, or at least the lead vocalist’s voice did. If they’ve got a web site, I couldn’t find it.

After that, a couple girls sang together with a gorgeous harmony effect and traded a guitar back and forth. They told me later they were each independent artists and had never performed together before that night. I added one of them on Facebook later because I really wanted to hear her solo stuff. The other girl sang a verse of a pretty song in French, which I thought sounded so beautiful.

Old Hundred

Old Hundred started playing a little bit after 11 (the event had started at 9…ish). I had never heard them or heard of them, but I can tell you right now you should buy their EP. It’s only three bucks on iTunes and easily worth every penny. My personal favorite is “A Thousand Times.” I can’t begin to explain to you how incredible it felt to be within three feet of such a high energy band, cramped in a room where at least half the crowd was singing along, every word. The same goes to say for Saintseneca, who played last. These bands clearly have a dedicated fan base in this city, and those people came out just to hear them live.

“It’s so awesome to have people come to the show and say, ‘I bought your EP on iTunes,’ and it’s someone I’ve never met before,” said one of my friends in Saintseneca.

Saintseneca

Sometimes I’ll get a Saintseneca song stuck in my head and I’ll think, wow, it’s so awesome to have a song by someone I know, who wrote and performs it, stuck in my head.

I just bought Saintseneca’s second release, “Grey Flag.” I’ll have to post my thoughts on it once I’ve had some time to listen to it. For now, my favorite of theirs is off their self-titled EP, called “God Bones.” I loved, loved, loved hearing it live last night. I could tell it was a crowd favorite as well as my personal one.

I wish I could have gotten some better pictures, but as usual, I was relying on the good old iPhone. If I get to go to another show I’ll bring the camera. Maybe the video camera! If they let me. Good times, I say go see them.

Cheer up

Sometimes, when I’m feeling down, I’ll find this clip on YouTube. And everything seems so much better, all of the sudden.

Oh, that bow tie… that freaking bow tie.

Blogging, for blog’s sake

Sooo, I’m writing this because I’ve been doing so well about posting every weeknight for the month of April. I didn’t plan it, it just kind of happened, but now that I am on a roll, I’ve got to keep it going.

Today was the first of a three day training on social media I am completing for my job. What we learned today about Twitter and its functions was really interesting, and good information to know both personally and professionally. Also, they gave EVERYONE a freaking FLIP CAM to borrow until Saturday. That has been fun. I am probably going to buy one. Good marketing strategy, Flip Cams. Well played.

Sometime next week I’ll have to do a long post reviewing all the books I’ve been reading. Also, tomorrow I’m picking up a copy of “Save The Cat,” a screenwriting book I keep reading and hearing about. I’ve been reading a lot of non-film related books so it will be nice to get into for a change. It seems like for a while there all I was reading were film books.

Eileen and I started “Veronica Mars” season three tonight. I’m being good and not watching the next episode without her. Also, I have the internet at the apartment again, after nearly three weeks without it. I will miss the late-night coffee shop blogging trips. Still, I might continue them, considering the neighbors’ bass hinders my brain from thought capabilities at times.

Did anyone see the second episode of “30 Rock” tonight? Hysterical. That show can get away with saying whatever it wants about NBC, can’t it?

Back to my book now. This blogging thing’s not as easy as it looks, you know. Okay, I’m lying. It is.