Sound bites

I finally felt confident that I had researched enough about sound mixing in Final Cut to start manually chopping away at the sound in the rough cut. Now, I’ve got the pilot episode polished and edited in time for Friday’s premiere. I’m really proud of it and ridiculously excited to share it. I’m a little bummed that our fake campaign ads didn’t generate the excitement or build the fan base we’d hoped, but whatever, they were fun. Soon the show can speak for itself and hopefully its popularity will grow from there.

I need to have all the episodes completed before next week because I just won’t have time to do it after that point. It’s getting down to crunch time with the moving process. Not to mention this Mac Book Pro ain’t mine anymore after Oct. 15. I am going to miss it so much. I bought an external hard drive to house all my video files until I can get my own Mac (someday, provided I find employment). I like being able to carry my editing suite with me wherever I go, but I hope to eventually have a pretty powerful desktop Apple to edit my projects on in the future. But first things first! Let’s focus on fun recipes you can make with ramen noodles, rice and beans. Because that’s all I’ll be eating for the foreseeable future.

On that note, if anyone has a used laptop they’re wishing to sell, hit me up. Or if you see a sweet deal on a net book for less than $300, please send it my way. Otherwise I’ll be blogging via iPhone and public library computer in Chicago.

I’m leaving my job in less than three weeks. I can’t even wrap my brain around that.

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Considering a career change

So, I sort of got my wish and was mercifully rejected for that job sooner rather than later. But the e-mail from the executive producer who interviewed me sounded positive, and he asked that I look him up once I’m settled in Chicago. It sounded to me like I was a viable candidate and that maybe things would have gone down differently if I didn’t, um, live in Ohio.

Even though I didn’t get this job, it really lifted me up. I interviewed for a job doing what I love: video. When I applied for the position, it was on a whim; I didn’t really think I was qualified to edit a TV show, but someone else looked at my body of work on my online portfolio and thought otherwise.

I went to school to be a reporter. I did that for nine months before moving over to PR. There, for two years, I learned how to make it in public relations. But the whole time, from college until now, I’ve been training myself for a different career, one in video. It’s my hobby, but it’s moved over into my professional life in PR, and I made that happen. Maybe I’m giving myself too much credit, but I’m starting to think I’ve been preparing myself for this the whole time without even knowing it.

Additionally, the software the TV station uses is Final Cut Pro, the professional, expensive version of Final Cut Express, which I have been teaching myself. My interviewer even told me they weren’t that different and my lack of Pro training would not be an issue. That software purchase could turn out to be an investment in my future and I need to use this time to excel with it.

So, back to the application process. I’m trying to stay positive and hold onto the hope that something, somewhere is going to turn up, be it a hotel or a TV station. And if it’s got to be a hotel, may it at least be a fancy one.

Lots and lots of video

I am editing a couple videos for the Summit Workshop tonight as well as a video of Christina’s bridal shower from a couple weeks ago. The thing about video editing, which I love to do, is that if you don’t edit something right away, it kind of bogs you down when you finally get around to doing it. It catches up with you, weighs you down and when you think about how MUCH you have to edit you feel too overwhelmed to begin. And so, something you love becomes a chore. And that’s pretty much defeating the point. In other words, I am going to try to be better about editing stuff very shortly after I shoot it. I don’t want another “Beacon Alley” on my hands; I waited until all the footage was shot (about six hours) before editing a frame of it. What a nightmare.

On the other hand, with “Paper Cuts,” I pretty much edited as I went; the downside was, I was so excited to finish an episode that I’d almost immediately post it to YouTube. Then I’d watch it later and notice some editing flaws and wish I’d waited a day or two so I could go back with fresh eyes and get it right before sharing it.

That said, the other day I edited a better (and shorter) version of “Where Are Eileen, Liz and Meryl?” and sat on it for a couple days before uploading. Check it out if you get the chance.

I am also excited about a new writing project that has come my way; a friend at work wants to produce a short or web series with me, so we are working together on a political satire. It’s probably going to be about a campaign worker who moves to a small town to help elect a mayoral candidate only to discover the campaign office is in complete disarray and the candidate is an idiot. It should be fun. I want to write it and cast it by the end of July. We’ll see if that actually happens.

I have not been to my writer’s group since before I went on vacation. I really didn’t see myself keeping up with them after I moved but I still feel like a flake. Moving has changed my scene a little bit since I’m a lot farther from campus/Clintonville, but on the other hand I’ve got to spend so much time with my family. I’ve even gone to Caldwell twice this month and it looks like I’ll be going back for Saturday night. I had to make a list of my priorities recently and I knew some stuff had to go; the writer’s group seems to be a casualty of this decision, sadly. Maybe I’ll go back and visit one night.

Monkeys could successfully use iMovie

I just put together a slide show of my best photo work using iMovie. I had to do a few minor adjustments, like selecting which parts of some photos got panned, but for the most part all I had to do was drag and drop the pictures as a group and iMovie instantly created the slide show with transitions and the photo album theme. This is my first time using any of the themes featured in iMovie ’09.

Introducing the Summit Workshop

A couple weeks ago my friend Amy, who I went to high school with (and whose brother is in Saintseneca… small world) asked me if I could help her guy’s recording studio with some PR. I am helping them get a blog started and doing some videos for them. I visited them last Tuesday to hear what all they had to say and what they were looking for. Last week I set up a blog domain for them here on WordPress, took some exterior shots of the place and made a very basic blog for them. Tonight I went back and shot some video, which I will be adding to their vids section of the Summit Workshop blog.

Amy is a skilled photographer and will be frequently taking pictures of artists as they come in to the studio to record, which we’ll be posting to the blog each week. She’s also been documenting the hard work the guys have been putting into the property so eventually there will be some pretty astonishing before and after shots of the place. They all seem like really nice people, and they’re very ambitious. They want to do a little (or sometimes a lot) of everything, it sounds like, including audio for local films. Hooray for me!

Here’s a rough cut of the introductory video I did for them tonight:

The finished cut will have full titles, credits and music. I’m looking forward to getting more work done with them.

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.