Tuesday, April 19, 2011

My Japan trip multimedia masterpiece

In a lot of ways I think multimedia is my true calling. It takes advantage of my multitude of tools and hides my deficiencies. During the trip, I took pictures, captured audio and took notes in hopes of putting something together. Doing it was a challenge on by the content gathering front and the video creation side. Ultimately, I used all free software (windows movie maker, audacity, screencast-o-matic.com, and google earth) to produce video.
I'd like to thank Brandon Oreno for producing the music and for audio and computer support. Andy Alfaro and Angela Gentry for being my sounding boards. While I'm in the thanking mode I'll also give some more props to the foundation that sent me the East-West Center and the Japanese Newspaper Publishers Association.

Monday, April 11, 2011

Working on film short, help needed

I've been very busy lately. I have two projects that need to be wrapped up soon. One is the video slideshow I've been working on about my trip to Japan. The other is a screenplay for a 10 minute film short based on a true story.

I started out working the Japan slide show like gangbusters after returning. I stalled, in part because my technology and software keep failing me. Also because I wanted to strike the right tone with the earthquake and all.

About the same time as the Japan trip started to be a real possibility I paid to take a screenwriting short course. As it worked out, literally the first day I'm back from Japan was the first of three 4-hour classes at Access Sacramento. (I missed that one.)

I made the next two. The beginning of the second class Ron Cooper from Access Sacramento came in to talk about the "Place Called Sacramento" Film Festival. I stumbled upon my topic after the second class. It was a case former Bee editor Bill Menton and I talked about some years ago.

Here is my tagline: A landmark obscenity trial, set in Sacramento, takes a sexy twist after Judge Earl Warren, Jr. agrees to move the trial to the club where the girls were arrested, the Pink Pussy Kat. 

After reading the newspaper clips I knew the basics of the story. The challenge has been to imagine those conversations in my head and then to allow myself to fill in the gaps of the story.

I don't know that my script will be selected, but the application process asks what assets I have in hand. This is when you artisans email me offering to help. I'll need help with music, sound, costumes, makeup, hair, lighting, videography, editing, catering, and I'll need actors. So yeah everything.

Meanwhile, I liked to wrap up the Japan slide show. It has video clips, audio clips, music and now I'm adding a voice over track. I don't want to build it up to be something great, regardless its given me a chance to work my way though several new applications and web-based apps. It's been a real learning experience.

Here is to growing experiences.

Sunday, April 10, 2011

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

"The Theory of Perpetual F" explained

Ed Fletcher circa 1992
Now, seems like as good a time as any to explain the name of the blog.
Early in life, I discovered that some people find spelling and math time tables easy (pause) and then there is me. I struggled with those basic things, and still do, but had little trouble with applying theories and conceiving ideas. Over the years, I battled my way from average student classes to geek squad classes.
But after cruising through the lower-level classes I discovered I had a fight on my hands when I reached Ms. Curtis honor's English class.
Frustrated by my inability to get an "A" on a essay after essay I challenged Ms. Curtis.


After the bell rings, FLETCHER waits behind, trying to hide his disappointment, as the other students file out. CURTIS collects her papers as large Hemingway print looks over her shoulder. 
FLETCHER: Clearly THIS essay is better than the last paper. If that was a "B+," then this paper must an "A."
CURTIS: The paper was better. But my expectations for you have increased since then, so this essay earns a "b" for that assignment.

To which I penned:
"Theory of Perpetual F."
As your knowledge and skills increase
your teacher's expectations will increase at at proportional rate
therefor you maintain a perpetual f

Ms. Curtis loved it. It became one of the few items in her religiously sparse classroom.
As I approach the middle of my journalistic career, I need a new Ms. Curtis. Perpetual F is a reminder to keep increasing my expectations of myself. Teach myself new skills. Test the limits of my capabilities. Expand the scope of what is possible.
I don't have a firm endgame, but as the newspaper industry struggles, its inherent that I both prepare to outlast the ugliness while simultaneously preparing to do something else that fills my cup emotionally.

Update Since I'm sharing about Ms Curtis: I tracked Ms. Curtis down once, just to chat. She said she had nothing left to teach me. She might be wrong. She called after my forum piece I wrote recently. Didn't leave a number just said she was proud.