Monday, November 30, 2015

It Only Took A Day

It only took one day back from break and I am feeling just as stressed as the week before we shot our film, if not more. So I thought I'd blog twice this week, to take care of next week's now, because next week I will be editing audio LITERALLY ALL WEEK. (Help me).

I feel an array of emotions now when I walk into Fiction Field. I'm happy. I'm angry. I want to cry. I want to go home. I used to be so eager to make videos, but now thinking about producing a project just gives me a headache. Thinking about all the planning, arguing, coordinating, failing, changing, adjusting--it makes me very, very anxious.

I sometimes regret taking Fiction Field 2, not because I didn't learn (I learned A LOT) but because it's caused me so much stress this semester that I reached out to CAPS to seek help. I've been having problems because many components of this project are out of my control. We couldn't shoot at an earlier date because of scheduling conflicts. I can't get the picture lock of the film done because I'm not editing. I can't score the film. I have to rely on many other people for this. And I know that's part of life.

I don't believe I have enough time to edit the sound for this project. I will get it done, but I don't think it will be the best it can possibly be. Typing that physically hurts me.

I wanted this project to be something that I would be extremely proud of. I wanted people to see it and say "Wow, Sam was a part of that? That was really good." But now I'm afraid people will hear it and see my name in the credits and think, "That girl had no idea what she was doing." It is partially true that I don't have any idea what I'm doing. In this class and in life. I'm trying to do my best.

I just want to enjoy what I do and right now I'm not enjoying it at all. Next semester I plan on taking a step back from many extracurriculars and trying to work in smaller groups. I also plan to focus more on my mental and physical health. If you read this blog, please don't bring it up to me in class. It's sort of an automatic response now for me to start crying when I remember how stressed I am.

Thank you.

Animated Shorts: Goodbye

Over the holiday break I was more happy to be reunited with my family than to stuff my face with food. Prior to break I started sketching again and working on new animations (as you all know!) but during the break I found myself watching a lot of animated shorts. I'm constantly impressed by the talent of these artist, or filmmakers. But mostly impressed by the artist ability to transform paper drawings into visual animation while simultaneously illustrating a story with meaning. That's incredibly difficult... at least that's what I think.

There was one short in particular that caught my attention, personally I found it a bit horror-like, meaning it freaked me out a bit ( I scare easily) but nonetheless the short consumes your attention and puts life in perspective for you. And to top it all off its a complete digital production piece! Wow...

Take a look at Goodbye by Tyler Russo:

What I've learned from Filming Dollhouse

So throughout the semester, as the weeks went by and we time and time again had nothing tangible to show for our efforts, I knew that on the day filming Dollhouse was going to be a little hectic. I'm not averse to things getting a little hectic on set, as long as the group is working well as a team and stress levels are fairly low. However if I had to go through this whole process again there would definitely be a few things I'd do differently.

1. Get the Script finished faster:
I like writing a lot, but I've never really written a horror film before so this was perhaps the biggest challenge for me. I've grown to like horror movies a lot over the past few weeks, but I still feel as though their not really in my wheelhouse creatively. That being said I do think that our final script was leagues above the one I originally drafted up, and I have Sam and Anna to thank for that.

2. Get a solid budget together:
We've put a budget together fairly early on, but we had to make some cuts due to a few issues with funding. We wanted to stray away from crowd sourcing since we'd were thinking that we'd like to reserve asking for money from our friends for our thesis films, or if we ever become homeless. I thought that using venmo as a way to move money around would be easy as I could track everyone's contribution and make sure that we never spent more than we needed to . Venmo turned out not being such a hot idea, as only two of our group members actually used it to contribute, and the rest of the groups money came to me through cash. I think in the future I'm going to insist that we use cash exclusively for budgeting, things just get too complicated when I have to track two different accounts at once. That being said I really appreciate that everyone participated in lending some cash. It definitely made crafty a lot easier on me, and I'm just now working up how much I can pay back those who spent some of their own money on the project.

3. Better Group Communication:
The first thing that I got whenever I landed on a set in LA was a detailed rundown of what scenes we were shooting that day, and the shot order we were shooting them in. That did not happen on our set and I think our communication definitely suffered for it. There were times where I wished that had all met to talk more about the creative decisions we were looking to make, there were times when things like a storyboard would have definitely come in handy.

In Conclusion:
I hope that it doesn't come across that I didn't have any fun shooting over the past weekend, or that I don't think we put together a successful project, because that was absolutely not the case. I think everyone, no matter how tired, or frustrated, or hungry they were really brought it on set, and I think our final project will definitely reflect that. Though I didn't play a huge part in shooting the actual film, I had a ton of fun on set  and I hope everyone else did too. I can't wait to see the final cut, and I 'm really happy that this is the last film I'll be a part of here at Ithaca College.

Sanjay's Super Team

Over Thanksgiving break I went to see Pixar's The Good Dinosaur. The movie was good, but it was the same as many other Pixar movies: the protagonist is somehow removed from their comfortable home and they must go on a long journey to get back to it, seeking help from some funny characters along the way. Eventually Arlo, the good dinosaur himself befriends the little boy who he blames for getting him into this mess to begin with, Spot. Their friendship grows as the movie progresses, and I don't want to spoil anything so I'll stop there.

Arlo and Spot agree to help Nash, Butch, and Ramsey along their journey, in return for their help.
The movie was BEAUTIFUL. It looked so realistic and definitely inspired me to go hiking. However, what really caught my eye was the short film that played before the movie, Sanjay's Super Team. For me, the short film had much deeper meaning than the movie.

Sanjay's Super Team is about the Patels, an Indian-American family. Sanjay's father prays to Hindu deities while Sanjay prays to his deities, the superhero cartoons he watches on television. Sanjay is annoyed when his father turns off the tv, takes away his action figure, and forces Sanjay to pray with him. Sanjay is distracted by his action figure during prayer when his imagination suddenly whisks him away to a Hindu temple. Inside the temple, statues of Durga, Vishnu, and Hanuman come to life and help him defeat an evil monster. This experience changes Sanjay, who accepts his father's religiosity and consequently joins him in prayer.

(L to R) Durga, Vishnu, and Hanuman
I thought the short was really cool for a couple of reasons. First, this is the first time an Indian character is the focus of a Pixar film, which is important in animation history. Second, I'm interested in mythology, and the portrayal of the deities brought me back to my high school English class, where my yogi storytelling teacher told us both the Ramayana and Mahabharata. Third, the juxtaposition between Sanjay and his father shows that people of different generations and cultures are more similar than we think. At the end of the film, it is revealed that Sanjay Patel, the creator of the short, based it on a true story. 

The real Sanjay Patel and his father.


Seeking a Friend for the End of the World

Over break I got a chance to catch up on many things. Homework, sleep, news, family, and my personal favorite movies. I watch a bunch of different films. Some were good and some were mediocre. One of the better films was Seeking a Friend for the End of the World. 

When I started watching this film I had no idea what I was in for because I had never even heard of it before but what I found was a beautiful little piece of art. It was by no means anything particularly amazing but it was funny and the story was well developed. It didn't spoon feed you anything and made you figure things out for yourself.
 I think the main reason I enjoyed the piece was because of the basic idea of  the film. What would you do with the last month of your life if you knew the world was going to end? Would you just be with family and wait it out? Would you do a whole bunch of crazy things before everything came to an end? Would you try and find away to survive past the end? These were all things that I couldn't answer and the film did a beautiful and fun job of depicting all the different ideas. 

Sunday, November 29, 2015

HOLY SCHNIKES:Transitions in Tommy Boy

Over Thanksgiving break I found myself watching Peter Segal's Tommy Boy starring Chris Farley and David Spade. I've see this movie before and had recently thought of it as nothing more than a 'throw away' slapstick comedy to watch when 1) You are doing some other primary task that is infinitely more important or 2) Its 3:30am and there's nothing better to do. However, when I was watching this time something came to light that I had previously never noticed: the transitions. 

While 'cinematic elegance' may not come to mind when thinking of Tommy Boy, that's what I would call the the seamless transitions between many of the scenes in this film. Instead of just cutting between scenes, Tommy Boy utilizes surprisingly create camera moves and composition to create a 'seamless' transition that flows freely into the next scene in a completely different location.  While its no Birdman,I had never noticed these creative transitions before. After catching one such transition in the opening credit sequence I found myself waiting for them throughout the film. I had trouble finding any of them online for this blog post, which really surprised me. I'm not saying the transitions in the film were Oscar-worthy, I just thought someone else would have taken note of the transitions as I did. That being said, I was able to find one that occurs fairly early in the movie:

Skip to 3:30 to see the transition. This is actually a weaker example comparatively to some of the other transitional moves throughout the film because it is just a simple cut, with the second shot framed in such a way that you initially think it is part of the same scene, until the camera pulls back and it becomes apparent that we have moved ahead in time to a totally different location. Transitions like this were abundant throughout the film, most utilizing camera movement and similar shot composition to trick us into thinking the scene didn't actually change. 

You would think this would be a little jarring and unsettling to the viewer, but it actually works quite well. So well, in fact, that it appears that no one else on the internet has noticed it. 

I really appreciated this small filmic element thrown into an otherwise goofy comedy with no other cinematic takeaways.Tommy Boy really made me think about utilizing transitions in a creative way and not wasting any frames of the film. So, I've decided to re-shoot Dollhouse and make every scene change to be creatively seamless. 

Just Kidding. 


Thursday, November 19, 2015

Team Foxcatcher

So I saw Foxcatcher when it came out in theaters, and I loved it! Steve Carell and Channing Tatum both gave amazing performances, and the cinematography in the film was breathtaking.  So last week when I saw that a documentary came out about the real story of John Du Pont, and Team Foxcatcher called Prince of Pennsylvania, I got very excited. And the documentary did not disappoint. It is an ESPN 30 for 30 film, which are always stellar. Here is the link for the webpage with some information on the film.

The documentary's story illuminated some stuff that the narrative film did not show. In reality Mark Shultz had left team foxcatcher before his brother Dan even took a job there. It also didn't really highlight the early success and great opportunities that the Foxcatcher facility provided for USA Olympic caliber wrestlers.
I highly recommend this documentary for anyone who wants to see the real story behind the film Foxcatcher. The Prince of Pennsylvania is available on Netflix. This documentary shows the haunting rise and fall of the man behind the 1990s wrestling champions.

That Other News Show

Hey guys, when trying to think up a topic to write about this week, I couldn't really think of anything. But then I thought "Hey, I can shamelessly plug the show I worked on this semester!" and all became right in the world. So That Other News Show is an ICTV show which just began this semester and provides the news, along with sketches and field packages, and delivers them in a humorous way.

Think something along the lines of The Colbert Report or any of the various late night shows with (insert host's name here). I was actually recruited onto the show last semester when it was still being planned, and went through this season as the head editor. I don't mind editing, some people do, but I don't and I have gotten pretty alright at it, so for this semester I became head editor on two shows and it's been pretty cool. The only issue with editing this show? Our turnaround time was seriously tight, having it due at noon on Monday and only being able to begin editing at 3 on Sunday. Since I didn't want to throw my Sundays away every week, I typically started editing after midnight and would stay up all night to finish it. Due to this, there are a few slip-ups here and there that with a little bit more time, I could've ironed out. Anyway, I got off track.

Now that the season is done and everything is up on the website, I recommend checking it out, everyone pull a lot of heart into it and I think it's come out pretty good. Plus, it'll give you the chance to see what some of the people in our class worked on.

Sound Workshop


by Josh Tomany

     I went to the sound workshop this past Sunday and I do not regret it. Even though sound isn't necessarily the field that I want to go into it is extremely important to understand it and to make sure everything is being done in a film to produce the best sound possible. What I learned from these professionals in the four hours I was there I will surely carry with me into future projects and hopefully have future connections in the industry.  
     One thing that I need to say is that the turnout was a blessing and a curse. I understand that it was Cortaca but the lack of people was truly disappointing especially knowing how much effort and time it was to get some of these working professionals to talk to us. That being said I will say that having as many professionals as students there made it an extremely hands on and personal experience, and I think the speakers were more candid and open with us then if it was a lecture type presentation. After the Q&A type portion of the group we split up into even smaller groups, some going to post sound and some going to locations sound. Knowing the challenges and experiencing first hand the devastating feeling of bad location sound I chose to go to that one to benefit myself and my future projects. Fo those who couldn't make it here are some things I gathered from the workshop in general.

1) NYC is a freelance city
2) The industry is often "Quantity over Quality" and the turnaround is extremely tight especially in Network television. 
3) Attitude, timeliness, connections, be fast, develop self discipline
4) The importance of the Union and how and why to join. 
5) Think about the environment you thrive in when picking a job to do. 

     Obviously there are many specific tricks I gained especially in the location sound portion but learning about the environment of NYC was really helpful. I didn't know if NYC would be a place I could work in and I always dreamed of LA but now I am definitely considering it an option , and seems more appealing when I consider other factors in my life. It was also really helpful after and in-between moments of "learning" to just talk with the people about the industry in general and what it's like working in the field and how to make it as a human being who wants to make a living and also live. Very helpful, and couldn't be happier that I chose to go. 

Tuesday, November 17, 2015

Small Update

Just a little update on my life:

Being sick is possibly the worst thing that can happen at this time in the semester, mentally i'm feeling strong but physically my body is just not having it (let's just say I've been very limited). I'm still pretty icky but now we all guessing that it may be an internal issue rather than just a really really bad cold. Hopefully all goes well, but on the bright side (in some odd way) being sick has given me time to devote to all my interests like sketching and animating. I'm actually really proud to say that there looking really good (pretty quirky and adorable actually).

I'm also excited to say that I'm back art directing and production designing for a student film back home. I've been working with the script for a couple of weeks now and I've finally developed the final color schemes and began sketching the costumes. I guess the reason why i'm so excited is because the writer and director have given me complete creative liberty, which is rare usually they want you to draw their vision. It's still in the early phases of production but I'm excited to be working on something that isn't a project or for credit, its purely just for fun.

Not so fiction related news: I've began watching A LOT of Netflix documentaries, and for future reference if you're ever stuck in bed or have a long weekend, just skim Netflix and watch a couple! 

I wish you all a happy break!

Learning from our Mistakes

WE FINALLY SHOT OUR FILM. I REPEAT, WE SHOT OUR FILM IN ONE WEEKEND. I cannot put into words how much better I feel. I am ~glowing~.

Obviously we made mistakes this weekend, some of which could have been prevented early on. If we don't learn from our mistakes, how are we going to get better at anything? So, I compiled this list of some issues we ran into and how we can fix them (for next time).

1. Insufficient budget - Our third day on set was very low budget when it came to crafty, and when the people need crafty, they need crafty. Perhaps we could have set up an Indiegogo campaign like Stopover City did. Then we wouldn't have to worry about paying for food.

2. Poor(ish) location - I threw the 'ish' in there because there were some great things about our location. For one thing, it was a two minute drive from campus--this made it super convenient to haul equipment, cast, and crew there and back. It was also Connor's friends apartment, which made coordinating times to shoot fairly easy and we didn't have to pay for it. However, Danby is a highway where cars drive by at 40 miles per hour and I could hear every single one. This is going to make my life a living hell when I try to edit the sound. I tried to prepare for the damage by putting lavalier microphones on our actors. Next time we'll have to look for a place in a quieter neighborhood, far away from any main roads.

3. Bad timing in the semester - Due to group members' commitment to various other projects, this weekend was literally the only weekend that worked for everyone. What sucked was that it was Cortaca weekend, which meant people's friends from home would be visiting, loud music would be playing, and people would want to take a post-game nap (understandably so). There were a number of times we had to hold for people moving in and out of the house, and I felt terrible keeping these people from sleeping at 3:00 in the morning. Next time we'll have to figure out more than 3 long shooting days and break it up.

4. Bad time of day - We shot our exteriors at Connor's house in the morning and it was cloudy, which was a great thing. But the next two days we were seriously rushing to get in all our daytime shots because there are only so many hours of daylight this time of year. This gave us ample time to shoot our night scenes because the sun went down by 5:00 PM. Next time we should definitely make sure that the call sheets have sunrise and sunset times on them and factor that in to the shooting order.

5. Production design - This also goes along with location scouting issues. Most of the walls in the house are white, which made production design a bitch. This kind of went along with our story though, because our antagonist is supposed to be obsessively clean. If we could do it again, it would be better if the location had different colored walls; this would also make lighting much easier.

6. Call sheet errors/lack of info - Our call sheets looked super professional and that's just dandy, but they were lacking information. Maybe it was because we were trying to accomplish so much in such a short amount of time, but for me they were hard to follow. I would like to see the specifics of what we're shooting on them. Instead of the scene number and a couple word phrase explaining it, I want to see the page number in the script that coincides with the scene, the exact actions the actor takes in the scene, and which actor(s) are needed for that scene. We realized after arriving on set that the call sheet for our first shoot listed both actresses, but we only needed one to be there.

I don't mean to be a negative Nancy, I just want to make sure that I or my group doesn't make the same mistake twice.

Some sound speed on a Saturday

I am a firm believer in that every choice you make affects the path your life will take. I sat in my bed Friday night thinking of what I wanted out of the weekend. I knew that we would be shooting the Stopover City title sequence and scootering pickups most of Sunday, and also had my 10 AM-noon WICB Best of Broadway show before all of that. So basically Saturday was my only time off; therefore I had a choice to make about how to spend my Saturday; I could either:

a.     go to the Cortaca football game and have a mediocre time whilst freezing my butt off.
b.     sleep in and regain some strength lost from overworking the whole week.
c.      attend the sound workshop held by multiple Ithaca alumni and professionals in the field.

After a fair amount of late night internal debate, I decided to attend the sound workshop. I reasoned that there are a ton of opportunities to sleep and have fun with friends, but it’s not everyday that professional location & post sound mixers come in to talk with students freely (it literally only happens once a semester). I also don’t know a ton about on-location sound mixing but would really like to improve in case I ever needed to do emergency sound mixing for a film.

So I woke up the next morning (at 7:30 AM because my roommates were blasting music in preparation for the game, *sigh*) and made my way over to Park to learn! I thought I would experience some fear of missing out (aka FOMO) but the workshop was so interesting that I forgot all about the other potential plans I had.

The workshop began with the sound mixers in a panel discussion, including both location and post-sound mixers. They spoke not only of the sound industry, but also of the overall tv/film industry workflow. The panelists had a lot of very helpful/inspirational things to say—some of which I wrote down in my handy-dandy notepad. Here’s a few pieces of advice they gave (all 8 of) us:

-it’s really important to invest in your own equipment—that way you get more practice with the equipment.
-(more audio-concentrated but) know signal flow; that helps you troubleshoot a live recording session if something isn’t working
-learn how to manipulate mics
-“it’s all about listening”
-the turnaround is a lot faster in television than in TV.
-fast problem solving is the key to making yourself irreplaceable
-if & when you’re a freelancer, you have to be accountable for yourself
-figure out what type of work you thrive in and what works for your personality*

*I found this piece of advice most significant for people of all concentrations. I am still unsure of where my “calling” is in the industry based on my personality. On the one hand I love doing art department but it is extremely difficult with little to no budget, and I am not interested in producing because I don’t enjoy bossing people around. Location sound is not something I’d like to pursue as a career but I would definitely like to get a better handle on it so I could run sound on a future documentary passion project(?). I am getting quite off topic, but that’s how most of these posts go.

the 1 picture I sniped: mama & baby mixer--SO CUTE
After the panel, we split off into location and post-sound mixing. Four people (including myself) meandered off to 269 for the location sound where Jeff Pullman and David Rosenberg worked with us on refining skills such as boom and lavaliere placement, in addition to little tips and tricks in making our location mix the best it could be. While most of the mixing stuff went right over my head, it was extremely helpful to learn about the microphone manipulation tips. It definitely inspired me to refresh on the pickup patterns of different mics to be better prepared for shoots. At the end of the workshop Jeff generously offered for any of us to shadow him on Madame Secretary in the Big Apple, which I will definitely do (hopefully) over winter break.

Overall, it was a very intriguing workshop and I feel that it was time very well spent.

Monday, November 16, 2015

Clockwork Orange

This semester I've been trying to watch on the films that I've been chastised for not watching yet. It's been a great ride so far and a lot of the classics I thought were over hyped actually turned out to be pretty great! However every once and awhile there come a time when I flick on a film that really grips me. And this time dear friends and trusted readers, that film was Stanley Kubrick's a Clockwork Orange.
Spoilers Y'all
I really didn't know what I was expecting coming into the film. For years I'd heard that it set the bar for ruthless onscreen violence, and for the most part it lived up to the hype. Sure we may see more Ultraviolence nowadays, but I'm sure that back then this film really was a real horror show. Overall I loved the film, I loved the character of Alex as a self aggrandizing psychopathic narcissist, I loved the sets seen below:

And I loved how the change the main character goes through. I feel as though most of what I loved about this film can be summed up in the following clip, which I don't suggest you watch if you haven't seen the film. It's wacky, weird, and works wonderfully to frame the psychological instability of the main character.

Goals: Learning Adobe After Effects

Adobe After effects is an amazing program. As its name implies, it lets you add visual effects to a project, ranging anywhere from stabilizing footage to a complete 3D render of a car or a building. The potential of this program is almost literally endless, and that is why it is an essential skills to possess in the field of media production. 

I've been wanting to learn Adobe After Effects since high school. I've been working with Premiere for a few years now, and I feel moderately proficient at it. After Effects is a different story. On multiple occasions I've tried to tackle this intense program, and each time I've turned away frustrated and discouraged. I was convinced that organized instruction in a classroom was the way to go. My high school didn't have any advanced production classes to expose me to this software, so I was basically on my own.  I have been trying to take Motion Graphics and Animation with Arturo for the past 4 semesters, but I've never been able to get a seat in the class (Thanks, Ithaca). On to of that, Arturo won't be teaching when I return from LA next fall, which has me extremely worried. I've heard great things about the class as it is, but I'm nervous that I might have missed my chance for quality AE instruction. 

Like I said, I've tried several times to teach myself. Most of the tutorials I've found online are either 3 hours of a monotone voice spouting out instructions, or some pre-pubescent 12 year-old filming his computer screen. Both are equally frustrating and discouraging. 

However, today in class Arturo showed me a tutorial website, video, that may be the answer to my After Effects woes. This comprehensive website has over 150 video tutorials on everything After Effects; from the basic layout to tools to effects, this website looks like it is everything I've been looking for in one place. Oh, and did I mention it is free? The videos are funny and entertaining, its not just commands and data be dumped into your ears. On the other hand, the videos are actually helpful, its not just someone trying to boost their Youtube subscribers.  I haven't had a chance to really dig into it yet (you know, because school), but I imagine "After Effects 101" is the perfect place for me to start. The website also provides you with project files for EACH VIDEO so that you can follow along and literally practice on the same files showcased in the video. There is also a tab to download various plugins and 3D packages, some for free and some at cost. 

After Effects has sort of intimidated me up to this point, but it really is the next weapon I want to add to my arsenal as I get closer to joining the *shudders* adult, professional world. It is an incredibly powerful program that allows for an immense amount of creativity. It is going to take time to learn just the basics, and I don't see myself doing an full 3D renders of cars anytime soon, but my plan is to slowly work my way through and try to gain an understanding of the program and its nuances. You gotta start somewhere. 

Thursday, November 12, 2015


Its Almost Christmas time and you all know what that means... Game of Thrones Season 5

Not only is the production quality of the show outstanding but so is the cast. There are few actors in the series that I recognize from other films however after every episode I am blown away by all of them. And there is a lot of them. The show is extremely deep and follows countless characters, and storylines.  

On top of that there are Dragons... Who doesn't like watching shows that have giant man eating winged lizards? The CGI is another aspect of the show that is phenomenal. However, the CGI of the dragons is so expensive that the show can only have them on for a limited amount of screen time. Animations can really rack up the bills fast, however I am glad that they dont over due the dragons so in the long run I'm happy with it. 

If you haven't started watching Game Of Thrones I highly recommend that you start. It will take you by surprise. 

Shooting dates galore

I am shooting a lot of film (it's really digital video) at this time.

One Tree Hill is love, One Tree Hill is life

Is it possible to both love and hate a television show at the same time? Absolutely. Since fall break I've been watching the drama TV series One Tree Hill anytime that I open Netflix. It is horrifyingly unrealistic, but I LOVE it.
OTH is probably the most overdramatic show I've ever seen, next to Grey's Anatomy. It follows popular high school athletes, their friends, and enemies in the fictional town of Tree Hill, North Carolina. A lot of the conflict surrounds Lucas and Nathan Scott, basketball stars and half-brothers who sway between kinship and rivalry. Lucas is played by heartthrob Chad Michael Murray, and Nathan is played by the equally handsome James Lafferty.
Lucas & Nathan at basketball practice. (YUM [baes])
Other prominent high schoolers include head bitch/cheerleader Brooke Davis (Sophia Bush), talented artist and music lover Peyton Sawyer (Hilarie Burton), "tutor girl" Haley James Scott, and the geeky but lovable Marvin "Mouth" McFadden (Lee Noriss). Then there's the parents... Lucas' kind mother Karen Roe (Moira Kelly), Lucas' and Nathan's sociopath father Dan Scott (Paul Johansson), and Nathan's crazy mother, Deb Scott (Barbara Alyn Woods).

There are all sorts of funky romantic pairings that happen on this show and it is hilarious. It's as if there's only 3 guys and 3 girls in the whole school with the way they all end up cross-dating. For example: Lucas + literally every character.
Brooke & Lucas - troublesome relationship

(Ok Brooke, calm down u r crazy)

Lucas & Rachel - idk what even happened here


Lucas & Peyton - the pair I've loved since episode 1

(Ah yeeees I approve of this pairing.)

Basically he dates everyone and it's a tad bit creepy. There's also crazy stuff that happens in literally every episode--i.e. teens getting married at 16, everyone getting pregnant at the same time, online stalkers pretending to be Peyton's brother, sociopaths all over, etc.......

I'll tell ya, it definitely keeps life interesting. Maybe a little too interesting...I find myself telling stories more dramatically lately and then I think "Is OTH actually influencing my life choices??" Maybe?! I don't know?! All I know is that I can't stop watching it, it's addicting. No shame I'm 5 seasons in and won't stop till I'm done. Have I mentioned how awesome the soundtrack is as well. Snaps for 90's and early 2000's music choices. Not to mention the actors sing on the show....pretty cool

(If any of you readers watch this show and want to discuss the craziness/awesomeness that is One Tree Hill, plz do. It'll be a great time.)

The League

So we are in the middle of the football season right now, and many are checking their teams religiously. What teams am I referring to? Fantasy football teams. This game allows people to go head to head each week with individually drafted players to earn points based on their performance. It adds a little bit to the experience rather than just watching football. So how could a show possibly be made solely on this concept. I would've never been able to answer this myself, but it has been done in the form of The League.

This show is a sitcom that revolves around a few characters in a fantasy football league, and each season of the show follows them throughout the football season. The season opener usually deals with their wild drafting antics and the season closes with someone claiming victory and "the Shiva". The show also follows their personal lives as the get themselves into all kinds of awkward situations and bicker with each other nonstop. Honestly, the show doesn't even sound like it should work but it does.
Technically, the show is pretty basic, following basic rules like other shows, such as It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia. The main thing that makes this show pretty impressive is that he majority of it is improv. While they do have the general idea of the episodes and events laid out, the actors improvise the vast majority of their lines, and to great success too. Overall this show is way more funny than it has any right to be. A show based around fantasy football? Again, it doesn't sound like it could possibly be anything special, but oh how wrong that would be.

The Beauty of Food Network

Ever since last Fall when I took a Food Writing class, I have become an extraordinary Food Network fan. I have always been a foodie, so this is my dream TV channel. There are a variety of shows, some of my favorites including Chopped, Cupcake Wars and Food Network Star. These are all competition shows which make them similar to reality shows - its hard to take your attention away. For me, as a person not very invested in the TV industry, this is the one network that I enjoy watching the most because it better aligns with my passions for the future. I want to open up my own bakery/ice cream shop, but I also really like to cook. This is a great channel to watch as it helps me learn about ingredients and cooking and baking methods. I am not necessarily interested in going into TV anymore, but if I was to work for a TV channel, Food Network would be it. To describe one of the shows, Food Network Star is a competition series where fantastic cooks are brought in from all around the country. They then compete in unique challenges such as creating commercials and doing live demos at events. On season 10 of Food Network star, a local Ithacan actually made it as a contestant. Her name is Emma Frisch and she made it to the top 6 before being voted off. After her experience on Food Network star, Emma came into my Food Writing class and talked about her experience as well as her other career pursuits such as her personal blog. I am now interning for her helping with some email marketing and updating her blog. Somewhat irrelevant from my discussion of Food Network, but I still think this is a cool connection to have and it goes to show that making connections is very important.

 Another one of my favorite shows on Food Network is Chopped. Although all of these shows are about cooking and could seem repetitive to some, they all have unique themes. For example Chopped gives the contestants an opportunity to create an appetizer, entrĂ©e and dessert using four unique ingredients, usually falling under a theme. Cutthroat Kitchen is another one, where contestants make dishes but have to deal with sabotages put on them by other contestants. Then of course, you have your basic Food Network shows hosted by the Food Network stars such as, Barefoot Contessa and Giada at Home. Overall, Food Network is an excellent channel as it provides warmth, helps viewers to develop skills and has a unique range of shows overall. It is viewable for all ages and is a network that almost everybody knows and loves.


What has Shia LaBeouf become? An artist? Mad Man? Ego-Maniac? 

Basically from what I understand, LaBeouf invited fans to come and watch all the movies he's ever been in, in backwards chronological order. He stayed up for over 50 hours watching his own films and is calling it performance art. It just ended nearly an hour ago. He got up right when the last one ended, probably exhausted. But for some reason everyone who knew about it, LOVED it. 

Look at just a couple of examples from twitter; people were eating it up. 


Hundreds of people watched as he laughed, cried, slept, ate and reacted to every movie. I low key think it is one of the most brilliant things he's done. Maybe he is just full of him-self and wanted attention, but you can think of many other concepts and reasonings for this event.

 Maybe he is making a statement about what the media chooses to cover? Or how people are so celebrity obsessed and idolize these people to a god like extent.
(Look at Ithaca's own Cat V's tweet about his event, #allmymovies)

I think we can all agree it's a very strange phenomenon no matter what his reasonings may or may not have been. 


Being sick is definitely a blessing and a curse! On one hand I can actually catch up on all the new TV series I’m either behind or completely missed out on which is great and quite relaxing at times. But on the other hand its horrible because I’m starting to miss class and fall a tad bit behind on my work. This time of year is the beginning of the depression for Ithaca College students, its the time when we all become homesick, the skies are constantly  grey and the temperatures begin to drop. Being homesick and being physically sick is just never a great combination. However, I have great friends that keep me moving along and have really been taking care of me! 

Series I caught up on:
I was a little nervous about the second season of Gotham but they definitely returned better than ever, every episode is completely intriguing and the endings always manage to piss me off (in a good way!) The art design and production design in the show is still phenomenal and the character development is very much appreciated. I would even go as far as to say that it is visually appealing. 

Scream Queens
In the beginning I was nervous about watching this show, I’m not into horror and I don’t find the Scary Movies humorous, so when i read reviews stating how this series was along those lines I was for lack of better words, hesitant. I’m pleased to say I’m actually loving this show I find it to be a television adaption of the game whodunit, where theres a massive amount of murders surrounding one household, but the serial killer can’t be picked because everyone has motive to kill. The show does a great job at capturing and keeping your attention, you remained invested in not all but most characters, and most of all you always come back because you want to know, who did it! I also appreciate that the script for Scream Queens tackles conversational topics in a comical way, that way the audience understands how outrageous this topics are but are not offended or overwhelmed by the material. It’s a smart move. 

Films I’ve Watched: 
 I was in a romantic comedy type mood this weekend and decided why not watch films are completely predictable. 

Love & Other Drugs
Staring Jake Gyllenhaal and Anne Hathaway, this is definitely not Princess Diaries, there is a lot of sex. But the storyline is quite interesting, a free-spirited young woman meets her match in a pharmaceutical salesman, and the couple soon discover that the chemistry between them is stronger than any other drug. My thoughts: She is 26 with Parkinson's Disease and he sales pharmaceuticals, whats the worst that can happen?

Something Borrowed 
Starring Ginnifer Goodwin, Kate Hudson, and Colin Egglesfield, this film is you classic romantic comedy involving a love triangle, or possibly a rectangle turned octagon— i don’t know but there is a lot of people in love with other people who don’t love them back because there too business trying to get another person to love them. In short it’s conducing but the film does a better job at describing it than i am. In short: Some friendships are tested and secrets come to surface when Rachel (Ginnifer Goodwin)falls in love with Dex (Collin Egglesfield), her best friend Darcy’s (Kate Hudson) fiance.

Outside of catching up on new television series and watching pretty cheesy films while drinking tons of water and Gatorade and eating nothing but soups while blowing my nose in millions of tissues…. and eating halls like gummy bears..

 I did have the chance to relax a bit and start sketching, and that has been the biggest achievement of all :) 

Stay healthy everyone, 


Monday, November 9, 2015

My Favorite Film

So earlier in the year I remember seeing a lot of "My Favorite Film" posts on this blog, and it got me thinking about some of my favorite movies. My taste in films is all over the place and I often find myself liking films that others find either over the top or boring. Overall what I look for in films is to experience something new, to feel something that wouldn't come naturally to me in the real world. One director that has impressed me time and time again is Tim Burton. Burton has taken a lot of heat over the years for his creative choices, but to this day I cannot name a Burton film, aside from maybe Alice in Wonderland, that I did not thoroughly enjoy. So without further adieu here is a mini breakdown of one of my favorite movies of all time:

Charlie and the Chocolate Factory

I watched this movie four times in the theater when it came out. I even went to my town's local video rental store and begged them to let me have the official movie poster that they had hanging in their front window. This movie was successful for so many reasons but in the interest of not further outing myself as a weirdo allow be to begin my analysis with:

I mean just look at those bad boys. Each set is so unique and vivid and works perfectly to stimulate and emotional response from the audience. Burton gets a lot of heat for starting his movies off gray, british and bland, but that's only so he can make the introduction of color that much more significant.
The Music
So once the movie begins to kick off and we've established that Charlie Bucket and his family are literally in the brink of poverty we begin to understand the real stakes of this factory tour. All the music in this movie thus far has been mostly grand, emotional, and mystical. Everything feels so bleak and hopeless and then once the factory doors finally open we're greeted with this.
It's sugary ridiculousness borders on the psychotic. It's a perfect way of showing how distant Wonka's psyche is from the poverty and hardships that surround him. It also serves as a way of presenting his egomania to the children of the parents who are about to willingly allow a mad man escort their children around a chocolate factory.
Shot Composition

All about that symmetry. I'm gonna cap off my review here but let me just say that what I love most about Burton is that he seems like he cares deeply about the films he makes. Even after watching this movie about a bazillion times I still find myself catching little details that make the whole experience enjoyable again. I can honestly say that I think this film couldn't have been pulled off by any current mainstream director quite as well.