August 26, 2008

One-year NYC anniversary

I'm writing in my old bedroom with the pink and white stripes on the walls. I can hear a child outside dribbling a basketball on the concrete and a few people talking, the television downstairs and crickets in the summer grass.

I miss the ambulance sirens and garbage trucks revving outside my window.

One full year has passed. New York, once a scary vision of cabs and prostitutes and deadlines and excitement, has become my second home.

Pride wells up a little when I realize that I'm alive.

The last day of my summer employment was move-in day in NYU's Brooklyn dorm. I saw so much of my former self in every one of the wide-eyed newbies who came to pick up their keys, asking frantically if the subway stopped nearby.

But that's not me anymore. In fact, the quiet of my parent's home is unsettling at times. The din of the city, which I so often remember hating at first, has become my life's soundtrack, and I think I'm really starting to belong there.

However, the next step in this journey -- the second year -- when I try to actually make it financially after college, lies dauntingly ahead.

I begin my final semester at NYU in a week. I have an internship at PBS this fall. There's more than enough to do with a final documentary project to produce, a job to find, a place to live in December and a great many other things that are likely to crop up.

But I learned one thing for sure in New York this year: I learned to be patient in all things. The lights finally come down the subway track. That phone rings. And the world makes sense again.

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August 22, 2008

14 or 16?

The age of the Chinese gymnasts has just angered me the entire Olympic Games. I kept thinking as I looked at their obviously girlish faces, "Do they really think they get away with this? This is such a cheat -- and it doesn't even involve performance-enhancing drugs!"

I'm happy to see that there is an ongoing investigation, which was amazingly prompted by some super-hacker sleuthing. Cheers to Mike "Stryde Hax" Walker for not letting this go.

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Chick flicks are necessary

I've watched a lot of movies this summer. Most with this cinephile.

I've not watched my usual fare of chick flicks, but rather important films that I probably won't watch again unless I need a little AA -- Angst and Art. The Kubrick, Lynch, Cronenberg and Tarantino classics that are probably better for thinking -- not mindless watching.

I miss chick flicks. It hurts to admit it, but I do. Sometimes all women just need to be brought together in the special ways we all secretly hate, which are hilariously outlined in the following video:

But now that I think about it, these films serve an important purpose. They bring us together to show Colin Firth love. I can't think of a higher calling.

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August 14, 2008

It's fun to meet a French actress

She's gorgeous. She's pregnant. She's on the movie poster.

Those were just a few of my thoughts as I filmed Ludivine Sagnier at a press junket last week for the film, "A Girl Cut in Two".

I felt that I should have been more starstruck, but I've not seen her films. She just looked like a glowing pregnant lady, which I suppose made the process easier and disarming. However, a friend of mine who was green with indie-envy said I should definitely watch "Swimming Pool" to understand her superior sex kitten acting.

However, the idea of this maternal beauty in that kind of a role may just ruin the films, though -- or enhance it. Pregnant women can be sexy, too.

Check out the entire 20 min. interview. Yeah, that's me again doing the Grapenuts stuff.

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August 8, 2008

Carr-ving my way at Salon

David Carr is a writer and video blogger for the New York Times. He's also an author -- and a recovering drug addict and alcoholic. That last bit is why I met him.

Mr. Carr -- as one would refer to him on second reference in a New York Times article -- is quite the character. His phlegmy laugh, wide smile and are more than a little inviting on camera. And that's where I found him -- trained in my lens.

I shot this piece and edited part of it. And again, it was a pleasure to work with Salon's Andrew O'Hehir. I don't like some of the clips that were included here, partially because I was trying to refocus my shots during some of them, but that's what was put in. The b-roll was very limited because the review was of a book and we usually have film clips to cover the change in camera shots, due to one-camera shooting. But I'm happy with what we got together.

As for David Carr, I was more than a little excited to meet him. He spoke at NYU's welcome reception back in September 2007, and I was delighted by his honesty about the journalism profession. And it wasn't the gloom and doom bit that is so tired, which is so often spouted by journalism lecturers. He made journalism seem like an adventure again.

Since then, I've followed David Carr from the streets of New York with The Carpetbagger to Sundance to his most recent destination: his past. A few Sundays ago, I read an excerpt from his book in the Sunday New York Times Magazine about his history.

I was stunned.

The drama hooked me. He was an addict?! He was an alcoholic?

And then my editor told me I would be filming an interview discussing his book.

I was starstruck when I found him in my glassy Panasonic eye -- and so, so happy that my trusty tripod was there to avoid the embarrassment of my shaking limbs.

He was just as I suspected. Laid back, but right on top of every question. His unassuming, chill air is an impressive facade -- one that most journalists would kill for. But I knew when to pull back the zoom and when to go in for a close-up. His pauses and mannerisms to the Carpetbagger-trained eye let me know what was going on with his responses.

My video doesn't show everything -- some of my favorite parts didn't make it in -- so listen to the podcast (and subscribe on iTunes to us--Salon Conversations).

Carr really interviews well for a journalist. I've read that journalists aren't usually good interviews, but his was pretty stellar. He seems so comfortable in his skin, particularly when talking about his screw-ups. His self-critiques aren't easy, but they're fair. The interview makes you trust him and his viewpoint, while at the same time, ironically reminding you of what he's done and how far he's come. I caught myself wondering a couple of times, am I being naive? Should I trust this narrator?

I can't help it, but I think I do.

Oh yeah, and if you listen to the podcast, do you recognize a familiar voice -- yeah, that's me, "The Voice of Grapenuts". Ha. I get a good laugh out of that, but it's pretty cool.

Now I know how those women feel in the Sears catalogs when they look for bras.

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August 1, 2008

Opening anthrax again

The first article I ever wrote about in my high school paper was the effect of the anthrax attacks locally. I don't remember what I wrote, but it was mostly fearful responses from my fellow students, still shocked from the plane smeared across a too-close Pennsylvania field.

Some stories stay with you as a journalist. This one, especially, because it was my first, and because I remember the fear I felt -- very consciously -- about doing the very thing that could potentially get me killed someday.

Anthrax has popped up in the news since 2001, but never more so than today. A Ft. Detrick scientist reportedly took his own life after learning of his almost certain arrest as the prime suspect in the attacks.

I've read the news stories, but nothing struck me like Glenn Greenwald's take on the anthrax attacks, with his play-by-play coverage of the media's coverage over the past seven years, particularly ABC News. This piece of journalism is a fascinating semi-expose of bloggerific proportions. And the best part is, it sounds more like fact than conspiracy theory.

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