While in Miami on official TGS business, I joined my friend Nick on a road trip to visit his grandmother in Boca Raton. We felt like doing something adventurous on our weekend off, and when a spontaneous trip to Cuba didn’t pan out (due to their visa restrictions, not ours), I decided to tag along for his mini-family reunion. The point of the trip wasn’t to craft a story or film anything; we were there to visit a lovely woman and enjoy some peace and quiet pre-Costa Rica. However, when we embarked on an exploration of the neighborhood in a retro golf cart, the inspiration flowed.Read More
One of my favorite weekends involved a road trip to the Coromandel to celebrate Nick’s birthday at the newly-purchased home of Andrew McLean. We had a complete blast making music with melodeons and djembes, rebuilding bonfires on the beach, and eating crazy amounts of barbecued meats and veggies. I have never witnessed such a unified affinity for nature by a country. Through the channel of our local contact, it felt like we got a taste of this focus on the outdoors and the joys of sharing it with friends. I endeavor to adopt a little of this and take it with me wherever I go next.Read More
Thought it wasn't my first choice to attend virtually, it was my only realistic option, as I was deeply embedded in school on May 1st, the day of the event. But this was a big moment for me, a first exhibition for an art major and with deep significance in location at that. I wanted to be able to absorb these factors viscerally and emerge from the experience enriched and with the sense that I had exhibited work always meant for others' eyes.Read More
My "Spring Break 2013" does not yet resemble Harmony Korine's visions of debauchery, but I've been enjoying this week, one unlike the usual work week. I decided that during this two-week break from school, I would relax in Boston and then use the second week to get closer to the sun. During this Boston-based break week, I've been getting back in touch with this ole blog-o-mine, photography, and activities I rarely enjoy at work, like reading or going to events around the city. Though my attempt to see an advanced screening at a cool, old movie theater didn't pan out, I was successful in attending a speaker event at MIT's Media Lab.Read More
It's about the constant pursuit of a deeper connection with a place and its people. This facilitates learning, when exposure leads to questions and answers (or further questioning) and possibly even understanding. A nomad learns by sticking around, talking with people, dropping their guard, and observing moments that ultimately inspire greater inquiry. This path lends to introspection and assurance that one's path leads to fulfillment and, as a result, a better world.Read More
On Friday evening, I was captivated by the oncoming snowstorm called Nemo that blanketed the city of Boston. From a perch overlooking the State House and the Boston Common, I could watch the sky darken and the air become increasingly opaque.Read More
I like telling stories around the world: in written form, through snazzy visuals, and from both experiential and academic perspectives. I would do this of my own volition (ahem, Nomadderwhere), but thankfully my job allows me to do this for pay every day. From time to time though, I also make marketing videos to give more context of this visionary establishment that houses such endeavors. Here are the latest ones of note.Read More
Here's hoping border crossings are all fresh. Visiting Uruguay a few weekends ago reminded me how lucky I have been to see different countries. I wanted to reflect my appreciation for a new place with a new video technique: light leaks.Read More
It's time to navigate away from Indiana again. The school year is starting, and I'm about to move to a country I've never visited. Come Tuesday, I will have some new students, new co-workers, a new home with someone else's furniture, and a new culture to study...thankfully in a language I'm already comfortable with. Last year's school locations of Ecuador, Thailand, and Germany look to be replaced by some diverse locales, all brought to you by the letter "B".Read More
I spent my childhood in Wabash (and took innumerable visits in the last twelve years), and this was one of my top ten favorite mornings in my hometown. Maybe it had something to do with flying above the trees with the wind in my hair. Remember, I'm a converted adrenaline junkie...when the wind is just right.
This is a promotional video for the clean-up efforts of the Wabash River Defenders.
I've finally stopped moving for a while. Want to see what I've found as of lately?
World travel on Nike's dime
Nike made a new product that basically detects energy expended (a.k.a. Nike Fuel) throughout your typical, active day, and with this new product comes an intense online marketing campaign called #makeitcount. This video, created by Casey Neistat and Max Joseph, is reminiscent of the STA Travel Australia video "Move" and shows Casey plowing through his budget from Nike with 10 days of globe trotting. I just had dinner with one of the developers of this campaign. The world is small, people.
Advice for starting a creative career
This is good and giggle-worthy. Here are my favorite excerpts:
...it's true that nothing I did where the only reason for doing it was the money was ever worth it, except as bitter experience. Usually I didn't wind up getting the money, either.
IRS on your trail? Make good art. Cat exploded? Make good art. Somebody on the Internet thinks what you do is stupid or evil or it's all been done before? Make good art. Probably things will work out somehow, and eventually time will take the sting away, but that doesn't matter. Do what only you do best. Make good art.
The urge, starting out, is to copy. And that's not a bad thing. Most of us only find our own voices after we've sounded like a lot of other people. But the one thing that you have that nobody else has is you. Your voice, your mind, your story, your vision. So write and draw and build and play and dance and live as only you can.
The moment that you feel that, just possibly, you're walking down the street naked, exposing too much of your heart and your mind and what exists on the inside, showing too much of yourself. That's the moment you may be starting to get it right.
That was the hardest lesson for me, I think: to let go and enjoy the ride, because the ride takes you to some remarkable and unexpected places.
Getting better production audio: who wouldn't want that? STA Travel's World Traveler Internship 2012 commences: Matt and Amma begin the documenting of their European jaunt with this video of a Czech beer fest. Reinventing the office, how to lose weight and increase productivity: Though these days I have no control over what my office looks like, I like to take these tips and think of how they could again be redefined for this transient setting. The new MacBook Pro: No Film School explains the newest version of the MBP.
Update on Nomadderwhere
Throughout June, I felt incredibly confident in my role as media specialist for this world-touring school, TGS. I don't know if it was the homey accommodation we had, the energy of Berlin, the enthusiasm of the students, or something else. I created a rhythm of working and playing that felt solid and sustainable, which is harder than it seems to create structure in a fluid, ever-changing environment. It was so successful that I had time and energy to document for myself.
A few weeks ago, I packed up my ephemeral life and reverted to backpack living for about 25 days. After train journeys through Prague, Budapest, Salzburg, and Austria, I flew to meet friends in Denmark and said goodbye to Europe from Stockholm. Landing stateside in early July, I quickly picked up again to visit my hometown of Wabash and then the third place I'd call a 'home': New York City. Home is a loose term for me.
This summer break from school will consist of portfolio tweaking, reading of many travel narratives, home creative projects, and the ever-important duty of reconnecting with my community.
Here's my latest work:
- Q&A: Dealing with cash and cards on the road: Just my tips and habits at the current time
- Is it important to visit the places to visit from which your family originates: A reflective piece after a trip with a student to investigate her family history in Germany
- What creating art in a world art capital looks like: Two videos covering the Creative Arts curriculum in Berlin
Videos and captions are those of THINK Global School. The opinions stated in this post are mine and do not reflect the positions, strategies, or opinions of THINK Global School.
Some of my students called it "the best five days of their lives." That kind of statement carries a good load coming from kids who visited the Galápagos, the Amazon rainforest, and the Bavarian Alps this year alone. At the end of the academic year, my students were given the great opportunity by the school to live out their own Amazing Race through Germany, Czech Republic, Hungary, and Austria.
I went along for the ride.Read More
The last three months of living in Berlin have been culture-filled indeed. One of our guest speakers this term expressed his belief that if Paris, London, NYC, and other global cities had their heydays in past decades, Berlin is having hers right now. While it's harder to find a contributor to culture living in New York City than it is a financier or business person, in Berlin the culture contributors are the vast majority and the makers of the dough. If you're going to study art today, this is certainly a place to witness a present movement gaining definition.Read More
Though I'm not processing my own experiences in video form as of lately (due to lack of time), I'm really please with what I've been able to crank out in Berlin. There are moments when what I've documented for work has impacted me, mostly at Wannsee Haus where the Final Solution was created. In this great city of culture and history, cinematic moments abound. Here are the ones I've caught thus far.Read More
I first heard about the Camino de Santiago de Compostela in an art history course called The Medieval City. Dr. Diane Reilly made it sound rockin' - an historic route through France, the Pyrenees, and Spain that devout Catholics took to reach one of three cathedrals with the remains of an apostle, in this case St. James. Traditionally the pilgrims trekked barefoot and penny-less through the mountains and vast expanses, accepting hospitality from churches and homes on the path.
Between the 12th and 14th centuries Santiago de Compostela grew in importance and prestige, at times even eclipsing the pilgrim routes to Jerusalem and Rome. It is remarkable that tens of thousands of pilgrims chose to suffer the hazards of this route every year during the Middle Ages. A combination of the relative accessibility of the route and the miracles associated with the relics of the Saint beneath the magnificent cathedral were certainly contributing factors in its popularity. (Camino Guides)
Sheen plays the protagonist of this story, as a mild and conservative father who finds out his son died while attempting the historic trek. In an attempt to fulfill his son's goal and to process his own grief, Sheen treks the entire length, picking up comrads in a Wizard of Oz-esque fashion.
My parents watched this film at the Heartland Film Festival and felt it was one I needed to see. My mother reflected after our shared screening, "I got choked up on that car ride to the airport, when the son tells his dad he has to go because it's there. That sounds like something you've said."
We've shared many a ride reeking of the same sentiment.
A co-worker and friend from Ecuador is planning on traversing this route in September by bicycle. I've even heard murmurs at work about doing this famed trek and the powers of the introspective journey. I'm mostly fueled by visuals, which is why even though I'd learned about it in school and chatted about it with friends, it took a feature film with some of the Sheen men to make me add 'the way' to my bucket list.
“The Way” is at the very least an exquisite product placement for the Spanish Tourism Board. (Shockya)
I've decided that, these days, if I can produce a blog post a month, I'm a lucky gal. Lucky to find breaths between beloved jobs to do similar work of my own volition. Lucky to be able to reflect on experiences and milk what value can be gathered. I doubt the cafe I edited in today for four hours felt lucky to have a table occupied by a one cappuccino gal, but I'm lucky I found that space this month to process my August road trip through New England. What was meant to be a longer trek through areas of Maine and Vermont had to be cut short due to the panic surrounding Hurricane Irene. The trip had no conclusion in real time. It felt like a rush job of a trip, even more so the documentation of it, but what resulted is a video exalting the thing I studied most - the water that I feel sources so much of the grit and character of New Englanders.
I was surprisingly unfocused on my fleeting dollars being allocated to gas, the pile of money I dropped for the rental car, or my lack of accurate driving instructions or lodging reservations. The nausea I usually reserve for typical tourist activity - the expensive kind - took a vacation as well. Instead, I felt loosely propelled by the desire to consume miles of coastline and smell a breeze conceived hemispheres away.
Like gulping sweet water in the middle of the night, driving was refreshing after my nine month car-fast, a guilty binge on air, music, and speed with a known expiration. And with this limited excursion, I caught wind of what a conventional adult vacation smells like - not bad at all, in fact pleasantly normal, if infrequent and savored for its rarity.
But for me, nothing proves more fruitful than re-engaging in this multi-faceted industry. I like travel, media, the digital realm, education, art, and a unique combination of all. While my involuntary immersion practices don't allow for fully connected 'field' time with my peers, it's in those months between travels that I reemerge a human with new ideas and the ability to answer e-mails. And on this particular instance, I truly realized how few degrees are in between me and something I would love - the same goes for you, too, I'm sure.Read More
I've managed to compile myriad jobs and hobbies that complement each other, one absorbing skills to improve the other, making me feel like I'm ascending Penrose steps. I spent the day researching ways to improve filmmaking skills that don't include paying for or attending film school, a theme I'm covering for Matador. While doing so, I ran across this gem of a video, which attracted me with its RJD2 soundtrack alone. Also, I'd give 'the art of...' anything a chance (even that horrible Art of Travel movie).
Perusing the many videos highlighting brilliant title sequences in film and TV, I'm immediately jazzed about learning animation and advanced graphics. My previous practice with titles in online video is to produce the title within ten seconds of its start. Aside from some stylistic guidelines, that's all the thought I've applied. With this study spanning decades of filmmaking, I'm inspired to pay closer attention to my video introductions, more than just watching the timeline and using a provided Motion template.
Perhaps the most intriguing comparison with past and present concepts is the affinity for an aged appearance. It's comforting and pleasantly dusty, and it gives me more ideas for vintage effects. Do you have any favorite video motif that you rely on the title sequence delivering?
If you like or produce film, I encourage you to find some of your favorite movies and title sequences on Art of the Title and read the thoughtful copy and interviews below them. The post on the 2011 Emmy nods for best title is especially great.
If you get a little tired of waiting for my posts on Nomadderwhere - which I admit have become incredibly random and sparse - I'll give you a little supplementary material. Recently, I wrote a feature for the Matador Network entitled 'Why the obsession with time lapse video?' Have you ever wondered this yourself? What's your reasoning?
I'm reposting here some of my points, but be sure to check out the full post on MatadorTV and provide your own commentary.
Why time lapse for storytelling?
As a member of the MatadorTV triad, I appreciate the whole spectrum of travel video production, from the cinematic to the gritty. Video is an accessible vehicle for storytelling that can avoid the obstacles ever-present with language. And even though written word can facilitate a sensory experience, the combination of visual and audio elements is powerful on fleeting attention spans.
In browsing TV’s most popular posts to date, time lapse comes away a clear front-runner of stylistic and technical approaches, and these videos tend to follow a different editing pattern than most. Cuts are longer. Static shots are still dynamic. The resident audio is usually stripped from the footage and replaced by a soundtrack, and people still manage to follow a storyline and maintain focus on the evolving subject matter. Warped time appears to keep viewers engaged.
If you haven't been keeping up with MatadorTV, I suggest you check out some of the amazing recently-featured content, like this month of nature footage in Iceland, Ross Ching's time lapse of roads not traveled, and his version of 'carmageddon' with tips on how to create the effect.
Believe it or not, I did some journalistic research for this feature. For real! Home girl went to Wiki!
Why time lapse the subject matter?
Among the most popular subjects for the time lapse technique is nature, as evident by Terje’s work. This isn’t a shocker considering time lapse was made most well-known by Dr. John Ott, a photographer who documented growing plants. From the first time I watched a bud morph into a full blossom and added my own soundtrack of “whoaaa,” it seemed clear we could forever capture these natural elements and continue to amaze virtually everyone.
Of course, simply pointing the camera and tripod at any old vista won’t make for a viral, compelling, and timeless video. Ross Ching, a filmmaker in Los Angeles, stipulates, “There needs to be originality. There needs to be pioneers. There needs to be something more than beautiful shots. There needs to be a human element. There needs to be a story.”
Though this one borders on just plain fast rather than time lapse, here's my personal dabbling into the speedy film realm with my 'Nomadderwhere's 2010 in a Minute' video. My experimentations are more successful with work footage, which will soon be visible to the public.
Maybe our obsession comes from relating the natural world to our own human interaction with it at an altered speed, warping our day to day, minute to minute perceptions of being present and active with the surroundings.
On occasion, I feel the perspective time lapse affords me is akin to a mini-spiritual awakening, an out-of-body experience while armchair traveling...
Time lapse is one of the many vehicles through which filmmakers and storytellers have learned to transmit concepts from the world to the world effectively. And with the amount of attention we give these works today, it appears to be an approach that works.
Before I publish an extensive post that dictates my next step in travel/work/life, which I've alluded to on Twitter, I wanted to share some videos I watched yesterday as a direct result of this recent thinking. If you follow Nomadderwhere, you may know I've spent the last couple years chasing and creating educational initiatives. Having uprooted the family for high school, sought study abroad programs with fervor, developed programs in Nakavika, and obsessed over videos on global education, it's ever-apparent I have an affinity for pursuing and cheerleading quality education, both in the traditional sense and otherwise.
Recently, I received an invitation to visit China with a group of teachers and students who were conducting a school there. And by there, I mean China. The school was China. China was the classroom, the subject, and the geographical home - at least for this trimester. And in this non-traditional learning environment, I began to wonder which experience in my own life had educated me the most: the pricey private high school, the college years that tested my application of academics in real life, or the tens of thousands of miles traveled after leaving 'classrooms' in my contrail.
Here are a couple TED talks on education that caught my eyes and ears. Give yourself something interesting to listen to during your lunch break.
Many of my good friends are teachers, and I don't mean to belittle their training and/or approaches to imparting knowledge. I just think this is a thrilling concept of shaking up education, especially by means of travel and the world playing the role of inspiring application of thought.
Work and life update coming soon.