Wednesday, July 31, 2013

This is My LA!

A project I've been working on is finally up on youtube! Basically, I kept thinking of all these things I wanted to show my family and friends who live far away, but of course it's hard for them to come out here. So I created My LA, a travel show. I also wanted to work on my hosting skills, so it made sense to just get out there with my handicam and do it! I had some help; this first episode features my good friend Cole Matson who was visiting me at the time (and is working on his PhD in Theology and Theater at St. Andrews...he does lectures all the time about CS Lewis, and has an interesting blog.), and I had a ton of audio help in the voice overs from Danny Fasold, who was also generous enough to let me use the music from his band, In Fades. Please give them some love if you like what you hear!

I had to do a lot of chopping for this to look decent, and I've been learning a lot along the way about filming and editing! You heard it here, kids! The best way to learn about filming is to do it! (Yes, I would greatly benefit from producers and directors and editors who actually know what they're doing. This was kind of hard, and needs a lot more work.)

Anyway, here's the finished product!

The hope here is to do weekly episodes. Part 2 should be up this Friday (hopefully) and I'm working on my script and voice over for the next one. Suggestions for places to go are greatly appreciated! I'm planning on doing mostly stuff that is interesting to locals, but include some of the more touristy stuff too.

Saturday, July 27, 2013

Eco-cast Madness!!

So, I had to do an eco-cast audition. Basically what that means is you take a video of yourself, upload it to a website, instead of going to an audition in person. This has a lot of advantages; the actor doesn't have to spend the gas or time on the road going to an audition, they can upload only their best takes, and the casting director saves time and money by not renting a space and having to wait around for flaky actors when they could be doing other, more interesting and important things. So, win-win. In theory.

I am, happily, in possession of a handi-cam, so I didn't have to record from my webcam, which the eco-cast site expressly tells you not to do. I recorded it, did several takes, and went to download it onto my computer. But alas! I didn't have enough space! "Not to worry," I thought (I think in a 1930s British accent), "I can put it on my external hard drive, there is plenty of room there!" I plugged it in, and...nothing. The computer didn't recognize it as a valid USB device. Fail. So I tried to move some stuff around, get more space on my computer. Still not enough. And yes, it works just fine on other computers. Fast forward a couple days, to today, when it's due. Out of sheer frustration I plugged the hard drive in again, and eureka! It worked! I downloaded the video, cut it up in Windows Movie Maker to look decent, and went to upload it onto the eco-cast site.

It was too late. The file was due by noon.


Directors, not everybody has access to a RED camera or some other fabulous technology, or FinalCut Pro, or AfterEffects. We don't all have reliable computers that are awesome and always work. We tend to spend any extra money we have on headshots, classes, and gas. So maybe give us the option to either do an eco-cast audition, OR come audition in person. I know, this is a scary concept, but you may actually get better results...on BOTH fronts.

Meanwhile, I'm going to tell myself not to be disappointed, be glad my hard drive is working now, and that it obviously wasn't meant to be. I'd probably be terribly unhappy even if I had gotten the part, right? Maybe the director isn't very nice, or they don't have the budget to do what they want and it's going to turn out terrible. These are the things I tell myself.

And now I can move on to the next thing.

Tuesday, July 23, 2013

Pen Holder

Well, I made another craft! This time it's a pen holder. I was inspired by this one:

And I thought...I can make that! So I did! It was pretty easy too. If you're like me, you have a bunch of maps in your car that have been rendered obsolete since you got a GPS/Smartphone. If you are even more like me, you live in a city far away from your hometown, your family, and everything familiar. So I chose an old map I had of DC. I never drive in DC anyway, the Metro is pretty awesome so I don't need to, and people drive even worse there than here in LA! I used toilet paper tubes as well, for the shape.

Materials needed: 6 Toilet paper tubes (they tend to just collect, if you don't bother to throw them out when you're done.), glue (I used a glue gun, but I think anything strong will work.), and maps.

Step 1: Measure the tubes. You need the circumference and the length. Then cut up the map in squares that match your measurements, using the circumference as your top length, and the length as the sides. Try to be strategic, so that the map pieces you choose have inspiring or pretty features. I picked mostly bits from the mall and Smithsonian museums. Cut 6 pieces of map to fit the 6 tubes.

Step 2: Glue the map pieces onto the tubes.

Step 3: Glue the tubes together. I did a flower pattern, with one in the middle and the other 5 around it. If you want, cut map or cardboard circles to fit the bottom. Or not, I didn't really bother with it, and as long as you put pens in each tube it won't tip over.

I did mine this way because I had a bunch of different pens I wanted to organize. I used 1 tube for my favorite pens, Pilot Precise Rolling Ball ink pens, 1 tube for highlighters, 1 tube for pencils, 1 tube for sharpies, 1 tube for ball-point pens, and 1 tube for other fancy pens. I just like to be able to reach and grab the pen I want without sifting through them all.

Anyway, this was how mine worked out!

I think it looks neat! ^_^

By the way, if you want something larger, use tin cans like this one! (I made mine like I did because I wanted to organize my pens in a bit more specific compartments. And I had a lot of toilet paper tubes and not a bunch of cans).

You can see how she did it here!