Tuesday, August 23, 2005

Poor Jay

My apologies to those still with us and actually curious about what Jay and I are thinking and/or doing these days - weeks. I am still on my quest to find balance with my not so new anymore job...lots of emotion there as I have never been a proponent of the work-personal life dichotomy. So, if I am struggling at work this somehow indicates a failing with my character...I know, I know I should be paying someone to listen to this instead of turning this weblog into..."Dear diary..."

With that out of the way let me write that I will be grabbing the bull by its beastly horns, creating a strategy for successful work-life integration and project completion that DOES NOT entail breaking off pieces of my very being and feeding said pieces to the machine. I am feeling a bit dramatic this evening...

My question to you circles the gray zone: how does one take a mountain and distill it into manageable hills? How do we work on the immediate while planning for the future and learning from the past without dividing our focus so completely that the three perspectives never come back together to share each unique experience? Why am I thinking these days about Kafka's The Trial? Perhaps a good sleep and less coffee is the simple solution for now...

Thank you for your patience and I look forward to re-engaging on a more regular basis.

And thank you to Jay for keeping our little blog alive and now fed (RSS!).


Monday, August 22, 2005

Hey, we have RSS!

Just in case you haven't noticed. Down at the lower left of the screen, after the links....
We have registered wih RSS, and Technorati. Oh yes, Jay and Nigel have made it to the 21st century :) ! We are keeping up with the Joneses! (Or the Rosa's or the David's)

I feel this is a prety big step in our journey towards success through blogging - and for those of you that haven't done this yet, I can attest to the fact that it is very easy :)

Sunday, August 21, 2005

Time for bed

I have to get up at 6 am to go to school... Yawn.

One thing I am learning: a great deal about myself. For example, I am terrible at working in a group. Give me an assignment and a corner by myself to do it in, and I'm happy. Tell me to wait while the group decides what we are doing next, and I start to freak out.

Don't get me wrong, it's not an in-your-face yelling and screaming freak out, it's just a bundle of stress, can't communicate or play nice with other children freak out.

But we live in the real world, and in the real world you have to work with other people (go figure) Furthermore, those of us that actually work well with other people will find it much easier to achieve their own goals - even if the going seems less efficient to begin with.

An example of this: my group work involved a collaborative writing project. I'm thinking "Geez Louise, how are we EVER going to produce anything, and if by some MIRACLE we get something done, how will it possibly be of any quality?" Well, the writing process was more painful than usual, and took longer than usual, but something interesting happened. When we were done, the report was really well written. Now, I know it's better than I could of done on my own, and I'd hazard a guess that it is also better than most of my group mates could have done on their own. Not that any of us are poor writers, it's just that six heads turned out to be better than one.

And I found out something else about myself. As long as I keep busy, I don't feel as stressed out in these situations (I guess I feel more in control) so, the moral of the story is: The only thing you can change is yourself. The only person you have any control over is yourself. And the only person that has the power to make you happy or miserable.....?

Saturday, August 20, 2005

Sorry For my Tardiness

But I've been at school.

I am currently participating in a very compressed term. We do four courses in about 3 weeks. I arrive at school by 8am every morning, and do not get home until after 10 each night. Then it's bedtime and I sleep until 6am when I get up to do it all over again. It's alot of work, but I am really enjoying it.

I'm learning about the nature of celebrity on a post google internet, and how good ideas (or funny ideas, or unique points of view) can spread. I am starting to believe more than ever what everyone has been saying about the power of blogging for your personal or business growth. I am going to get RSS :) And I am starting to get good information to back up everything we've been saying about self-publishing and the strength of online communities. It is a very exciting time!

I also have alot of homework. Case studies, Research Papers, Presentations. Reading, Reading, Reading. One I haven't cracked open yet but I'm excited about is Jay Levinson's Guerilla Publicity. I'll let you know what tips I get.

Back to the books, bye for now.
And If I'm blogging a little light for another 2 weeks, you know why....
But if you want to know the power of social bookmarking for self-promotion, just let me know.

Friday, August 12, 2005

Study hard... and get ready to get up early.

So after a brief film-making interlude, I am back to hitting the books hard this week. I start school (Bachelor or Arts in Applied Communication) on Monday. I am nervous about my Computer Mediated communication class because although the subject matter is fascinating, the course itself involves (gasp!) case studies, and group problem solving. No taking a break and reading quietly to oneself there.

I'm not always a huge fan of group work (except in film... funny that) Most of the time I remain one of those people who figures that I will get the job done better and more efficiently if left to my own devices. I think that is why this course is going to be especially challenging (and especially good) for me. Real world working situations involve group work. If I am ever going to become a good manager, or run my own business or if I am to ever become the filmmaker I want to be, I need to know how to effectively communicate as part of a group of people. I may also want to learn how to write fewer run-on sentences :).

Still, just because you understand that something is good for you does not make that something any easier.

Speaking of which, time to stop procrastinating and go study.

Tuesday, August 09, 2005

Two More Notes

A quote from a BBC article on those individuals killed in the London bombings:

The philosopher Hannah Arendt concluded that evil lay in the refusal to think. One of the things evil cannot face contemplating is variety. It prefers monolithic simplicity. Reality outstrips simplicity through a constant flowering of unexpected lives. Evil thoughts and deeds cannot prevail against it.

~novelist Geoff Ryman

...which lead me to this link looking for his online story, 253: Hyperizons – online fiction.

I do not necessarily agree with the premise that "evil prefers simplicity," however, I do believe that "the constant flowering of unexpected lives," what Ryman goes on to detail by examining the intricacies of the lives lived by those who died, cannot be negated by monstrous actions. The point being that we need to be continually reminded of the beauty in the lives of others...the uniqueness we all cultivate as individuals.

A little naive an outlook I realise but bear with me...

Monday, August 08, 2005

Two Notes

As a big fan of Ratball Productions I also encourage you to preview the brilliance that was the physical development of the characters for their latest opus. I know I speak for many when I say I am looking forward to seeing the finished product...

And...powerful imagery of war as executed by children in Darfur. Thanks to Kottke for the link:

Drawings of war from children caught up in the Sudanese cleansing in Darfur. "Without any instruction or guidance, the children drew scenes from their experiences of the war in Darfur: the attacks by the Janjaweed, the bombings by Sudanese government forces, the shootings, the burning of entire villages, and the flight to Chad."

Shameless Self Promotion

So along with making real world networking contacts, and working for free to get your product out there. If your product is, say: a random short film, can you blog it's way out of obscurity?

Hugh seems to think so. So does David. I'm sure there are many others who feel the same way.

So far my forays into blogging about my production company have been less than successful, however. My new site seems to only be visited by people directly involved with the above film project, not new exciting people who have never before heard of ratball productions. One of the problems is, when I shamelessly self-promote my new blog on this one, I feel like a used car salesman, or worse, like I'm begging for an audience (please see what I'm up to... oh please.) Also, my audience for Renaissance Girl, is likely a very different audience than the one I'm courting for a comedy about Dracula, Frankenstein and the Mummy (Chris Bailey, I know you're out there and YOU are going to love this movie - it is heavily influenced by South Park) Other than that though - Renaissance Girl readers generally like to talk business - and that is one reason why I've kept the two blogs seperate.

But wait - isn't making a movie a business as well? I mean, if you don't structure it right you rin out of money, and then you don't finish your movie. Also, with a team of hardworking people by your side, the producer/director of an independant film effectively becomes the owner/manager of a small business (or in our case, a not for profit.) This is totally relevant.

And it is important to note that the new blog has not been around for very long. You can't expect to build a loyal following in 20 posts or less. The important point is not to get discouraged. If you stop the movie blog now, there is no chance for it to get going.

And honestly, I don't know what kind of movies my readers enjoy. Maybe Rosa really likes comedies about Dracula. Maybe Dwayne Melancon has always been interested in independant short film. And perhaps Scott Hodge has always wanted to see a menagerie of people in funny costumes caught on film. I guess I just don't know

Friday, August 05, 2005

Hey we're on page 3!

When you google Renaissance girl, we've made it to page 3 on google! Oh yes, we're moving up in the world! I would like to thank the Ho'ohana online community ( I have to update my links list, sorry for taking so long) and all my friends for linking to our blog and making it happen. When we first started this blog back in february, you could next page on google all the way to infinity and you wouldn't find hide nor hair of us. Now we're near the top of page 3. Let's keep going. We all know nobody makes it past the first few entries on google, so I wanna make number 1!!!! It'll happen, I just know it!

And while you're clicking and linking - don't forget to support independant film :) ratball productions has some recent photos of our weekend movie madness - definitely worth a laugh :)

Wednesday, August 03, 2005

A Quiz...

From an awesome blog: the Phantom Professor (stories about University students that will curl the hair on the back of your neck) Thanks to David at Ripples for the heads up on this blog.

This comes from another prof here in Dallas, with a couple more added by me. Reminds me how often students confuse "then" and "than." Answers follow.

1. Government bodies said (A. eminent / B. imminent) domain proceedings were a last resort.

2. Mary said she had an (A. outer-body / B. out-of-body) experience last night.

3. The doctors discussed the merits of (A. preventive medicine / B. preventative medicine).

4. It was a no (A. holes / B. holds) barred discussion.

5. The Ironman competition tests an athlete's (A. mettle / B. metal / C. medal).

6. The river (A. teams / B. teems) with trout.

7. Before it crashed, the plane clipped a (A. guy / B. guide) wire with its wings.

8. It's too early to declare that this team is special. But it can be if given time to (A. jell / gel).

9. Charles Barkley commented on the new design of Allen Iverson’s (A. cornrows / B. cornrolls / C. cornroles).

10. All (A. and / B. in) all, the company’s policies were sufficient.

11. The boss decided the office manager could no longer cut the (A. muster / B. mustard), so the employee was let go.

12. The coach was the one to (A. meet / B. meat / C. mete) out punishment to players who broke rules.

For answers - visit the blog. Actually, you should visit it anyway :)

Tuesday, August 02, 2005

Jay and Nigel are Tired

It is day one of the workweek after a long weekend here in BC, Canada. Nigel and I were up until 3 on Saturday night and up until 7 am on Sunday night/Monday morning along with about 20 various other assorted hooligans and riff raff. Now, you may be asking yourself "What are these girls doing? Are they crazy, mad cap party people of the type I would prefer not to associate with?" To that I answer: "No, Silly - if you've been following my other blog when I have been directing you to it you would surely see that Nigel and I were busy making a movie"

It's a short film - when it's completed it will only be about 20 minutes long. For that 20 minutes though, we had to shoot 5 hours of footage (which will later be edited down.) Filming that five hours of footage took approximately 30 man hours over the weekend, and countless man hours before. I won't bore you with the details here, as you can read all about on the Ratball Productions blog. Needless to say Nigel and I, along with about 20 other people, are very tired today.

The great thing about taking on a big project that you don't get paid for is that you know everyone involved is doing it out of love: They might really like you, the project idea, or the other people involved around them, but whatever it is, everyone is drawn to work together by something other that the old "what's in it for me." I think you can capture this sort of love in a paying job but it is an extremely rare thing. Problem is, most companies don't know how to motivate employees through love or passion and frankly not all jobs involve work that is inherently easy to love. I do think that passion is the secret both to building a great team and retaining one - so managers, you've got your work cut out for you :)