I'm learning about filmmaking by volunteering on a project I got connected to after joining the Toronto Filmmakers Club (soon to be "Association" instead.)
I spent most of the day working the boom mic (fun!)
Blowing bubbles has become a symbol of what happened at the G20 Protests in Toronto...
Hundreds of protesters expected to blow bubbles at Toronto rally
"Digital Journal reported on Friday that a woman was arrested shortly after she began to blow bubbles at two police officers. One of officers threatened to arrest of her if any of the bubbles hit him because it was an act of assault. The officer has been dubbed: Officer Bubbles."
“During the G20, the police acted in a way that directly contradicts how we believe a lawful society should behave. Many protesters and innocent bystanders were unjustly arrested and detained for up to 36 hours, some without even the right to have access to a lawyer or a phone call.”
Two things I've learned in Canada are:
A perogy is a potato based food stuffed with cheese or other tasty fillings.
Proroguing Parliament is when a Prime Minister closes Parliamentary sessions for a period, often to avoid facing up to scandal or just to get a nice long vacation (which this time was met with giant waves of protest in rallies today all across the country!)
Yesterday, the new edition of the hugely popular networked computer game Warcraft came out and the store where I work is selling out quickly (as of writing this sentence there is only one left.)
Today there are 263 stories on Google News about the phenomenon.
As someone who used to play video and role playing games, I understand the appeal. That said, some of the customers buying it look as if they do not leave the house very often and I sometimes feel like a drug dealer helping people get their fix. I have encouraged several of them to remember to go outside and play from time to time...
BBC Video: Hordes Greet Warcraft Expansion
related blog post:
The problem with WoW is that the whole game is engineered to be addictive and to get you in to a headlock. First of all you've got the point and the level system you have to work through - because we're all fallen sinners we are never content so you start the night saying right I'm gonna get to lvl. 52 tonight, then you get there and it's approaching mid-night and your thinking, well i might as well keep going for a bit to see what the lvl. 52 quests are like and hey presto before you know it your deep into lvl. 52 and you just know you've blown your chances of making it to the library by 9am the next morning! The other thing that makes it addictive and gets you in a headlock the the whole Guild thing. If your in a Guild with say a gang of player around lvl. 50 then you can't take a week or two away from the game because when you get back the rest of your Guild will be deep into the lvl. 60s. You just have to keep playing daily to keep up with everyone else. Vicious circle.
While it's important to have at least a general awareness of what's going on in the world around you, following all the crime and violence news in the papers, on TV, or the Internet really serves no purpose other than to make one feel more stress.
There will always be "bad" things happening, but is it really necessary to know about all the homicides that are going on in other places?
I used to have a job doing media monitoring (i.e. following the news for a living) and it made me nuts.
If you insist on following the news (some feel it's a civic duty) I suggest not doing it first thing in the morning. This will shape your entire day.
Even better: try a media fast for a week and see how you feel. If something really important happens, you'll hear about it.
Love globally, focus locally!
Television stations are airing "news" segments that have been produced by corporate entities more than ever. It's tempting for stations to use these as they're already pre-produced, which is good for tight timelines and budgets.
However, this is essentially about an attempt to disguise advertising as journalism. Unfortunately, many people believe that what they see on the news is what's really happening.
Fake TV News: Widespread and Undisclosed
Over a ten-month period, the Center for Media and Democracy (CMD) documented television newsrooms' use of 36 video news releases (VNRs)—a small sample of the thousands produced each year. CMD identified 77 television stations, from those in the largest to the smallest markets, that aired these VNRs or related satellite media tours (SMTs) in 98 separate instances, without disclosure to viewers. Collectively, these 77 stations reach more than half of the U.S. population. The VNRs and SMTs whose broadcast CMD documented were produced by three broadcast PR firms for 49 different clients, including General Motors, Intel, Pfizer and Capital One. In each case, these 77 television stations actively disguised the sponsored content to make it appear to be their own reporting. In almost all cases, stations failed to balance the clients' messages with independently-gathered footage or basic journalistic research. More than one-third of the time, stations aired the pre-packaged VNR in its entirety.
Pioneered professionally by Medialink, the Video News Release (VNR), the television version of the printed press release, translates the printed word into the sound and pictures television newsrooms need. Produced in broadcast news style, VNRs relay the news of a product launch, medical discovery, corporate merger event, timely feature or breaking news to television news decision-makers. Every major television station in the world now uses VNRs regularly, and most are from Medialink. It’s a fact.
The most efficient notification and direct pathways ensure that your VNR advisory and full script reach news directors around the globe in the manner they prefer.
No Fake News
Corporate propaganda has infiltrated local TV newscasts, with disguised product advertisements posing as genuine news reports. This represents a breach of the trust between broadcasters and their viewers.
Take action to stop fake news today. Demand that the Federal Communications Commission investigate, strengthen disclosure requirements and punish stations that air fake news.
I bought Rob Brezny's new book Pronoia Is the Antidote for Paranoia: How the Whole World Is Conspiring to Shower You with Blessings because I love his work so much.
I enjoyed this book but think it could seriously have benefited from another edit and some better graphic design (maybe he had tight publisher deadlines?) However, in terms of insightful information it's still pretty fabulous!
Here's a gem from page 44:
How did it come to be that what we call the news is reported solely by journalists? There are so many other kinds of events besides the narrow band favored by that highly specialized brand of storytellers. Indeed, there are many phenomena that can literally not even be perceived by journalists. Their training, their temperament, and their ambitions make vast areas of human experience invisible to them.
"Ninety-six percent of the cosmos puzzles astronomers." I loved reading that headline on the CNN website. It showed that at least some of our cultural equivalents of high priests, the scientists, are humble enough to acknowledge that the universe is made mostly of stuff they can't even detect, let alone study.
If only the journalists were equally modest. Since they're not, we'll say it" The majority of everything that happens on this planet is invisible to them.
Here's a tidbit on the effect that the Internet is having on how people get their news!
Democratic Media: A Do-it-Yourself Starter Kit
Running counter to this trend, there is a growing citizen journalism movement that is broadening the ranks of reporters and bringing in new voices that are more diverse and harder to tame than companies like Viacom or Disney. One of the most successful examples, South Korea's OhMyNews, has played an important role in transforming the country's traditionally conservative, corrupt political system. It has also become a commercial success and has grown to include an English-language international edition.
As the archbishop observed in his sermon, internet-powered citizen journalism has the potential to undermine some of the "near-monopolistic practices" and "control of the product" now found in the traditional media, but it has some problems of its own: "Unwelcome truth and necessary and prompt rebuttal are characteristic of the web-based media. So are paranoid fantasy, self-indulgent nonsense and dangerous bigotry. The atmosphere is close to that of unpoliced conversation – which tends to suggest that the very idea of an appropriate professionalism for journalists begins to dissolve."
Here are two stories about how one missing girl case has dominated the American news: one from the BBC and one from a Political Teen blog!
Missing teen case grips US media
Columnist and author Arianna Huffington says: "If you were to get your news only from television, you'd think the top issue facing our country right now is an 18-year-old girl named Natalee who went missing in Aruba.
"Every time one of these stories comes up, like, say, Michael Jackson, when it's finally over I think, what a relief, now we can get back to real news. But we never do."
The Political Teen: everyone drop what you're doing a white girl has gone missing
I am sorry to hear that another person has gone missing and there is no sign as to where she is. However, why is it always white, young, girls that seem to make news. You know there are hundreds, if not thousands of other people missing, but it is always the stereotype that is on your 6 o’clock news.
The United States government is now producing a television station for the citizens of Iraq. I wonder how this will go over...
Your tax dollars at work!
Good Morning Iraq: US Sponsored Television in the Middle East is "Cheaper than an Invasion"
Al-Hurra means "the free one" in Arabic. The station is intended to function as a counterweight to the Qatar-based Al-Jazeera network -- the voice of the Arab world -- which routinely portrays the United States as a hated and suspect global power. At least this is how America interprets the station -- and that's why the Bush administration has created Al-Hurra.
Al-Hurra's headquarters are located in a two-story brick building about 20 miles outside of Washington, DC. Most of the office buildings on Boston Boulevard in Springfield, Virginia, are occupied by companies involved in the US aviation and defense industry. Al-Hurra leases its offices from Boeing.