Entries Tagged 'Legit Blogs' ↓

Filmmaking for the Sake of Filmmaking

A Buick Rendezvous rolled through Outer Drive. The woman in the front passenger seat frantically pointed in the direction that she wanted us to go. As the driver, I coolly reassured her that I knew where I was going. While that wasn’t entirely true, I had a good idea of where to go. We turned left onto Lewis, and quite promptly turned again onto a wide gravel road.

“Okay, now I’ll need some direction.”

“Just keep going straight,” she calmly replied. The passenger behind us let out a chuckle as he watched our back and forth conversation.

We made our down the gravel road, with a few soft curves here and there, but not enough to inhibit my driving. We soon encountered a ‘tunnel of trees’, as Regan Hanna, the woman passenger, refered to it. The road was riddled with trees on the side that grew tall enough to reach over and connect, making the canopy hang above our heads but still allowing enough room to drive.

“Wow, this would be a really cool location to film an ambush scene,” Max Servis, the rear passenger, laughed in awe.

“Yeah, there’s some pretty sweet places up here that we can use for the Post-Apocalyptic,” Regan casually replied. “Just wait ’til you see the farm.”

Once we passed the tree tunnel, it was only a few more curves and a left turn until we were at the farm. There were some houses nearby that gave somewhat of a village ambiance to the farm. As we exited the vehicle, Regan immediately led us around the farm to show us the various parts that would be suitable backdrops for a post-apocalyptic film.

If it’s not obvious by now, these three people (including myself) are filmmakers. We are part of a larger group known as Fatal Nostalgia. It’s a close-knit, loosely organized crew of filmmakers that post various types of videos to YouTube. The number of people that have been involved in videos numbers to 26, but the number of “official” members spans from five to ten.

“So who’s all the official members?” Max asked as we made our way to Wal-Mart. I went to explain that it’s a somewhat loose hierarchy…

There’s a sort of difference in rank of who has to be involved in the videos (Any video will require at least one of the three): Kelsey, Sam, and myself. Then there are two who have major executive decision the direction where writing goes: my little brother, Matt, and our friend Mason. After that, there are four members who mostly serve primarily as actors with some creative input for ideas: Max and his brother Garth, a buddy of mine from high school named Ben, and a high school student known as Charlie. Lastly, but not least, there’s Regan, who had become officially part of the group near the end of the summer, but has proven her worth rather quickly within the group.

Fast forward a few hours to when Max and I were scoping our more locations in Sioux City while Regan went out to eat with her family. We happened upon what appeared to be a junkyard, but it was shrouded by workplace buildings and potentially unused baseball fields (we couldn’t tell for sure). Max was extremely happy to find a place that looked so run-down and secluded. “This is the perfect location,” Max exclaimed, “words cannot describe how happy I am right now.” I made sure to video record the entire area to show Sam and Kelsey (a simple picture wouldn’t have been able to show the entire location). Max was still full of awe when he started to cite what he was thankful for, “I really like how this group works.”

“What do you mean by that?” I asked. His statement could have had a number of different answers, but I had a gut feeling of where he was about to go with it.

“Like, everybody does different stuff. Nobody strictly does one part, they all work on different things,” he replied, with difficulty finding the proper words to explain. “I mean, when Garth and I were with our old film group, every one would play the same type of role and be the same thing for crew. He and I joined kinda late, so we ended up being mostly just extras and stuff.”

“Oh, I see,” I affirmed his statement. My gut feeling was not too far off.

“But here, we get to go back and forth between main roles and background people, and I really like it,” he finished.

 What Max was referring to was the fact that we tend to keep our cast and crew well-rounded. Oftentimes, I had been the one who would edit videos, but when it came to films that Sam did cinematography, he would do the editing (for the most part). In addition to the multiple editors, Sam, Kelsey, and Regan all have their own cameras, so multiple videos could be made in different locations. This form of divide and conquer allows us to be able to regularly upload short (usually random) videos without any risk of hiatus.

The group wasn’t always this big and active, though. At it’s start, it was just Kelsey, my friend Ben, and me. Kelsey wanted to make an improv horror film and recruited me as a an editor. We needed another actor, so I called up Ben to see if he’d be willing to help. After much of what could have been considered “dinking around”, we eventually finished our horror film with poor lighting, awkward acting, and absolutely no script. The experience was so fun that we decided to try again with some different genres every video. Along the way, we let anyone join that wanted to help out. The end result were seven “Improv” shorts of varying genres that were released every other Monday.

After ideas ran out and schedules became too busy, the group went into a hiatus. Nobody could think of any new ideas for a different genre, and barely anybody could make it to meeting times. Eventually, Sam and Kelsey recorded a random non-sensical video simply out of boredom and posted it to the Fatal Nostalgia YouTube channel (which had been inactive for a couple of months). The video met positive reviews when it was shared on Facebook, and all of us in the group at that time decided that we would just work on any video idea that we had an post it anytime we filmed, rather than attempting a different genre every other week.

As a result, the filmmaking process grew to be more fun than simply showing off filmmaking capabilities. Films can be as planned as “Crazy”, a psychodrama with a script written by Kelsey and her roommate Nicole, or as spontaneous as “Shattered Dreams”, a nonsense film that Sam and Matt did while hanging out. Regardless of the amount of work that goes into each film, it serves as bonding time for everyone.

“I love you guys,” Kelsey sincerely stated as she looked at Matt, Mason, and me. We had just finished filming another impromptu horror film and were now just sitting in her living room, hanging out. “When I say you guys are my family, I mean that you are my family. I’m so glad that we do this together.” Kelsey often takes lead when it comes to the social  media aspect of Fatal Nostalgia. This film group has grown to be her passion and she plans to study film in the future (after two years of Gen Eds at Morningside or WIT). “Fatal Nostalgia isn’t like a family to me; It is a family. We are always growing in numbers and in ideas. [I] Love this group to death,” was one of the statuses that she posted to the Fatal Nostalgia Facebook page.

In the end, Kelsey’s post is not too far off. Aside from the fact that there are two sets of brothers in the group (Matt and me; Max and Garth), the rest of the group is connected as if they really were family. We don’t just get together to make films, we also get together to just hang out, go places, and adventure. It’s grown to not just be a hobby, but a passion for most of us. Matt enjoys this group so much, that he’s organized a plan where when we get rich enough, we’ll all buy out an apartment complex, live there, and just make videos for the rest of our lives. Though it sounds a little difficult to accomplish, I would be lying if I said that it doesn’t sound appealing to me.

In the mean time, we’ll continue making videos for as long as we can.

Scavenger Hunt – Sounds

I am in a soundproof room, and it serves much of its purpose. The only sounds I hear come from this room, and thankfully, there are plenty of them. Aside from the click-clacking of my own keyboard as I type this entry, there are three noises that somewhat blend together in some sort of odd composition. There are two sounds droning along with each other, forming an atonal chord. The hiss of the static and the whoosh of the fan press on together in some sort of perceived unison. Lastly, but not least, are the voices of two of my co-workers calling a local high school game. The rhythm of this noise is much less consistent than the others, but it seems to have a cadence all on its own. I’ve learned the cadence well enough to know when it is my time to take action.

Right now, I’m working as a “Board Op” for Y 101.3, Y Country, one of the stations for Powell Broadcasting. Y Country has a program called the Small Town, Big Time Football Game of the Week every Friday during the high school football season, and I am the one who operates the board while the sportscasters call the game. Every time a break approaches, which is signaled by the commentator’s verbal rhythm, I must play the commercials back at the station as well as rally the signal from the remote area to the broadcast waves. It’s a simple and sometimes boring job, but it’s something in my field.

Scavenger Hunt: Same Place, Different Time

I was given an unusual thing to pursue in this scavenger hunt. Be that as it may, it was simple enough to “attain”. I was instructed to go to a place that I normally go to, but a time that I’m not normally there and describe what I found. The results were less than extraordinary.

The place that I had inadvertently chosen was the MacCollin Classroom building (also known as Eppley Auditorium). I had nothing planned for my Saturday afternoon to keep me busy until my Saturday night plans, so I went over to Eppley to practice some piano (an instrument that I’ve started practicing more since coming to Morningside). Initially, I debated between doing that and going for a run, but my instincts told me that this was more important.

When I arrived at the building, the back doors where I usually entered were chained shut. I approached them , but then quickly decided to try another door when I saw the chains. Shane Macklin (who was speaking with Tony Hutchins at the time), must have thought that I worried about interrupting them, as he attempted to open the door to let me in, after I had passed.

Being that I already needed to speak with Macklin about certain matters, I figured that I might as well hit two birds with one stone and speak to him about those matters. Things were sorted out and I no longer had to wait for an E-mail response from him. Near the end of the conversation, Macklin stated “this is weird,” in reference to the fact that we were speaking through a door that could only be cracked open.

After the conversation, I made my way around to the front door of the building and made my way inside. Thankfully, the doors were not chained up in front [insert humorous chuckle here].

The major difference between Eppley on weekdays and Eppley on the weekends is the amount of people there. Normally, there’s one or two people studying in the lobby, but that wasn’t the case today. The only evidence of anybody being inside the building were random musical noises of what I assume were people practicing their instruments in the practice rooms. Of course, it seemed normal to me, as I came in for the same purpose.

After I had finished practicing, I ran into Chonosuke Asano, a Japanese student who also happened to live on my hall. Asano is a friendly person, so I thought to myself “might as well make some small talk.” Indeed, the talk was small. Asano pointed out that it was funny that he came into practice after he had just finished eating while I was on my way to eat after I had just finished practicing. He joked that we were taking shifts. I laughed. We parted ways.

Altogether, this “scavenger hunt” was rather uneventful. Not that I didn’t enjoy the experience, but there was not much that occurred that I would consider noteworthy. I hope that this entry was at least insightful. Either way, it’s good practice for my writing (which I’m assuming was the intent of this assignment). Thank you for reading.

The Meticulous Adventure of the Undesirable Box of Mello Yello

For optimal experience, listen to this whilst reading this story, as well as imagining the narration in a royal British accent.

When I had been commissioned to write a feature story pertaining to my experience of attempting to give away free, canned soft-drinks, I had not anticipated my quest to be an arduous one. What I mean to say is that giving away something for free is a lot more difficult that one would think. Of course, Mello Yellow is not considered the utmost desired soft-drink of them all, but one would imagine that it being “free” would make it easier to give away.

The journey started after I had finished my first morning class and had made my way to Lewis Hall to receive my objective material. It seemed to be an opportune time to pick up the material, as I had a class in the same building immediately afterward my excursion. The retrieval was an awkward experience in it of itself. Upon entering the lounge, there were already two people having casual conversation at the table. When I peered into the fridge, I had expected to pick up a twelve-pack of Coca-Cola, as our instructor had repeatedly said “Coke”, but instead, I could only find Mello Yello. Nonetheless, I felt obligated to mention that I was apprehending this box of Mello Yello for a class and not taking it for myself (perhaps, at the time, I was embarrassed to have had to take such an unpopular drink).

As fate would have it, when I arrived in the classroom, offering free Mello Yellow to those waiting for the professor to reply, I would be forced to receive a phone call from my boss (one he made in order to berate me about improper communication we had experienced). Due to the unexpected call, I had no choice but to drop off my twelve pack of Mello Yellow and answer the unpleasant shouting. As a result, I returned doubly disappointed that no one had even opened the box. This was an ominous foreshadowing to my quest at hand.

After a substantially plain class, I was ready to come to lunch. Perhaps, I had hoped to  myself, those attending lunch with me would enjoy an extra beverage that would not require a glass. Yet again, as fate would have it, I was forced to drop off my coke, offering it to anyone present, lest I suffer the consequences of having to wait in line for an extended period of time. Despite my best efforts, I still had to wait in line for an excruciatingly long amount of time to only take three chicken fajitas. Again, I was doubly disappointed as no one had even touched the box of Mello Yello when I had returned. The day had been turning dark disappointingly fast. Alas, they had happened to put cilantro in the salsa, so there was at least some good at that point in the day.

After lunch, I had set out for my third and final class for the day. I was fully determined to rid myself of this box of carbonated beverages that were becoming a thorn in my side. As I had entered Eppley  to prepare for my next class, I came to the stark realization that Nature had left a voice mail. I set the box on some railing, hoping that someone may just as well steal the damned thing.

After listening to Nature’s extensive voice mail, I had returned to where I had set the box to find that it was no longer on the railing. Had it fell? Had it vanished? Had someone owned the balls to steal an entire twelve pack of Mello Yello in broad daylight? A quick glance over the edge answered the first question with a stern “no”. Another glance into the music office answered the second two with an even harder “no”. Someone had simply taken the liberty to move the Mello Yello from the railing to a safe table in the music office. It turned out that the culprit was none other than Professor Tony Hutchins, a bald-headed, goatee’d, motorcycling man who happened to be the nicest man Morningside College has ever seen.

Unknown to me at the time, this was the beacon of hope that I had been searching for all of this dreary day. I had needed to discuss certain scheduling with him for my involvement in Jazz Ensemble, and it just happened to be helpful that he was willing to take one of the cans of Mello Yello for himself. Perhaps, I hoped to myself, people will be more apt to take it, now that the box has been opened. I assumed that it is an undesirable experience for one to attempt opening a twelve-pack box of canned soft drinks. I would not know too much from personal experience, as I tend to avoid twelve-packs of canned soft drinks.

Much to my disappointment, when I had arrived to my final class of the day, the only person who was willing to take a can was the professor. When the class had inquired about the box of Mello Yello, Amber Burg took it upon herself to explain what my mission had been this entire time. Her tone spoke a semi-sincere “good luck” that one would send off to someone who was to an arena filled with lions while they were armed with only a rock and a stick. Despite her intents to encourage, I couldn’t help but feel that I may or may not be stuck with this burden of an undesirable beverage for a longer period of time than what would make me comfortable.

Fortunately, I had managed to rid myself of that rubbish before I even had to come in for work ( and receive a formal apology from my newly tranquil boss). After class, I decided to take a shortcut from Eppley to Dimmitt by taking the back door. As fate would have it, I would encounter a miracle. In the midst of the Eppley lot, there stood a man, seemingly of Hispanic/Latino descent, with a young face, but a hairline that had receded for back enough to not be excused as a high hairline. Little did I know that this man would resolve my long-winded quest to unchain myself from the burden of Mello Yello.

As I passed by, he kept on eyeing me. Unsure of his intent, I quickly shouted over to him, “Do you want some Mello Yello?” to which he promptly responded, “Yeah, I was actually just going to ask you if I could have one.” As we had conversed, he had mentioned to me how thirsty he was due to working all day. I let him know that I was doing my best to get rid of this wretched box. He informed me that there were more workers around, so it would be no harm if I had just left the box there. Inside, I was rejoicing, finally! My quest had been completed! I had received my reward of tossing this poorly marketed brand of drink. For now, I can only hope that I never have the displeasure of having to rid myself of Mello Yello ever again.

The End.

Scavenger Hunt Class Assignment

For this assignment, I was required to acquire a breath mint. Now, being that I already had two breath mints in my lunch bag from Vonda, I felt it was irrelevant to get one, but alas, I searched anyway.

I initially made my way for the Caf, hoping to get the same breath mint I from where I got the last two, but then I realized that the paper said someone you don’t interact with on a daily basis. I decidedly settled on people in the student center. Fortunately, there was a group of Political Science students with a table in the lobby of the student center, conducting citizenship tests. I spoke with Joelle Kruger, who was sitting at that table.

She mentioned she had a breath freshener when I asked the entire group if any of them had breath mints. Though, her statement about lending me the breath freshener was “can I have it back?”. I was unsure about how much time I would have to take it down to the library and back, so we just took a picture to prove that I found it. Joelle was nice, and open. She managed to coerce me into taking the citizenship test, which I scored 9/10. Joelle told me that she would have made the same wrong answer that I did.

“Do not conform to this world…”

As per class requirement, I took the opportunity to sit and observe people for 20 minutes. Since I saw plenty of people this Labor Day weekend, I found this assignment to be no difficulty, except for the fact that I have to work off solely memory since neither a laptop nor a pen and paper were at hand when I did this. Regardless, impressions were left on my head and I shall write them down…


In Worthing, South Dakota, this labor day weekend, there was a Christian music festival known as LifeLight. During this weekend, Christian bands would play music for free all while overpriced food and merchandise was being sold in shaded areas. The free music, of course, attracted many people looking to see a show. With multiple bands playing at multiple stages, many people were walking back and forth between stages to see different bands as well as purchase consumables from various vendors. I sat at the center point of this location in order to look at all the people that had crossed paths.

Objective: Needless to say, the place was crowded. Numerous people of various subcultures walked across the plane to see generally positive, encouraging, and occasionally headbanging music. Occasionally, there were groups of people walking with “free hugs” signs. Some people traveled in groups of friends, in such case they were generally dressed alike (possibly to more easily find each other). Others traveled as families (though not as often), in which case the similarities usually were determined by genetics as opposed to fashion sense. Nonetheless, as humankind is often referred to as a social animal, it can be expected that people would travel together in groups of people that share similarities of some kind.

Subjective: Because we hate different things. Just kidding. Not all of us do. But this festival was a good way for one to see how us humans long to belong. Not only by the patterns of conglomeration that people tended to, but also the fact that people came for music and speakers that told everyone that there is Someone out there who loves you for you. That’s simply how humanity is, whether you believe in God or not, it is obvious that

  1. Humanity is far from perfect
  2. We all need a place to belong to

Sometimes, people search for that through something as simple as a hug. I couldn’t help but feel that a lot of the people with “free hugs” signs weren’t just there to give affection as much as they wanted to receive it, even if it was from a random stranger. Personally, I thought it was just a way to get attention, but this idea soon dawned on me when I contemplated the reason why so many people were here.

And that’s a blip of the experience I had at LifeLight. Feel free to ask any questions about it.

Media, Memes, and Metamorphasis

I know this is late, but I’ve been severely hesitant to start up a blog again because the last blog I ever did was on Myspace, and we all know how that site works. Additionally, my C & C instructor was not quite fond of my informal writing style, and has docked me multiple times for how conversational I am. Regardless, I am overcoming fear and attempting to get back into blogging for the sake of my grade point average. Additionally, I need to ramble online again, because my words have been leaking into my everyday conversations and I start kicking myself for talking too much… I don’t really use social media for what it’s meant to be used for.

Speaking of social media (see how I segued there?), it’s starting to be used as its own form of journalism lately. In fact, I get most of my news from researching what people are posting about on Facebook. I have limits though, I can only take so much complaints about Miley Cyrus and the people who complain about her (seriously, I’m seeing complaints about the complainers). But pressing issues such as the missile crisis in Syria is something that I look into when I see it mentioned on Facebook or Twitter.

One site (that’s not quite social media) that was mentioned in the article was Reddit. Now, that can be a good source for reliable and relevant news, but, it can also lead you wrong, depending on which parts of Reddit you’re surfing. As Redditor myself, I can vouch that there are people who will intentionally fabricate news for the sake of comedy, and that there are way too gullible people out there.
But as I had mentioned, it all depends on which part of the site that you are on. /r/worldnews is a good source to news sites that post articles about things going on in the world. People that post comments on those subreddits tend to be more serious in demeanor (unless, of course, the news is light enough for people to joke about). /r/pics might be helpful too, depending on what is going on in the world. On the other hand, if one were to visit /r/funny, reliable news is not likely, as people have a tendency to exemplify, rehash, and photoshop things to take on a more comical effect. It’s never to a terrible degree, since the things that show up are based off of a general consensus of approval via “upvotes’ and “downvotes”. You would not likely find something overly offensive unless you were surfing /r/imgoingtohellforthis. Then it would have to be offensive.

You know what? I’m going too far into detail about this site. Social media and internet have been figuratively labeled as murderers of the news, but in all reality, it’s just a reshaping, if not modification, of modern news. People still broadcast on the news. It may not get as much attention from the general population as it used to, but news is still being broadcasted, and as far as I can tell (which is an unreliable viewpoint), it’s not declining. In face, many news stations are now asking people to “like” them on Facebook and “follow” them on Twitter. They can still broadcast (since it’s technically a broad cast) news and other information to a general audience, it’s just not in the same format through the same medium.

In all reality, news and journalism are never going to die. As far as I can tell, it’s like energy and mass: it can’t be destroyed, but it can be converted into a state that is not quite as recognizable and deceptively similar to destruction. Even if journalism dies out on television and radio, it will still be alive in its clone on the internet. Jobs may deplete, but that’s just conversion of journalism from a job you get paid for into something like driving a car (most people do it, and those who don’t tend to be socially outcasted to a certain degree). Similar to how musicianship started out as a communal thing, turned into a professional thing, and then turned into a corporate thing with communal and professional things of it still going on. Not the best analogy, but I think I’ve made my point.

If my point has not come across clearly, I legitimately apologize. There is a reason that this site is called “Ramblings”. Don’t say that I didn’t try to warn you through subliminal messages. I am fully open to personally speaking about this issue (be it be the current state of journalism or my blog). Thank you for reading all the way through this; Give yourself a pat on the back.