Director of narrative, commercial, and virtual reality

Film Portfolio

Project Greenlight finalist | Short about sex, death, existence, time

Lily in the Grinder

Shabbat Dinner

Comedy short about coming out | Featured in 55+ festivals

Search is Back

Featured on TechCrunch | 7k users per day

Global event handing out nametags on first Sat in June

Nametag Day

Uber Forecast

Tracking Uber's surge pricing to guess what the weather might be

Archive for February, 2009

At least this is still legal while driving…

I can’t text or call while driving, but I can still do this!
While bored on the 110 freeway this weekend, I discovered this unique brand of iPhone art. I took the photos by shaking my iPhone in particular ways at a particular angle while hitting the camera button. It mirrored the way I felt that night–out of it.

Hilarious: FDA Approves Depressant Drug for the Annoyingly Cheerful

Coming to us from the Onion News Network, ever had a problem with a person who is just too annoyingly chipper?

Thanks Tucker!

Is Hollywood Finally Starting to Coming Out?

“…Gay brothers and sisters,…You must come out. Come out…to your parents…I know that it is hard and will hurt them but think about how they will hurt you in the voting booth! Come out to your relatives. ..come out to your friends…if indeed they are your friends. Come out to your neighbors…to your fellow workers…to the people who work where you eat and shop…come out only to the people you know, and who know you. Not to anyone else. But once and for all, break down the myths, destroy the lies and distortions. For your sake. For their sake. For the sake of the youngsters who are becoming scared by the votes from Dade to Eugene.”
-Harvey Milk, June 25, 1978

(note that when I use the term actors I also include actresses. It’s just that gay actors are far more interesting to me than lesbians. I can’t imagine why!)

Oscars day in Los Angeles is nothing like Oscars day anywhere else, and it’s a city-wide event. Unlike in other locations, it’s happening right here – streets have been closed for weeks in preparation, on the way to Oscar parties, traffic was at a standstill as motorists gawked at parties being set up along the Sunset Strip. Almost everyone in this city is in the industry, spending their days reading the trade magazines and following the movements of studios and productions, tracking movies for years before they are even released. So Oscars are the most important night of the year, not just for those at the event, but for anyone who hopes to be there one day.

We went to three parties – one at Family Theatre, where Justin Lerner, a filmmaker from the RI Film Fest, has a strong affiliation. He won their film festival and they’ve been sending him around the world to screen the film – it’s a pretty sweet organization. Priests, kettle corn, and wine. Then we went to my friend Matt’s place, where a room full of career actors clutched their oscar pool predictions and shouted at the television whenever anything happened. The ceremony is a lot more tolerable if you know the players and the industry gossip, and this was a much more enjoyable ceremony than most.

And it was by far the gayest Oscar ceremony ever–for a plenitude of reasons, and not just the ones you’d think.

There was Milk, of course. Best Screenplay, Best Actor, best showing ever for a gay-themed movie. Whether it was Brokeback’s failure or Prop 8’s passing that did it, the Academy embraced the film. Sean Penn and Dustin Lance Black both mentioned equal rights and marriage equality in their speeches, and it was just about the only political message of the night. (Dustin’s speech we watched at the church…that was pretty awkward.) The Academy has a history of passing on openly gay people and projects, and this exception could signify the start of a change. When the “here’s a look at what love was like in 2008” features a gay kiss intercut with straight ones, you know something’s happening.

But far more interesting were the characters who we know are gay (as much as you can really know somebody is gay just by rumor), who are not open. The host Hugh Jackman, Will Smith, Zac Efron, the list goes on… Sadly, so many celebrities remain as closeted now as they ever have been, but I think it’s changing. Lindsey Lohan is decently open about having a girlfriend, and coming out is the standard last-ditch move for a fading movie star to get attention (think Lance Bass and Niel Patrick Harris). And straight actors are more comfortable playing gay roles than ever!

It’s my hope that the national trend of increased openness will mean that we start to accept gay actors as able to play straight roles, and the high-profile actors begin to poke their heads out of that dingy closet, ending the notorious self-hatred of this industry. Sure there is hypocrisy in an academy that promotes the man who said the above words, yet can’t come out itself – but it is taking time for societal changes to propagate through the industry. And mark these words, one day little gay children will believe that they, too, can be true to who they are and be accepted by the world and their peers.

Finding a job is a piece of cake!

From mylifestream.net

From mylifestream.net

Take it from an unemployed person who’s never had a career position – it’s a piece of cake to find a job!

Irony aside, I wanted to share what I’ve been learning about how to find a killer job. I’ve been searching for one since January, and it’s slow going. The economy isn’t making things easy, and the fact that I have so many interests and can’t drill down to a single job category makes it a challenge to know where to look. (The closest I have to a job description is “something blending film or video with politics, social justice, or gay rights, in New York, San Francisco, or DC.” It can’t get any shorter…)

I just spoke last night with Josh Mandel, a friend from college, asking him for tips on how to land the job I want–and his advice was killer. I realized that applying for a job requires the same kind of aggression as anything else in life – diligently applying to job listings isn’t going to cut it. When you applied for college, did you fill out an application or two and mail them in, hoping for the best? No! You were aggressive.

Most of it you could figure out on your own, but I find it useful (and motivating!) to see it all laid out. So from my experience, how finding a job can be just as fun as shoving delicious cake batter into your mouth!

  1. Start big, drill down small. What cities? What industries? Then, what positions?
  2. Make a spreadsheet. This was the big change in my strategy, and it makes all the difference. You can use my sample spreadsheet – it contains their name, location, job/company, source/contact where you found the person, phone, email, previous contact you have had with them, notes you have from discussions, and the next step you are taking. Then, include a field that is a ranking – 1 for somebody who is important to contact and might have leads, 2 for somebody who is not as helpful, has no leads, or is not as interesting, and 3 for somebody who isn’t going to help much for now.
  3. Contact everyone you know who might know anyone. Friends, relatives, acquaintences. Find projects you want to be a part of, and add everyone involved to your contact list. Tell them you are doing a job search, explain what you are looking for. Offer to buy them breakfast or coffee and meet with them for five minutes. Face to face meetings are golden, phone is bad, email is terrible.
  4. When contacting people, have questions that you want to ask them. Some that have worked for me include:
    • was this always your career goal? what else did you consider? what path did you take to where you are now?
    • asking them to compare different industries, sub-industries, or companies. “What is the difference in corporate culture between MTV and NBC?”
    • Can you think of any companies I should be applying to / have not thought of?
    • Do you know anyone I could talk to who would be helpful?
  5. If they know people you can talk to, ask how they want to go about it – usually, sending them the resume to forward to their friend is the default means.
  6. In every meeting, have a goal. End by confirming the goal – if it’s sending your resume along, or getting you the name of a person, or scheduling a meeting. If your meeting was on the phone try to schedule another quick one in person or shadowing them.
  7. Mark in your “next step” column to follow up on the goal.

My biggest difficulty is being this aggressive: asking straight-up for someone to make an introduction, make a phone call, etc. But think of what you, yourself would do if someone said “do you know anybody who would be useful to talk to?” Unless you’re a real douchebag, the person asking is so embarrassing to introduce to friends, or you really don’t have the connection, you’d help out.

Some tips I’ve learned:

  • Facebook is gold. Use it to find employees of the places you want to work for. Send them facebook messages or, even better, find mutual friends and have your mutual friends make introductions.
  • Use your family. Your uncles and cousins do things in the world…give it a try!
  • Don’t restrict yourself to people in your industry. Anybody you know who has been in the working world for a while may not have a job for you, but might know somebody who does.
  • offer to work for free – if you have to take out a second mortgage on your DVD collection, do it. Not at a company that offers internships, but at one that expects you to work for pay. It’s hard to say no to that offer!

So be bold young peers, and happy job hunting!

If you have any thoughts to add, please do so in the comments!

What?

Expect these kind of posts on my blog. I promise to make this blog about these things (or at least try.)

  • My journey in the world of film and nonprofit/political activism. From unemployed to changing the world, one blog post at a time – what I learn there.
  • My films and news about them – this blog will be the first place I’ll post.
  • Current events, links and commentary – news links, synopses, thoughts.
  • Thoughts on concepts I’ve been shaking around in my head – What’s going through my head, what I am ruminating about, what I can’t figure out. I didn’t major in semiotics, I majored in Psychology. I hope that makes these thoughts more helpful.
  • Funny links – dancing koala bears!!
  • You will never hear what I ate for breakfast. Or lunch. Dinner is fair game, as is late-night snack.

Why?

Of all the questions to ask (who, what, where, and when being the competitors,) why is the most important one I have had to ask myself about beginning a blog. A why is necessary for me when beginning this type of endeavor, because without one I won’t know what to write, and you won’t know whether you want to listen. And, as a very wise man said, only 3% of people in this world write down their goals–and those are the goals that are achieved! So I set about to achieve my goals…

Why is there a blog in this space? What will it accomplish? I’m trying to give concrete statements here, so here’s my current thinking:

  • I love reading other peoples’ blogs. When I have the time I look up the blogs of my friends on the ever-useful Google Reader. It’s hard to talk to your friends in such detail as they will provide to a blog, on a regular basis.
  • I have lots of things I want to share with my friends. Browsing the internet, speaking with people, whenever I see something I love, I want to share it with the world. I am notorious for mass emails, sending links of relevance that I think others will find interesting, or trying to engage friends in a dialogue. Rather than continue to spam friends who don’t want to hear, or to exclude those who do, it’s all going to be here.
  • I think I have an interesting perspective on the world. Here is the ego, but I say it’s no greater than the ego of anyone who starts a blog, or otherwise shares a thought. Here is my perspective. I hope to connect with others who share similar perspectives.
  • I would like to teach. One goal here will be to explain some of my knowledge of filmmaking techniques, or any other specialized knowledge I have, in a way that anyone can understand and appreciate.

And now, why should you read my blog?

  • Engage in a dialogue. There is a comments field — use it! Send me back your thoughts so that any blog reader can read them. Trackbacks (links to my blog posts) show up on the bottom too.
  • Learn something, find something. There will be a big variety of things here – maybe you will like some and not others.
  • Stalk me. This blog is an invitation. (note that I mean stalk as in “facebook stalk”, following someone online. If I find you on my property I am calling the police!)

A framework – nothing new or surprising, but it was helpful to get out.