Monday, December 20, 2010
Monday, December 06, 2010
Thursday, December 02, 2010
We love all kinds of youth media at Reel Grrls- not just video. We want to see youth embracing their creativity in any way that makes them happy. Check out this great piece from a young woman in Kentucky about the difficulty of finding health care as a low-income adult.
Wednesday, December 01, 2010
Women and Hollywood posted this terrible ad for BBC home video. Apparently men can have jobs and adventures, women just get to be... ladies.
Woot! Reel Grrls filmmaker Naomi Nelson just won the Adoption Stories Audience Award from POV for her film Why Not. We could not be prouder.
BarnMaven writes a great story on BlogHer about why she's glad her little girl punched a boy in the privates.
You may have heard the upsetting news- Comcast is seriously challenging net neutrality. Make your voice heard by signing Media Reforms petition to the FCC.
You've probably heard of the Bechdel Test before. Our friend Anita Sarkeesian made this great video explaining exactly what it is:
Well, right now at Bitch Magazine, Alyx Vesey is doing a great series called Bechdel Test Canon, cataloging some of the best films that pass the test. Check it out next time you're trying to figure out what to rent!
It's the end of the year. And I know that has a lot of you thinking, "Yeah, 2010 was great and all, but in 2011 I am looking for a way to really make a difference." Well, look no further!
Reel Grrls is currently seeking committed mentors for our after-school and school-break programs in early 2011.
What is a Reel Grrls mentor? Reel Grrls relies on the support and commitment of phenomenal adult women volunteers who mentor, train, and learn alongside our participants. We value mentors with a variety of backgrounds and skills to share: the main requirement is a commitment to empowering young women through media production.
In exchange for their hard work and time commitment, mentors gain access to Reel Grrls video equipment and the opportunity to network with other Seattle-based filmmakers, artists, activists, and educators.
The first step to becoming a mentor is to complete an online mentor application.
We are seeking mentors for the following programs:
Lights, Camera, Reel Grrls!
Wednesdays, January 19 - April 27, 4:00 - 6:30 PM
Saturdays, Jan 22, Feb 19, Mar 19, Apr 9, 10:00 AM - 4:00 PM
Mentor Orientation: Wed, Jan 12, 5:30 - 7:30 PM
All meetings to be held at the Reel Grrls office in the Central District
- LCRG is the signature intro video production program. Volunteer mentors work will small teams of 3-4 girls on short video pieces, usually on personal topics.
- If you are interested, contact Maile (maile at reelgrrls dot org) for the full program calendar - we do not meet on certain weeks due to school breaks.
Winter Break Animation Camp
Monday - Friday, February 21 - 25, 10:00 AM - 4:00 PM
Mentor Orientation: Tuesday, Feb 15, 5:30 - 7:30
All meetings to be held at the Reel Grrls office in the Central District
- Reel Grrls has some positions for paid animation instructors, and some stipended positions for mentors who will guide small groups of 3-4 girls (ages 9-19) through the process of making short animated videos.
Spring Break Camp: Topic TBA
Monday - Friday, April 18 - 22, 10:00 AM - 4:00 PM
Mentor Orientation: Monday, April 11, 5:30 - 7:30
All meetings to be held at the Reel Grrls office in the Central District
- Additional program details coming soon.
If you are interested in any of these opportunities, or if you have questions, please contact Maile for details (maile at reelgrrls dot org).
Reel Grrls mentors are a vital part of our community. But don't take my word for it!
Monday, November 29, 2010
In the videos comedian Danielle Uhlarik portrays a number of different cartoon princesses. So far she's been Ariel, Belle, and Snow White. Her quips are short lines, describing accurately how things take place for Disney princesses. In the Belle video she tells us "candlesticks are really good at love advice. Because they're French!" Overall, she does a great job of pointing out how ludicrous the roles for women in princess movies really are. The Belle video ends with her reminding us that "the lesson here is that beauty is in the eye of the beholder... as long as the woman is good looking."
I really love this series because it takes a complex discussion (gender roles in Disney movies), and makes them easy to understand, humorous, and enjoyable. If only all media literacy discussions could be this fun!
Look below to check out Snow White's advice for you. (Please note, some of these videos do contain a little profanity.)
Thursday, November 25, 2010
This past summer some of our advanced grrls in the apprentice program made this great video about how women won the right to vote here in Washington state. Check it out!
Monday, November 22, 2010
For information and resources on ending advertising to children, check out the Campaign for a Commercial-Free Childhood.
Monday, November 15, 2010
Check it out! Maile and I made a new video blog, all about the recent high-profile weight loss of Jennifer Hudson, Kelly Osborne, and Sara Rue. What kind of message does their weight loss send? Do we focus too much on weight as an indicator of health? What do YOU think?
Read about Health at Every Size on wikipedia. And if you'd like to read the article about body image and chronic dieters that I cited in the video, you can download the PDF here.
Tuesday, November 09, 2010
And as promised, here is a brief list of backup programs I have heard good things about. Be warned: I have not tried all of these personally, and I encourage you to do some research for yourself to decide which is the best option for you. Please also leave comments on this blog post if you have other suggestions or want to weigh in on which is the best backup program in your opinion.
• SOS Online Backup
• Norton Online Backup
• Acronis True Image
Tuesday, October 26, 2010
To ease back in to the Tech Tip Tuesday world, here's a quickie for you: It's about setting your scratch disks in Final Cut Pro, specifically setting your Autosave Vault.
We all know how important it is to set Scratch Disks when editing. It allows us to keep all of the files associated with our Final Cut Pro project in one place.
If you're like me (and the Reel Grrls crew), you edit most of your projects on external hard drives, so your scratch disks aren't set to your computer's hard drive. That's why this tech tip is so important!
Here it is. Ready?
Set your Autosave Vault to a different location than your other scratch disks.
Why, you ask? Well, the Autosave Vault saves a backup copy of your project every few minutes (the length of time between saving is based on what you choose in your "user preferences"). If you've ever had a project file get lost or corrupted, you'll know why these backup copies of your project in your Autosave Vault are your best friend in the world. But what happens if your external hard drive, holding your project and all of your Scratch Disks, somehow fails??
Hey, it happens. BUT if your Autosave Vault is in a different location ... BOOM. Your life (or at least your project) is saved.
Now go forth, and set your scratch disks, with your autosave vault in a different location. Enjoy!
Wednesday, October 20, 2010
(coincidentally, tonight the NW Media Action Grassroots Network & Reclaim the Media are holding a reportback from all the Seattle folks who made it out to Detroit, at Hidmo on 20th & Jackson at 6:30)
Reel Grrls was seriously representin' at this year's Allied Media Conference. In attendance (from left to right) were board member Adrienne Wiley-Thomas, participant Mariana Urban, staff members Nickey Robare and Lila Kitaeff, and graduates Tani Ikeda and Monica Olsson. What an awesome showing!
The Next Generation of Queer/Trans Youth Narrative from ReelGrrls Workshops on Vimeo.
Tuesday, October 12, 2010
Monday, September 27, 2010
Local Sightings 2010 is here!
For 13 years (wow!) our friends at Northwest Film Forum have been showcasing film and video produced in the Great Northwest through the awesome Local Sightings Film Festival. This year's festival takes place October 1-6, 2010, at the Film Forum’s cinemas on 12th Avenue on Capitol Hill.
This year’s festival features a handful of feature films, as well as seventy-five short films! Dang! How's a grrl to decide what to see? Well, you could start with the films that were produced by Reel Grrls mentors, staff, and friends - which are plentiful! Here's our must-see list.
1. True Enough. Saturday, October 2, 9 PM. This collection of documentary shorts features not one but two projects created by Reel Grrls mentors! You may have heard of I SAW U, which was directed, produced, written, shot, edited, and animated by Reel Grrls mentors and staff (including moi). This is one of your last chances to see it on the big screen, so don't miss it! WCF? was created by Reel Grrls mentors/friends Katie Gregg and Cassidy Dimon. It's a 10-minute "look into the underground world of guinea pig fanciers" and it looks awesome! Watch the trailer and get psyched! There are a number of other women-directed docs in this shorts program, and they all look great. Get your tickets for this screening here. They're going fast!
2. Drawn to Moving. Saturday, October 2, 7 PM. Animated Shorts! Need I say more? OK, just a few words about why I'm psyched about this screening: Nicer to Have One, the beautiful/charming/sweet/wonderful creation of Reel Grrls mentor Celena Adler is part of it! It's about the experience of being a twin, and it's a must-see. We also really want to see Gentle Giants, created by Clyde Peterson. Clyde is working on a really exciting giant animation outdoors at Cal Anderson Park which we have been following. You can too. Clyde has also made a bunch of cool music videos locally and we're hoping he might make a cameo as a guest speaker at our upcoming Music Video Production Program. But anyway, we think he's cool and want to see his movie. Plus, Animated Shorts!!! Get your tickets for this screening here.
3. With or Without You. Sunday, October 3, 9 PM. This lineup looks great, and we're especially excited about the chance to see Orpheus & Eurydice on the big screen. It was shot by Reel Grrls mentor Katie Gregg, and produced by a team of Reel Grrls friends from The Last Quest. It's a really beautiful example of pixelation animation, a technique Katie has taught at past Reel Grrls Animation Camps! Get your tickets for this screening here.
4. Objects in the Mirror. Monday, October 4, 9 PM. This shorts lineup features Betty. Not only was this film directed by Seattlite Heather Ayres, it also features a gripping performance by Reel Grrl big sister Davie-Blue! Seriously, the lead actress is the older sister of Reel Grrl extraordianaire, Summer! It was also shot on 35mm and has an amazing look. This is probably one of your last chances to catch it on the big screen so don't delay - get your tickets now!
5. Two Indians Talking. Saturday, October 2, 5 PM. This feature film explores the question, “When you do something for the right reasons, does that make it the right thing to do?” It's preceded by Unreserved: The Work of Louie Gong, directed by Reel Grrls friend and fellow youth mediaster Tracy Rector (she founded Native Lens). It's about a Pacific Northwest artist and activist who merges Native Coast Salish art with pop culture in the custom skate shoes he creates for Vans. Get your tickets now!
SPECIAL NOTE: Everyone knows that the Northwest Film Forum throws awesome parties. Local Sightings kicks off with a Big Opening Night Party on October 1 beginning at 9pm. It has a 90s theme, which is the decade when some of us (cough, cough) went to high school so that will be a lovely/terrible trip down the fashion memory lane. More importantly, there will be sumo wrestling! We wouldn't dream of missing this, and neither should you. See you there!
The Reel Grrls Music Video Production Program kicks off in just one week! We launched this program as a five-day camp over spring break, and it was such a huge success that we have decided to expand it into a 10-week program. It's a great opportunity to discuss the music video genre, what we like and what we don't like about it, and the cliches and tropes we want to avoid as music-video-makers.
This time around we'll be working with Shenandoah Davis! We're still confirming the other artists we'll be working with, but we know they'll all be awesome!
This rad stop-motion animated video is an example of what you might create in this program!
See more grrl-created music videos in this Vimeo album.
If you want to get a feel for what this program will be like, check out this blog post about the Music Video Camp we offered earlier this year.
You can learn more about this program on our program page, and you can also apply online!
All Reel Grrls programs are fun, but the Music Video Production Program is SUPER fun. Hope to see you there!
Tuesday, August 31, 2010
Last week we talked about what to do if your external microphone is picking up unwanted radio signals (if you didn't catch the post yet, check it out here). After posting the tip, I chatted online with friend of Reel Grrls and awesome video blogger Anita Sarkeesian of Feminist Frequency. Here's an excerpt from our conversation:
ANITA: love your short little post about the mic audio problem!
ANITA: now if only you'll make one about why my audio is always so low no matter what mic I use
me: Hmm... low audio, I'll have to think on that one...
ANITA: I got it to work with a shotgun put right underneath the person speaking, but any further away is inaudibly low, even with a lavalier.
me: does your camera have auto & manual audio levels? have you tried it on both?
ANITA: no it doesn't have that unfortunately.
It has "turn mic attachment on" and then you can adjust the audio, so I guess it does, but even when it's all the way up it's still low
me: Wait, is the "attachment" setting just called att?
ANITA: ya it says MIC ATT
me: Actually, "att" stands for "attenuate" and it is used to cut off high levels on your mic. So when it's on it just brings your audio levels way down.
ANITA: OH NO
all this time!
I thought it was mic attachment so it would pull from the mic and not the built in
me: It's a common misconception, no worries.
Try turning it off and see if it helps. Let me know!
So, the big message is: MIC ATT does NOT stand for "mic attachment," but "mic attenuate"! And what does mic attenuate do? It makes your incoming audio LOWER. What exactly is attenuation? Check the definition from this great audio glossary Anita sent over:
Attenuation: The process of decreasing the amplitude of a signal as it passes from one point to another. Analog attenuation circuits typically use resistors to reduce the voltage of a signal.
So, as Anita next asked, why on earth would anyone want to turn mic att on? Great question! Truthfully, I have never had to turn this setting on, but if you were in a situation where the audio was so loud it sounded distorted or blown out (like yelling & clapping at a game or event), or if you had a mixer or similar line-out attached to your mic input (mics have a much quieter signal than lines), you might want to try turning on your mic att.
To sum all this up and illustrate the point for you, Anita made this fabulous little video about our friend (or enemy, as the case may be) Mic ATT. Enjoy, and thanks Anita!
Thursday, August 26, 2010
Tuesday, August 24, 2010
Last week the Suffrage Team was setting up for an important shoot with author Patsy Clark. They had two lavalier microphones hooked up to their main camera and the audio levels looked like they were coming in fine, but when the camerawoman put on her headphones she noticed a low level of audio coming through that sounded like a BBC radio report. Huh?? That's right. Our mics were picking up a radio station!
Believe it or not, this happens all the time. Why you ask? Well, according to the internet, it can happen for lots of reasons, but this is probably the one we were dealing with: "Sound systems are made up of several pieces of electronic equipment as well as a lot of wiring. Each run of wire is potentially an antenna."
So the wires of our microphones were acting as antennas, picking up a radio station and broadcasting it through our video camera. Yikes! So, how do we get rid of it? Well, Claire had a neat trick to "shield" the connectors on the mic cables:
Don't forget, there are lots of different reasons why your mic might pick up a radio station, so use the bounty of the internet to explore further if this tech tip doesn't solve the problem for you the next time you come across it. Still, it might be a good idea to add a little piece of foil to your filmmaker's emergency kit (I know you have one!) just in case.
Wednesday, August 04, 2010
Mon, Wed, Fri, Aug 23, 25, 27
10:00 AM - 4:00pm
Location: Reel Grrls New Media Lab in Seattle's Central District, 1409 21st Ave, Seattle WA 98122
Ages: Open to young women ages 13 - 19. Beginning and advanced media-makers welcome!
Cost: $175, or pay what you can. No participants turned away due to lack of funds.
Register online: http://lucia.reelgrrls.org/webform/2010-summer-video-camp
Contact: Program Manager Maile Martinez at (206) 393-2085 or email@example.com with any questions.
And be sure to check out the Flickr stream from last year's Video Camp:
Wednesday, July 28, 2010
With all this production, things have been really busy in the office lately - in the best sense! Last week, we had two youth groups join us for a skill share extravaganza.
First, we had arranged a skill swap with the youth from KUOW's Weekday High Program. These are young women (coincidentally - it's a coed program but it happens to be all girls this year) who are learning radio production skills at our local NPR affiliate, KUOW. They are starting to incorporate video into some of their reporting, and they came to us to learn some basic video skills.
So the Reel Grrls apprentices put together some activities covering camera work, lighting, shot composition, and b-roll.
It was really amazing to hand over the reigns to our youth and let them take complete control of the instruction. They were great teachers!
Then we switched, and let the KUOW interns take the lead on an interviewing skills workshop:
They put on skits in which they enacted BAD interviews, and they were hilarious! We loved it!
Then everyone ran out into the neighborhood and practiced their interview skills on our neighbors at 20/20 Cycle, Alleycat Acres, and Katy's Corner Cafe (we have the best and nicest neighbors!).
But that's not all! At the same time, we worked with the World Affairs Council to bring a group of Iraqi youth in on the same day. The Iraqi youth were participating in a cultural exchange program, and they, along with some local teens, came to Reel Grrls to learn animation skills and produce short animated films.
All three groups - the WAC group, the Weekday High interns, and the Reel Grrls apprentices - got to know each other through some warm-up games, and shared our work at the end of the day. We are so happy and proud that Reel Grrls could be a hub for so many dynamic, creative youth. Big thanks to Jenny and Nathan at KUOW for helping to organize the skill share between their interns and our apprentices, and to our former Americorps VISTA Nickey for pulling off a fantastic animation workshop for the WAC group! Whew!
Wednesday, July 21, 2010
So what do you think - is Lady Gaga a true original? Do you know of other contemporary female media-makers who are producing creative, weird, utterly original work? (They don't have to be pop-stars - how about filmmakers, photographers, graphic artists or performers? Who inspires you?)
Friday, July 16, 2010
Thursday, July 15, 2010
Hi! Samantha here. During my Freshman year of high school, I became a participant at Reel Grrls, a Seattle non-profit that teaches film production and media literacy to young women. I fell in love with the program, so much so that I spent the next four years making media with them.
My Senior year at high school came and left, so now I’m old and graduated, living my post Reel Grrls life. I imagined that life after Reel Grrls would feel sad and empty, but thanks to all my Reel Grrls media skills, I was able to land a spot at NYU’s Tisch School of the Arts where I’m studying Film & TV Production.
Now a rising Sophomore at Tisch, I can happily report that I absolutely love it. My Freshman year was fulfilling and fun. I’ve taken classes on photography, digital editing, audio production, screenwriting, and directing actors.
As a filmmaker, I am concentrating in media for social change and youth media education. The professors and faculty and Tisch are wonderful, and support the wide variety of careers that filmmaking has to offer - even my not-so-Hollywood career goals. Next year I am looking forward to taking specialized production classes, such as documentary filmmaking.
Life after Reel Grrls is far more than my classes though. Living in New York City has opened a wide variety of opportunities for me, such as finding $1 pizza at 2am and feeling local enough to make fun of tourists. But those are just minor benefits compared to the opportunities I’ve had to learn about the many wonderful non-profits working here.
This summer I’ve been interning for People’s Production House, a non-profit that, among many things, teaches youth about media policy and how to create radio productions. I worked in their introductory schools program, helping 7th and 9th grade class in Brooklyn create radio pieces about issues important to the students. Now I’m excited to be starting their Digital Expansion Fellowship, a program that teaches advanced level media policy and journalism.
I miss Reel Grrls a lot, but I’m so thankful for the many doors it has opened for me. New York is a great city, and I can’t wait to see what will happen with my next three years at NYU.
Wednesday, July 14, 2010
We had an incredible group of mentors for the camp, including animators Tess Martin, Celena Adler, Nickey Robare, Katie Gregg and Suzanne Twining (who worked on the Academy-award nominated feature "Coraline"!), as well as RG alumnae Sarah (who graduated way back in 2002!) and Kinsey.
Participants tried out a few different kinds of animation: paper cut-outs on lightboxes, claymation, stop-motion with toys and objects, pixellation using SLR cameras and computer animation using After Effects. We also learned about the history of animation and discussed media literacy with regards to our favorite animated media (have YOU ever stopped to think about the female characters in popular animated film & TV shows?).
By day 2 we were ready to think about creating our final pieces. Everybody had a chance to pitch a story that they thought would be pretty cool to animate, and we voted on our favorites. After choosing 6 amazing stories, participants broke up into groups and started pre-production.
Wednesday, July 07, 2010
Women Without Men is a beautiful looking new feature from visual artist Shirin Nishat that will be showing at the Northwest Film Forum next week. I'm definitely looking forward to seeing it!
Our friend and fabulous mentor Wynne Greenwood (the mastermind behind post-Riot Grrl electroclash sensation Tracy and the Plastics) is teaching a workshop on performance with video here in Seattle. More info on her website.
A Reel Grrls alum just started the blog Queer Tibet. There's not a lot on the internet about queer in Tibet, so you should definitely go check it out!
There's been a bit of hub-bub around the internet in response to this article on Jezebel about sexism behind the scenes at the Daily Show. In fact, a huge group of female staffers from the show just responded with their own letter, saying that it not a sexist environment. And Amanda Hess at The Sexist blog responded to that. It's an interesting chain of events, for sure. But I'm curious as to why the Daily Show in particular is being singled out as sexist. The unfortunate fact is that the entire television industry, and all of comedy, is systemically sexist. So what do you think? Does it seem like sexism at the Daily Show is worse than other workplaces, or do we just expect more from them because it has a liberal bent?
Wednesday, June 30, 2010
Recently someone sent me this Frogloop article for filmmakers and non-profits entitled "9 YouTube Features You May Not Know About." A couple of my favorite tips are:
• How to send someone to an exact time in any video with a specific link
• Adding subtitles and captions
For the expert watcher of videos on YouTube try Cnet's article with more great tips, including:
• Alternate sites for specialized searching and sharing of YT videos
• How to customize resolution and size for watching
That's all for today, Tech Tippers. Until next time, happy YouTube-ing!
Monday, June 21, 2010
Reel Grrls is thrilled to announce that we have received a 2010 Mayor’s Arts Award! Out of 459 public nominations, we were one of three Seattle arts organizations honored (along with three individuals who were also recipients). Mayor Mike McGinn will honor all recipients during a public ceremony at Seattle’s Bumbershoot festival at noon on Friday, Sept. 3. This is the eighth year of the awards. Check out the list of other 2010 recipients:
Wednesday, June 16, 2010
Tuesday, June 15, 2010
Here at RG, we work diligently year-round to champion our students' work. We submit dozens of films to tons of festivals each year. In 2009 alone our films played at over 30 festivals all over the world, including screenings in San Francisco, New York, Athens, Seoul and Kenya!
Lately the good news about our festival screenings and wins have been coming in non-stop! Here's some of the exciting news that's been happening in the Reel Grrls film fest world lately:
• Celina's Story (not available online: to see a copy, buy the "Grrl Director" DVD here) screened in the Seattle International Film Festival's FutureWave Program, and was awarded a Special Jury Award! We were honored to hear the Jury's statement:
"For an honest and convincing account of one girl's life experience, we are awarding a new documentary filmmaker with a distinctive voice who we believe has a strong future."
• Two RG films, Betsy Learns About Judgments and Why Not (not available online: to see a copy, buy the "Reel Grrls TV" DVD here) played locally at the recent National Film Festival for Talented Youth.
• Why Not also played at the Chicago International Film Festival's CineYouth Program! Director Naomi Nelson flew down to attend the screening and participate in a Q&A.
• Finally, word just came in that Why Not will also screen at the Seoul International Youth Film Festival in (you guessed it) Seoul, South Korea! If only we could go to all of the cool places where our films get seen.
Tuesday, June 01, 2010
• Swap your unwanted clothes in good condition
• Enjoy music spun by DJ B-Girl
• Delicious pizza from Piecora’s Pizzeria
• Yummy donuts from Mighty-O Donuts
• All funds raised help Reel Grrls youth attend the Allied Media Conference in Detroit, MI
When: Tuesday, June 8th 6-8pm
Where: Reel Grrls HQ
1409 21st Ave (next to the Central Cinema)
Cost: $5 donation if you bring clothes to swap, $10 if you don't
Questions? email firstname.lastname@example.org or call 206-323-0693
RSVP to our Facebook event here!
Thursday, May 27, 2010
Ivory Wars by J. Michael Fay and Michael Nichols
Zakouma is one of the last places on earth where thousands of elephants roam together. But as perennial rains arrive to replenish the desert landscape, some 3,500 elephants seek better forage outside the park perimeter, where poachers await them. See the project at http://mediastorm.org/0016.htm
Originally posted by Mary on the fantastic Rip It To Shreds!
Seeing the glossy promotional posters for the new Ramona and Beezus movie starring Selena Gomez as Beezus has renewed the anger I felt as a tween when my beloved young adult books were turned into shiny, boppy movies that totally ruined everything about the books themselves.