Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Programming Update: KUOW Weekday High Skill Swap!

PROGRAMMING UPDATE: Our Summer Apprenticeship Program is well underway, with advanced Reel Grrls working in teams to produce outreach videos for the Urban League of Metropolitan Seattle, the Alliance for Education, as well as a short documentary about the 100-year anniversary of women's suffrage in Washington State!

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

Video Blog: The Gaga-fication of Pop Music

In our third installment of the Reel Grrls Vlog, Social Networking and Outreach Manager Nickey Robare and Program Manager Maile Martinez discuss the recent "Gaga-fication" of pop music, particularly among female pop stars:

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

Youth Media Showcase: Press Freedom

Check out this great video from students at Theodore Roosevelt's Arts Media and Communications Academy in Washington, DC.

Thursday, July 15, 2010

Hello from Sami!

Reel Grrls graduate Samantha Muilenburg and director of Generation of Consolidation recently wrote us this blog post to tell us what she's been up to out East.

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

Programming Update: Animation Camp!

A couple of weeks ago we completed another successful week-long Animation Camp here at Reel Grrls. Open to young women ages 9-19, registration was so high that this ended up being our BIGGEST camp ever, with over 20 new and returning participants!

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.

After that it was animate, Animate, ANIMATE!! It was so much fun around here, with animation stations set up in every corner of every room and all around our neighborhood. Everywhere you looked there was clay, glitter, paint, paper of all shapes and colors, wigs, ketchup & mustard bottles with faces, and just a general amazingness of chaotic creativity. Not to mention tripods, camera, lights and computers. Awesome!!

Participants also learned about soundtrack creation and how adding music and sound effects to animations really make them come to life. In the eleventh hour, yours truly even helped out with foley sound effect creation in one of the films, by tapping into my secret talent: burping on cue!

The friends and family screening for our Animation Camp was completely packed, and everyone was so impressed with the completed films. Below is a small sample of the awesomeness. You can watch all the films on our Vimeo workshop page, and check out all the photos at our flickr site. See you next time!

Mamma Knows Best from ReelGrrls Workshops on Vimeo.

Wednesday, July 07, 2010

Wednesday links round up

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?
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