Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Huff Post Live

My partner in crime Debra will be on the HuffPostLive forum 'Higher Ed., Lower Wages' at 4:35 EST today:
Show some love by watching.

(Will be updating the blog some time this week)

Saturday, May 26, 2012

‘Junct Tour Days 6&7

Day 6 
DLS and I packed up and left Leia’s place somewhere around 10:30 for the next round of interviews.  We talked to a woman who is no longer tenure faculty, which may or may not be addressed in the final cut of ‘Junct.  What we focused on in that specific interview was life beyond contingency.  The second interview of the day covered alternatives including teaching abroad.  
While we had expected more of a round table discussion for the second segment of the day I think what we got was equally important.  It also reminded me that people are still not willing to come forward on camera for fear of losing what employment opportunities they do have and I respect that.  One woman in particular, while not wanting to be on camera, was instrumental in putting the word out about the interviews we were conducting.  Even though she was gentle and soft spoken I sort of thought of her as some secret agent working covert ops behind the scenes.  She was the one that made Cleveland happen for us.
Once we wrapped (and collected a parking ticket) we made our way to State College PA for the final interview of this leg of the tour.  After searching for a good 45 minutes I found a place to pick up something to hold the footage I had shot earlier that day.  Initially I wanted to pick up another 32GB CF card but when I saw the 4GB CF cards were selling for 84 bucks I decided against that.  The HDs I prefer were nearly 200 bucks so that was out as well.  I ended up purchasing a 32GB thumb drive for 30.  At this rate I will probably have a keychain of these little drives once all is said and done.  The hard part is going to be managing everything now that it’s spread out on multiple devices until I can afford a 3TB drive.

Day 7
Our last interview was scheduled for 11am and initially we thought we’d be there for an hour at most.  We ended up talking (mostly off camera) for well over two hours.  I was actually expecting another parking ticket by the time I got back to the truck.  Luckily that wasn’t the case.  After the interview we headed straight home.

While it was an interesting week I’m happy to be home with my husband and my dogs.
Now to go take care of that parking ticket...

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

'Junct Tour Day 5

Left Maumee Bay around noonish today for Cleveland.  The two hour drive on 2 was pretty uneventful.  We passed by the Davis Besse nuclear plant again which we had been told by a local is one crack away from a complete meltdown.  That was comforting. Overall a boring drive.

When we got into Cleveland proper I made a b-line for the rock and roll hall of fame.  It was pretty damn cool and it made me want to start shooting music videos.  I think my absolute favorite item in the HoF was a hate letter the Rolling Stones received during the beginning of their career.  The girl called them 'British Pigs' and to go home to England.  Honestly, I couldn't stop laughing while reading it.  The temporary exhibit was dedicated to The Dead.  Two top floors of the HoF was Jerry-fied.  I wish I had pictures of the place but they didn't allow any sort of media to be taken in the museum.

From the museum we grabbed a quick bite to eat before meeting up with our Cleveland liaison Leia (sp?).  She's a super cool chick that reminds me so much of my mom.  Even her home reminds me of my mom's place back in Jersey.  We've spent probably the better part of the night talking about just about everything under the sun as people filtered in and out of the house.  In fact I can still hear her and D in the other room chatting away while I type this blog.

I could probably stay up all night listening but I know we have more interviews lined up in the morning.  When we wrap up around 1 tomorrow we'll be packing up and heading to our last stop of the tour, State College PA.

To take a line from the dead:

What a long strange trip it's been.

UPDATE:  What I forgot to mention was our hostess took us out to a little downtown area in Cleveland Heights that was filled with bookstores, metaphysical shops, thrift stores and tea shops.  It was nice getting the five cent tour from a local.  Plus I picked up a copy of: Easy Riders, Raging Bull.

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

'Junct Tour Day 4

We ended up having a late start today but that was a good thing.  In the AM we managed to catch up on the social media promotion as well finish off reel 015.  There is nearly 2 hours of footage in the can from Pittsburgh.  If we hadn't had such a late shoot today I would have started to work on the Toledo footage.  I suspect there's a good hour and a half of footage there.

Our first interview didn't begin until 4:30 with a support staff member at (college omitted).  The man is a driver for the college shuttle and it was interesting because of the pride he took in being part of that institution.  It was visibly obvious the man cared deeply about his school and those that attended it.

How many people in this day an age can honestly say they take pride in their work?

From there we headed uptown to interview two people in their early twenties about what options they had as far as higher education vs trade school is concerned.  The girl, 23, is very enthusiastic about spoken word and hip hop and wants to incorporate that skill in a way to get the word out about the occupy movement and hot button issues. The guy was essentially tossed into the role of contingent a few years back with little to no experience teaching.  Both are interviews I will never forget.

Afterwards we ended up hitting Tony Packos for Hotdogs and Chili.  I'm already regretting it.

I know I've ben promising video blogs along the way but unfortunately I've run out of hard drive space on the laptop as well as the 500 gig external I brought with me.  So look for a super blog sometime the beginning of next week.


'Junct Tour Day 3

We ended up shooting 2 more interviews today in Pittsburgh before hitting the road for Toledo.  Our host, the fantastic Penny filmed with us in the morning and she arranged the second interview with one of her bosses.  It was actually nice scoring the interview with someone who is an administrator getting his take on the adjunct labor abuse issue.  I think his take is really going to improve the over all flow of 'Junct and I'm noticing it isn't just one class of people whose hands are tied, but multiple.  We need to keep following the chain up until we find out who specifically is responsible for this sad state of affairs.

My vision for the film is for it to hit hard with parents of college students.  I want them to see this film and realize that the 50-60 grand they are paying per year is not going to their child's college education and that the money is simply being pissed away.  I believe not all kids when they get out of highschool are destined for college.  Mind you I am not taking some elitist stance where only the rich or privileged should attend college.  What I'm saying is not everyone is suited for college.  If you are mechanically savvy you don't necessarily have to pursue a degree in higher education.  There is no shame in going to a trade school to become an electrician or a mechanic.  We need people with these trade skills.  We are always going to need these people.

I also want to drive the point home that these part time contingent educators in many cases are only repeating this vicious cycle semester after semester because they love their job.  They love sharing the knowledge  they have attained over the years and it's honestly a crime with how they are repayed for the knowledge.  I know for those of you that have been following this issue over the past few years I'm pretty much beating a dead horse but 'm doing this for those not in the know.  How could these educators, who work at several different campuses per semester be able to give ample attention to their students?  Especially when they have no means or time to meet them?

People beyond the walls of academia need to know this.  They need to have this information so they can make an informed decision about their future and/or their children's future.

So that leaves the question:  Where do we go from here?

Tirade aside, we drove to Toledo late this afternoon for the next round of interviews.  The downtown area is so desolate I had to wonder if maybe we came across the set for season three of walking dead.  The place was empty on a Monday at 5.  The last time I saw anything of this magnitude was Atlantic City in the late 80s.  It was unreal!

Immediately the decision was made to look elsewhere for lodging for the night.  We popped across the river and began to head northeast on 2 skirting Lake Erie.  After driving for a good 45 minutes I realized where we were when I saw the cooling tower of the nuke plant.  I had been there a couple years earlier on a road rally to Detroit (A rather long story better told in person because I like flailing my arms around when I speak about it).  Knowing there was nothing for a good 35 miles east I turned around and headed back towards Toledo.  We pulled over at a place called Maumee (sp?) State Park and rented a cabin for the night (the pictures can be found on the 'Junct Tour event page).  This place is amazing!  I'm not saying that because of the free wifi either!

Holy crap!  It's already 1.  Night folks...more adventures tomorrow.

Tomorrow I plan to explore the park before heading back into Toledo proper for more interviews.

Sunday, May 20, 2012

'Junct Tour Day 2

Shoot went well today. We met up with a few people at the United Steel Workers HQ a little after noon today. Two of them were union reps and the third was an adjunct from one of the local universities here in Pittsburgh. It was a very interesting interview as far as how this 'odd couple' like partnership emerged between the steel workers and educators. My impression of the USWs stance on the matter is a zero tolerance policy and that it's complete bullshit.

DISCLAIMER: These are simply my observations and not necessarily USWs stance.

After we wrapped with the USW people we interviewed 2 former students that are with the occupy Pittsburgh movement. One was seriously in debt and had no degree to show for it. The other had contemplated an advanced degree but realized it wasn't feasible giving his current financial situation and lifestyle.

After we wrapped another Occupier joined in the conversation. The guy, whose name escapes me right now, is a world traveler and has this amazing knack for recalling historical events. His specialty is dealing with the Lewis and Clark expedition (mainly it's origins). He's currently trying to turn Bruno (sp?) Island into a recreational park/ historical site. We talked for nearly 3 hours about the local history of Pittsburgh as well as climbing Fuji and Machu Pichu.

Nearly midnight here and I'm now rendering out over 27 gigs of footage that I shot today. We are staying on in Pittsburgh until late afternoon in the hopes of getting two more interviews and then it's off to Toledo.

Saturday, May 19, 2012

'Junct Tour Day 1

First off apologies for not having a VLOg set up for tonight. I haven't had a chance to transfer what little footage I shot today to my laptop for editing.

At some point during the trip I will upload that footage.

Overall, today was pretty uneventful. I left jersey a little after 11 and got to DLS's place in Philly about 12:30. The drive to Penny's place was more or less a straight shot from Philly. We made pretty good time, arriving a little after 6.

The first order of business, after being properly greeted by Prince (a Saint Bernard whose snout is bigger than my two dogs combined), was dinner. Our host took us to a place down the street called Café Sam (link to be provided later when I'm not blogging on my cell). The food was quite good and just the right size as far as portions are concerned. On the menu for me was lobster bisque and angel hair pasta with snails. Honestly, I was torn between the snails and the calamari up until the time the exceptionally perky waitress asked for my order.

After dinner we came back to the house for dessert. My awesome husband had picked up fresh strawberries for me to take on the trip. We had them along with Penny's favorite chocolate from England and something that's like Baileys Irish Cream (but better). I have to get the name of it again.

Tomorrow we'll be interviewing Penny in the morning and then we'll be heading out to interview a union rep from the steel workers at their headquarters. I'm hoping for a cool looking factory with big pieces of equipment that take up a couple stories. We'll be wrapping up the day talking to occupy organizers here in town.

Bring on day two.

Friday, May 18, 2012

'Twas the night before 'Junct

Tomorrow we'll be Pittsburgh bound.  This leg of the tour will include: Detroit, Pittsburgh, Akron and Cleveland but not in that order.

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Duct tape will solve everything

Started to gather up the things I’ll be needing for the first leg of the ‘Junct Tour tonight.  Below is a quick 2 min. clip of what I have pulled so far.  If I get the chance during the week I may throw up another video or two to show the progress I made in preparing for the trip.

As far as I know the cities, dates and times are still being hammered out.  Expect us in Pittsburgh by this weekend.  As soon as I know the specifics I will be sure to let everyone know.

RSVP at the Official Event Page on FB

Sunday, April 15, 2012

'junct: the poster/DVD concept

So I decided to whip up a little vodcast explaining a bit of the process involving the graphic work for 'Junct that had been done recently.  This is not the final product and I suspect that there will be many changes made until the final product is agreed upon.  I just wanted to share a little behind the scenes stuff for those of you that have been keeping tabs on the project.

I wanted to also give a big thank you to Chip, Hugh, Lisa, Alexandra and Susan for taking time out of their schedule to make this possible.

Links & Plugs:
Donate to the 'Junct tour via Paypal (will be billed under Hidden River Arts)

Monday, April 9, 2012

Welcome to Exotic Pittsburgh!

Today my partner formally announced the ‘Junct tour on her blog earlier this morning.  You can read her articulate piece HERE before jumping back to my blog to get the disjointed version written on a third grade level, in crayon.  Though we do not have all the dates locked in we are currently looking for ambassadors* in different cities that are willing to help set up screening/poetry/art type events as well as help promote the shit out of it.  As it stands I took May 19th-28th off from the day job. I’m still working on coverage for the night job and both weekends.
*Ambassadors need to suggest a not to be missed eating establishment.  I have to mention I’m barely 100 pounds soaking wet and I need to eat or I get cranky, fast.  Personally I don’t need fancy and expensive.  I’m looking for grease pits and places that serve food that make your arteries harden just looking at the dish.
At this rate we are trying our best to be realistic about the route.  I had hoped for us to get out to the west coast but due to time constraints I think we will be making that a trip unto itself.  I can hustle when motivated but I doubt the cops would find the humor in my Jersey hijinks.
85 in a 25, probably a bad idea.
That leaves us with a PA, OH, MI, IN, IL, KY, WV loop.  Travel time roughly 1 day 12 hours with 6 stops. The longest stretch is a little over 8 hours heading from the WV area back to Philadelphia. Ultimately it will be left up to what places would like to host us.
At the time of this post we’ve had two screening inquiries: one in NJ at my Alma Mater and the other in Chicago.  Once locked in I will be creating events on the 2255 Facebook group as well as listing them on my website.
In the meantime my friend Chip and I have been monkeying around with the shoot photos from a couple weeks back trying to come up with a layout we all like for the posters/DVD covers.  Below is a few samples (1st layouts) of what we had envisioned.  I’m sure these will change dramatically before the final version, but it’s a start.

#1 First mockup I worked on.  The more I stare at it the more I want to bump up the font size of the slogan 'Can you spare some social change?'  Possibly left justify and run it down the sides.

#2 Mock up I worked on. The location I had picked for the shoot had the electric plant in the background.  Unfortunately it can't bee seen beyond the trees.

#3 Mock up is Chip's crack at it.  I like the approach he took by adding a blue hue to the entire photo.

Links Mentioned:

Monday, March 19, 2012

Footage from the Left Forum

My friend Scott was kind enough to shoot some footage during the panel this past weekend using a little 'flip cam' like apparatus I had tossed into my bag last minute.  The clip below is about 14 minutes long and contains the other speakers (Brianne, Nathan and Monica) talking about their respective causes.

The audio quality sucks pretty hardcore due to the air conditioning but you can get the general idea.

Contains (in no particular order):
Forgive Student Loan Debt
Default: The student loan documentary
Free U Philly
New Faculty Majority
Homeless Adjunct

Saturday, March 17, 2012

It’s good to be a panelist

This year’s panel went much better than last.  I should have known it was going to be a good day between the impeccable weather early on and the fact that we didn’t have to wait in the line wrapped around the Pace building for our tickets.  Panelists got fast tracked to the front of the line.  We had our tickets in hand within five minutes and had plenty of time to grab breakfast before we went on at noon.

Just prior to our time slot we briefly met with the other panelists Brianne, Nathan and Monica.  All of them were super cool and spoke on a number of things regarding the debt students encumbered to receive a higher education and alternate forms of education (Their links listed at the bottom of this blog).  While they spoke I did my best to live tweet the event though I probably came off as some jerk off on their cell phone.
“That asshole is still on her phone. She hasn’t put it down in twenty minutes!”

I swear for those of you that were there at the panel I was paying attention. I had hoped that the Left Forum would have picked up on one of several hashtags I planted to RT them but it appears that it didn’t work. (Boo-Hiss).  So much for me being clever.

We screened only raw excepts of ‘Junct for the audience.  Most of it was footage we had shown down in DC back in December but we also added a clip from the Temple U. walk out that took place last summer.  Overall the screening was well received.  I had one complaint afterwards about the audio but it was something I had picked up on as well during the screening and can adjust in post.  Still, it was nice to get that feedback as reinforcement.

I was a little concerned during the panel when I looked out at the audience and wondered if maybe they had checked out completely.  A few of them looked like they were taking notes, but they could have easily been drawing stick figures.  To my surprise during the Q&A session people started hammering the other panelists with questions and their thoughts on the subject.  People had detailed notes and were writing down websites almost as fast as the people suggesting them.  What I found the most fascinating about this particular forum was the fact that there were only 3 people who were contingent faculty.  The rest were either students or people genuinely interested in the subject.  I have to assume that the message we are trying to present in ‘Junct is slowly creeping out.  This is no longer a subject that only Adjuncts are aware of.  The next step is to make this public knowledge.  Hopefully ‘Junct can acheive that once we unleash it, like a Kraken.

The only thing I regret about the panel is we didn’t get a chance to really talk about the next step with ‘Junct; the potential US tour.  I’m not overly concerned because we do not have any of the specifics hammered out but it would have been nice.

Default: The Student Loan Documentary

The positive thing that came out of panel was meeting with one of the reporters at The Chronicle for Higher Education.  They are interested in interviewing DLS and I about the documentary.  The reporter is supposed to contact us in a week or so with questions.  They want the real low down on the film so it should be interesting to see what they print out of my quotes.

“You do realize you dropped the F bomb 26 times in the span of three minutes?”
The randomly cool thing was the minor celebrity we had in the audience.  Captain Ray Lewis, the retired cop from Philly that got arrested at OWS was there listening to us.  I didn’t get a chance to talk to him personally but how fucking cool is that?


Tuesday, March 13, 2012

'Junct Movie Poster and DVD cover

‘Junct: The Trashing of Higher Ed. in America
March 31st 10a-2p (South Jersey) Need the following for the photoshoot:

Professor- (Male or Female) 40-60 dressed in business to business casual clothing.
4-5 Students- (Male and Female all ethnicities) 18-24 Must pass for this age range. Street clothes: Jeans, t-shirts, jackets (no sweats/no logos)

Non-Paying gig. In return will be food, copy and credit (thank you on ‘Junct’s IMDb page) Must have own transportation and expect to be there for the full four hours. Exact location TBD once the date draws closer. The final product will be in the form of DVD covers and movie posters to promote the documentary.

More info about ‘Junct can be found at the following links:

Homeless Adjunct

2255Films on Facebook (Inquirer here at this link if interested in being a part of the shoot)

Monday, March 5, 2012

Left Forum & Beyond

My partner in crime DLS recently returned from Chicago’s AWP and I’m eagerly awaiting the next batch of interview videos via Federal Distress. I’m hoping that it arrives by the weekend so I can begin to hack and slash it to bits in time for this year’s Left Forum.  While I don’t know the contents of the latest batch I’m assured by DLS they are phenomenal.  That’s all the reassurance I need.
We (Mostly DSL talking and me showing pretty pictures barring any technical difficulties) will be heading up a panel at the Left Forum on March 17th at high noon. The panel is called: 
Try to say that five times fast.  Details on the location, other speakers and the panel itself can be found at the link above as well as at the end of this blog. Tickets for the day I believe are $25 dollars.  If you are in the NYC area I suggest you go, if not for us, than the many other panels being conducted over the weekend.  Michael Moore has been recently confirmed by the Left Forum as their main speaker on Saturday night at 7:30.  Hope to see some familiar faces there.
The other big news (which technically I shouldn’t be blabbing about until it’s locked in) is that we *may* have a huge sponsor to help promote ‘Junct in the form of the mother of all road trips.  We are currently in negotiations with the sponsors trying to crunch numbers to make this crazy cross country trip a reality.  So please keep your fingers crossed and your couches available.  The preliminary route includes: DC, KY, TN, LA, TX, NM, CA, WA, IL, IN & OH.  Which I’ve dubbed the music & food porn run. It will take approximately two weeks to conduct.  The other two routes consist of a NE run and a Snowbird run, each clocking in around a week give or take a day, depending on how much I mash the pedal to the floor.  I plan to vlog each day of the trip (so expect bizarre stuff here).  I’ve already got a few volunteers for certain legs of the journey to help with the driving and to fend of boredom.
That said, I have a feeling DLS and I will be spearheading a crowd funding campaign to make these trips happen.
Sites mentioned:

Thursday, January 26, 2012

Trailer for 'Junct

I spent the majority of this evening cutting the first trailer for:
'Junct: The Trashing of Higher Ed. in America
Here is a sneak peek of what's to come.

Monday, January 23, 2012

...and so it goes...

Well overdue for an update on ‘Junct, so I will keep it to the bare minimum for those that actually have been keeping tabs.  Everything on my end as far as video work is completely caught up and catalogued.  I suspect at some point in the near future I will be taking a field trip to the national archives once the groundwork is laid out for the film.  There is also one more interview I would like to secure (if possible) but it will come down to time, money and the subject being willing to be interviewed.  I truly believe if we score that interview (along with some news footage I hope to acquire) it will be what we need to push ‘Junct over the top.

Dare I say I see the end in sight?

In the meantime there are a couple panels happening within the next couple of months.  This Saturday in Washington DC my partner in crime DLS will be speaking at a NFM event about:

Some of the other speakers include people we’ve already interviewed for the documentary.  As far as I know I will not be in attendance but I strongly urge those of you interested in the topic and native to the DC area to go register and check it out.

The weekend of March 17th DLS and I will be back in New York City for this year’s Left Forum at Pace University.  As of right now I do not have the exact date and time that our panel is on but we will be screening more excepts from ‘Junct as well as answering questions about the film.  Also slated to be on our panel is the filmmaker of Default: The Student Loan, A representative from NFM, Someone from the Free University Movement (no link that I’m aware of), plus one other person.  The tentative topic will be Occupy the University.  As the date draws closer I’ll post more information along with a concrete list of speakers for our panel.

On a somewhat related note I was informed that Michael Moore would be attending the Left Forum.  How funny would that be if he actually sat in on our panel?  If that happens I will try to sneak a picture of him to post on the twitter feed.
Links Mentioned: