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She Started It: Documenting the Rise of Women in Tech

Still from SHE STARTED IT trailer

Still from She Started It trailer

Many years ago when I started my career, I worked for a small nonprofit that happened to specialize in documentaries around poignant social issues. The organization was founded by women and employed a majority of women on its staff, which is not so common in film making at large. While my role there was as a member of the technology team, I developed relationships with filmmakers and producers on staff and grew to learn a lot about documentary filmmaking (and some basic editing skills).

That said, when I heard about the doc She Started It I was instantly intrigued. Continue reading

New Parents’ Night Out at the Movies

Photo via iVillage.ca courtesy of Lionsgate

Photo via iVillage.ca courtesy of Lionsgate

If you have children, or know people who have had children, you know that the first few months of a child’s life are critical for the child’s long-term survival but generally excruciating for the parents. Unless a parent is particularly lucky, the baby will wake up every couple of hours ensuring restful sleep is out of reach for the parent. The baby is as delicate as a paper bag full of flour and parents are left holding the bag, quite literally. While many parents rely in those first few months on Netflix to get through late night feeding sessions, there definitely comes a time when staying at home becomes somewhat unbearable.  Continue reading

Video and Advertising

Still from New York Times Recipe Lab video by Natalia V. Osipova and Abe Sater

Still from New York Times Recipe Lab video by Natalia V. Osipova and Abe Sater

Ten years ago, video online was a huge infrastructural challenge to deliver. As connections got faster and technology has accelerated (thanks, Netflix!), video is now a huge part of how users consume content online. There is a statistic that 34% of North American internet traffic is streaming video on Netflix. And now that streaming video is ubiquitous, marketers are in on the game with more ads before your videos and even content that doesn’t look like an ad but is secretly trying to sell you something in the form of native video ads.  Continue reading

Movies al Fresco: Outdoor Summer Film Screenings

Still of Chris Pratt and Zoe Saldana in Guardians of the Galaxy © 2014 - Marvel Studio

Still of Chris Pratt and Zoe Saldana in Guardians of the Galaxy © 2014 – Marvel Studio

I’m going to share a secret that I know none of us care to admit. It’s definitely starting to get darker a bit earlier these days. We are in the dog days of summer which means the fall is just around the corner. Row of back to school supplies in stores are in full effect.

But just because we know summer is slowly winding down doesn’t mean we can’t still enjoy the balmy temperatures. And what better way to enjoy the season than to sit outside and bask in the warm summer breezes while taking in a good movie?  Continue reading

The Art of the Pilot

Some may say that today we are in a “Golden Age” for television. With so many streaming outlets available outside of premium cable (Netflix, Hulu and Amazon Prime to name a few) plus cable networks looking to further their success in the original content space (like FX and AMC), the opportunity for someone with a great pilot is definitely there. However, as you are likely aware as a viewer, the first episode — or pilot — of a show is a make or break moment. It either reels you in and you need to watch every subsequent episode or you might pass and watch something else. That’s the flip side of the “Golden Age”; no one has time to watch anything that’s just short of amazing.  Continue reading

Storytelling through Gaming

As a society, we tend to look at games as a form of play that allows us to pass the time and stave of boredom. When it comes to video games, we typically envision the singular experience of one person sitting in front of the television with a controller. As some console and game studios have demonstrated in recent years, this is not the exclusive experience of game enthusiasts. Many play online with others making what on the surface is an individual experience very communal. Similarly, while some games are indeed limited to one player, they attract a crowd of watchers due to the engrossing stories they tell.  Continue reading

YouTube Stars

Photo of Michelle Phan by Asa Mathat via Recode

Photo of Michelle Phan by Asa Mathat via Recode

YouTube began as an open platform for users to share the video content they created. Since streaming video and on-demand content was not completely prevalent at this time, users started uploading non-user generated content. They instead started posting content that they did not own (like episodes of their favorite TV shows) and thus, to many in mainstream media, YouTube was just another file sharing site they needed to combat.  Continue reading

How Real is Too Real?: Exploring “Reality” in Film and Television

The Real World logo via Wikipedia

The Real World logo via Wikipedia

While some of the most successful films at the box office have swept audiences off into galaxies far far away filled with incredible creatures, there are some audiences that crave a more real experience. As evidenced by the rampant success of animated films as well as their live-action comicbook-based counterparts, some degree of fantasy is still alive and well. However, within that fantasy, sometimes we seek some degree of realism. Do the characters react in a realistic manner? Do the fight scenes seem plausible? And what about the world they exist in — does that look like a world we can immerse ourselves in? Achieving the right degree of realism, however, is a delicate balance and can often find us questioning: how much is too real?  Continue reading

Looking Back at the 14th annual Tribeca Film Festival

There are many film festivals across the country and a critical mass occurring in New York City alone. Perhaps none of the NYC festivals is met with more buzz than the Tribeca Film Festival which, now in its fourteenth year, has achieved the status of the long-running Sundance Film Festival. In short, appearing in the Tribeca Film Festival is a feat as the festival represents some of the best upcoming films. And speaking of the films, here are some highlights to which you can look forward, or look back at depending on how you think about it, when the festival opens next week.  Continue reading

Best of the Worst: Guilty Pleasure Movies

Still of Alicia Silverstone and Brittany Murphy in Clueless (1995) via IMDB.com

Still of Alicia Silverstone and Brittany Murphy in Clueless (1995) via IMDB.com

While we spend a lot of time here talking about great movies, the truth is that not every watchable movie is great. In fact, some are actually pretty terrible in some ways but provide enormous entertainment value — and sometimes not in the way the original filmmakers intended. These are essentially our “guilty pleasure” movies. Though we may not always want to admit to watching, or even liking the movies, we can’t deny tuning in when they happen to be on television or when we happen upon them while browsing streaming services like Netflix.  Continue reading