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Archive for the ‘talent’ Category

It is no secret that video is such an important part of our everyday lives these days.  People in their personal lives are shooting videos with their camera phones, their flip cameras and their digital recorders of every size and description.  Life is flying by and no-one wants to miss a minute of it.  With families spread out over the country…grandmas & grandpas, aunts and uncles, mothers and fathers…and friends can all be a part of those precious moments.  That doesn’t even address individuals who use video for business; which increasingly is important to online marketing/advertising and branding.

Businesses who use video to get more online traffic find it to be an effective tool.  Visually connecting with your market is one of the best ways to catch your customers interest.  In fact, your competitors are probably already using video to their benefit.  Therefore, I am sure that you can see the importance of being able to harness the power of video editing.

In fact, video is used for connecting individuals together for business, family and for entertainment.  So, it is important to know how to, not only capture those moments on video…but, to be able to know how to edit those videos effectively & professionally; and, to preserve them in formats that are useful to the increasingly technological world that we live in.

Understanding how those cameras work and how to render and upload those videos can appear to be overwhelming.  Reading manuals isn’t for everyone…some people learn better from training tutorials…To read more go to: Write Where You Are

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         Ok, I get it…the Oscar awards are supposed to be about recognizing the best in the film industry; however, over the years…the Oscars have turned into an industry unto itself.  There are Oscar parties, pre-Oscar and post-Oscar parties, the Barbara Walter’s pre-Oscar interviews, the morning shows that preview the menu’s and the decor of the dinning areas…come on!  Enough already.  (more…)

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      Well, it seems that tone of voice can make all the difference in the world when a statement is made.   It has been reported that a contestant, by the name of Mark Mudd, auditioned for the American Idol show.   The audition apparently didn’t go well and as he was exiting, Mark Mudd said, “Be Careful”.   The American Idol judges took that comment negatively since the audition didn’t get him on the show.  

       Both Simon Cowell and Paula Abdul allegedly felt threatened.   With Paula Abdul’s recent experience with an obssessed fan’s, Paula Goodspeed, suicide near her home…it is understandable that she would be a bit wary; however, i think had they concentrated on Mark Mudd’s tone of voice…maybe they would have heard a clue that tipped the balance of common sense that the statement held no threat of future violence.  The judge’s alleged perception of the statement was influenced by the alleged failure of the audition to get the performer on the program as a contestant.

       The audition was in Louisville, Kentucky; and in that region of the country, and others, “be careful” is a common phrase spoken in parting.   I do it myself…it is the way i grew up…it is a caring way to part company; it expresses concern for the other person’s well-being.   (more…)

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        Dina Gottliebova Babbitt is a woman who has a rich history; she was in the concentration camp, Auschwitz with her mother in 1944.  Dina was a 20 something, young woman who had an artistic talent.  She had been an art student before she was sent to Auschwitz.  While in the camp, she decided to do something daring and she painted Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs on the walls of the children’s barracks, in an attempt to cheer them up.  This was bravery, as the consequences would be severe if she was caught.

         When it was discovered what she had done…she was called before Dr. Mengele who was also known as the Angel of Death in the camp.  She could have been sent to the gas chamber like so many others were.  Instead, she was ordered by Dr. Josef Mengele to paint portraits for him of the gypsies in the camp; as well as, to draw pictures of the many horrible “medical experiments” that he performed on those who were imprisoned in the camp.  Dina thought for many years that the portraits of the gypsies were destroyed.  It was in performing the artwork in the camp that her life and that of her mother were spared.

       In fact the portraits were not destroyed…they were sold to the Auschwitz-Burkenau State Museum after the war ended.  There are seven watercolor portraits of the gypsies; and, Dina Babbitt would like them returned.  Dina says that she feels that neither she, nor the gypsies can have spiritual freedom unless the portraits are returned to her.  I would imagine that Dina poured her soul into those portraits.  After all, how can you look upon such individuals, knowing their probable fate, and trace their very visage upon the canvas; and, not be one with them in spirit?   She has much support internationally; however, at this point, the museum allegedly refuses to return them.  You can write to the museum here in support of Dina:  muzeum@auschwitzorg.pl .

          You can also visit Dina’s website to learn more about her and see some of her work here: http://www.dinababbitt.com/  .

           After WWII, Dinah was hired as an assistant to Art Babbitt who was working for Warner Brother’s in Paris at the time; and, who was a former Disney animator who worked on Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs.  They fell in love and later married, Dina was Art’s second wife.  Together they raised two daughters, Michele and Karin.  At least some good came out of such an evil time in history.  Their love and marriage I am sure  brought about a healing balm.  After all, Dina used the images of the talented animator to soothe the young children, who daily faced death daily in the concentration camps.  It is as if God himself sent a bit of the comforter to them thru Dina and the artistry of two talented artists.

           Dina was born on January 21, 1923 in Czechoslovakia, but, is now a U.S. citizen.  Just as recently as this past  summer of 2008, Dina was diagnosed with an aggressive tumor in her abdomin and was scheduled to have surgery performed to remove it.  It is her most fervent desire to have her portraits returned to her so that she can hold them in her hands one more time before she passes away.  She would like to see the portraits visit the Holocaust museums in the United States!  Please feel free to contact her family to help support their cause of the return the portraits to a woman who risked much to bring a smile to the children of Auschwitz; here is an email address:  michele@dinababbitt.com  or mushkane@yahoo.com

         This time in history can never be forgotten or denied.  If by looking into the faces of the victims of the concentration camps helps to make it real…then Dina Gottliebova Babbitt has used her talents in a very serviceable way.   Those portraits bring the horrible cost of forgetting that those who are different from us are still human and deserve to live life to it’s fullest.  It should not be up to another individual or organization to get to decide who should live and who should die.  We must uphold the lessons learned from setting back and waiting for the world to right itself in the area of human rights.  May the powers that be bring Dina’s portraits home to her, to soothe her heart and her soul.

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      Wow… I just watched a clip from The View today in which Barbara Walters talks about an interview she did with Paula Abdul on her radio show.  http://abcnews.go.com/Video/playerIndex?id=6425460

       In the chat fest in the beginning of the show Barbara refers to that interview when she says that Paula has dropped a few explosive bombs about American Idol producers, Fox television, as well as,  Simon Cowell.

         As many of you know, there was an unfortunate young woman who was allegedly obsessed with Paula Adbul who died in front of Paula’s home…allegedly a suicide.  This young woman, Paula Goodspeed, has been supposedly sending letters and trying to make contact with Paula Abdul for something like 17 years, through her fan club. 

         Abdul claims in the radio interview with Barbara Walters that the producers of American Idol knew of this young woman’s obsession and still they allowed her to audition for the three Idol judges.  That audition  appears to have caused much harm; because of the rejection  Paula Goodspeed felt that she was publically humiliated.  Does a show like this carry a  legal and moral responsibility to pre-screen contestants; to make sure that they can handle the criticism that they face on the show?  I think they should.

          Paula Abdul says that she begged the producers and Simon not to allow Ms. Goodspeed to audition…but, against her wishes they allowed her to audition, possibly more than once.  It put her in a terrible position; Paula says that the producers and Simon wished to see her squirm. 

          At some point, Ms. Goodspeed followed Paula Abdul to her home address.  There were other incidents that took place there before the actual suicide took place.  Paula was not home when the suicide took place.  She now has her home for sale i hear; she says she has not slept there since it happened.

         Paula also says that she has lost endorsements and business opportunities because of the public’s perception that she is drunk or stoned on medications; because of the way that she is portrayed on the show.  She says, part of, that is caused by Simon who says crazy things in Paula’s ear piece while she is trying to communicate her “judgement”.   She says, something to the effect, that this is a distraction; and, Simon tries to make her laugh when she is trying to graciously speak to the contestants.

         If these things are true, and she can prove them…i see this turning into a major big, legal deal.  Obviously, Paula is upset about the whole nightmare of the suicide of Paula Goodspeed.  After all, a life was lost and if it is true that it was because of manipulations behind the scenes of the show…then shame on those involved.   There are more important things than ratings of a television show!

         When asked why Paula was still on the show…she apparently, simply said that she is under contract.  Paula also allegedly says that Simon could have at anytime corrected himself and retracted the statements that he has made.  She is under contract for another year; even though, this year there is a fourth judge being brought onto the show.  Just last week, Randy Jackson was on television shows saying not to believe everything people hear about this year’s American Idol.  

           What does this mean?  Is there a mystery here behind the scenes?  Does Paula want out of her contract?  Did this suicide impress on anyone the importance of the impact of the hurtful words that are said to contestants who don’t measure up to the judges expectations?  Is the show going to be legally liable in the young woman’s death?   I wonder, do you anyone feels guilty who was involved in that episode involving young Paula Goodspeed?

          Does this controversy mean that Paula will no longer associate herself with the show after her contract expires?  Time will tell.  I suspect that we have not heard the last of this drama.  What do you think is going on?  Is it alright to do “anything” to get ratings…or, should networks, producers, and the like be held responsible when things go wrong?

* See related story here: https://writeasrain.wordpress.com/2008/11/13/american-idol-judge-idolized/

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        Yes, Britney Spears is talented…but, after the roller coaster year she has had and the struggle to pull her life together…i guess I expected a bit more of her.  She is beautiful, she is talented and she has the drive to become anything she wants to be.  That is why i was disappointed by her appearance on Good Morning America this morning for her 27th birthday celebration.  I know that all of this media attention is merely publicity for her upcoming tour and album release; but, I was hoping for something a little more.  After all, she has revamped her body, her legal standing, and she has regained some control of her well-being over the troubling last year.

        She is twenty seven years old…and she “recreated” her past image.  I really thought that she would re-invent her image by pulling it together instead of trying to hyper-sex her image.  Who of us wouldn’t have responded positively to a more grown up version of the Britney Spears entertainer?   Come on…for heaven’s sake…she has the pipes; she doesn’t need to strip down to expose herself by wearing outfits that leave little to the imagination.  (For the record, i have the same problem with other talented people like Beyonce who recently introduced her audience to her alter ego, Sasha Fierce).  There are audiences who will eat this stuff up; but do they care about the entertainer as a person outside of what is given them on the stage?  The performer doesn’t have to live with the audience; they only have to live with themselves when they leave the spotlight.   Is the public adulation enough for you?  Does the fame help you to live a fuller, happier life when not performing?

        It’s bad enough that the music/television business pushes the hyper-sexed robots that sell shows/concerts to the public…but, why in the world do the celebrities exploit their own images?  They already have the industry contacts, they have the skill set, they have supportive fans…why do they feel the need to sell their images this way?

        I really take issue with Britney’s performance on Good Morning America; as her very young sons and mother were in the audience.  Is this necessary to expose your young children to the visual of their mother strutting around on stage in the barest essentials, singing about things like serial womanizing? 

         Where is the inside soul of Britney?  Is she gone?  Sometimes when you look at her eyes in photographs …you see such emptiness, vulnerability and sadness.  Does she think that this version of her talent is ALL that she has to offer us?   I can’t help but think back to the young girl who was beginning her career; the girl who had such a genuine look in her eyes and talked about positive traditional values…she has been missing for a long time.  Britney genuinely seemed more like a happier person at that time, more then she does today.  Today she has children, she has more material things, she has more money and fame than she did back then.  So what’s missing? 

        I figured when Britney exploded back into the public eye, professionally, we would see a more mature version of her; one that combined who Britney was before she turned into such a hot commodity; and, the person who battled her way through the fire this past year.  I know she has it in her to be using her talent in a way that is in alignment with her formerly acknowledged Christian values.  Maybe Britney needs reminded that she is a young woman, a mother, a daughter, a sister and an aunt…someone who has a responsibility to represent herself as a positive influence to those around her.

          Remember Britney when you talked about keeping yourself pure?  Obviously you have had children and adult relationships…but, in that maturing process it appears as if anything goes in public now.  How do you want your children to conduct themselves in the next 7-10 years?   Are we going to see your children performing as Chippendale-like dancers before an audience of screaming female fans; stripping down to G strings, when they are in their teens?  Will you be ok with that?  Because that is the example you are putting before the eyes of our young sisters-brothers, and sons-daughters. 

         And Britney, you are making it appear irresistible…you are rich, you are famous, you are beautiful and, you have the career that many would be thrilled to have.   If only you would channel your career into something that is more acceptable in the way of traditional family values; in a world that is craving positive, musical role models.  I don’t think that you realize the impact that you have on your young fans. 

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      Julianne Hough left dancing with the stars this week and she won’t be back…at least not next season.  She is going to be concentrating on her music.  So…what does that mean for the competition next season…Julianne is one of the favorite professional dancers to the viewers.  Julianne has two talents…singing and dancing; but singing is her passion.

       She’s talented as both a singer and as a dancer; and, no one wants to see her go…but, at the same time, no one wants to hold her back with her singing career.  Dancers careers are sometimes short-lived due to injury; as we have seen this season alone, there have been many injuries to the couples on the dance floor this season.

        Is Dereck Hough the next to leave for greener pastures?  He also is involved in music and has a band.  Dancing with the stars might be the very catalyst that launches the next generation of entertainers.  Best wishes to all those who strive to do their best in their areas of talent.  We will miss you Julianne!

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       When a person passes away…you wonder why kind of epithet (description) others would use to describe that person.  A person’s reputation…legacy…is important.  Most people want to be remembered as someone who other’s genuinely liked, respected and wanted to spend time with.

        Most people don’t want to be remembered negatively.  Today, i heard that Mr. (Richard) Blackwell has died.  Do you know who he is?  I bet when i jiggle your memory cells you will recognize his legacy…it was extremely negative.

         Mr. Blackwell was famous for his very harsh, negative, and biting descriptions of what people in Hollywood and the world of celebrity wore out in public…their fashion sense.  He often said that he wasn’t condeming the person…just their fashion choices.

         He was known for his lists of the 10 worst dressed people of each year.  I was sure that there was so much more to this man.  So i did a little digging.  His celebrity was that he was an author of two books, he was a child actor, he was a television/radio personality, journalist, an artist and a talented fashion designer.  But what is he best known for?  His negativity…that was his claim to fame.  That is such a waste of spirit.  Obviously, he was much more talented that the world knew…however, he put negativity into the world.  Regrets are something that most of us try to avoid…i wonder if he had a few when his time came.

         Mr. Blackwell died of an intestinal infection.  He had been hospitalized for quite some time…and was in a coma, at one point, i believe.  He was born Richard Sylvan Selzer.  He lived in Brooklyn, NY in a poor lifestyle.  He says in his autobiography that he was a thief and a prostitute.  He had a difficult early life.  That might explain why some of his negativity carried over into his professional life as an adult. 

         I think that no matter what…we have to be aware of how we present ourselves to the world.  We all have difficulties…some worse than others.   People can get caught up in trying to one -up-manship in the area of who has had it more difficult; but…at some point, you set aside childhood ills, and YOU take the reins of your destiny as an adult.   At that point, you and you alone, are responsible for the direction that your life takes.  I want to work hard to make sure that the legacy that i leave behind is more heavy on positivity than negativity. 

        What obstacles have you had to overcome to take your life in a positive direction?

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       Sarah Palin will be making an appearance tonight on Saturday Night Live.  This is a show to watch as the talented Tina Fey has been impersonating her on the show for a few weeks.  I think they will have worked out a wonderful skit. It will be interesting to see Sarah’s sense of humor shine through; with all of this campaigning…things have been a bit tough on her image.  Will it help Sarah’s image or will it further the impression that Tina Fey has been putting out there for the masses to mock?  Rest assured the appearance will be plastered all over the political programs on Sunday morning and on the news programs…no matter which way things go on SNL.

       In the beginning of the Presidential candidate’s campaigns…people talked about the Oprah factor…the last few weeks it has been about the impact of Tina Fey’s charaterization of Sarah Palin.  Will this chapter of the campaign trail positively or negatively impact the outcome of the election?  Time will tell…i plan to stay up and watch. How about you?

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      Comedian Bill Maher appears to have made it a footnote of his career to openly show his contempt for religion; his comedy routines have had a biting edge to many topics pertaining to faith.  He has now made a movie about that very subject… it is a movie that expresses his thoughts that religious beliefs are dangerous and ridiculous.  The movie which is opening in theaters on Friday is called, Religulous.  Bill Maher hopes to open up conversations where others feel comfortable expressing their disbelief, as well as making the viewers laugh.  I am sure he wouldn’t mind making a buck or two off of the whole enterprise either!

       In my mind, religion is not a laughing matter.  Whenever i have watched Bill Maher perform on television, in years past…i was stunned to hear the barely controlled contempt, whenever he would subject the viewers to his views on religion.  I don’t think anything is so terrible about people having differing viewpoints on the subject of religion…but, i do think it is wrong for someone to mock another for their personal religious beliefs.  I think it comes down to a matter of respect.  At the very least, you can agree to disagree without turning to put downs or insults.

       Out of fairness, Bill Maher did allegedly make an attempt to be an equal opportunity offender to all religions in the movie.  He mocks Christianity, Judaism, and Islam allegedly in the movie.  Other religions would have presumably gotten the same treatment if it had not cost so much to do the additional traveling.  After all, there are many different religions around the world and the world is a very big place.

         I will agree with Bill Maher on one thing…religion can be dangerous for those who mock; or are in some way, regarded as a threat to those who hold radical religious viewpoints.  Religions are made up of many different people.   Those people are a microcosm of all areas of society; and, in each of those areas of humanity, there are people who will brook no difference of viewpoint from their personal value system. 

          Respectful individuals will try to discuss their beliefs with one another when there is a difference of opinion trying to persuade the other person with theological discourse on the subject.    Serious repercussions begin to take shape when you think about someone with a mental illness who feels the need to defend their religion.  In that situation, you could potentially have a recipe for disaster.  There are other individuals who will go to any extreme, including terrorism, to make their religious views known to others.  There are elements in any society, of religious extremism.  One must take care to respect each other’s right to believe differently if that person has hope of being treated with respect themselves…even, their right to not believe at all.

        Quite a few years ago, there was a huge threat directed towards a man named Salman Rushdie.   He is an author that wrote a book that offended some Muslims, called The Satanic Verses in 1988.  Some  protested his book, and there were many threats upon his life because of the content in the book.  He was forced to live in hiding for quite a period of time. 

         In making a film on the subject of mocking multiple religions, i think that Bill Maher has provided an irresponsible and inflammatory situation which could draw radical attention towards his movie.  If and when it causes conflict, then he can stand back as a witness to the “crazy and dangerous” effect of religion upon society.  I wish that Mr. Maher had found a different way to express himself and his viewpoint on religion; instead of, filming a movie which could negatively impact so many people.  It is quite an easy thing to incite people when they feel that their core values are under attack.  It will surprise me greatly if you dont see protests regarding this movie, all over the news.

         I’ve noticed that there are other comedians who often take hostile swipes at things pertaining to religious subjects.  I remember hearing about Kathy Griffen at some awards ceremony or another, saying something to the effect that, Jesus had nothing to do with her success.  Another comedian who comes across as offensive, to me at least, on the subject is Jimmy Kimmel.  I think there is a fine line between love and hate…and religion brings that line into focus.  Part of the dual edged sword of celebrity is that you have a platform to sway public opinion…but you also bear a personal responsibility in what you put out there when you do espouse a certain opinion.

         One has to wonder, where all of the anger and hostility comes from.  I have heard that anger issues are the opposite side of the coin when it comes to comedians…they take their anger and use humor as a tool to get their message across to the audience.  Humor can often take a sour slant on a subject and make it more palatable to the masses because it is put in a way that people find a little easier to listen to.  But, just because something can be made into a punch line, doesn’t mean that it should be.   Anger seems like such a waste of energy.   When you have a talent for making people laugh, it seems that it could be better used for something more positive than spreading hostile rhetoric used to offend others. 

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