Feminist Film Camp

A few weeks ago I sat down with my college counselor for about the fourth time and something weird happened. She looked me in the eye, and without hesitation or a shadow of doubt, said that she had a good idea about what she wanted me to do in college. As in major and minor. As in future. As in career. As in something nobody had ever had the want, need, or inclination to tell me. But she did. She and her decades (but she absolutley doesn’t look it) of experience in the service of young people and more specifically their academic preparedness for college. I trust her. And that’s why what she said blew my mind, because I believed her. Whereas before I had never believed that someone would sit me down and tell me what to do with my life. Not that it matters, but I’ll tell you because it’s cool.

 

“Film… with an undergrad in business just to be safe”

 

Film. Well that part wasn’t a shock, but at the same time it was. I love it, and the people I know and love know that I love it. But even many of them wouldn’t volunteer the idea to me, for reasons I can’t really guess because it’s my blind dream we’re talking about. But I can get a feel for people, and what they usually tell me without words is “Oof that’s gonna be rough” or “Aw cute, until she decides she doesn’t want to be poor”. But again, my blind dream. And my counselor’s more than just my counselor, she’s my guru. (Yes, that good) And so she knows that when a teenager has fostered a love for something, by paying attention in that class or taught themselves a skill and has just simply made that time to love that time with that thing, whatever it may be, it’s important to not just to encourage it but to support it. So shoutout to my college counselor. And shoutout again when I’m receiving that Oscar.

It’s taken me months to get the energy to post again. It’s draining, this writing thing. Thoughts to fingertips to keys. You wouldn’t think so, but it’s a tough hobby to keep consistent with. It can only really be done when it’s from your being, because math says you can only give what you have and much as I hate to admit it, math is usually right. Math won’t allow me to write about things I haven’t fostered a care for, because the words won’t be there. So giving more of what I have is probably what I’m going to work on, and finding what those things are too. It’s easier with pictures. Anyone with my snapchat or following my instagram could tell you that. Sydneyjoto is kind of a mess there.

WHICH leads me to my next trick topic.

Film camp. More specifically, Feminist Film Camp. It has a better and more official name, which I’m not sure if I can share so we’ll just call it the former. I found out about it several weeks too late and then there was nothing short of a miracle; somehow they let me in. They turned out to be fabulous people who were incredibly talented at each of their varying jobs within the film industry. We met and skyped with movie directors, editors, PR people and went through what must be the process of making a movie because we did. We made a movie and aired it at a real premiere in a theatre. It’s two weeks later and I’m still feeling butterflies from that one. In teams of five, we wrote, directed, acted, edited, and finally produced a piece all while learning from the professionals about ways to do the best visual, audio, and story work possible. Oh and storyboarding. Almost forgot that.

Here are some notes from lunchtime speakers I took in my nerdy film journal 

• It takes both brains & luck
• Have people back you up with a common goal, but never give up creative control, even if that means you have to turn down an offer from Disney. (They have a thing about that)
• The documentarian women making “Code” always just wanted to make a film.
• On choosing a topic for a documentary, “It has to be something really important and topical.”
• Show before you tell, or just show and hope that tells enough.
• Honestly, you have no idea how an audience will take a movie. You’re just feeding your home made food to the kids and hope they like it.
• A director is the one who carries the production with his or her drive alone. The director needs to be the most passionate, the story is their baby and they want to see it succeed.
• You need a team that fills the many gaps of what you can’t do, and in the end work to create something a thousand times better than what you could’ve come up with. Notice how as movies have improved over time, the credits roll longer and longer?
• Editors push the scene layer upon layer, they have artistic license and mad organization skills
• Both creative and technical people are necessary to making movies. You just have to learn how to speak the two different languages.
• Actresses with cool roles really are the role models for young girls. Thanks to CSI, the number of women entering college since 2000 under Crime Investigation or Criminal Justice has dramatically increased
• As women, we tend to doubt ourselves. More women will walk into a job interview thinking that they’re hardly qualified, whereas men typically think “it’s all good I got this”. Know that you have got this as much as the boys do.
• Code, the language of computer code will be more and more invaluable to you in the future. Learn it, and you will almost be guaranteed to use it someday and get paid for it.
• Light is everything. In animation it makes the world seem like a place you can actually go to and visit. It converts kids to Disneyisms and in live-action can make adults cry and laugh or scream sometimes more effectively than just acting.
• A documentary is a hell of a lot of work. But so is a live-action film. And animation. All need smart and creative people and all are necessary to help tell the stories that need to be told.
• When trying to sell your movie, smile. Give gifts. I have seen grown men in suits almost get in a fist fight over a ballpoint pen that said “Sundance”.  Also, the best parties don’t serve caviar they serve hot dogs. People are hungry!

And lastly, favorite quotes:

“Smile. Love the process, and if you don’t, go be a dental hygienist.”

&

“If you love it, you’ll find a way to do it.”

let me repeat that for the haters

If you love it, you’ll find a way to do it.

 

You’re darn straight.

Something else I really love, is finding flaws in society and coming up with my own dumb solutions to fixing them. So I found a way to do that at this camp, with my production team. My problem, my solution. Please pay no attention to the lead actress she’s no Jlaw, but I think the message is something to think about. If you know a teenager or anyone with a picture-posting problem, or anyone really, please feel free to share.

You can only give what you have right? Subtraction and addition? Well here’s a story I wrote about a girl with an Instagram problem, and how I think kids should start viewing the way they view the world, which is not on a phone screen.

[youtube:https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9HFRjtwmjbY%5D

Thank you dear reader for doing what you do best here, and I wish you all a wonderful day/evening/morning/birthday/holiday/drive/whatever else awaits you.

All the best,

Sydney

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How to Be a Gluestick

It’s been tender times here at my high school. Ever since the saddest week of my life, people have been a little more loving and mindful to each other. But it’s also been a month and we are forgetful teenagers. Slowly, people are noticing that we’re returning to our old social stacking and silently lambasting ways. People say we should do something, but those same people continue to socially stack up and lambast. I’m sorry to say that SydneyJoTo is not exception. Commuting home one day with a troubled mind, she also got talking to her Dad about this. The words, “stick” kept coming up; like as in Glue.

That’s where Instagram comes in. SydneyJoTo went home and photo-edited a little something that she hoped would get people thinking. She put it somewhere she hoped lots of teenagers would see, just not the ones that she would see at school the next day. Not yet at least.

elmer's glue stick pink kindness love instagram instalove listen

This was a few days ago, but it came up again today. There is a love recession not just among teenagers, but among the world. And there’s an easy solution that costs zero dollars.

YOU.

That’s right hun.

via bay you belles

And as I’m writing this, that finger’s pointing at the center of my face and  I know I have to not only share this, but live this. This = being randomly nice not just to the funny or the cute kids. But to the kids who really need it the most. Let’s keep our eyes peeled guys.

Night-Time Epiphanies

Hit the Regina Spektor Radio on Spotify, pop over to WordPress, “New Post”. I got words today man!

Hey this fire
It’s burning
Burning us up
Hey this fire
It’s burning
Burning us up

The fire of words baby! I swear they’re eating at my soul this day and unless I pour them out on my keyboard I may be ashes in minutes!

Night-time epiphanies. Have ’em? Thought processes really do take place at night, when things are quiet and muscles are tired. Well, your brain isn’t a muscle. True story bro. Something about the dark and waiting for unconsciousness to come… thoughts run into genius strands that are so frustratingly forgotten the next morning. Solution:

Write it down! I had to turn on the light a few times but it was soooooo worth blazing my eyeballs out. Otherwise you’ll think you’ll be able to decipher your writing that was written in the pitch-black darkness, but really you won’t. (Testify: middle bottom picture, middle of pad.) Anyways, there was something my half-conscious self came up with last night that I liked.

More sleep.
More water.
More grains.
More Color.
More right.
More clear. 
 

Read it over again. Now you should know that I love self-improvement, and at night like think of ways to make SydneyJoTo a better SydneyJoTo. That’s pretty much all this list is. An eclectic gathering of goals for the soon-to-be sophomore.

(pssssst! Stop reading here if you gotta get to doing, or stick around if you’re seat’s comfy enough or if you’re a teenager.)

More sleep.

Most Teens stink at time management. So usually it’s the latest thing in the day that takes the hit. Bedtime. I think ending school at 3:30 is dumb. Why? The average American household has dinner from 6:30-7 o’clock. That’s leaves a succinct 3 hours for homework, sports games/practice, friends, and travel to and from all of these. However! Many families with teens have dinner later, like from 7-8, even 9 o’clock as to not disrupt the order of early evening activities. Why don’t we just try that?! The trick must be getting all of one’s homework done before the dinner bell rings, so one can have some restful family time after dinner and then hit the hay.

Ask your boss-people if a later din-din is right for you. Side effects may include an earlier, less desperate night’s sleep.

More water.

Utah. Geeze Louise. Water not only tastes fabulous there but an excessive amount is also vital to one’s happiness at that high and dry

Water. Go get a glass NOW.

altitude. I stayed with my Aunt K. who taught me the importance of the “H2O Diet”. She told me that before going anywhere, drink a glass of water. Then when you’re done with that, drink another one. This was a few days before volleyball camp and she knew this advice would later prove valuable during my sweaty court antics. Also, I’m pretty sure water has an effect on one’s happiness. After camp, I kept up on the water intake. It’s bad but, Water made things clearer. (El-Oh-El!) But seriously, there is something about more agua in the system and  I’M SURE THERE’S A SCIENTIFIC ARTICLE OUT THERE SOMEWHERE that ties water with happiness! If over 70% of the human body is made up of water, then why not be constantly trying to maintain that? Especially since water has ZERO cals and other junk. It’s the purest and best thing for you on the planet. Plus, dehydration is found frequently in TEENS! Read about it here. With all the other social/educational/hormonal crap we’re dealing with, I’m sure water intake is very low on the priority list for most teenyboppers-and-poppers. Not good.

So go drink some now! I’ll wait.

More grains. 

If Manna was bread, (which it probably was) it took this form.

 Again, Aunt K. But also my mom. You see, I’ve just begun to hate white bread. It’s this little flower of hate that was planted by these two lovely women and has been watered by my love  for health food ever since. Oatnut bread is too good to cheat on with that white fluffy stuff that has absolutely NO nutritional value. So dear reader, I invite you to hate white bread with me. And feast on Oatnut for your breakfast toast instead. And then for your sandwich at lunch. Take a break for dinner. Teenagers, there is no “w” in pb&j. However there is a “b” which stands for bread, which could easily mean “Oatnut bread”… if you wanted it to.

More color.

I can’t stress this enough. There is color in the world but when the world chooses to paint something beautiful whether it be on the ground, down an alley, or in the sky you’d better darn well appreciate it.

Colors.

More right.

Not less left, but rather more doing the right thing. The Right Thing. We all subliminally know what that means, whether we want to or not. Some would argue that everyone has different priorities, and therefore different ideas of right and wrong. But I don’t think so. Balance. There’s a balance everywhere, and when you start looking for it, you’ll find it, especially in people. Somehow there are happy stories and there are sad stories and there’s the untold stories of people just making it through. But those are just stories. Whether the story happened to a loved one or a stranger you are still you. And you always have a choice. We all do. And so we control the balance of right and wrong. It just seems that the gusts of the world head in the wrong direction and so we have to lean against it. That’s when I come in with my belief of Heavenly Father and Satan. The Gusts are from Satan and the freedom to be blown away or lean against it comes from Heavenly Father. Then, Heavenly Father will go so far as to give you something or someone to hang on to, or will even lead you to a non-gusty area! That’s all called faith, take it or leave it.

More clear.

So I’m rested, hydrated, healthy, appreciative of the world around me, and I’m trying to do the right thing. That lifts a fog, and what I see now gives me something real to write about.


P.S.

This concludes my 100th post and first year of blogging! I would like to thank my dear dear dear readers, hug my mostly supportive parents who thought this would be just another phase, and my poor computer that has put up with a year of frustrated writers-block-induced-head-banging. This kid loves you all!

{Edition}

Just heard this song on Spotify: thought it applied perfectly to my “theory of balance”. That’s it :)

The night before GIRLS CAMP!!!

“Everything has a beginning, a middle, and an end- the middle’s the most important. Think of… an Oreo cookie! Right now we are in the middle of our lives, and this is the time that matters most. We’ll get to camp tomorrow, and we’ll leave on Saturday. It’s up to YOU what you do with that creme filling.”

Words from a high-adventurer of a sister in the stake, witty and smelling of Hawaii and full of jokes as well as inquisitive wisdom. It was a great talk. Anyways, I’m leaving for camp in the morning. With my dear non-member friend K. who is absolutely stoked about spending a week in cabins in the Sierras overlooking a lake. Yes, a sparkly cold lake. Our volunteer cooks are also food gods. I have to go to my restful slumber party now (excitement will keep my eyes open anyway) but before I do, I want to wish you all a happy mid-summer, and a happy mid-life! Please, Enjoy the filling :)

(Via Sodahead)

Scared to Pack and Some Pretty Sweet Stuff

Heard these guys in the car on the way to fireworks. I like ’em don’t you? It’s smooth, with a purpose. I’m no music critic but I think these guys have earned a pat on the back :)

That was the sweet stuff. Still scared to pack for Volleyball camp. Firstly, I still have gaps in my packing list that call for a trip to the store… but I could still go clean the cobwebs out of my suitcase in the garage. The one friend from camp last year I made and  have outwardly tried to keep in contact with all year can’t go, and so I’m alone. I did it alone last year, but I was a year younger, a year less mellow and realistic. I’m stoked to see the family before and after though. A long awaited hugs await. Okay there’s my motivation. Now I’m going to play more Imagine Dragons, take my fingers off the keyboard, and stand up. Then I will go dust off my suitcase. (Hope there’s no spiders) Happy fifth everybody! Hope nobody’s dogs had heart emergencies last night. Okay, that’s it. See you in Utah!

-SydneyJoTo

Thrice a Graduation

So two weeks ago I went to my first High School Graduation and lived to blog about it. Yesterday were three graduations, all conferring recognition of three different stages of development. Kindergarden, Sixth grade, and High School. The principal at the sixth grade graduation said something neat,

Graduation Day is but a theory. Everyday we graduate, moving up to a more advanced level in intelligence, experience, and maturity.

So what’s the point of Graduation Day? My dad and I got into a discussion about this, how Americans have a knack for stopping to reflect on the past. Graduations aren’t just for recognition, but for reflection on memories and accomplishments. It was awesome to get to go to three, recognizing the accomplishments of a small child, to a pre-teen, to a newly-adult.

Why hello there Large Crowd of people!

These Robed Dudes and Babes on my left and right…

The secret is, I haven’t grown up yet. I still can’t reach the cookies in the pantry.

And the sun sets on all things school-related. I’ve graduated to a sophomore and you’ve graduated a little bit from reading this. Have a glorious summer everyone. :)