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.


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,



Waterslides and Ends

You’re standing at the top of a water slide looking into its dark open mouth. There is water rushing about your ankles, urging you to go on and sit, but you’re hesitating. You’re look at the rust coating the sides and bottom of the slide, and the wooden beams, which are supposed to support the slide, but are crooked and cracked in many places. There is no one behind you in line and the lifeguard is off duty. Do you go or do you not go? Your whim tells you to go, so you sit, letting the water carry you. You’re rushed into pitch-blackness, swerving left and right, sometimes so sharply it hurts. Then there are loops and drops that you scream through, wondering despairingly when it will all end. Something hits you in the head and you think you hear bats screeching. Something else makes the tunnel shudder and you are thrown from side-to-side with it. This goes on for what feels like hours and just when you think this is surely the tunnel to hell you see a light. It is far away and you start swatting at the water trying to move faster towards the end of this awful ride. Suddenly, the ebony air recedes and you are thrust headfirst into a churning mass of water and you sink to the bottom of a pool. You open your eyes, breath held, and you see that you are surrounded in light. You push up off the floor, break through the water, and gasp. You have landed yourself into a secret part of the water park, and it’s equivalent to paradise.


The big question. Do the Ends justify the Means?

via Statflickr



The Wonderful World of Homecoming: Part I

where the wild things are book dance rumpus

It really did feel like October just now as I came home from Babysitting. The air is poking freezing in the shoulder, and I could see my breath as I said goodbye to the mother who drove me home. And now, there’s a post coming on tonight!

Man, I love kids. Little munchkins hold a special place in my heart, even when they’re throwing random objects at you of varying weights and sharpness. But it’s fun being around them because they haven’t lost the art of simplicity. Little humans’ only cares are dinner, dessert, potty, and which movie to watch before bedtime. That all. And then they’re tucked in, they suck their thumbs and ask for another story. You turn the lights off, close the door, and…

The parents come home. Then they hand over the cash (or check) and drive you home.

But tonight, it was pay enough to be around those sweet little darlings. All week, I am surrounded by crazy Wild Things called teenagers. Babysitting kids brings you back down to a place where sweet simplicity resides, and it’s wonderfully refreshing. Sadly though, you must return to the island called High School on Monday, where The Wild Things are  preparing for the Wild Rumpus (aka Homecoming).

where the wild things are book dance rumpus
All hail the Homecoming King!

You smile though, because you realize that you’re not the unique and long-awaited king-of-all Wild Things, but rather, just another Wild Thing yourself and you might as well enjoy being one while it lasts. 

(So you volunteer to be in charge of decorations and you’ll blog about it all next week.)

Do I look Tired?

Just got to school. It’s a Wednesday, sleep in day, but the teacher’s daughter gets to walk into class at 7:20… two hours before everybody else. I try to use this time efficiently (more so than my last post lol) and work on biology. Right now we’re doing anatomy, which means kidney stones and urine. Grody to the max. Dad’s in a meeting but a sweet teacher from down the hall and family friend stops by to say hello.

“You look tired.” She comments.

Awesome, cause I’m exhausted. Seminary, volleyball, cross-fit p.e., plus school will do that to you. But at least I’m happy. Wait, why shouldn’t I be happy? Well… I’ve got a cute hobby (blogging), I’m reading a fantastic find (Anne of Windy Poplars), My Macbook case I ordered on Etsy is coming through customs, and I’m moving out of my parents computer soon! I think I’m happy. Is it possible to be happy and exhausted?

A mother of three, two of which are twins, can still hold a sincere smile on her face after tending the needs of three toddlers all afternoon and getting ready for moving day in two weeks. A man running his first marathon can still grin and high-five his son who’s standing in the sidelines. So how come they’ve got so much dang happiness?!

The difference is they have another mindset than I, a much better one . “I trust that ye have not set your hearts upon riches and vain things of the world,” Alma 7:16

This dang laptop is completely of the world, and so are the other things that supposedly made me “happy”! No wonder I’m exhaused to the negative degree! I want to be exhaused to the positive degree, like the guys above! I’ll try, today I’ll really try to really poop myself out but go to bed smiling. I’ll try to do some good today.

Same goes for you! Tire yourself out doing good deeds or at least put a little more effort and smile into your everyday routine. Comment how you or a someone else has done good  : -)

P.S. Speaking of serivce… check out what a million mormons did this weekend!

(Singers include ex-American Idol and newly citizen both with sparkly golden vochs!)

Nutella: the Leading Cause of Epiphanies

At the moment, I’m munching pretzels loaded with Nutella at the family iMac. Around me scurry thirteen 5-year-olds, squealing as they transition from playtime to story-time. Tough life guys. And yes, this is how I spend my overdue spring breaks… letting my mom’s bite-sized pupils dance circles around me.

As I’m licking the product of the Gods off my fingers, an epiphany jumps into my head like a Leprechaun on “So You Think You Can Jig?”.

Guys I’m starting fresh again. The topic scope at the moment on SydneyJoTo stretches 3/4ths around the world. (Shrink-y-dink sound effect!) My focus now is on being a good fifteen-year-old. What’s it like trying to be a good christian kid in 2012?

Favorite Music, Videos, Causes, Art, and Pictures of my life as it flies by… all the things we teens live for are my pinpoint. The only difference is I’m taking the time to write about it.

AH! This sounds so serious and straightforward! Awh HEECK no. You should know that I’ve now devoted myself to nunnery. I killed my Facebook. (GASP! from the crowd) Yes, ’tis true. But I’ve learned Nuns are evil and don’t laugh, so I’m quitting soon. When I do, I’ll be back with something halarious.

Until then, Zay Zay can take my place.



I love him… but not as much as these bad boys.

Oh mama.

I used to know you… but not anymore!

Vague, vague title I’ve got there. I don’t have a somebody that I used know, because I never stop knowing the people I’ve met. All of the strangers, friends, old acquaintances are tied into my past, which is me. So how can I not know someone anymore? Maybe I’m too forgiving and gullible. And I haven’t fallen in love yet. Siiiiiigh.

Easter sunday was filled with sun and laughter, whereas the days leading up to it and following were filled with wet winds and dark skies. Typical Mother Nature. Family and friends of friends gathered in Petaluma to soak in some sun and sugar. (We overdosed on both.)

We were introduced to another YouTube Hall’o Famer by a cool-cat cousin,RubyJoTo. (Same middle and last name as yours truly, yes.)

One “example of choosing not to know someone” that has something to do with another cousin:

“You Gold Rush snoots who couldn’t see my potential, I’m only stronger now thanks to you! You’re loss. ‘So You Think You Can Dance’ would LOVE to have me. Now you’re just somebody that I used to know!”


Now YOU! Reference yourself to someone or something you used to know. Watch the video while you’re thinking about it, and It’ll be even more meaningful.


Now. Tell me you wouldn’t sneak into the Adult Egg Hunt to win one’a these bad boys:

mmmHM. That’s what I thought.

Behold my genius.

(Yes I invent a new word in this post just read…)

You know those thoughts that are constantly dropping in on your brain? You know the ones that float back, as you’re walking somewhere… Ex: “What’re they thinking of me? Can they see right through me?” These complete and utter strangers (wow almost said “udder”) that have no right to judge you… Yet you mentally allow them to do so when you assume that… THEY’RE ALREADY DOING SO?!
Hopefully that made sense… you might need to read that over again.

Well I wish I never had those thoughts. I wish nobody ever had those thoughts. It all goes back to the individuality thing… Hey maybe that’s what I was trying to bring across when I wrote that post! That, I wish humans did not posess the ability to judge, or to worry about being judged.

Some of the most outstanding humans I know have trained themselves, to dismiss being judgemental, and don’t worry about being judged…
These people aren’t afraid to laugh when nobody else got the joke. These people have no fear to be friendly to someone who needs a smile. These people obliterate their comfort zone.
These people don’t revolve their lives around one worldly matter (ex, Fashion, a social life, career, bla bla bla) But they move amd flow and take a peice of every joyful thing this world has to offer. They savour it, and do not care who else is watching. All they know, or all they’ve decided to know is that those devilish thoughts… “What’re they thinking of me? Can they see right through me?”… Don’t matter. That they are as significant as the dust they trod on.

Now these people I type of are not other worldly angels who boast perfectance. Nay nay, for they breathe among us. Many of you reading this are like this.

And all of you reading this, can be this.

I will call “this”… a Superometian.

Su•per•o•met•i•an /soup-er-oh-met-ee-ain/

Noun: Someone who overcomes fear or judgement of others, not with pride, but with self-joy.

She was a Superometian for wearing that strange skirt to school, and not worrying if others would notice.

Do you know a Superometian? Aren’t they just the funnest people to be around?! They just make you feel light and happy, and they make you jut want to smile and enjoy life.

Just to clarify, a Superometian is not perfect. To be superometian-like is to have a certain attribute about you. Like being kind, courageous, virtuous or generous. It is a trait that we see everyday… Sometimes we have it,
sometimes we don’t.

Let others catch the Superometian-itis, bring them above the fog with you. Tell them that you won’t judge them, and that will lighten their load so much.

So please, obliterate your comfort zone, and be a Superometian. And I promise others will catch on.