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,



A Pep Talk from an Awesome 8-year-old

kid president cover photo blog amazing pep talk feel good story obama black kid funny hilarious

At 8:15 this morning it was still dark in my first-period  Chemistry class and there lay a bunch of sleepy sophomores drooling on their desks while visions of summertime danced in their heads. Ms. Marathon, our athletic and sunny teacher, decided we needed a pep talk to get us awake and motivated to finish out the week strong, as well as the rest of the year and frankly, the rest of high school. Well she found one, in the form of an adorable little boy on Youtube.

The Stupid Cup Song.

the cup song pitch perfect the cup game stupid hammer sydneyjoto

“The Cup Song” came from “The Cup Game”. Let’s make that crystal clear right now. “The Cup GAME” is basically a hand tap-dance or like a self-patty-cake done in sync with a table-full of others sitting in a circle passing along the cup. It’s been around since summer camps and family reunions were invented and if still you haven’t heard of it, some little girl you know under the age of 14 has. Duh, like… the Turner girls?

Once “The Cup Game” is mastered it becomes something one finds him or herself doing in public whenever they are blessed with an empty cup bestowed upon their table {or in many of my sad cases, what only seems to be an empty cup}. They are suddenly the star of a small-scale percussion show and surrounding tables applaud their performance when they finish. Go ahead, take a bow.

Well “The Cup SONG” was more recently made famous by the movie Pitch Perfect which came out earlier this year. In the movie, “The Cup Game” is put to cute lyrics by Actress and Singer Anna Kendrick and people all over the world have attempted to duplicate her fabulous results on YouTube calling it “The Cup Song”. It’s pretty incredible actually.

And then there’s me. Pitchy-Perfect-and-therefore-silent and frustrated mallet welding me.


Have a fabulous weekend folks!

Eye of the Sparrow

Okay, so. First off, I’m blogging in the front yard. There. Just took a photobooth selfie to prove it but I’m not showing it to you. This is the web and there are an awful of creepy peeps out there if you know what I mean, plus I failed at a sloppy bun today.

So here’s my plan. I have three things to share with you today dear reader which makes me really excited. So excited that my house couldn’t contain all my excitement so that’s why I’m in the front yard. There you have it.

So the choice I had to make was put all three things together in one haphazard post or give each one it’s own light to shine in and congest my followers inboxes with not just one, but three posts filled with my insanely deep thoughts. Let’s vote

MuA-HA-hahahahaha! Too bad I’m doing three.

First off is this hilarious Youtube video from the recent Presidential Elections. The entire thing is basically my standpoint on the whole thing.


Alright here’s a tree in my front yard. Not exactly me but almost as great. Snapped with my iPhone 4s

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!


An Incredible Family

Good Luck Charlie Family The Incredibles Incredible Family

The Incredibles was our first DVD. (10-year anniversary is coming up btw!) It’s been showing on ABC Family all day and we had to sit down with our baby brother, Monkey #3, as he was so deprived of this classic. The movie came out a year before we even knew M.B.3, and being normal children, we would watch it around the clock memorizing every line in every scene.

Back then, we were convinced our family could be the Incredibles. A strong dad, a hip mom, a big sis, little bro and littler bro (when M.B.2 was still in diapers). We were to be the Incredibles for Halloween, the whole matching leotards and everything. Then we found out mom was having another one. Mom couldn’t have been slender Elasta-Girl with that big belly unless you count those elastic prego-pants. Plus we realized we had other variations; mom and dad would have to switch hair colors, and I was too young to be a depressed teenager. M.B.1 though was determined to be Dash, “zooming” around the front yard with his little eyes fixed to the ground, fists pumping, short legs prancing. Pretty cute.

“Sydney, he looks like Charlie’s dad”, M.B.3 said pointing at Mr. Incredible. Huh…

Mr Incredible Bob Duncan Good Luck Charlie
The Mr. Incredible(s)

Funny right? Balding in the same places too! Aw but we love ’em. “Them” being Bob Duncan from “Good Luck Charlie” and the oh so incredible Mr. Incredible. INCREDIBLE! Hey and take a look at their families…

Good Luck Charlie Family The Incredibles Incredible Family
The Incredible Families

Interesting… (strokes chin)

Sorry P.J. but you always were the odd child.

Happy sunday night guys! It’s a good night to read a blog, watch Jack-Jack attack, and worry about going to volleyball camp for a week and missing my own Incredible Family!

High School’s a Fourth Over!

And the final bell rang… FLASH MOB!

Wow. I’m blogging at 11:30 PM! Yup, pretty sure it’s summer! Well school went out with no shebang, simply finals and teachers wishing off “happy summer”s. First year of finals, over. I dust off my hands, throw my backpack to the side and and run through the sprinklers. Funny how once summer starts, the average teen becomes nicer. I actually tickled my brother today. The stress of getting an education is over for a few months and ah, that’s where the good nature comes from. Bucket list for the coming weeks of sweet sweet freedom?

-Take bike on lightrail

-Fix fine focus on camera and figure out how to make this a partial photo-blog

-Have good social fun at least a hundred-thousand times (sleepovers, dances, screwing around good-kid style)

-Make 7 new blogging buddies

-Get J-Lo buff with Crossfit Sawmill, boom baby.

-Paint something mondo and splattery

-Hardcore babysitter (Like ten bucks an hour h.c.!)

-Be volleyball sensei to little brothers: teach the ways of the spike.

-Chalk mural on my old elementary school blacktop (Yes, blog about it)

-Take a train to Utah

-Watch all Ponyo & Rocky movies in two days

-Sketch Rocky Balboa Portrait

-Perfect Scone recipe

-Be a SOPHtdrink sophmore, paint a binder with 7UP design

-Get driftwood and shell shards from the beach… make something santa-cruzian

-See Nicki Bluhm and the Gramblers when they come to town!

-Get rallied up for the NEXT THREE YEARS OF HIGH SCHOOL!

That’s right, hit us with your best shot summer 2012!

What’s on your bucket list?

Killer, and killer haircut there Nicki!