Tuesday, January 19, 2010

I tweet, do you?

I have been in television news for about 12 years now. And one of the biggest parts of my job is the researching and confirming of stories.

Lately, I have been turning to twitter to look for and find information. I have only been using twitter for a year and the power of this social media still amazes me. I used twitter in a way, I never thought I would.

Several years ago, I would have been switching from cable news networks looking for the latest on the big news story. When I heard about the earthquake in Haiti, I did not turn to the cable news, I went to twitter. Within an hour I was seeing the first photos of the devastation of what happened. A few minutes after that, I started noticing journalists “tweeting” to the people with the pictures asking them for permission to use them on air.

I couldn't turn my head away. For hours, I sat there watching the live tweeter feed with all the Haiti updates. It was amazing to me all the information I was getting from just watching the feed.

It was heartbreaking to see some of the updates from Haiti and the people just looking for family. And since the earthquake, the campaigns to raise money have taken off through this simple social network have been wonderful.

It isn’t only the international or national news, that I watch break on twitter.

Here in Tampa Bay, I first saw reports of a possible gunman on the campus of USF on twitter. From there working through our contacts, confirmed the story and went to air. I was again watching twitter and saw the story unfolded on campus.

And it isn’t only breaking news. Through twitter I began to follow @missdestrutco (her blog can be found here: missdestructo.com). She is a great blogger with ties in the Tampa Bay area. Her tweets are always fun to read and her blogs interesting. One day one of her tweets caught my news eye…”Rare JFK images found at thrift store”…
After seeing that...I contacted her and ended up setting up a story with her on her awesome find…we turned a story that can be seen here: http://tinyurl.com/ycj5uhm

I don’t only use twitter for work, I use it for me. Keeping up with friends, keeping up with news, keeping up with my favorite authors and celebrities and developing new relationships with people that have the same interests as me…

I am an aspiring Documentary film maker and have met so many people within the independent film community that have given me support, encouragement and ideas. I would have never spoken to these people if I didn't use twitter.

Twitter is an amazing tool for journalists and to develop relationships with people across the country.

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

1st steps

It is Tuesday evening and I am sitting on my couch watching Independent Lens on PBS. The doc on tonight is Young@Heart - a story about a senior citizens choir.

As I sit here watching the film, my stomach is aching to start my own film, to capture something that people would be interested in watching, finding the story that I am going to show.

Like I said in my last post, 2010 is my year, the year I am going to do it! I have been talking about this for what 5 years now? ...

Before I really get started there are a few little personal things I have to work out. I am hoping to have all those resolved by the end of February. Nothing bad, just a few things to get me in the right place.

After I finish that up and get settled - the interview process begins. I know where to find the people I am looking for...have focused in on 2 different things and still looking for one more to complete my circle. The one thing that I am having a harder time finding is the conclusion. I am hoping that as soon as I start talking to people, that I will begin to see where the story will end. I know where it will start...as with any story - I think you see it unfold.

I can't wait to start.
I can do this!
I am going to do this!

PS - thank you to all my new twitter friends that are involved in the film community. Your posts, blogs and films are an inspiration and make me want to get rolling on my project even more!!

PSS - going to work on re-designing this blog over the weekend.

PSSS - I got business cards too!

Monday, December 28, 2009

The Haunted House

There is this house that Georgie and I pass everyday on our walk. It is a street over from where I live. I have dubbed it the haunted house.

I have never seen anyone go in or out and have never seen a car in the drive way. Every once in a while a light is on in the living room, but I don't see anyone moving about.

The windows (which you can not tell in the photos) have a "picket fence" design etched on them and the front door has an etching of a woman.

So, this has become the haunted house of the neighborhood. Here are a couple of photos. What do you think?

Friday, December 4, 2009

Goals for 2010

2010 is right around the corner. Unbelievable.

2010 - wow!

I have decided 2010 will be a good year for me, and I am going to make it that way. I have decided that I am going to pursue and make a documentary film. It is something that I have wanted to do for a very long time, but never had the heart to take the plunge and just do it.

No more dragging my feet. Starting in January I am going to begin to plan out and make my film. I don't know how long it will take me and I have 3 subject matters that I am looking into and researching. I am working on outlines now and will set mini goals for myself through the year.

I love documentary films, they are my favorite films to watch and I think I like them so much due to the fact that I have been in broadcast television for 12 years. And I believe that we make little tiny docs everyday. The research, talking to folks and presention of the story.

One thing that I was really proud of was when I worked at NBC13 in Birmingham Alabama, I researched, found, produced and wrote a series of stories called Alabama's Bravest. I profiled families with soldiers overseas. I thought I did a pretty good job. Don't know what other folks thought - but I liked the way the stories turned out.

Also for the past 4 years, I have been putting award entries together for WVTM and WFTS. There has not been a year that I worked on entries that we have not been nominated. The biggest part of putting together the awards is the best overall category. Basically you take everything your station has covered for a year and have to edit it down to either a 30min or hour statement. It is not an easy thing to do...you go through hours and hours of video and stories and have to pick out the best and put it all together.

So, now it is MY time to shine. It is my turn to find my story and make it. I am going to need help on this journey and all my friends that are filmmakers, I will be calling you for advice. I know that this is no easy task. (Hey Carl Ross, you are going to help me, whether you like it or not!)

I do want to thank, Jennifer West. She is a huge inspiration for me. She has been supportive and is a great role model for anyone. This woman is smart, creative and one of the biggest go getter's I have ever met in my whole life. She my best friend and mentor for this next phase in my life. If you don't know her, you should.

Also, I want to say thank you to my friends Kristen and Carson here in Tampa. I have told them about my ideas, and they have also been giving me the push to go forward. These 2 women are strong and wonderful people and really made me believe in myself.

So, my journey will begin soon. I am excited and scared, but mostly excited. There is a lot of hard work ahead and I am ready to get started. Wish me luck and I will be updating my progress here for now. When I finally plan out which angle I am going to take, I will make a website and put updates there....

Cheers to 2010!

Monday, November 30, 2009

Georgie the Corgi

Life has been up and down over the past year...mainly down. Things have been low and I have been struggling to get everything back on track.

Last week, I had an opportunity come my way. An odd one at that...
A friend told me that she found a dog for me. A dog?!? Me?!? Could I handle it?

I have wanted a dog for years and years and years. I grew up with a dog named Sandy. She was a beagle mix and a wonderful part of our family. But she was part of a big family - a mom, dad, brother, sister and me. Lots of people to help out. I wanted a dog, but never knew if I could handle the responsibility.

I work long hours, tend to be VERY spontaneous. Will jump in the car and take a 8 hour road trip if need be. When I get home from work I am so tired, I normally crash.

A dog - would change that...would it be for the worse or the best?


Georgie comes into my life. She is a 3 year old corgi. 100% corgi. Cute as a button. Sweet as pie and a snuggle bear.

This is how she got her name...at the shelter in Tennessee, where she was dropped off, the folks were calling her Sally. And the vet papers from her shots in Georgia, they called her Muffin. And I was thinking of naming her Abby. I went to pick her up, she had just gotten in from the long drive from Atlanta. She was in her crate, in the front seat of my car. I talked to her the whole way home. She didn't respond to Sally and didn't like Abby, but I noticed every time I said Georgia - she looked at me. When I said Georgie, her ears perked up and she seemed to smile at me. So, Georgie was her new name.

Having a new dog has been stressful. I have never had ANYONE be dependant on me and it has been different. There is this little creature, that I have to take care. This little life form that counts on me for food and protection. Here is little Georgie, waiting for me everyday when I get home. Waiting there for me - depending on me. Depending on me 100%. Odd.

Could I do it? The first few nights, it felt like I was just taking care of a dog for a friend (which I have done a lot). Then came in the thoughts of regret. What have I done? I am too selfish for a dog! I can't take care of myself, how am I suppose to take care of you? That night when I felt that ping of regret in my stomach, I cried. And I mean, I cried. Cried for hours. During my fit, Georgie was crewing her bone on the floor. She got up from the floor (I was on my bed laying on my stomach with my face buried in my pillow) and jumped on my bed. Next thing I know I feel this little head on my back. She was there. She was...taking care of me?

At that moment, the moment I felt the warmth of a tiny head laying on my back. I felt the soft breathing of her and could feel her body next time mine. I realized something.

I realized, that I didn't save her. She saved me. She saved me from the depression that I have been fighting. She saved me from myself. I realized that this little thing, this little dog - had saved me. She is something that I have to take care of...she is saving me, by just being there.

It hasn't been a breeze, but Georgie is a great dog. She is housebroken. She lets me know when she needs to go! She is funny, her favorite game is "bury the bone". She takes her bone and walks around the apartment looking for a place to "bury" it. Normally it is between the couch cushions. When she gets excited she does a "woof, woof, Hooowwwwwlll"...I want to play!

She is a great addition to my life, but has been a learning experience and I will keep learning. And I honestly believe that this little dog saved my life. As I saved hers.

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

I ***heart*** to look things up

So, one of the favorite things I like to do is research, look things up, find the meaning behind names, words...etc. Researching has also been a big part of my job (maybe that is why I do what I do). And I love a good challenge. There is nothing that I can not find, if it takes me hours, days, weeks...I will do my best to find it.

Yesterday was a fun example. We were having a debate in our newsroom on why Lakeland, Florida was called Lakeland. I threw out that I believed that it was named Lakeland because it has a TON of lakes, someone here disagreed with me - too easy.

So, I took the challenge. I had to find out why Lakeland is called Lakeland. A quick search on the Internet turned up a few history facts. Did you know that they were thinking about naming Lakeland - Munnville (after the man that founded the town), Red Bug (I want to know where that name came from!), or Rome City. But I could not find why they ended up choosing Lakeland. I found the number to the Lakeland Public Library and called the reference desk. I asked my question. Vic, the great guy at the desk told me to hold on, he was going to ask the library historian. After, less than a minute, Vic came back and said that the founder of the town, Abraham Munn, did not want the town named after him and they finally came to agreement to call the town Lakeland, due to ALL THE LAKES!

Lakeland - Lots of Lakes!

I have been to Polk County maybe twice since I have lived in the Tampa Bay area, but loved just reading the history on how towns formed along the railroad tracks.

I found a great site on Polk County History, if you have a few minutes take a look. http://www.polkcountyhistory.org/

Today - I wonder what I will find!

Sunday, November 15, 2009

changing tones

I have decided if I am really going to use this blog, I need to work on it a little more.

Originally, I was posting about art that I was working on, but I think I need to expand a little and talk about a lot of things...this week I will be working on updating at least 3 times a week. I am not just going to focus on my art here. I don't know what I am going to write about just yet...but I am working on that...stay tuned...

In the mean time, here is another drawing I did for the micro-fiction site name your tale. This one took me just a few minutes and I was watching anime when I did it...think there was a little inspiration from the show I was watching!