Today was another good day. Outside of the workshops I attended, I also had the great pleasure of seeing an old college classmate, Oscar Alcantara, for coffee at 3:30. Thanks, Oscar, for taking the time to see me!

I also wandered around the vendor exhibits a bit, and purchased some textbooks for my Department. Michael Wiese Productions has a great deal for attendees of the festival: $5 on all books, and when you buy 2, the third book is free – so, 3 for $10.

I bought 4 books:

The Complete Filmmaker’s Guide to Film Festivals: Your All Access Pass to Launching Your Film on the Festival Circuitby Rona Edwards and Monika Skerbelis

Riding the Alligator: Strategies for a Career in Screenplay Writing by Pen Densham

The Film Director’s Bag of Tricks: Get What You Want from Writers and Actorsby Mark Travis

and – the one that looks the most fun …

Make Film History: Rewrite, Reshoot, and Recut the World’s Greatest Films, by Robert Gerst (this one is not yet available on the Michael Wiese site, although they  were selling at the Michael Wiese table today.

This evening, we all went to Northerly Island, in spite of the thunderstorms. Here is a blurry photo of the Chicago skyline as seen from that location that I took with my cell phone:

And now …

This is a record of my notes, taken during the UFVA 2012 sessions that I attended today.

Screening 5D, 8:30-10:15am:

Marc Fields, Emerson College

Narrated by Steve Martin, Give Me the Banjo traces the colorful and contested journey of America’s quintessential instrument from its African roots to the present, with performances and commentary by Pete Seeger, Earl Scruggs, Bela Fleck, Mike Seeger and the Carolina Chocolate Drops.

This was a documentary film about the history of the banjo, and its transition from black slave instrument to minstrel show mainstay to folk and bluegrass anchor. Along the way, we meet many of the musicians who have helped promote the banjo and its music, including Pete Seeger and Earl Scruggs. I am a lifelong devotee of Pete Seeger, and always welcome any opportunity to see him in anything.

I found the film pleasant, with a decent collection of historical artifacts and talking head interviews. I was a bit disappointed at elements of its structure, such as the fact that we begin with the racist cultural legacy of the banjo as a minstrel show instrument, but then leave that behind after the opening, never to return to it. I think the film would have been stronger with a circular narrative that brought us back to the beginning after a journey through all that the banjo has done. I also wish that we had understood why Steve Martin, the film’s narrator, had been so drawn to the banjo, himself. The film gives that short shrift. But I enjoyed the film, overall, and the music.


Workshop 6N, 10:30am-12:15pm: The Joy of X; Learning to Work With and Teach Final Cut Pro X, Part 2

Bart Weiss, University of Texas, Arlington

A workshop to go over truths and myths of Apples Final Cut Pro X. This will be a hands-on demo of the software to show how to use this software in a university film program.

Here is a collection of my scribblings from the workshop. I didn’t do Part 1, but both Part 1 and Part 2 were really the same workshop, done for different groups.

Keyword function

  • Work faster
  • Esp. good for documentarians

Detach/separate audio vs. break apart

Good apps to manage transition/back-and-forth between FCP7 and FCPX

Boris Soundbite, another good app for FCPX

Watch Ripple Training videos (Bart prefers to Lynda.com)


  • Event = Bucket
  • Event = Former FCP7 Project
  • Event = Metadata + Media
  • Project = Timelines/Sequences

Make sure the EVENT gets placed directly on the students’ external hard drives

Proxy Media

Timeline exists within project

What FCPX excels at is metadata

  • Search for metadata
  • Use keywords as sub clipping

Match color

Option-] = cut tail

Option-[ = cut head

Timeline views, including “chicklet view”

L-cuts and J-cuts are VERY easy to do in CPX


  • Use ROLES as separate “tracks” on project, or at least groupings


Screenwriting 7M, 1:30pm-3:15pm:Works in Progress

Kalfou by Desha Dauchan – UC Irvine

Respondent – Shari Thompson, Howard University

2nd Respondent – Kyle Bergerson, University of Oklahoma

Haven by Dina Fiasconaro – Stevenson University

1st Respondent – Duane Byrge, Virginia State University

2nd Respondent – Dean Goldberg, Mount Saint Mary College

This was the first screenwriting workshop that I have attended at a UFVA conference. It was fun! The screenwriter brings 20-30 pages of her feature-length screenplay to the workshop, asks various people in the room to read, and then after the reading, everyone discusses the work, after first hearing from the respondents.

Both scripts in this particular workshop had good elements.

Unfortunately for Dina Fiasconaro, neither of her respondent showed up. BOOOOOOO! Not cool. Let them be barred from future UFVA conferences!

I didn’t take notes, since I was reading, so that’s all I’ll say about the event.


TOMORROW, Friday, 8/10, @ 1:30pm, @ Screening 11D, in room 502 in Luddington, my own film is screened. Wish me luck!

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