I’m tired after another full day and tonight’s final banquet at the Adler Planetarium, so I will try and post today’s blog without too much annotation.

Today was the day that that Stevenson delegation (plus one guest) presented our panel.

Here is the prezi that I made, that covered both the intro and my part of the presentation.  And here is the outline I prepared to go along with it.

After the panel, I had coffee with Kevin Dole, a director I met at last year’s UFVA conference, since there were no panels/workshops/screenings, etc in the second session of the day (it was award ceremony time, and I chose to skip it). Kevin is a longtime Los Angeles-based director of commercials who is working on shooting his first feature film, Kiss the Frog. It was nice to catch up, and I look forward to seeing the film when it is done.

I then had lunch with my friend Savvas Paritsis and with G.T. Keplinger at the Eleven City Diner, which was fun.

Then two more panels, and finally the banquet.

What a day and what a week! I enjoyed myself, but I’ll be happy to go home tomorrow!

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

PANEL 13K, 8:30-10:15am: Final Cut Schmo: Why “Flexible” And “Adaptable” Are The 2 Most Important Qualities Of The 21st-Century Media Education Model

Christopher Reed, Stevenson University, Moderator

Love The One You’re With: Lessons From Apple On ‘Flexibility’ And ‘Adaptability’

Brett Levner, University Of Nevada Las Vegas

Leaving Final Cut Studio, But When And To What?

Dina Fiasconaro, Stevenson University

Writing And The New Technologies

G.T. Keplinger, Stevenson University

Is Bad The New Good On YouTube?

You can look at the prezi and the outline that I linked to, above.

Here is the photo I had Savvas take after the panel (from the crappy camera on my phone … ):

(from l-r: G.T. Keplinger, Brett Levner, Dina Fiasconaro, me)

We had a great group in attendance, and a very lively discussion followed.

I learned a new word, thanks to Brett Levner – a “predator:” a producer + editor. Love it!


PANEL 15K, 1:30-3:15pm: Our Conversion Story: Forward Thinking, Slow Moving, Fine Tuning The Balance Between Tradition And Innovation At NYU

The range of challenges and triumphs associated with transitioning a large department’s signature film production class into an all-digital version while keeping the spirit, intensity and traditions of the original.

Rosanne Limoncelli, New York University, Moderator 

Rick Litvin, New York University

Peter Rea, New York University

This was the “Sight & Sound” film class conversion story


It’s the passing of an era: going from Arri-S to Sony FS-100, and from Steenbecks to AVID

  • signature class
  • 5 films in 1 semester (limitations)

We wanted to switch away from infrastructure that was no long supported

Once decision was made, would need one year to make the conversion and educate and inform everyone.

To be consistent with tradition of the class, we needed people to “earn” what they would accomplish

  • Zeiss prime lenses (28, 50, 85)
  • light meters
  • b&w
  • disabled on-board mic

Production, post and projection would have to all be compatible

It would have to remain manual, physical, systematic, and working with tools that require collaboration (part of tradition)

We needed feeling of being able to touch the tools

To convince the faculty, we framed argument as:

  • what happens if one reversal lab closes?
  • the 6 spare projection bulbs disappear?
  • what happens when suplies for Steenbecks disappear?

3 options:

  • do nothing
  • shoot film, post video
  • switch to all digital production and post


There is still film at NYU, just not in this intro class for sophomores

2 biggest programs @ Tisch are undergrad film/tv & theatre

Freshman year:

  • language of film (history)
  • script
  • 2 colloquia
  • a sound or some kind of visual course
  • no film production

“Sight & Sound” is the primary intro course. It’s divided in 3 – “film,” “studio,” “documentary” – students choose one of 2 second ones.

Meets twice a week for half a day

In adapting to new digital format, they kept the syllabus workflow from the film years (although students finish faster)


Prime lenses a good longterm investment


In defense of slowness of process to convince Deans.


Needed a robust camera to replace the ARRI-S

[à propos of nothing, but I didn’t know this, God of Love was shot on the RED]

In class, being able to freeze frame on a project image is a very lovely surprise (different form film projectors)

PANEL 16G, 3:30-5:15pm: Transmedia: One Story, Many Media

The modern narrative property cannot exist in one media alone. From film to television to games to webisodes to novels to comic books, and beyond, any major media property that expects to stand out from the crowd has to do so
on multiple platforms. Traditional single media, or simple adaptions – where
the storyline from one media piece is adapted into another media – is rapidly becoming old school. In its place is the idea of transmedia storytelling, where one giant, encompassing, engaging story is told across multiple media, with each platform telling its own contained story, but at the same time only part of the larger story.

Michael Niederman, Columbia College Chicago, Moderator 

Tom Dowd, Columbia College Chicago

Joseph Steiff, Columbia College Chicago


What is “transmedia?” … One story across many media


  • Multimedia – uses multiple media as part of a presentation
  • Crossmedia – marketeers use “crossmedia” when they want to talk about pushing a brand across multiple media
  • Transmedia – really just “multimedia” – to use multiple media to tell one story
  • Transmedia storytelling/narrative – take one master story and tell is through multiple channels (Producers Guild of America definition) a 3 or more narrative storylines within the same universe, and not the same as repurposing (adapting) material from another platform. Must be original. Narrative continuity across multiple platforms. Interactive endeavors to unite uss across platforms.
  • East Coast Transmedia – smaller, more intense, ARG-driven
  • West Coast Transmedia – writ large, driven by movies tv games


  • Transmedia requires mass media
  • The Wizard of Oz (1900) – books, stage, film, tv, comics, games, lectures across country by L. Frank Baum

Michael Niedermann doesn’t think transmedia really didn’t start until TV

  • And you have to talk about Disney when you talk about TV, ‘cos Walt “got it.”
  • After 1950s: Toys, games, books, clothes, comics – urge always there because of $$$$$
  • An opportunity to generate additional $$$$ from a property
  • All about the marketing
  • The “Roddenbury Urge” to make a universe

Now, it is still about the $$$$, but it is conceived from the start

Lucas understood that the value (thanks to Star Trek) of the universe lay in the toys.

Star Trek – ability to perceive a universe in an intellectual property at heart of other source materials. Star Trek engaged in a completely new way with the fans (conventions!).

What 1950’s merchandising did was allow fans to take the world home with them (deep impact).

An ideal idea source for transmedia treatment:

  • Big Canvas
  • Consistent universe
  • Big supply of story fodder
  • Other validation/core audience

What works best?

Star Trek as a property marked the emergence of transmedia: “organic transmedia” (it just happened) – first big modern property that overflowed its medium. Arguably birthed the mass-media sci-fi/fantasy industry.

Fanzines were emerging at the same time as Star Trek‘s ratings failure and cancellation. It was the syndication that “made” the show. TVs in college dorms helped.

  • Playing with ideas big and deep: race, tech, etc.
  • Raised questions that fans wanted to explore and DISCUSS!
  • Illusion of depth that needed filling

1975 – Franz Joseph Schnaubelt (an aerospace engineer) – Star Trek Starfleet Technical Manual – fan-driven transmedia. People who came afterwards used THIS as source material …

At the same time, Star Trek novels start to come out – it becomes a “franchise.”

Fans are discussing continuity and truth of storyline.

Star Trek + moment in culture + media = Transmedia

People who were weaned on Star Trek eventually became its masters (fanboys grow up to become creators) – Dr. Who as another example.

Where do we find Q&A in Transmedia narratives?

  • Plot/Story
  • Time/Place. Society/Culture
  • Characters – History and Motivation – the “Luke, I am your father” moment made backstory important
  • A sense of meaningful information in the gapes or just around the corner.
  • Meaningful is key

Modern transmedia storytelling is about mythology

Stories and mysteries across multiple media

Star Trek Countdown links the Star Trek reboot to the known Star Trek universe.

And now there is a series of comics/graphic novels that re-tell original series stories with the situations from the re-booted situations.

Teaching Transmedia storytelling

  • sequential vs. simultaneous
  • materials that same to work best are high-concept action

Book: Transmedia Storytelling: One Story – Many Media (Focal Press, 2013) – no link available yet.

And that’s all folks, from the UFVA 2012! Thanks for reading!


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!