Scorceses, Beyonce, Angela Davis and Singin’ in the Rain – MY Video Editing Projects Revealed : MULTIMEDIAARTS

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And last night, I exhaled!

My Video Editing class has come to an end and I am so relieved. Taking those classes at night and working full time in the day had me completely EXHAUSTED. I still have about a year and a half to go before I finish up all the classes for that Video Editing Certificate I talked about before, but at least this portion is over now. Anyway, the class is over and I’m not really sure how I did, but there are a few projects that I felt really proud about and I decided to share them here.

So let’s do this chronologically, to give you a sense of what the class was like.

We started out doing a basic overview of the Adobe Premiere Pro software before we actually did anything. It is a very cool program, with lots of great tools to make things a little simpler to navigate. Of course there are more technical aspects for the more advanced user, but I was mostly pleased with Premiere Pro though, especially after working on Windows Live Movie Maker, which is great but has lots of limitations.

Our first couple of projects consisted of us doing small projects with very very VERY amateur footage the Instructor provided us. Very simple stuff, just so that we could get more hands on experience using the software and understand different editing techniques. The next project was putting together a Music Video out of – again – very very VERY amateur footage. It was fun, even though the music was terrible and the “performers” gave us very uninspired stuff to work with. I’m obviously a big music person, so the idea of cutting a video was awesome.

Our midterm was a group project, and we were asked to edit a Movie (of the list she provided) of our choice into a 2 minute trailer. Me and my partner picked the classic musical “Singin’ in the Rain”. We decided what we wanted the flow of the trailer to be, and we decided that I’d do the first half and he’d do the second half. We worked well together, but unfortunately an issue with the different versions of Premiere Pro prevented me from presenting my half of the trailer. Luckily though, the next project was to refine that footage and make the trailer 1 minute and 30 seconds – and we could work by ourselves.

So here is MY “Singin’ in the Rain” trailer, which was really fun to put together. I love this movie, and my hope was to put something together that showed off more of the plot while keeping the viewers guessing about what they’d get when they saw the full movie. And here it is…

 

Our Final project was a tad confusing because of some miscommunication. At first, the Instructor told us the project could be “Anything”. So for pretty much all the semester I was thinking about what I could possibly put together. I wanted to do something challenging and creative and powerful to show my skills but the closer we got to the due date, the Instructor put more restrictions on the project. She gave us footage from different genres of things. There was documentary footage, there was random B-roll footage, and footage from a popular Crime series. She also said we could use the movies she provided for the Movie Trailer project, and we could use footage we shot ourselves.

Here’s what threw me off.

There were questions about why we had to stick to those specific restrictions, at first the Instructor said it was a copyright issue. Then another student asked if she could pull video from YouTube and use it, and the reason the Instructor gave for not doing that was because she wanted us to use HD quality stuff. Then my Movie Trailer partner (who sat right next to me) asked her in class if we could use HD footage of Movies or Videos we had in our personal libraries, and she sighed and said “sure”. So the next day, my partner was editing together footage from the movie “Para-Norman”. So I thought I was in the clear, because my first idea was to cut up Rihanna’s “We Found Love” video and make it look like it was a Movie trailer.

I changed my mind last minute and decided to use Beyonce’s video for “Superpower”, and I worked for three days on it. It was cool just pulling the images I wanted to use, and making a different sort of narrative of the video. My creative juices were definitely flowing. After a while, I felt it lacked a more powerful Audio message, so I went and searched for speeches about rebellion and revolution (because that’s what the video is all about) and I happened upon some great interviews with Angela Davis, a popular figure in the Black Power movement of the 70’s. The audio worked PERFECTLY with the imagery, and I thought that I was going to blow the class and the Instructor away with my project.

I was about 2/3 done with the project when I asked the Instructor to look over it for feedback. She watched it, and her first reaction was “this was supposed to be video I provided or video that you shot”, and I reminded her what she told my partner. She seems to have forgotten what she said, or misunderstood exactly what he was talking about. She said I could still use the footage, but she gave me a VERY lukewarm response to my footage. So I decided, one day before the project was due, to just scrap it and use some of the footage she gave us.

I moved on, but yesterday in our final class I completed the “Superpower” project because I wanted to share it. So here it is. What do you think?

 

What I turned in for my final, I’m really not that proud of. I was rushing obviously and I didn’t have those creative juices flowing, instead I had anxious last-minute fumes. I decided to do another Movie Trailer, and given the choices I picked Martin Scorsese’s “The Aviator” because I love that Movie and had a vague idea of what I’d do. I focused mainly on the airplane aspect of the Movie, and this is what I came up with.

I think I suceeded in certain parts of the project, but failed at other parts. You notice how some parts are a lot slower than others, well I did that to stretch out the time to make the trailer it’s required 1 minute and 30 seconds. I was also having issues playing with the Title functions, I wanted to do something a little more creative with them but obviously time was an issue. I do feel like I succeeded in doing most of what I set out to do, which is mainly cutting the plane footage together and giving it a certain rhythm, which was one of the good critiques I got last night.

If given more time, I would have changed the title cards and probably used footage in the air for the backdrop instead of using just a black screen. I also would have switched up the music, because I really wanted to try to incorporate Rihanna’s “Get It Over With” (“it’s alright, we can float in the clouds”). It is what it is, and most of the feedback I got was good. So, I’ll pat myself on the back.

Overall, I enjoyed the class. Because it was during the Summer session, the entire class was more fast paced than the two classes I’ll be taking this Fall. The pace of the class was very tiring, but I got through it and learned some stuff. And I’m one step closer to be a certified Video Editor.

#PROGRESS

So… any Video Editors have any useful feedback for me? Leave it in the comments.

 

My Top 10 Songs of the Week “The FIX” : MYFAVORITES

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10. Justin Timberlake “Amensia”

I had this crazy Timberlake kick the last few days, this morning I was hella into this one. It’s a cute song, but I love the slowed down second part where he’s like “I almost forgot, who-oo-ooo you are!”

 

9. Jhene Aiko featuring Ab-Soul “WTH”

This Jhene girl and her “Sail Out” EP are steadily growing on me. This song is cute and mellow like most of the EP, but mainly what I love is the acronym… “Way Too High”.

 

8. The Black Keys “Lonely Boy”

The other day at work, I had this odd craving to hear this song. I was humming it, than just started singing it out loud and I just ended up having to go to YouTube and play it out! Great song, and hilarious video.

 

7. Janelle Monae featuring Miguel “Prime Time”

There is no end to how Awesome this song is. So mellow and sexy, with great lyrics and harmonies and all that. There is also no end to how underrated and under-appreciated Miss Monae is, which is a shame, but it doesn’t really matter that the masses sleep on her… us non-idiots know she rocks!

 

6. James Blake “Overgrown”

I had a variety of Music fixes this week. It started with Jhene Aiko, later in the week it was Timberlake, and for MOST of the week I was in a real James Blake zone. He’s just awesome, and this particular song reminds me of the weeks leading up to me seeing him perform Live in New York City.

 

5. The Drums “Money”

Speaking of New York City, there are a lot of songs that remind me of my short stay there (blog post will be coming probably next month) and this awesome-ly peppy song is one of them. I really really love this and was seriously addicted to it for a while, and I think I’m about to relapse.

 

4. James Blake “Our Love Comes Back”

Might have been my favorite James song this week.

 

3. Miguel “Use Me”

Today, a new Music fix began and his name is Miguel.  This dude is also amazing, such a great writer, and this song is just so good that I almost always replay it at least 3 times before moving on to the next track.

 

2. Jhene Aiko featuring Childish Gambino “Bed Peace”

This song starts, and it sounds like it’s gonna be this cornball ass pop track. The lyrics make me laugh though because I relate so hard. “If I had it my way, I’d roll out of bed say, 2:30 mid day, Hit the blunt then hit you up to come over to my place. You show up right away, We make love and then we fuck, and then you give me my space.” < YES! All of that!

 

1. Justin Timberlake “Spaceship Coupe”

I have never liked this song, the scratchy falsetto used to always get on my nerves where I couldn’t listen. But for whatever reason (maybe I’m feeling some kinda way if you know what I mean) I was addicted to it. It’s a little retarded still, but it’s a relaxing kinda of groove that’s actually fun to sing along with.

#TopTenThursday 10 Potentially AWESOME Greatest Hits Albums : IMO

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With iTunes, Spotify, Soundcloud and all the other music-tech birthed in the digital age, the “Greatest Hits Album” has become a lot less important and a lot less frequent. This doesn’t mean that Greatest Hits albums aren’t sometimes surprisingly enjoyable. No Doubt‘s “The Singles 1992-2003″ remains one of my favorite albums of all time, and last year I was really surprised that The Killers‘ “Direct Hits” compilation was so flawless as a full album. With the right sequencing and tone, a Hits album can potentially be a better album than that artists’ Best album. Most importantly though, a Greatest Hits provides a sort of cliff notes for anybody interested in an artist, but not interested enough to buy their whole discography.

To kick off a weekly feature I hope to continue, #TopTenThursday, I wanted to rank the Top 10 Artists whose material would make awesome Greatest Hits albums. And with the releases from P!nk, Eminem, Britney Spears and Kelly Clarkson it’s become clear that the Greatest Hits album doesn’t signal the end of a career anymore. None of the 10 artists listed are ones that I consider to be OVER, they just have great music that should be collected and celebrated.

 

10. The Black Keys.Keys tagged

Though Dan Auerbach and Patrick Carney have reached a mainstream success the past few years, their early work remains unheard of. The duo should go the OutKast route, whose 2003 “Big Boi and Dre present… OutKast” was put out for those new fans who thought “Stankonia” (their 4th album) was their debut. The Keys should do something similar and familiarize the world with their incredibly soulful early work.

 

9. T.I.TI tagged

Somewhere between arrest 4 and 6 (but who’s counting?), I lost interest in T.I. although there was a time when I was a big big fan. As it often happens with artists, his music started becoming a little repetitve to me, but he still managed to collect hits here and there. With 8 studio albums behind him, and one slated to be released this year, Mr. Harris clearly has enough material to put together a solid and diverse “Hits” album to celebrate his career in the Hip Hop game.

 

8. Black Eyed Peas.BEPs tagged

Let’s be real. The Black Eyed Peas are a huge group domestically and even bigger when you look at their international success, but they aren’t necessarily the most respected group out there. The foursome haven’t released a song in about 3 years, and their relevancy might have dipped since the major success of 2009’s “The E.N.D.”. A Greatest Hits would place all of their insanely catchy and addictive tracks on one album, and show the evolution of the group from “conscious” rappers to EDM hitmakers. This set could also include some of the group member’ solo work (since it doesn’t look like Fergie will ever release another solo LP). The hits might be the end of what BEP’s have turned into, and give them the freedom to recreate the band once again.

 

7. Kanye West. Kanye tagged

I almost didn’t include Kanye here, because he seems like the type of artist that would be repelled by the idea of putting out a compilation. But the dude has the hits to fill out a phenomenal Hits album. From his uptempo and fun records like “Golddigger” and “Good Life”, to the more emotional “Heartless” and “Jesus Walks”, and the socially conscious “All of the Lights” and “All Falls Down” – the set would show the masses that their IS talent behind the arrogant bravado that the media loves to focus on to make him a villain.

 

6. Alicia Keys.Alicia tagged

Alicia keys comes out every few years with a new album, she manages to score at least one hit single, she tours, and than most people forget about her. This is mostly because her last few albums have all sounded the same and she needs a drastic style change. While she figures out where she wants to take her talents, it makes sense to come with a Hits compilation. Keys does have amazing songs in her 13 year career. Hits like “If I Ain’t Got You”, “Fallin” and “No One” are so timeless that the compilation should play pretty nicely. And her fan base (that has trended to an older crowd) would definitely scoop it up.

 

5. Coldplay.Coldplay tagged

These guys are actually the act that inspired this post as I was listening to “Ghost Stories”, their fairly decent if a little boring 6th album. I started thinking about their previous 5 albums (“Viva La Vida” IMO is easily their best album), their career and their breakthrough singles, and their discography would sound great mashed up together. Singles like “Yellow”, “Paradise”, “Fix You”, “In my Place” would flow nicely into the more uptempo tracks like “Every Teardrop is a Waterfall” and “Speed of Sound”. I definitely think this needs to happen as their next release.

 

4. Justin Timberlake.Timberlake tagged

With only 3 solo albums under his belt (4 depending on what you consider that 2 part “20/20 Experience” mess) it might seem a little premature for the former N Sync’er to release a Hits compilation, but if his 2013 MTV VMA performance is any indication – he has the hits, and people are definitely here for them still. It wouldn’t be hard to package his big hits like “Sexyback” “Rock Your Body” and “Suit and Tie” along side some new or unreleased tracks (“Boutique in Heaven”, “Pose”, “Worthy Of” being some great unreleased cuts I know of). And I’m sure it would sell, it’s Timberlake after all.

 

3. Beyonce.Bey tagged

Last year I planned post something on Youtube about how I felt King Bey should release a Greatest Hits album. This was when the Beyhive was antsy and confused about the lack of new music, but than we got the surprise “BEYONCE” visual album,  and all was well in the world.  However a massive hits collection is inevitable, with her being such the Icon she is and having so many memorable hits like “Irreplaceable”, “Single Ladies”, “Halo”, “Crazy in Love” and now “Drunk in Love”. It’ll be one of those albums filled with so many memories and emotions, and definitely one that will make you dance.

 

2. Usher.Usher tagged

It’s amazing that a Hits album has never dawned on Usher, who has had a very successful 21 year career which includes record breaking sales and hit after hit (or like he said in “What Happened to You” – “seven Grammy’s, sold out concerts, DAMN I been working hard!”). For a while he was clearly the King of the Urban R&B genre, but competition and a quick and controversial marriage and divorce kind of tainted his image. He’s still been able to make hits from time to time, but his chart dominance took a slight dip and he’s become so underrated. His Hits album would be a great way to get people to understand how underrated this amazing talent is, and that he once owned Radio and TV with hits like “U Got It Bad”, “YEAH”, “Nice and Slow” and “U Remind Me” just to name a few. A Hits album might actually be a better idea than releasing his upcoming 7th album.

 

1. Rihanna.Rihanna tagged

In a very short time, Rihanna has collected so many big hits that it wouldn’t be difficult to create an amazing Greatest Hits album. And the best thing about Rihanna’s hits (including record breaking 13 #1 Hot 100 Hits) is that her music is so diverse. Her Hits album would jump from Dance hits like “We Found Love”, “Don’t Stop the Music” and “S&M”, to the Reggae/Dancehall tinged tracks “Rude Boy”, “Pon de Replay” and “What’s My Name”, on to her Hip Hop leaning hits and collabs like “Run this Town” by Jay-Z and “Live Your Life” by T.I. There’s even the softer Pop ballads like “Stay” and “Take a Bow” which would make the album perfectly balanced and fun. Rihanna is currently (allegedly) working on new material for her 8th release coming this Fall I’m assuming, (she posted a picture from the studio recently with the hashtag #R8) but a Hits album following that release would be perfect timing.

#TopTwentyFiveTuesday “…of Twenty Fourteen” : MYFAVORITES

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#TopTenThursday didn’t really happen, but that IS a weekly thing I want to keep going on this here blog. But, in the effort of trying to keep this blog active, I’m going to add another weekly list – TopTwentyFiveTuesday, or maybe this will monthly, we’ll see. (Mind you, BOTH the TopTenThursday and TopTwentyFiveTuesday won’t be exclusive to Music)

This post is to make up for two things actually, the #TopTenThursday thing AND the post I planned on making about my favorite music of 2014 so far. I could have easily posted something quick and easy at the end of June, the official halfway mark of the year, but I have downloaded so much music that I haven’t gotten a chance to listen to yet. I wanted to give those albums (Agust Alsina, The 1975, Beck, Jack White,  et. al.) a fair listen and have a broader, more researched list of my favorite albums of 2014. Unfortunately I still have a bunch of albums in my iTunes that have zero plays… and it’s damn near August already. SO – instead of doing that (it’ll just have to wait until the end of the year) I’m just going to post the songs that I’ve been obsessed with this year. Some new, some old, all great.

And here we go…

25. Toni Braxton & Babyface “Roller Coaster”

Their “Love, Marriage & Divorce” album is really good, and this opening track is one of the stand outs.

 

24. Shakira featuring Rihanna “Can’t Remember to Forget You”

Sexy video. Fun song. And… well, RIHANNA!!!

 

23. Robin Thicke featuring Tamar Braxton “For the Rest of My Life Part 2″

 

22. M.I.A. “Bad Girls”

I was obsessed with this song my last month in New York City. Nice flow.

 

21. Pharrell Williams featuring Alicia Keys “Know Who You Are”

My absolute favorite from Pharrell’s “GIRL” album.

 

20. Jessie J “Thunder”

 

19. Justin Timberlake “Not a Bad Thing”

This is such a cute little Pop song, don’t “fuck around” and sleep on it.

 

18. The Black Keys “Waiting on Words”

Black Keys’ “Turn Blue” is an excellent album, and this has become my favorite.

 

17. Calvin Harris “Summer”

 

16. Christian Falk featuring Robyn and Ola Salo “Dream On”

I OWNED Robyn’s self titled 2008 album, but somehow never paid attention to this. I really got into it this Spring as I was easing back into the Bay Area life.

 

15. Drake “Connect”

 

14. K. Michelle “Can’t Raise a Man”

Great great song with a strong message that ladies NEED to pay attention to.

 

13. St. Vincent “Digital Witness”

Randomly saw St. Vincent on “Saturday Night Live” this Spring, and I fell in love with this quirky (and seemingly Prince-inspired) track. YAAAH!

 

12. Andre 3000 & Beyonce “Back to Black”

I was late to the party on this one, but this Amy Winehouse remake is so weird and strange – right up my alley.

 

11. Kanye West “Hold My Liquor”

 

10. Jhene Aiko “The Worst”

Thank the BET Awards for this, I seriously had never heard the song before the show. Really addictive song.

 

9. Coldplay “Midnight”

Just one word : AMAZING!  (it reminds me of How To Dress Well though)

 

8. Jessie J “Sexy Lady”

Probably the most FUN song I’ve discovered this year, this girl is so terribly underrated and under-promoted. This song could be HUGE, but oh well.

 

7. Robyn & Royksopp “Monument”

Robyn and Royksopp’s collaboration album has highs and few lows, but this opening track is just EPIC!! Amazingly textured and one of the best aural experiences of the year. (It’s just a tad long, but worth it when you get to that Saxophone effect)

 

6. Beyonce featuring Drake “Mine”

I always find myself coming back to this beautifully complex track.

 

5. Duke Dumont featuring Jax Jones “I Got U”

I heard this on some random commercial and just had to have it. The steel drums, the low-key House bump and the Whitney Houston sample just make this one of the best FEELING songs I’ve gotten into this year.

 

4. Mariah Carey “Make It Look Good”

 

3. A Great Big World featuring Christina Aguilera “Say Something”

Can’t even explain why I love this song, it’s so simple but makes such an emotional impact. Great stuff.

 

2. Mariah Carey “Faded”

This song is so sad, but the groove of it and Mariah’s vocals make it very addicting for me.

 

1. Coldplay “Magic”

Everything about this song is on point, the lyricism, the production and even Chris’ vocals are … well, they fit the song and mood.

Support my Campaign! : IMO

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Hello All.

So, you know me by now. I love Music, Film, TV, and the Arts, but I’ve been having a long journey in finding myself and finding my passion. The funny thing is, I took my big leap of faith and moved to New York City last Fall and I didn’t quite succeed at what I set out to do. Coming back home to the Bay Area, I somewhat reverted back to my childhood creativity which was evidenced in the Glitch Art stuff I’ve been posting to Instagram and a couple of other creative ideas I’ve come up with (and will talk about shortly). Basically since I’ve been back, I’m been trying to figure out what I am passionate about and what I enjoy doing for a future career move.

What I settled on, career wise, was Video Editing.

Adobe Premiere Pro, the software I've been using for my Video Editing I class.

Adobe Premiere Pro, the software I’ve been using for my Video Editing I class.

About 4 years ago I bought a new computer and it came with Windows Movie Maker, a basic Video Editing software, and I had lots of fun doing random editing projects at home. I was interested in the creative process of it, but I wasn’t sure how one could get into that industry. Later, when I had moved to New York and was working a Temporary job, they showed me a piece of video footage. It was a short clip, and while we were all talking about the video, it came out that the Editor was paid $600 for the clip which was less than 3 minutes. I figured, HEY I could do that! So I started to look into it, and flash forward to today… I’m one week away from finishing my first semester of a Video Editing Certificate Program at Berkeley City College. By Summer of 2016 I will have three Certificates under my belt (Basic, Intermediate and Advance Video Editing), a reel, and experience that will hopefully secure me a job somewhere in New York City.

In the class we are using Adobe Premiere Pro, which I’m told is the new industry standard for Video Editing (along with AVID), and I’m doing really well. Mainly I’m having fun, because school is always more interesting when you are actually interested in what you are learning about. The only difficulty comes from the fact that I don’t have a Macbook Pro or the Adobe Premiere Pro on my personal computer. It’s not much of a difficulty, because I can use the Lab at school during certain hours to get stuff done, but it would be nice to have access to the program away from school.

Macbook Pro with Retina Display 15"

Macbook Pro with Retina Display 15″

Which brings me to my GoFundMe Campaign. I decided to try my hand at crowdfunding, because I would definitely benefit from having a MacBook Pro and the Adobe Creative Suite. It would give me a leg up in classes, and I would be able to work on other side projects while I’m studying and taking the steps towards my Certificate. For instance, this August I’m going to continue in the program and the two classes are a part of the Adobe Creative Suite (Photoshop and After Effects), it would be great if I already had those programs and was able to complete my assignments at home or outside of the restricted hours at school.

Aside from my classes, I have this idea for T-shirts!

Here’s where this idea came about. I LOVE graphic T-Shirts. I LOVE expressing myself and showing my likes on a Tee, and as much as I shop for different T-shirts I see the void that needs to be filled. If you look at any T-shirt shop or online site, you will notice lots of Classic Rock Stars represented (Jimi Hendrix, The Beatles, The Stones), Hip Hop Stars, Punk Stars and even Jazz and Reggae. What’s missing!? Female Artists in the Pop and R&B Genre – those artists that us Gays love and would love showing off on a T-shirt. I feel like this void can easily be filled, and I want to be the one to do it.

I have several ideas behind this though. Using Album covers is one idea, but there are several more creative ideas I’ve come up with that would require some artistic creativity on my part (and would be helped with the Adobe Creative Suite). One of the ideas that I got a great reception on was making “Baby Divas”, like a Muppet Baby version of the Divas in some of their iconic looks.

"Baby Beyonce" - one of my T-shirt Ideas.

“Baby Beyonce” – one of my T-shirt Ideas.

There’s a lot that goes into making T-shirts, but the first step is design and I know that I could get that part knocked out with the Adobe Creative Suite and the MacBook Pro.

So, basically, I just need some support with this. I put up the GoFundMe campaign about a week ago and have collected $15.00, of the $3,250 I was asking for. So if you can help out, or at least share this with someone who can I would be most appreciative.

 

 

 

“Leave them be!” Why the Aaliyah and Whitney biopics are a Bad Idea : IMO

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On Friday, Alexandra Shipp was officially cast to play the late Aaliyah in the controversial Lifetime biopic. This comes after the debacle of Zendaya Coleman and the backlash that came from her being hired for the role. The internet went crazy, mainly complaining that the girl didn’t look enough like Aaliyah (which honestly is a dumb complaint given how Diana Ross killed her performance of Billie Holliday in the classic “Lady Sings the Blues”, and she didn’t look anything like Billie), and shortly after all the complaints Coleman dropped out of the role saying “I feel like there were certain things that were missing and things that weren’t 100 percent taken care of”. Now, with Wendy Williams on board as the executive producer and fans seemingly a little more happy with Shipp in the role, the movie is a GO.

Alexandra Shipp takes on the role of Aaliyah for Lifetime biopic

Alexandra Shipp takes on the role of Aaliyah for Lifetime biopic

The thing is, as big of fan I am of Aaliyah (knowing all the songs and the choreography. #NYG I know!) I just can’t get excited for this movie because, in all seriousness, her life wasn’t really movie material in my opinion. Sure, there’s the R. Kelly marriage and annulment when she was 15, a part of her life that will most likely be glossed over due to the fact that R. Kelly is not participating in this movie. Other than that, what!? She hooked up with Timbaland and Missy Elliott, they became good friends and with their help her career hit it’s commercial and critical peak. She got into movies, started dating Roc-A-Fella’s Damon Dash, and than unfortunately her life ended on that fatal plane crash. None of this makes for good conflict, which is essential for a good movie.

Add to all of this the fact that Aaliyah’s family does NOT want this Lifetime biopic to be made, which should be enough for any production company with the tiniest bit of integrity to pull the plug on the project (and we know by now that Wendy Williams lacks that “I” word). While the powers that be should respect the families wishes, I have to say I don’t agree with the families actual complaint that the movie should be bigger. Aaliyah’s cousin and President of her label Jomo Hankerson sent out this statement months ago,“We want a major studio release along the lines of ‘What’s Love Got to Do with It,’ the Tina Turner movie. This needs A-list actors, A-list talent that can breathe life into what we think is a phenomenal story.” And there in lies my complaint about the movie being made, Tina Turner’s life story had grit, struggle, pain and triumph. “What’s Love Got To Do With It” is such a phenomenal film because the source material is the stuff movie scripts are made of. To me, Aaliyah’s story doesn’t have half of that conflict and in turn be half of what “Love” was.

Which brings me to my feelings on the Whitney Houston biopic, also slated to be aired on the Lifetime Network. Obviously, Whitney’s life was full of ups and downs, success, drugs, marriage and divorce, and a host of other issues that would make for an excellent biopic. My complaint here is similar to Hankerson’s complaint about the Aaliyah movie, Whitney’s life was way too big to just put together a half ass TV movie. Her life deserves more than that, and it’s a shame that the director Angela Bassett and whoever is backing the project doesn’t see it. It feels like the producers are trying to cash in on Whitney’s legacy, and it also feels like this rush job of a movie began the minute she was announced dead 3 years ago. But, her life was so complex, she was so complex and such an interesting person I fear that whatever script was whipped together would be lacking in a lot of nuance and skill, and ultimately would be a disrespect to her story.

Yaya Dacosta and Arlen Escarpeta pose as Whitney Houston and Bobby Brown for upcoming Lifetime biopic.

Yaya Dacosta and Arlen Escarpeta pose as Whitney Houston and Bobby Brown for upcoming Lifetime biopic.

The movie is going full steam ahead no matter what though. Yaya Dacosta (from “The Butler” and “The Kids Are Alright”) is on board to play Houston, and pictures have already surfaced of her in the role. The latest news is that Whitney’s former Arista labelmate and duet partner Deborah Cox would be recording the vocals for the songs used in the movie as a Lifetime rep states “music rights and clearances are still being worked out”. I’m not opposed to Cox re-working the classic Whitney vocals, I’m actually a big fan of Cox, I just feel like this is further proof that this movie is a rush job. Seems like they could just wait until everything is in order to make the film that much better.

Which brings me to the question… Why not just be patient!? I know the Whitney movie probably got greenlit as soon as she passed away, but I have this sinking feeling that the Aaliyah movie was greenlit only after the success of VH1’s biopic of 90’s group TLC. It was reported that after that movie made such a huge splash in the ratings that networks were scrambling to find other 90’s acts to give the biopic treatment, and it’s not surprising. Most media outlets tend to not be innovative and jump on whatever is popular (or more importantly, profitable) at the time. This is almost always a bad idea.

I think if they really wanted to honor these phenomenal women, they’d take their time. Take their time fine tuning the perfect script, take their time casting talented actors and actresses to fill the roles. Take their time getting all the necessary clearances and permissions, and take their time to make it a movie the deceased Divas’ families would support. Because really, what is the rush? (We know it’s money, but other than that… why is there such urgency to get these movies out NOW?) Sure, both of these movies COULD potentially be amazing (and ofcourse I’ll be watching), but the way it looks now it seems like the films quality will match the effort and time put into making them, which is very minimal.

My Top 10 Songs of the Week “The Rebirth” : MYFAVORITES

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Remember when I used to do a weekly Top 10 on my blog!? Well, IT’S BACK!!! Mainly because I feel like I need to keep this blog active, but also because I want to share to my readers what I’ve been getting into on any given week. So here goes!

 

10. Ke$ha “The Harold Song”

Okay, so here’s what happened. I pulled out a bunch of burned CD’s I made before I went ahead and ditched the physical element of music. I made a compilation of Ke$ha (who I have grown to love without any shame), and THIS song is one of those ones that show me that the girl has some actual talent. It’s such a catchy love song, and though she doesn’t show off amazing vocal technique… it’s just a little deeper than what the radio plays from her.

 

9. Beyonce featuring Frank Ocean “Superpower”

I’m in a Video Editing class (which ends next week!!), and for my Final Project I decided to use Beyonce’s “Superpower” video. Great song! It wasn’t necessarily my favorite from her new album at first, but it has grown on me considerably and I just love how it builds with the harmonies and the instrumentation. And the video is just epic to me, I love the slow-mo Riot vibe of the whole thing and it really does manage to have heart and emotions. Wish me luck!!

 

8. Kanye West “Power”

This song is just amazing, still. The track is INSANE, and there are certain lines that just really speak to me. More on Kanye very soon… like, Right Away!

 

7. Kanye West “Hold My Liquor”

The production on this track is just flawless to me, and it’s just an intensely dark and gritty song. More on this song in a future post about New York City and how this became a sad theme song for me. For now, enjoy!

 

6. Robin Thicke featuring Tamar Braxton “For The Rest of My Life Part 2″

I actually didn’t listen to this song at all this week, but I was scrolling through my LastFm plays and saw it and remembered how effortlessly my Tamar killed the vocals on this remix. Unfortunately, this remix never really got a fair chance to slay the R&B charts.

 

5. Mariah Carey “Faded”

Still my favorite song from “Me. I Am Mariah… The Elusive Chanteuse”, but more on Mariah a little later.

 

4. Drake “Houstatlantavegas”

I randomly popped in a mixed CD I made in 2010, and this song came on. I hadn’t heard it in years, and I was kind of blown away that I still knew all the words. And I was blown away, STILL, at how amazing the song is.

 

3. Kanye West featuring Bon Iver “Lost in the World”

Last night, I was so into this song. That “My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy” continues to amaze me at how timeless and perfect it is in every way. This song is the perfect closer, because I think it’s pretty simple (lyric wise) but easy to relate to. It just spoke to me yesterday.

 

2. Mariah Carey “Make It Look Good”

This song might be the best from the new Mariah album, and it might eclipse “Faded” as my favorite pretty soon. I just couldn’t get enough of this song this week. The lyrics, her vocals, just the overall flow of this old-school sounding ode to being helpless to a bad lover. Good Job Mimi.

 

1. Coldplay “Magic”

Though I’m not the biggest fan of “Ghost Stories”, Coldplay’s latest album, I do think this song is excellent and highly underrated. I have to say that Brandy’s recently released cover of the song reminded me how great it is, and while I enjoyed her cover, I still think Coldplay did the best with the material. Great Great song. (Also a really great video that was snubbed when the MTV VMA nominees were announced this week).

 

 

 

My Top 10 Most Viewed Posts vs. My Top 10 Favorite Posts : MYFAVORITES

Hello All.

#Confession , I have been thinking lately about what I plan to do with this blog. There were four ideas that I had, but I couldn’t find the energy or patience to actually post them. Being honest, the lack of views on my blog discourages me from giving my all to the posts because it seems like a waste after it all. I enjoy writing, but if my writing doesn’t really reach people than I might as well just journal to myself, right. Having said all of that, I’ve been surprised over the past three years which posts got the most views, and THAT’s what this post is all about.

It’s almost like the Billboard Hot 100, where you might like a certain number of songs listed, but the list would be totally different if they were all of your favorites. I’m going to show you my Top 10 Most Viewed posts, and than I will list my personal favorite posts. Should be interesting right!?

 

MOST VIEWED POSTS

10. My Top 10 Songs of the Week “Dick In Yo Face” : MYFAVORITES

Nicki Minaj's "Come on a Cone" ranked on my Most Viewed Top 10 List

Nicki Minaj’s “Come on a Cone” ranked on my Most Viewed Top 10 List

354 views

Back in 2012, I decided to introduce a weekly Top 10 List. It was short lived, but this particular week was the most popular. And I can only guess that it has to do with the title, a portion of Nicki Minaj’s “Come on a Cone” (the #9 song for the week).

 

9. The Billboard… errr Grammy Nominations say “VIVA LA MAINSTREAM!!” : IMO

415 views

It’s funny that this is my most viewed Grammy post, because as you’ll read in the first paragraph I totally didn’t give a crap that year. I eventually built up enough energy to write a very cynical take on the Grammy’s trending from honoring talent to honoring record sales.

 

8. “Looking” for Diversity? You won’t find it on HBO’s upcoming show : IMO

Frankie J. Alvarez, Jonathan Groff and Murray Bartlett lead the cast of HBO's "Looking".

Frankie J. Alvarez, Jonathan Groff and Murray Bartlett lead the cast of HBO’s “Looking”.

471 views

Though I did grow to like HBO’s series “Looking” (as evidenced in not one, but two additional posts), it still bothers me that so many networks and Hollywood studios bombard viewers with white actors for fear they will lose profits if they *gasp represent what America actually looks like. I was actually really proud of this article and happy that it got a good number of views.

 

7. The Weeknd vs The-Dream : MIXTAPEREVIEW

488 views

This was a total spur of the moment post, and I’m surprised at all the comments and views it got. At the time, The Weeknd was HIGHLY buzzed about and I couldn’t figure out why. Anyway I won’t get into my feelings about the high pitched crooner, just read it.

 

6. Top 10 Madonna Videos : MYFAVORITES

563 views

It was #MDNA Week on my blog, and I felt this Top 10 list was mandatory since Madonna is such an amazing visual artist. Being a huge fan, it was a little hard to sort the list but overall it was fun to do. Looking back, I still stand by my rankings 100% and apparently the fans did too.

 

5. Top 10 Janet Jackson Videos : MYFAVORITES

Janet Jackson's Classic "If" Video ranks on MY FAVORITE list.

Janet Jackson’s Classic “If” Video ranks on MY FAVORITE list.

604 views

Every few weeks I check my stats, and for the past year or so this Top 10 list has almost always been in the Top. Like the Madonna list, I’m still proud of my rankings and stand by them, but more importantly this list also reminds me how Great Janet was in her day.

 

4. Top 10 BEST and WORST Comic Book Movies : MYFAVORITES

621 views

This was a project that I spent lots of time thinking about, drafting and ranking. I picked the weekend that “The Avengers” was released to theaters in 2012 to post it, and I’m really proud of what I came up with. This actually became a popular post, and the feedback I got was that most people agreed with my choices which felt good. I’ll probably update the list when the next “Avengers” flick comes out.

 

3. Top 25 Kanye West Productions : MYFAVORITES

734 views

So not only was this a tad difficult to rank, but those small little YouTube bars were a bitch to code. However I’m very pleased this is among my highest viewed posts because I do feel it’s a good representation of Kanye’s career as a Producer and I never feel like I left anything great out.

 

2. Discography Review : Prince (1978-1982)

1,051 views

This is the only post on this list that came from my original Blogger blog. I need to do more of these Discography Reviews because I feel that it not only educates readers who may not know much about Prince or other artists, but I also feel like these really flex my writing muscle. Especially when it comes to Prince, whose music and genius is hard to describe.

 

1. The “Watch the Throne” Track by Track Review : ALBUMREVIEW

Kanye West and Jay-Z and the picture that lead to the most views on my blog.

Kanye West and Jay-Z and the picture that lead to the most views on my blog.

1,769 views

Gotta say that I’m a little shocked that this is the Top post on my blog. Shocked because other posts from the “Watch the Throne” week didn’t fair as well, my other “Track by Track” reviews didn’t either. My theory as to why this did so well was the picture I attached, because sometimes pics can drive people to your blogs. Either way, it’s a good post and happy that people enjoyed it for whatever reason.

 

 

MY FAVORITE POSTS

10. Winter is (or should be) Music Discovery Season : IMO

15 views

One thing I love about the Internet age is the fact that pretty much everything ever recorded is available. That is what this post was based on, the idea that instead of just twiddling our thumbs for the latest new releases we should go back and discover the music that came before us. I love the idea behind this post, and even though it didn’t get lots of views I hope it inspired the few people that did read it.

 

9. Year in Music, 2011

222 views

This was easily my finest attempt at a Year In Music post. They are always difficult, not only because of the content and figuring out who and what should be included, but the visual aspect of these Year End posts is tricky. Mainly, I love the way this post LOOKS above all else. I love how everything is really streamlined and everything is the appropriate size. It’s just a good looking post, and I feel like my choices were pretty accurate to what I was enjoying that year (which in hindsight was a pretty decent year for music).

 

8. Caught Up in the Webseries : Black Actress, Awkward Black Girl, The Guild, The Outs : WEBSERIESREVIEWS

Issa Rae, writer producer and titular character of hilarious webseries "Awkward Black Girl".

Issa Rae, writer producer and titular character of hilarious webseries “Awkward Black Girl”.

43 views

As you will read in the actual post, I got pretty addicted to YouTube and the world of the Webseries while I was living in New York City. In a lot of ways, these Webseries that I spoke on have lots of qualities that make them better than most mainstream Television and I wanted to shine a light on the Andrea Lewis’ and Adam Goldman’s of the world.

 

7. MTV VMA’s, The Most Meaningless and Most Important Award Show : IMO

213 views

(Yikes, my pictures on this post have gone away) This was a fun post to write because it talks about the confusing duality of the MTV Video Music Awards – which are great and horrible at the same time. This turned into a way more interesting post than I had originally intended and I think it makes for a great read because of it.

 

6. A Year in the Indies, an Indie Music Report : IMO 

tUnE-yArDs are among MY FAVORITE Indie acts.

tUnE-yArDs are among MY FAVORITE Indie acts.

277 views

I guess I thought I got cool the months leading up to this post about the Indie Music landscape, I was really happy to share my favorite finds that not too many mainstreamers were aware of. Sure I’m not HIPSTERUNOFF or Pitchfork, but I think I did a good job of noting and describing my favorite underground artists and their unique music. More than all of that, I was so pleased to find that the title “A Year in the Indies” hadn’t been used anywhere else on the net (or at least anywhere in my Google search of the title).

 

5. Career Advice : Beyonce & Christina Aguilera (TIE)

Beyonce 178 views, Christina 177 views

It’s fun to play A&R Rep from my cubicle at work. Knowing that my ideas had a small chance of being heard by the powers that be, I found this Career Advice idea to be a fun and creative one. It started out with Beyonce after she gave birth to her daughter Blue Ivy, I matched ‘Yonce up with the likes of James Blake and How to Dress Well. For Christina, I flirted with the idea of her going more Disco/Funk/Soul with Nile Rodgers and Toro Y Moi. I should do more of these Career Advice posts (I’m thinking of doing one for Usher), these two will set the pace and I actually always enjoy reading these.

 

4. #FICTIONFriday “Through the 60’s, The Hidden Revolver” : CREATIVEWRITING

4 views

Officially, my #FICTIONFriday idea was a major flop. I’m a little sad about it because I really wanted some feedback on my creative writing projects, alas there’s no sense in complaining about it. And instead of bombarding this list with all of the Fiction posts, I am picking this one because it has become one of my writing projects that is near and dear to my heart. It’s about a high school kid in the late 60’s who is ashamed of loving The Beatles, and his attempts to hid his new purchase from friends and family. I love it! I was hoping more people would, but at the end of the day I can only be proud of myself for even trying the very ambitious #FICTIONFriday project.

 

3. Top 10 BEST and WORST Comic Book Movies : MYFAVORITES

2. “Looking” for Diversity? You won’t find it on HBO’s upcoming show : IMO

These two were covered above, and clearly I was pleased that they got as many views as they did. A combination of hard work, creativity and also a bit of urgency to get my thoughts and opinions out there.

 

1. Oh The Reality!! How Fights, Drunks and Sluts have ruined Reality Shows : IMO

A "Jersey Shore" fight, and an example of how low Reality Shows have stooped.

A “Jersey Shore” fight, and an example of how low Reality Shows have stooped.

256 views

For one, I LOVE this title. Two, I love the content and how I was able to give a History of the Reality Show and just exactly the factors that have changed them. Three, I was happy I was able to illustrate how these shows are affecting culture. This was a really well rounded article in my opinion, and I am always happy when I’m able to clearly put down in words all of the random thoughts in my head.

 

So that’s It. I don’t want to just abandon this blog, but I have to get focused on other things (school and career wise) and I might just take a hiatus on the blog. On the other hand, I’m thinking of coming up with more simple and thus more frequent blog posts in the forms of Top 10 lists and things like that. I’m still feeling it out, but I will keep you all posted.

It’s just interesting to see which posts struck a chord and which didn’t, and trying to find a pattern of what might work in the future.

And a BIG THANK YOU to all the supporters and readers of this blog, those that have liked and shared, and those that have just enjoyed what I contribute to the Blogosphere.

The Simplistic Genius of “Silicon Valley” : TVREVIEW

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IMG_0332Sunday always marks the end of the weekend, and this Sunday marks the end of the first season of HBO’s new comedy series “Silicon Valley“. The Mike Judge created show, about a group of techie’s building a potential billion dollar business, has become one of my favorites. The writing is great, the cast delivers and it succeeds in being a light-hearted and hilarious show that is surprisingly relate-able. Judge, the man behind “King of the Hill”, “Beavis and Butthead” and the cult favorite “Office Space” applies his similar stamp to this show. He has a sort of dry, unassuming humor that is hilarious because it’s so understated. And he always manages to make us understand his characters, though we might not all be the most tech-friendly people watching, the writers do a great job of humanizing situations so we can see it from their unique perspectives. The actors also do a impressive job of keeping the characters real and not caricatures of what we’d think programming guys were like. It’s a show that has so much going for it, but isn’t overt in showing off it’s greatness.

The series started with main character Richard Hendriks, played with great finesse by Thomas Middleditch, a lowly employee at Google-like company Huli. He has invented a revolutionary compression code as part of a bigger website he hopes to kick off. He doesn’t even realize that the code alone has billion-dollar potential until he is faced with the decision to sell it to Huli or build the company with the help of billionaire and eccentric genius Peter Gregory. With the help of his roommates, he decides to build the company, named Pied Piper, and each episode we get to see the progression of the company, one issue at a time. From finding a name for the company, coming up with a logo, pitching the technology, and finally getting a demonstration ready for a TechCrunch expo, which concludes tonight on the Season Finale.

Thomas Middleditch as the anxious Richard Hendriks

Thomas Middleditch as the anxious Richard Hendriks

Each episode, and each new challenge, is written to perfection. The writers do an excellent job of staying true to the jargon, but managing to write dialogue that more or less simplifies the information so we viewers understand the severity of each situation. The writers on “Silicon” offer one of the best things about creative writing, allowing you to see life from a different perspective and giving you a better understanding of certain types of people and their problems.

Of course the show couldn’t succeed if the cast didn’t do their job in bringing these characters to life. Luckily everyone in the cast is excellent at being true to the people they are asked to portray. Middleditch is great at playing the often anxious Richard with his nervous mannerisms and ticks, also there is a subtle growth of confidence that could be difficult to pull of, but Middleditch does this effortlessly, making this character real and one you want to root for. On the opposite spectrum, there is the overly confident Erlich played with so stand-out humor by T.J. Miller who gives just the right level of obnoxiousness and arrogance, with a hint of insecurity and regret within the character. We the viewers can see through Erlich’s  bravado and end up liking him for it. For whatever reason Zach Woods as Jared (err Donald) is my favorite character, he’s the push-over of the group and seems to have embraced it as he struggles to take control as the business consultant for the building company. There is something so lovable and adorable that Woods brings to this otherwise pathetic character that just makes me so sympathetic to him. Rounding out the cast is the un-spoken love affair between roommates Bertram and Denish (Martin Starr and Kumail Nanjiani) that offer some great gags and one-liners, but even these two maintain a realism to the characters, that could be used as just slap-sticky comic relief under the writing of a less skilled staff.

Zach Woods as Jared... formerly Donald.

Zach Woods as Jared… formerly Donald.

Christopher Evan Welch, who plays billionaire Peter Gregory with an amazing subtlety, passed away in December 2013 so it will be interesting to see what happens in the next season (and we’re crossing our fingers that it gets picked up), but the show is so well done that as Pied Piper continues to grow, there’s an infinite amount of situations this crew can get into. And with great writers, great acting and a great feel overall I will definitely be there to see how their story plays out.

#MariahWeek Finale!

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Hello Lambs!

mariah-carey-cover-image-billboard-650I just wanted to write a quick note about Mariah Carey Week, which I feel was a success on my part at least. With the exception of the post about Mariah’s History of Shade (which I’ll talk about in a little bit), I managed to accomplish all the goals I set with this Theme week. And I’m really happy that the Lambs enjoyed it.

In regards to the “SHADE” article. Well, I decided it was just a bit negative and I try to shy away from putting negativity out in the universe. While the idea was fun, I just felt it would be a dark cloud on this otherwise positive celebration of “The Elusive Chanteuse”. Plus a lot of it is old drama that doesn’t need to be brought up, so I decided not to do the post. I DO want anyone who hasn’t watched “Got 2B Real” on YouTube to go and do so now. It’s a Parody show, think of it as a reality show with artists like Aretha Franklin, Patti LaBelle and yes Mariah Carey throwing Shade left and right. It’s HILARIOUS!!! I have been meaning to write about it, but just go and watch it. Checked out LaBelleoftheBall2 and watch from the start. You won’t regret it.

Also wanted to check back in and say that the more I listen to “Me. I Am Mariah… The Elusive Chanteuse” it is growing on me and I appreciate it a little more. I still stand by what I said in my review, but there are some things I sort of missed before that brings a new layer to the album. Mainly that it’s sequenced like a story, the trials of a couple who are conflicted about whether they should stay together or let it go. “Faded” is my favorite song now, and other songs like “You Don’t Know What to Do”, “Camouflage” and the cover of “One More Try” bring this story to life. It also does make you wonder if she’s talking about her own marriage, or if these are just sort of “generic” love songs. Either way, I’m appreciating the album much better.

I also wanted to talk quickly about the NBC Special “Mariah Carey : At Home In Concert” that came on last night. Let me reiterate that I don’t want to be too negative on this blog, but I’ll be honest. While the special was cute, and I think a good marketing tool for the album, it was a little too edited for my tastes. When her and Fabolous did “Money” I was getting annoyed by the obvious cuts that were made because it really ruined the flow and made you wonder what they were editing out!? The interview footage was mostly uninformative, but overall it was a cute moment and I was happy to have a whole hour with Mariah.

So that’s it! Here’s a short Recap of the Week! Hope you enjoyed it.

Mariah_Carey_S04_008v9_V2_orig-4iflstars-copy-2-1024x1024Discography Review : 1990-1999 

“Me. I Am Mariah… The Elusive Chanteuse” Album Review

Discography Review : 2001-2014

Top 10 Mariah Carey Club Mixes 

The Five Essential/Must-Own Mariah Carey Albums 

 

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