Wednesday, March 31, 2010

NOT Back to School

I've spent much of the last year seriously deliberating returning to school. Picking up an information folder from the CUNY Graduate School of Journalism at last year's SXSW got the ball rolling, and attending a Workforce Seminar on changing your career got me into overdrive. More than anything, I think the interest in pursuing a new degree was the idea of starting fresh. Right now, I'm not confident enough that I could pay the degree back once I'm done (I'd be on my own this time around), and I just don't really have that much interest in pursuing my studies alongside the other interests I have. I looked at a lot of programs, but here is a list of the degree programs I most thoroughly researched:

MFA in Film, Rochester Institute of Technology: Film School, I guess, would give me the opportunity to formalize my "filmmaker" status, and give me the option to teach. A few years ago, a degree like this might have been more appealing, but having spent enough time on the Festival Circuit, it'd just be another excuse to hide out for awhile. Grad school at RIT costs $40,000 a year--a little steep for my tastes. I could make two or three (maybe more) movies with what I'd spend there.

BA in English, SUNY Oneonta: There have been times where I have thought that if I were to do my undergraduate education all over again, I'd pick up an English Degree in addition to the Computer Art degree I already have. Because I have a learning disability that concerns language, I always thought that I'd have a hard time with literature courses. (I did well in my writing courses.) At the time, the idea of staying there another semester or year wasn't very appealing to me. If I had known what was ahead of me when I had graduated, I think I might have stuck around. Now, I don't think I would mind so much devoting the time to reading, even if it took a little more work. I think I have the tools to do well.

Earlier this year, I spoke with the transfer counselor at the school as to what getting another degree would require. I would need to do 30 credits before I could earn a degree. I'm not sure if I could handle 30 credits on top of holding a full time job (again, I'm on my own.) and the other things I would like to continue pursuing. Then there's the whole issue of "you can't go home again". Oneonta is kind of a boring place, unless you're a college student. If they had an online option, I would seriously consider that, though.

Masters in Human Sexuality, The Institute of the Advanced Study of Human Sexuality: I kind of liked the idea of getting this degree so that I'd have some credential to become a script consultant. Some years ago, I remember watching a countdown special on VH1 about the 100 Sexiest Musicians. The list included people like Scott Stapp, and people like Bonnie Fuller as a talking head. I don't think that "sexy" and "attractive" are one and the same. Serge Gainsbourg was as ugly as sin, but damn if he didn't produce some of the sexiest music in the history of recorded music. Admissions didn't require a GRE, and they don't look at grades too much--they just cared about your intentions. Annie Sprinkle and Betty Dobson are two of their most famous alumni.

I spoke extensively with the admissions counselor there as well. They don't accept financial aid, and they don't have any internal financial aid, either. There is also some dispute as to whether or not they are properly accredited. It may be a great program, but I don't want my credibility questioned for any reason.

AS in International Business, Monroe Community College: My latest fancy has been reading The Economist online and watching BBC World News on PBS and BBC America. Recently, I read Christine Vachon's A Killer Life, where she describes visiting The Cannes Market every year to drum up funding for new projects. I have wondered if getting an extra degree in business might give me a leg up in my film career, even if it's an Associates' Degree. The degree is designed specifically for people who would go on to a four year college and major in business, economics, or international relations.

Since I didn't do a foreign language in High School (Being LD, I was exempt), and did only two years of math (and a mediocre math student at best), I'd have to take a bunch of preliminary courses in order to start the degree. Unless, of course, I were to take the Macroeconomics Degree elsewhere.

MA in Media Studies, The New School For Social Research: Again, here's a case of getting a degree that might actually be useful to me. I actually haven't ruled this one out completely--I can do the degree online, and I don't feel that it would be a distraction from the path I'm on now. Last week, I participated in a chat hosted by The New School, and they answered a few of my questions about the admissions process that made me more confident about submitting an application to the program. The deadline for the fall semester has passed; the Spring Semester application isn't due until October, but I don't think I'm ready to enroll just yet.

Tomorrow I will head back to work, thus ending my 15 month break.

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Monday, March 29, 2010

I Got A Job (To Tie Me Over)

Good News: I got a job. I attended an open interview at a job fair last October. On Wednesday, I was called for an interview the next day. I got the offer on Friday. Basically, I'm going to be working at a call center. At least I'll be answering questions in regards to computers and tech stuff. I haven't started yet, but I guess it could be worse.

My main motivation for taking this job is to resolve cash flow--I still want to move out of the area. As I said before, even if I'd had six months left on unemployment, the $150/week I was receiving wasn't enough anymore. But if I pick up some new skills along the way, that would be good, too. Just as long as I don't get fired again.

I'm going to continue blogging intermittently. Sometime in the near future I will post my resume.

I keep fantasizing about wanting to open up a bar, even though I have no desire to right now. This morning, as I was walking downtown, I wrote down the addresses of vacant properties and the numbers of the agents selling/leasing them. Some of them are very nice properties. If I were to open one, I'd open a bar similar to this. The main audience for this type of bar would be the college kids. The townies here (for the most part) like dives, and the bars that are a little classier are usually combined with restaurants. Then there's the Geneva 13 Crowd, but I'm not sure how often those people would patronize an establishment like this.

Speaking of Geneva 13, I attended a dance performance called "Duality" on Saturday at The Cracker Factory hosted by Three Stories, an organization started by the Geneva 13 people in hopes to bring more arts stuff to the Geneva Area. It's still trying to acquire its 501(c)(3) status.

I need a distraction, that's for sure!

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Thursday, March 18, 2010

Getting Down to the Wire

Earlier this morning, I had a job placement assistance meeting at the Workforce. I have seven weeks left on my unemployment. That's it, unless the unemployment bill passed last week applies to me.

This throws a serious wrench in my plans. I was really hoping to head somewhere else and start over. The weather is getting nicer, which makes it easier to travel. Even if I had another six months, I don't think that the $150 a week I get from unemployment is enough to do that anyway.

In less distressing news, an interview I did with Jon Reiss, filmmaker and author of Think Outside the Box Office, is now online. Click on the cover of Jon's book to read the interview:

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Friday, March 12, 2010

I'm Back (for now, anyway).

I have decided to revive this blog for a little while. I've been unemployed since December 23, 2008, and I'm ready to find a new job. I'm doing what I can to find one, but I think that resurrecting this blog intermittently might accelerate the process. Once I get a new job (or get bored with it again, whatever comes first), I'm done with this blog for good.

Truth be told, I've really enjoyed my year off. It stinks that I have a big gap in my resume (and I have a couple already), but I've had a real opportunity to explore other options and have new experiences. Last August, I traveled to Chicago for a few days. I traveled to Woodstock, New York Twice: Once to meet a potential documentary subject, then to attend the 2009 Woodstock Film Festival. I'm even thinking about making a movie there. In my absence from this blog, I've had a chance to do some serious soul searching.

I gave serious thought to returning to school, thinking about acquiring both either a second bachelor's, a masters, or both. At one point, I was considering getting a Masters In Human Sexuality. (That is, until I found out that the school was not accredited.) While I don't rule out returning to school down the line, I don't believe I'm ready to commit to a degree right now.

Right now, I'm taking a self-directed course in Copy Editing through It's not a great time to be a journalist, but there are plenty of other places to secure copy editing jobs. I also may take another course in Medical Transcription (not offered by MediaBistro) down the line. I really don't want to do Customer Service the rest of my life. If my next job is indeed more customer service, I want to know that I can opt out for something else. I've also been trying to land freelance writing gigs, but that's been tough going. Six weeks ago, I had another reading with a psychic, and she suggested that it is time for me to get out of dodge. I'm looking at a few places, and if I am to leave, I want to confident that I can support myself.

Unfortunately, I'm not attending SXSW this year, which is going on as I post this. If the recently passed unemployment extension does apply to me, I may attend Tribeca this year. I'm also thinking about starting a new blog devoted to the writing process of Independent film.

But more than anything, I'm ready to work on resolving unemployment.

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Friday, June 19, 2009

The End.

I have decided to close Indigenity. I started this blog at a point in my life where I wasn't sure where things were going to go. I wanted to stay in touch with people while I waited things out. While I'm not out of the woods yet, I believe the worst has passed.

I may return to the blogosphere soon, but I want to think things through before I return. This blog was only supposed to be temporary, and it has lasted about as long as I have expected it to last. In the meantime, catch me on Twitter!

Thanks for reading.

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Wednesday, June 17, 2009

New York City in the 1970s: Fear City

Recently, I watched this documentary about New York City in the 1970s. When people talk about 1970s New York being bad, it really was that bad. It's a great documentary featuring Ed Koch, Rupert Murdoch, and a bunch of important players of New York politics of the time.

Big announcement coming Friday.

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Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Back to School?

I've been thinking a lot about it lately.

I'm reading a book titled Getting What You Came For: The Smart Student's Guide to Earning an M.A. or a Ph.D. So far, the book has been incredibly resourceful as far as what actions to take if you want to enroll (GRE and GPA aside), and suggests you choose your advisers before you choose your school. If you're looking into graduate school, I can't recommend this book enough. Anyway, I'm thinking about this because I think I've done what I can with the degree that I have. A lot has changed for me in the six years since I've graduated from college, and I'm thinking it's time to either formalize my experience, and/or expand my options.

Yesterday I re-entered counseling in hopes of sorting out my feelings about these matters. I very much want to continue with making movies, especially the project I've been working on. How would I balance my projects with my schoolwork, and not be overwhelmed by money matters? I'm going to look into all kinds of funding, public and private, as well as forgiveness programs. I won't have a decision by tomorrow, but I know I'll have to make one sooner rather than later.

But maybe the psychic will be right. Maybe something will come along that's too good to refuse, I can have the best of all worlds, and Graduate School won't be necessary. That would be nice.

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