Thursday, December 15, 2005

So I really should be editing video right now, but I wanted to post one last blog entry before heading home, and I'm not sure when else I'll have time to do this. I'll start in the present and work my way backwards. See those posters on the right? Those are the two framed posters I have hanging up in my bedroom representing two of my favorites bands: The Wrens and Okkervil River.

This Saturday, December 17th, I'm heading back home to Washington. I'm flying in to SeaTac and staying in Seattle with my lovely sister Karen and her husband Charles. This just happens to coincide with KEXP's Yule Benefit Concert. Guess who's headlining? The Wrens and Okkervil River. My head may explode. I'm going to do everything in my power to make it to that concert.

On to other, more work-related things. We shot our footage for the WiFi video project over the past two weeks. It was a difficult process, and it turned into a logistical nightmare. We ended up rewriting the ending. On a positive note, I think it turned out really well, thanks to the dedication and general awesomeness of the media committee (who I promise to go sledding with when I come back in January).

Our last shoot was on Tuesday, and I've been capturing and editing footage since then. I have a rough cut put together, but it definitely needs a lot of polish. All in all, it was a great learning experience. Thanks to Catherine for trusting us with her amazing video camera, lighting kits, and the like. I've posted a few pics from the experience. The first one is of Roxanne frozen in carbonite. The second is of Riley, Dave, Roxanne, and Huy filming in the playground at Skyline.
The last two were taken during our shoot at the Stone Arch Bridge in Minneapolis. It was absolutely beautiful and absolutely freezing.

As if there wasn't enough going on this week, today is our studio shoot for Set It Up. I'm definitely excited. We did a practice shoot in the small studio on Tuesday, and it went fairly smoothly. Leon is our host for his episode, and he's a born entertainer. As voted on by Set It Up members, our set is going to consist of a low-to-the-ground coffee table and floor pillows and a backdrop of blue and red lighting. Since it's the last day of Set It Up before the winter break, we're going to have about half an hour at the end where we'll have delicious snacks from Bread and Chocolate and we'll hand out a couple of awards for perfect attendance. That's all for now, I have to get back to some sweet, sweet editing.

Wednesday, December 07, 2005

So we didn't have everyone here on Tuesday, but I went ahead and took a couple of group shots anyway. From left: Donald, Majid, Xavier, Bekka, Karesa, Leon, and Vanessa. We have a really great group, and I'm just hoping that we manage to pull off the first episode by the end of next week. The real challenge is going to be finishing up some of our segments with what little time we have left. As I've mentioned before, our first episode deals with stereotypes. I've found that skits have been the most difficult segments to produce, as they require the highest level of coordination in terms of actors and locations.

But we will prevail. The first episode will air January 2nd at 7pm on Channel 16. I've taken on a project to stream episodes of Set It Up on the SPNN website, so if you don't live in St. Paul or you do but you don't have cable, you should be able to check it out there. Hopefully I'll be able to work on that a little before I head home to see my awesome family in Bellingham, Washington (I'll be gone the 17th-30th, getting back just in time for Josh, Erin, Emily, and Ryan's Semi-Formal Dance-Rock-Themed New Years Blowout Extravaganza).

In other exciting news, the media committee is going to start (and hopefully finish) shooting our WiFi video project tomorrow. We will be doing much of the filming at Skyline in Saint Paul. Roxanne, our excitable committee advisor, cut through MetroTransit red tape and secured us a shoot at the 46th Street Station bus stop with our very own bus (we don't get to keep it or anything, but we're still excited). The structure of our piece is going to make coordinating with actors and locations a logistical nightmare, but you know what they say about AmeriCorps members: we get things done.

Sunday, December 04, 2005

A real work-related blog update is coming soon. To fill the void, I encourage you to check out a video clip of Bob Dylan giving his Grammy acceptance speech in 1991 after receiving the lifetime achievement award. Go to this website, scroll down to 1990s, and click on Grammy Awards '91. You'll need Realplayer or Real Alternative to play it.

Sunday, November 20, 2005

Roxanne with action figures
Originally uploaded by kevinkalla.
On a final note, the media committee (of which I am the figurehead) has been offered a most awesome project. Currently there are plans to implement city-wide wireless internet access in Minneapolis and, eventually, Saint Paul. The contract with whatever vendor the city of Minneapolis decides on will include a community benefits agreement, which essentially lays out what the vendor will do to ensure that this new technology benefits as much of the community as possible. This is where CTEP comes in. Several members of CTEP are involved in this process, and the media committee has begun work on a project to create a short (60-90 second) video that will be shown at the beginning of town hall meetings and other meetings with different communities in Minneapolis. The video will act as a catalyst, a conversation starter.

As awesome as this sounds, we're working on a pretty short timeline. We are supposed to complete this project by the middle of December, and we're still in the pre-production process. Fortunately, we have some really fantastic people on the media committee with a lot of creativity and talent. The picture you see here was taken at our first brainstorming session. Roxanne brought action figures to help us plan our shots. At some point The Rock started calling the shots.

I love this state so much

First snow
Originally uploaded by kevinkalla.
In other news, it began snowing this past week. This is a shot I took on the first day. I think the bleakness of the photo accurately reflects the way I feel about winter. As someone who spent most of his childhood fairly close to the equator, the first snowflake that hits the ground sounds more like a death knell to me. Tom, if you're reading this, I know you would agree.

It's been a long time coming

Set It Up Logo
Originally uploaded by kevinkalla.
It has been pretty hectic lately, and I know that all you fans out there who religiously check my blog (read: roxanne, bigflimsy, josh, and my parents) have been waiting with baited breath. So here it is, my latest blog entry, 11 days in the making. Check out this sweet logo! Bekka of Set It Up fame drew it, and a shot of her drawing it (in fast motion) will be used in the opening for the show.

Pre-production for episode one has commenced, and the theme chosen was Stereotypes. Segments include an examination of stereotypes in the media and a parody of Diddy's Making Da Band. Stay tuned, I have a couple more posts.

Wednesday, November 09, 2005

SPNN pics 096
Originally uploaded by kevinkalla.
Here's another photo from Monday's shoot. You can tell this group has an eye for color. In order to illustrate the theme of "making a difference," they are shown here picking up autumn leaves. Donald begins the shot with a close up of a leaf in a tree, and then slowly zooms out and tilts down to reveal Vanessa and Bekka. A complex shot for their first Set It Up shoot, but they pulled it off.

SPNN pics 105
Originally uploaded by kevinkalla.
It was a beautiful evening in downtown St. Paul for Monday's shoot. With the days getting shorter, we've had some issues. We meet from 3:30-5:30, and we start losing light at around 4:30pm. This sunset, while beautiful to some, was a bane for our amateur videographers.

Thursday, November 03, 2005

SPNN pics 077
Originally uploaded by kevinkalla.
Wednesday's production group also got some great shots in the SPNN studio. Here they're toying with different lighting techniques.

SPNN pics 061
Originally uploaded by kevinkalla.
Yesterday was a big day. We had our first real production shoot. Wednesday's production team gathered shots for the "communicating through media" section of the Set It Up open. After a bit of a fiasco, we managed to get a security escort up onto the roof of the SPNN building in order to get shots of the satellite and the St. Paul skyline.

Saturday, October 29, 2005

Mental Engineering (17)
Originally uploaded by kevinkalla.
In order to get more comfortable with the SPNN studio I have been helping out on a wonderful show called Mental Engineering. The show was created by John Forde and features a guest panel who deconstruct television commercials. Really fantastic stuff. It airs on a number of stations across the US, so look out for it.
I helped out on an episode today where I ran the jib cam. Here's a photo from today's show. Notice the lovely Leola Johnson on the left, my former advisor from Macalester College. While discussing a Starburst commercial featuring a Mariachi band in someone's mouth, she brought up bell hooks' theories on "eating the other." Leola rocks.

SPNN pics 024
Originally uploaded by kevinkalla.
As promised, a pic of some of the Set It Up members. This was Thursday's basic camera training. In this shot, Nakeisha demonstrates an over the shoulder shot with Karesa and Jae Bee. These guys are pros.

Friday, October 28, 2005


SPNN pics 052
Originally uploaded by kevinkalla.
So here it is, the moment you've all been waiting for. I'm sure all of you who don't see me on a regular basis have been wondering whether or not I can pull off the winter beard. Judge for yourself. Please vote on whether it should stay or go in the comments section. I will be posting some pictures from Set It Up in the coming days. Stay tuned!

Dave at computer

Dave at computer
Originally uploaded by kevinkalla.
Testing out flickr at our committee meeting. Here's Dave!

Note: As you can see, the flickr test was a success. I wanted to get a picture of Dave with his two pies, but I forgot. Try to envision the keyboard in this picture as two pies.

Wednesday, October 26, 2005

The first day is over, and thus begins the second day (frost free, which I take as a good sign). Set It Up orientation was a success. 12 of the 13 participants showed up (we lost one due to a job-related scheduling conflict). While everyone seemed quiet at first, by the end of the day people seemed to loosen up. I think they enjoyed the interviewing excercise. There was a short-lived pizza crisis, as Domino's tried to deliver our pizzas to the fourth floor (we're on the second - I'm not sure how "suite 250" translated to "fourth floor").

Every TV show needs an opening, so the first matter of business for Set It Up is to shoot and edit one. The main problem we encountered with the creation of an open is that our participants come in on different days (Tuesday is a meeting day, then groups of 3-5 meet on Monday, Wednesday, and Thursday). So how do we create a unified open if we have three different groups? After a bit of debate, the solution we came up with was to have the participants think of different words, phrases, themes, etc. that they thought were representative of Set It Up. Then, we had them discuss and come up with their top three. We ended up with something along the lines of: "youth making a difference," "sharing our talent," and "communicating through media." Now, each production group will be assigned one of these broad themes and will shoot a short segment where they will attempt to visually express its meaning. Not bad, right?

So today is our first production day, and the group that meets on Wednesdays will be assigned "communicating through media." I'm sure they'll have some interesting ideas. On an unrelated note, I got up early this morning to go to Rainbow Foods to buy sixty Juicy Juice boxes and 60 granola bars. You can just call me snack man.

Tuesday, October 25, 2005

Today's the big day. The first day of Set It Up. Which happens to coincide with the first day I've had to scrape frost off of the windshield of my car. Last week we had our Leadership Development Insititute, which consisted of a couple days of workshops where we learned about things like outreach and holding hands. An interesting note: Set It Up is made up of 3 words, 7 letters, and 13 participants. All prime numbers, all indivisible, and this is where Set It Up draws its strength. On a personal note, my winter beard is rocking, and it is the source from which I draw my own strength. Am I excited about today? Absolutely. I'm in charge of giving a tour of the studios and handing out the awesome Welcome Packets (which I had a hand in designing). Apart from the usual first-day orientation stuff, we'll be having the teens interview each other using some of the cameras and tripods. We'll then eat pizza and watch the interviews on the sweet plasma screen.

Friday, October 14, 2005

So here's my favorite answer to question 1 of the Set It Up application: If you could make a TV show about anything, what would it be about? "I would make a movie with these brother and sister that have these exstrodinary powers but every they try to use them it back fires so they figure out how to make portals into other dimensions while trying to find there baby sister thats been missing for two years after there house was burned down." Talk about creative vision.

Tuesday, October 11, 2005

Since it's the beginning of my fourth week and I've just started my blog, I'll give you a quick recap of the past few weeks. My job title here at SPNN is Youth Media Outreach worker. The vast majority of my time thus far has been devoted to doing outreach for Set It Up, a television show created by/for teens. I've sent out direct mailings, written countless emails, made phone calls like there was no tomorrow, and faxed more faxes in one day than I had in the past 22 years. My first full week at SPNN was a bit stressful, as my supervisor was out of town at the NAMAC conference. Baptism by fire. Was it worth it? We have about 50 applications right now, and we're looking for a team of about 12. So I think the outreach effort was relatively successful. On a personal note, I spent the past weekend at a cabin up north. I saw the Northern Lights, and I decided I want to grow out a winter beard. Awesome.

Monday, October 10, 2005

Hey everyone,

Welcome to my awesome blog. Here's your chance to live vicariously through me, Kevin Kalla. I'm an AmeriCorps member working at the Saint Paul Neighborhood Network (SPNN), Saint Paul's public access television station. Enjoy.