Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Sing...The 2011 Fall Semester Wrap-Up

We all know that I am a huge fan of movies.  From science fiction to wonderful warm stories that can only happen in real life and are portrayed beautifully albeit more perfect than real life really is.

I'm a big fan of Julia Roberts' movies.  She always seems to pick such great projects that inspire all of us to generate our own million dollar smiles at the same time she does on the silver screen.  From Eat Pray Love to Mona Lisa Smile, even Sleeping With The Enemy, she always finds some unique story to help tell.  But have you ever noticed that the stories she tells are always about women who overcome odds?  I realized that today as I was laying down overcoming a nasty bout with the flu that decided to turn itself into a nasty sinus infection, taking both ears along for the painful ride.

I guess I was just pondering the fact that the women I find so fascinating are the ones who just won't quite seem to lay down and submit to what the status quo seems to want.  It reminded me of the fact that I constantly question everything around me, asking "Why does it have to be this way?  Why do we have to conform exactly to what other people believe just for the sake of acceptance?"

I was engaged in a heated discussion last night over why I am not religious, why I don't want to listen to people when they try to tell me what to do or be tolerant when they give me their version as to why things are right or wrong.  When it comes to listening to people about things like that, I'm rather indifferent but I react very defensively if feeling attacked.  I think people will believe what they want and it's not for me to say what they should or shouldn't do, believe or pursue.  Yes, I get frustrated when things seem so plainly obvious but are overwhelmed and obscured by narrow viewpoints. At the end of the day though, I always go back to the fact that it is someone else's opinion, and whether I share it or not, I have to accept it.

I guess I just won't compromise on my belief system.  It's not that my point of view is any more valid than anyone else's, I guess I just want to have the freedom to believe as I do and not be judged for it.  I don't think that is too much to ask, is it?  My opinion doesn't often gel with other people's.  It is just part and parcel of being a human being because after all, we're all unique individuals, why shouldn't our opinions vary?  But I guess I've reached the point where, what's the old expression?  "I've become set in my ways?"

During the fall semester in my 332 class, Media Planning and Buying, it was a very interesting ride.  We had guest speakers a plenty and Scorsese really gave it his all, although planning and buying media is not his forte. The TA for the semester JJ, was a real doll, and in the middle of her teaching section, she brought up The Asch Experiment.  But here, take a look for yourself:

I hope you took time to watch that those two minutes because I sat painfully through it in class with my insides screaming out, "NO! Speak for yourself! Don't follow them!"  I don't quite know what it was, but there I sat absolutely upset and unhinged by the fact that the guy didn't put his foot down and cry out "You're wrong!"  Is it that our need for acceptance goes so deep that we are fearful of even beginning to express ourselves in our own way?  This of course was compounded by the fact that I was the one person who sat up in class and didn't take kindly to the powers that be telling Scorsese that the students in the class were to be used as data farmers for the university radio station to find leads for underwriting.  Unlike our friend in the video there, I actually spoke up and blatantly said I didn't care for being pimped out as free labor for the semester.  As you can guess, that little project stopped right there because I guess all Scorsese needed was for a student to speak up and express their dismay at something he already didn't like.  So, after receiving a round of applause and quite a few pats on the back after class, our assignments became hypotheticals, which made it easy on all of us.

The next part of 332 was really about the guest speaker who came in and spent time with us, Ron.  He was fantastic and Scorsese encouraged us to ask as many questions as our hearts desired on his topics.  We learned the strengths and weaknesses of all sorts of media and the three weeks we had Ron hanging around were fantastic.  So in all 332 was fun, it was a casual class that we just had to participate in to get the most out of it.

Then of course we go to 202, Electronic Media.  Ok, I won't lie, I took the class just for the professor, Doc L., not for the actual course content.  Doc L. is a fantastic guy and he makes learning fun, he also helped me understand what will go on behind a camera when my future television commercials will be shot.  I actually used more of my storyteller's background (thanks Grandma) to edit and put together video in a compelling way than I did anything else.   At the end of 202, I had to direct a live news show and well, it didn't go as well as I'd like but I will say I did go with my strong points, I just did some quick coding to put together a fast website for it as was mandated for my group's project.  For my group project, I edited the intro, I edited my story and then directed the show and created the website.  Let's just nickname me "Atlas" and leave it at that.   At your own risk, here is a link to my final project:  The Fifth Element.  And yes, that's me on the screen in some sections...as I repeated a half a dozen times, "I've got a face made for radio."  I neither want or need the attention that seems to be a narcotic for people who want to sit in front of the camera.  My favorite quote from the class was actually from another student named Carl as he was directing his show:  "Kill the talent."  The last thing I'll say about it is this:  Ever see the film Gone in Sixty Seconds?  Go to the part where Donny is in the car with the student driver girl who can't drive and nearly kills both of them..."I can't swim, I know I can't swim, so you know what I do?  I keep my ass out of the pool!"

Let's do my Afro-American Studies class before I get to the goods of my strat class.  AAS 101 sucked the honker.  Sorry to say it, but it did.  The content was really fascinating but when the professor doesn't have office hours you can go see him on campus and a list of shortcomings, well, I learned a lot, got to read a slave narrative and learned a lot about Afro-American history.  But you guys know me, I'm color blind, I don't care if someone is blue, green or aquamarine, if they're good people, I love them all the same.  However, I got to take a look at a tragic part of American history, and although we can't undo it, it's a lesson that human beings, no matter who they are, where they are from or what they believe, all deserve love just the same.

Let's wrap up with 463, IMC Strategy class.  Oh man, hard work!  Scorsese let me know right off the bat that I am no strategist, instead I'm a tactician which still has tons of nutritional value, it's adequately summed up in the fact that I don't think in the same way as hard-core strategists.  I'm not insulted in the least with that at all!  We all have to embrace our strengths and strategic thinking is just not one of mine.  I think it's a skill I'll acquire more over time, and something I can do instinctively, but if I overthink it (which I am very prone to doing) I blunder it.  Oh well.

However!  My group project was really good.  Oh how I love my teammates!  Yes,  I love my girls!  They were fantastic!  After playing Atlas in 202, it was so nice to have a group that just worked their fannies off!  We were called "Bernbach's Acid Trip"  and Doc S. got a really big kick out it.  Just FYI, Bill Bernbach was one of the greatest creative minds in the history of advertising.  If Bill was tripping on acid, what would he think of?  Strategy.  Hence "Bernbach's Acid Trip."  When we showed Doc S. our final project "leave behind" (which is a strategic plan that you leave behind with the company you just pitched) his face lit up.  I can tell he's counting on me to really sparkplug the team this spring.

When we did the pitch in class for Scorsese, which is actually getting up and presenting the work, I really knocked the audience dead because my team had me as the lead off hitter and oh boy did I grab them and really wow'd them with my public speaking skills.  When I asked Scorsese about my speech style he said, "You were very extemporaneous."  I had to look that word up.  Yes me of the big vocabulary had to find out that extemporaneous means "without rehearsal" or "without notes" in a persuasive, fluid style.  Yes, the storyteller rears her head again because I really grabbed them and took the audience with me on a journey.  It was beautiful!  I was so proud!  Great moment there!  The other girls in my group really went to the nines and by far my favorite was Nat, she absolutely just sang it to the world, so proud of her!  And yes, you guessed it, Scorsese gave us an A.

But in all of it, the five months of work, the wonderful people I got the opportunity to work with and be inspired by, I felt like it was one of my easier semesters.  I guess I found it easy because I was doing what I love to do, and when you do that, it's never hard.  I spent time with wonderful young women who had conviction in their work, who wouldn't just go with the flow, but instead sought knowledge in their own way.  To witness that, I was very lucky.

I think it is important to not compromise on what you believe or how you seek knowledge.  I don't think it's ok to be a lemming and follow the crowd off of the cliff.  The one gift we get as human beings is the ability to think and choose for ourselves and I think it's a gift we should never take for granted or waste.

Socrates said, "The wisest man in the world knows that they know nothing."  I love the saying, "The bravest person in the world is the one who can confidently say 'I don't know.'"  I always thought the most brave thing was to say "I don't know" then having the courage and tenacity find out for yourself.  It's not just going with the crowd, it's breaking free of the shackles of conformity and making up your own mind, believing what you want to believe.  Courage is standing up and being yourself.  I have seen first hand those who would subdue others just for the sake of forcing someone to conform to their twisted belief system.  Don't be a victim of the status quo, raise your voice, believe in yourself enough to summon up the courage to be different.  Different is good, and when we embrace the differences it allows us to see the universe in a whole new way.

The biggest thing I learned about myself this semester:  I am not a lemming.

Today's song of the day is for those who don't compromise, My Chemical Romance's "Sing."  Raise your voice every single time they try and shut your mouth...

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