Monday, February 28, 2005

Billboard Liberation Front strikes again...

Agit-Prop in Action
Originally uploaded by blackcatmedia.
My roommate told me about this a few days ago. On a bus-stop ad that used be an anti-graffiti campaign by the city of San Francisco. A doctored up piece of propanda from Blue-Star PR has been put up in it's place. I don't have any photographs of the original - but I'll try to snap a picture and post it up here soon. Anyhow, the transformation was executed with a professional flair and most people don't seem to have noticed that any mischief happened at all...

A closer View

Sunday, February 27, 2005

My very own Vlog Anarchy week

Vlog Anarchy Continues
Originally uploaded by blackcatmedia.
Ok, So Michael's vlog anarchy week has inspired me to try to make a new video post every day this week. This is what I was working on last night. I was hoping to finish it today, but it's not going to happen. This piece will be a part of the Rise Up! Network promo video.

This is a found footage piece using clips from the vlogs mentioned in Michael Verdi's recent post. With the exception of the video taken by Rene who is a member of The Rise Up! Network but hasn't yet contributed a piece to "vlog anarchy."

Finally, the audio sounds a LOT cooler if you put on headphones...


Saturday, February 26, 2005

Vlog Anarchy continued - my entry for INdTV

Old Glory on Fire
Originally uploaded by blackcatmedia.
I applied to work at INdTV about 6 months ago to be a Digital Correspondent. Now they have a new approach to their network...

This was one of the prompts on their website...

Star-Spangled Banner
It was an old broadcasting tradition to run the Star-Spangled Banner at the beginning and end of every broadcast day. Create a music video set to your favorite version that reflects your American experience.

Here's my interpretation...

My Response to Vlog Anarchy

My Response to Vlog Anarchy
Originally uploaded by blackcatmedia.
Michael Verdi made a post entitled Vlog Anarchy he proposed a challenge to us and asked that we respond in video form...

This is my response, and my first attempt at adopting a traditional vlog style... ironic, don't you think? ;-)

Friday, February 25, 2005

A day in the city

A day in the city
Originally uploaded by blackcatmedia.
I spent Tuesday running around the city with my friend Emiliee while she dropped of resumes. I took my camera with me, and I felt like I was able to capture what a gorgeous San Francisco day it was so I took the best of the shots, dropped some music on top and exported out this slide show. I wasn't too happy with the music choice though, so I've since made a new version that I'll be posting once it's been approved by the Archive...

Thursday, February 24, 2005

Hunter Thompson

Stumbled onto this piece that Thompson wrote the day after Septermber 11th -- it's haunting...
Fear and Loathing in America

Tuesday, February 22, 2005

Cause For Concern

Originally uploaded by blackcatmedia.
After reading Michael Verdi's Vlog tutorial I decided to actually get some video up on my blog. I'm not sure if I'm going to adopt the traditional format of updating my life into the lens of a camera, but I'll at least be posting my videos up here from time to time.

This first video is a student film I did at San Francisco State. It's kind of done, and kind of still needs to be completed. Someday in the future, maybe I'll add titles and a last scene or two and officially call it complete. For now, I guess it'll be a 'work in progress' indefinitely.

The story itself is inspired by a relationship with an ex-girlfriend that ended rather dramatically. I upped the ante and called it fiction, let me know what you think...

Sunday, February 13, 2005

Financial Planners...

Here's an excerpt of a letter I wrote to a friend of mine who I met as a result of them being a financial planner... Before they read this note, they had already quit there job; but I think this breaks it down pretty well. Check it out...

1. Your job is to help people establish financial security so that in times of need or retirement they will be able to provide for themselves and not rely on the state or relatives to take care of them; and yet, your job provides no financial security in and of itself. While I’m sure your job offers an array of investment and retirement options, it does so, not to take care of its employees, but instead to further profit from the portion of the money they give you out of the investments you acquire for them.

There are three classes of jobs, actually more, but three works for this purpose. At the top are the people who make money by overseeing the work of others – CEO’s, managers, etc. Then there are the people who are paid some small fraction of the profits for the actual work created. Some of these people are given bonus pay based on how much money they bring in for their employer but this group is paid a direct salary of some sort. Finally, there is the category that your job falls into – direct sales, canvassing, independently contracted financial planning, etc. These jobs are on the lowest rung, not that they are the least important or even make the least money, but they are, by far, the least financially secure jobs and actually the most oppressive.

It costs Hartford virtually nothing to have you as an employee, any money that your clients invest helps pay to run the company, and some portion of their profits is trickled down to you. If you don’t garner investments then you’re SOL, but Hartford has assumed none of the risk and are only out the costs associated with keeping your training up to date and other in sundry expenses.

While this is an enviable position for Hartford, it’s a weak situation for you. It doesn’t matter if most of the financial planners are getting a significant amount of investments, as long as enough of their employees are productive, the less-profitable employees become inconsequential. In other words, the financial risk is not on the employer that can afford the risks, but is instead on the employee, who typically cannot.

At least at Banana Republic, I’m still paid my hourly rate despite the condition of the business, and even there, the amount of payroll hours allotted is dependent on the profitability of the business.

From my vantage point, it can sometimes make sense to work in an environment in which your wages are not guaranteed. In working as an intern, it can frequently make sense to work for nothing or a small stipend in the hopes of using the position as a stepping-stone towards a paid position. In the case of starting a new company or cooperative, it often makes sense to work for a net gain of zero if it’s something you believe in and especially if its something you anticipate becoming profitable in the future.

2. Aside from the actual economic structure of your job. Being a financial planner is problematic in and of itself. While you do make an excellent point that your clients would otherwise allow their money to sit in the bank, thus allowing the bank to invest in any number of exploits. By investing with you, they will earn more money and also have some level of control in what they are investing in; that doesn’t change the fundamental problem that no matter what you invest in, you’re betting on a company being able to cut costs and increase profit margins thus earning you a share of that profit. The problem is that in order to increase its profits and appease its shareholders companies are frequently put in a position of having to lay-off working people as a means to decrease their net expense.

So on the one side, while you are personally helping your clients in ensuring a prosperous future, you may be doing so at the expense of working people losing their source of income. Admittedly this point is moot in that these companies will rely on their shareholders regardless of you, and the money that your clients would otherwise store in the bank would still be invested into this system, but do you really want to immerse yourself in an environment that participates in such inhumane practices?

Saturday, February 05, 2005

"Not Much Money"

So I recently auditioned to host a talk show on PC-TV, a community television station out of Laney College in Oakland. The show is called Talk Back and for the audition I was supposed to pretend that I was interviewing the United Nations' Director of Foreign Affairs -- the only problem, there is no Director of Foreign Affairs for the UN. The UN is supposed to be a politically independent body so it wouldn't have a Director of Foreign Affairs, maybe a Director of International Relations, but not Foreign Affairs. I told them such. They told me I was correct. The audition went well.

After the on-camera skit, we went through the requisite discussion of the job. And we get to, "It's not much money, but we're looking for someone who isn't doing it for the money." Well, I'm pretty much down for "not much money," no matter how little "not much money" means; but those three words can encompass such a wide scale. I remember raking leaves for "not much money" and was "handsomly rewarded" with $7 for 9 hours of work, mind you, I think I was at least 16 at the time.

On the flip side, "not much moeny" when I was doing lasers at clubs in Los Angeles usually meant at least $100 for a night's work.

The thing is, I'd like to quite slinging clothes for the devil, Gap Inc, and with an extra $50 a week it's totally doable. Otherwise, I guess I continue this wage-slave charade...