Fall Semester Summary

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Well. Where do I begin? This has been one doozy of a semester, and I am still in a bit of recovery from it all, which is why I’m just NOW getting around to writing this update. (As always, feel free to share anything in this with anyone you feel might be interested in hearing what I’ve been up to this semester.)

2013 will forever be the year when my life took a wild turn, and gave me experiences I’ll never forget. Even if nothing happens from going from my master’s degree, the fact I’ve been able to have these adventures keeps me wondering when this became my life.

Some of this may be repeating what I’ve told you before, and if you’re friends with me on Facebook you’ll have definitely seen some of this before, but I wanted to write this up for my blog as well, so there are some repeats. You’ll be able to see some photos of what I talk about here over on my Flickr page, and as always, links to any of the articles and radio pieces I did for the semester are here.

“I’m going on an adventure!” – Bilbo Baggins, The Hobbit – posted to my Facebook on July 23

Hays, Kan

So, the end of July had Rich and I packing and moving to Los Angeles, covering six states in three days (and as I joked, we’re not talking about the dinky East Coast states here). I haven’t had much time to edit and upload the photos from that yet, but a lot of gorgeous in Colorado and Utah, and a lot of snark on my Facebook page as the journey progressed.

Once we got here, it took us a few days to find a place, but it’s nice (bigger than our place in Kansas) and Neko has finally settled in. We managed a trip to the LA Science Center to see the Endeavor when we were in a ‘hurry up and wait’ stage, which you can see photos of on my Flickr.

In August, my summer class started up. Called ‘boot camp’, there really isn’t much of a better word: Monday through Friday, 9 am to 6 pm, diving head first into learning how to do audio slideshows, how to take and edit 2013_0819 - Angie animated GIFvideo on Adobe Premiere, and how to create a basic website. I helped a fellow student with a project by going to Malibu and riding along the Pacific Coast Highway, which was as gorgeous as I’ve heard. I got to try Google Glass, got a Mac, and even got GIF’d. In between the summer class and fall classes, I had a short break – and Rich and I finally had a chance to go to the ocean, meeting some of my fellow students at Venice Beach (the Flickr account has some sand art Rich did). Over the semester, I did some work for Neon Tommy (USC’s online news site) and for Annenberg Radio News (USC’s version of NPR), and got to cover some great theatre and entertainment stories. Tried my hand of covering short news on The Emmys, and also got to try my hand at pop culture news stories. This gave me the opportunity to interview Cory Doctorow (for those who don’t know, co-editor of the website Boing Boing, which I’ve been following since early 2000s, and geek icon) as well as Mike Nelson of Mystery Science Theater 3000 and RiffTrax fame.

My Entertainment Journalism class had the widest range of experiences, I think: I got to go to Warner Brothers Music, met Mickey Kantor, Campaign manager for President Bill Clinton, and got to go to a live taping of The Tonight Show, where afterwards we got to talk to Jay Leno and have our pictures taken with him. This class was taught by Mary Murphy, who is awesome filled with awesome sauce. Apparently, she used to write for the St. Louis Post Dispatch, so it’s a good bet I’ve read some of her stuff and didn’t even know it.

My Arts Leadership class also had a lot of guest speakers, including Susan Loewenberg, CEO of the LA Stage Alliance and scriptwriter John Romano, who was one of the sweetest guys I’ve ever met.

My Reporting the Arts class gave me the opportunity to take a tour of the LA Times, as well as see an art exhibit at LACMA (Los Angeles County Museum of Art) by James Turrell, which was fascinating.

I also participated in a “Think & Do”, which was a conference with a bunch of arts journalists, artists, and others (such as people who work for DeviantART and Red Bull) to discuss the future of arts journalism (which also delved into the future of arts) and how we could change it.

As for some of my non-class-related fun, I got to meet (and get my picture taken with) astronaut Col. Chis Hadfield, who was on his book tour for An Astronaut’s Guide to Life (hoping to start it once I catch up on a few things), as well as attend the red carpet premiere of The Hobbit: Desolation of Smaug. I didn’t get any autographs, unfortunately, as they let us into the theatre the same time the red carpet started, but it was still a weird feeling to be in the Dolby Theatre (where they do the Academy Awards) and know that I was in the same room with the stars and creators and they’d be able to hear my laughs and/or applause. Two days after the premiere, I got to go to a live taping of Late Night With Jimmy Kimmel with guest Benedict Cumberbatch (voice of Smaug, as well as Sherlock and Khan in Star Trek Into Darkness), which was awesome.

And now for two pieces of news you may not have heard. 1) I got a spring internship in the editorial department of The Hollywood Reporter. Mostly fact checking and transcribing, but there is some potential for a byline or two, and I really want to see the editorial side anyway. But speaking of bylines, 2) I have successfully pitched my first paid byline: a short piece on the podcast Welcome to Night Vale for LA Weekly. It’s not much money, but it’s something – and I will send out the link once it goes live. Finally, there’s also a chance of me getting an internship in London for the summer for a company to be determined: I’ll keep you updated on that as it happens.

Rich has found a job – has been there since October. He’s working night shift for a security firm at a car impound lot. It may not be as much hourly as he was making in Kansas, but because he works overtime regularly, it’s actually more money – and he’s liking that it’s less stress than the security job he had in Kansas, and he is happy with it until we figure out what we’re doing once I graduate. He apparently watches a lot of Univision at night.

School starts back up on the 13th, and I’m using this downtime to catch up on e-mails and just taking some time off, because I know once the semester starts back up, it’ll be crazy once again. So, that’s my latest update. Hope everyone is having a great year as well, and I may be posting a year end review, but no guarantees.