Wednesday, April 30, 2008

Knowledge Is(n't) Power

Barry Sanders, Jerry Rice, Joe Montana, Brett Favre and Tom Brady were never known to be big talkers. But they are known as big doers. However, Muhammad Ali and Deion Sanders were big talkers - but- they were also big doers.

You can talk all you want about as many issues as you want, but if you don't take action, then it's pointless. Knowledge by itself is useless. The power is in the doing, not the talking.

Teach by example...just like this.

Tuesday, April 29, 2008

Yes, It's True:

Anchors really do wear gym shorts or jeans behind the news desk.
People with Mercedes-Benz's and BMW's do shop at Kmart, Wal-Mart and Target and still complain about the prices.
The smallest women drive the biggest SUV's.
Contact lenses come in over 5 different colors.

The suspension of disbelief makes or breaks one's influence over others. From the latte you're sipping to the person you marry, the power of perception may be strong (heck, Hollywood built and sustained an industry on that fact alone) but perception is only good for initial attention.

My point? The key is what you do with it afterwards. Fakes are transparent.

Monday, April 28, 2008

10 Life Lessons from Filmmaking

10. Solutions are everywhere. It just depends how stubborn you are to notice.
09. You are your most valuable asset.
08. Share your work and yourself - otherwise, it's pointless.
07. You have to start somewhere.
06. It doesn't matter if you have the textbook knowledge or the talent. You need both.
05. Two is better than one.
04. If you are good to people, they'll remember it. Same goes for if you aren't.
03. When you get lucky - enjoy it, 'cause it doesn't happen often.
02. If it's really good, it won't be easy.
01. At the end of the day, it is what it is.

Thursday, April 24, 2008

Leaving the Small Town

It doesn't matter if it's Annandale, Virginia or Lawton, Oklahoma or Yona, Guam or Bloomington, Indiana or Sandy, Utah or Farmersville, California. There are dreamers out there.

Like any dreamer, townies have always dreamt about leaving behind the small town for the big city in hopes of hitting the "big time". Maybe it's the glitz, maybe it's the money, maybe it's the need to prove something or to re-invent themselves in a new crowd.

It's only natural for us as people to want to grow. We need growth and stimulation in order to feel complete or content. It's always been the natural course for townies to want to leave behind the small, mundane life for something bigger and in their eyes, better.

Today, however, things are different. These days, the dreamers are slowly discovering that they don't have to leave to find it...they just have to know where to look.

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

Asterix alle Olimpiadi

Here's a movie poster that we saw in Florence at the train station. The latest in a series of comic book-based spoof movies, "Asterix at the Olympic Games" starring Gerard Depardieu, apparently didn't do so well with viewers. I guess bad sequels are inescapable no matter what country you're in.

Check out the trailer here.

Thursday, April 17, 2008

The American Tourist

Why do we Americans get such a bad rap when visiting other countries? Well, the sure fire way to find out is to put the shoe on the other foot (the way filmmaker Morgan Spurlock does). As a tourist myself, I've had enough time in Europe to observe the local Italians and compare them to the notorious American tourist - and from what I've seen, the majority of mainland American tourists tend to be loud, obnoxious, arrogant, impatient, self-centered and ignorant.

In the airplanes, in the trains, in the restaurants, in the continental breakfast rooms, on the tours, wherever I went I noticed that the loudest of all the people were the Americans. Loud American teens on vacation, loud American adults talking on their cell phones and loud conversations in what should be tranquil restaurants. The loudest of all were the Americans.

Obnoxious, Arrogant and Impatient
In Venice, in the vaparetto (water bus) line, an American man was causing a commotion by shoving his way to the front of the line complaining about all the people boarding the bus ahead of him. He was then corrected by a group of local Italians that said he was in the wrong line for that particular bus. Trying to save face, he asked the Italian man next to him, "How much are those boat rides, know, those Gonduhluh - or how do you guys say it? (insert condescending tone here) Gahn-Doe-Lah rides?" To which the Italian man replied in a calm voice, "Depends. If you are American, you pay twice."

Self-Centered and Ignorant
On the EuroStar train in Europe, you have designated seats on your ticket just like on an airplane. As the crowded train made a stop, an Italian lady got onboard struggling with an armful of bags. She and her companion approached their seats and found that a group of loud American teenage girls were sitting in them. Thinking that there was some sort of mix-up, the lady (not knowing any English) tried her best to convey that the seats matched the number on her ticket. The kids just sat there looking at the lady and each other while shrugging their shoulders.

The train started to move, the bags I guess were getting heavy and after a couple of minutes of getting nowhere, the Italian lady huffed off to find another seat in the crowded train. After she left, the American chaperone comes over and asks the girls what had happened. The girls said that they weren't sitting in their assigned seats because they were too far apart and wanted to sit together, so they took the empty seats. They went on to say that it was okay, though, because the lady had already left.

You have to check this out if you think I'm not being fair.

photo by: rflashman

Monday, April 14, 2008

More Than Meets the Eye

In Florence, Naomi and I bought some oranges at the local supermarket and went back to the hotel. When we were ready to eat them, we peeled them and found something strange. They were red inside and had a kind of red tint. We were already feeling a bit under the weather, so we didn't want to increase our chances of getting worse by eating spoiled oranges. Days later we left for the U.S. disregarding the oranges we had left on the night stand.

Foolish American
On the plane ride back to the U.S., during one of our in-flight meals we were each served a sandwich. The sandwich wrappers had a little fun fact about the history of oranges.

"More than 400 varieties worldwide" it said. Just then I realized that I missed out on a new taste experience just because I was ignorant enough to believe that they were spoiled. All because they didn't look like the oranges we were used to.

NOTE: Michelangelo sculpted the statue of David from an unwanted block of marble that was considered useless just because it had a crack in it. And the oranges? After further research I discovered they were actually "Blood Oranges" popular in Italy - which, as it happens, are not only sweet, but are exceptionally healthy, being rich in antioxidants. Shucks.

Friday, April 11, 2008

Camp Roxas Film Documentary

As much as I can, I make it a point to take my son to the Guam Art Gallery at UOG to renew our eyes through different exhibits. Last February we were fortunate enough to see the Camp Roxas documentary sizzle reel and photo exhibition. If you haven't yet heard about the Camp Roxas movie, check out this great article about the Guam documentary spearheaded by Bernadette Provido Schumann which includes talents like Chamorro director Alex Munoz.

This premise is not only interesting, but inspiring and has been able to gather a very positive light on what was almost a lost but very important time in Guam's history. A very big thumbs up to Bernadette and crew! Great job Burt! This film is one of the building blocks we need in preserving Guam's culture and history for ages to come.

Thursday, April 10, 2008

Layers. Like an Onion.

A week after coming home from my trip to Italy, I found myself back on the road (or sky) at LAX Intl. en route to Japan. While standing in the security check line, I can overhear a father conversing with his teenage daughter behind me.

...and we might end up going to Rome, too.
Rome?! But I heard it's too touristy. I heard there are like, way too many tourists there. We should try going somewhere else - somewhere where it's not so known.
Well, we'll see.
God, I'm starving. Do you see a Starbuck's?

Looking Beyond the Surface

Like Donkey said to Shrek, "You know, not everybody likes onions." And it's true. To each is their own. Not everyone will appreciate or understand the layers and depth of the art, stories and messages that are found not just in places like Rome or Guam, or even in movies like "No Country for Old Men", but everywhere in this matrix that we call life. There are some people that feel they shouldn't have to make an effort to enjoy something.

Top 40, commercial, mainstream, shallow, whatever. My point is this: Not everyone sees beyond the matrix that exists . And even though we're all capable, some simply don't want to.

photo by Kel Muna 2008

Tuesday, April 8, 2008

Limitations of a Camera

I have finally discovered the limitations of a camera. Trust me when I say that there are no lenses, bodies, filters or footage that can do justice to the grandeur of detailed architecture and beauty found throughout Italy. Scale, depth and perspective through a camera lens falls short.

Simply put - when I saw The Leaning Tower in person, I freaked out. The thing is huge.

photo by Kel Muna 2008

Monday, April 7, 2008

My Arnette Swingers

From my years in radio, advertising and film school to television news, me and Don's early days in business, wedding videography, commercial videography, filmmaking and the journey of making Shiro's Head, it's been with me forever. 9 years. It's been through six moves, my wedding, 6 trips to Guam and back, Japan, Italy - from San Francisco to Florida, good days and bad days, beach and snow, break ups and make ups, it's been there. I've relied on it without any thought.

Until one day at the airport, for five seconds I took my eyes off my backpack. In those five seconds,the heavy-ass backpack took a fall forward. It wasn't even a hard fall, it was one of those weird slow-falls. Nonetheless, I opened the front pouch to the backpack and there it was. Just when I was beginning to think that some things last forever...

Thursday, April 3, 2008

think BIG. STAY small. BE SMART.

In Europe, it seems that the practicality of transportation trumps the aspect of vanity. No 20" rims on a monstrous gas-guzzling SUV that never even leaves the concrete streets of Suburbia. No, their roads are small, narrow and old, which give Italian cities no choice but to be walking-friendly, full of men and women in suits either walking, riding bicycles or motor scooters to work or to the train stations. Yep, even in full-on makeup, fixed hair and jewelry, ladies will ride their bicycles through the cobblestone streets without regard.

Acting Smart
What I've found to be most impressive is that when they do take to the open road, their main choice of transport takes the form of a cool, little car called the 'Smart Car'. These economical little two-seaters with small trunks are gas mileage friendly and are more than capable enough to get you from point A to point Z and back. Plus, they serve a purpose - and it's not to feed the "I wanna fit in!" syndrome. They use their little cars for, wouldn't you believe it...transportation?

My point is this: People often do things that aren't smart, just because it's the trend. These people are usually the masses. You'll have a better chance at staying a step ahead by understanding the trend, thinking without a box and then going your own way.


photo by Kel Muna 2008

Wednesday, April 2, 2008

Nagoya Airport Fun! Arigato Gozaimasu!

Taking a break from more of my Italy journey, I just wanted to give you a glimpse of the scope of entertainment Japan invested into their travel industry at the Nagoya Intl. airport. I was back in Japan last week.

Traveling by myself this time, I was able to venture off and explore the nooks of the airport and this is just some of what I've found:

A trumpet playing humanoid robot, entertainment for kids complete with live characters and jumbotron, the Skydeck (an observation deck to view near 360 degrees of planes taking off, landing, etc.), a mini Segway scooter track, countless shops, eateries, restaurants of international cuisine, relaxation spas and three hotels connected to the airport with a hub for trains and speedboats.

Not to mention, the airport actually sits on a man-made island in the ocean.

By the way, it is by far the cleanest airport I've been to. And I've been to a lot.

Tuesday, April 1, 2008

Guam's Cultural Renaissance

Here's an interesting article that I found on PDN. Good stuff. I hope more people get a chance to read it.