People, Upgrade Your Slideshows

Tedx Kyoto hosted a fascinating talk by Garr Reynolds about professional speaking. Professional speaking is crucial in many fields, and it turns out that most people just aren’t very good at it. Reynolds emphasizes improving your speaking skills by focusing on having compelling, useful visual communication, and presenting as much of your information as possible in the form of a narrative. Slides as we know them now are horribly weak, and presenters who rattle off lists of facts without any human context are sure to bore. Towards the end, he also links to a few great examples of other Ted talks that fulfill these goals magnificently.

He doesn’t always follow his own advice particularly well, but the talk is definitely still worth a watch or a skim.

Nerd vs. Geek

Do people constantly tell you that “you’re a geek” or “you’re a nerd?” What defines a geek or nerd? What differentiate the two? It can be perplexing, especially since there’s an overlap between the two characteristics. Neatorama posted a hilarious video that may help you understand the differences. The argument that nerds and geeks share similar obvious behaviors can lead to an endless battle of examples to prove that they’re distinctive. The video below Epic Rap Battle: Nerd vs. Geek helps compare their approach to life and highlights the apparent dissimilarities between the two.

Former WRAC Intern now at Notre Dame

Lexi DakinLexi Dakin, Professional Writing graduate from the class of 2013, has recently taken over as the Coordinator of Soccer Operations for The University of Notre Dame. She manages the social media, video and film exchange, budgeting, travel, promotions, and more for the popular Notre Dame women’s soccer team. Dakin was previously employed as one of our Communications Interns here at WRAC. Congratulations!

From Open Culture: “Amanda Palmer’s Tips for Being an Artist in the Rough-and-Tumble Digital Age”

Amanda Palmer – internet darling, rock star, and keynoter at this year’s Muse and the Marketplace literary conference. This video captures her keynote address in it’s entirety, where she drops words of wisdom on pursuing writing, art, and more broadly, work you’re passionate about. Palmer’s delivery is warm and lulling, making it’s 30 minutes float by, dropping nuggets like: “If you’re brave, you can yell down into the marketplace and find your friends in the crowd that will resonate with you, without permission from on high. Because anything you write in any format can change somebody, can change an opinion, can scratch an opening in a scarred up heart.”

“Connecting The Dots” – Amanda Palmer talks art & controversy @ Grub Muse conference from Grub Street on Vimeo.

A Stop Motion Film for Book Lovers from Spike Jonze

Folks who love the texture and weight of a book in your hands, the telling but not too telling artwork, are going to love this short film from Spike Jonze and handbag designer Olympia Le-Tan. The pair took 6 months to write the script, cut 3,000 pieces of felt to create this beautiful stop-motion film set in Paris’ legendary bookstore, Shakespeare and Company.

Spike Jonze: Mourir Auprès de Toi on Nowness.com

Want more? Have a look at the Making Of too.

Five Web-based Tools for Creating Videos

I’m passing along a list compiled by Richard Byrne of 5 video editing websitesPixorial, WeVideo, PowToon, Wideo, and Weavly. That’s right, editing video in your web browser, which was nearly unheard of just a few years ago. The video tools Byrne highlights are easy to learn, some even using drag and drop features, and most of them are free. As video becomes more and more popular in writing classrooms, this list of video tools is incredibly valuable to teachers and students alike.

Source: Free Technology for Teachers

More Free Movie Sites!

In addition to the Wall of Films and Folkstreams, here are MORE websites with FREE movies. The possibilities in having access to all of these films are endless – watch them in your classes, assign them to your students to watch, or watch them at home in your pajamas with your cats (maybe that’s just me).

Folkstreams: A National Preserve of Documentary Films

Folkstreams.net is a digital archive of documentaries about American folk and roots cultures. This archive has two primary goals: first, to build a national archive of hard-to-find documentaries, and second, to give these films new purpose by making them available for streaming on the internet. Much of the films on Folkstreams are accompanied by published research, essays, and other support materials like “making of” features and transcripts.

The caveat with Folkstreams, and I want to be very upfront here, is that these films are made available for free by the filmmaker for home streaming only. For more info see Folkstream’s Rights page.

One of my favorite films on this site is Carnival Train, a documentary about the last carnival to travel from town to town by train. Carnival Train follows the James E. Strates’ Show up and down the east coast, from Florida to upstate New York. You really get a sense of the work it takes to not just put on a carnival, but to then pack the midway and all its people into boxcars.

Carnivals not your thing? No worries! Folkstreams also has lots of films on music - Cigarette BluesGive My Poor Heart Ease: Mississippi Delta Bluesmen, Singing Fisherman of Ghanawomen - Quilt’s in Women’s Lives, Cowgirls: Portraits of American Ranch Women, Grandma’s Bottle Village: The Art of Tressa Prisbreyand so much more, like labor, folk arts, dance, and religion, to name a few. Folkstreams has something for everyone, and definitely films you never knew existed.