Gaming History, “Old Sküül” Style

Occasionally I take advantage of my privilege as a documentarian.  Last weekend, Dark Tower coverinterviewing Jennell Jaquays and Rebecca Heineman was one of those times:

I was fortunate enough to find a copy of Jennell’s D&D module. “Dark Tower” on eBay, and brought it along to our interview at Olde Sküül. She graciously consented to autograph her work.

The inscription is for the members of a D&D campaign lead by my co-producer Mallory.

Jennell's Autograph

Mal seemed pleased when Continue reading

Clip Reel

While we work on our trailer, we thought we would show a few of our interviews in more depth.

Here we are a few selections from our interviews with Anna Anthropy, Alicia E. Goranson, Mattie Brice, Cheryl Morgan, and Tab Kimpton. The footage is uncorrected, and the edit is rough, but the interviews speak for themselves.

This is the clip reel we showed at GaymerX2.

Editing is hard!

I‘m getting ready for GaymerX2 and the Kickstarter. That means editing; a lot of editing.

Editing Room

CC BY-SA 2.0 by lu arembepe

Editing is hard. Yes, the mechanics of editing are hard; but much harder than the technical aspects, are the decisions about what will not make the cut. Reviewing so many interviews for material for the finished film, and more urgently, the trailer; I am struck by how many powerful, eloquent, and important words are not going to get into the final documentary. I have an embarrassment of riches. So many people have been so generous with their time, and thoughts. Every decision I make hurts.

Alicia Goranson quipped at the end of our interview, that she would be happy to see 30 seconds of our one hour interview on screen. I think she will get more screen time than that in the trailer; but her comment does give a sense of the enormity of the task.

My goal is to launch the Kickstarter campaign very close to GaymerX2. The vaugeries of moving halfway across the country, the day job, and Kickstarter’s approval process may have negative influences on those plans; but I want to start sharing some of the awesome footage we have recorded.

See you at GaymerX!

Nagra

NAGRA--TYPE3---PL-GR

I learned today of the passing of Stefan Kudelski, inventor of the Nagra tape recorder. at age 83. For those that don’t immediately recognize the name Nagra, I can assure you that Mr. Kudelski profoundly changed the way we all hear our world. He invented the first high quality, portable reel to reel audio recorder. They were relatively compact, beautifully engineered, and rugged. These machines revolutionized motion picture production, radio  and TV news gathering, and even ethnomusicollogy. I will not eulogize Mr. Kudelski here. Others have done a better job than I could hope to.

When I was last regularly involved in filmmaking, the tools of choice for independent producers were often a 16mm Arriflex camera, and a Nagra III. This allowed one to shoot synchronous sound and picture in just about any location. In the early 1960’s equipment like this allowed François Truffaut, and Jean-Luc Godard, to make the films of the French New Wave. In the late 60’s the technology facilitated Film News Gathering, (the precursor to modern Electronic News Gathering; see the excellent film Medium Cool), and Cinéma vérité. The Nagra was a disruptive technology; putting affordable means of production into the hands of independent filmmakers and documentarians.

Affordable is a relative term. A Nagra, even used, was comparable in price to a small car. The cost of a motion picture camera was similar. Then there was the cost of film, tape, etc. “Low budget” production was a costly undertaking.

In contrast, when I outfitted the production of TransGeek Movie, all the kit, (camera, digital audio recorder. lights, stands, tripod, recording media), cost me slightly more than the price of just a used Nagra in 1986.

Now one can argue the relative quality of 1080p video vs. 16mm film, or 24bit 44.1Khz digital audio vs. analog tape; but I think my point stands: The digital production tools we have available today are making it possible for more people than ever to tell there stories.

Thank you Mr. Kudelski.

New England Interview Trip

In mid October, I set out for the Boston area to conduct more interviews. Over the course of three days I talked with six people. I had the opportunity to speak with some of the creators of my favorite science fiction; both print and audio. With out exception all of my interviewees were insightful and intelligent. I can hardly believe my fortune in being able to work with all of these great people.

Julia Rios

Julia Rios writer, editor at Strange Horizons, and Co-fonder of The Outer Alliance; welcomed me into her home for an on-camera interview. We talked about genre fiction and how some authors use it as a venue for the exploration of gender identity. The Outer Alliance blog, and podcast have been a great resource fo me while researching this film. The podcast is also the frist place I heard the term QUILTBAG.

Jennifer Pelland

Jennifer Pelland author, most recently, of  Machine, Unwelcome Bodies, and a contributor to Chicks Unravel Time, met me for an interview at Back Page Books. Jennifer deals with many aspects of gender and body image in her Science Fiction. She talked about the power of fiction, and science fiction in particular, to explore and influence societal norms. She also expressed some definite opinions regarding gender essentialism in popular science fiction.

Renate Pyhel

I also visited with Renate Pyhel electrical engineer, hardware hacker, and musician. We talked at length, both on camera and off, about the challenges of dealing with issues of gender in the context of a technical workplace. She also gave me a demonstration of her amazing Android hacking skilz.

Gina Kamantski

Gina Kamantski animator, sculptor, comic book author, and educator; sat down with me at her studio.  She spoke eloquently on the creative process and ambiguity in the intersection of art and gender. Schedule constraints made our interview all too short.  Hopefully we will have a chance to continue this conversation at a later date.

Alicia Goranson

Alicia Gorenson is the author of Supervillanz , and the Parsec Award winning radio drama The Mask of Inanna. She talked about the opportunities to write sympathetic, compelling, powerful trans characters in fiction: Observing that science fiction is a genre where she creates the world, and the reader is obliged to accept the defining premises of that world. We also discussed her largely positive professional experience at her “day job”.  I had the aditional good fortune to be introduced to Alicia’s ftiend Susan…

Susan Wolf

Susan Wolf, worked as Electrical Engineer in the medical devices industry, until losing her job as a result of transphobia. I interviewed Susan on the topic discrimination in the workplace, and the complex interactions of sexism, homophobia, and transphobia. She had fascinating insights, gained at a great cost to her career.

Susan also writes poetry, and read a particularly powerful piece for us.

Despite the busy schedule, I did not cover all the bases, and will have to return to New England to conduct more interviews.

It’s Ada Lovelace Day!

Ada Lovelace I have been lucky to speak with so many women in science and technology while making TransGeek Movie: From physicists, and astronomers. to computer scientists. Encouraging young women to follow there passions in these male dominated fields is vital. There is strength in all manner of diversity.

Please take some time and go visit Finding Ada.

Jay Hausmann

The folks at Hartford Coffee Company played host to an interview with Jay Hausmann today.

Jay Hausmann

Jay and I sat down to talk about his career in IT and his experience transitioning on the job. He spoke enthusiastically about the support he has received and how his employer’s support facilitated a positive experience. Talking with Jay about everything from IT culture to his writing was a joy.

Props go out to Sayer Johnson for handleing load-in and setup, Vivian Hausmann for acting as grip, and Robyn Carolyn Montague for putting me in touch with Brian and Darin at Hartford Coffee Company.

Christianne Benedict

Today, Sayer Johnson and I loaded up the gear and headed for central Missouri. There we where welcomed by Christianne Benedict for an outstanding interview on film, art, culture, and of course, gender.

Christianne Benedict

Christianne blogs at Krell Laboratories: A site with such depth and intelligence that linking to it should count as nerd sniping. Christianne’s knowledge of film is not only encyclopedic, but incisive. I am walking away with a good number of additions to my must see list.