What kind of learner are you?

Snip20150710_14While putting together the latest piece for Ashford’s Forward Thinking blog, I started thinking about all the ways I attempted to absorb information in high school. I used to record myself reading notes aloud and play them back when I slept. That didn’t work because the sound of my own voice kept me up and I had to turn off the recording. I also tried sleeping with a book under my pillow, and once actually slept with my face on my notes. I didn’t do very well in high school.

I got better as I realized my learning style. When someone is speaking or giving a lecture, I can’t just listen, I need to be writing or typing my notes or my mind will wander off. I can work with chaos around me (I did it for years in news), but I prefer to work with music in my ears because it fuels me creatively.

I bring all this up to draw your attention to a Buzzfeed poll — “What Kind of Learner Are You” — posted by my team last November. Nearly 300,000 people responded, and we published the results this week. You can read the article, and the accompanying infographic, here.

Here’s a link if you want to take the poll.

Non-newsroom jobs for journalism grads

I wanted to share this article I recently wrote for Ashford University’s Forward Thinking blog. The idea came after a conversation I had with a friend in the news business. He’d like to get out of the business, but he thinks his options are limited.

So I went to the chair of Ashford’s journalism program, and she explained why our careers aren’t defined by our degrees. In this article, she talks about the intangibles that can propel journalism grads into other careers.

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Venganza Media at San Diego Comic-Con

Snip20150707_7Are you at #SDCC this week? Want to meet your favorite hosts from Now Playing Podcast, Star Wars Action News, and Marvelicious Toys?

Venganza Media is holding a podcast listener meetup event on Saturday, July 11 at 8 p.m. inside the Yard House in downtown San Diego’s Gaslamp District.

Come on down and have a drink with Venganza staff and our great listeners. This is the first Now Playing Podcast Comic-Con meetup since 2010. You can hear more details during this week’s review of Terminator: Genisys. We’re also holding a Terminator giveaway contest, you’ll hear the details in the show.

Hope to see you Saturday night!

Hollywood Shuffle

 

Something you might hear mentioned from time-to-time during Now Playing Podcast episodes is the hectic show schedule. While most tentpole flicks (especially superhero flicks) are given a release date years in advance, that’s not the case for every film. So when Now Playing is set to review a movie and suddenly the release date shifts, that can throw everything into chaos.

For instance, imagine if Universal had pulled Furious 7 at the last minute and released it in July instead of April. Now Playing Podcast would have had to scramble to fill seven weeks of programming. It’s not like there are backup shows ready to air.

So I grabbed host Stuart Atkinson for a few minutes and asked him about his role as Now Playing’s schedule-maker, what kind of surprises he’s dealt with in the past, and how Mission Impossible wound up on this week’s calendar.

You can read the story at the Venganza Media website.

 

Don’t fear adult education

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The following is an excerpt from an article I wrote for Ashford University’s “Forward Thinking” blog. It’s about conquering your anxieties as an adult learner and embracing the idea of returning to school for a degree.

Not everyone has a plan. Not everyone can say where they want to be in five, 10, or 20 years; and those that can, might not have a clue how to get there.

Sometimes you just take life one day at a time. You graduated from college, got a job in your field, and every day after that you worked to move up the ladder, confident that you were absorbing all of the knowledge you needed to make it in this world.

Then may come the day when it all stops. You’ve gotten as far as your degree will take you at your company. Or you’ve reached a crossroad and realize you want something different from your job. Compounding your anxiety over your stalled momentum is the realization that you don’t have what it takes to cross that career chasm. That’s when you reach the conclusion that it’s time to go back to school and embrace adult education.

Read the article in its entirety on Ashford University’s Forward Thinking blog.

Finally

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It figures that it would take news about a Halloween movie to get me to blog for the first time in almost two months. I’ve been busy. But today’s news is worth getting excited about.

Details about the new project, Halloween Returns, started popping up online over the weekend. It wasn’t until this morning that an official announcement came at the HalloweenMovies.com website. The new film isn’t a sequel, or prequel, or reboot — according to the producers, it’s a “recalibration” of the Halloween story. Whatever that means. If I’m going to take a guess, I’m going to say it’s a new Michael Myers story, not connected to the previous films, but acknowledging that they exist. Kind of the like the Halloween comics or (shameless plug coming) Halloween: Masks.

I’m good with that. I don’t know if we need to connect this new film to any of the previous Halloweens, and I’m not sure the audience would be interested in seeing those older films anyway.

I’m looking forward to seeing what Marcus Dunstan and Patrick Melton are going to bring to the Halloween mythos. I’m not really a Saw fan, but I’ve seen all the films, and I’ve seen Feast and The Collection. I’m sure they’ll bring a different vision to Michael Myers, and right now anything’s better than how the last film ended. Let’s not even talk about it.

So I’m excited about this Halloween. Production starts next month, and although no release date has been announced, you have to figure the film is on track to open in 2016.

By that time, it will have been seven years between Halloween films. That is the longest layoff in franchise history, so we’re really overdue.

Tale of two trailers

I wonder how much productivity was killed this week by the arrival of the Batman v Superman and Star Wars: The Force Awakens trailers?

In my office, where we have desk space reserved for action figure battles, everything came to a halt on Thursday when the latter was streamed online during Star Wars Celebration. I saw tweets from people I follow who said they’d put the trailer on repeat and spent the afternoon breaking down every frame. Ain’t nothin wrong with that.

The money shot from the "Force Awakens" trailer.

The money shot from the “Force Awakens” trailer.

But for me, Star Wars was just the appetizer. Although I got goose bumps during the trailer, I’m still having trouble channeling my inner Jedi. I loved the first trilogy as a kid, and got into the books in the 90s, but I’ve never been a die-hard devotee. The last trilogy may have cut me too deep. I have no doubt The Force Awakens will be a return to greatness, but some memories are hard to flush out of your mind. Perhaps it’s still too early. I haven’t even gone full Avengers mode yet, as I’m still coming down from my Furious 7 cloud.

It’s not too early, however, for me to freak out over Batman v Superman. That teaser wasn’t supposed to debut until early next week – a fact that I kept trying to erase from my brain so the wait wouldn’t bother me so much.

Batman revealed.

Batman revealed.

I’m sure a lot of people weren’t surprised when that bootlegged, subtitled version wound up online late Thursday night. I was surprised, however, by the amount of negativity thrown its way. Nobody can even see the thing and they’re hating all over it.

The blurry version was posted to the Now Playing Podcast page on Friday morning, igniting a daylong debate over whether the finished film is garbage. Fans who felt they were burned by Man of Steel are ready to hate Batman v Superman, and not being able to see the teaser in full context just gave them more (imaginary) ammunition.

That’s why it was even less of a surprise to see director Zack Snyder tweet a polished version of the teaser Friday afternoon, days ahead of a planned theatrical debut event. I can’t imagine how many studio, theater, marketing, and public relations folks are furious the event got spoiled. Hopefully, Warner Bros can make the same move Marvel did when the Age of Ultron trailer leaked, and release another trailer with additional footage in the coming weeks.

Although I had the same issues everyone else did with Man of Steel, I’m all in for this sequel, because it’s all about Batman. I can’t believe we have to wait another year for this flick.

Affleck. Unblurred.

Affleck. Unblurred.

Everything stopped in my office again when the teaser was released Friday afternoon, but this time the reaction was different. Some of my co-workers just gave it a “meh” and said Star Wars did it better.

I say they’re two different flicks. One is full of hope and nostalgia; the other is dark and ominous. They’re not selling the same movie, that’s why I don’t think you need to poll the public on which one is better, as if they were going head-to-head the same weekend.

Since I brought it up, a glance at Wikipedia’s 2016 in Film calendar shows Batman v Superman opening March 25 against a Beverly Hills Cop sequel that I can’t ever see happening. And if it does happen, it’s not getting released that same weekend.

That means a clear field until May 6, when Captain America: Civil War hits. I gotta start getting excited for that one too.

Around the Web:

io9 breaks down Every Key Detail and Killer Moment from the Batman v Superman teaser.

Blurry or unblurred, some Now Playing Podcast fans still split on Affleck.

The Hollywood Reporter’s Graeme McMillan wonders where to start with the new Star Wars trailer.

McMillan also penned this piece on fan reaction to the leaked Batman v Superman teaser.

Everyone picked up on the “My father has it” line from the Force Awakens trailer, and here Entertainment Weekly looks for signs that Darth Vader is still alive.

And, Furious 7 is the fastest film ever to $1 billion. Awesome.