Sunday, October 28, 2007

499 Mid-Semester Evalations

499 students who are taking the class for a grade should expect an e-mail from me with your personal evaluation. Here are general comments:

The quiz averages are low because there have only been 4 so far. There is plenty of time still to raise them. If you have missed a quiz, please make an appointment with the SA to make it up. All quiz and assignment grades are scaled up at the end of the semester. Generally, I drop the lowest quiz score and the lowest assignment grade for each student. Remember that your final project is 40% of your grade.

There WILL be a quiz this week, covering the Objective Sound material (Acoustics) from Chapter 1 of the reading material, so PLEASE be on time. This is one of the most difficult quizzes of the semester, so please spend some time reviewing the material, and take time to ask questions at the start of class if there is anything you do not understand.

Also, we will be looking at your continuing work on your projects, this week specifically at the sound effects editing. You have only two weeks left. Several of you had almost nothing done for our meetings last week. Remember, I am grading you each week on your progress. Please have some more work done this week. Remember that after the mixes are done in two weeks, there are no more assignments and the class workload drops to almost nothing.

This week we will also determine mix times for the whole class. Another reason to show up on time!

Thank you all for your recommendations in your evaluations of my teaching this week. Unfortunately, opinions were completely divergent on almost every question. This leads me to believe that the basic structure of the class cannot accommodate the wishes of all students, so I am re-evaluating on a more basic level.

Instead of doing one major project throughout the semester that requires a lot of outside work, would you prefer a series of in-class exercises in which everyone participates? (This is how many of the other non-major classes are taught.) For example, one week, you would be taught how to use the PMDs, then sent out to record material, and at the end of class, we would listen to what you have done. Another week would be in the Foley room, and another week would be in the ADR room. This would require a lot less outside work. It would also leave me a lot more time to cover lecture material from the book.

Another option is that for a project, I choose a small set of scenes (maybe 6-10) for you to choose from, and pre-import a number of effects for you to edit from. This would lessen the outside workload as well.

Thursday, October 25, 2007

MPSE Sound Show!

I highly recommend the MPSE Sound Show for people interesting in learning more about the sound editing process. Click on the image below for more info:

Saturday, October 20, 2007


There are an awful lot of things I don't like about Michael Moore and his films. Most obvious is the terrible influence he has had on doc filmmakers that has encouraged the filmmakers to make themselves the stars of their own movies. He also is incredibly manipulative in his films, such as bringing 911 volunteer rescue workers to Cuba for "free" treatment. And "anonymously" donating $12,000 to his harshest critic to help his wife with medical care. (Is it anonymous when you mention it in a movie???)

But even with all the criticisms, SICKO is a very powerful movie. Perhaps it's because I have first-hand dealings with the health-care industry, both the good and the bad, that made it such an emotional experience for me, but I suspect anyone who has had health issues in their immediate family will understand his criticisms of HMOs. Unfortunately, his face will probably turn off a lot of people. And, he criticizes Hilary Clinton for taking money from health care industries, even though she is perhaps our best hope for health care reform in this country, so he will even turn off some liberal democrats.

Nonetheless, it's an important discussion and I think every American should see the film.

Saturday, October 13, 2007

USC Wins

It wasn't pretty, but USC beat Arizona 20-13. They did not beat the 20-point spread, and were behind 13-10 throughout the 3rd quarter. Sophomore QB Mark Sanchez looked weak through much of the game, even though for a year and a half many people have been looking forward to his replacing Booty. USC got only 130 yards passing, and only 146 rushing.

The team looked all-around weak. The offensive line did not give Sanchez the time to make the throw. Receivers dropped the ball on several occasions. The defense let Arizona get too many easy first downs.

USC will need to get it together if they think they still have a shot at #1. With LSU losing in triple overtime this week, the slot is still open.

Star Wars Trumpet Solo

You thought Chocolate Rain was bad?

Sunday, October 07, 2007

Angels Put To Rest

The only bad thing about the Red Sox sweeping the Angels today is that I don't get to see the Red Sox play again tomorrow.

The Angels just could not get the offense sparked against the Sox, and slugger Vlad Guererro was the weakest in the lineup. Garret Anderson was forced to sit out the game with an eye infection, and Casey Kotchman was hospitalized with a virus. Gary Matthews Jr. was already sidelined with knee problems.

The end result was a 9-1 win, with Curt Schilling giving another memorable post-season performance, going 7 innings and giving up no runs. Jered Weaver was also good, but allowed back-to-back homers from Ortiz and Manny to take the loss. The Red Sox got 7 runs in the 8th inning to stifle any hopes of a comeback. It would have been a shutout for the Sox except the appearance of Eric Gagne allowed a run for the Angels.

The Angels were a great team this year, and for most of the season they were the team to beat, but they were overcome by injuries and forced to play an inexperienced team.

The crowd was loud until the 8th inning, when rats quickly fled the sinking ship, leaving the Red Sox fans to bask in the glory.

Stanford Upsets USC

There's not much to write about here. On any given day, any team can beat any other team... and did today. Although Stanford certainly looked much better with their backup quarterback taking over, USC looked terrible all around. Booty's passing game has regressed, and the offense was sloppy all around, allowing 5 turnovers. Even the defense looked weak.

If there's anything good about this, it's that the team will be forced to take its practice and preparation much more seriously.

Thursday, October 04, 2007


Only in Hollywood could a sequel to a historical epic happen, but almost ten years later, Queen Elizabeth returns to the screen in a vastly inferior sequel, this time bringing Clive Owen to her majesty's service as Sir Walter Raleigh.

Terribly written and paced, and not to mention historically inaccurate, the film seems to take forever to get from one scene to the next, yet seems to leap through history in record pace.

For a film about one of the most famous romances of all time, it completely lacks any chemistry between Raleigh and Liz. There's no flirtation, and even worse, no wit. The film takes itself as seriously as a heart attack.

And for a film about one of the most exciting historical attacks (the Spanish Armada) they fly through that in record time and suck any excitement out of it. Terribly edited and with a loud and bombastic score, the sequence is completely uninteresting. The visual effects are completely out of place and draw attention to themselves. The whole movie is wall-to-wall talky, with loud music and painfully loud sound effects (when they finally happen).

Save your money.

Wednesday, October 03, 2007

Red Sox vs. Angels Predictions

The Angels are very good and have been predicted by many all season long to win the World Series. Dice-K is a big question mark for the Red Sox. It should be a good series. My wife & I will be at game 3 and (if there is one) game 4 in Anaheim.

Game 1: Lackey (19-9, 3.01) vs. Beckett (20-7, 3.27). Two of the best pitchers in baseball. Slight edge to Red Sox with home field, and they are one of the few teams Lackey lost 2 games to this year.

Game 2: Escobar (18-7, 3.40) vs. Dice-K (15-12, 4.40). Big advantage to Angels. Escobar is having a career year. The $100M man is a big bust for the Sox. His ERA in September was almost 8. He is not used to pitching as often or for as long of a season and must be exhausted.

Game 3: Schilling (9-8, 3.87) vs. Weaver (13-7, 3.91). Toss up. When Schilling is on, he's one of the best, but he's been schizo this year. In the past he's been one of the best post-season pitchers. The kid is amazing but untested in post-season. Slight edge to Red Sox, but this time they are in Anaheim.

Game 4: Probably Beckett vs. Saunders (8-5, 4.44) or a Beckett vs. Lackey rerun. If it's either of these, I'll definitely take Beckett and the Sox to win the game and series in 4 games. But you'll notice I said 2 games would be very close. If they go to 5 games, the final game will probably be a rerun of Escobar and Dice-K (or Lackey & Dice-K). In that case, the Angels take the series in 5.

And of course the Sox had better not use Gagne.

Monday, October 01, 2007

Office Hours

In addition to my normal Thursday office hours (3:30 PM - 4:30 PM) I will be adding office hours on Friday afternoons as well. For at least the next three weeks these hours will be 1:00 PM - 2:00 PM. (After 10/19 they may change.)

In addition, I will also be around briefly tomorrow (Tuesday). Please be sure to contact me for an appointment if you need to see me.