This is where thoughts become things.

Hi, I'm Daniela. Welcome to my personal lair on the Internet. This is where I write about storytelling, activism, technology and pop culture. Sometimes I post videos. I update my lair when the mood strikes me. Follow me on Twitter for daily updates (@dcap).

Tag : production

@dcap’s Twitstory Thoughts + 3 Cool Discoveries

Before Oprah and that Ashton guy joined, I was a Twitter OG. Back in 2007, none of my friends were using the microblogging service and I was sending updates into the ether that weren’t benefitting me very much. Thankfully, my ludite homies clued in and now everyone and everything seems to be on Twitter, including this chick who documents the pressure of the hugs you share with her via tweets.

I still think about pubbing blog posts on The Lair quite often, but then I inevitably just end up condensing my thoughts and tweeting them on @dcap. Why? Faster response time.

The idea is that people are already crazily checking their Twitter accounts on their phones and not my blog (if you are, thanks?) and if time is of the essence, Twitter is my communication mode of choice. BUT! I am still mindful of what I am putting out there, as I rush from A to B. Your status updates can bite you in the ass …

The same over-sharing-that-can-eff-up-your-life issues plague Facebook too, of course. My new favorite time sucker is Lamebook, which archives the “best” status updates that often end up with someone being fired or exposed as a flaming anus.


A major factor in over-share overkill, as most journalists are well aware of, is that (as tweetoholic Amanda Palmer best illustrates) Twitter is the new alternative over MySpace to dissing your publicist. I’m being cheeky but it’s clear that Twitter is helping celebs to re-connect with their fans, without a middleman/woman (when they care to).

Celebrities who use “ghost tweeters” could at least bother to hire writers who understand their fans. So many ghost written tweets sound like they were created by a Roomba. Amanda Palmer may over- share, but at least she knows her audience and is responsive. She even helps her fans sell their art! That’s awesome. And she’s dating Neil Gaiman, which is also awesome. Her constant mushy tweets to him, however, not as awesome but such is love …

I am trying to be less of an asshole by using the selective twitter app on Facebook, which means that if you follow me on both Twitter and Facebook mobile you won’t have to see multiple updates about the same crap. (HINT TO THOSE WHO AREN’T USING IT YET)

Tweeting = Find Jobby Job? Sometimes, Yes!

Despite the “dangers” of microblogging, Twitter can be a handy communication tool for freelancers. I use my friend timeline as a mobile data stream on my blackberry that I frequently check throughout the day for industry related links posted by my friends and peers. I also share information about jobs and resources and help other friends promote their events and work through ReTweets. I find that the support is reciprocal.

All of the companies that I am currently freelancing for are on Twitter. One of them is @thelampnyc; I use Twitter to share links with them that they often RT with their own account. I am co-teaching a family media literacy workshop for them in the South Bronx and we share info about it on Twitter. When I do a shoot or edit for @uncensored, I often tweet about my experience and they will either RT it or respond.

The “wiki workplace” is not the future, it is now, so if you don’t know how to create and maintain documents collaboratively, teach yourself how to use Google Docs. Also, keep an eye out for Microsoft Office Web Apps. It’s in limited beta right now and will be released to companies sometime next year.

From the press release:
Office Web Apps are the online, lightweight versions of Word, Excel, PowerPoint and OneNote. With Office Web Apps people can access, share and work on Office documents from virtually anywhere with an Internet connection — making it easy to bring ideas to life at home, school or work.

Basically, Office Web Apps is direct competition for Google Docs and will change the way that most companies collaborate and share information.

Writers: Stop With The URL-Only Status Updates

I know that many of my journalist friends use Twitter to sniff out stories about celebs and breaking news, I just wish that some of them would use their own accounts in a more resonant manner. That’s a nice way of saying STOP TWEETING LINKS WITHOUT ANY INFO, NO ONE CARES.

I always cringe when I see this kind of tweet from a journalist who uses Twitter or their Facebook status to promote their stories: just a URL, no hashtag keywords, descriptive text or anything else that would help their tweet show up in search or motivate anyone to visit their link. Why should anyone care about reading your story if you don’t care enough to add a single descriptive word?

Kotaku Deputy Editor and my former MTV colleague @Stephentotilo is a great example of a journalist who actually “gets” Twitter. He posts links with compelling copy and encourages conversation and feedback from his followers. He often shares links (that are relevant to his industry), demonstrating his passion for his work. Steven has over 3,000 followers who actually give a crap about what he says and ReTweet his links.

Spooky Flick ‘Paranormal Acitivity’ + Twitter = Box Office Success? Yes!

Are you an indie filmmaker who wants to get your film into theaters?
Scratch that, are you an indie filmmaker OR a major studio trying to do this? Take a lesson from this film’s Twitter strategy …


… The movie was shot on an extremely low budget of $10,000 and opened at the end of September with midnight screenings in just 13 small college towns. From there, it has become a Web sensation, with chatter about the movie bouncing from Twitter to Facebook, spurring an upcoming nationwide release. The company behind the viral buzz is Eventful, a venture-backed start-up in San Diego hired by Paramount Pictures, the movie’s producer. Eventful provides a service that lets performers ask their fans where they should appear. For between $30,000 and $250,000, Eventful builds and hosts a Web page where people can vote by clicking on a button that says “Demand it!” Read more…

@dcap, the Twitter Evangelist

After joining Twitter in 2007, I continually advocated for it’s use at MTV News, where their account currently functions as a repository for news links and as a way for MTV News writers to livetweet, share images and communicate with readers. Why did I push for this? I knew that eventually most media outlets would use Twitter in this way and I hated the idea of working for a place that didn’t understand the way that its audience used technology.

I’ve also finally convinced my mother to start an account for her business, Legislative Research, Inc., and she promotes it at conferences. The LRI team still needs to figure out how to effectively promote their services on it while growing their audience but at least they aren’t afraid of using social tools. I also created the Twitter account for The New School’s University Student Senate and we use it to share information about meetings, events and to encourage student feedback. It is also a work in progress and I’ve been studying The New School’s social media strategy as a jumping off point.

Eventually, Twitter’s popularity will inevitably wane. We loved VHS, then DVDs came along, then Blue-ray. Technologies get remixed, revamped and scrapped. Even so, It behooves everyone from Grandma to CEO of Ginormo Co. to understand how these technologies impact our lives and how we can use them (while we can) to improve our lives.

3 Cool @dcap Discoveries from Sept ’09

* Veggie Conquest
Props to BFF Julia Barnes for bringing me to this event as a birthday gift.
Description from their website: Veggie Conquest is a monthly amateur vegan cooking competition. Before the event, chefs prepare a dish at home based on a secret ingredient revealed a week in advance. At the event, judges and tasters choose the top dish, prizes are awarded, and everyone chows down and has a great time!

Indeed, a great time was had — and I’m not even vegan! I’m going to the next one. Anyone else want to join me?

* IgniteNYC (Thanks, @ramonapringle!)

Ignite NYC even on 9/23/09

I met Ramona at the 2009 BlogHer Conference in Chicago, which I attended as a speaker. She was the producer/host who interviewed me for the PBS doc “Digital Nation.

Ramona is an actress, multimedia artist/producer, tech brainiac and super cool lady. We’ve hung out a few times and one of the many cool things she’s introduced me to is IgniteNYC. Description from website:

Ignite captures the best of geek culture in a series of 5 minute speed presentations.

Basically, you show up at a venue where there are hundreds of other tech lovers/geeks. You drink booze (or not), eat snacks (or not) and check out these often hilarious, truly educational 5 minute presentations that can be about literally anything. It’s a great place to network, be anti-social and just learn about cool things, get free booze and (if you want) submit to share your own presentation! You can promote your business/services in the process too. Great idea and it’s totally free.

* Jeanne D’Arc Home: Cheap Rent In Chelsea — If You Don’t Mind Nuns Or “No Men” Rule

This recent discovery is so fascinating, you really can find just about anything in New York. I’m not interested in renting here, but if you know of anyone willing to put up with their rules, it’s a pretty sweet deal.

Via the New York Sun:
If it’s midnight in Chelsea, tenants of nun-run Jeanne D’Arc women’s residence must sign in with the guard on duty. That may be a small concession for a furnished room on West 24th Street for $345 per month, but it’s hardly the only diktat on the books at the century-old boardinghouse, where 140 mostly young, foreign-born women live.

While there is no curfew at Jeanne D’Arc, guests are not permitted beyond the lobby, and there is “no noise of any kind” allowed on boarding floors after 11 p.m., according to the resident handbook. Other possible pitfalls of living in one of Jeanne D’Arc’s fraction-of-market-rate rooms: communal kitchens, bathrooms, and dining rooms, and periodic room checks. Messy bedrooms beget notes from nuns, according to a resident who said she recently received a note reading: “Your room is in desperate need of a cleaning.”

Still, the price is right — and Jeanne D’Arc almost always has between 30 and 40-names on the waiting list … (read full story here)

My friend works with someone who lives at the Jeanne D’Arc. She pays $300 a month and has been there for over six years (“and I’m not gay” she felt compelled to mention.) She doesn’t mind the rules and has no plans to move.

On My Radar: Indie Film EL VIAJE DE ANA MARIA & My BFF Rose Is Amazing

I had a great time visiting family last week in Cali and those feelings are best summed up in the Cali Visit 2009 set I took with my new Blackberry Storm (handy Flickr app).

What I really want to talk about is my experience observing my best friend Rose Hernandez co-produce her first feature film, El Viaje de Ana Maria.

Rose DawgI’ve known Rose since I was thirteen. She approached an aloof, loner Daniela in the ninth grade. Rose was the most popular girl in school and I was sort of like Lydia Deetz in Beetle Juice, so I didn’t get it. She was persistent, however, and enticed me with an outing to see Hackers, a film that changed my life. We’ve been BFF’s ever since.

She is a year and a half older than me, so I looked up to her and we had a lot of fun together getting into trouble as youngsters. We both had an interest in eventual media careers. She has always had a strong will and is very passionate about filmmaking.

After she surprised me by entering the military with her husband Tony (I hooked them up in High School), she had her first child (my god daughter Trinidy) and settled into an engineering role at Univision, a Spanish-language television network in the United States and Puerto Rico. She recently had her second child five months ago, so I assumed she had set aside her filmmaking goals for a more tranquil life. I was so wrong and am so happy to be proven wrong!

El Viaje de Ana Maria Trailer (Not Final Version)

El Viaje de Ana Maria Trailer from Alex Guimoye on Vimeo.

Rose joined the El Viaje crew more than halfway into their production as a line producer, while they finish the final US based shoots. Her role has since evolved to encompass everything from playing a small part in the film to coordinating marketing events, one that I attended with her in El Dorado County at their film commission mixer. In between raising two young children, keeping a full time job and moving into a new home, Rose (with the support of amazing Tony) put together a great presentation at the mixer and spoke on the director’s behalf. I could sense she was tired and we didn’t get to hang out as much as I would have liked to, but I don’t care. What’s most important to me is that she’s not using any excuses (that would be totally understandable) to keep her from pursuing her goals.

I want to support her as much as I can through the rest of this film and her future projects. She continues to be an inspiration for me. Before, her inspiration was as a young mother who maintains a loving home and family through numerous obstacles. She showed me that unconditional love is possible in any environment. Now, she is inspiring me in another important area of my life – my own progression as a filmmaker. If Rose can do it, so can I.

Here are some photos I took on their second to last shoot. The setting is a decrepit old farmhouse on the outskirts of Sacramento. In it’s natural state, this location beat anything that a set designer could think up. Lonely cots in the attic. Gloomy, bare light bulbs. Wild vines crowding the windows. Scary ancient stuffed animals stuffed in corners. The stuff of great horror – at no cost. This crew was so resourceful – most locations were used for free. Their prop master/costume designer Kareem coincidentally was also in the military, and he made the most amazing straitjacket out of a sack and some leather straps. I loved the diversity of both cast and crew – seeing so many people working together and being excited about their surroundings was truly inspirational.

At 19 years old and pregnant, a young and impressionable Ana Maria struggles to make ends meet. Juggling a new job, her drunken husband and a unique home situation, she begins to question her place in this world. Her obsessed boss is determined to open her naïve mind to the world of mind travel and the esoteric. Eyes wide open, Ana Maria finds herself susceptible to a supernatural environment as she battles to keep her sanity.

(from website) The El Viaje de Ana Maria production began in 2008 when Alejandro Guimoye, Nick Kalbach, and Devon Lee (Tres Vagos) set out to Panama to film a feature for less than $1,500.00. Shooting HD, they hit the ground running with only 13 days to scout, acquire locations, casting, and complete production. The film was created using non actors, borrowed equipment and lots of sweat. During post production it was decided to make it a full feature by adding four complimentary scenes. Los Vagos made the call to fly Sonia Graell, the film’s lead, to the U.S. to wrap up four remaining scenes. Meanwhile a U.S. crew is being assembled to complete the dream.

My Two Cents
The crew has been shooting their final scenes in US locations since February, most recently in Sacramento, CA. They have two more shoots to go and then they will begin post production. The amount of support (most without pay) that they’ve managed to round up is astounding. Director Alejandro Guimoye (and editor and shooter at One Source Media) has put 100% of himself into this film and his own personal story could be a film on it’s own.

This production has found every cost cutting measure imaginable. In addition to writing/directing/co-producing, Alex designed the film’s website. His crew blogs and they have created several vlogs that share their production experiences. They are identifying film festivals and events best suited to promote their film and don’t intend to stop with El Viaje. If all goes according to plan, Rose and Alex (along with other dedicated partners) have some exciting projects in the works that I’m not at liberty to share at this moment, but definitely will when the time is right.

I think EL VIAJE DE ANA MARIA would be a great fit for the New York International Latino Film Festival, along with a few other festivals on the East Coast, and I am going to do everything I can to support Rose and her film dream.

BFFs for Life

Daniela and Rose, goofing around in a random carniceria